The 5 Best Linear Switches in 2023

Written by Azzief Khaliq
Last updated Feb 10, 2023

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linear keyboard switches

Linear switches are one of the most popular switch types, perfect for gamers or anyone seeking a buttery smooth typing experience. But there are a ton of linear switches out there, enough to make finding the best linear switches for your mechanical keyboard a nightmare. That’s where we come in.

Choosing switches is a personal and subjective task, and a linear switch that feels brilliant to one person may feel terrible to another. So we can’t claim that our picks are objectively the best of the best. That said, we’re confident that the linear mechanical switches here are great starting points that will hopefully lead you to the linear switch of your dreams. Let’s get started.

Short on Time? The Best Linear Switches at a Glance
  • Best Linear Switches Overall: Everglide Aqua Kings are ultra-smooth and come with three different spring weights for different preferences.
  • Best Linear Switches Runner-Up: Gateron Oil Kings are also very smooth and have much less wobble than most Gateron switches.
  • Best Quiet Linear Switches: Durock Silent Linears come in two weights and retain a crisper bottom-out than many silent switches.
  • Best Gaming Linear Switches: Cherry MX Speed Silvers are an ultra-reliable short-travel linear switch perfect for gaming.
  • Best Value Linear Switches: Gateron Yellows are affordable and feel great for the price.

Our Favorite Linear Switches

Before we start, it’s important to point out that the bottom-out force and actuation force specs on mechanical keyboard switches aren’t the same thing. Bottom-out forces are always higher than actuation forces, so a 67-gram bottom-out force usually equates to an actuation force in the 50 to 55-gram range.

Some manufacturers only list one or the other, and few list both. We’ve opted to list whichever spec the manufacturer or retailer lists for the switch here.

1. Everglide Aqua King

Best Linear Switches Overall

Bottom-Out Force55, 62, 67 grams
Pre-travel Distance2.0 mm
Total Travel Distance4.0 mm

With a name like “Everglide,” you’d expect these switches to be smooth. And they are. They’re some of the smoothest, most pleasant linear switches to type on, more than justifying their price.

The Aqua King is a fully transparent linear switch available in three different spring weights: 55, 62, and 67 grams. The 55-gram version is the one to go for if you like light linears like Cherry MX Red, while the 67-gram version is a bit closer to (but still noticeably lighter than) the MX Black.

These switches stand out as one of the smoothest linear switches available. The Aqua Kings are almost perfectly lubed from the factory, with consistent travel and none of the over-lubed stickiness present in some pre-lubed switches. These will probably blow your mind if you’ve never tried lubed switches, and they’ll still likely impress you even if you have.

Everglide Aqua King

Source: Drop

Everglide’s Aqua Kings also exhibit minimal wobble. They likely have the least wobble of all MX-style switches I’ve ever used. Combined with the excellent smoothness, these Aqua King linear switches feel almost as good as you’ll ever get from a factory mechanical keyboard switch.

It’s also worth mentioning that the Aqua Kings look amazing with their transparent housings and gold contacts. While you’re likely not going to spend hours looking at the switches with your keycaps off, the transparent housings also have the benefit of letting a lot of light through. This makes them excellent if you’re an RGB fiend and want switches that’ll let your LEDs shine.

Overall, the Everglide Aqua Kings are one of the best linear switches you can get for your keyboard, and probably even some of the best mechanical switches outright. If you like linears, you’ll love these; if you don’t, the Aqua Kings might just sway your opinion.

2. Gateron Oil King

Best Linear Switches Runner-Up

Actuation Force55 grams
Pre-travel Distance2.0 mm
Total Travel Distance4.0 mm

Gateron’s released a ton of linear switches over the past few years, but its recent Oil King linears might be their best yet. These smooth, pre-lubed linears are perfect for those who want a switch that feels great out of the box at a reasonable price.

The Gateron Oil Kings are a heavier-weight linear switch, with a 55-gram actuation force and 80-gram bottom-out weight. This gives the Oil Kings a unique, smooth typing feel, with a lighter actuation than Cherry MX Blacks while bottoming out at roughly the same level of firmness.

The Oil Kings’ smoothness is aided by Gateron’s (allegedly) new factory lubing system. The results are impressive: the Oil Kings feel smooth and consistent throughout the travel, with no scratchiness or stickiness. Many enthusiasts claim that these switches are good enough to use as they are without further modding, and we tend to agree.

