Kailh Box Jade vs. Gateron Ink Yellow

An in-depth look at the Kailh Box Jade and the Gateron Ink Yellow switches—which one is the best fit for you?

Overview

When it comes to mechanical keyboard switches, there are a wide variety to choose from, each with their own unique characteristics. Two popular options to consider are the Kailh Box Jade, a clicky switch, and the Gateron Ink Yellow, a linear switch. The Box Jade is perfect for those who crave a medium-heavy typing experience with a clicky sound profile and tactility. With their high-pitched, accented nature, these switches deliver crisp clicks and crunchy tactile bumps, making typing a satisfyingly audible and tactile experience. On the other hand, the Ink Yellow is best suited for individuals seeking a typing experience that falls between that of a laptop and a standard mechanical keyboard. With its shorter travel, this switch offers a pleasant smoothness and clackiness, providing a unique and polished feel. However, let's dive in a bit deeper beyond these generalities so you can best decide on the ideal switch that matches your preferences.

By the numbers

Technical specifications

Actuation force

50g

Actuation force

60g

Bottom-out force

60g

Bottom-out force

67g

Pre-travel

1.80 mm

Pre-travel

1.50 mm

Total travel

3.60 mm

Total travel

3.50 mm

Factory lubed

No

Factory lubed

Yes

Stem construction

Box

Stem construction

Partial box

Stem material

POM

Stem material

POM

Top housing material

Polycarbonate

Top housing material

Proprietary INK blend

Bottom housing material

Nylon

Bottom housing material

Proprietary INK blend

Mount type

Plate (3-pin)

Mount type

PCB (5-pin)

Spring

Kailh Box spring

Spring

Gold-plated

Housing materials

The housing materials of the Kailh Box Jade and the Gateron Ink Yellow switches differ in their composition, resulting in distinct sound profiles. The Box Jade utilizes a polycarbonate top housing, which produces a sharper, higher-pitched, and crisper sound. This is due to polycarbonate's stiffness, which creates a clear and resonant sound. Additionally, the translucent nature of polycarbonate makes it ideal for switches intended to be used with RGB lighting. In contrast, the Ink Yellow features Gateron's proprietary INK blend top housing, providing a pointed and relatively high-pitched sound that is characterized as clacky. While both materials result in a satisfying sound, the Box Jade offers a sharper and clearer tone, while the Ink Yellow has a slightly softer and more defined clack.

The difference in their bottom housings further contributes to the overall sound profile of these switches. The Box Jade incorporates a nylon bottom housing, which creates a deeper and fuller sound when typing. Nylon's softer composition absorbs more sound, resulting in a duller and rounder tone. Conversely, the Ink Yellow features Gateron's proprietary INK blend bottom housing, contributing to its thin and higher-pitched sound. This characteristic clack is often associated with the Ink Yellow switch. While both bottom housings offer a pleasing sound experience, the Box Jade favors a deeper and fuller tone, while the Ink Yellow emphasizes a thin and higher-pitched clack.

Despite their differences, it is important to note that the qualities brought by each housing material are distributed between the top and bottom of the switch. When pressing down on the switch, the bottom housing's qualities become more apparent in the bottom-out sound and feel. Alternatively, when releasing a key, the top housing's attributes have a greater impact on the sound produced. Thus, while the Kailh Box Jade and the Gateron Ink Yellow have contrasting housing materials, resulting in distinct sounds, their overall performance can be enjoyed together, highlighting both the bottom-out and release sounds.

Weight

When comparing the actuation force and bottom out force of the Kailh Box Jade clicky switch and the Gateron Ink Yellow linear switch, there are notable differences. The Box Jade has a lighter actuation force of 50 grams compared to the Ink Yellow's 60 grams. This means that the Box Jade requires slightly less force to trigger a keystroke. However, the bottom out force of the Box Jade is 60 grams, whereas the Ink Yellow has a bottom out force of 67 grams. Therefore, while the actuation force of the Box Jade is lighter, its bottom out force is also lighter compared to the Ink Yellow.

Considering the weight aspect, individuals who prefer lighter typing experiences may lean towards the Box Jade switch as it allows for longer typing periods. This makes it ideal for those who use keyboards for work or engage in long gaming sessions. On the other hand, individuals seeking a more substantial typing experience may prefer the Ink Yellow switch due to its heavier actuation and bottom out force. The heavier force provides a stronger push feel and can enhance the typing experience for those who prefer a more pronounced feedback.

