Gateron Ink Yellow vs. Gateron Oil King

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

Overview

When it comes to choosing the perfect mechanical keyboard switch, two popular options come to mind - the Gateron Ink Yellow and the Gateron Oil King. Both switches fall under the category of linear switches, offering a smooth keystroke without any tactile feedback. The Ink Yellow is known for its shorter travel, making it a preferred choice for those seeking a typing experience between that of a laptop and a standard mechanical keyboard. It boasts a pleasant smoothness and clackiness, perfect for users who enjoy a polished typing experience. On the other hand, the Oil King stands out for its buttery smoothness and a sound profile reminiscent of a dark chocolate bar snapping. With a low-pitched, creamy, silky, and bassy feel, this switch delivers a satisfying typing experience that feels almost indulgent. While these are some general pointers to consider, let's dive in a bit deeper beyond these generalities so you can best decide on the perfect switch that suits your needs.

By the numbers

Technical specifications

Actuation force

60g

Actuation force

55g

Bottom-out force

67g

Bottom-out force

65g

Pre-travel

1.50 mm

Pre-travel

2.00 mm

Total travel

3.50 mm

Total travel

4.00 mm

Factory lubed

Yes

Factory lubed

Yes

Stem construction

Partial box

Stem construction

Standard

Stem material

POM

Stem material

POM

Top housing material

Proprietary INK blend

Top housing material

Nylon

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

Color coated

Housing materials

The housing materials of the Gateron Ink Yellow and the Gateron Oil King are quite distinct. The Ink Yellow features a proprietary INK blend top housing, which gives it a pointed and relatively high-pitched sound profile. This creates a satisfying clacky sound that is not overly sharp. In contrast, the Oil King utilizes a nylon top housing, resulting in a deeper and fuller sound profile. The nylon material absorbs more sound than harder plastics, creating a rounder and duller sound. So, while the Ink Yellow offers a thinner and higher-pitched sound, the Oil King provides a deeper and more resonant tone.

Moving on to the bottom housings, both the Ink Yellow and the Oil King employ the same proprietary INK blend material. This means that their qualities in terms of sound profile and feel are similar. The bottom housing has a significant impact on the bottom-out sound and feel of the switch when pressed down. Therefore, users can expect a similar experience in terms of sound and tactile feedback from both switches.

Overall, the Ink Yellow and the Oil King differ mainly in their top housing materials, with the former utilizing the proprietary INK blend and the latter using nylon. These variations result in different sound profiles, with the Ink Yellow offering a clacky and higher-pitched sound, while the Oil King produces a deeper and fuller tone. However, both switches share the same bottom housing material, ensuring a consistent bottom-out sound and tactile experience. Whether you prefer a sharper, clacky sound or a deeper, fuller tone, both switches provide enjoyable and distinct typing experiences.

Weight

When comparing the actuation force and bottom out force of the Gateron Ink Yellow and Gateron Oil King linear switches, it is evident that both switches have similar force requirements for key presses. The Gateron Ink Yellow has a slightly heavier actuation force of 60 grams, compared to the Oil King's 55 grams. Similarly, the bottom out force of the Ink Yellow is 67 grams, slightly higher than the Oil King's 65 grams. Therefore, both switches can be considered medium-heavy in terms of force requirements.

Considering the weight of the switches, some individuals may prefer the lighter options, such as the Oil King with its lower force requirements. This lighter force allows for longer typing sessions, making it suitable for work or extended gaming sessions. On the other hand, those who prefer a more substantial typing experience may opt for the Ink Yellow, which provides a stronger push feel due to its slightly heavier actuation and bottom out forces.

In summary, while the actuation force and bottom out force of the Gateron Ink Yellow and Gateron Oil King linear switches differ slightly, both switches offer a similar medium-heavy force requirement. The choice between the two switches ultimately depends on individual preference, with the Ink Yellow providing a slightly heavier typing experience while the Oil King offers a lighter option for longer typing sessions.

