Gateron CM vs. KTT Pine

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

Overview

When it comes to mechanical keyboard switches, two options that stand out are the Gateron CM and the KTT Pine, both being linear switches. The Gateron CM switches are known for their deviation from the norm, boasting a full nylon housing that contributes to a richer, deeper sound signature. These switches also offer an impeccable factory lube job, resulting in a smooth and effortless typing experience that feels like gliding with each keystroke. With their lengthened, dual-staged spring, the CM switches deliver a bouncy typing sensation. On the other hand, the KTT Pine Linear Switches are medium-heavy and buttery smooth, offering an equally effortless typing experience. Their polished, factory-lubed finish minimizes friction, ensuring smooth key travel. While the CM switches are categorized as 'Bassy', 'Polished', 'Thocky', 'Low-pitched', 'Creamy', and 'Frictionless', the Pine switches are described as 'Bassy', 'Buttery', 'Creamy', and 'Low-pitched'. However, let's delve deeper into these switches' characteristics to help you make the best decision for your needs.

By the numbers

Technical specifications

Actuation force

55g

Actuation force

45g

Bottom-out force

63.5g

Bottom-out force

58g

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

Polycarbonate

Mount type

PCB (5-pin)

Mount type

PCB (5-pin)

Spring

Dual-staged 20mm lengthened gold-plated spring

Spring

15.5mm gold-plated spring

Housing materials

The Gateron CM and the KTT Pine differ in their housing materials for both the top and bottom housings. The CM features a top and bottom housing made of nylon, while the Pine utilizes polycarbonate for both its top and bottom housing. The use of different materials for the housing contributes to distinct sound profiles for each switch.

The nylon top housing of the CM results in a deeper and fuller sound profile. This is because nylon is a relatively softer plastic that absorbs more sound than harder plastics. As a result, typing on CM switches produces a duller and rounder sound. In contrast, the polycarbonate top housing of the Pine creates a sharper, higher-pitched, and crisper sound. The stiffness of polycarbonate leads to a more clear and resonant sound profile. Additionally, the Pine's polycarbonate top housing is compatible with RGB lighting, thanks to its translucency.

Similarly, the nylon bottom housing of the CM contributes to a deeper and fuller sound when bottoming out a key. Its softer plastic absorbs more sound, resulting in a dull and round sound profile. On the other hand, the polycarbonate bottom housing of the Pine creates a sharper, higher-pitched, and crisper sound when bottoming out a key. As with the top housing, the bottom housing's stiffness enhances the clarity and resonance of the sound. Moreover, the translucency of the Pine's polycarbonate bottom housing makes it visually appealing when combined with RGB lighting.

While the CM and the Pine differ in their housing materials, they share the characteristic of eliciting a deep and full sound profile. The nylon top and bottom housing of the CM, as well as the polycarbonate top and bottom housing of the Pine, both absorb sound and contribute to a duller and rounder sound. However, the Pine's polycarbonate housing materials offer a sharper, higher-pitched, and crisper sound profile compared to the CM's nylon materials. Additionally, the Pine's polycarbonate housing is specifically recommended for those who plan to use RGB lighting in their keyboard setup, thanks to its translucency.

Weight

When comparing the actuation force and bottom out force of the Gateron CM linear switch and the KTT Pine linear switch, we find some distinct differences. The CM switch has an actuation force of 55 grams, while the Pine switch requires only 45 grams for actuation. This means that the Pine switch is lighter and requires less force to activate a keystroke compared to the CM switch. However, when it comes to bottoming out, the CM switch has a higher force requirement of 63.5 grams, whereas the Pine switch bottoms out at 58 grams. Here, the CM switch is heavier, requiring more force to fully depress the keys compared to the Pine switch.

Considering the weight aspect, both switches fall within the medium range. However, if one prefers a lighter typing experience that allows for longer periods of typing, the Pine switch would be the better choice due to its lower actuation force. On the other hand, if someone prefers a more substantial push feel and desires a stronger typing experience, the CM switch with its heavier actuation and bottom out force would be the preferred option. It is important to note that while the forces differ between the two switches, both can provide similar results in terms of typing experience depending on individual preferences.

