Lots of people are calling the NK Silk Olivia switches the “best stock linear switches.”
(Stock = you don’t need to lube them).
Are they though? How do they feel right out of the box?
This is my NK Silk Olivia Switch Review (and sound test).
My Overall Review: The NK Silk Olivia does come pre-lubed with Krytox 205g, making them the most “convenient” linear switch. The sound is higher-pitched (rather than thocky) and pleasant, but they get “clacky” when you hit them hard. They feel smooth (not scratchy and with very little wobble). And at $0.50 per switch, these are a FANTASTIC linear switch that you don’t have to lube at home!
Overall, these get my full recommendation, but they aren’t for everybody.
I’ve tried over 100+ switches, so let me break down who should type/game on the NK Silk Olivias 👍
NK Silk Olivia Sound Test
It’s interesting that the NK Olivia sounds quite different depending on how hard you type on them!
We’ll talk about that more below in the “sound and feel” section.
NK Olivia Switch Details:
The NK Silk Olivia is a light, linear switch.
As a reminder, here are the 3 types of mechanical keyboard switches:
- Linear: The simplest type. Pressing them is a straight, smooth path from the top to the bottom. There’s no tactile or auditory feedback when you press them, and they require the least amount of force to actuate.
- Tactile: These switches provide a tiny “bump” when you press them (generally around the actuation point). This “tactile feedback” helps your fingers feel when the key has actually been registered.
- Clicky: These are a sub-type of tactile switches. There’s the tiny bump, but with a small audible “click.” These are generally louder.
Here’s a breakdown of the NK Silk Olivia switch:
|Type||Linear (meaning there’s no tactile bump in the keystroke. It’s smooth all the way down and back up).|
|Operating Force||45g (medium resistance, similar to standard Cherry MX Red)|
|Travel Distance||2mm pre-travel, 4mm total travel (pretty standard)|
|Price||Around $0.50 each on NovelKeys|
|Sound||Higher-pitched and “tappy” at low volumes, a bit “clacky” at high volumes|
|Feel||Very smooth! They feel heavier than they should at 45g operating force, but not SUPER heavy and buttery|
NOTE: The NK Silk Olivia switches do come pre-lubed at the JWK factory (with Krytox 205g).
Not only that, but my personal take is that they are well-lubed!
Sometimes factory-lubed switches end up much worse than unlubed switches, but the NK Silk Olivia appear (and sound) really well done.
Also, don’t miss the rose gold springs! They’re beautiful.
NK Silk Olivia: Pros and Cons
- Pre-lubed means less work
- The lubing is well done
- Smooth feel!
- If you like the higher-pitched tappy (I do!), then they’re fantastic
- Decent price
- If you don’t like the higher-pitched tappy, then don’t get these
- If you hit them too hard, they start to sound “clacky”
- Definitely not “light and fast.”
If you want a clacky switch, you’ll probably be looking for a tactile switch.
NK Silk Olivia Pricing:
They cost roughly $0.50 per switch (or maybe a little more).
Honestly? I think that’s a FANTASTIC price for Krytox pre-lubed switches!
Compare that with…
- Boba U4: $0.65 per switch
- Gateron Brown: $0.45 per switch
- Glorious Pandas: $0.70 per switch
- Akko Silver: $0.40 per switch
They’re not a “budget switch,” but that’s totally affordable for what you get.
NK Olivia Sound & Feel
Let’s dive into performance.
The NK Olivias oddly have a “dual sound profile,” meaning the sound changes quite drastically depending on how hard you hit them!
If you’re a soft typer or gamer, these will sound soft & tappy & awesome!
If you’re heavy-handed, however, they start to sound clacky, and not in a great way. Solid, wood-like.
Not my favorite (as somebody who types pretty hard lol).
I think the sound would be worse if they WEREN’T lubed, so it’s probably a good thing they are!
They feel smooth but surprisingly heavy.
They’re the same operating force at Cherry MX Reds, but feel much heavier and stiffer.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as it comes down to personal preference! (Especially if you work/type on these for long sessions, they’ll probably be more comfortable).
They weren’t too wobbly, either (horizontally or vertically). You might put some thinner switch films on them, but they come pre-lubed, so I personally wouldn’t.
Alternatives to NK Silk Olivia Switches
Here are some similar switches that I have tested and can recommend!
- Akko CS Switch Series – Akko Custom Series (CS) switches are 3-pin custom switches made for DIY enthusiasts to obtain satisfying typing feelings with more affordable options.
- Silver 43gf Linear Switch – Akko Silver is equipped with dustproof stem for enhanced stability. With short pre-travel of 1mm, this is one of the fastest Akko CS switches and is ideal for gaming.
- Built-in LED Slot – Akko CS key switches are equipped with LED slot ready for LED Mod/Assembly, and are SMD compatible (LED underneath the switch), giving you the flexibility to create a custom...
The Akko Silvers might be my favorite linear switch of all time, and they’re very similar to the NK Olivias (except lighter). They’re both a higher-pitched tappy sound, but the Silvers don’t turn into “clack” when you hit em harder.
Also, they’re slightly cheaper! (they don’t come pre-lubed though).
NK Cream switches
NovelKeys has released SEVERAL versions of their cream switches (Cream, Box Cream, Cream+, Cream Tactile, Dream, etc).
The cream switches feature all-POM housing and stems, and generally don’t come pre-lubed. (Although they are a bit cheaper).
These are wildly popular in the mechanical keyboard communities I’m a part of.
- ✅ TECSEE Purple Panda- Tactile | 2mm Pre-Travel | 3.0mm Total Travel | 55g Actuation | 67g Bottom Out | Long Stem
- ✅ TECSEE Carrot Switch- Linear | 2mm Pre-Travel | 3.5mm Total Travel | 55g Actuation | 67g Bottom Out | Long Stem.
- ✅ TECSEE new PME Raw material lubrication for your hot swappable mechanical gaming keyboards.
Tecsee is definitely a budget brand (these are even cheaper than Akko switches), and the Carrot switches are worth mentioning because they also work really well out of the box (unlubed).
They don’t sound or feel quite as good as the Akko Silvers, but for the price they’re great. If you’re on a super low budget, give them a try.
Some more you might check out:
Bottom Line: Should you purchase the NK Silk Olivias?
If you don’t want to lube switches at home and want a linear switch, I think the NK Silk Olivias are a fantastic choice.
If you want the absolute best linear switch of all time, you should try something else (like the Akko Silvers, Gateron Milky Yellow or Ink Blacks, NK Creams even).
$0.50 per switch is certainly a fair price for these!
NK Olivia F.A.Q.s
What does “NK” stand for (in mechanical switches)?
“NK” stands for “NovelKeys,” a popular brand in the mechanical keyboard world. Switches like NK Creams, NK Silk Olivias, etc, are all designed by and sold by NovelKeys.
Who manufactures NK silk switches?
NK switches (like the NK Silk Olivias) are made in the JWK Factory. This is the same manufacturer of Durock Switches, and other popular switches like the Tangerines, Alpacas, and Banana Splits.
Are NK Silk Olivias good for gaming?
It will depend on personal preference, but I think the Olivias would work great for gaming. They smooth like most linear switches, and they feel slightly heavier than Cherry MX reds, even though they technically have the same operating force.