11/2019 by FRIEDRICH STIEMER, HOLGER DASSLER - Back to overview

The amount of mechanical switches has increased dramatically over the last few years. New switch variants hit the market almost daily, making it much more difficult for customers to choose the correct switch. The reason for this is an expired patent from 1984, which protected the design of the original CHERRY MX switch.

Since then, the market has been flooded with switches that resemble the established MX switches in both appearance and design. These competitors aim to use the brand awareness of CHERRY MX, which was built with great effort over decades, for their own products. This doesn’t just include the colour coding of the stems and their respective characteristics, but also the layout of the housing and the type of mount. But even if the switches seem to hardly differ at first glance, they do differ in the details.

For this reason, we’re launching #OriginalMX campaign to explain to users why original CHERRY MX switches are still the leading solution for mechanical keyboards. The aim is also to ensure that they’re actually using genuine "Made in Germany" products. Due to their enormous success CHERRY MX switches are still being copied, but their technical perfection remains unrivalled.

Be aware when buying mechanical keyboards

It’s not just the switches that you have to pay attention to, but also to the keyboards equipped with them. Many (online) shops worldwide offer models that are available with original MX switches, but also with imitation switches. Nevertheless, these sellers only mention CHERRY MX in their advertising material to fool potential buyers into thinking that they are getting the best quality and benefits of MX technology. The exact product description into the shopping basket might set off alarm bells, like this example: instead of actually advertised CHERRY MX Red switches, the description only mentions "Red Switches". Optically, the switch might look the same and have the similar linear switching characteristics as the MX Red, but in reality you’re dealing with an imitation product which uses the layout and familiar CHERRY switch colour coding. In comparison to CHERRY MX switches, these imitation switches use other materials and manufacturing processes, making them significantly different from the original.

When purchasing a keyboard, it is therefore important to explicitly select the MX variants. Only then can you be sure you’ll receive original CHERRY MX switches, and only then can you be sure of the promised longevity and reliability of the keyboard. Always keep your eyes open when buying a keyboard!

If you're still unsure whether the keyboard you intend to buy (or own) has genuine MX switches, you're welcome to check out our website www.cherrymx.de or ask the CHERRY MX team on social media.

This is why CHERRY MX is the ideal solution

Why is CHERRY MX still the gold standard? The answer is simple: CHERRY MX didn’t just invent the mechanical key switch, but also established it worldwide as the ideal high-end solution. The first mechanical key switch ever was the MX Black, which was introduced in 1983. With this switch, CHERRY laid the foundation for the MX technology which is still highly successful today, because the unique switching characteristics of the switch had great appeal to keyboard users back then. Over the years the Auerbach-based company has constantly developed and improved MX technology. Currently, its portfolio includes a large number of different MX switch variants, which differ in appearance as much as switching characteristics. The colour of the stem indicates the required operating force, the pre travel, the total travel, and whether the switch is linear or tactile, with or without click.

This colour system has been established by CHERRY over the last decades and is usually also part of the MX imitation switches; the replicas rely on CHERRY's pioneering work to achieve better sales results. Many keyboard manufacturers rely largely or even exclusively on CHERRY MX because they are simply the best switches on the market.

CHERRY MX is a quality feature

All CHERRY MX switches, including its individual components, are manufactured fully and exclusively in Germany, which gives them the coveted "Made in Germany" label. This is a seal of quality with a worldwide reputation, symbolizing to consumers that this is a genuine quality product. But just producing these switches in Germany is not enough for CHERRY: the production is subject to strict manufacturing controls, adheres to a large number of standards and regulations, and undergoes quality assurance in the in-house laboratory, which meticulously puts the MX switches through their paces. This guarantees maximum quality with minimum manufacturing tolerances over decades of use, so it’s not surprising that even MX switches from the early years of production still function today.

The headquarters in Auerbach is not only used for production, but it also houses the development team, which is constantly working on optimizations for the MX technology. Over the years, the quality of these unrivalled switches has been perfected even further. In addition to product improvements the engineers are also working on new products.

50 million actuations guaranteed

All CHERRY MX switches can rely on an impressive lifespan: all MX switches can handle more than 50 million actuations without any loss of quality. This does not mean that the switch is defective afterwards; it will continue to function without any problems. In internal laboratory tests, the switches are tested with much higher actuation numbers.

Many MX switch competitors boast actuation numbers ranging from 70 to over 80 million actuations. This is usually an extrapolated service life that is hardly documented. In fact, these replica switches are often tested with significantly fewer actuations. In addition, the specified tolerances usually feature different values for ‘delivery condition’ and ‘after service life test’. These two values usually differ considerably, which indicates wear and tear of the switches. In comparison, CHERRY MX's actuations are completely transparent and reliable.

It’s worth taking a look at the exact data sheets and switch specifications!

CHERRY MX is the ideal choice for gamers

Keyboards with CHERRY MX switches are the ideal choice for PC gamers because of their high quality and reliability. Thanks to high-quality materials and Gold Crosspoint technology, MX switches are also extremely robust and durable. All in all, this combination ensures precise input at all times, even when the keyboard is being pushed to the extreme in hectic situations. For gamers, this reliability means the difference between victory and defeat.

To meet individual requirements, CHERRY offers a wide range of switching characteristics with its various MX switches. For fast inputs, for example in FPS games, gamers can rely on linear variants, while MMO players usually prefer tactile variants. Every gamer can choose his or her optimal switch: if you want to win, you should ultimately rely on the best technology. MX is for winners!

How to recognize a CHERRY MX switch

How can you tell if your keyboard has original CHERRY MX switches? It's quite simple: remove the keycaps. The easiest way to do this is with a small tool called a keycap puller. Some manufacturers even supply this tool with their keyboards.

After pulling off the keycap, you have a clear view of the switch. This also shows you the stem, which has a certain color, allowing you to recognize the characteristics of the switch. However, since we’ve established that imitation MX switches might also copy CHERRY’s color coding, the color itself is not a reliable indication of whether the switches are genuine MX switches. To that end, you should look at a small but fine detail, which guarantees you’re dealing with the original from Germany: the CHERRY logo embossed on the switch housing. Once you’ve identified the switch, simply press the keycap back on the switch.

To conclude: if you plan to buy a mechanical keyboard with CHERRY MX switches, make sure you’re actually dealing with original MX switches. Otherwise you run the risk of buying a keyboard that doesn’t benefit from the MX technology and might behave completely different from what you expect.