Looking for a Cheap Silent Keyboard

I'm looking for a cheap silent keyboard (with proper keys, not "chiclet" keys). It seems that I'm either a very loud typer, or the cheap keyboards that I use at work and at home (low end Logitech and Microsoft) are very loud. I've read a few reviews, and it appears that a lot of what are called "silent keyboards" in the adverts can still be pretty loud. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Comments

  • Microsoft 600, cheap and cheerful, comes with a mouse too

    • I found this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L4nyDo3JT6s which at about 4:30 shows how loud it is. I realise that they've raised the audio by 10dB (why would you do that?), but it seems just as loud as everything else I've ever used.

      • It's the keyboard I'm using and it's super loud. I always have it on on folded old shirts to dampen the noise against the desk surface at least.

        It's a good cheap keyboard, but totally misses the quiet requirement you're going for.

  • One of the ways to reduce the sound coming from a keyboard is having a towel or something soft like a deskpad underneath the keyboard so that the sound don't resonate as much.

    I know this slightly goes tangent to what you asked but It's practically costless to try at least?

    • I can understand why that might make some difference, but if I take the keyboard I'm typing on now off the table and put it on my lap (as I just have!), there's very little difference in sound level.

  • I think most of the noise is the keys hitting something at the end of their travel. I don't know whether it's the circuit board or some other part of the key itself.

    Cherry seem to make two types of silent keys, red and something else, with one being "more silent" than the other. I think their definition of silent is different to mine - I think they're comparing it with their normal "clicky" mechanical keys. I've also seen videos of people putting rubber rings inside the keys to cushion the end of travel, which reinforces my feeling that the problem is the keys hitting bottom. However, I still don't know how well that actually works, and the rubber rings only seem suitable for mechanical keys - a mechanical key keyboard is well outside what I'd like to spend.

    • If you hit the keys hard on keyboards, I don't think Cherry MX Red (which is their linear keyboard) would sound quiet for you.

      Cherry MX Silent Red and Silent Black have built in silicone dampeners inside which reduces the noise, but any keyboards that contain them are normally pricey.
      So something like this.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LOW18xnbvBo

      • If the guy in that video would just stop talking and take a breath, I might be able to hear the keyboard!

        • If you go onto the description of the video, he has a section where he does a typing/sound demonstration.
          He just types without talking.

          https://youtu.be/LOW18xnbvBo?t=480

          • @iridiumstem: I just noticed that the last few seconds is keyboard only, and I think that's one of the loudest keyboards I've ever heard!

            It seems that with keyboards, the word "silent" doesn't have the same meaning that it does in the rest of the world.

            • @pjetson: You do have to bear in mind that video recordings and you listening to a video makes it difficult to gauge loudness a lot of the times.

              Perhaps this might be a better representation:
              https://youtu.be/mP1p7-QeuRU?t=275 That is where he uses a rubber dome (fast forward until you see him just type)
              https://youtu.be/mP1p7-QeuRU?t=347 Here is where he uses a Cherry MX Silent Red keyboard (fast forward until you see him just type)

              In terms of the noises, I found Cherry MX Silent Reds to be fairly quiet, especially if you don't press on it hard and fast.

              It might be better for you to go into OfficeWork and see which keyboard makes less noise as well?

              • @iridiumstem: I found a whitepaper from Logitech about their K295 keyboard being ten times quieter than their K270 (which I'm typing on right now). I then found this video comparison https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zs6x-YSl-aI&t=95s which shows that it makes a different sound (a boing?) to other keyboards rather than a much quieter sound.

                I don't recall that my local Officeworks has all their keyboards out of their boxes and on display, but I'll go and check.

            • @pjetson: All the keyboards you're being recommended are pretty loud (I have one of them), but I do know that laptop keyboards are a lot quieter (I guess due to being fairly flat? Maybe less travel distance for the keys and so less energy and less noise), so maybe if you get a laptop style keyboard, it won't be as comfortable, but will be a fair bit quieter.

              edit: Though I suppose those are the types of keys you mentioned, my bad.

  • I found a video of Cherry's so-called "silent" red keys https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ndKescNP8s&t=102s which are about as far from silent as any cheap keyboard I've used. The video then goes on to show how much difference adding rubber o-rings makes, which in my opinion is little or none.

    • That is MX Red, it's not a silent switch. It is a linear switch, and some people say it is a quieter (because it doesn't have a clicking mechanism), but if you press fast and hard on the keys (like the person is doing in the video), it will make lots of noises because the keycap is hitting the plate below hard.

      Plus there are lots of things with how the keyboard is built as well, how some keyboards are almost hollow below the plate, making the sound to resonate, but that is slightly different story I think.

      Anyways, Cherry MX Silent Reds are different (they have silicone dampeners inside and they are literally called "Silent Red"), and sound so much quieter because the key hitting the bottom and key coming up is dampened.

  • The most silent you can get is probably a tablet or phone touch screen keyboard with the sounds/vibrations disabled

  • Look into some custom mechs?

    • +1, you might be able to find/build a mechanical keyboard that suits your needs. It may or may not be cheap, depends on what you're looking at.