Three Types of Keyboard Tech and How They Work

The keys of a keyboard pretty much work like any electronic button. Depressing the key causes an underlying circuit to complete, sending a signal that’s interpreted as an input. But how the keys feel is also intentional by design. So here are three keyboard designs worth knowing.

  1. Mechanical Keyboards – they are the OG of keyboard design. Basically, its keys use a piston-in-a-spring design that gives mechanical keys their tall appearance, long key press travel, and clicky feel. There’s been a resurgence in mechanical keyboard demand most notably from gamers who like them for their accuracy, longevity, and tactile feedback.
  2. Membrane keyboards – the standard of the industry. The “spring” of the key is provided by a small rubber cup or membrane. They are cheap to make and last reasonably well – at least for the price. Membrane keyboards give a quieter – if not dull – feel with medium-to-short keypress travel.
  3. Scissor-type keyboards – these use a metal or plastic hinge-like mechanism to support the keys. They provide the lowest key profile, shortest key travel, and the quietest operation. As such, these are often used for laptop keyboards and other ultra-slim devices.