Mechanical keyboards are awesome. But there’s one big issue: noise. While many enthusiasts enjoy that signature mechanical keyboard “clack,” not everyone is quite as keen on it. Maybe your officemates find it annoying, or perhaps you live with someone that goes to bed early while you code into the wee hours of the morning. If you want silent typing without giving up that mechanical goodness, you’ll want to get yourself a quiet mechanical keyboard.
Thankfully, these are a lot more common than they used to be. Silent switches, primarily the Cherry MX Silent Red, have started appearing in more mainstream keyboards. This means that even the casual hobbyist has the chance to type on a quiet, unobtrusive mechanical keyboard perfect for office or late-night use. Sound right up your alley? Let’s get started.
Our Favorite Quiet Mechanical Keyboards
Before we start, note that we’ve chosen to list all the switch types available for the keyboard. But you’ll want to go with the silent option if you want a quiet keyboard. All the product links also point to the quiet version where possible.
1. Ducky One 3
|Switch Type(s)||Cherry MX Black/Blue/Brown/Red/Speed Silver/Silent Red (Hot-swap)|
|Keycap Material||Double-shot PBT|
|Programming||Macros and limited remapping|
|Dimensions (W x D x H)||17.71 x 5.51 x 1.57 inches|
Korean keyboard manufacturer Ducky has really knocked it out of the park with its new One 3 series, at least as far as mainstream keyboards are concerned. With hot-swap, a wide selection of switches, and some tasteful enthusiast-tier mods, the One 3 is excellent for those shopping in the $100 to $150 range.
The full-size One 3 has a few features that make it an excellent general-purpose silent keyboard. First is, of course, the switch choice: Cherry MX Silent Reds are some of the best quiet switches out there, achieving near-silent operation with minimal reduction in travel distance and typing feel.
Then comes the pre-lubed stabilizers, which eliminate the annoying rattle that you often get on stabilized keys such as the Spacebar and both Shift keys. They do have a louder thud, but that’s much less annoying than the high-pitched noise coming from loose stabilized keys.
Finally, the One 3 ships ship with a layer of EVA foam pre-installed between the PCB and rear case. This is a common mod amongst keyboard enthusiasts, who like its sound dampening properties. It helps absorb any pinging sound from switch springs and any reverberation inside the case itself.
Between the Silent Red switches, quieter pre-lubed stabilizers, and the sound dampening foam, the Ducky One 3 is likely the best silent keyboard overall for most users. Not keen on a 104-key board? Ducky also has a One 3 TKL, One 3 SF (65%), and a One 3 Mini (60%), all with the same great silence-friendly features of the full-size One 3.
We think all four are the best silent options in their respective form factors, but read on for a compelling TKL alternative if the Ducky One 3 TKL doesn’t quite float your boat.
2. Durgod K320
|Switch Type(s)||Cherry MX Blue/Brown/Clear/Red/Speed Silver/Silent Red|
|Keycap Material||Double-shot PBT|
|Dimensions (W x D x H)||14.76 x 5.19 x 1.53 inches|
Durgod has made a name for itself over the past few years, with its Hades 68 in particular standing out as one of the best 65% keyboards. The K320 is another great keyboard from Durgod, a solid all-rounder TKL that comes in at a mainstream-friendly price.
Durgod offers the K320 with several Cherry MX switches, with the Silent Red being the switch of choice if you’re after the quietest keyboard possible. You might also get along fine with the MX Speed Silvers or even MX Reds, but those will still have some bottom-out clack that you (or your housemates) might find annoying. Go for the MX Silent Reds for a guaranteed quiet keyboard.
The Durgod K320 also has above-average stabilizers for a mainstream keyboard. The general consensus is that they feel great to use and aren’t rattly or wobbly. So there shouldn’t be any annoying stabilizer squeak to disrupt the silent typing experience of your MX Silent Reds. Lubing stabilizers isn’t that hard, but it’s always good when a mechanical keyboard doesn’t need mods out of the box.
The Durgod K320’s main advantage over competitors like the Ducky One 3 TKL is that it’s fully programmable using the company’s Zeus Engine. Zeus Engine lets you remap all keys (except Fn), record and set up macros, and even disable keys. Users have reported some quirks and glitches with older versions, but that seems to have improved with updates.
We like that Durgod ships the K320 with USB-A to USB-C and USB-C to USB-C cables. This makes using the K320 with newer Macs that only have USB-C ports easier. Is it a massive bonus? Of course not, but it’s a welcome inclusion. You get a dust cover, too, another feel-good extra that we appreciate.
Overall, the Durgod K320 is a solid, above-average TKL that we’re happy to recommend. Decent keycaps, varied switch options, above-average stabs, and full programming make it a TKL keyboard you must consider when shopping in this $100 to $150 price bracket.
|Switch Type(s)||Logitech GL Clicky/Tactile/Linear|
|Keycap Material||Double-shot ABS|
|Programming||Macros and lighting|
|Connectivity||Micro-USB, Bluetooth, Logitech Lightspeed 2.4 GHz|
|Dimensions (W x D x H)||14.48 x 5.90 x 0.86 inches|
Logitech’s G915 TKL is one of the pricier gaming keyboards on our list, but we think it justifies the price by ticking multiple boxes all at once. It has an ultra-quiet, responsive switch option, low-latency wireless, a solid aluminum build, and a low-profile design for (arguably) more comfortable gaming.
