Switch Mounts: Plate-mounted vs. PCB-mounted

pcb mounted vs. plate mounted switches

Mechanical keyboards can feature different switch mounting methods, primarily plate-mounted and PCB-mounted. These mounting styles significantly impact the keyboard’s construction, feel, and overall typing experience. Let’s delve into a detailed analysis and comparison of these two types.


Plate-Mounted Switches

Description: In plate-mounted keyboards, the switches are affixed to a metal or plastic plate, which is then positioned above the PCB (Printed Circuit Board). This plate introduces an extra layer of rigidity and stability to the construction.


  • Stability and Rigidity: The plate furnishes additional support, rendering the keyboard more solid and stable.
  • Typing Feel: This often results in a more consistent and firmer typing experience.
  • Durability: It adds structural integrity to the keyboard, potentially enhancing its durability.
  • Sound: The sound profile of typing is often altered, resulting in a more resonant and “fuller” sound.


  • Weight: The inclusion of a plate adds extra weight to the keyboard, making it heavier.
  • Flexibility: The flexibility of the PCB is reduced, leading to a less ‘bouncy’ typing experience.
  • Customization and Repair: Swapping switches can be more challenging and may require desoldering.


PCB-Mounted Switches

Description: PCB-mounted switches are directly mounted to the keyboard’s PCB. This design does not include a supporting plate between the switches and the PCB.


  • Flexibility: The absence of a plate allows for more PCB flex, which some typists prefer for its distinctive feel.
  • Weight: Generally, keyboards are lighter than their plate-mounted counterparts.
  • Customization and Repair: Easier to customize and repair as switches can often be removed without desoldering, especially in keyboards that support hot-swapping.
  • Sound: The typing sound tends to be softer and less resonant compared to plate-mounted switches.


  • Stability: The keyboard can feel less stable and robust without the plate.
  • Typing Feel: This may lead to a less consistent feel across the keyboard, especially on larger keys.
  • Durability: Potentially less durable due to the absence of the additional support from a plate.


Comparison and Analysis

  • Typing Experience: Plate-mounted switches typically offer a more consistent and stable typing experience. Conversely, PCB-mounted switches provide a unique, slightly more flexible feel.
  • Sound Profile: Plate mounting often results in a louder, more solid sound, while PCB mounting tends to yield a quieter and softer sound.
  • Construction and Durability: Plate-mounted keyboards are generally more robust and durable. On the other hand, PCB-mounted keyboards are lighter and offer easier access for modifications.
  • User Preference: Ultimately, the choice between plate and PCB mounting boils down to personal preference. Gamers and professionals might lean towards the solid feel of plate-mounted keyboards. Meanwhile, enthusiasts and typists who enjoy a softer, more dynamic typing experience may prefer PCB-mounted options.
  • Customization: PCB-mounted keyboards are typically more conducive to customization, especially for users who frequently change switches.

In conclusion, the decision between plate-mounted and PCB-mounted switches in a mechanical keyboard profoundly influences the typing experience, sound, durability, and customization options. While plate-mounted keyboards provide stability and a consistent typing feel, PCB-mounted keyboards offer flexibility and easier customization. The preference for one over the other is subjective and largely depends on the individual’s typing style and priorities.


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