Gateron CJ vs. Gateron Ink Red

An in-depth look at the Gateron CJ and the Gateron Ink Red switches—which one is the best fit for you?

Overview

When it comes to mechanical keyboard switches, there are many options to choose from. Two popular options to consider are the Gateron CJ and the Gateron Ink Red, both of which fall under the category of linear switches. The CJ switch offers a unique and enjoyable experience, characterized by higher-pitched clacks and an impossibly smooth push feel. On the other hand, the Ink Red switch stands out with its lower actuation force, making it ideal for those with a lighter typing style. The Ink Reds are known for their satisfyingly smooth operation, crispy and clacky sound profile, and effortless typing experience. While these generalities provide a glimpse into the qualities of each switch, let's dive in a bit deeper to explore their specific characteristics, enabling you to make the best decision based on your personal preferences.

By the numbers

Technical specifications

Actuation force

50g

Actuation force

45g

Bottom-out force

60g

Bottom-out force

60g

Pre-travel

2.00 mm

Pre-travel

2.00 mm

Total travel

4.00 mm

Total travel

4.00 mm

Factory lubed

No

Factory lubed

Yes

Stem construction

Standard

Stem construction

Standard

Stem material

POM

Stem material

POM

Top housing material

Proprietary INK blend

Top housing material

Proprietary INK blend

Bottom housing material

POM

Bottom housing material

Proprietary INK blend

Mount type

PCB (5-pin)

Mount type

PCB (5-pin)

Spring

Gold-plated

Spring

Gold-plated

Housing materials

The housing materials of the Gateron CJ and Gateron Ink Red switches share many similarities. Both switches utilize Gateron's proprietary INK blend for their top housings, resulting in a pointed and relatively high-pitched sound profile. This clacky sound is satisfying and not overly sharp. So, when it comes to the sound produced when pressing down on a key, both the CJ and Ink Red switches will provide similar results.

However, where the switches differ is in their bottom housing materials. The CJ switch has a POM bottom housing, which creates a unique and pleasing sound profile that leans towards the deeper side. This POM housing contributes to a more muted sound overall. On the other hand, the Ink Red switch features Gateron's proprietary INK blend for both its top and bottom housing. This means that the qualities associated with the bottom housing, such as the impact on the bottom-out sound and feel, will be shared between the top and bottom of the switch.

In terms of the sound when you let go of a key, the top housing material plays a more significant role. Since both the CJ and Ink Red switches use Gateron's proprietary INK blend for their top housings, the resulting sound will be similar. The thin and higher-pitched nature of this sound is often described as clacky, providing a satisfying auditory feedback when releasing a key.

Overall, while the CJ and Ink Red switches have slightly different bottom housing materials, they both offer similar sound profiles when pressing down on a key due to their shared top housing material. The CJ switch's POM bottom housing creates a deeper and more muted sound, while the Ink Red switch's INK blend bottom housing shares the pointed and high-pitched sound characteristics of its top housing. Nevertheless, both switches deliver a clacky sound experience when releasing a key.

Weight

When comparing the actuation and bottom out forces of the Gateron CJ linear switch and the Gateron Ink Red linear switch, there are some notable differences. The CJ requires an actuation force of 50 grams, while the Ink Red requires a slightly lighter actuation force of 45 grams. This means that the Ink Red switch will require a slightly lighter touch to trigger a keystroke. However, both switches have the same bottom out force of 60 grams, resulting in a similar typing experience when fully pressed down.

For those who prefer a lighter typing experience, the Ink Red switch would be the more suitable choice. The lighter actuation force allows for smoother and quicker keystrokes, which can be beneficial for extended typing sessions or intense gaming sessions. On the other hand, individuals who prefer a stronger push feel may opt for the CJ switch. The slightly heavier actuation force provides a more substantial typing experience, giving a sense of tactile feedback with every keystroke.

