Gateron Ink Yellow vs. Kailh Sage

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

Overview

When it comes to choosing the perfect mechanical keyboard switch, there are a plethora of options to consider. Two popular switches in the market are the Gateron Ink Yellow and the Kailh Sage. The Ink Yellow is a linear switch, while the Sage is a clicky switch. The Ink Yellow is best known for its shorter travel, providing a typing experience that falls between that of a laptop and a standard mechanical keyboard. It offers a smooth and clacky feel, making it a favorite among typists who desire a more polished experience. On the other hand, the Sage switches are renowned for their distinct clicky typing experience. These switches have a heavier weight and a refreshingly sharp clickiness, rendering them invigorating and crunchy. While both switches have their unique characteristics and appeal, diving deeper beyond generalities will ultimately help you make the best decision based on your personal preferences and typing needs.

By the numbers

Technical specifications

Actuation force

60g

Actuation force

N/A

Bottom-out force

67g

Bottom-out force

70g

Pre-travel

1.50 mm

Pre-travel

1.70 mm

Total travel

3.50 mm

Total travel

3.60 mm

Factory lubed

Yes

Factory lubed

No

Stem construction

Partial box

Stem construction

Standard

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 housing materials of the Gateron Ink Yellow and the Kailh Sage differ in terms of their composition. The Ink Yellow features a proprietary INK blend top and bottom housing, while the Sage utilizes a polycarbonate top housing and a nylon bottom housing. In terms of sound profile, the Ink Yellow is described as having a clacky and relatively high-pitched sound, while the Sage offers a sharper, higher-pitched, and crisper sound due to its polycarbonate top housing. On the other hand, the Ink Yellow's nylon bottom housing elicits a deeper and fuller sound, creating a duller and rounder sound profile compared to the Sage's stiffer nylon bottom housing. In terms of aesthetics, the Sage's clear polycarbonate top housing allows for enhanced RGB lighting effects, whereas the Ink Yellow's proprietary blend does not offer the same translucency.

While the housing materials of the Gateron Ink Yellow and the Kailh Sage have distinct characteristics, they also share some similarities. Both switches have a relatively higher-pitched sound profile, providing a satisfying and clacky typing experience. Additionally, the use of proprietary blends in the Ink Yellow's top and bottom housing, as well as the material composition of the Sage's polycarbonate top housing and nylon bottom housing, contribute to creating a clear and resonant sound profile for both switches. Although there are differences in their individual qualities, typists can expect similar results in terms of sound when using either the Ink Yellow or the Sage.

The impact of the housing materials on the typing experience varies depending on whether we consider the bottom or top housing. When pressing down on either switch, the qualities of the bottom housing become more noticeable, influencing the bottom-out sound and feel. The nylon bottom housing of the Sage absorbs more sound than the Ink Yellow's proprietary INK blend, resulting in a deeper and fuller sound profile when bottoming out keys. Conversely, upon releasing a key, the sound is mainly influenced by the top housing. The polycarbonate top housing of the Sage generates a sharper and higher-pitched sound, while the Ink Yellow's proprietary blend contributes to a thin and clacky sound upon key release. Therefore, the choice between the Gateron Ink Yellow and the Kailh Sage will depend on the particular sound preferences and typing experience desired by the user.

Weight

When comparing the actuation force and bottom out force of the Gateron Ink Yellow linear switch and the Kailh Sage clicky switch, we can see both similarities and differences. Starting with the Gateron Ink Yellow, it has an actuation force of 60 grams, indicating a moderate pressure required to initiate a keystroke. Additionally, its bottom out force is slightly heavier at 67 grams, providing a more substantial typing experience when fully pressed. In contrast, the Kailh Sage's actuation force is unavailable, indicating that it is unknown at this time. However, we do know that its bottom out force is 70 grams, making it slightly heavier than the Gateron Ink Yellow.

Considering weight is important for various reasons, as some prefer lighter switches to enable longer typing or gaming sessions without fatigue. In this aspect, the Gateron Ink Yellow may be more suitable due to its lighter actuation force. On the other hand, individuals seeking a more robust typing experience may lean towards the Kailh Sage with its heavier bottom out force. Overall, while the force characteristics differ slightly between these switches, both cater to those who prefer a medium-heavy feel.