Travel distance

When comparing the travel distance of the Gateron CM linear switch and the KTT Pine linear switch, there is a noticeable difference. The CM has a travel distance of 3.6 mm, while the Pine has a slightly longer travel distance of 4 mm. This means that if you were to press down on a key with the CM switch, you would feel a slightly shorter travel distance compared to the Pine switch.

In terms of traditional travel distances, 4.0 mm is considered the norm, while 3.0 mm is considered more shallow. However, with the increasing popularity of shorter travel distances, the CM switch falls within this range, making it a preferred choice among gamers looking for faster response times. On the other hand, the Pine switch offers a bit more depth with its slightly longer travel distance, which some individuals may prefer for a more satisfying typing experience.

Ultimately, the choice between the two switches comes down to personal preference. If you prioritize quicker response times and a shorter travel distance, the Gateron CM linear switch would be the way to go. However, if you enjoy a more substantial and deeper key press, the KTT Pine linear switch with its longer travel distance would be the better option. It's important to keep in mind that both switches provide similar results, with one offering a shorter travel distance and the other a slightly longer one.

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 Pine has an MSRP of $4.60 per 10 switches. At Milktooth, we are able to pass on savings to our customers and offer the Pine for $4.15.

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, both the Gateron CM and KTT Pine switches offer a bassy profile. This means that they produce a deeper and richer sound during key presses, similar to the depth and richness associated with bass tones. The CM switches have the additional descriptor of being thocky, which means they produce a satisfying deep "thud" or soft "knock" sound when pressed and released. This gives them a slightly more distinct sound compared to the Pine switches. However, both switches have a low-pitched characteristic, resulting in a more bass-heavy and mellow tone compared to higher-pitched switches. It is important to note that the sound of a switch can also be influenced by factors such as the keyboard board and keycaps chosen, so keep this in mind when selecting switches.

In terms of feel, both the Gateron CM and KTT Pine switches offer a buttery and creamy typing experience. The buttery descriptor indicates a smooth and fluid keystroke experience, providing a seamless, effortless, and uniform typing sensation. The creamy descriptor further emphasizes the smoothness and buttery feel of the switches, which is often a result of factory lubrication or specific materials used in the switch construction. Typing on these switches feels like gliding your fingers effortlessly across the keys, as they melt into each keystroke. Additionally, the CM switches are described as polished, which means they have a smooth and refined finish, minimizing friction and resulting in a sleek typing experience. However, it is unknown if the Pine switches have a polished finish or any additional friction-reducing characteristics.

Overall, both the Gateron CM and KTT Pine switches offer similar subjective qualities in terms of sound and feel. They both provide a bassy sound profile and offer a smooth and effortless typing experience. The CM switches are known for their thocky sound and polished finish, which may give them a slight edge in terms of sound and feel. However, it is important to keep in mind that the ultimate feel and sound you experience will also depend on other factors such as the keyboard board and keycaps used.

Conclusion

To sum up, if you are looking for a medium-heavy switch with a bouncy typing experience and a rich and deep sound profile, the Gateron CM linear switch would be the better choice for you. With its full nylon housing and impeccable factory lube job, the CM switches offer a smooth and effortless typing journey, evoking a sensation of gliding gracefully with each keystroke. Additionally, the CM switches are described as bassy, thocky, and low-pitched, offering a deeper and richer sound profile during key presses.

On the other hand, if you prefer a medium switch with a buttery smooth and effortless typing experience, the KTT Pine linear switch would be more suitable. Thanks to its polished, factory-lubed finish, the Pine switches minimize friction for smooth key travel, providing a seamless and uniform typing sensation. The Pine switches are also known for their bassy and low-pitched sound profile, adding to the overall typing experience.

Ultimately, the decision between the Gateron CM and KTT Pine linear switches will depend on your personal preferences. If you prioritize a bouncy typing experience and a richer, deeper sound signature, the Gateron CM switches would be the ideal choice. However, if you value a buttery smooth typing experience with minimal friction, along with a bass-heavy and mellow sound, the KTT Pine switches would be more fitting. Consider your preferences in terms of both the sound and feel of the switches to make the best decision for your mechanical keyboard setup.

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