RANKING VINTAGE SWITCHES thread

Which vintage switches are the best? (Select up to 10)

AT&T Buckling Spring
5
2%
AT&T Magnetic Separation
1
0%
Acer Switch
0
No votes
Alphameric Foam and Foil
0
No votes
Alps Buckling Spring
3
1%
Alps Magnetic Reed
0
No votes
Alps SKCC Green
2
1%
Alps SKCC Tall Cream
2
1%
Alps SKCL Green
10
3%
Alps SKCL Yellow
4
1%
Alps SKCM Amber
7
2%
Alps SKCM Black, Bamboo
0
No votes
Alps SKCM Black, Pine
2
1%
Alps SKCM Blue
24
8%
Alps SKCM Brown
5
2%
Alps SKCM Cream
3
1%
Alps SKCM Dampened Cream
0
No votes
Alps SKCM Dampened White
2
1%
Alps SKCM Neon Green
4
1%
Alps SKCM Orange
19
7%
Alps SKCM Salmon
5
2%
Alps SKCM White, Bamboo
0
No votes
Alps SKCM White, Pine
9
3%
Alps SKCP Plate Spring
7
2%
Alps Snap Action
0
No votes
Apple Hairpin
1
0%
Aruz Switch
2
1%
BTC Dome with Slider
6
2%
BTC Foam and Foil, Linear
0
No votes
BTC Foam and Foil, Tactile
0
No votes
Can Tech Buckling Spring
0
No votes
Cherry M7
0
No votes
Cherry M8
0
No votes
Cherry MX Black, Vintage
8
3%
Cherry MX Blue, Vintage
2
1%
Cherry MX Brown, Vintage
4
1%
Cherry MX Clear, Vintage
4
1%
Cherry MX White
0
No votes
Cherry MY
0
No votes
Cherry Solid State Capacitive
0
No votes
Digitran Capacitive
0
No votes
Fujitsu Dome with Slider
0
No votes
Fujitsu Leaf Spring, Clicky
3
1%
Fujitsu Leaf Spring, Linear
4
1%
Fujitsu Peerless
1
0%
Fujitsu Tactile Magnetic Reed
1
0%
Futaba MA, Clicky
3
1%
Futaba MA, Linear
0
No votes
Futaba MD
0
No votes
Futaba ML
0
No votes
Honeywell Hall Effect
4
1%
IBM Beamspring
21
7%
IBM Buckling Spring, Model F
34
12%
IBM Buckling Spring, Model M
18
6%
ITW Magnetic Valve, Full Height Linear
3
1%
ITW Magnetic Valve, Intermediate
0
No votes
ITW Magnetic Valve, Low Profile
1
0%
KPT Switch
0
No votes
Keytronic Magnetic Reed
0
No votes
Keytronic Tactile Foam and Foil
0
No votes
Keytronic Vintage Foam and Foil, Linear
0
No votes
MEI T-15
0
No votes
Marquardt Butterfly
1
0%
Marquardt Series 6180
0
No votes
Marquardt Series 6184
0
No votes
Maxi Switch Dome with Slider
0
No votes
Maxi Switch Vintage Linear
0
No votes
Micro Switch Microswitch Switch
1
0%
Mitsumi KKQ Type
0
No votes
Mitsumi KKR Type
0
No votes
Mitsumi KPQ Type
0
No votes
Mitsumi KPR Type
0
No votes
Mitsumi Miniature Mechanical, Clicky
0
No votes
Mitsumi Miniature Mechanical, Linear
0
No votes
Mitsumi Miniature Mechanical, Tactile
0
No votes
Mitsumi Standard Mechanical
1
0%
Multitech Foam and Foil
0
No votes
NEC Vintage Linear
0
No votes
NTC Oval, Clicky
5
2%
NTC Oval, Linear
0
No votes
Oki Gourd Spring, Linear
0
No votes
Oki Gourd Spring, Tactile
1
0%
Olivetti Dome with Slider
0
No votes
Omron B3G-S, Amber
2
1%
Omron B3G-S, Cyan
1
0%
Omron B3G-S, White
1
0%
ProWorld Cherry MX Clone
1
0%
RAFI RS 76 M
0
No votes
Robotron Hall Effect
0
No votes
SMK 2nd Gen, Clicky
15
5%
SMK 2nd Gen, Linear
1
0%
SMK 2nd Gen, Tactile
1
0%
SMK J-M0404 Vintage Linear
0
No votes
Scorpius Dome with Slider
2
1%
Space Invaders, Clicky
7
2%
Space Invaders, Linear
8
3%
Space Invaders, Tactile
0
No votes
Stackpole Switch Grid
1
0%
Topre, Vintage
8
3%
 
Total votes: 291

User avatar
VelonicV

12 Nov 2020, 06:28

Hey y'all,

Thought I'd create a thread on ranking vintage switches since I didn't see one elsewhere on the board.

