If you’re in the market for some Cherry MX “clones” for your mechanical keyboard, Gateron is easily one of the most widely-known brands!
Gateron switches are affordable and well-made–but there are also a TON of different variations. 🤷♂️
Here’s the mechanical switch breakdown: Gateron vs Gateron Pro vs Gateron Cap:
|“Normal” Gateron Switches|
(KS-8 or KS-9)
|Gateron Pro||Gateron Cap|
|Switch Type/Color Options||Yes, lots of color options||Yes, lots of color options||Only 3-4 color options (mostly yellows and brown)|
|Unique Feature||standard Cherry MX clones!||Come factory-lubed, upgraded stem molding and “polish.”||A VERY different mold and design for the stem and housing!|
Basically, Gateron Pro switches are slightly newer & upgraded versions of “normal” Gateron Switches (the KS-3, KS-8, and KS-9 switches).
The Gateron Pro switches…
- Come factory lubed, while normal Gateron switches don’t
- Have an upgraded stem (for more stability and smoothness)
- Are supposed to offer a more “smooth and polished” feel than normal Gateron switches
Let’s dive into the switch details below!
Gateron vs Gateron Pro vs Gateron Cap Switches:
First, Gateron refers to their production models with reference numbers like…
- KS-3: Older “normal” version
- KS-8: Normal switches with a solid-color bottom (less RGB shine through, but less scratchy)
- KS-9: Normal switches with clear bottoms (more RGB)
The Gateron G Pro switches ARE the KS-9 switches, only with a few enhancements (see below).
Better factory lube process
Compared to the “normal” Gateron switches, both the Gateron G Pro and Gateron Cap switches have added a better pre-lube technology, so your switches will arrive with a better sound and feel.
Pre-lubed switches are generally aren’t as nice as hand-lubed switches (usually less consistent lubing), but it’s a nice feature to have if you don’t want to manually lube your own switches!
Gateron Pro: Upgraded stems for more stability
The Gateron Pro switches utilize an “optimized mold” that builds a more stable stem.
This is supposed to lead to less wobble, and therefore a smoother feel and better sound.
Gold Alloy contact leaves
The older Gateron switches (KS-3, etc I think) had the standard copper contact leaves.
But all newer Gateron switches (including the “normal” switches, Pro, and Cap versions) all have Gold Alloy leaves.
This material is more durable and leads to a longer switch lifespan (although we’re still talking in the millions of keystrokes).
Cap Switches: A brand new design for the stem and housing
The Gateron Cap switches have a completely redesigned switch–although they still function the same as normal and Pro switches.
These Cap switches have:
- A thicker stem pole to be more stable and less wobbly
- A hole in the bottom housing pole which lets the air pressure escape upon keypress (which is supposedly smoother, but can also reduce the sound)
- A different stem shape (again, supposedly more smooth)
Similar to Gateron G Pro switches, the Cap switches come pre-lubed at the factory, and offer some cool switch types:
- Golden Yellow (linear)
- Milky Yellow (linear, see my review here)
- Red (linear)
- Brown (tactile)
- Milky Brown (tactile)
- Blue (clicky)
See our explanation for what “milky” switches are here.
Gateron Switch F.A.Q.s
Are Gateron G Pro switches good?
Yes, Gateron G Pro switches are a fantastic “Cherry MX clone” that offer more consistent factory lube and a more polished stem. The G Pro switches are generally a bit more stable (less wobble) and smooth than normal KS-9 Gateron switches. And although many pre-lubed switches can have inconsistent lubing at the factory (leading to inconsistent sound and feel), the Gateron G Pro switches supposedly improved their factory lubing technology to give a consistent, enhanced feel.
Which Gateron switch is the best?
This will depend on what type of switch you’re looking for (linear, tactile, or clicky), though some of the more popular premium Gateron switches are the Milky Yellow switches and the Ink Black switches (both are linear switches with a lower-pitched sound and smooth feel, although the Ink Blacks are more muted). For tactile and clicky switches, the Gateron G Pro switches are generally preferred since they come factory lubed and are smoother (less wobble).
What is Gateron cap?
The Gateron Cap Switches are a newer & redesigned mechanical switch. The Cap switches have a stem with a thicker center pole, and it “wraps” around the bottom housing (hence the “cap.”). The Cap switches also offer a slightly different housing design which supposedly leads to a smoother feel.
Conclusion: What’s the difference between Gateron and Gateron Pro?
While all Gateron switches are well-built and a budget-friendly alternative to Cherry MX switches, the Gateron G Pro series offer a few enhancements, including factory lubing and a more polished switch stem (which leads to less wobble and a smoother sound and feel).
Gateron Cap switches are the newest series and offer a completely redesigned switch stem and housing (which is also geared towards being more smooth).
Happy clicking, clacking, and thocking!
Related: Click here to read our full guide to mechanical keyboard switches.