KTT Grapefruit vs. Gateron Ink Box Black

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

Overview

When it comes to mechanical keyboard switches, the KTT Grapefruit and the Gateron Ink Box Black both offer unique features and qualities. The Grapefruit switches are best known for their soft and light type feel, with a "baritone" yet not quite "bass" deep sound profile. They are categorized as low-pitched, neutral, and polished. On the other hand, the Ink Box Black switches are incredibly smooth and creamy, giving them a clacky, high-pitched, and silky sound signature that reminds us of a spray paint can being shaken. Both switches have their own distinct characteristics that may appeal to different users. However, let's dive in a bit deeper beyond generalities so you can best decide on the switch that suits your preferences.

By the numbers

Technical specifications

Actuation force

45g

Actuation force

60g

Bottom-out force

53g

Bottom-out force

70g

Pre-travel

1.90 mm

Pre-travel

1.80 mm

Total travel

4.00 mm

Total travel

3.60 mm

Factory lubed

Yes

Factory lubed

Yes

Stem construction

Standard

Stem construction

Partial box

Stem material

POM

Stem material

POM

Top housing material

Polycarbonate

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

Stainless steel

Spring

Stainless steel

Housing materials

The KTT Grapefruit and the Gateron Ink Box Black differ in their housing materials, which leads to distinct sound profiles. The Grapefruit features a polycarbonate top housing, which results in a sharper, higher-pitched, and crisper sound. This is due to polycarbonate's stiffness, which creates a more clear and resonant sound. Additionally, the translucent nature of polycarbonate makes it ideal for switches with RGB lighting. In contrast, the Ink Box Black utilizes Gateron's proprietary INK blend top housing, which offers a pointed and relatively high-pitched sound that is described as clacky. While both switches provide satisfying sounds, the Grapefruit's polycarbonate housing may offer a brighter and more resonant tone.

In terms of their bottom housings, the Grapefruit utilizes a nylon material, while the Ink Box Black features Gateron's proprietary INK blend. The nylon bottom housing of the Grapefruit contributes to a deeper and fuller sound profile. The softer nature of nylon absorbs more sound, resulting in a duller and rounder tone. On the other hand, the INK blend bottom housing of the Ink Box Black offers a thin and higher-pitched sound that is also described as clacky. Although both switches provide unique sound characteristics, the Grapefruit's nylon housing may provide a deeper and fuller sound.

When considering the overall sound profile of each switch, it is important to note that the qualities of the top and bottom housings are distributed differently. The bottom housing has more impact on the bottom-out sound and feel when the switch is pressed down, while the top housing plays a larger role in the sound when releasing a key. Therefore, while the Grapefruit and the Ink Box Black have different housing materials, they may still provide comparable results in terms of overall sound experience. Whether one prefers the sharper and crisper sound of the Grapefruit's polycarbonate top housing or the clacky sound of the Ink Box Black's proprietary INK blend, both switches offer unique and satisfying typing experiences.

Weight

When comparing the actuation force and bottom out force of the KTT Grapefruit linear switch and the Gateron Ink Box Black linear switch, there are noticeable differences. The actuation force of the Grapefruit switch is lighter at 45 grams, while the Ink Box Black switch requires a heavier 60 grams to be triggered. This means that the Grapefruit switch is more sensitive and requires less force to initiate a keystroke. On the other hand, the bottom out force of the Grapefruit switch is 53 grams, while the Ink Box Black switch has a higher bottom out force of 70 grams. This indicates that when pressing all the way down, the Ink Box Black switch provides a more substantial and forceful typing experience.

Considering weight, the lighter actuation force of the Grapefruit switch makes it a desirable option for those who prefer a lighter touch and wish to type for longer periods without experiencing fatigue. This would be beneficial for individuals using their keyboards for work or extended gaming sessions. On the other hand, the heavier actuation force of the Ink Box Black switch offers a stronger push feel, ideal for users who prefer a more substantial and tactile typing experience. Choosing options with heavier forces can provide a satisfying and responsive feedback.

In summary, the actuation and bottom out forces of the Grapefruit switch and Ink Box Black switch differ in terms of weight. The Grapefruit switch has a lighter actuation force, while the Ink Box Black switch requires a heavier force to trigger. Similarly, the bottom out force of the Grapefruit switch is lighter compared to the Ink Box Black switch. By considering these variations, users can select the switch that best suits their individual preference for typing experience and duration.