Hopefully, this'll let others discover switches they may not have tried before that may be promising, or maybe just to allow us to bicker over each others opinions, who knows :lol:

To kick it off, below is my arbitrary opinion-based tier list. It's based entirely off of my preferences, what I have in my collection, and what I have used enough to feel confident to rank:

Image

The rankings are in relative order to each other, so switches near the lower tiers aren't necessarily bad, just not as good as those above in my opinion.

Here's the tier site I used if anyone's interested in creating something similar, and attached below are the image files I used:

tier-images.zip
(832.41 KiB) Downloaded 11 times

Below is the names of each switch in the picture, since some of them aren't really clear:

Tier S:
  • IBM Beamspring
  • Alps SKCM Blue
Tier A:
  • IBM Model F
  • Alps SKCM Orange
  • Alps SKCL Yellow
  • Space Invader, Linear
  • BTC Dome with Slider (specifically in the BTC 5100C with an AT plug, some of the best tactile switches imo)
  • ITW Magnetic Valve, Full Height Linear
Tier B:
  • IBM Model M
  • Alps SKCM Black, Pine
  • Alps SKCL Green (I prefer stiffer linears, still great)
  • SMK 2nd Gen, Clicky
  • Fujitsu Leaf Spring, Third Gen (I prefer stiffer linears, still great)
Tier C:
  • Futaba MA, Clicky
  • SMK 2nd Gen, Tactile
  • Mitsumi Miniature Mechanical, Tactile (see here: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=24187)
  • Fujitsu Peerless (only in mint condition though)
Tier D:
  • NTC Oval, Blue Clicky
  • Alps SKCC Green (these are too stiff :lol: )
  • Alps SKCM White, Bamboo
  • Alps SKCP (just not entirely my thing, even though I like Futaba MA and Beamsprings especially)
Tier E:
  • Alps SKCM Black, Bamboo
  • Alps SKCM Dampened White
Tier F:
  • Acer Switch
  • Fujitsu Dome with Slider
  • Scorpius Dome with Slider (can't stand the squeak)
Tier Z:
  • BTC Foam and Foil, Linear (goes up a rank when Mitsumi modded though)
  • Mitsumi KPQ Type
Last edited by VelonicV on 13 Nov 2020, 05:44, edited 7 times in total.

arkanoid

12 Nov 2020, 06:51

Interesting idea. Comparing and sharing personal perference about the switches. Maybe we can improve the template so that people can just drag and drop the switch images from the repository.

User avatar
VelonicV

12 Nov 2020, 07:24

arkanoid wrote:
12 Nov 2020, 06:51
Interesting idea. Comparing and sharing personal perference about the switches. Maybe we can improve the template so that people can just drag and drop the switch images from the repository.
Yeah, that's a good point!

I modified the initial post to add a link to the site I used, as well as a zip of the images I used for my tier list.

i am Sasha

12 Nov 2020, 15:36

I don’t understand something ... are you comparing Linear with Tactile? You have SKCC - SKCL in one line ... or I do not understand something or you just have a salad with vintage switches)

User avatar
hellothere

12 Nov 2020, 17:06

I think it might be easier just to start a poll and have VelonicV (or whomever starts the thread) keep monitoring the thread for new switches voted in. Unless the poll gets really big, there also won't need to be a chart to translate picture into switch name.

One other point. I recently determined that I don't like linear switches. However, the 3rd gen FLS is the best linear I've tried. So, it'd rank low for me, but I'd definitely recommend for folks that like linears. Should I post anything?

User avatar
ddrfraser1

13 Nov 2020, 03:40

I appreciate that you have BTC domes in A

User avatar
VelonicV

13 Nov 2020, 04:52

i am Sasha wrote:
12 Nov 2020, 15:36
I don’t understand something ... are you comparing Linear with Tactile? You have SKCC - SKCL in one line ... or I do not understand something or you just have a salad with vintage switches)
Nah, it's just a general rating of all the vintage switches I have experience with: clicky, tactile, or linear.

