Gateron CM vs. SP-Star RedBlue

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

Overview

When it comes to mechanical keyboard switches, two popular options to consider are the Gateron CM and the SP-Star RedBlue. The Gateron CM switch breaks away from convention with its full nylon housing, delivering a richer and deeper sound signature. With an impeccable factory lube job, these switches promise a smooth typing journey, allowing users to glide gracefully with each keystroke. The lengthened, dual-staged spring of the CM switch also offers a bouncy typing experience. On the other hand, the SP-Star RedBlue linear switches are known for their medium-light typing experience. The sound profile of these switches is relatively higher-pitched. While the CM switches are categorized as "buttery," "bassy," "polished," "thocky," and more, the RedBlue switches fall under "low-pitched," "neutral," "mild," "thocky," and "polished." However, let's dive in a bit deeper beyond generalities, so you can best decide on the switch that suits you best.

By the numbers

Technical specifications

Actuation force

55g

Actuation force

N/A

Bottom-out force

63.5g

Bottom-out force

57g

Pre-travel

2.00 mm

Pre-travel

2.00 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

Gold plated

Housing materials

The housing materials of the Gateron CM and the SP-Star RedBlue switches differ significantly. The CM utilizes a nylon top housing, which offers a deeper and fuller sound profile due to its softness and sound absorption properties. This results in a duller and rounder sound. In contrast, the RedBlue features a polycarbonate top housing, which produces a sharper and higher-pitched sound. The stiffness of polycarbonate enhances clarity and resonance, making it a popular choice for switches with RGB lighting.

Similarly, the bottom housing materials of the CM and the RedBlue switches also exhibit noteworthy differences. The CM utilizes a nylon bottom housing, which contributes to its deep and full sound profile, resulting in a subdued and rounded sound. Conversely, the RedBlue's polycarbonate bottom housing creates a sharper and crisper sound. This stiffness of polycarbonate enhances clarity and resonance.

When comparing the overall sound and feel of these switches, the distribution of housing materials across the top and bottom affects the tactile experience. The qualities of the bottom housing, regardless of the material, will have a greater impact on the bottom-out sound and feel when pressing down on the switch. On the other hand, the qualities of the top housing will play a more significant role in the sound when releasing a key. Therefore, understanding the differences in the housing materials is essential in selecting the switch that best suits individual preferences for sound and typing experience.

Weight

When comparing the Gateron CM linear switch and the SP-Star RedBlue linear switch, the actuation and bottom out forces play a significant role. The Gateron CM has an actuation force of 55 grams, providing a medium-heavy feel when triggering a keystroke, while the RedBlue's actuation force is unavailable. This means that it is difficult to directly compare the actuation forces of the two switches. However, in terms of bottom out force, the Gateron CM requires 63.5 grams, which is slightly heavier than the RedBlue's 57 grams, giving it a medium-heavy bottoming out experience.

Considering weight is essential because it affects the typing experience. Some individuals prefer a lighter actuation force as it allows for extended periods of typing without fatigue, making it ideal for work or long gaming sessions. On the other hand, some prefer a heavier actuation force for a more substantial push feel while typing. For those seeking a stronger and more substantial typing experience, they should opt for options with heavier forces.

In this case, the Gateron CM leans towards the heavier side with its medium-heavy actuation and bottom out forces. However, since the actuation force of the RedBlue is unknown, it is challenging to determine if it is lighter or heavier than the Gateron CM in terms of actuation force. The Gateron CM, with its slightly heavier bottom out force, provides a more substantial typing experience compared to the RedBlue's medium-light bottom out force. Despite the disparity in available information, it can be expected that individuals looking for a more solid and weighty typing experience may lean towards the Gateron CM switch, while those seeking a lighter touch might find the RedBlue switch more suitable.

Travel distance

The Gateron CM linear switch has a travel distance of 3.6 mm, while the SP-Star RedBlue linear switch has a travel distance of 4 mm. The RedBlue switch has a slightly longer travel distance compared to the CM switch.

In terms of traditional travel distances, 4.0 mm is the standard, while 3.0 mm is considered shallow. However, in recent times, shorter travel distances have gained popularity, especially among gamers who prefer faster response times. Choosing the CM switch with its shorter travel distance would provide a more responsive typing experience.

On the other hand, some individuals may find shorter travel distances to feel too abrupt. For those who prefer a more substantial feeling when pressing the keys, the RedBlue switch with its longer travel distance may be a better choice. It ultimately 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 SP-Star RedBlue has an MSRP of $5.80 per 10 switches. At Milktooth, we are able to pass on savings to our customers and offer the RedBlue for $5.40.

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 CM linear switch offers a bassy and thocky sound profile. These switches produce a deep and rich sound during key presses, resembling the depth and richness associated with bass tones. The low-pitched nature of these switches also contributes to a more mellow and bass-heavy tone. On the other hand, the SP-Star RedBlue linear switch has a low-pitched and thocky sound profile. It also offers a relatively higher-pitched sound but still falls within the bass-heavy and mellow range. Both switches provide a satisfying and deep sound when pressed and released, creating a pleasant auditory experience. While the exact sound produced may vary depending on factors such as the keyboard board and keycaps used, both switches offer similar qualities in terms of sound.

In terms of feel, the Gateron CM linear switch offers a buttery, polished, and creamy typing experience. These switches provide a smooth and fluid keystroke experience, resulting in a seamless and effortless typing sensation. The polished finish and lubrication applied at the factory contribute to reduced friction and smooth key travel, allowing for easy gliding across the keys. Similarly, the SP-Star RedBlue linear switch offers a mild and polished typing experience. It provides a more gentle typing experience compared to switches with pronounced characteristics, making it approachable for most users. The polished finish also ensures smooth and refined key travel, further enhancing the typing experience. Both switches offer a sleek and frictionless feel while typing.

Based on the available information, the Gateron CM linear switch and the SP-Star RedBlue linear switch offer similar qualities in terms of sound and feel. Both switches produce a deep, rich, and satisfying sound when pressed and released, with a low-pitched and thocky profile. They also provide a smooth and effortless typing experience, with reduced friction and smooth key travel. While the exact sound and feel may vary depending on other factors, both switches promise a high-quality typing journey. Whether you choose the CM or the RedBlue switch, you can expect similar results in terms of sound and feel.

Conclusion

To sum up, if you prefer a medium-heavy switch with a bouncy typing experience and a deeper, richer sound profile, then the Gateron CM linear switch would be a great choice for you. With its full nylon housing and impeccable factory lube job, you can expect an effortlessly smooth typing journey and a sensation of gliding gracefully with each keystroke. On the other hand, if you prefer a medium-light typing experience with a moderate sound profile, the SP-Star RedBlue linear switch would be more suited to your preferences. These switches offer a higher-pitched sound profile and a relatively lower bottom out force. Additionally, if you prefer a more gentle and approachable typing experience, the mild characteristics of the RedBlue switch would be favorable to you. Both switches feature a polished finish, ensuring smooth and refined key travel. Ultimately, the decision between the Gateron CM and SP-Star RedBlue linear switches depends on your preference for bottom out force, sound profile, and typing feel.

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