Travel distance

The Gateron Ink Yellow linear switch and the Kailh Sage clicky switch have slightly different travel distances. The Ink Yellow has a travel distance of 3.5 mm, while the Sage has a travel distance of 3.6 mm. Although the difference may seem minimal, it can impact the overall typing or gaming experience.

In terms of comparison, both switches have a relatively short travel distance compared to the traditional 4.0 mm distance. This makes them suitable for those who prefer quicker response times. However, if you are a gamer looking for the utmost responsiveness, the Ink Yellow with its slightly shorter travel distance may be the better option.

On the other hand, those who prefer a more substantial and satisfying keypress may lean towards the Sage with its slightly longer travel distance. The additional 0.1 mm can provide a deeper feel and may be more comfortable for some users.

Ultimately, the decision between the two switches depends on your personal preference. If you prioritize speed and responsiveness, the Ink Yellow would be a suitable choice. If a deeper and more substantial keystroke is important to you, the Sage may be the preferable option. Overall, both switches offer different experiences, allowing users to choose based on their individual typing or gaming style.

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 Kailh Sage comes in at $6.25 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 provides a neutral sound profile with a moderate actuation force requirement. This makes it suitable for both beginners and advanced users, whether you plan to use it at home or work. The sound produced by the Ink Yellow switch can be described as clacky, giving it a sharp and snappy sound when pressed. On the other hand, the Kailh Sage switch offers a distinct clicky typing experience. The sound of the Sage switch is often associated with stepping on piles of crisp and crunchy autumn leaves, giving it a crunchy sound. However, it's important to note that the sound of a switch is also influenced by other factors such as the choice of keyboard board and keycaps.

In terms of feel, the Gateron Ink Yellow provides a mild and polished typing experience. The switch offers a more gentle typing experience compared to switches with more pronounced characteristics. It falls in the safe middle-ground zone, making it approachable for most users. The Ink Yellow switch has a smooth and refined finish, resulting in reduced friction and smooth key travel. This can be attributed to the materials used and/or factory lubing. On the other hand, the Kailh Sage switch offers an invigorating typing experience. It provides pronounced feedback and a snappy and reactive feel, creating an immersive typing sensation. The Sage switch has a sharp tactile bump that is felt distinctly with each keypress.

Taking into consideration the available information, the Gateron Ink Yellow and Kailh Sage switches provide different subjective qualities. The Ink Yellow offers a smoother and clacky sound, while the Sage provides a clicky and crunchy sound. In terms of feel, the Ink Yellow offers a mild and polished typing experience, while the Sage provides an invigorating and sharp tactile feel. Both switches have their own unique characteristics that cater to different preferences. If you are looking for a similar typing experience to the Ink Yellow but prefer a clicky switch, the Sage would be a suitable alternative, providing a similar level of smoothness and clackiness. Ultimately, the choice between the two switches depends on personal preference and the desired typing experience.

Conclusion

To wrap up, if you are looking for a switch with a shorter travel that falls between the typing experience on a laptop and a standard mechanical keyboard, the Gateron Ink Yellow linear switch is the one for you. It offers a pleasant smoothness and clackiness, with a bottom out force of 67 grams. This switch is described as having a mild and polished feel, providing a gentle typing experience with reduced friction and smooth key travel. It also has a neutral sound profile, suitable for various purposes.

On the other hand, if you prefer a distinct clicky typing experience, the Kailh Sage switch is a great choice. With a bottom out force of 70 grams, it offers a refreshingly sharp clickiness. This switch is known for its invigorating and sharp feel, providing pronounced feedback and a snappy, reactive sensation. It has a crunchy sound profile, reminiscent of stepping on piles of crisp autumn leaves.

In the end, your decision should be based on your personal preferences. If you value a shorter travel and a smoother feel, go for the Gateron Ink Yellow. If you enjoy a clicky experience with pronounced feedback, the Kailh Sage is the way to go. Consider the sound and feel descriptions as well, as they may further influence your choice. Ultimately, choosing the right switch will enhance your typing experience, ensuring that you find the perfect fit for your needs and preferences.

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