mechanical keyboard survey

Mechanical keyboard winter survey 2016

Last week, we put out a call for all mechanical keyboard enthusiasts to join us on our semi-annual mechanical keyboard survey. This year, we received nearly 1000 responses! You can click that link and view all the data in the raw format. We made an infographic that summarizes all the data which you can view below.

Changes to the Survey

Most of the important questions were left the same this year, with some of the more negative questions being removed (most overrated, etc). With the explosion of RGB keyboards, we felt it was wise to gauge where the community is at on them. We also got some excellent responses on the “What would you like to see in the mechanical keyboard community” question (column V on the shared spreadsheet, linked to above) that are really worth checking out.

Standardizing the responses whenever possible also made analyzing the data much easier this time around. We’ll be able to flesh out even more standardized responses on future surveys.

Favorite Mechanical Keyboard Results

The Vortex Pok3r makes another strong showing this year, becoming the first mechanical keyboard to gain more than 10% of the vote at 13%. The CoolerMaster Quickfire Rapid made a big leap to the number two spot, and third place goes to the Corsair K70, which happens to be one of our best mechanical keyboards for gaming.

Only 3 of the top 10 keyboards are full-size. This implies that other form factors such as Tenkeyless, 65%, and 60% keyboards are likely the more popular sizes of mechanical keyboards.

This isn’t too surprising though sine E-Sports has given mechanical keyboards a much larger role, and most E-Sports keyboards don’t require a numpad.

Keyboard Purchasing Habits

Average spending for the past year remains around $400 (after removing some troll responses), with newcomers and old dogs (>10 years) spending the least.  Mechanical keyboard specialty sites narrowly beat out Amazon this time around, and group buys site Massdrop remains popular. We do have a list of the best cheap mechanical keyboards if you’re looking to get into the game without breaking the bank!

Favorite Switches – Brown Gains Ground

The top 3 switches in each category remain the same, with the exception of Cherry MX Brown overtaking Cherry MX Clear for 2nd place in the Typing category. Browns also fared well, gaining a bigger lead on the competition in both All-Purpose and Gaming categories.

Favorite Mechanical Keyboard Manufacturers

Ducky, Vortex, CoolerMaster, Corsair, and custom builds made up the top 5 of every category, with the exception of Leopold beating out Corsair for the 5th place in the Compact category. Vortex was given the most dominant win with 30% of the votes in the Compact category.

Keys, Keys, Keys

When asked about artisan keycaps, we found nearly the same percentage of respondents do not purchase artisan keycaps or aren’t interested. For those that do, we saw Brocaps fall from a 65% favorite to 20% and 2nd place. Hot Keys Project took first place with 22% of the vote. It’s probably no coincidence that HKP has also been the most active artisan maker of the past 6 months, and seems to larger batches compared to others.

We saw nearly identical responses when it came to layout and form factor – 92% use the QWERTY layout, 32% use tenkeyless, and 30% like the 60% form factor.

If you want to check out our previous survey, you can view it here.

See Also: our guide to wireless mechanical keyboards and best mac keyboard alternatives.