Looking for a great tactile switch that doesn’t break the bank?
Let’s dive in and compare the Gateron Brown vs Kailh Speed Copper mechanical switches:
- Both Gateron and Kailh switches are budget-friendly MX-style switches (called “Cherry MX clones”)
- Both switches are tactile (meaning there is a small tactile “bump” during actuation that helps your fingers know when a keypress is registered)
- The biggest difference is that Kailh Speed Coppers have a slightly faster actuation (40g operating force and 1.1mm pre-travel distance, vs 55g and 2mm on the Gateron Browns), which is why they are often marketed as “gaming switches.”
- The Gateron Brown switches often arrive with some housing wobble, meaning they could have a slightly scratchy sound and wobbly feel.
I’ve tested dozens of different tactile switches from both Gateron, Kailh, Akko, Cherry, and more–so let’s dive into the comparison.
Key Differences Between Gateron Browns and Kailh Speed Copper
|Gateron Brown||Kailh Speed Copper|
|Actuation Force||55g (medium)||40g (light)|
|Pre-travel distance||2.0mm (normal)||1.1mm (shorter, “gaming” switch)|
|Sound||Medium loudness, clacky||Medium loudness, clacky|
|Feel & Tactility||Medium tactile bump||Medium tactile bump (maybe a bit sharper)|
|Cost||Roughly $0.30 per switch||Roughly $0.38 per switch|
|Availbility||View on Amazon||View on Amazon|
Before we get to the differences, here are the similarities between the two switches:
- They’re tactile (as opposed to linear or clicky, click here to learn how tactile switches work)
- They’re budget (compared to other premium switches from Kailh, Gateron Pro, etc)
- They have medium tactility (the bump will feel mostly similar)
- They’re Cherry MX clones, meaning they’ll fit with standard MX-style keycaps, etc.
- They’re suitable for both gaming and typing
- They’re both “medium loudness” switches. See sound profile below.
Now let’s dive into the differences:
Speed (i.e. actuation force and distance)
The big selling point of Kailh Speed Copper switches (and “gaming switches” in general) is that they’re “faster” than regular mechanical switches.
👉 Actuation Force (how much force is required to register the keystroke)
- Kailh Speed Coppers: 40g
- Gateron Browns: 55g
Both of these are in the medium resistance range, but the Gateron Browns will have a bit more thickness to the feel.
👉 Actuation Pre-Travel distance (how far you need to press the switch before it registers the keystroke)
- Kailh Speed Coppers: 1.1 mm
- Gateron Browns: 2 mm
This is the big difference between these two switches. Speed! However, it’s worth remembering that we’re measuring things in tiny increments. The average user won’t be able to tell a difference!
Yes, the Kailh Speed Coppers might require a TINY bit less effort to press, but it’s not a night-and-day difference.
Smoothness and sound
These two switches are going to mostly sound the same, which one major exception…
Gateron Browns often suffer from switch wobble, meaning the housing can wiggle around a bit. This usually results in a slightly scratchier sound and feel.
A complete beginner might not notice, but if you want the best sound & feel possible, you’ll probably want to install some switch films!
Kailh Speed Coppers don’t have this issue (at least not to the same degree), so they tend to feel and sound better right out of the box.
Pro Tip: Gateron also makes a “Pro” version of their Brown switches.
The Gateron Pros are slightly different, although a bit more expensive.
- The Pros feature a slightly different cap design
- The Pros usually come pre-lubed from the factory
- The Pros will likely sound and feel much better right out of the box
Cost & Availability
Both the Gateron Brown and Kailh Speed Copper are widely available, and fall under the “budget switch” category!
- Gateron Brown: Roughly $0.30 per switch
- Kailh Speed Copper: Roughly $0.38 per switch
- Gateron G Brown PRO: Roughly $0.40 per switch
Gateron Brown vs Kailh Speed Copper: Sound Tests
First, you can see our full review of the Kailh Speed Copper switches here.
Below are two audio samples that I recorded for each switch, however, it’s worth noting that these were recorded on different keyboards!
- Gateron Browns were on a Keychron K12
- Kailh Speed Coppers were on a custom KBD67 Lite R3 (which has a bit more sound dampening).
However, I still believe that this is a fair comparison for the most part, as both switches sound similar!
Here’s a Gateron Brown sound test:
and here’s the Kailh Speed Copper sound test:
Here’s a full review of the Kailh Speed Copper switches:
Gateron Brown vs Kailh Speed Copper: Which is the better switch for me?
Although switches are always a personal preference, you should choose the switch that sounds better, fits your budget, and will be the best fit for your needs!
If you’re a gamer and don’t mind paying just a few dollars more, the Kailh Speed Copper is probably the better switch for you. It’s a fraction of a second faster and easier to press, and will sound & feel better out of the box (since the Gateron Browns have a bit of switch wobble).
On the other hand, if you’re primarily a typist and want to save a few dollars, the Gateron Browns are still a great switch for the money! They will provide a satisfying tactile experience, which can be smooth & satisfying (ESPECIALLY when you add some switch films to the housing)!
Tactile Switch Alternatives
To be really honest, I’m not sure I could every recommend the Gateron Browns OR the Kailh Speed Coppers, since there are several other great switches out there that are just as good (or better)!
Here are a few other tactile switches that I would recommend:
- Glorious Pandas – These will cost more, but they have a really nice and sharp tactile bump
- Boba U4T – Although I personally prefer the Pandas, the mechanical keyboard community REALLY loves the Bobas. They’re quite tactile as well
- Tecsee Sapphire – These tactile switches are more muted (though not technically “silent” switches). They sound crackly and satisfying, and the outer housing is beautiful!
If you want a small click, you might also check out Speed Golds. Here’s our review!
Mechanical Switch Comparison F.A.Q.s
Are Kailh switches better than Gateron?
Not necessarily, and it totally depends on what type of switch you’re looking for! If you’re looking for a linear or tactile switch, you’re probably better off sticking with Gateron (specifically premium Gateron switches like the Gateron Ink Blacks, Milky Yellows, or Gateron G Pro switches). However, if you’re looking for a clicky switch, the Kailh Box clicky switches are the best in the market! The Kailh Box Jades, Pinks, and Navys offer a satisfying and sharp crunchy click.
Is Kailh speed copper clicky?
No! The Kailh Speed Coppers are tactile switches (meaning they have a small bump when you press them down). However, Kailh also makes the Kailh Speed Golds, which are the clicky version of the Kailh Speed Coppers.
Are Kailh speed switches good for gaming?
Yes, although the overall speed differences won’t be that noticeable. Similar to other Cherry MX speed switches, the Kailh Speed switches offer a shorter pre-travel distance to activate the switch, as well as a lower “operating force,” i.e. the force required to register the keystroke. However, the differences are very small, and the average user probably won’t see a massive speed increase in gaming! That said, Kailh still produces quality switches that sound and feel great right out of the box, and their speed switches are pleasant to type and game on.