I don't personally have a strong preference for one specific type of switch, so I thought it was fine to rank them relative to one another based on which ones I liked.

User avatar
VelonicV

13 Nov 2020, 05:39

hellothere wrote:
12 Nov 2020, 17:06
I think it might be easier just to start a poll and have VelonicV (or whomever starts the thread) keep monitoring the thread for new switches voted in. Unless the poll gets really big, there also won't need to be a chart to translate picture into switch name.

One other point. I recently determined that I don't like linear switches. However, the 3rd gen FLS is the best linear I've tried. So, it'd rank low for me, but I'd definitely recommend for folks that like linears. Should I post anything?
Yeah, good idea! Didn't think of that.

Modified the post to add a poll with what I thought was most switches people would be familiar with, nearly maxing out the number of polling options :lol: , but hopefully the initial list should cover 99% of what people might vote for.

And yeah, definitely post a ranking list, it would be interested to see what others think. Maybe just specify the caveat that you don't like linears to provide context to the rankings?

User avatar
hellothere

13 Nov 2020, 17:54

#1 thing I've learned in this thread is to get my yellow Alps keyboard cleaned and/or repaired so I can sell it. I see some possible buyers :D.

Back to the linear comment, I think I'll just post them. While they're not my cup of tea, I've played with enough linear switches to know they're decent, even if I don't care for them.

Maybe we can also do a modern switch thread. There are a bunch of folks here, including me, that really like the the Kailh thick clicks.

diazel

13 Nov 2020, 18:49

Am I wrong in thinking this list is strangely reminiscent in ranking of Chryo's favorite switches?

As I started selecting my answers, it dawned on me that I was tempted to hit the button for beamspring even though I have never experienced it. Nor Alps. Nor Mitsumi. Not even vintage Cherry. So I realized I was leaning towards Thomas' judgement on these rather than my own opinion.

Was thinking it would be a cool concept to have a collective set of keyboards to which the community could rotate them every 2 weeks or so to try it out rather than finding and buying more and more keyboards. I will say the idea appeals to me after buying an HHKB that I didn't like as much as my Niz switches on my Abko or after buying my BTC dome with sliders which I will likely not use again. I don't think this would work in practice as there will always be that person who doesn't follow the rules or spirit, but certainly interesting as I would love to experience some of these horrible foam & foils or invaders or Alps but I cannot in good conscience buy anymore keyboards this year, haha

User avatar
Scarpia

13 Nov 2020, 18:51

Strange that SKCL Yellow has a good number of votes but SKCL Green has none. Maybe it’s down to the particular switches I have, but I honestly cannot tell any difference between the greens and the yellows. Maybe the yellows are rarer and therefore more exotic? I dunno.

User avatar
Yasu0

13 Nov 2020, 19:24

Some of the vintage black mx are pretty good, but honestly the main reason I like them is the cool variety of affordable old keyboards they come in. I don't even mind the scratchy ones if the board is cool. As 'boring standard stock' as they are, they can sound really good with the right caps in the right board. Something I think people forget.

The F and M's feel so good. Regardless of what board they are in or what noises they make. Off center or angled vector key presses.. no problem. And the M boards and even some F boards are affordable. Not a fan of alps. I'm typing this on one.. I do not like beamsprings just based on cost. I will never like a keyboard that costs that much.

John Doe

13 Nov 2020, 20:23

As clicky-feeling fan, I'll give a shot to MicroSwitch SW if have to choose one of linear switches, understanding it appeared infrequently.

I think thats why it's not an option of the vote.

JBert

14 Nov 2020, 00:44

diazel wrote:
13 Nov 2020, 18:49
Was thinking it would be a cool concept to have a collective set of keyboards to which the community could rotate them every 2 weeks or so to try it out rather than finding and buying more and more keyboards. I will say the idea appeals to me after buying an HHKB that I didn't like as much as my Niz switches on my Abko or after buying my BTC dome with sliders which I will likely not use again. I don't think this would work in practice as there will always be that person who doesn't follow the rules or spirit, but certainly interesting as I would love to experience some of these horrible foam & foils or invaders or Alps but I cannot in good conscience buy anymore keyboards this year, haha
Deskthority members have been doing this for years!

