Gateron Ink Red vs. Gateron Ink Yellow

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

Overview

When it comes to mechanical keyboard switches, there are a plethora of options to choose from, each offering its unique features and benefits. Two switches that are worth comparing are the Gateron Ink Red and the Gateron Ink Yellow, both of which are linear switches. The Ink Red, known for its lower actuation force, is a perfect choice for individuals with a lighter typing style. It offers a satisfyingly smooth typing experience, accompanied by a crispy and clacky sound profile. On the other hand, the Ink Yellow distinguishes itself with a shorter travel, providing a typing experience that bridges the gap between a laptop and a standard mechanical keyboard. This switch also offers a pleasant smoothness and clackiness. While these general pointers can help guide you in your decision, let's dive a bit deeper beyond these generalities so you can ultimately choose the best switch for your individual needs and preferences.

By the numbers

Technical specifications

Actuation force

45g

Actuation force

60g

Bottom-out force

60g

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

Standard

Stem construction

Partial box

Stem material

POM

Stem material

POM

Top housing material

Proprietary INK blend

Top housing material

Proprietary INK blend

Bottom housing material

Proprietary INK blend

Bottom housing material

Proprietary INK blend

Mount type

PCB (5-pin)

Mount type

PCB (5-pin)

Spring

Gold-plated

Spring

Gold-plated

Housing materials

The housing materials of the Gateron Ink Red and the Gateron Ink Yellow are virtually identical. Both switches utilize Gateron's proprietary INK blend for both the top and bottom housings. This results in a similar sound profile for both switches, with a pointed and relatively high-pitched sound that is described as satisfyingly clacky. The INK blend brings a thin and higher-pitched sound to both switches, ensuring a consistent auditory experience. Whether typing on the Ink Red or the Ink Yellow, users can expect a similar sound when pressing down on the keys.

However, while the housing materials are the same, it's important to note that the qualities of the INK blend are split between the top and bottom housings of each switch. When pressing down on a switch, users will primarily feel the qualities of the bottom housing. This means that the bottom housing has a greater impact on the bottom-out sound and the overall feel of the keystroke. On the other hand, when you release a key, the top housing will have more influence on the sound produced. So, while the housing materials are the same, the specific characteristics of each housing will affect the typing experience differently.

In summary, the Gateron Ink Red and the Gateron Ink Yellow share the same housing materials, namely Gateron's proprietary INK blend for both the top and bottom housings. This results in a similar sound profile characterized by a pointed and higher-pitched clackiness. However, the division of housing qualities between the top and bottom housings means that the bottom housing impacts the bottom-out sound and feel, while the top housing affects the sound when releasing a key. Despite these differences, overall, users can expect comparable results in terms of sound and feel when comparing the two switches.

Weight

When comparing the actuation force and bottom out force of the Gateron Ink Red linear switch and the Gateron Ink Yellow linear switch, there are notable differences. The Gateron Ink Red linear switch has a lighter actuation force of 45 grams, making it easier to trigger a keystroke. However, it has a slightly heavier bottom out force of 60 grams, providing a more substantial typing experience when pressing all the way down.

On the other hand, the Gateron Ink Yellow linear switch has a heavier actuation force of 60 grams, requiring a stronger push to trigger a keystroke. Similarly, it has a higher bottom out force of 67 grams, further enhancing the sense of resistance when pressing down on the keys.

For those who prefer a lighter switch for extended typing or gaming sessions, the Gateron Ink Red may be the suitable choice. Its lower actuation force allows for smoother and faster keystrokes without exerting excessive effort. However, if a more substantial typing experience is desired, the Gateron Ink Yellow with its heavier actuation and bottom out forces may be preferable.

Overall, the Gateron Ink Red provides a lighter typing experience, while the Gateron Ink Yellow offers a heavier and more robust feel. Both switches have their unique advantages, and the decision ultimately depends on individual preferences and typing styles.

Travel distance

The Gateron Ink Red linear switch has a travel distance of 4 mm, while the Gateron Ink Yellow linear switch has a slightly shorter travel distance of 3.5 mm. This difference in travel distances means that the Ink Red requires a slightly deeper press to register a key press compared to the Ink Yellow. The Ink Red's 4 mm travel distance is more traditional, while the Ink Yellow's 3.5 mm is shallower. Gamers who prioritize faster response times may prefer the Ink Yellow's shorter travel distance, as it allows for quicker key presses. However, those who enjoy a deeper and more substantial press may prefer the Ink Red's longer travel distance. Ultimately, the choice between the two switches depends on personal preference and the desired typing experience.

Price comparison

Which switch is more bang for your buck?

The Gateron Ink Red 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 Red for $7.35.

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

When it comes to sound, both the Gateron Ink Red and Ink Yellow switches have a neutral sound profile with relatively moderate actuation force requirements. This makes them suitable for a variety of uses, whether you are a beginner or advanced typist and regardless of whether you are using them at home or work. However, there are some subtle differences between the two. The Ink Red has a crispy and clacky sound profile, adding a unique acoustic signature to your typing experience. On the other hand, the Ink Yellow produces a sharp and snappy clack when pressed, giving it a crisp, bright, and percussive sound. It's important to note that the sound of these switches can also be influenced by factors such as the keyboard board and keycaps used.

In terms of feel, the Gateron Ink Red and Ink Yellow switches offer a similarly pleasant and comfortable typing experience. Both switches fall into the category of "mild" switches, which means they provide a gentle typing experience. This makes them approachable to most users, as their qualities stand in a safe middle ground. Additionally, both switches are described as "polished," which indicates a smooth and refined finish that results in a sleek and enjoyable typing experience. This smoothness is achieved through either the materials used or factory lubing, which reduces friction and ensures smooth key travel. Overall, you can expect a silky and polished feel with both the Ink Red and Ink Yellow switches.

In conclusion, while there are slight differences in sound between the Gateron Ink Red and Ink Yellow switches, both offer a neutral sound profile that is suitable for most purposes. Similarly, both switches provide a pleasant and comfortable typing experience with their mild and polished qualities. Whether you choose the Ink Red or Ink Yellow, you can expect smoothness and a satisfying feel when typing. Keep in mind that individual preferences may vary, and it is always recommended to test these switches for yourself to determine which one suits your typing style and preferences best.

Conclusion

In closing, the Gateron Ink Red linear switch is your go-to choice if you prefer a lighter typing style. With a bottom out force of 60 grams, it offers a smoother and easier typing experience. The Ink Reds are satisfyingly smooth, produce a crispy and clacky sound profile, and are effortless to type on. They are best suited for those who want a neutral switch, as it has a moderate actuation force requirement and a moderate sound profile suitable for most intents and purposes. Additionally, the Ink Reds are described as silky, mild, and polished, providing an exceptionally smooth typing feel with reduced friction and smooth key travel.

On the other hand, if you are looking for 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 a slightly heavier bottom out force of 67 grams, the Ink Yellow offers a shorter travel distance while maintaining a smooth and clacky sound profile. Similar to the Ink Reds, the Ink Yellows are also described as neutral, mild, and polished, making them approachable to most users. This switch ensures a sleek typing experience with reduced friction and smooth key travel.

Ultimately, the choice between the Gateron Ink Red and Ink Yellow linear switches depends on your personal typing style and preferences. If you prefer a lighter and easier typing experience, opt for the Ink Reds. If you want a more laptop-like typing feel with a shorter travel distance, go for the Ink Yellows. Both switches offer a satisfyingly smooth and clacky sound profile, suitable for various intents and purposes. Happy typing!

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