Overall, both the Gateron CJ linear switch and the Gateron Ink Red linear switch offer a medium level of bottom out force, providing a balanced typing experience. The difference lies in the actuation force, with the CJ switch being slightly heavier and the Ink Red switch being slightly lighter. By considering personal preferences and the desired typing experience, individuals can choose between the two switches to achieve their desired results.

Travel distance

Both the Gateron CJ linear switch and the Gateron Ink Red linear switch have a travel distance of 4 mm. This means that when you press down on a key, you will feel the same distance of travel for both switches. Both switches offer a consistent and satisfying typing experience, with the keys traveling a moderate distance from top to bottom. Whether you choose the CJ or Ink Red switch, you can expect similar results in terms of travel distance.

Price comparison

Which switch is more bang for your buck?

The Gateron CJ has an MSRP of $6.00 per 10 switches. At Milktooth, we are able to pass on savings to our customers and offer the CJ for $5.35.

The Gateron Ink Red 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 Red for $7.35.

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

When it comes to sound, the Gateron CJ linear switch is best described as having a unique and enjoyable presentation. Typing on them produces higher-pitched clacks and an incredibly smooth pushing feel. The CJ switch can be characterized as chirpy, with a little squeak that sets it apart from other switches. On the other hand, the Gateron Ink Red linear switch has a crispy and clacky sound profile. It is satisfyingly smooth and effortless to type on. The Ink Red switch is also described as chirpy, adding a slight squeak to its unique acoustic signature. It's worth noting that the sound of these switches can also be influenced by other factors such as the choice of keyboard and keycaps. Overall, both switches provide enjoyable sound experiences, with the CJ switch leaning towards higher-pitched clacks and the Ink Red switch offering a crispy and clacky sound.

In terms of feel, the Gateron CJ linear switch offers a mild typing experience. This means that the switch provides a more gentle and approachable feel compared to switches with more pronounced characteristics. The CJ switch falls within a safe middle-ground zone, providing a comfortable typing experience to most users. On the other hand, the Gateron Ink Red linear switch is described as silky, offering an exceptionally smooth typing experience. This means that the switch enhances the overall smoothness of the typing feel and minimizes resistance when pressing and releasing keys. Additionally, the Ink Red switch is considered mild, offering a gentle typing experience. It is also described as polished, indicating a smooth and refined finish that results in a sleek typing experience. This can be attributed to the materials used and factory lubing, providing reduced friction and smooth key travel. In conclusion, both switches offer pleasant and comfortable typing experiences, with the CJ switch providing a milder feel and the Ink Red switch offering an exceptionally smooth and polished feel.

In summary, the Gateron CJ linear switch and the Gateron Ink Red linear switch have distinctive qualities in terms of sound and feel. The CJ switch is known for its unique presentation with higher-pitched clacks and an incredibly smooth push feel. It has a chirpy sound profile and offers a mild typing experience. On the other hand, the Ink Red switch is distinguished by its lower actuation force and provides a satisfyingly smooth typing experience. It has a crispy and clacky sound profile, with a chirpy characteristic as well. Both switches offer enjoyable and approachable typing experiences, with the CJ switch leaning towards a milder feel and the Ink Red switch offering an exceptionally smooth and polished feel. Depending on personal preferences, either switch can provide a great typing experience.

Conclusion

In closing, when choosing between the Gateron CJ linear switch and the Gateron Ink Red linear switch, consider your personal preferences and typing style. If you enjoy a unique and enjoyable presentation of a linear switch, with higher-pitched clacks and an impossibly smooth push feel, the CJ switch would be a great fit for you. On the other hand, if you prefer a switch with a lower actuation force and a satisfyingly smooth and clacky sound profile, the Ink Red switch is the way to go. Both switches have a medium bottom out force of 60 grams, making them suitable for most intents and purposes. In terms of feel, the CJ switch offers a mild typing experience, while the Ink Red switch offers a silky and polished typing experience with reduced friction and smooth key travel. Ultimately, the choice between these two switches depends on your personal preferences and the typing experience you desire.

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