Gateron Ink Yellow vs. KTT Lightning

An in-depth look at the Gateron Ink Yellow 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 popular options that often come up in discussions are the Gateron Ink Yellow and the KTT Lightning. The Ink Yellow is a linear switch known for its shorter travel, providing a typing experience that falls between that of a laptop and a standard mechanical keyboard. With its pleasant smoothness and clackiness, this switch offers a unique sensation while typing. On the other hand, the Lightning is also a linear switch but is best known for its "speed" capabilities. These switches are highly responsive and perfect for situations where milliseconds can make all the difference, such as gaming. The Lightning switch provides a slick typing feel with a distinctive clacky sound profile. While these general pointers can give you a sense of which switch might suit your needs, let's dive deeper into the specifics to help you make the best decision for your preferences and requirements.

By the numbers

Technical specifications

Actuation force

60g

Actuation force

43g

Bottom-out force

67g

Bottom-out force

50g

Pre-travel

1.50 mm

Pre-travel

1.00 mm

Total travel

3.50 mm

Total travel

3.00 mm

Factory lubed

Yes

Factory lubed

Yes

Stem construction

Partial box

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

Gold-plated

Spring

Stainless steel

Housing materials

The Gateron Ink Yellow and the KTT Lightning differ in terms of the material used for their top housing. The Ink Yellow features a proprietary INK blend, which creates a pointed and relatively high-pitched sound profile that is described as clacky. On the other hand, the Lightning utilizes a polycarbonate top housing, resulting in a sharper, higher-pitched, and crisper sound profile. The polycarbonate material is known for its stiffness, which contributes to a clear and resonant sound. Additionally, the translucent nature of polycarbonate makes it ideal for switches with RGB lighting. Therefore, these two switches provide different sound characteristics due to their distinct top housing materials.

In terms of the bottom housing, both the Ink Yellow and the Lightning have contrasting materials. The Ink Yellow utilizes its proprietary INK blend, which produces a thin and higher-pitched sound profile. This bottom housing material contributes to the overall clacky sound of the switch. On the other hand, the Lightning incorporates a nylon bottom housing, which elicits a deeper and fuller sound profile. Nylon is a softer plastic that absorbs more sound, resulting in a duller and rounder sound. Consequently, the bottom housing material greatly influences the bottom-out sound and feel of the switch.

It is important to note that the top and bottom housings play different roles in the sound produced by the switches. The bottom housing primarily affects the bottom-out sound and feel when the key is pressed down, whereas the top housing has a greater impact on the sound when the key is released. Therefore, while the Ink Yellow and the Lightning may have different materials for their top and bottom housings, the resulting sound from key presses and releases may still have some similarities depending on the overall design and engineering of the switches.

Weight

When comparing the actuation force and bottom out force of the Gateron Ink Yellow linear switch and the KTT Lightning linear switch, it is evident that there are some notable differences. The Gateron Ink Yellow switch has a slightly heavier actuation force of 60 grams compared to the Lightning switch's lighter 43 grams. Additionally, the Ink Yellow switch has a bottom out force of 67 grams, which is also heavier than the Lightning switch's 50 grams.

For those who prefer a lighter typing experience, the Lightning switch would be a suitable choice as it requires less force to trigger a keystroke and bottom out. This feature allows for longer periods of comfortable typing, making it ideal for use in work settings or during extended gaming sessions. On the other hand, individuals seeking a more substantial push feel would find the Ink Yellow switch more appealing. The heavier actuation and bottom out forces provide a stronger tactile feedback, resulting in a more substantial typing experience.

While the Ink Yellow switch leans towards the medium-heavy side, and the Lightning switch falls under the light category, it is important to note that personal preferences play a significant role in selecting the appropriate switch. Some individuals may find that both switches provide similar results based on their typing style and preferences, despite the slight variations in force requirements. Ultimately, the decision between these switches would depend on whether one prefers a lighter or heavier typing experience.

