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Most durable mechanical keyboard in the market?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Just wondering, what do you think is the most durable mechanical keyboard in the market?

Right now I'm using a Ducky Legend, which has a 5mm aluminum plate and weighs about 1.5 kg.

What are durable keyboards are there?

  • Ducky has a reputation for durable keyboards
  • Filco does as well
  • Many of the Model M keyboards are highly regarded and there are modern ones today made by Unicomp

What is the most durable mechanical keyboard out there? What switches do they use?
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post #2 of 10
I am using the Unicomp Ultra Classic. It is an updated Model M with a slightly smaller body. It comes with PBT keycaps which last forever, buckling spring components which can last decades (and the springs can be easily replaced if needed) and it has a heavy steel plate.

I would think that Cherry switch keyboards fail more, because as durable as Filco and Ducky make their products, the switches are made of ABS with lightweight electrical contacts and eventually will break down.
post #3 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wall Street View Post

I am using the Unicomp Ultra Classic. It is an updated Model M with a slightly smaller body. It comes with PBT keycaps which last forever, buckling spring components which can last decades (and the springs can be easily replaced if needed) and it has a heavy steel plate.

I would think that Cherry switch keyboards fail more, because as durable as Filco and Ducky make their products, the switches are made of ABS with lightweight electrical contacts and eventually will break down.

Well the model m is less durable than cherry mx switch in terms of the number of actuations it can endure over its lifetime simply because it has a membrane sheet under the switches and will wear out. The model f is much more durable over time because it has no membrane and uses a capacitive pcb below the switches.

Model m is rated for 25 million keypresses while model f is rated at 100 million. Cherry and topre sit at around 50 million presses. The model f is really a tank of a keyboard especially if you are lucky enough to get your hands on a kishsaver or similar board which has a full aluminum chassis.

Though I say I think the other components of a cherry keyboard (pcb) are going to fail before the switches will which would make a more simple design like a model m outlast it.
 
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post #4 of 10
Well my corsair K70 is really durable.. I do not have it for a really long time but I did beat it a lot when I lost a game/died in a game or when I am just frustrated (I know keyboard abuse is not ok but my K70 can take it)
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post #5 of 10
Okay, so, fairly long post incoming...

Switch ratings are measured by having what's basically a little robotic hammer thingy press down on a switch over and over under controlled conditions, which means that there are a lot of things that the rating doesn't take into account. It doesn't take into account, for example, what happens when dust and debris gets into the switch, and then what happens to the contacts when the switch is used over a long period of time with bits of crud in it. It doesn't take into account how hard it is for liquids to get into the switch, or worse, through the switch to the PCB. It doesn't take into account how well the keyboard (both the switches and the rest of it) will resist having something heavy dropped on it, or being knocked off the desk while plugged in. It doesn't take into account how easy it is to repair or otherwise undo damage to the keyboard. And so on.

One thing to keep in mind with MX switches in particular is that the design has a few elements which make it easier for your keyboard to get broken:

-The round keycap stem fits over the switch + stem, and then descends into a rectangular opening in the top of the switch. This means there are substantial gaps around the corners of the switch for stuff to get in while the switch is pressed. Both Kailh and Outemu have introduced alternative stem designs to fix this problem, but nobody seems to care, because apparently enthusiasts consider being able to put different-colored keys on their keyboards more important than the keyboard actually continuing to work over time. The high barrels of a Model M tend to fare better in this regard.

-The Cherry switch housing has holes in it, with space for a LED or an internal diode that you can actually see from above. Thing is, if LED legs can get through the switch housing to the PCB, so can, well, anything else. It's also worth noting that some stabilizer designs also provide points of ingress for liquids and debris, and some keyboards have random gaps in the plate, especially around the space bar. The Model M, especially if you get one with the drain channels, protects itself much better in this regard. Most well-reputed brands, including Ducky and Filco, do nothing about this issue, perhaps for fear of compromising the mythical "feel" of the switches (or perhaps just from being cheap), but you can find keyboards from less well-known companies trying a few different things: hard extensions of the plate over the top of the switch, squishy rubber layers between the plate and the keycaps, or sealants over the electronics themselves. Any of these would offer more protection, but doing nothing is still the standard.

-It's also worth thinking about the repairability of a keyboard. With MX-style switches, one of the most interesting innovations in recent years has been to allow for hot-swapping of the switches. With such a system, if one of your switches starts to chatter, or gets its stem broken in a mishap, or otherwise malfunctions, you can pull out the switch in question and replace it without having to do any soldering. The "reputable" brands like Ducky and Filco do not provide this feature; you'll have to go with a less-known brand like TeamWolf or EpicGear if you want it.

Now, how important each of these features is depends, in large part, on you, and what you will put your keyboard through. What I suspect, though, is that right now there might be *no* particularly good answers for most people within the realm of MX-style-switch keyboards-- that is, you can get keyboards with good build quality and inferior damage protection, which will go on forever in ideal circumstances but will have to live in a non-ideal world, and you can get keyboards with various enhancements to protection and repairability, but with inferior build quality and thus more chance of a problem down the line. I suspect that a Model M, even though it uses a membrane, may represent a better balance between ideal longevity and damage resistance than anything you can get with MX switches currently. Not sure where Topre sits in this comparison, because capsense does present various advantages in damage resistance, but also some weaknesses, and then you have to worry about dome wear as well.