Gateron Oil King

Source: Gateron

A further point in the Oil Kings’ favor is the reduced stem wobble in these compared to older Gateron switches. While the vertical and horizontal wobble is still present and may be problematic to more sensitive users, we believe that the Oil Kings are stable enough for most users to use without modding.

Users’ main complaint is a slight inconsistency across switches, with some feeling slightly under-lubed compared to the rest of the switches. They’re relatively uncommon—noted switch reviewer ThereminGoat estimates a “one in ten” rate—and most users likely won’t notice the difference, so we don’t consider it a deal-breaking issue.

Overall, the Gateron Oil Kings are an excellent semi-mainstream linear switch perfect for those seeking a smooth, stable typing experience. They’re not perfect, but they’re more than good enough to use stock. And that’s more than you can say for many competing (and pricier) switches.

3. Durock Silent Linear

Best Quiet Linear Switches

Bottom-Out Force62 or 67 grams
Pre-travel Distance2.0 mm
Total Travel Distance3.8 mm

Durock might not be as well-known as Gateron and Kailh, but it’s the manufacturer behind some of the best switches available right now, including our top pick. So it’s no surprise that its Silent Linears are one of the best. They combine smooth typing and silent operation with a surprisingly crisp bottom-out, unlike many other silent switches.

The Durock Silent Linear switches use silicone dampers to quieten the typing sounds, similar to many other silent switches. However, they don’t seem to use as much dampening as switches like the Cherry MX Silent Red, so they retain more of the bottom-out feel you expect from mechanical switches.

Durock sells two versions of its Silent Linear switches: Dolphin (62 grams) and Daybreak (67 grams). Beyond the obvious spring weight difference, the two weights also use different housings. The lighter Dolphins have a transparent housing, while the Daybreak switches have a darker, smokier top and bottom.

The housings use identical molds, so they shouldn’t impact how the switches sound and feel. Those with an RGB keyboard should consider the Dolphins as they won’t interfere with your LEDs as much, but anyone after medium resistance will want the Daybreaks.

Durock lubes its Silent Linears from the factory, although users have reported some switch-to-switch inconsistency in terms of the lubing. They’re likely usable as they are, but sensitive typists may want to re-lube the switches to ensure perfect consistency.

Overall, the Durock Silent Linears are solid linear switches that impress with their reasonably crisp bottom-out feel and overall smoothness. They’re slightly pricier than some other great silent switches, but the performance and quality are worth it if you want a silent mechanical keyboard.

4. Cherry MX Speed Silver

Best Gaming Linear Switches

Actuation Force45 grams
Pre-travel Distance1.2 mm
Total Travel Distance3.4 mm

Short-travel “speed” switches tend to feel very similar, with the shorter travel distance dominating the overall typing feel. So instead of worrying about which speed switch feels best, we’ve gone for the safe, reliable option of Cherry’s MX Speed Silver.

The Cherry MX Speed Silver is a lightweight, ultra-short travel linear switch marketed towards gamers and those who need quick response from their switches. They achieve this with shortened pre-travel and total travel distances, so the switches activate faster and bottom out quicker. This means they react faster to your inputs, which may help in fast-paced games.

The fast actuation aside, Cherry’s MX Speed Silver linear switch feels reasonably smooth to use, with an acceptable amount of horizontal and vertical wobble. They’re not spectacular mechanical keyboard switches, but they’re fine for their intended purpose: gaming. Unfortunately, the shorter travel distances and light weighting make these less suited to typing than conventional linear switches.

Cherry MX Speed Silver


The primary reason we’ve gone for Cherry’s speed switches is their durability. Where other switches claim lifespans in the 50 to 70-million actuations range, Cherry boasts that its switches will last “> 100 million” actuations. Given that you don’t want your switches going wrong during a heated match, we made reliability a primary criterion here.

Cherry sells two versions of the MX Speed Silver. There’s one with traditional black top and bottom housings, and another with an all-transparent switch housing designed for RGB. The latter is a bit more expensive, so go with the black versions if you’re not running an RGB board.

Cherry’s MX Speed Silvers are an excellent, durable linear switch for a dedicated gaming board. The compromised typing feel makes the Speed Silvers a niche choice, but hardcore gamers seeking a linear switch for gaming will enjoy these.

