When it comes to keyboards, there are a lot of varieties that you can choose from the products available in the market. However, among those several choices two alternatives has always been the favorite of most. There is membrane keyboard on one side and mechanical keyboard on the other side. While a lot of people mainly use the keyboard for all their heavy typing jobs, some also indulge in playing games and other work. So what keyboard can work best for you? This is the question that this post will address to here. Read on as I will be listing a comparative discussion on the pros and cons of both of these keyboards so that you can choose your preferred option depending on all the factors. So, let’s get started.
The Foundation Of A Membrane KeyBoard:
Let’s first look at foundation of our first alternative – the membrane keyboard. It basically uses 3 different layers in the design which makes it very flexible. The first one is actually the top membrane layer, under which you can find the conductive trace. So when we press any key is pressed, the pressure moves through the second layer which is consisted of holes that allow the pressure pads that are located under each key to pass through, and thus completing process of reaching the conductive traces on top of the bottom membrane layer.
Mainly there are two types of designs that you can see currently. First one is the flat key design that you can find on devices like microwave ovens and the other type is called dome switched keyboard that uses a dome with printed letters on top. These keyboards implement a rubber or a silicone keypad that comes with domes as the top membrane layer.
Pros Of Membrane Keyboards:
Thanks to the functionality of dome switch keyboard it can simulate the spring structure of mechanical keyboard that gives this particular keyboard equipped with solid physical feedbacks. However, you would feel a difference of typing experience between the membrane keyboard and those of mechanical keyboard. Although due to the advancement of technology the gap between these two alternatives is getting smaller.
We all know that keyboards can be quite noisy when typed with speed. However, in this case the membrane keyboard has a better reputation than mechanical keyboards when it comes to typing sound volume. You can even find some mechanical keyboard like the blue switches that is very loud.
Membrane ones are mostly made out of plastic which makes them much lighter than mechanical keyboard which is basically comprised of metal gears. You can easily carry them around anywhere and type on your lap if you want to.
These keyboards are made with common materials and advanced technology; hence it is much more affordable than a mechanical keyboard having the same features.
Cons of Membrane Keyboards:
You might need more effort to type when you press down on the key. Some also says that membrane keyboards are “mushy” to type on, which affect their typing experience.
With this keyboard, it might happen that while typing in speed your keystrokes might not get registered as the key wasn’t pressed down all the way. This happens to a lot of people and hence they have discarded this alternative.
Although the membrane keyboard have a lifespan of millions key presses, still it can wear out quicker than a mechanical keyboard. After they deteriorate these keyboards will feel mushier which causes the keys to lose feedback.
In case of a mechanical keyboard, you can just take away the keycaps for cleaning; however, it becomes harder to clean a membrane one since the keycaps are usually not removable.
The basic functionality of the mechanical keyboards is achieved through switches which typically send signals. Each key has its own switch, which comes with a base, a spring and a stem. The most common switches are blue, red, brown, black etc. Some require a certain amount of force to be press, Tactile while making a clicking sound or without, and others can be easy to press.
Pros of mechanical keyboards
The key caps of the mechanical keyboards can be removed which allows the user to customize it as per choice and makes it much easy to be cleaned.
Since the mechanical keyboard does not contain a membrane inside it, they stand much longer in serving compared to membrane ones. Plus their feedback also stays the same which becomes immensely helpful for the user to use it in the long run.
The tactility allows the typist to register the letters much easily which can be a great benefit if you are a first timer.
Different Typing Style
With this keyboard, one does not have to press a key all the way down to make it register. It can be achieved by pressing half way down also. This allows faster typing speed and less fatigue.
Mechanical keyboard usually allows the user to press more than one key at the same time. With some keyboards you can also press all the keys at the same time. This reduces the key rollover which is an important factor.
Cons of mechanical keyboards
Mechanical keyboards are comparatively much more expensive than membrane ones due to its materials and technology. So you would have to spend more money to get one of these pieces.
Mechanical keyboards tend to be much noisier. So if you’re in a location with other people and you don’t want them to hear your typing then it’s advisable that you don’t opt for the mechanical ones.
DIY skills may required
While one can do all sorts of customization with the mechanical keyboards, it may also require some DIY skills. So, if you choose to avoid it then it better to opt for the membrane ones.
So Which One Should We Choose Between These Two Alternatives?
With the above discussion, you now know all the perks and disadvantages of both of these keyboards. So the best ways to know which one suit you best is minding all these facts and understand which one will suit you based on your requirement and surrounding. It’s always advisable to try out both of these as a trial basis if possible before sticking to any one keyboard in particular. So what else would you like to know about membrane keyboards? Feel free to mention them in the comments section and I will be addressing them in the future posts. Till then keep following this space for more related updates.
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From engineering controls and hospital equipment to household appliances and telephone systems, membrane keyboard is used in a myriad of industries and applications. At first glance, one might assume them to be nothing more than a standard keyboard, similar to the type used with computers. Though they share some similarities, still they are a completely different type of peripheral with their own characteristics.
A membrane keypad is a computer component that alike other keyboards do not have separate keys. Pressure pads have outlines and symbols printed on a flat flexible surface. The keys are completely shielded by clear plastic shells, which safeguard components from dust and dirt. The membrane keypads used on electrical and mechanical equipment for commercial use needs daily maintenance to keep them in good working condition. But when they are used in a business environment the keys tend to have a high usage frequency by a lot of different people. Keeping this in mind, membrane keyboards can become a breeding ground for dust and bacteria.
The good news is that membrane keypads are much easier and quicker to clean than mechanical keyboards, as crumbs and dust do not actually get to settle under the keys. However, if you want the keyboard look new for ages to come, you will still need to perform some cleaning on a daily basis. Basic cleaning at least once a sennight and deep cleaning every few months can be helpful. Here are some top cleaning tips:
Step-By-Step Cleaning For Membrane Keyboards
Why is a clean and sanitized surface important for membrane keyboards?
Any sticky substance, sweat or other slippery residues on the keypad can actually prevent people from pressing the correct button. Make sure you clean the surface frequently that will keep your equipment in a prime condition making it work under all circumstances for years to come. If you notice that no amount of cleaning is helping the appearance of the keypad, it may be time to replace it.
Membrane keyboards are waterproof control panels with easy-to-use and cleanable surfaces. This makes these keyboards well-suited for control panels in numerous industries, control systems for electronic appliances, for industrial computers, hospital beds, alarm systems, etc.
The China-based manufacturing company, ElecFlex has vast experience in making graphic overlay, custom membrane switch, and related products for customers worldwide. We have over 10-years experience of working closely with customers oversea which have enabled us to be a reliable manufacturing partner in China.