What Is Membrane Keyboard & How to Distinguish It from Mechanical [MiniTool Wiki]

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What Is a Membrane Keyboard

The keyboards on the market are mainly divided into 2 types: mechanical keyboard and membrane keyboard. As mechanical keyboard has been discussed in our previous article, MiniTool will talk about membrane keyboard today.

Membrane keyboard is a sort of computer keyboard, which uses a single rubber-like membrane under the keys. The membrane makes contacts with a circuit board when the key is fully pressed.

The keyboard consists of 3 different layers, which are rather flexible. The first layer is the top membrane layer. There is a conductive trace under the top layer. Once the key is pressed, it moves through the second layer that is made up of holes (so it is called holes layer). This layer allows the pressure pads (situated under each key to pass through) and contacts with the conductive traces.

what is a membrane keyboard

-image from logitech.com

The third one is the bottom membrane layer. The membrane keyboard mainly has 2 types of design. The first one is the flat key design that is often used on microwave ovens. The keys in this design are printed on the same pressure pad. However, it will not offer you obvious physical feedback, which makes it tough to utilize on the computer keyboard.

Another membrane keyboard type is called dome switch keyboard. It utilizes a dome with printed letter on the top. Sometimes they are printed on or laser stretched. This type of keyboard utilizes a rubber or a silicone keypad. When the domes are pressed down, they will collapse. At that time, the graphite under the dome will finish the circuit under the membrane pad. By doing so, the signal of key will be sent out.

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Mechanical vs Membrane Keyboard

As mechanical and membrane are two main keyboards, people are often confused about them. Mechanical vs membrane keyboard: which one is better? To make a correct decision, you should have a deep understanding of each keyboard.

Each keyboard has its own strengthens and weaknesses. You can preview them and then make your choice.

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The Features of Mechanical Keyboards

  • Pros
  1. It has removable keycaps.
  2. It is rather durable and long-lasting.
  3. It is tactile.
  4. It offers you different type styles.
  5. It allows you to press multiple keys at the same time.
  6. It is rather easy to clean.
  • Cons
  1. It charges you more money than membrane.
  2. It has a loud sound.
  3. It is heavy.
  4. It may require some DIY skills.

The Features of Membrane Keyboards

  • Pros
  1. It provides you similar typing experience to mechanical keyboards.
  2. It is relatively quiet.
  3. It is more portable.
  4. It is affordable for most people.
  • Cons
  1. The typing feels is not so good.
  2. When you don’t press the keys fully, they will not be registered as a hit.
  3. It has a shorter lifespan than mechanical keyboards.
  4. It is hard to clean up.

Mechanical keyboard vs membrane: which one to pick? After reading the above advantages and disadvantages of 2 keyboards, you can make a choice now. In fact, it’s hard to decide which keyboard to buy. There is no absolute answer to the question - membrane vs mechanical: which one is better.

For example, if you don’t have much budget and concerns less about the performance of the keyboard, membrane keyboard is suitable for you. On the contrary, if you need to use keyboard frequently, the mechanical keyboard would be better for you.

In a word, the selection of the keyboard is based on your demand and preference. Mechanical vs membrane keyboard: which is suitable for you? You may have answers in your mind now!

The Bottom Line

After reading the post, you will have a further understanding of membrane keyboard. In addition, you can make a wise choice when buying a keyboard based on the analysis of 2 keyboards. Hope this article can be helpful for you. Here comes the end of this post.

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