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Gateron Ink Black V2vs. KTT Lightning

An in-depth look at the Gateron Ink Black V2 and the KTT Lightning switches—which one is the best fit for you?

Overview

When it comes to choosing the perfect mechanical keyboard switch, two options that often come to mind are the Gateron Ink Black V2 and the KTT Lightning. While both switches fall under the linear category, they offer distinct characteristics that cater to different preferences. The Ink Black V2 is a classic linear switch that has long been cherished by the keyboard community. Its smooth downstroke and rich clack make it a favorite among enthusiasts. On the other hand, the Lightning switch by KTT is renowned for its speed and responsiveness. Perfect for situations where split-second decisions matter, these switches offer a slick typing experience with a distinct clacky sound profile. However, let's dive in a bit deeper beyond generalities so you can best decide on the best switch for you.

By the numbers

Ink Black V2
Lightning
BrandGateron
CategoryLinear
BrandKTT
CategoryLinear

$7.50

$7.24 per 10 switches

$3.41 per 10 switches

Technical specifications

Actuation force

60g

Actuation force

43g

Bottom-out force

70g

Bottom-out force

50g

Pre-travel

2.00 mm

Pre-travel

1.00 mm

Total travel

4.00 mm

Total travel

3.00 mm

Factory lubed

Yes

Factory lubed

Yes

Stem construction

Standard

Stem construction

Partial box

Stem material

POM

Stem material

POM

Top housing material

Proprietary INK blend

Top housing material

Polycarbonate

Bottom housing material

Proprietary INK blend

Bottom housing material

Nylon

Mount type

PCB (5-pin)

Mount type

Plate (3-pin)

Spring

Color coated

Spring

Stainless steel

Housing materials

The Gateron Ink Black V2 and the KTT Lightning differ in terms of their housing materials. The Ink Black V2 features a proprietary INK blend top housing, while the Lightning utilizes a polycarbonate top housing. Both materials contribute to the sound profile of the switches but in slightly different ways. The INK blend top housing of the Ink Black V2 creates a pointed and relatively high-pitched sound that is often described as clacky. On the other hand, the polycarbonate top housing of the Lightning produces a sharper, higher-pitched, and crisper sound profile. This is because polycarbonate is a stiffer plastic, allowing for a clearer and more resonant sound. In terms of aesthetics, if you prefer RGB lighting, the polycarbonate top housing of the Lightning would be more suitable due to its translucency.

As for the bottom housing, the Ink Black V2 utilizes the same proprietary INK blend material, contributing to its pointed and high-pitched sound profile. In contrast, the Lightning employs a nylon bottom housing. Nylon is known for eliciting a deeper and fuller sound profile, thanks to its relatively softer plastic that absorbs more sound. Therefore, the Lightning's nylon bottom housing creates a duller and rounder sound compared to the Ink Black V2's INK blend bottom housing. It's important to note that the bottom housing has a significant impact on the bottom-out sound and feel of the switch, adding to the overall typing experience.

While the top and bottom housings of the switches differ, their effects on the sound profile are split. Pressing down on the switch will primarily reveal the qualities of the bottom housing, affecting the bottom-out sound and feel. On the other hand, the top housing plays a larger role in the sound when you release a key. So, despite their differences in housing materials, both the Gateron Ink Black V2 and the KTT Lightning offer satisfying and unique sound profiles that enhance the typing experience.

Weight

When comparing the actuation force and bottom out force of the Gateron Ink Black V2 linear switch and the KTT Lightning linear switch, there are clear differences that can impact typing preferences. The Ink Black V2 has a higher actuation force of 60 grams compared to the Lightning's lighter 43 grams. This means that the Ink Black V2 requires more force to trigger a keystroke, providing a stronger push feel. On the other hand, the bottom out force of the Ink Black V2 is 70 grams, which is slightly heavier than the Lightning's 50 grams. Both switches fall into the medium-heavy category when it comes to bottoming out.

Considering weight is a crucial factor for users, individuals who prefer a lighter typing experience may opt for the KTT Lightning switch. The lighter actuation force of the Lightning allows for effortless and smooth keystrokes, ideal for prolonged typing sessions or extended gaming periods. This lightweight quality makes it a suitable choice for those who prioritize comfort and ease of use.

In contrast, the Gateron Ink Black V2 switch caters to those who prefer a more substantial typing encounter. With its higher actuation force, typing on the Ink Black V2 offers a sturdier and more pronounced push feel. This can provide greater tactile feedback and satisfaction to users who enjoy a more robust typing experience. However, it is worth noting that both switches fall within the medium-heavy range for bottom out force, meaning users will experience a similar level of resistance when pressing the keys all the way down.

Ultimately, when considering the actuation force and bottom out force, the Gateron Ink Black V2 linear switch and the KTT Lightning linear switch offer distinct options. The Ink Black V2 leans towards a heavier actuation force, while the Lightning provides a lighter touch. Whichever switch is chosen, users can expect a reliable and responsive typing experience within the medium-heavy category for bottom out force.