Travel distance

The travel distance of the KTT Grapefruit linear switch is 4 mm, while the Gateron Ink Box Black linear switch has a shorter travel distance of 3.6 mm. The difference of 0.4 mm may seem insignificant, but in terms of switch travel distance, it can make a noticeable impact on the typing or gaming experience. The Grapefruit switch falls into the more traditional category with its 4.0 mm travel distance, providing a deeper and more pronounced feeling when pressing down on the keys. On the other hand, the Ink Box Black offers a shallower travel distance of 3.6 mm, which can be preferred by gamers seeking faster response times. It is important to consider personal preference when choosing between these two switches. If you value a quicker and more responsive typing or gaming experience, the shorter travel distance of the Ink Box Black may be more suitable. However, if you prefer a switch that offers a deeper and more satisfying key press, the longer travel distance of the Grapefruit switch may be the better choice.

Price comparison

Which switch is more bang for your buck?

The Gateron Ink Box Black has an MSRP of $8.50 per 10 switches. At Milktooth, we are able to pass on savings to our customers and offer the Ink Box Black for $7.65.

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

When it comes to sound, the KTT Grapefruit linear switch offers a unique experience with a "baritone" deep sound profile that is not quite bass-heavy. This low-pitched sound gives it a mellow and bassy tone, perfect for those who prefer a deeper sound. On the other hand, the Gateron Ink Box Black switch produces a clacky sound, reminiscent of a spray paint can being shaken. This high-pitched and crisp sound makes it stand out with its sharp and percussive tone. It is worth noting that the sound of a switch can also be influenced by the keyboard board and keycaps chosen.

Moving on to the feel of these switches, the KTT Grapefruit is described as having a polished finish, resulting in a smooth and refined typing experience. The reduced friction and smooth key travel of these switches contribute to a sleek and comfortable feel. Meanwhile, the Gateron Ink Box Black is known for its silky smooth typing experience. It minimizes resistance when pressing and releasing keys, giving it an exceptionally smooth feel. The polished finish of the Ink Box Black also adds to its sleek typing experience, just like the Grapefruit switch.

In conclusion, the KTT Grapefruit and Gateron Ink Box Black switches offer different subjective qualities in terms of sound and feel. The Grapefruit switch provides a soft and light feel, along with a deep but not bass-heavy sound profile. In contrast, the Ink Box Black switch offers an incredibly smooth and creamy feel with a distinctive clacky and high-pitched sound. Both switches have a polished finish, ensuring a sleek and refined typing experience. So, while they offer unique qualities, they still provide similar results when it comes to smoothness and reduced friction. Ultimately, the choice between these switches will depend on personal preferences for sound and feel.

Conclusion

In closing, to choose between the KTT Grapefruit linear switch and the Gateron Ink Box Black linear switch, consider your preference for bottom out force, sound, and feel. If you prefer a lighter switch, the Grapefruit with a bottom out force of 53 grams would be a better choice. On the other hand, if you prefer a heavier switch, the Ink Box Black with a bottom out force of 70 grams would suit you better.

In terms of sound, the Grapefruit has a low-pitched and neutral sound profile, which offers a bass-heavy and mellow tone. If you enjoy a softer and more moderate sound, the Grapefruit is a good option. Conversely, the Ink Box Black has a clacky and high-pitched sound, producing a sharp and crisp tone. If you prefer a more percussive and brighter sound, then the Ink Box Black is the way to go.

When it comes to feel, both switches offer a polished finish, resulting in reduced friction and smooth key travel. However, the Grapefruit is also known for its soft and light feel, while the Ink Box Black is described as silky and exceptionally smooth. If you prioritize a softer and refined typing experience, the Grapefruit switch is ideal. If you value an ultra-smooth typing feel with minimal resistance, the Ink Box Black is a great choice.

Ultimately, the decision between the KTT Grapefruit linear switch and the Gateron Ink Box Black linear switch depends on your personal preferences for bottom out force, sound, and feel. Consider the characteristics described and choose the switch that aligns with your desired typing experience. Happy typing!

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