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Gateron Ink Yellowvs. Outemu Red Panda

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

Overview

When it comes to choosing a mechanical keyboard switch, there are a wide variety of options available, each offering a unique typing experience. Two popular choices are the Gateron Ink Yellow and the Outemu Red Panda. The Ink Yellow is a linear switch known for its shorter travel distance, making it a good choice for those who want a typing experience that falls between that of a laptop and a standard mechanical keyboard. It offers a pleasant smoothness and clackiness, with a categorization of neutral, clacky, mild, and polished. On the other hand, the Red Panda is a tactile switch that provides a light-medium amount of tactility. It produces a bassier, raindrop-like sound when bottoming out, and a clackier, higher-pitched sound when topping out. The Red Panda is categorized as thocky and mild. Both switches have their unique advantages and it ultimately depends on individual preferences. However, let's dive in a bit deeper beyond these generalities to help you decide on the best switch for your needs.

By the numbers

Ink Yellow
Red Panda
BrandGateron
CategoryLinear
BrandOutemu
CategoryTactile

$7.50

$7.35 per 10 switches

$3.40 per 10 switches

Technical specifications

Actuation force

60g

Actuation force

50g

Bottom-out force

67g

Bottom-out force

60g

Pre-travel

1.50 mm

Pre-travel

1.80 mm

Total travel

3.50 mm

Total travel

3.30 mm

Factory lubed

Yes

Factory lubed

No

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 Outemu Red Panda differ in their housing materials, resulting in distinct sound profiles. The Ink Yellow features a proprietary INK blend top housing, which produces a satisfying thin and higher-pitched sound, described as clacky. In contrast, the Red Panda's polycarbonate top housing creates a sharper, higher-pitched, and crisper sound. This is due to polycarbonate's stiffness, allowing for a clear and resonant sound profile. Additionally, the Red Panda's clear polycarbonate top housing is ideal for those who plan to use RGB lighting.

Moving on to the bottom housing, both switches offer different materials and therefore, different sound experiences. The Ink Yellow utilizes the same proprietary INK blend for the bottom housing, resulting in a pointed and relatively high-pitched sound. Similarly, the Red Panda utilizes a nylon bottom housing, known for eliciting a deeper and fuller sound profile. Nylon's softer plastic absorbs more sound, creating a duller and rounder sound compared to the INK blend.

However, it's important to note that the top and bottom housings play different roles in the overall typing experience. While the bottom housing significantly influences the bottom-out sound and feel when pressing down on the switch, the top housing is more impactful when releasing a key. Thus, even with different materials employed in the housings, the characteristics they bring to the switch will be split between the top and bottom, resulting in similar results when it comes to the overall sound profile.

Weight

When comparing the actuation force and bottom out force of the Gateron Ink Yellow linear switch and the Outemu Red Panda tactile switch, we can clearly see some differences. The Ink Yellow has a slightly higher actuation force of 60 grams compared to the Red Panda's 50 grams. This means that it requires a slightly stronger push to register a keystroke on the Ink Yellow. Similarly, in terms of bottom out force, the Ink Yellow requires 67 grams of force while the Red Panda only requires 60 grams. This indicates that the Ink Yellow offers a slightly heavier and more substantial typing experience compared to the Red Panda. However, it is worth mentioning that both switches fall into the medium range of actuation and bottom out forces. So, if weight is a deciding factor, individuals who prefer a lighter typing experience may lean towards the Red Panda, while those who enjoy a stronger push feel would likely opt for the Ink Yellow. Ultimately, both switches offer a satisfactory typing experience to cater to different preferences.

Travel distance

When comparing the travel distance of the Gateron Ink Yellow linear switch and the Outemu Red Panda tactile switch, it is evident that the Ink Yellow has a longer travel distance of 3.5 mm compared to the Red Panda which has a travel distance of 3.3 mm. Both switches, however, fall within the range of shorter travel distances that are currently popular. Gamers, in particular, tend to prefer shorter travel distances as it allows for faster response times. Therefore, if you prioritize quick responsiveness, the Red Panda would be the better option for you. On the other hand, if you prefer a more substantial key press, the Ink Yellow with its longer travel distance may be more suitable. It is important to consider personal preferences when choosing between the two, as some individuals may find shorter travel distances to feel too abrupt. Ultimately, it is a matter of individual preference in terms of desired key depth and responsiveness.