5. Gateron Yellow

Best Value Linear Switches

Actuation Force50 grams
Pre-travel Distance2.0 mm
Total Travel Distance4.0 mm

The best linear switches tend to cost significantly more than the average, with switches like our top pick costing more than $0.50 a switch. But what if you could get most of the smoothness and feel of a top linear switch at a fraction of the price? You can: enter the Gateron Yellow.

The Gateron Yellow switches are straightforward, no-fuss lightweight switches that feel smooth and pleasing to type on out of the box. They have a “just-right” feel that matches the affordable price perfectly. The common “Milky” Yellows linked here don’t even come pre-lubed, yet still feel fine to type on with little to no scratchiness in use.

With their smooth typing feel, lightweight springs, and great pricing ($0.20 to $0.30/switch is hard to beat), the Gateron Yellows are a perfect beginner linear switch. But they’re good enough that you’ll still find many experienced hobbyists opting for these over newer, more hyped switches in their mechanical keyboard builds.

Gateron Yellow

Source: Gateron

One area where you may want to improve the Yellows is the stem wobble. Gateron switches have never excelled here, and the Yellow switches are no exception. These use older molds that wobble more than newer switches like the Oil King, so switch films are likely in order if you’re sensitive to switch wobble.

However, the main issue with the Gateron Yellows is the sheer number of versions available on the market. You can get fully “Milky” KS-3-X1 switches like the ones linked here, ones with clear tops and black bottom housings (the KS-8s), and slightly pricier KS-3-X47s with milky top housings and black bottom housings.

Most users agree that the Milky versions sound the best, but that the KS-3-X47s tend to feel slightly smoother. They’re all essentially the same switch, so we recommend not worrying too much and getting the cheapest version available when purchasing.

Overall, the Gateron Yellow switches are an excellent value switch that deserves its place as something of a modern classic. They’re far from perfect, but they’re some of the smoothest switches you’ll find in this price bracket.

Before You Buy

You almost always have to try switches to get a feel for them, which makes shopping for them online quite challenging. There’s also a lot of subjectivity involved, further muddying the waters. That said, a few descriptors may help you narrow down your options when reading reviews and user reports. Let’s quickly run through those.

If you’re unsure about the differences between linear, tactile, and clicky switches, check out our comparison of the three main switch types for more info and recommendations.


Smoothness is relatively self-explanatory. It refers to how smooth the switch feels when you press it, and whether there’s any noticeable binding or scratchiness throughout its travel. If you’re shopping for a linear switch, you’ll likely want the smoothest switch possible, especially if you don’t plan to lube it yourself.

Linear switches

Source: Unsplash

Lubing is a common mod that makes switches smoother than they are stock. It can elevate a mediocre switch into greatness, but it takes time and effort to lube the stems and springs yourself. And it’s fairly easy to over-lube and ruin switches, too.

So if you don’t feel like lubing, pay attention to reviewers’ and users’ descriptions of how smooth a switch is before lubing and whether there’s any problematic scratchiness.


One characteristic trait common to many MX-style switches (even ones from Cherry) is stem wobble. Wobble is the unintended horizontal and vertical movement of the stem inside the housing due to the tolerances between the two components.

Wobble may or may not be a major issue, depending on your preferences and typing style. On the positive side, it doesn’t stop the switch from working. However, it can make it less pleasant to type on, especially if you usually hit your keys off-center. That’s when wobble tends to be most noticeable.

Source: Voltcave

Like with a switch’s smoothness, wobble is something that you can improve with modding. Many users apply switch film to compensate for the tolerances and reduce wobble, but as with lubing, this takes time and effort.

If you’re sensitive (or feel like you might be) to switch wobble, look out for what users say about the switches you’re interested in. Wobble is a highly personal issue, and what’s “unacceptable” for one user may be perfectly fine for the other. Despite that, it’s still a good characteristic to pay attention to when drawing up a list of options.

Closing Thoughts

Linear switches are likely the most popular type of mechanical keyboard switch right now, so it’s no surprise that there are a ton of them on the market. From lightweight speed-focused switchers to heavier, smooth options, there’s likely something out there that’ll work for you.

The best way to find a great switch is to try as many as possible and see which ones you like best. That said, the Everglide Aqua Kings are usually hailed as one of the best modern linear switches, so they’re a great place to start. If you’re on a tight budget, look no further than the Gateron Yellows and their excellent price-to-performance ratio.

Happy hunting!

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