An O Ring is a relatively cheap add-on that you can insert in the stem of your keycap to gain some dampening and noise reduction. However, this begs the question, do you need an O Ring on your mechanical keyboard?
No, you don’t need an O Ring on your mechanical keyboard. However, it is a worthwhile investment if you don’t like the loudness of your keyboard or would be happier with a slightly reduced actuation point.
In this article, we’re going to go over what an O Ring is, why you might need it, and the advantages of getting one in the first place.
What Are O Rings?
An O Ring is a silicone-based ring that is added to the stem of your keycap. They come in a variety of different thicknesses, with each leading to slightly altered results. Almost every switch ranging from Razer’s to Cherry, Gateron, and Kailh, is compatible with O Rings.
The way they work is quite simple when you press on a key that has an O Ring attached to it, the switch hits the O Ring instead of just the base stem, absorbing some of the shock and most of the noise from the keystroke you’ve just done.
O Rings can be bifurcated based on two attributes:
- Thickness: The thickness of an O Ring determines the overall feel of the key press. The thinner the O Ring, the less mushy your key will feel. The thicker it gets, the more shock absorption.
- Hardness: Hardness dictates the sound absorption of your O Ring. The harder the O Ring, the lesser the sound absorption and the more solid your keypress will feel. As you go softer, more sound will be absorbed. The hardness of an O Ring goes from 0A-100A, with 100A being the hardest.
So, to put things in perspective, a thin 100A O Ring will provide you with minimal sound absorption and shock dissipation. On the other hand, a thick 30A O Ring will provide you with a mushy feeling keypress but minimal noise and shock absorption.
Note: You can always stack multiple O Rings on top of each other. So, we don’t recommend purchasing extremely soft O Rings. Instead, you can stack two on each other to reach your desired effect.
Do I Need An O Ring On My Mechanical Keyboard?
Whether you require an O Ring on your mechanical keyboard or not depends on what type of switches you have and the actuation point of your keycap itself. Plus, the current feeling of your key will also be hindered.
For instance, if you like your current keyboard’s high actuation point and clicky sound, an O Rang will dampen it to some degree. For some, this is supremely convenient as it lets them actually use their keyboard in more noise-sensitive environments.
For others, it may ruin the entire appeal of the keyboard in the first place, as it’ll lose its cherished tactile and clicky feeling. So, using an O Ring is a matter of personal preference for most. Conveniently though, they aren’t that expensive and can easily be removed if you aren’t happy with them.
Regardless. Here are the two primary benefits of using an O Ring on your mechanical keyboard:
O Rings really do wonders when it comes to sound dampening. They reduce the sound of your keycap bottoming out and can completely silence your keyboard if you go for a soft enough O Ring. So, if you have a noise keyboard and don’t want to go for linear switches, going for soft O Rings should do the trick.
Travel / Actuation Point Reduction
Some switches take a lot of time before they are actually registered. This travel time can turn out to be quite a hindrance, especially if you are into FPS games where every second matters. In those cases, adding an O Ring can reduce your actuation point as now your switch will hit your O Ring instead of your keycap’s stem, reducing the time it takes for your key to register.
Are O Rings Good For Gaming?
Yes, O Rings are good for gaming. This is because they help reduce the actuation point of your keystrokes, allowing your movements to feel more precise and register quicker. The advantage of this will depend on your keycap’s current actuation point. If it is fast enough already, the difference might not be that noticeable.
However, if you have a very clicky, tactile keyboard, then you’ll see a major difference in gaming as your movements will feel slightly quicker.
The Verdict: Do You Need An O Ring On Your Keyboard?
No, you don’t need an O Ring on your keyboard unless you wish to reduce the noise your keyboard makes or reduce its actuation point. If both of these are fine with your current keyboard, you don’t need to go through the trouble of fitting O Rings as they’ll lead to your keycaps feeling mushy.