Check the Try before you buy forum section to see if there are still active tours. ;)

User avatar
Yasu0

14 Nov 2020, 00:53

I think my overall favorite switch has to be the IBM M switch. Its so readily attainable and affordable thanks to unicomp, and offers excellent feel. F is good, but the way prices are heading, its kind of a turn off for me. After all these are just keyboards. To use for the computer typing. One should not have to spend $300+ for a good experience imo.

User avatar
Raumfahrer

14 Nov 2020, 02:04

This is a poll based on the switches someone has owned or tried , not really a ranking. To get that ranking each vote has to be cast by someone who has tried most if not all the switches here.

User avatar
hellothere

14 Nov 2020, 02:16

diazel wrote:
13 Nov 2020, 18:49
Am I wrong in thinking this list is strangely reminiscent in ranking of Chryo's favorite switches?

As I started selecting my answers, it dawned on me that I was tempted to hit the button for beamspring even though I have never experienced it. Nor Alps. Nor Mitsumi. Not even vintage Cherry. So I realized I was leaning towards Thomas' judgement on these rather than my own opinion.
Well ... sorta.

I don't always agree with Chyros' opinion. As an example, I like the Model M more than the Model F XT. However, if he's talking about a switch or keyboard I haven't tried, I'll give a lot of weighting to his judgement because he's tried 50 billion different switches. However #2, if Chyros says that, say, amber Alps are the best switch ever, there aren't going to be a lot of votes in this poll because maybe 5 people on this forum have a keyboard with amber Alps. In other words, this is probably the reason why there aren't more mentions of green Alps being a decent or better switch than yellow Alps or, say, why the AT&T buckling spring has only one vote, even though it's about 90%+ the same as a Model M (which I know because Chyros).

One thing that could be good about a poll like this is so you can say something like, "You've got $125 to spend? 50 people on Deskthority say that a Model M is a good choice. Hit up ebay and look for one in good shape."

FWIW, I'd love to see more videos or articles from folks on this forum that have experience with a bunch of different keyboards or switches. If I hadn't seen Chyros' videos, I'd have probably never tried Alps switches. Now a couple of those are my favorites.

User avatar
hellothere

14 Nov 2020, 02:31

Yasu0 wrote:
14 Nov 2020, 00:53
I think my overall favorite switch has to be the IBM M switch. Its so readily attainable and affordable thanks to unicomp, and offers excellent feel. F is good, but the way prices are heading, its kind of a turn off for me. After all these are just keyboards. To use for the computer typing. One should not have to spend $300+ for a good experience imo.
For what it's worth, if you go over to Reddit and look at the Mechanical Keyboards forum, you'll see that $300 is not that high for custom keyboards. I think $1000+ is way too much to spend on a keyboard, but that's cheap for a Beamspring.

As an analogy, I work from home. I needed a new chair, so I went to a store to try the Herman Miller Embody. It is the best chair I have ever sat on. No qualifications. However, I can't justify spending $1400 on one, so I bought a new-old-stock Steelcase for about $200. Nice chair, highly recommended, but not an Embody. If you want the absolute best, you have to pay for it.

I spend 10+ hours a day on my computer. I have the best chair, keyboard, trackball, desk, and monitors I can afford (company provides the laptop). I could have saved a lot of $ by buying the cheapest one of each, but that'd physically hurt.

(Oh. Reminder that Unicomp raised their prices, so a vintage Model M is even more competitive.)

diazel

14 Nov 2020, 14:22

It's worth mentioning that deals can still be had though. I just picked up a model F F122 for $350. It needs to be cleaned up but otherwise it works perfectly with a soarers converter. Having an M122 (paid $54 because the wire was cut and unknown condition even though a new cord made it work flawlessly) already and seeing the prices a good F122 goes for now, I figured it was out of reach at $800+ but the case had a crack and and was filthy so it commanded far less with only cosmetic issues so far.

That said, I'm with hellothere. People say to buy a good mattress and sheets because you spend a third of your life sleeping. Well another third of my life is in front of a computer. Chair, mouse, monitor, keyboard, deskmat, backlighting... Worth spending decent money for a high quality experience imo. There are other options for $150 or less that will also serve you extremely well. Try an Abko (Niz switches) next to free Dell membrane board and if you're a typist they're not even in the same ballpark. It's all personal preference though so if it doesn't make a difference save your money!

diazel

14 Nov 2020, 14:27

JBert wrote:
14 Nov 2020, 00:44

Deskthority members have been doing this for years!

