Gateron Ink Black V2 Review & Sound Test (2022)

Want to make your mechanical keyboard feel buttery smooth?

Here’s my complete Gateron Ink Black V2 review & sound test!

Takeaway: The Ink Black switches feel really heavy and smooth, with a deep, pleasant, “muted thocky” sound. They are well made and fairly affordable ($0.75 per switch), but they also feature a tiny amount of wobble (leading to a slightly scratchy sound). However, this can easily be fixed with some switch films! 

I’ve tried dozens of linear switches from Gateron, Kailh, and Akko–and the Ink Black V2 switches are probably in the top 10 (and would be higher if you’re into the lower end, muted sound!)

Custom Switch Gateron Ink 5 pin V2 Switches Transparent Smokey Housing Black Red Blue Silent Black Yellow for...
  • This link only has switches,does not include other extras.
  • These switches are made of a new type of plastic.
  • These switches are made of a new type of plastic.

Table of Contents:

Gateron Ink Black Switch Details:

Type:Linear (meaning there’s no tactile bump in the keystroke. It’s smooth all the way down and back up).
Operating Force:60g (one of the higher resistance, heavier linear switches out there! More resistance than a yellow or red switch).
Travel Distance:4mm total travel (medium).
Price:Not quite a budget switch. Between $0.60 and $0.80 per switch depending on where you purchase.
Mounting style: The Gateron Ink Blacks are a 5-pin switch (PCB mount). If your PCB only accepts 3 pins, you’ll need to clip the 2 plastic pins on each switch!
Sound:Muted, soft, deep, and smooth! Quite “thocky,” but definitely on the quieter end! A++
Feel:Thick, heavy, smooth, but with a tiny amount of wobble (stock out of the box that is. This goes away with some switch films).
Materials:The spring is coated! This is pretty rare, and supposedly helps spring ping (and it does, in my opinion)

Gateron Ink Black Sound Test

Smooth and buttery!

What’s different in the “V2” version of the Ink Blacks?

In the original version of the Gateron Ink Blacks, the copper leaves had an issue where they would fall out, get easily knocked out, etc.

In my opinion, even the V2 leaves are slightly wobbly still. They may be better than before, but if you’re going to take the switches apart and lube them, just be careful on the copper leaves! They move around and can detach easily!

Do you need to lube the Gateron Ink Blacks?

No, but it does help.

They probably won’t feel much different, as there’s so much resistance! They’re going to feel soft and smooth. 

But I lubed mine with some Krytox 205g, and it definitely rounded out the sound (made a little more bassy, and even MORE muted).

Click here to read our full guide on lubing mechanical switches.

Do the Ink Black switches need switch films?

YES. These switches had some wobble. (Meaning that I installed the switches into the plate/PCB, took some tweezers, and wiggled the switch around). There was a fair amount of wobble, which can lead to a more scratchy sound and feel!

The wobble completely went away with some switch films though! See my video below for how to do that. It’s easy!

Does RGB shine through the Ink Black top housing?

Yes, but not a ton. 

It’s not going to be as effective as a clear top housing, but it does allow some light to shine through. It’s not opaque. 

Gateron Ink Black: Pros and Cons

PROS ✅

  • Genuinely one of the smoothest linear switches of all time
  • Softer sound (more muted and quiet, which is what most people prefer from a linear switch).
  • Smokey housing looks amazing

CONS ❌

  • More expensive than most switches
  • Hard to find these days
  • 5-pin switch needs clipping if you have a 3-pin PCB
  • While they’re ok unlubed, you probably want to lube them.
  • NEED switch films in order to really shine

That first “pro” is by far the most important though!

They really do have one of the smoothest sounds and feels from ANY linear switch. If you take the time to lube and film them, the Ink Blacks are near perfection.

They’re a keyboard enthusiast favorite for a reason.

Gateron Ink Black Pricing:

You can generally find them on Amazon for roughly $0.75 per switch.

That’s definitely more of a premium switch (rather than a budget switch). I think this is partially because they ARE so popular and can be difficult to find on any given month.

You can also find them on sites like KBDFans or Divinkey, but you’ll also have to pay for shipping there.

Compare that with…

  • Boba U4: $0.65 per switch
  • Gateron Brown: $0.35 per switch
  • Glorious Pandas: $0.70 per switch
  • Akko Silvers: $0.40 per switch

It’s a premium linear switch, but it’s still only a difference of $15-20 in total, depending on your keyboard size.

Gateron Ink Black Sound & Feel

They’re premium, but are they worth it? YES! The Gateron Ink Blacks have an epic sound and feel. 

Sound

Muted & smooth.

The Ink Black V2s are one of the smoothest sounding switches, period! They’re deeper and low-end, but also soft and muted.

There are lots of higher-pitched “tappy” linear switches, like the Akko Silver switches, Akko Vintage Whites, etc, but this is NOT that.

(That is, AFTER you put switch films on them. Before that, you might notice a tiny bit of metallic “wobble” sound. But the difference is slight, especially if you’re a beginner and odn’t have anything to compare it to!)

Also, if you lube them, they’ll likely drop in pitch just a little bit (even more muted and low-end). YUM. 😎

See the sound test above for more.