Travel distance

The Gateron Ink Yellow linear switch has a travel distance of 3.5 mm, while the KTT Lightning linear switch has a slightly shorter travel distance of 3 mm. Both switches have shorter travel distances compared to the traditional 4.0mm, making them suitable options for those who prefer quicker response times. Gamers, in particular, may prefer the shorter travel distance of the Lightning switch for its increased responsiveness. On the other hand, individuals who enjoy a more substantial depth when pressing down on a key might favor the Ink Yellow switch with its slightly longer travel distance. Ultimately, the choice between the two switches depends on personal preference for either a shorter, more precise feel or a longer, more substantial feel.

Price comparison

Which switch is more bang for your buck?

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.

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.

Typing experience

When it comes to sound, the Gateron Ink Yellow switch offers a neutral sound profile with a moderate actuation force requirement. This makes it suitable for various purposes, whether you're a beginner or advanced user, and whether you plan to use it at home or work. Additionally, the Ink Yellow switch has a clacky sound profile, producing a sharp and snappy sound when pressed. On the other hand, the KTT Lightning switch also has a clacky sound profile, similar to the Ink Yellow. It produces a crisp, bright, and percussive sound when pressed. The Lightning switch is also described as high-pitched, which means it produces a sharp and crisp sound. It also has a chirpy characteristic, adding a unique acoustic signature to the switch. Overall, both switches offer a clacky sound profile, but the Lightning switch has additional high-pitched and chirpy qualities.

Moving on to feel, the Gateron Ink Yellow switch provides a mild typing experience. It offers a gentle and approachable feel, making it suitable for most users. The switch falls within a safe, middle-ground zone with its qualities. Additionally, the Ink Yellow switch is described as polished, which means it has a smooth and refined finish. This results in a sleek typing experience with reduced friction and smooth key travel. Similarly, the KTT Lightning switch offers a subtle typing feel. It has a gentle resistance that is not too feather-light, providing a light typing experience. The sound signature of the Lightning switch is not resonant, making it suitable for shared spaces. Like the Ink Yellow, the Lightning switch is also described as polished, offering a smooth and refined typing experience with reduced friction.

Considering the available information, both the Gateron Ink Yellow and KTT Lightning switches have some similarities in sound and feel. They both have a clacky sound profile, providing a sharp and snappy sound. Additionally, both switches are described as polished, offering a smooth and refined typing experience with reduced friction. However, the Lightning switch has some additional qualities such as being high-pitched and chirpy, adding a unique sound profile. Overall, if you're looking for a switch with a clacky and polished characteristic, both switches can provide similar results. However, if you prefer a higher-pitched or chirpy sound profile, the KTT Lightning switch might be more suitable for you.

Conclusion

To sum up, if you are looking for a switch with a medium-heavy bottom out force and a pleasant smoothness and clackiness, the Gateron Ink Yellow linear switch would be an excellent choice. It offers a typing experience that is between a laptop and a standard mechanical keyboard. In terms of sound, the Ink Yellow switch is described as neutral and clacky, making it suitable for various purposes whether you are a beginner or advanced user. Moreover, it provides a mild and polished feel, ensuring a gentle typing experience with reduced friction and smooth key travel.

On the other hand, if you prioritize speed and the need for milliseconds to decide your performance, the KTT Lightning linear switch is a fantastic option. With a light bottom out force, it provides a slick type feel and a clacky sound profile. The Lightning switch is also known for its high-pitched and chirpy characteristics, which can add a unique acoustic signature to your typing experience. In terms of feel, it offers a subtle resistance while maintaining a light typing feel, making it suitable for shared spaces. Similar to the Ink Yellow, the Lightning switch is also polished, ensuring smooth and refined key travel.

Ultimately, the choice between the Gateron Ink Yellow and KTT Lightning linear switches will depend on your personal preferences and specific needs. Consider factors such as bottom out force, typing experience, sound profile, and feel when making your decision. Whether you prioritize a medium-heavy switch with a clacky feel or a light switch with a focus on speed, both options offer their unique benefits.

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