...alternatively, you could just be crazy and get something more unusual. Personally, I run magnetic switches; my keyboard is waterproof, dustproof, chatterproof, heat-resistant, and rated to over 100M keypresses; you can also hot-swap the top parts of the switches in the event of physical damage. But then, I'm not sure if my keyboard would fit your definition of "on the market"...tongue.gif
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post #6 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by FoxWolf1 View Post

...alternatively, you could just be crazy and get something more unusual. Personally, I run magnetic switches; my keyboard is waterproof, dustproof, chatterproof, heat-resistant, and rated to over 100M keypresses; you can also hot-swap the top parts of the switches in the event of physical damage. But then, I'm not sure if my keyboard would fit your definition of "on the market"...tongue.gif

YEP, Zentih Keyboards RULE the WORLD.

After buying a few I won't go back to using plain Cherry Switches again.
post #7 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by FoxWolf1 View Post

...alternatively, you could just be crazy and get something more unusual. Personally, I run magnetic switches; my keyboard is waterproof, dustproof, chatterproof, heat-resistant, and rated to over 100M keypresses; you can also hot-swap the top parts of the switches in the event of physical damage. But then, I'm not sure if my keyboard would fit your definition of "on the market"...tongue.gif

YEP, Zenith Keyboards RULE the WORLD.

Better to always keep trying all types of keyboards out there before you actually find that Perfect One.
Edited by Elrick - 7/24/16 at 8:12pm
post #8 of 10
On ya OCN, for always keeping this forum alive with errors 111.

Much appreciated thumb.gif .
post #9 of 10
In Model M keyboards the weakest link is the "barrel plate" which is the piece of plastic underneath the keys that the keys sit in.
It is fastened to the metal backing plate by having protruding pegs that are simply melted on the other side - and those pegs tend to break off one by one. Some enthusiasts have "bolt-modded" their Model Ms by having those drilled up and replaced with metal bolts and nuts.
The barrel plate was also moulded flat but is bent in lines in-between the rows; the plastic is thinner there and those lines have cracked on many older Model Ms.
The Model F has instead individual plastic barrels mounted in holes in a metal frame like how Cherry MX switches often are.

I think that optomechanical switches, such as Adomax Flaretech and Bloody/A4Tech's "Lightstrike" switches could turn out to be more durable than Cherry MX because there are no moving parts involved in the sensing mechanism. They do still have coiled springs and are therefore switches with "mechanical" feel.
I have not tried Lightstrike switches yet, and the first keyboard with Flaretech switches - the Wooting One - is supposed to be delivered to Kickstarter backers (including me smile.gif ) by Christmas.

As for durable keycaps, Model M and F keycaps are made of PBT plastic, which is known to be very hard.
E.g. Ducky and Leopold have made keys for Cherry MX keyboards in that plastic but they are not found on all models.
I know that Leopold keycap sets for Cherry MX in PBT have been sold on eBay also, and those were real nice.
If you do plan to get aftermarket keycap sets for Cherry MX (or compatible), do make sure that your keyboard conforms to the standard layout: with all modifiers on the bottom row the same size (1 1/4 key size), three on the left side and four on the right.
All Filco, Ducky, Cooler Master MasterKeys and Novatouch should conform to that standard but e.g. Razer, Corsair, iOne (and its various OEMs), many older CM Storm keyboards and a few others do not.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wall Street View Post

I would think that Cherry switch keyboards fail more, because as durable as Filco and Ducky make their products, the switches are made of ABS with lightweight electrical contacts and eventually will break down.
Cherry MX switches are not made from ABS. I tested with acetone and that does not leave a mark where as ABS would dissolve.
That is, I tested with the switches that have black housings. I am not sure about the transparent "RGB" switches...
I suspect that the plastic is POM - which Cherry is also using for some keycaps (on their own keyboards) and which is known to be durable and has low friction.
post #10 of 10
Do you mean "normal use" durable or abusive use durable?

When it's normal use I might go for a Cherry G80-1800. My brother still uses the same Raptor Gaming K1 he bought more than 10 years ago as his main keyboard. It was the first gaming mechanical keyboard broadly available here in Germany and is kind of a special version G80-1800 with 6 key rollover and a USB hub.

And it has seen some heavy use:

He has probably played more than 10k hours on it (3.5k+ hours of CS logged on Steam alone) and wrote countless papers and articles on it for his academic studies.

And IMO it is still in really good condition. It works flawlessly and even though it has no ds keycaps (AFAIK they are laser etched) the text hasn't worn off that much. The only thing that gives the keyboard's age away is the typical ABS shine that occurs on used keys. That's okay. It outlived more than a dozen mice, half a dozen graphics cards, a hand full of monitors, at least three full system upgrades and is still going strong.

What more can you ask for?
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