Travel distance

The Gateron Ink Black V2 linear switch has a travel distance of 4 mm, which is considered to be the more traditional option. On the other hand, the KTT Lightning linear switch has a shorter travel distance of 3 mm. This makes the Lightning switch more appealing to gamers who prioritize faster response times. The shorter travel distance allows for quicker keystrokes and can give an advantage in gameplay. However, for those who prefer a deeper and more substantial feel when pressing down on a key, the Ink Black V2 with its longer travel distance would be the better choice. It is important to consider personal preferences and typing/gaming needs when deciding between the two switches. Whether choosing the shorter Lightning switch or the slightly longer Ink Black V2, both options will provide satisfactory results for their respective users.

Sound tests

Price comparison

Which switch is more bang for your buck?

The Gateron Ink Black V2 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 Black V2 for $7.24.

The KTT Lightning 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.

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Typing experience

When it comes to sound, the Gateron Ink Black V2 is known for its low-pitched, bassy, and slightly chirpy characteristics. It offers a deep and rich sound profile during key presses, giving it a more mellow and bass-heavy tone. On the other hand, the KTT Lightning is described as clacky, high-pitched, and also chirpy. It produces a sharp and snappy sound, with a crisp and bright tone. Both switches have a unique acoustic signature due to their chirpy nature. It's worth noting that the sound of a switch can also be influenced by other factors such as the keyboard board and keycaps used.

In terms of feel, the Gateron Ink Black V2 is considered mild and polished. It offers a gentle typing experience with a safe, middle-ground zone. The switch has a smooth and refined finish, resulting in reduced friction and smooth key travel. Similarly, the KTT Lightning is described as subtle and polished. It has a gentle resistance that maintains a light typing feel. The switch's polished finish ensures a sleek typing experience with reduced friction.

Overall, the Gateron Ink Black V2 and the KTT Lightning have distinct subjective qualities. The Gateron Ink Black V2 provides a smooth downstroke, rich clack, and a more bass-heavy, mellow sound profile. Its feel is mild and polished, offering a gentle typing experience. On the other hand, the KTT Lightning is designed as a "speed" switch, with a slick type feel, clacky sound profile, and a more high-pitched tone. Its feel is subtle and polished, providing a gentle resistance and smooth key travel.

If you prefer a deeper and richer sound with a mild and polished feel, the Gateron Ink Black V2 is a great option. However, if you prefer a sharper and crisper sound with a subtle and polished feel, the KTT Lightning would be more suitable. Both switches offer unique characteristics, allowing you to choose based on your personal preferences and typing style.

Try switches before you buy them

We understand that finding the perfect keyboard switches can be a challenging and time-consuming process. This led us to design Milktooth's try at-home program that allows you to sample and test different switches in the comfort of your own home, ensuring you make the right choice for your typing preferences.

You can try 10 switches at home for 5 days, and your switches come pre-installed on switch testers. Of course, you’re more than free to install them into your own board to try as well for the most representative typing experience.

Gone are the days of going through countless forums and reviews to find the ideal switches. Now, you can experience the tactile feedback, actuation points, and sound profiles firsthand, empowering you to make an informed decision without any pressure or time constraints.

We understand the importance of finding the perfect typing experience, and our try at-home program eliminates the risk of making a costly mistake. Experiment with different switch variants, test them in various typing scenarios, and fine-tune your keyboard to match your individual preferences.

The try at-home program costs only $15, which includes shipping both ways. By trying before you buy, you can make the most informed purchasing decision possible. Simply click the "try at home" button on any given switch webpage to get started.

Conclusion

To sum up, if you value a medium-heavy bottom out force and a smooth downstroke with a rich clack, the Gateron Ink Black V2 linear switch is a solid choice for you. Its low-pitched and bassy sound profile adds depth and richness to your typing experience. Additionally, with its mild and polished feel, you can expect a gentle typing experience with reduced friction and smooth key travel.

On the other hand, if you prioritize a light bottom out force and a slick type feel with a clacky sound profile, the KTT Lightning linear switch is worth considering. These approachable "speed" switches are perfect for situations where milliseconds can make a difference. Their clacky and high-pitched sound provides a sharp and crisp response. Furthermore, the Lightning switches offer a subtle resistance and a polished finish for a light typing feel and smooth typing experience.

Ultimately, your choice between the Gateron Ink Black V2 and the KTT Lightning switches will depend on your preferences for bottom out force, sound profile, and typing feel. Take into account the characteristics that are important to you, such as the weight and sound of the switches, to make an informed decision. Whether you go for the Ink Black V2 or the Lightning, both switches have their unique qualities that can enhance your typing experience.

Mentioned in this article

Ink Black V2

Ink Black V2

BrandGateron
CategoryLinear

$7.50

$7.24 per 10 switches

Try the Ink Black V2 switches
Lightning

Lightning

BrandKTT
CategoryLinear

$3.41 per 10 switches

Try the Lightning switches