In summary, the actuation force of the Kailh Box Jade clicky switch is lighter compared to the Gateron Ink Yellow linear switch, while the bottom out force of the Box Jade is also lighter. This means that individuals using the Box Jade switch will experience a slightly lighter touch both when triggering keystrokes and when fully pressing down. The Ink Yellow, on the other hand, offers a heavier actuation and bottom out force, providing a more substantial typing experience.

Travel distance

The travel distance of the Kailh Box Jade clicky switch is 3.6 mm, while the Gateron Ink Yellow linear switch has a slightly shorter travel distance of 3.5 mm. These travel distances fall within the range of shorter travel distances that are prevalent nowadays. Gamers, in particular, often prefer switches with shorter travel distances as it allows for faster response times. If you prioritize responsiveness, the Gateron Ink Yellow with its slightly shorter travel distance may be the better choice. However, for those who prefer a deeper and more substantial feel, the Kailh Box Jade's slightly longer travel distance may be more suitable. Ultimately, the difference in travel distance between the two switches is minimal, so regardless of which one you choose, you can expect similar results in terms of the distance the switch travels from the top to the bottom.

Price comparison

Which switch is more bang for your buck?

The Gateron Ink Yellow has an MSRP of $7.50 per 10 switches. At Milktooth, we are able to pass on savings to our customers and offer the Ink Yellow for $7.35.

The Kailh Box Jade comes in at $5.50 per 10 switches.

Here at Milktooth, we offer the best prices on switches (on average, 27% lower the competition). In addition, we offer free shipping on orders over $49.00. We also offer free returns and exchanges, so you can shop with guaranteed satisfaction.

That said, while price is an important piece of the puzzle, our opinion is that you should ultimately pick the option that most suits your unique preferences since you’ll be using these switches for years to come. In other words, finding something perfect for you is, in our view, the most important criteria.

Typing experience

The Kailh Box Jade clicky switch is best known for its high-pitched and crunchy sound profile. When pressed, these switches produce a sharp and crisp sound, similar to stepping on piles of crisp and crunchy autumn leaves. The tactile feedback is also notable, with crisp clicks and crunchy tactile bumps when typing on them. On the other hand, the Gateron Ink Yellow linear switch offers a more neutral and clacky sound profile. The sound produced is sharp, snappy, and percussive, providing a pleasant clackiness. It falls between a laptop typing experience and that of a standard mechanical keyboard, offering a smoothness and moderate actuation force requirement.

In terms of feel, the Kailh Box Jade is described as accented and invigorating. These medium tactile switches provide a prominent amount of tactility that is neither overwhelming nor subtle. The typing sensation is immersive and reactive, offering pronounced feedback and a moderate to firm actuation force. On the other hand, the Gateron Ink Yellow provides a more mild and polished typing experience. It offers a gentle typing experience, suitable for most users with its approachable sound and feel. The switch has a smooth and refined finish, resulting in reduced friction and smooth key travel.

To summarize, the Kailh Box Jade clicky switch is ideal for those seeking a medium-heavy typing experience with a clicky sound profile and noticeable tactility. The sound produced is high-pitched and crunchy, providing a sharp and crisp sound when pressed. The typing sensation is invigorating and immersive. On the other hand, the Gateron Ink Yellow linear switch offers a typing experience between that of a laptop and a standard mechanical keyboard. It has a neutral and clacky sound profile, with a shorter travel distance. The typing sensation is mild and polished, offering a smooth and refined experience. While the qualities differ between the two switches, they both provide satisfactory results in their respective categories.

Conclusion

In conclusion, if you are looking for a medium-heavy typing experience with a clicky sound profile and tactile feedback, the Kailh Box Jade switch would be the best choice for you. The crisp clicks and crunchy tactile bumps of the Box Jade make for an invigorating and immersive typing sensation. Additionally, if you prefer a high-pitched and crunchy sound when typing, the Box Jade switch is the way to go. On the other hand, if you want a typing experience that falls between that of a laptop and a standard mechanical keyboard, the Gateron Ink Yellow switch is ideal. With its shorter travel and pleasant smoothness, the Ink Yellow provides a more gentle typing experience. It has a neutral sound profile that is neither too rich nor too bassy, and it produces a clacky sound when pressed. The Ink Yellow switch also offers a polished finish, resulting in reduced friction and smooth key travel. Ultimately, the choice between these two switches depends on your preferences for typing feel, sound profile, and actuation force. Consider what aspects are most important to you in a mechanical keyboard switch and make your decision accordingly.

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