Check the Try before you buy forum section to see if there are still active tours. ;)
What?! I will be looking into that for sure! I'll see about throwing is as well. Good looking out. I'm new to DT so still looking around.

diazel

14 Nov 2020, 14:30

@velonicv worth adding Niz (Topre clones)? I ended up returning my HHKB after trying the Niz and liking it more than Topre

User avatar
VelonicV

15 Nov 2020, 08:31

diazel wrote:
14 Nov 2020, 14:30
@velonicv worth adding Niz (Topre clones)? I ended up returning my HHKB after trying the Niz and liking it more than Topre
Yeah, I like Niz switches quite a bit too!

I was thinking about it but I ended up focusing only on vintage switches, since otherwise the list would've grown larger than it already is :D. Topre's on there since the switches have been around for a while, like certain Cherry MX variants.

User avatar
Yasu0

16 Nov 2020, 20:07

diazel wrote:
14 Nov 2020, 14:22
People say to buy a good mattress and sheets because you spend a third of your life sleeping. Well another third of my life is in front of a computer.
I kind of follow that advice for myself, but $300 is past the point where I start deducting points on my ranking scale. Everybody is free to rank for themselves, but this is how I feel. Normal people also can spend as much time in front of a workstation as keyboard enthusiasts do. I am just being realistic.. its a lot to expect somebody to spend who isn't a keyboard nerd. Actually over $150 already things starts to lose brownie points with me..

In a timeline where all the original M tooling was destroyed and Unicomp was never formed.. Where would used M prices be? They are such a good switch for what you can score a used board for.

headphone_jack

18 Nov 2020, 06:07

Strange that I seem to be the only one vouching for ITW magnetic valve low profile. The ones I have in my Xerox board feel like smoother, more tactile holy pandas to me.

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Chyros

18 Nov 2020, 14:27

Blue, orange and CBS are in the lead!

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hellothere

20 Nov 2020, 23:31

Chyros wrote:
18 Nov 2020, 14:27
Blue, orange and CBS are in the lead!
I'm going to register 50 accounts just so I can vote for Cherry MX Brown :P.

User avatar
karlmartin95

24 Nov 2020, 16:05

hellothere wrote:
20 Nov 2020, 23:31
Chyros wrote:
18 Nov 2020, 14:27
Blue, orange and CBS are in the lead!
I'm going to register 50 accounts just so I can vote for Cherry MX Brown :P.
MX Brown Vintage is actually very good, I'm using a Compaq MX 11800 with that switch right now.

Rayndalf

25 Nov 2020, 04:32

karlmartin95 wrote:
24 Nov 2020, 16:05
hellothere wrote:
20 Nov 2020, 23:31
Chyros wrote:
18 Nov 2020, 14:27
Blue, orange and CBS are in the lead!
I'm going to register 50 accounts just so I can vote for Cherry MX Brown :P.
MX Brown Vintage is actually very good, I'm using a Compaq MX 11800 with that switch right now.
Cherry's new browns in the G80-3000S TKL actually feel good too. My daily driver is a Kinesis Model 130 with "vintage" browns and I've had a couple 11800 and a 1838 and all of them were really pleasant too (that's a lie, the 1838 still needs a full clean up, the switches are filthy).

Honestly I have yet to feel browns I hate, but I never tried a Cherry board from 2005 or a Logitech board from 2012 so I've been lucky. I think the new browns (retool black era I guess) are good.
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Chyros

26 Nov 2020, 10:35

hellothere wrote:
20 Nov 2020, 23:31
Chyros wrote:
18 Nov 2020, 14:27
Blue, orange and CBS are in the lead!
I'm going to register 50 accounts just so I can vote for Cherry MX Brown :P.
No need, just hold this poll on Reddit or something and 99% of the votes will be for MX xD .

User avatar
kbdfr
The Tiproman

26 Nov 2020, 15:08

Chyros wrote:
26 Nov 2020, 10:35
hellothere wrote:
20 Nov 2020, 23:31
Chyros wrote:
18 Nov 2020, 14:27
Blue, orange and CBS are in the lead!
I'm going to register 50 accounts just so I can vote for Cherry MX Brown :P.
No need, just hold this poll on Reddit or something and 99% of the votes will be for MX xD .
Funny how elitist MX bashing seems to have gained ground on DT for some inexplicable reason :lol:

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