If you’re used to a membrane keyboard and recently switched to a mechanical keyboard you may have been doing some research and stumbled upon o-rings. You may be wondering what are o-rings and if they’re necessary.
If you’ve ever thought to yourself, “should I put O-rings on my keyboard?” The answer is not everybody will need o-rings. It really depends on the person and personal preference. There are a few benefits to having o-rings. Like, reducing the actuation point or muffling the sound. However, those same benefits could be considered disadvantages to somebody else. Like I said it really is a personal preference.
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What do O rings do for mechanical keyboards?
One benefit of using o-rings on your mechanical keyboard switches is that they can reduce the actuation point. The actuation point is the area where the keyboard registers your keystroke.
If you’re not used to mechanical keyboards, you may not realize that they work differently then membrane keyboards in that, you don’t have to bottom them out to make them register. That being said, many people still do bottom out their mechanical keyboards, so having an o-ring really wouldn’t make a difference for them.
When I’m using my keyboard just for typing, I don’t usually bottom out as much as I do when I’m gaming. So, I think o-rings would be more beneficial to a typist rather than a gamer when it comes to the actuation point.
Another benefit of putting o-rings on your mechanical keyboard switches (or this could be a disadvantage depending on personal preference) is that they will reduce the sound from your keystrokes.
Depending on where you’re using your keyboard you may want to reduce the sound. For example, if you’re working in an office with a bunch of people around you, you may not want to annoy them with your typing. In this case, having an o-ring could be beneficial.
Some people enjoy the sound when they’re typing. They say that it’s “music to their ears”. However, even if you enjoy the sound of typing, you should know that o-rings do not completely eliminate the sound. Rather, it makes it more muffled and only slightly quieter. Some people might prefer the sound of their keystrokes with an o-ring on it.
Again, it really is a personal preference. You should go to the store and test out keyboards with and without rings on them. You will then have a better idea of the different sounds and feel of using o-rings on a keyboard. That will help to make your decision if they are right for you.
Should I use O-rings?
Now that you know the benefits, (or to some, the disadvantages) of having o-rings on your mechanical keyboard, the question is “should I use o rings?” Some people claim that when gaming, it actually gives them an advantage because of the reduced actuation point. Some typing enthusiasts also say it helps them type faster with the reduced actuation point.
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Another thing to take note of is that using o-rings will reduce and also change the sound of typing. This could either be a benefit or negative depending on the person.
So, should you use o-rings? The answer is, again, it’s completely based on personal preference. You should go to the store and test out keyboards with and without o-rings on them. You will then have a better idea of the different sounds and feel of using o-rings on a keyboard. That will help to make your decision if they are right for you.
How to Install O-rings
Before I get into how to install o-rings, I should make it clear that this process is very boring and time-consuming. I would recommend attempting this when you need to clean your keyboard. That way you can get two things done at once.
To install the o-ring you will need to:
- Remove the keycap.
- Slide the o-ring on the shaft of the key switch
- Put the keycap back in place.
While not absolutely necessary, I do highly recommend using a keycap puller. Here’s one on amazon. They are extremely inexpensive and could save you the frustration of breaking your cap or key switch on your keyboard. It is very easy to install an o-ring on your mechanical keyboard when you have this tool.
Mechanical keyboards are growing in popularity. Most people are used to membrane keyboards because they are common and cheap to produce. However, as more people start using mechanical keyboards more questions flood the internet.
One question I see a lot is “what are o-rings and do I need them”. O-rings are little rubber pieces that go over your key switch. They are not required but some people may want to use them as they may consider them beneficial.
A couple of benefits are:
- Actuation point: One “benefit” is they reduce the actuation point, the point where the keystroke is registered and inputs the information.
- Sound: Another “benefit” is that o-rings will reduce the sound of the keystrokes.
With that being said, these “benefits” could also be considered inconveniences to someone else. If you want to know whether or not o-rings are right for you, you should either go to a store selling mechanical keyboards with o-rings on display and test them, or purchase them online, as they are pretty cheap, and just try them out for yourself. They usually only cost about 5-10 dollars. If you don’t like them, you can easily remove them again.