Gateron CM vs. KTT Grapefruit

An in-depth look at the Gateron CM and the KTT Grapefruit switches—which one is the best fit for you?

Overview

When it comes to choosing a mechanical keyboard switch, two popular options to consider are the Gateron CM and the KTT Grapefruit. The CM switch sets itself apart with its full nylon housing, which not only makes a bold statement but also delivers a richer, deeper sound signature. With an impeccable factory lube job, these switches offer a smooth and effortless typing experience, evoking a sensation of gliding gracefully with each keystroke. Additionally, the lengthened, dual-staged spring of the CM switch provides a bouncy typing experience. On the other hand, the KTT Grapefruit switches offer a unique soft and light typing feel, along with a "baritone" sound profile that leans towards deepness, though not quite bass. Categorized as low-pitched and neutral, these switches provide a polished typing experience. However, let's dive in a bit deeper beyond these generalities so you can best decide on the ideal switch for you.

By the numbers

Technical specifications

Actuation force

55g

Actuation force

45g

Bottom-out force

63.5g

Bottom-out force

53g

Pre-travel

2.00 mm

Pre-travel

1.90 mm

Total travel

3.60 mm

Total travel

4.00 mm

Factory lubed

Yes

Factory lubed

Yes

Stem construction

Standard

Stem construction

Standard

Stem material

POM

Stem material

POM

Top housing material

Nylon

Top housing material

Polycarbonate

Bottom housing material

Nylon

Bottom housing material

Nylon

Mount type

PCB (5-pin)

Mount type

Plate (3-pin)

Spring

Dual-staged 20mm lengthened gold-plated spring

Spring

Stainless steel

Housing materials

The housing materials of the Gateron CM and the KTT Grapefruit switches present distinct differences in terms of sound profile and aesthetics. Firstly, the CM switch features a nylon top housing, which contributes to a deeper and fuller sound profile due to its relatively softer plastic properties. The nylon absorbs more sound compared to harder plastics, resulting in a duller and rounder sound experience when typing on these switches. In contrast, the Grapefruit switch utilizes a polycarbonate top housing, which produces a sharper, higher-pitched, and crisper sound profile. The relatively stiffer plastic of polycarbonate contributes to a more clear and resonant sound, making it an ideal choice for users who prefer a more precise auditory feedback while typing. Additionally, the translucency of polycarbonate allows for RGB lighting effects, further enhancing the aesthetic appeal of the switch.

Moving on to the bottom housing, both the CM and Grapefruit switches utilize nylon as the housing material. This classic switch housing material offers similar characteristics in terms of sound profile. It elicits a deeper and fuller sound profile, similar to the nylon used in the top housing of the CM switch. The relatively softer properties of nylon allow for more sound absorption compared to harder plastics, resulting in a duller and rounder sound experience during typing. Therefore, in terms of sound profile, the bottom housing of both switches provides a similar effect.

It is important to note that if a switch incorporates different housing materials for its top and bottom housing, the qualities associated with each material will be split between the top and bottom of the switch. When pressing down on a switch, the bottom housing material will predominantly influence the bottom-out sound and feel. Conversely, the top housing will have a greater impact on the sound when letting go of a key. This distinction emphasizes the importance of considering the housing materials of both the top and bottom components of a switch to achieve the desired sound and tactile experience while typing.

Weight

When comparing the actuation force and bottom out force of the Gateron CM linear switch and the KTT Grapefruit linear switch, it is clear that there are notable differences. The Gateron CM has a heavier actuation force of 55 grams and a bottom out force of 63.5 grams, making it a medium-heavy switch. On the other hand, the KTT Grapefruit offers a lighter actuation force of 45 grams and a bottom out force of 53 grams, categorizing it as a medium-light switch.

For those who prefer a lighter typing experience, the KTT Grapefruit would be the ideal choice as it requires less force to activate the keystroke. This can be beneficial for individuals who need to type for long durations, such as at work or during extended gaming sessions.

