IMPORTANT: Scroll past the table below to get an idea of what the categories mean and how I score every keyboard and switch. Totally not inspired by the DougScore.
How does it work?
There are 5 separate categories for both keyboards and switches. Each category is judged on a scale from 1 through 10 – with “1” being the worst, and “10” being the best, meaning the highest possible KeebScore is 50.
Each keyboard or switch is judged against all other keyboards or switches and not only its segment. That’s an important point because it means these categories aren’t relative, but rather absolute: the keyboard or switch with the very highest KeebScore is the best overall keyboard or switch I’ve ever tested, and the keyboard or switch with the lowest is the worst.
Important note: The scores are subjective. A bit of an obvious one, but it needs to be mentioned just to make things a little more crystal clear. Preferences are what keeps this hobby exciting.
As for my preferences: Tactile switches are my most preferred switch type. I also tend lean on heavier weighted switches compared to the majority. So, don’t be surprised if I score a switch differently from how you would’ve scored it.
A small side note: Unthoroughly tested keyboards/switches are marked in orange. These are keyboards or switches I cannot test due to propriety cables or extreme unreliability. They will still receive a score and you can spot these (almost always near the bottom) with an orange-coloured cell. I promise you won’t see these often.
The Keyboard Categories
There are 5 categories here. Build Quality, Features, Daily Performance, Reliability and Value.
For this, I’ll be taking into account the durability of the materials for all the components. The score here is generally higher if the keyboard is built with sturdy and durable materials. Examples like the IBM Model F and the Topre Type Heaven are great examples of well-built keyboards.
Features will be based on a keyboards’ bells and whistles from the factory. Usually, the more features, the better, but if the intended feature is broken or barely useful, it won’t count.
A good daily performing keyboard needs to be able to handle most, if not, all computing tasks. A keyboard with useful features, great switches and a reasonable layout will do well, whilst the opposite won’t.
This category mainly targets vintage keyboards as newer keyboards cannot be tested for reliability during the length of my usual testing period (~2 weeks). Newer keyboards will still be given a reliability score, but its score would be a blend of brand reputation and my personal experience from my testing period.
In other words, Is it worth it? . A keyboard priced at £1000 isn’t necessarily a bad value if it excels at what it does. In the same fashion that a keyboard priced at £5 can be a poor value if it’s terrible to use, poorly built and inferior compared to rivals.
The Switch Categories
There are 5 categories here. Smoothness, Weighting, Sound, Typing Performance and Gaming Performance.
Smoothness is a category used to judge how buttery smooth the switch is. Modern hall-effect switches such as the SteelSeries OmniPoint are very smooth and deserve a “10”, whilst rough and scratchy switches like the Cherry MY doesn’t deserve a score above a “2”.
Generally, switches that are extremely light (less than 45 grams) and switches that are extremely heavy (over 90 grams) don’t do well here. Additionally, I also look at weighting consistency as sometimes this can vary widely, especially with budget switches.
Sound is, once again, very subjective. A great sounding switch to me isn’t going to be a great sounding switch to everyone. Additionally, this doesn’t account for any chassis difference between keyboards. If I happen to be reviewing a switch in a bad sounding chassis, the switch will simply get a low score. There just isn’t any way to test every keyboard configuration out there.
For this, I’m asking Is it pleasant to type on? This is all about the overall typing experience. Generally, very smooth, nicely weighted and great sounding switches do very well here.
This is a category designed to judge switches based on how well they perform for all types of games, though, more specifically, in fast paced games. There are now switches purely designed with gaming in mind. However, some vintage switches have proven to be great candidates here too.