The majority of today’s computer keyboards use a technology sometimes referred to as “membrane” switches. It’s quieter, cheaper, and requires less space, making it perfect for laptops. But those keyboards come with tradeoffs, and for many people, a mechanical keyboard is a better option. Here’s how to buy one.

This item features sharp, multicolored lighting and a tactile feeling for better competition. Redragon

Mechanical keyboards feature a physical metal switch under each key, compared with a squishy membrane under most keyboards. This means that mechanical keyboards create a sharp, audible “click” with each keystroke; it’s hard to explain, but it’s very satisfying to type on. Gamers, programmers, and other hardcore users often refuse to use anything else.

Number Pad Included

This model can support up to 80 million button presses and comes with the option to purchase matching accessories, like a mouse or headphones. Razer

Different mechanical keyboards use different switches, which provide totally different feelings. One might provide a click halfway down as you press the key, another might be firm and yet another might be loose and easy to press. Ultimately, your own preferences will determine which keyboard you decide to get.

Worth the Splurge

This item has a classic vibe, including two tabs on the back to prop it up to a higher angle, but it supports the latest in connection technology. Durgod

Another great thing about mechanical keyboards is how versatile they are. You can easily swap out the keys if you want another design; these are widely available and can be really interesting and beautiful. Because those switches can be replaced, you also don’t have to throw out the entire keyboard if something goes wrong with one key; you can buy a replacement switch for a couple bucks, pop it in and be back on your way. Given how often we spill or crumble things on keyboards, this can be pretty useful.