On the contrary, those who seek a more substantial and stronger push feel would find the Gateron CM more suitable. With its heavier actuation and bottom out forces, it provides a more satisfying and substantial typing experience.

It is important to note that while the actuation and bottom out forces differ between these switches, they still fall within the medium range. Therefore, individuals looking for similar results can achieve them with either switch, albeit with slight variations in the typing experience. Ultimately, the choice between the Gateron CM and KTT Grapefruit depends on personal preference regarding the desired weight and force required for typing.

Travel distance

The Gateron CM linear switch and the KTT Grapefruit linear switch have different travel distances. The CM has a travel distance of 3.6 mm, while the Grapefruit has a travel distance of 4 mm. In terms of traditional travel distances, 4.0 mm is considered the norm, while 3.0 mm is on the shallower end. However, shorter travel distances have become more popular recently, especially among gamers who prioritize quick response times. If you prefer a more responsive typing experience, the Gateron CM with its shorter travel distance would be a better choice. On the other hand, some people find shorter travel distances to feel too abrupt, so if you prefer a deeper and more substantial feel when typing, the KTT Grapefruit with its longer travel distance would be a better option. Overall, the choice between the two switches depends on personal preference and the desired typing experience.

Price comparison

Which switch is more bang for your buck?

The Gateron CM has an MSRP of $4.80 per 10 switches. At Milktooth, we are able to pass on savings to our customers and offer the CM for $4.25.

The KTT Grapefruit comes in at $3.41 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

In terms of sound, the Gateron CM linear switch offers a deep and rich sound profile. It is characterized by a bass-heavy and mellow tone, resembling the depth and richness associated with bass tones. Additionally, the CM switch is known for its thocky sound, which produces a deep, satisfying sound when pressed. On the other hand, the KTT Grapefruit linear switch is also described as having a low-pitched sound profile, similar to the CM switch, with a more moderate sound profile overall. Both switches offer a bass-heavy and mellow tone, but the CM switch is known for its deeper and richer sound signature.

When it comes to feel, the Gateron CM linear switch provides a smooth and effortless typing experience. Described as "buttery," "polished," "creamy," and "frictionless," the CM switch ensures a seamless and uniform typing sensation. This is achieved through the switch's full nylon housing and impeccable factory lube job, resulting in reduced friction and smooth key travel. On the other hand, the KTT Grapefruit linear switch is also described as polished, indicating a smooth and refined finish. While specific details about the Grapefruit switch's feel are not provided, it can be inferred that it offers a sleek typing experience with reduced friction.

Overall, the Gateron CM linear switch stands out for its deep and rich sound signature, as well as its smooth and effortless typing experience. With its full nylon housing, the CM switch delivers a unique sound experience that is complemented by its impeccable factory lube job. The lengthened, dual-staged spring in the CM switch also ensures a bouncy typing experience. On the other hand, the KTT Grapefruit linear switch offers a lighter type feel and a low-pitched sound profile. While the specifics of the Grapefruit switch's feel are not provided, it can be assumed that it provides a smooth and refined typing experience due to its polished finish. In conclusion, both switches offer their own unique qualities in terms of sound and feel, allowing users to choose based on their preferences. However, it is important to note that the sound and feel of a switch can also be influenced by other factors such as the choice of keyboard board and keycaps.

Conclusion

To sum up, if you're looking for a switch with a medium-heavy bottom out force and a deeper, richer sound profile, the Gateron CM linear switch would be a great choice for you. Its full nylon housing and impeccable factory lube job deliver a smooth and effortless typing experience, while the lengthened, dual-staged spring provides a bouncy feel with each keystroke. On the other hand, if you prefer a switch with a medium-light bottom out force and a softer, lighter sound profile, the KTT Grapefruit linear switch would be the ideal option. These switches offer a tarty feel and a "baritone" sound profile. When it comes to feel, both switches have a polished finish that results in a sleek typing experience with reduced friction and smooth key travel. Ultimately, the decision between Gateron CM and KTT Grapefruit switches depends on your preference for bottom out force and sound profile.

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