Difference Between Membrane Keyboard and Mechanical Keyboard

Both of these are types of keyboards with a difference in the arrangement of their keys and switches. In this article, we will discuss the difference between membrane keyboard and mechanical keyboard. But let us first understand more about keyboards. A keyboard is basically a typewriter composed with a modern arrangement set. It is a type of input device that takes characters or letters from a user and then processes it to show output on the screen (monitor). A keyboard has various pushbuttons, known as keys.

Initially, we only used keyboards for the purpose of typing. Now, one can use it for gaming, editing, and various other professional uses. You will find many types of keyboards in the market, such as flexible keyboard, wireless keyboard, gaming keyboard, virtual keyboard, mechanical keyboard, membrane keyboard, etc. Let us dive deeper into the difference between membrane keyboard and mechanical keyboard.

What is a Membrane Keyboard?

This type of keyboard consists of membranes. Each of its keys lies on different parts of a pressure-sensitive three-layered membrane. When you press a key, you apply pressure in that specific area. Thus, the membrane keyboard registers this action as a keystroke.

A Membrane keyboard has a membrane where each key lies on various parts of a three-layered membrane. These membranes are pressure sensitive. If you apply pressure by pressing the key in the specific area, it registers as a keystroke.

Basically, this keyboard has a layer of rubber covering its circuit, and on top of that rubber layer, we have keys or buttons. You can see these buttons on the keyboard, and when you press them, they force the rubber layer present below. Since this rubber layer connects to the circuit, the pressing of keys signals the circuit to send information to the CPU of that system. After this, the CPU receives the signal and displays the output on the monitor screen.

One needs to press the keys very hard to make the rubber layer touch the connected circuit. A few examples of such keyboards are Sinclair ZX81 & ZX80 computers and Magnavox Odyssey2.

What is a Mechanical Keyboard?

This type of keyboard was introduced in the market in the year 2000. It makes use of individual switches for every key. When you press a key far down enough, you can engage it with the switch- thus registering it as a keystroke.

A mechanical keyboard uses a mechanism for its working. It means that it does not contain a rubber layer like the membrane keyboards. Their keys have mechanisms on their side instead. When a user presses them, they collide with these mechanisms. As a result, the circuit transmits this information to the CPU- which further displays this output on the monitor screen.

The mechanism of these keyboards can easily detect a signal even if one slightly presses the keys. SteelSeries Apex 7 TKL, Corsair K95 RGB Platinum XT, etc., are a few examples of mechanical keyboards.

You can also find mechanical keys in keyboards like cherry mx. All the keys in cherry mx have different colors and specifications. It has basic colors like blue, brown, red. One can easily differentiate between the different specifications of the keyboards and their working on the basis of these colors. For instance, the blue cherry mx produces a sound of a mouse when pressed. The red one produces a different sound, but the brown cherry mx has no sound. The Cherry mx keyboards help in a smooth singular linear motion.

Difference Between Membrane Keyboard and Mechanical Keyboard

Parameters Membrane Keyboard Mechanical Keyboard
Mode of Working A rubber layer helps in the working of a membrane keyboard. Switches and mechanisms help in the working of a mechanical keyboard.
How it Works When you press any key, it produces pressure on the rubber layer. This layer touches the circuit below it. The circuit transmits the signal to the CPU, which displays the intended information on the monitor screen. When you press any key, it touches the mechanism present on the side. The collision of this switch and mechanism signals the CPU. It then displays the information on the screen.
Pressing of Keys We need to press the keys very hard. It must go down enough for a circuit to identify the key we pressed. The circuit can easily identify the pressed key even when you press it very gently.
Cost Efficiency It is comparatively more cost-efficient and very economical. It is comparatively less cost-efficient and more expensive.
Sound Produced Clicking the keys of a membrane keyboard does not produce any sound. Clicking the keys of a mechanical keyboard does produce some sounds.
Durability A membrane keyboard can easily get worn out, stuck, or clatter over time. Thus, it is less durable. These keyboards are comparatively way more durable, and using them feels like new for a much longer time.

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