Travel distance

The Gateron Ink Yellow linear switch has a travel distance of 3.5 mm, while the Gateron Oil King linear switch has a travel distance of 4 mm. Comparing the two, it is clear that the Oil King has a longer travel distance than the Ink Yellow. The 4.0 mm travel distance of the Oil King is a more traditional choice, while the 3.5 mm distance of the Ink Yellow falls on the shorter side. Gamers, in particular, often prefer shorter travel distances for faster response times. So, if you prioritize responsiveness, the Ink Yellow would be the better option. However, individuals who prefer a deeper feel when pressing down on a key may find the longer travel distance of the Oil King more satisfying. It is important to consider personal preference and the specific needs of the user when choosing between the two switches.

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 Gateron Oil King comes in at $6.50 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 is described as having a neutral and clacky profile. This means that the sound produced is crisp, bright, and percussive, giving a satisfying auditory feedback when pressed. On the other hand, the Gateron Oil King switch has a low-pitched and bassy sound profile. This results in a deeper and richer sound, resembling the depth and richness associated with bass tones. Both switches offer distinct sound characteristics, allowing users to choose based on their preference. However, it is important to note that the sound produced by a switch can also be influenced by other factors such as the keyboard and keycaps used.

In terms of feel, the Gateron Ink Yellow switch provides a mild and polished typing experience. With its mild characteristics, this switch offers a more gentle typing feel compared to switches with more pronounced characteristics. The polished finish adds to the smooth and refined keystroke experience, resulting in reduced friction and smooth key travel. On the other hand, the Gateron Oil King switch offers a creamy and silky typing experience. The creamy sensation is achieved through lubrication applied at the factory or specific materials used, providing a smooth and buttery keystroke experience. The silky characteristics enhance overall smoothness and minimize resistance when pressing and releasing keys. Additionally, the Oil King switch also features a polished finish, ensuring a sleek and effortless typing experience. Overall, both switches offer smooth and refined typing experiences, with the Ink Yellow being milder and the Oil King being creamier and silkier.

Taking all the available information into account, the Gateron Ink Yellow and Gateron Oil King switches have distinct subjective qualities in terms of sound and feel. The Ink Yellow showcases a shorter travel and offers a typing experience between that of a laptop and a standard mechanical keyboard. Its sound profile is described as neutral and clacky, providing crisp and bright auditory feedback. The switch feels mild and polished, with a smooth and refined typing experience. On the other hand, the Oil King switch is characterized by buttery smoothness and a sound profile reminiscent of a dark chocolate bar snapping. It offers a creamy and silky typing experience with a low-pitched and bassy sound profile. Both switches provide satisfying typing experiences, but the Ink Yellow is for those seeking a middle-ground typing experience while the Oil King offers a more luxurious and indulgent feel. Despite the differences, users can expect similar smoothness and smooth key travel from both switches due to their polished finishes. Ultimately, the choice between the two switches depends on personal preference for sound and feel.

Conclusion

To sum up, 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 would be a great choice for you. With a bottom out force of 67 grams, it offers a medium-heavy feel. It is known for its pleasant smoothness and clackiness, providing a satisfying typing experience. The sound profile of the Ink Yellow switch is described as neutral and clacky, offering a moderate sound that is crisp, bright, and percussive. In terms of feel, the Ink Yellow switch is described as mild and polished, providing a gentle and refined typing experience with reduced friction and smooth key travel.

On the other hand, if you prefer a switch with buttery smoothness and a sound profile reminiscent of a dark chocolate bar snapping, the Gateron Oil King linear switch would be a great fit for you. With a bottom out force of 65 grams, it also offers a medium-heavy feel. The Oil King switch is known for its incredibly smooth typing experience that feels like gliding your fingers across the keys effortlessly. The sound profile of the Oil King switch is described as low-pitched and bassy, offering a deep and rich tone during key presses.

Ultimately, the choice between the Gateron Ink Yellow and Oil King switches comes down to personal preference. If you prefer a switch with a more neutral and clacky sound profile and a mild and polished feel, the Ink Yellow switch would be a great choice. However, if you prefer a switch with a low-pitched and bassy sound profile and a creamy and silky feel, the Oil King switch would be the better option for you. Consider your desired typing experience and sound preference to make the best choice for your needs.

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