I haven't used a mechanical keyboard before so not really sure what to look for or what price range, any recommendations?
First thing to do is work out which switch type you like.
probably do bit research on the following selection criteria:
1 switch selection, noise requirement. classic Cherry switches could be as base line to study.
2 decoration RGB requirements. something
3 controller: connection form wireless (2.4, BT or wired) / report rate/ghosting, report rate is important when gaming
4 form factor: 60, 87, 98 and 104
Think of your use then consider the above criteria….
Try to find a mech keyboard that's hotswappable; it'll allow you to test different switch types, eg. linear, tactile or clicky without getting a whole entire new board.
If you find that you really enjoy the mech keyboard that you get, consider dipping your toes into custom mech keyboards; you'll be able to do a lot of stuff you didn't know you could do before with the sound, feel and aesthetics of your keyboard.
I use the GK61 currently.
Others have mentioned what I probably would have said, I will add and say that there are switch testers out there from eBay, Aliexpress and more.
There are three main switch types, clicky, tactile and linear.
In terms of Cherry MX switches: MX Blue (has a clicky mechanism so it gives you both a tactile and an audible feedback), MX Brown (has a notch on the slider so as it gets pressed it gives you a tactile feedback), and MX Red (does not have a notch, so there is no change in force as you press down until you hit the bottom).
There are also silent switches which has dampeners installed within the switches, so they reduce noises as the switches gets pressed and hit the bottom and comes back up and hit the top of the housing.
There are other switches out there, of course.
I personally like Leopold keyboards. I found them to be very well built. That said, they don't have RGB, if that is your thing.
How do you guys feel the Red switch? I often rest my fingers on the keyboard. Mine is blue. Super loud and I wish to change to Red so that my wife can sleep
In short: Red switches might not help that much depending on how you type, you could try "Silent switches" like MX Silent Red or Black and/or have a towel underneath the keyboard to reduce the reverb.
Cherry MX Red switches are linears, so it can help since it doesn't have the clicky mechanism.
That said, the noise linears can make really depends on how you type as well as the acoustics (from the board and the tablet as well).
There are a few sources of noises from typing, bottoming out, switch coming back up, stabilisers making noises (along with them being on the larger keys make the sound much louder).
If you hit your keys hard all the way down to the bottom, linears are still very loud. They do reverb as well from the board and from the table. One of the common ways to reduce that is by having a deskmat or a towel underneath the keyboard.
MX Silent Reds and Blacks are options as well which has dampeners installed inside the switch which would reduce the sound the switches make. The dampeners I believe are some kind of rubbery, sillicony stuff and it does change how bottoming out feels (because you are hitting the bottom with that instead of plastic).
Or you can install rubber o-rings which kinda act as a dampener (though I always found the type feeling very mush more so than silent switches, the whole procedure very tedious)
I have heard some people complaining about the weight of the MX Reds being light (45g), if you have found MX Blues light, MX Blacks might be an option?
O-rings dont help with noise when pressing hard down the keys?
If it does not have a clicking mechanism (i.e. MX Blue switches), rubber o-ring should reduce the noise of the keys hitting the bottom (bottoming out). It won't do much to noises of the stem hitting top of the switch (you can kinda here it from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B6J9GBYdd3k, that ticking sound on keys with o-ring).
That said I genuinely do recommend trying it out on a few keys first, it makes hitting the bottom of the switches feel "mushy".
The comment about red switches was more about how bottoming out makes noise. Basically people assume, reds are linear (no tactile bump or clicky mechanism) therefore they would make less noise than say MX Blues switches. Depending on how hard you hit the keys, how much reverb is there on the board, etc etc the keyboard with red switches may end up being fairly loud.
Basically hitting the keys really hard makes fair bit of noise. Though at that level, I think it's more the user problem than the solution not working (even rubber domes would sound loud at that point).
My blue-switch keyboard has O-rings so the plastic keys hitting the keyboard base doesn't make much sound. But the clicking and the touches of my fingers cause the noise that I wish to minimise. I just realised that fingers hitting keycaps can be loud. It seems that the keycaps connecting to the switch when moved sideways hit the switch casings and make noise.
I do want to upgrade to a less clicky board, so I'm looking at the red now. I will look at the black as you suggest.
I think a lot of people like Gateron Yellow switches which are between Black and Red in terms of weighting.
If you are looking for a new keyboard purely from the noise side, NIZ keyboards and Topre are also an option.
Adding a towel underneath could reduce noise as well, it's free and easily reversible.
Silent switches will also remove the noise from the keys coming back up as well unlike o rings. I personally prefer them over o-rings, and since you are looking into getting a new keyboard anyways, I don't think it's a bad idea to look into the silent switches either.
Anyways good luck with your search.
If you (or your wallet) are brave enough, check out r/mechanicalkeyboards
Without knowing what your usage/requirements are (gaming, work, ergonomic keyboard, etc)
Look for a keyboard layout that you like (60% to full sized)
There can be subtle differences (do you need dedicated arrow keys, numpad, additional macro keys) between the layout.
I went for wireless and ended up getting the keychron k8
Below were some items on my "shortlist"
Redragon K596 Vishnu 2.4G Wireless/Wired RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
Redragon K530 Draconic 60% Compact RGB Wireless Mechanical Keyboard
Corsair K57 RGB Wireless Gaming Keyboard
Keychron k2, k6 k8
Anne pro 2
Logitech G® G613 Wireless Mechanical Gaming Keyboard
Logitech G915 TKL Lightspeed Mechanical Gaming Keyboard - GL Tactile
Check out the tree chart
"annoy your co-workers"
Try Kailh Click Bar switches, I genuinely thought my Cherry MX Blue switch was broken because of how soft and quiet the click was compared to NK Sherbet.