Membrane keyboards have two different combinations one of which has a flat design on the key and the other having a dome switch. The dome switch method is extremely similar in respect to tactility as to the conventional mechanical keyboards and has one rubber layer rather than lots of different individual keys separating them. On a typical membrane keyboard you will find these are a lot smaller than mechanical ones and are far easier to use as the conductive layer underneath the surface is extremely tactile. Membrane keypads can be used in many different appliances in the home such as your computer keyboard or remote control but they are also extremely common in the workplace, for example on things like CNC machinery. Generally you won’t get the option of choosing between a membrane or mechanical keypad due to the fact that the manufacturer of the specific item has probably already made that choice for their item.
Advantages of a membrane keyboard
There are several advantages of a membrane keypad which include the following:
- Size – Clearly there is a lot more opportunity to make these smaller which can help give you more room.
- Weight – The weight of the membrane keypad is a lot lighter than those of a mechanical nature.
- Noise – A massive advantage of a membrane keyboard is the lack of noise it makes. When you press on the keys you hardly hear a peep compared to your conventional mechanical keyboards.
- Lifespan – As the membrane keyboard has an underlay and doesn’t have different separate keys, it is less likely to break and therefore lasts a lot longer. Compared to a mechanical keyboard where broken keys is pretty common. You can expect a membrane keyboard to last for many years without any problem.
There are very little disadvantages for these type of keyboards however we have listed some below:
- Tactility – When pressing a key on a mechanical keyboard it is very obvious what key you are pressing and there is no dubiety however when using a membrane keyboard, due to the fact it is not a unique button and there is a quiet smooth feel then feeling is pretty natural.
- Cleaning – Cleaning can be a bit of hassle. If you think of how easy it is to clean a mechanical keyboard and the fact that you can purchase wipes that are easy to use then it’s slightly different with the membrane ones. As the keys are not specifically separated, extra care needs to be taken when cleaning.
- Price – If you get the option of a typical mechanical keyboard and membrane, the membrane will come out a lot more expensive. You can purchase a mechanical keyboard online for a few pounds nowadays however its equivalent in membrane will be approximately double the price.
As such, if you have the option of either a membrane or mechanical keypad, be sure to understand all these advantages and disadvantages in order to support you making an informed choice.