What Are Hall Effect Keyboard Switches, And How Do They Work?

- Aug 26, 2019-


Hall Effect switches are a completely different beast from most of the mechanical keyboard switches that are ubiquitous on the market. Some early keyboards offered them, but due primarily to their high cost of manufacturing, their popularity evaporated. Now, though, they cost significantly less (and are easier) to make, they may be re-emerging thanks to a grassroots effort.

In a nutshell, whereas most mechanical keyboard switches (from the likes of Cherry and Kailh) require two physical contact points for operation (which introduces friction), Hall Effect switches use magnetism (with a conical spring for physical resistance) to engage a key press. This inherently eliminates key chatter and debounce, and it makes the key presses feel incredibly smooth by comparison.

Further, the lifetime of Hall Effect switches is beyond absurd; whereas the likes of Cherry and Kailh (and others) offer life spans in the tens of millions of clicks, Hall Effect switches will endure for tens of billions of clicks.

Now that the cost of making the switches and installing them on keyboards has become feasible, it’s possible that we’ll see more keyboards sporting Hall Effect switches in the not-too-distant future.