Sound tests

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 Outemu Red Panda comes in at $3.40 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 Yellow switch provides a neutral sound profile with a moderate actuation force requirement. This means that it produces a crisp, bright, and percussive sound when pressed, giving it a clacky characteristic. On the other hand, the Outemu Red Panda switch offers a thocky sound profile with a deep, rich, and satisfying sound when pressed and released. The Red Panda's sound can be likened to a deep "thud" or a soft "knock." However, it's important to note that the sound of a switch can also be influenced by other factors such as the keyboard board and keycaps used.

When it comes to feel, both the Gateron Ink Yellow and Outemu Red Panda switches provide a mild typing experience. This means that they offer a more gentle feel compared to switches with more pronounced characteristics. The qualities of these switches stand in a safe, middle-ground zone, which makes them approachable to most users. In addition, both switches possess a polished finish, resulting in a smooth and refined typing experience. This is achieved through materials used and/or factory lubing, which reduces friction and ensures smooth key travel. It's worth noting that the feel of a switch can also be influenced by factors such as the keycap material, keyboard construction, and personal typing technique.

Taking into account the available information, the Gateron Ink Yellow linear switch and the Outemu Red Panda tactile switch offer distinct subjective qualities. The Ink Yellow is characterized by a shorter travel distance, pleasant smoothness, and clackiness, providing a typing experience that sits between that of a laptop and a standard mechanical keyboard. It produces a neutral sound profile with a clacky characteristic. On the other hand, the Red Panda offers light-medium tactility, a bassier bottom-out sound, and a clackier top-out sound. Both switches provide a mild feel and a polished finish, ensuring a comfortable and smooth typing experience. While there are differences, both switches offer desirable qualities depending on personal preference. Whether you prefer a clacky switch with shorter travel or a tactile switch with a thocky sound, these options provide excellent choices.

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

In closing, to decide between the Gateron Ink Yellow linear switch and the Outemu Red Panda tactile switch, you should consider your personal preferences and typing style. If you are looking for a typing experience that falls between that of a laptop keyboard and a standard mechanical keyboard, with a pleasant smoothness and clackiness, the Ink Yellow is a great choice. With a medium-heavy bottom out force of 67 grams, it offers a slightly heavier feel. On the other hand, if you prefer a lighter typing experience with a light-medium amount of tactility and a bassier, raindrop-like bottom-out sound and a clackier, higher-pitched top-out sound, the Red Panda is a suitable option. It has a medium bottom out force of 60 grams.

When it comes to sound, the Ink Yellow provides a neutral and clacky profile, with a moderate actuation force requirement. This makes it suitable for most purposes, whether you're a beginner or advanced user, and whether you plan to use it at home or work. The Red Panda, in contrast, offers a thocky sound, producing a deep, rich, and satisfying "thud" or "knock" when pressed and released.

In terms of feel, both switches fall under the mild category, offering a gentle typing experience. However, the Ink Yellow is also described as polished, providing a sleek and refined finish for smooth key travel and reduced friction. The Red Panda, while not explicitly mentioned as polished, still offers a comfortable and approachable feel.

Ultimately, your choice between these two switches will depend on your specific preferences for weight, sound, and feel. Consider what typing experience you desire and how these factors align with your preferences. Whether you choose the Ink Yellow or the Red Panda, both switches are reputable options for mechanical keyboard enthusiasts.

Mentioned in this article

Ink Yellow

Ink Yellow

BrandGateron
CategoryLinear

$7.50

$7.35 per 10 switches

Try the Ink Yellow switches
Red Panda

Red Panda

BrandOutemu
CategoryTactile

$3.40 per 10 switches

Try the Red Panda switches