Why Are Mechanical Keyboards So Expensive? Explained

by Arslan Ashraf

Why Are Mechanical Keyboards So Expensive? Explained

Most gamers and typists prefer mechanical keyboards, despite these masterpieces being more expensive than normal keyboards. But, the price of mechanical keyboards can be intimidating for beginners since they may have never heard of such expensive peripherals before. So, if you’ve ever been in a situation where someone has asked you why are mechanical keyboards so expensive, we’ve got you back. In this article, we will find out what mechanical keyboards are and why they are intimidating at high prices.

Mechanical keyboards are a techie’s dream, with high-functioning keys made of plastics placed beneath the keycaps. These mechanical keyboards have classy designs created by the maker and are simple to use. People who are particularly interested in gaming look for mechanical keyboards. People prefer these masterpieces since they have more features and specifications than standard keyboards. It lasts longer and has more precise sensors. So let’s see some reasons that make mechanical keyboards expensive.

Why are mechanical keyboards so expensive?

There are a few reasons for the price increase of a mechanical keyboard, which consists primarily of their build materials, accessories, and even the building processes. These factors mainly contribute to the price increase of any mechanical keyboard. Here are the top six reasons we believe drive up mechanical keyboard prices.

  1. Mechanical boards have more parts in their internal arrangement.
  2. These keyboards are built of high-quality materials.
  3. Such a board carries various keycaps.
  4. Multiple connections require additional components, such as Bluetooth, Wireless, and others.
  5. Switches operate mechanically.
  6. Assembling is time-consuming.

When it comes to price to performance, a mechanical keyboard always outperforms due to its high durability and actual mechanical feel on every keystroke. Whether you prefer Linear Switches, Tactile, or Clicky, each actuation type has its own mechanical feel that we, as users, appreciate. So one can be sure to feel the difference between a normal and a mechanical keyboard in an instant. Let’s delve deeper into the points raised above and expand on them.

1. Various internal components

For starters, the numerous components found on a mechanical keyboard raise the cost of production. High-quality components, such as PCB plates, positioning plates, silicon foam pads, mechanical switches, and so on, are typically used by brands. Compared to a rubber membrane keyboard, we don’t see such padded or gasket-mounted structures in most offerings. In addition, most mechanical keyboards have RGB backlighting, produced by small LEDs beneath the keys.

Although RGB backlighting is not commonly found in rubber membrane keyboards, there are exceptions. Furthermore, some new and modern models of mechanical keyboards offer audio within the keyboard itself, which can only be done by adding a small sound card to the keyboard, ultimately contributing to its high price. More components mean more money spent on acquiring them, which raises the price of mechanical keyboards. Let’s move on to the next point now.

2. High-quality materials

As previously stated, brands typically use high-quality materials for their keyboards. This is true not only for the internals of a mechanical keyboard but also for outside structure. We obtain premium keycaps, high-quality CNC machined metallic or PC casings, and so on. Plus, when you look at a standard rubber membrane keyboard, you’ll notice that most have a standard plastic casing. While many mechanical keyboards have plastic casings, if we look closely, we can see that they use high-quality ABS plastic shells.

PBT keycaps, which are more expensive than ABS or standard plastic keycaps on a rubber membrane keyboard, are also used on mechanical keyboards. The smooth feel one gets when using a mechanical keyboard instead of a standard keyboard is only because of these caps and the soft silicone rubber material used is costly, which increases the price of the keyboard. All of this contributes to an increase in manufacturing costs, which affects the price of keyboards.

3. Keycaps of a mechanical keyboard

Keycaps are an essential component of any keyboard. Mechanical Keyboards provide us with high-quality PBT material keycaps as well as dual-toned injection molding techniques. PBT material is more durable, has a better tactile feel, has a rich finish, and is oil-resistant. We don’t see them going away anytime soon even though PBT material is slightly heavier. Keycaps come in a variety of shapes and profiles, as well as various color schemes and designs.

They contribute to the manufacturing costs and thus influence the final product pricing. There are keyboards with ABS keycaps as well, but as you can see, the ABS used by mechanical keyboard manufacturers is of higher quality than the standard rubber membrane keyboard. These are the advantages of high-quality keycaps used in mechanical keyboards:

  1. Smooth Feel
  2. Better response rate
  3. Less noise
  4. Better Typing

4. Additional Building Components

Most new mechanical keyboards offer three types of connectivity:

  1. Bluetooth connectivity
  2. 2.4 GHz wireless connectivity
  3. Standard USB Type-C connectivity

Now, we’re not saying that these wireless connections aren’t available with non-mechanical keyboards. You can find these wireless connections on them. The three types of connections definitely require some additional chips on the keyboard motherboard, thus increasing the price of the keyboards. Moreover, some newer models also support audio connection through the keyboard, which requires the installation of some other components as well, contributing to the higher prices of the keyboards consequently.

5. Mechanical Switches

What makes a mechanical keyboard special? We say their mechanical shock sense makes them stand out from the crowd. The most important thing that differentiates any mechanical keyboard from other keyboards is the mechanical switches under each key. These mechanical switches are more expensive than rubber membrane switches. Each key gets its own mechanical key. Larger keys are even supported by stabilizers for smooth operation, increasing the overall cost of mechanical keyboards.

Now we have all the components, but creating the final product for a mechanical keyboard is a painstaking task. How does that happen, you ask? Well, mechanical switches are soldered to each terminal on the keyboard pads, and this process can’t be done properly without an actual person doing it. This is because keyboards are intricate devices requiring delicate handiwork. Most of the components have to be precisely designed by experienced people. This increases labor costs, thus affecting the final price of the product.

Conclusion

Several reasons that make mechanical keyboards expensive in contrast to standard keyboards are discussed earlier. So a question arises, are the mechanical keyboards worth it or not? Well, that solely depends on you and your decision, but if we talk about performance, then there is definitely a significant change, and it would be better for you to switch to mechanical keyboards if it’s the performance you want. If you know the reason behind the higher price tag of mechanical keyboards, then it would definitely help you make your decision.

So, What makes a mechanical keyboard great? Well, all the components inside are doing their part to deliver a fantastic experience to the users. We can say that to create this experience, and brands need to create quality components that also give us the freedom to change the keyboard components. And these internal components mainly affect the intimidating high prices of mechanical keyboards available in the market. Hopefully, we were able to answer the question at the beginning of this article.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a mechanical keyboard really better?

Yes, a mechanical keyboard is really better than the typical keyboard. These are durable, have the lowest delays, have mechanical switches, and have several other features. At the same time, these are expensive too. If price isn’t an issue, these are perfect for tech enthusiasts.

How long do mechanical keyboards last?

Most of the time, mechanical keyboards can last for 8-10 years without any issues. In addition, some of the high-quality keyboards can bear 50+ million keystrokes.

Are mechanical keyboards worth it?

Mechanical keyboards are definitely worth it due to their high-quality builds, mechanical switches, mechanical keycaps, and satisfying feel while using them. But these aren’t for you if you want a clean and sleek keyboard at a low price.

Arslan Ashraf

Arslan Ashraf is a tech enthusiast and an experienced technical writer at GamingDairy. He has been writing all types of guides, tutorials, and tips for gamers, developers, and other people who use computers. His way of writing is quite unique: he starts with testing every single piece of Hardware and does a long list of experiments before writing the actual masterpiece. Well, if you have any queries, ensure to connect with him!