The 6 Quietest Mechanical Keyboard Switches in 2023

Written by Azzief Khaliq
Last updated Feb 3, 2023

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quietest keyboard switches

Mechanical keyboards are great but relatively loud. Maybe you’re tired of the clacking and thocking yourself, or perhaps it’s all about toning it down for your roommates. Either way, installing one of the quietest keyboard switches is a great way to bring the noise levels down without giving up the fun of mechanical keyboards.

Swapping any of these switches in for your current ones will reduce your keyboard’s noise output significantly. They won’t make it completely silent, but it’ll be more than quiet enough for all but the most noise-sensitive colleagues.

Short on Time? The Quietest Keyboard Switches at a Glance
  • Best Quiet Linear Switches: Gateron Silent Reds are smooth and very affordable, making them an easy pick here.
  • Quiet Linear Switches Runner-Up: Cherry MX Silent Reds are a bit pricier and rougher than the Gateron Silent Reds, but are much more reliable.
  • Premium Quiet Linear Switch: ZealPC Healios are commonly touted as the “quietest keyboard switches” available. However, the silence comes at the cost of a relatively high price.
  • Best Quiet Tactile Switch: Aliaz Silent Switches aren’t the cheapest option, but their guaranteed smoothness and satisfying tactility make them an excellent choice.
  • Quiet Tactile Switch Runner-Up: Gateron Silent Browns are quieter and more tactile than Cherry MX Browns. They’re very affordable, but may have consistency issues.
  • Premium Quiet Tactile Switch: ZealPC Zilent V2s are ultra-tactile silent switches with a unique feel and high-quality build that justifies the price.

Our Favorite Quiet Mechanical Keyboard Switches

Before we start, it’s important to point out that many silent switches use rubber dampers to minimize bottom-out noise. While this is quite effective, it comes at the cost of a slightly mushy bottom-out that doesn’t feel as good as standard switches. If possible, try a handful of whichever silent switches you’re buying before committing to a full set.

1. Gateron Silent Red

Best Quiet Linear Switches

Switch TypeLinear
Actuation Force45 grams
Pre-travel Distance2.0 mm
Total Travel Distance4.0 mm

Gateron’s Silent Red switches are a “just right” option for silent keyboard switches. They’re smoother than most other mainstream linear switches while costing significantly less.

Gateron uses silencing pads on the stem’s top and bottom to reduce the switches’ bottom-out and upstroke sound. These rubber dampers are the standard way of creating silent switches, and they work to make a switch that’s significantly quieter than standard Gateron Reds.

You will have to accept the compromises in typing feel inherent to silent switches, of course. But if you want silence, that’s a price worth paying.

Gateron Silent Red

Source: Gateron

Typing feel aside, the only real drawback of the Gateron Silent Reds is their reduced reliability. Gateron quotes a lifespan of 50 million actuations, which is less than Cherry’s equivalents. It’s not a huge issue, but it is something to consider if you use your board extensively.

On a positive note, the Gateron Silent Red switches maintain the standard pre-travel total travel distance typical to many non-silenced linears. So you get 2.0 mm of pre-travel and 4.0 mm of total travel. They’ll likely feel closer to standard linear switches than other silent options.

Overall, the Gateron Silent Reds are a smooth and affordable choice for silent linear switches. Reduced reliability aside, they’re as good as you’re going to get from a mainstream linear switch. If you prefer heavier switches, check out Gateron’s Silent Black instead. These have all the positives of the Silent Gateron Red, but with a higher 60-gram actuation force.

2. Cherry MX Silent Red

Quiet Linear Switch Runner-Up

Actuation Force45 grams
Pre-travel Distance1.9 mm
Total Travel Distance3.7 mm

Cherry’s MX Silent Reds are a solid silent linear, with few drawbacks and a reasonable price. They’re not as smooth as the Gaterons, but their increased reliability makes them worth considering if you’re concerned about longevity.

The MX Silent Reds are generally identical to standard MX Reds, except for some rubber dampers. These go on the stem’s bottom and side “wings” to reduce the bottom-out and upstroke noise, respectively. Cherry quotes a 30% noise reduction, and we’re inclined to agree. These are noticeably quieter than the standard Cherry MX Reds and are a great choice if you want a quiet keyboard.

However, as with many other silent switches, this silence comes at the cost of a slightly impaired typing feel. Aside from the different bottom-out, the rubber dampers reduce the travel distance slightly compared to standard MX Reds, with 3.7 mm total travel vs. the 4.0 mm on a standard MX Red. It’s not a drastic difference, but worth pointing out regardless.

Cherry MX Silent Red

Source: Voltcave

The primary advantage of Cherry’s MX Silent Red switches is their longevity. While the company doesn’t claim the same 100-million-actuation lifetime as its non-silenced switches, the datasheet still proclaims durability of “> 50 million actuations.” Cherry’s confidence in the MX Silent Red’s reliability means it might be the better choice if you’re concerned with switch longevity.

The Cherry MX Silent Red is another solid offering from the grand-daddy of modern mechanical keyboard switches. They’re not quite as smooth to type on as the Gateron Silent Reds, so they’re only runners-up in our book.

However, the extended reliability and still-competitive pricing make them worth considering if you don’t want to mess around with clones. The best quiet mechanical keyboards come with these switches as standard, so you can opt for one of those if you want to try these out.

Like what you’ve read but prefer heavier switches? The Cherry MX Silent Black has all the same silent, reliable goodness with a heavier 60-gram actuation.

3. ZealPC Healios

Premium Quiet Linear Switch

Switch TypeLinear
Actuation Force63.5 grams
Pre-travel Distance2.0 mm
Total Travel Distance4.0 mm

ZealPC is one of the most prominent names in enthusiast keyboard switches, thanks in part to switches like the Healios. These silent linears are often claimed as the “quietest” switches available on the market, which goes some way to justifying their price.

Claiming these are the quietest switches around is a bold statement and one that’s probably impossible to prove. However, they did sound noticeably quieter than the average silent switch when I tried them out. Besides, the fact that users and reviewers are making the claims and not the manufacturer itself does lend some credence to the assertion.

The Healios are also quite smooth and feel great to type on for a silenced switch. The latest version has a different, “redesigned” dampening bumper compared to Cherry MX and Gateron linears, which helps differentiate them from your silent Gaterons and Cherrys. But they’ll still feel different to unsilenced linears.

ZealPC Healios

Source: ZealPC

Note that unlike most other manufacturers, ZealPC only quotes the bottom-out force for their switches, not the actuation force. Bottom-out force is generally higher than the actuation force, so these Healios are closer to Cherry or Gateron Reds than the heavier Blacks. So don’t mistake that 63.5-gram bottom-out force indicating these are heavy switches.

Like many high-end enthusiast switches, the Healios come in a fully transparent housing perfect for RGB lighting. The housings support the standard RGB LED types in mechanical keyboards: SMD, two-leg, and four-Leg RGB LEDs.

Overall, the ZealPC Healios switches are premium options for those building a higher-end keyboard or wanting switches that are a significant cut above mainstream products. They’re not cheap at roughly $15 for a pack of 10, but the smoothness and extra silence may just make them the perfect switch for you.

4. Aliaz Silent Switches

Best Quiet Tactile Switches

Switch TypeTactile
Actuation Force60/70/80/100 grams
Pre-travel Distance2.0 mm
Total Travel Distance4.0 mm

Silent linear switches are great, but they can feel boring to type on if you’re used to tactile or clicky switches. If you want the typing feedback of a linear switch but could do without the extra noise, the Aliaz Silent Switches are one of your best mainstream options.

These Aliaz Switches are a collaboration between Gateron and KBDfans, the company behind excellent DIY keyboard kits like the KBD75. They occupy a great space price- and performance-wise, offering enthusiast characteristics without the full-on enthusiast pricing of our premium options.

The key selling point of these Aliaz switches is the redesigned and factory-lubricated stems and housings. Combined with the rubber dampers, you get a smooth and silent typing experience with satisfying tactility that far outstrips your standard MX Brown-style tactile switch.

Aliaz Silent Switches

Source: KBDfans

Unlike most silent keyboard switches, the Aliaz switches come in four switch weight options. You start with a relatively light 60 grams and go up to an ultra-heavy 100-gram variant. While we don’t think many will go for the 80- or 100-gram versions, we think it’s excellent that KBDfans offer a wide range of weights.

These Aliaz switches are also great if you’re using or building an RGB keyboard. Not only do their fully-transparent housings let all that RGB goodness through, they’re also compatible with SMD, two-leg, and four-Leg RGB LEDs. So you shouldn’t have any LED compatibility issues no matter which types your keyboard uses.

The only real downside is the price: while they’re not that much more expensive than the Gateron Silent Browns, the difference per switch quickly adds up if you’re building a 104-key full-sized board. So that’s something to watch out for if you’re on a tighter budget.

However, we feel that the smoothness and quality feel is worth the premium if you’re serious about silence and tactility. Overall, we think the Aliaz Silent Switches are excellent quiet tactile switches guaranteed to perform excellently in any keyboard.

5. Gateron Silent Browns

Quiet Tactile Switch Runner-Up

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

If you’re after silent tactile switches at a budget-friendly price, Gateron’s Silent Browns are for you. They’re not quite as premium as the Aliaz switches, but the lower price makes them a more appealing option if you’re a casual hobbyist.

One standout feature of Gateron’s Silent Browns is that they offer a more satisfying and noticeable tactile event compared to Cherry MX Browns. Many users (myself included) find the MX Browns unsatisfying to type on, feeling more like scratchy linears than truly tactile switches.

So these will be great if you feel the same way and want something more tactile than an MX Brown without straying too far from the general template.

Gateron Silent Browns

Source: Gateron

Unfortunately, users have reported inconsistencies with how the Gateron Silent Browns feel. Some switches feel scratchier than others, which may bother you if you’re especially picky. We don’t think the issues will be that noticeable for more casual keyboard hobbyists. However, the hardcore are likely better off with either the Aliaz or Zeal switches.

Some users have also reported that these Gateron Silent Browns aren’t as quiet as the pricier options. That’s not surprising given the price difference, but it does raise the question of whether it’d be worth saving up that bit extra for the Aliaz.

Despite the issues, Gateron’s Silent Browns are worth checking out if you want quiet tactile switches. Potential inconsistency issues and the presence of quieter options at only $0.20-0.30 more per switch mean they’re not quite a home run like the Silent Reds. Still, those looking for a bargain will find much to like here.

6. ZealPC Zilent V2

Best Premium Quiet Tactile Switch

Switch TypeTactile
Actuation Force62/65/67/78 grams
Pre-travel Distance2.0 mm
Total Travel Distance4.0 mm

The Zilent V2s are ZealPC’s silent tactile offering. Much like its silent linear Healios, these higher-end switches target enthusiasts who know what they want and aren’t afraid to pay for it.

Unlike the Gateron Silent Browns, which are happy to emulate the Cherry MX Brown experience, the Zilent V2s offer a different take on tactile mechanical switches. Where traditional Cherry-style Browns are tactile in the middle of their travel, Zilent V2s are tactile from the word “go.”

The extended, smooth tactile bump starts immediately after you press the switch. It then feels almost linear for a while before the resistance builds close to the bottom-out. It’s a relatively unique feeling that may or may not work for you, depending on your preferences. I personally prefer more gradual tactility.

But I can’t deny that their low wobble, silence, and solid feel are appealing and make the Zilent V2s arguably worth the price.

ZealPC Zilent V2s

Source: ZealPC

ZealPC’s Zilent V2s come in four weights: 62, 65, 67, and 78 grams. These are bottom-out weights, mind you, which means they’re lighter than the numbers suggest. Those seeking an MX Brown-style weighting will want the 62-gram option, which is the closest Zilent V2 to the Cherry classic. The 67-gram option is likely the most interesting, as it has a crisper tactile bump that differentiates it from most MX-style tactiles.

Conveniently, ZealPC uses differently-colored stems for each weight, letting you know which is which at a glance. The stems get darker the heavier the switch, going from the 62-gram switch’s light aqua to the 78-gram switch’s navy blue.

Overall, the ZealPC Zilent V2s are solid, high-quality quiet tactile switches. These are a must-try if you’re after a big tactile bump and silent operation. They’re also priced reasonably well for what they offer, although they’re still definitely on the pricier side.

Closing Thoughts

The quietest keyboard switches are excellent proof that you don’t need to tolerate a noisy keyboard just to get the benefits of mechanical switches. They might not feel as nice as unsilenced switches, but they’re still miles ahead of cheap membrane keyboards.

The Gateron Silent Reds are the obvious place to start for a linear switch. They’re surprisingly smooth for a mainstream switch and are an affordable way to dip your toes into silent switches. If you’re after tactiles, the Aliaz Silent Switches are an excellent—if slightly pricey—choice.

Don’t feel like spending money on switches? We have a guide on how to make your keyboard quieter that covers several low-cost quick fixes that might be worth trying.

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