The G915 TKL uses Logitech’s in-house GL switches in Clicky, Tactile, and Linear varieties. The Linear version is the one you want here, as it’s the quietest of the bunch. The short total travel of 2.7mm and low-profile body also help reduce noise further by minimizing any bottom-out sounds. We also think the Linears are the best gaming switch of the three, so it’s a win-win if you’re in the market for a quiet gaming keyboard.
Other gamer-friendly features include Logitech’s Lightspeed 2.4 GHz connection, which boasts a 1 ms response time that makes it mostly indistinguishable from a wired keyboard. Battery life is decent too, with the company claiming 40 hours of battery life at 100% backlight. Dim the backlight (or turn it off entirely), and you’ll likely get quite a bit more than that.
Other welcome features include a volume roller and dedicated media buttons. While the G915 TKL lacks the dedicated macro keys of the full-size G915, you still get full macro recording via Logitech’s G Hub. You’ll just have to figure out some custom key combos to execute them.
Gamers will appreciate Logitech’s relatively advanced Game Mode, too. Most similar toggles only disable the Windows keys, but G Hub lets you configure which keys are disabled during Game Mode. It’s not necessarily a life-changing feature, but we think it can definitely come in handy from time to time.
Overall, the Logitech G915 TKL is likely the best quiet gaming keyboard available for its silence, responsive switches, and long-lasting wireless connectivity. It’s a bit pricey, but you can often find it on sale for less than $200. Sure, you’ll have to wait a bit to get it at that price, but we think it’s worth it.
|Switch Type(s)||Topre 45 g/Silent 45 g|
|Keycap Material||Dye-sublimated PBT|
|Dimensions (W x D x H)||12.91 x 4.37 x 1.57 inches|
Most of the silent keyboards available on the market use linear switches, which are great but not that fun if you like tactile switches. Enter the Leopold FC660C, which comes in a Silent 45 g Topre option that offers great tactility and a pleasing, yet quiet typing sound.
If you’re not familiar with Topre switches, they’re essentially the highest-quality rubber dome switches you’ll ever type on. They’re crisp and precise with a pleasing rounded feeling, far removed from the mushy and undefined typing experience of $10 rubber dome boards. I’d take them over any MX-style tactile switch any day of the week.
Topre switches are relatively quiet to start with, but the 45g Silent switches further bring the noise level down by muting the upstroke clack you get when the top of the plunger hits the housing. This results in a nearly-silent keyboard with a subtle “raindrop” effect that many users (myself included) find very pleasing.
Leopold complements the FC660C’s silent switches with thick PBT keycaps. They’re some of the best stock PBT keycaps available and are a pleasure to type on. You likely won’t need to change keycaps on the FC660C, which is convenient as aftermarket Topre key sets are few and far between.
While there’s a lot to like about the FC660C’s tactile and silent typing experience, it’s by no means a perfect keyboard. Its age means that you don’t get any programming functions, for one. That wasn’t an issue when it first came out, but it’s less acceptable now that even sub-$100 keyboards tend to have some programmability. Not quite enough to be a deal-breaker, though.
Like all Topre keyboards, it’s also pricey. The FC660C with the Silent 45 g switches will cost around $250. That likely puts it out of the reach of most mainstream hobbyists. But if you want a nearly silent keyboard that retains an awesome tactile typing experience, it’s time to start saving up for the Leopold FC660C.
|Switch Type(s)||Cherry MX Black/Brown/Blue/Red/Silent Red|
|Keycap Material||Double-Shot PBT|
|Dimensions (W x D x H)||12.59 x 5.51 x 1.35 inches|
Ergonomic and split keyboards are perfect for the office, as they allow you to reduce shoulder strain by splitting the two halves apart. But an office keyboard also needs to be quiet, lest you disturb your neighbors. Mistel’s Barocco MD770 RGB ticks both boxes with its layout and Cherry MX Silent Red option.
While the Barocco MD770 RGB doesn’t have any other silence-focused features, the option of Cherry MX Silent Reds goes a long way to making this a silent keyboard. The rubber pads on the MX Silent Reds’ stems mute almost all the bottom-out clack, which is the noisiest part of the whole mechanical keyboard experience.
We prefer the MD770 RGB over enthusiast split keyboards like the Ergodox or Kinesis’ high-end Advantage2 because of its relatively standard layout. The Barocco MD770 has a 75% layout split between the “T, G, B,” and “Y, H, N” columns. So you won’t need to learn a new layout here, and the only thing you’ll need to get used to is the split Spacebar.
While it probably wasn’t Mistel’s intention, the standard split layout is also useful for gamers. You can use the left side on its own as a compact FPS keyboard, a handy alternative to getting a programmable keypad to use as a gaming board.
Mistel equipped the Barocco MD770 RGB with four macro layers. The first has a fixed layout with RGB and media controls, while the other three are fully programmable to your liking. And, yes, you can assign separate macros or commands to the split Spacebar, which is a nice touch.
Overall, we think the Mistel Barocco MD770 RGB is a great place to start if you’re seeking a quiet ergonomic keyboard for the office. There are other options, but the MD770 RGB’s lighting and good-quality double-shot PBT keycaps push it over the line ahead of its closest rival, the Kinesis Freestyle Pro.
Mistel also sells a Bluetooth version of the MD770 RGB for an extra $25 or so.
6. IKBC CD87 V2
|Switch Type(s)||Cherry MX Black/Blue/Brown/Clear/Red/Silent Red|
|Keycap Material||Double-shot PBT|
|Connectivity||Fixed USB cable|
|Dimensions (W x D x H)||14.09 x 5.35 x 1.63 inches|
IKBC’s CD87 V2 is a mostly no-frills TKL keyboard that looks like almost any other mid-range TKL available in 2022. But iKBC has managed to combine a steel plate, PBT keycaps, and authentic Cherry MX switches into a package that costs less than $100. So even if it’s not spectacular, it certainly offers great value.
The main selling point of the CD87 V2 is that iKBC hasn’t had to go with Gateron or Kailh switches to hit an affordable price point. You get a solid selection of Cherry MX switches, including the rarely-seen tactile MX Clears. But if you’re after a silent keyboard, then the MX Silent Reds are the ones you want to go for.
Beyond the key switches, there isn’t much in the way of standout features on the CD87 V2. There’s a metal switch plate that adds stability (and undoubtedly contributes to the 3.05-pound weight), but that’s no longer as special as it used to be. It’s nice to see on an affordable keyboard, but it isn’t the “great value” selling point it used to be even a few years back. PBT keycaps are nice too, but are once again relatively commonplace in 2022.
One potential downside for some buyers is the iKBC CD87 V2’s total lack of lighting. There aren’t any LEDs at all on the keyboard, which may turn some of you off. But in the quest to make a great-value keyboard, we’re glad iKBC decided to sacrifice the LEDs instead of going with a cheaper plate material or ABS keycaps.
As it is, the iKBC 87 V2 is a simple, straightforward mechanical keyboard that offers solid basics for a wallet-friendly price. If you want a solid, quiet keyboard without paying over the odds, then this keyboard is the one you should check out.
Before You Buy
We think our picks are some of the best quiet keyboards you can buy off the shelf these days. But that doesn’t mean that they’re your only options. The main criterion of a silent mechanical keyboard is the switch choice, so let’s run through some switches you should look out for when searching for a silent keyboard.
Most major manufacturers of MX-style switches have a quiet switch or two in their lineup. These switches often feature minor changes designed to reduce switch and spring noise, such as rubber pads on the stem or lubrication to reduce noise from mechanical friction.
Cherry only makes one silent switch, the Cherry MX Silent Red. It tends to be the default silent switch for most pre-made quiet mechanical keyboards, but it’s far from the only option on the market. Other MX-style manufacturers also have their own silent switches, with some boasting more than one silent variation in their product ranks.
Gateron is a good example. The company has silent versions of most of its standard switches, such as the linear Silent Red and Silent Black and the tactile Silent Brown. The latter might be an interesting option for those who can’t afford our silent tactile pick but don’t like the feel of linear switches.
Fellow clone manufacturer Kailh also has quiet switches, although their selection is comparatively limited. You have the ultra-light Kailh Box Silent Pink linear and the tactile Kailh Box Silent Brown.
These aren’t the only silent switches, but we think these are good places to start for most users. If you’re curious about quiet switches from other manufacturers, a quick search for “silent” on switch retailers like MechanicalKeyboards.com should give you an idea of what’s available.
If none of our picks float your boat, an easy alternative to looking for other pre-made silent keyboards is to just get a good hot-swap keyboard and install silent switches instead. There are probably more hot-swap boards out there than ones that come with quiet switches by default, after all.
So, going down the hot-swap route opens up a variety of form factors and designs that you might not find if you’re limiting yourself to stock, off-the-shelf keyboards. It’ll take a little bit more work, but it’s arguably worth it if it means you can end up with a keyboard you truly want.
The notion of a quiet mechanical keyboard used to be an oxymoron, but that hasn’t been the case for a while now. Silent mechanical switches and other keyboard noise-reducing measures mean that you can get a relatively silent keyboard without sacrificing the superior typing feel of mechanical switches.
The Ducky One 3 keyboards are some of the quietest mechanical keyboards you’ll find, with their MX Silent Red switches, lubed stabs, and pre-installed case foam. We recommend you start there, especially if you’re looking for a full-sized keyboard. But the Durgod K320 isn’t a slouch either and is a strong contender in the TKL form factor.
Here’s hoping you find the right board for you sooner rather than later! All the best!