Feel

REALLY thick and buttery

The Ink Black switches have more actuation force (resistance, basically), with…

  • 60g actuation
  • 70g bottom out

That’s thicker than most reds and yellows (though the Gateron Milky Yellow switches feel thick like the blacks as well).

If you’re into heavy switches and don’t mind filming these, the Ink Blacks are perfection.

Also, it’s worth noting that the “coated spring” apparently worked–as I didn’t experience any spring ping (sound or feel) with my Ink Blacks!

If you’re into “muted butter thocky,” these are the linear switches for you 😉

Alternatives to Gateron Ink Black Switches

Here are some similar linear switches that I have tested and can recommend!

Akko Jelly Blacks

These are the most similar Akko switch (I’m a huge fan of Akko switches) to the Ink Blacks.

It’s also buttery smooth, but with a slightly higher pitch (but still pretty low compared to other linear switches).

AND the Jelly Blacks are less than half the cost of the Ink Blacks. Win! Plus, the Jelly Blacks come with a “box” stem, meaning it’s slightly dustproof and waterproof!

Click here to read our review & sound test of the Akko Jelly Blacks.

Akko Matcha Green

I enjoy the Matcha Green switches as well, though they definitely need lubing!

Right out of the box, these will sound really pingy. But put some Krytox 205g on them, and they have a pleasant high-pitched tappy sound!

Click here to read our review & sound test of the Akko Matcha greens!

Gateron Milky Yellow

Of course we have to mention the MOST popular Gateron switch ever, the Gateron Milky Yellows.

Technically, the Milky Yellows are the same switch, except with:

  • Different housing materials (less scratchy)
  • A normal, not-coated spring
  • Slightly less resistance (50g-ish)

But to my fingers, the Milky Yellows ALSO feel really thick and heavy.

They’re both buttery and smooth–but the Ink Blacks V2 probably offer a TINY amount more resistance, and are more muted.

If you have two keyboards and want two linear switches? Grab the Ink Blacks and Gateron Milky Yellows

Click here to read my review & sound test of the Gateron Milky Yellow 😎

Akko Silver

This might be the only Akko linear switch I like MORE than the Gateron Ink Blacks. They’re definitely higher in pitch, and more “tappy” sounding.

Some folks might prefer to stay on the “low-end buttery” sound, and those folks would likely prefer the Ink Blacks, Milky Yellows, or the Akko Jelly Blacks.

The silvers are A+++ in my book though.

Click here to read our review & sound test of the Akko Silvers.

Most people in the mechanical keyboard community would probably prefer the lower, more muted Ink Blacks, but the Akko Silvers are fantastic to me.

Bottom Line: Should you purchase the Gateron Ink Blacks?

Yes. The Gateron Ink Blacks are a heavy, smooth, and buttery linear switch. They feature a muted “thocky” sound and a buttery-thick resistance that make them great for both gaming and typing alike. If you add lube and switch films, they are pretty much the perfect linear switch!

If you’re a beginner and don’t feel like lubing/filming, don’t worry. They still sound and feel great out of the box (stock).

Click here to grab the Gateron Ink Blacks on Amazon.

Gateron Ink Black F.A.Q.s

Are Gateron Ink Black switches good?

It all depends on what you’re looking for–but, in general, the Gateron Ink Black switches are a fantastic premium linear switch that is heavy, smooth, and muted. They feel smooth (even unlubed), though there’s a tiny amount of switch wobble, which can lead to a scratchy sound. If you can film your switches, the wobble goes away. Overall, the Ink Blacks are one of the more popular Gateron linear switches for good reason! They sound and feel amazing!

What kind of switch is Gateron Ink Black?

The Gateron Ink Black switches are a 5-pin linear switch, meaning there is no tactile bump during the keystroke, but rather a smooth keypress all the way down and back up.

How do Gateron Black Inks feel?

Heavy and smooth. The 60g actuation force has slightly more resistance than a red or yellow switch, leading the Ink Blacks to feel heavy, thick, and buttery!

Are Gateron Ink Blacks loud?

Compared to most other keyboard switches, the Gateron Ink Blacks are NOT loud. They feature a more muted, heavier, and smooth sound compared to other linear switches, and there is no tactile bump (like tactile switches) or click mechanism (like clicky switches). Their sound is often described as “thick” and “thocky” and “buttery.”

How long do Gateron switches last?

All of Gateron’s switches are rated for up to 60 Million keystrokes, and they’re also built with the highest standards of quality.

Is Gateron a good brand?

Out of all the budget mechanical keyboard manufacturers, Gateron is definitely one of the best. Their switches might be slightly less expensive than Cherry MX switches, but Gateron switches still sound and feel fantastic, and are generally well-made and quality. In particular, their linear switches (the Ink Black, Ink Blacks, etc) are well-regarded as the best budget linear switches.

Which Gateron switch is the best?

While it really comes down to preference, we recommend either the Gateron Milky Yellow switches or the Gateron Ink Black switches (if you prefer linears), or the Gateron Brown Pro switches if you prefer tactile switches. If you’re into clicky switches, the Gateron Greens are often preferred over the Gateron blues (mostly a community preference, as the green switches are bit heavier and thicker sounding).

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