Model 100 Switches

Hey everybody,

I recently received my model 100 and absolutely love it’s design. However, I’m unhappy with my choice of switches - I chose the silent tactile ones (Kaihua?), and they’re really… Inconsistent. Some click, some clack, some are silent, some loud, and worst of all, the springs feel different on some keys.

I’m considering getting new switches (most likely silent linear), but since I’m new to the keyboard world, I’m afraid of buying the wrong ones. What brands work? What do I need to pay attention to? Are there different models/sockets? Do the key caps fit?

I’d appreciate a kick start in the right direction, and maybe more correct terminology. I’m sure I messed something up. :slight_smile:

Thanks in advance. Stay safe everyone.

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The keycaps should fit any MX-style switch, the hotswap sockets support both 3 and 5 leg switches, so the only two things (apart from feel) you need to pay attention to is that the switch should be an MX-style switch (not Alps, not Choc, or low profile, or anything else, MX-style), and if you want to make use of the LEDs, then the switch should have RGB-compatible housing. This usually means they have a small slit to let light come through, and/or have clear top housing. If a switch says it’s MX-style and SMD LED compatible, it’s more than likely to be fine. But if you want to go safe, before ordering any, you can run it by these forums, and we’ll help you verify!

This still leaves you with a ton of possibilities, however. If you’re new to this world, I would suggest buying a switch tester, and a handful of switches to test with it. This lets you test a number of options for reasonably cheap, and helps you decide what you actually like.

If you want silent switches, I’d also consider at least one or two tactile options, just to test them out. I can highly recommend ThereminGoat’s blog where he does switch reviews. If you find an interesting sounding switch, it’s worth checking if he reviewed them, his posts can be very educational. His blog is also a good starting point, you can look at some of the linear switches he reviewd, see if you can source a sample, put it in a tester (like this one, a lot of mech key shops sell them, along with switch samples), and see how it fares for you.

I’m a tactile switch guy myself, so sadly can’t recommend linear switches, but Kailh is a solid vendor, with a wide selection of switches. If you’re open to trying silent, non-clicky tactiles too, I can highly recommend the Gazzew Boba U4 (not U4T, that’s the “non-silent” version, still not clicky, but not silent either).

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Mine are a bit like this too. On arrival the switches in two keys had a slight click to them. I swapped them with the spares that came with the keyboard, which has helped. I like tactile switches so have ordered a set of brown Gateron G Pro 2.0 switches for it. We’ll see how they go, I’ve used several Gateron sets on other boards but not these particular ones.

If you want to go deep on switches this is a decent place to start: An Enthusiast's Deep Dive Into Mechanical Keyboard Switches

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Same for me. This is my first mechanical keyboard and I had a hard time deciding which switches to order. I even bought a switch tester that contained the Silent Box Brown and the Silent Box Pink (which at that time should have been two of the choices). Unfortunately it didn’t help me a bit. It became apparent that a switch tester would not be enough for taking that decision. It would be necessary to try them in a full keyboard.
So I decided to take the default, the tactile one.

Immediately after trying out my newly arrived Model 100, I regret that decision. I find them terrible. I can’t even imagine how anybody could like them.

So I tried replacing one of the switches with the Silent Linear one from my switch tester and it actually felt better. So I accepted the risk and bought a full set of them. Replaced them yesterday and they are much better!

As they are rather light I was afraid they could be too light for the palm keys and I would activate them accidently. But since there were two stiffer variants in my switch tester, a Kailh dark yellow and a Kailh black, I just used them for the palm keys. Unfortunately they have a different spring weight (60g and 70g), but up to now I don’t notice the difference.

Now I have a 66 spare tactile switches. Anybody willing to buy them? :wink:

I second the Gazzew Boba U4 recommendation. I replaced the switches on one of my Model 100 from Speed Copper switches, which I though I would like, but not as much.

One recommendation: buy about 70 switches, in case you get a few that got damaged in transit, or if you mess up some while placing them (my case). Do not rush when putting switches in place, or you will likely damage the pins.

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Have you tried zealous 78s? I have a switch tester that has those. I think they are my favorite. I discovered the cherry greys today and was going back and forth between the two.

  1. You make me rethink my (non-fulfilled) order of silent tactile switches
  2. When they are behaving different I think this is a reason to ask for ones which are working like expected!

Odd; I haven’t really been experiencing that issue with the Silent Browns on my Model 100. Could be that I’m just not picky about switches, but my set seems pretty OK. My only real gripe is that the actuation point is a little low compared to the one other set of Brown-style switches I’ve used. I do notice slight differences in the sound of the keys, but the differences seem to be symmetric enough between the halves that it feels more like it’s due to the acoustics of the enclosure and the angle of the press than anything with the switches themselves, aside from perhaps a couple of extra-clicky switches. That’s not to say you couldn’t have gotten a bad batch of switches, though.

Thank you so much for your exhaustive response. It helps tremendously and answers most questions I had but could not formulate.
I’ve heard multiple people recommend the Boba U4, so I’ll try to get my hands on them. I enjoy tactility, but also the smoothness of linears. I just recently had the chance to type on a Keychron V1 with linears, and they feel really nice.
It’s difficult to get samples if you have no friends who build keebs though. Some testers with different manufacturers would be cool, but I couldn’t find anything like this.

Thank you very much. This is an excellent article. I started reading it this weekend, but could not finish yet. It answered a lot of my questions though.

Won’t rush! I’m a patient guy, fiddling with my hands is calming to me. :slight_smile:

Added to my list of switches to test. As noted above, getting samples from different manufacturers is diffucult.

IIRC, they had to source different tactiles than planned. Originally they wanted to ship the Kailh, and then had to adjust. Honestly, I had no experience at all before ordering.


Again, thanks to all of the posters above. Appreciate that. I’m shocked by the quality of the answers. Guess I’m too used to Reddit and such… :wink: Cheers!

Not sure where in the world you’re located, but in the EU, I found a good handful of mech webshops that sell switch samples at a reasonable price, and (empty) testers too. So you can mix & match what you want to test, before ordering a full keyboard worth of switches.

I ordered my tester & samples from Mechbox (UK), but Mechboards (also UK) also seems to offer samples & tester too. It’s usually easier to find testers with a pre-set set of switches though.

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EU, but most shops I found had either no tester sets in stock, or didn’t have the switches I was seeking.

I’ve now 3d printed a switch tester, and am waiting for my Mechbox order containing a big variety of switches. Looking forward to it.

Thanks again for all your help, everybody. I’ll write a short follow-up when I tested all the switches. :slight_smile: