If you click a link on this page and make a purchase, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Learn more

Prefer Rubber Dome over Mechanical Keyboards? You Aren’t The Only One

Do you prefer a rubber dome keyboard instead of a mechanical one? You’re not alone. There are some solid reasons why a lot of people usually go for rubber dome keyboards as opposed to a mechanical keyboard.

From how they sound to how they feel under your fingers, and not to forget how much they cost, let me break down why picking a rubber dome keyboard can be more about what feels right for you than just saving a few bucks (spoiler: It has to do a LOT with the cost too).

Basics of Rubber Dome vs. Mechanical Keyboards

Basics of Rubber Dome vs. Mechanical Keyboards

Mechanical keyboards work with individual switches under each key with metal connectors and a spring. When you press a key, a physical switch activates, sending your keystroke to the computer. This design gives you that satisfying click and precise control, making each press super clear.

Rubber dome keyboards use quite a different setup. They have a sheet of rubber domes under the keys. When you press a key, and the dome beneath it squishes down to make contact with the circuit board, completing the circuit and sending the keystroke signal to the computer. It’s a simpler mechanism, providing a mushier and not so satisfying typing experience compared to the mechanical click.

Why is it such a controversial topic?

At first glance, the choice between rubber dome and mechanical keyboards seems simple. Mechanical keyboards are preferred for their durability, customizable feedback, and quality of typing experience, while rubber domes are seen as the quieter, more cost-effective option.

I think this whole ordeal is much more nuanced, especially when we look at the evolving landscape of mechanical keyboard switches so let’s talk about these things in more detail.

Are Rubber dome keyboards quieter than Mechanical Keyboards?

Saying rubber dome keyboards are always quieter isn’t right. How loud a keyboard is can depend a lot on the specific model and its features.

The noise level between rubber dome and mechanical keyboards can vary, depending on things like the type of switches being used in mechanical keyboards, how the keyboard is built, and the environment you’re using it in. Rubber dome keyboards are usually seen as quieter because they don’t make that clicky sound when you press the keys. But not all mechanical keyboards are loud and not all rubber dome keyboards are quieter.

So, even though rubber dome keyboards are often thought of as the go-to for a quiet typing experience, some mechanical keyboards are designed to be super quiet too, making them a good option for places where keeping the noise down is important.

There are mechanical switches, like Cherry MX Reds, that are pretty smooth and quiet and don’t make much noise. Plus, some mechanical keyboards have special dampening materials that make them dead silent, even quieter than most rubber dome keyboards while still providing that physical tactility of the mechanical switch.

Maintenance of Mechanical vs Rubber Dome keyboards

Alright, let’s talk about keeping these keyboards clean because nobody likes typing on a crumb-filled, dusty keyboard, right?

When you compare mechanical and rubber dome keyboards, there’s a bit of a difference in how you go about keeping them clean.

Mechanical keyboard maintanance

Rubber dome keyboards are usually a sealed deal. You can’t easily take off the keys without the risk of breaking the key cap, which means getting rid of all the gunk underneath is a lot more difficult. You’re kind of limited to turning it upside down and giving it a good shake or blowing it out with some compressed air. While this method isn’t as thorough, it’s much more straightforward.

On the other hand, as much as I like mechanical keyboards, you’ve got a bit more work on your hands when it comes to cleaning a mechanical keyboard. You can pop off the keycaps (which is kind of satisfying, to be honest), fully take it apart, and get all the dust, hair, and whatever else might have made a home under there. This means you can really get in there and clean it out properly.

While mechanical keyboards offer you the chance to get in and clean everything out, it does take more time and effort. Then there is a need to lube the switches on mechanical keyboards which is also needed after a while. Rubber dome keyboards are more of a ‘shake and hope for the best’ situation, but there is no denying that they’re lower maintenance overall.

Durability and Repairability of Mechanical vs Rubber Dome keyboards

When it comes to how long these keyboards last and the options for repairing them, there’s a bit to think about.

Mechanical keyboards are mostly built to last with switches that can handle millions of keystrokes, so they can stick around for a long time. And if something does go wrong, like a switch getting cranky or dying, you can usually replace just that part of the keyboard and you are good to go. Which is pretty neat tbh.

Rubber dome keyboards are more like those disposable cameras from back in the day. They do the job well for a while, but once they start having issues, fixing them isn’t even an option in most cases. Often, it’s easier (and sometimes cheaper) to just get a new one instead of trying to repair it. They’re not made with repairs in mind, so once they’re done, they’re pretty much done.

I remember I once had this MK345 combo wireless mouse and keyboard from Logitech and the mouse went bad but I only replaced the mouse because I loved the typing experience of that keyboard so much. But after a year or so the keyboard died as well, I opened up the keyboard and consulted someone to get it fixed but fixing it was out of the question at that point so I had to throw it away. Just throwing it away didn’t give me a good feeling tbh.

So if you want something that lasts longer, a Mechanical keyboard would be my recommendation. But if you want something to use in a disposable way, mechanical keyboards are going to cost you a lot over the years.

Rubber Dome vs Mechanical Keyboards, Which is more customizable?

If you’re the kind of person who loves making stuff your own or wants things exactly how you want it, then you’ll also want to think about the customizability aspect of the keyboard you are planning on buying.

Mechanical keyboards are highly customizable

Mechanical keyboards are like the Lego sets of the keyboard world. You can swap out keycaps to get just the right color, look, and feel, change switches if you’re after a different typing experience, and even tinker with the RGB (or No RGB) on many models. It’s pretty awesome if you’re into building things yourself or just want a keyboard that feels personally yours.

But with Rubber dome keyboards what you see is pretty much what you get. You can slap on some stickers or maybe change the color of the keys if you’re lucky, but that’s about the extent of it. They’re not built for tweaking and customizing. Sure a lot of them do come with customizable RGB lighting and you can tweak it via the software but in terms of hardware, you are pretty much stuck with what you bought.

So, if playing around with and customizing your gear is your thing, mechanical keyboards are probably more your speed. Rubber dome keyboards keep it simple, which is cool too, just with less room to play around.

Keyboard Price -The Big Decider

Alright, let’s talk affordability. In my experience within the industry and with an average Joe, the single biggest reason why people don’t want to get into mechanical keyboards or prefer rubber domes over mechanical switch keyboards is because of the price of a mechanical keyboard.

Now, it is no secret that Mechanical keyboards have a rep for being pricey, and some can indeed cost hundreds of dollars. But here’s the thing, not all mechanical keyboards will empty your wallet. There are some solid mechanical keyboards out there for people on a tighter budget.

Mechanical keyboards under 50 bucks - Keychron C3 Pro - Redragon K552

Keyboards like Redragon K552 or Keychron C3 Pro are going to cost you well under 50 bucks. So, if you want to try a mechanical keyboard without spending a ton, you’ve got a lot of options.

On the flip side, rubber dome keyboards are known for being more wallet-friendly, which is why lots of folks go for them. They’re easy to find at a good price, making them a go-to for many.

So Why Do People Prefer Rubber Dome over Mechanical Keyboards?

All I’m saying is, yes a lot of people prefer rubber domes over mechanical keyboards and a lot of them do it because of some myths that are perpetuated on the internet, like the myth of mechanical keyboards being too loud or too pricey.

These are myths one shouldn’t buy into, just try things for yourself before setting your opinion in stone after listening to arguments from one side only.

Leave a Reply