TTC Flame Red vs. Gateron Ink Yellow

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

Overview

When comparing and contrasting two popular mechanical keyboard switches, the TTC Flame Red and the Gateron Ink Yellow, there are some notable differences to consider. The Flame Red switch is well-known for its stunning visuals, featuring a dazzling light diffuser that makes it perfect for those who prefer a backlit, RGB keyboard. When typing on Flame Reds, users will experience a weighty smoothness and a clacky sound profile. On the other hand, the Ink Yellow switch offers a shorter travel, ideal for individuals seeking a typing experience that falls between that of a laptop and a standard mechanical keyboard. With a pleasant smoothness and clackiness, the Ink Yellow switch provides a satisfying typing experience. While these general descriptions may offer insights into the switches, let's dive a bit deeper beyond these generalities so you can best decide which switch suits your preferences and needs.

By the numbers

Technical specifications

Actuation force

45g

Actuation force

60g

Bottom-out force

54g

Bottom-out force

67g

Pre-travel

2.00 mm

Pre-travel

1.50 mm

Total travel

4.00 mm

Total travel

3.50 mm

Factory lubed

Yes

Factory lubed

Yes

Stem construction

Partial box

Stem construction

Partial box

Stem material

POM

Stem material

POM

Top housing material

Nylon

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

24.5mm long spring

Spring

Gold-plated

Housing materials

The TTC Flame Red and the Gateron Ink Yellow have contrasting housing materials, which contribute to their distinct sound profiles. The Flame Red utilizes a nylon top housing, providing a deeper and fuller sound when typing. The softer nature of nylon allows it to absorb more sound, resulting in a duller and rounder sound. In comparison, the Ink Yellow features Gateron's proprietary INK blend top housing, which produces a pointed and high-pitched sound. While not overly sharp, this blend creates a satisfyingly thin and clacky sound. Therefore, the Flame Red produces a more muffled and resonant sound, while the Ink Yellow offers a sharper and clackier tone.

Similar to the top housings, the bottom housings of the Flame Red and the Ink Yellow also differ in material composition. The Flame Red employs a nylon bottom housing, which contributes to its deeper and fuller sound profile. The softer plastic of nylon absorbs more sound, resulting in a duller and more rounded sound when bottoming out. Conversely, the Ink Yellow utilizes Gateron's proprietary INK blend bottom housing, creating a higher-pitched but not overly sharp sound profile. This blend gives the Ink Yellow a thinner and more clacky sound when bottoming out. Therefore, the Flame Red provides a softer and more muffled bottom-out sound, while the Ink Yellow delivers a sharper and clackier tone.

It is worth noting that when a switch has different top and bottom housing materials, the qualities of each material are divided between the top and bottom of the switch. The bottom housing material has a greater impact on the bottom-out sound and feel experienced when pressing down on the switch. In contrast, the top housing material has a more significant influence on the sound produced when releasing a key. Therefore, although the Flame Red and the Ink Yellow have differing housing materials for both the top and bottom, they both allow for a range of sound experiences during typing, with the bottom housing influencing the bottom-out sound and feel, while the top housing impacts the sound upon key release.

Weight

When comparing the TTC Flame Red linear switch and the Gateron Ink Yellow linear switch, the actuation force and bottom out force differ significantly. The Flame Red has a lighter actuation force of 45 grams compared to the Ink Yellow's 60 grams, making it easier to trigger keystrokes on the Flame Red switch. Similarly, the Flame Red has a lighter bottom out force of 54 grams compared to the Ink Yellow's 67 grams, making it less forceful to press the keys fully on the Flame Red switch.

For those who prefer a lighter typing experience, the Flame Red switch would be the ideal choice as it requires less force to activate and bottom out. This is advantageous for prolonged typing sessions or extended gaming sessions when minimizing fatigue is important. On the other hand, the Ink Yellow switch provides a more substantial and stronger push feel due to its heavier actuation and bottom out forces. This may appeal to individuals who prefer a more tactile and solid typing experience.

Overall, the Flame Red switch is lighter in terms of actuation force and bottom out force compared to the Ink Yellow switch. However, it is worth noting that for users seeking similar results, both switches fall within the medium range and can provide a satisfying typing experience depending on personal preferences.

Travel distance

The TTC Flame Red linear switch and the Gateron Ink Yellow linear switch have distinct differences in their travel distances. The Flame Red has a travel distance of 4 mm, which is more traditional and offers a deeper keystroke feel. On the other hand, the Ink Yellow has a slightly shorter travel distance of 3.5 mm, making it more shallow and suitable for those who prefer a quicker response time. Gamers, in particular, tend to favor shorter travel distances to enhance their gaming experience. Therefore, if you prioritize responsiveness, the Ink Yellow would be the preferable choice. However, if you prefer a switch that provides a more substantial and satisfying keystroke depth, the Flame Red with its 4 mm travel distance would be the better option for you.

Price comparison

Which switch is more bang for your buck?

The TTC Flame Red has an MSRP of $7.29 per 10 switches. At Milktooth, we are able to pass on savings to our customers and offer the Flame Red for $4.38.

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.

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 Flame Red switch is best known for its stunning light diffuser, making it an ideal choice for those who want a backlit, RGB keyboard. When typing on the Flame Reds, users can expect a weighty smoothness and a clacky sound profile. On the other hand, the Ink Yellow switch is characterized by a shorter travel and is recommended for those who want a typing experience between a laptop and a standard mechanical keyboard. These switches offer a pleasant smoothness and clackiness.

In terms of sound, both the Flame Red and Ink Yellow switches are described as having a neutral sound profile, meaning they produce a moderate sound when pressed. This makes them suitable for a wide range of intents and purposes, whether you are a beginner or advanced user, or using them at home or work. Additionally, the Ink Yellow switch is also described as clacky, producing a sharp and snappy sound when pressed, which can be described as crisp, bright, and percussive. It is important to note that the sound of a switch is also influenced by other factors such as the keyboard board and keycaps used.

When it comes to feel, both the Flame Red and Ink Yellow switches offer a mild typing experience, providing a gentle feel compared to switches with more pronounced characteristics. The sound and feel of these switches are approachable to most users, as their qualities fall within a safe, middle-ground zone. Additionally, both switches are described as polished, meaning they have a smooth and refined finish, resulting in a sleek typing experience. This smoothness can be attributed to either the materials used or factory lubing, reducing friction and ensuring smooth key travel.

In conclusion, the Flame Red and Ink Yellow switches share several similarities in subjective qualities. They both offer a neutral sound profile, a mild typing experience, and a polished finish for smooth key travel. Therefore, users can expect similar results with both switches. However, it is worth noting that individual preferences, as well as the specific keyboard and keycaps used, can also influence the overall typing experience and sound produced by these switches.

Conclusion

To sum up, if you prioritize a backlit, RGB keyboard and enjoy a weighty smoothness with a clacky sound profile, the TTC Flame Red linear switch would be a great choice for you. Its dazzling light diffuser adds a visually stunning element to your typing experience. On the other hand, if you prefer a shorter travel distance and a typing experience that falls between that of a laptop and a standard mechanical keyboard, the Gateron Ink Yellow linear switch is the way to go. With its pleasant smoothness and clackiness, it offers a unique and enjoyable typing experience. Both switches have a moderate sound profile and feel, making them suitable for most intents and purposes. Ultimately, the decision comes down to your preferences in terms of visuals, typing experience, and sound. So choose the switch that aligns with what you value most in your mechanical keyboard.

Mentioned in this article