We spend a good chunk of our day with our hands on a keyboard, so it’s worth it to make the experience as pleasant as possible. RGB keyboards can make typing and gaming more exciting, but they also mean a bigger expense. Knowing this, how much time should you expect to get?
RGB mechanical keyboards can last 10-15 years or even 20+ if you make appropriate replacements. RGB LEDs are extremely durable, with over 50,000 operational hours. RGB keyboards with regular, rubber-dome keys probably won’t last more than 2 years.
Whether you use it for gaming or working, your RGB keyboard should last you a long time. Still, some issues can arise, even if the LEDs are fine. In this article, you’ll learn what to expect from a mechanical keyboard and how each piece can deteriorate on its own.
Why RGB Keyboards Can Last a Long Time
When we talk about the longevity of RGB keyboards, there are two key components that we need to keep in mind: the key switches and the LED lights. Let’s look at each one in detail.
How Long Do LEDs Last in RGB Keyboards?
LEDs aren’t crucial for a keyboard to function well. But if you’re spending money on a keyboard that’ll elevate the look of your work or gaming station, you don’t want to go through the hassle of replacing its lights often.
The LED lights in your RGB keyboard will last for 50,000-60,000 hours of operational time. They’ll most likely last longer than the rest of your keyboard’s components.
RGB LEDs are simply packages of 3 different LEDs, one for each RGB color: Red, Green, and Blue. By combining these colors in various intensities, you can produce more than 16 million colors.
Let’s take a close look at that first figure. 50,000 hours translates into 5.7 years, but only if the LEDs are left on 24 hours a day. In practice, chances are you won’t ever get the LEDs to the end of their lifetime.
The only way LED lights can give you trouble is if some other part of the keyboard has gone wrong.
- PCB: PCBs are the circuit boards of the keyboard. If there’s a problem with the circuitry, it could cause LED lights to stop working, even though the diodes are perfectly fine.
- Power output: If the keyboard’s circuitry sends too much power to the LEDs, this could degrade them much faster than they’re supposed to.
These problems shouldn’t arise in quality keyboards, but you should still be aware of them.
How Long Do Keys Last in RGB Keyboards?
Except in the low end, you can expect RGB keyboards to be mechanical. This is important because mechanical keys behave differently than regular keys. One of the differences is in how long they can last.
Keys from mechanical RGB keyboards last for 20-50 million presses or even more, translating to 10-15 years. Regular rubbed-dome RGB keyboards last 1-2 years.
Keystrokes are the standard unit to measure how long a keyboard is estimated to last. In the average mechanical keyboard, each key can handle about 20-50 million key presses. However, some models can get up to 100 million.
In contrast, regular keyboards usually don’t last more than a year or two, and they can stop working even before that with heavy usage.
Key switches are what make mechanical keyboards stand out. There are many types of switches, but these are the ones that you’ll usually find on RGB keyboards:
- Rubber-dome: The switches regular keyboards use. They’re cheap to produce, have a shorter lifetime, and can feel mushy.
- Cherry MX: The golden standard. Depending on the model, they can be clicky or tactile. You’re sure to get a durable, satisfying keyboard.
- Razer Switch and Kalih: Many brands produce their own switches, often imitating the Cherrys. Razer Switches are among the most notable ones, and they’re quite decent. Kalih switches are often called “cherry clones” and offer similar performance.
- Topre: This is the rarest and most expensive type. They’re supposed to have an even more refined feel than the Cherrys.
Now we can get a better idea of how long any given RGB keyboard will last.
If it has rubber-dome switches, it doesn’t matter how durable the LEDs are since the keys probably won’t last more than 2 years. Most RGB keyboards under $30 have rubber-dome switches.
Keyboards with Cherry MX or Topre switches will last a long time. Depending on the keyboard build, it can go all the way from 10 to over 20 years.
Good Cherry-like switches like the Razer Switch or Kalih should also last you for a long while, perhaps with higher chances of needing replacements.
Mechanical key switches are designed to be easily replaced. If one of them shows signs of chattering or it’s simply worn out, you can just get a replacement and install it yourself. This lets you extend the lifetime of your keyboard considerably, even beyond 20 years.
How Much You Should Spend for a Durable RGB Keyboard
There’s only so far you can go with rubber-dome keyboards. If you want something long-lasting, you have to go for more expensive mechanical options.
If you’re on a tight budget, then the best rubber-dome keyboard you can get with RGB lighting is the Razer Cynosa Chroma on Amazon.com. It has a remarkably good feel for having rubber-dome switches.
Cherry MX RGB keyboards start at around 100$. If you’re on a budget but still want an amazing feel, take a look at the Ducky One 2 Mini on Amazon.com. You can spend a little more for the full-sized version.
If you want an RGB mechanical keyboard that’s optimized for gaming and are willing to spend over $150, you won’t go wrong with the Corsair K100 RGB on Amazon.com. It comes with in-house linear switches.
If you go for the high end with over $200 in your pocket, then you’re buying a keyboard that’ll last you decades. At this level, you’re probably going to get something with Topre switches, like the Realforce R2 RGB.
When you buy a quality RGB keyboard, you’re in it for the long run. It all comes down to two factors: the keys and the LED lights.
RGB LED lights are extremely durable. Chances are they won’t stop working unless due to some external damage.
Regular, rubber-dome keys don’t last very long. If you want a durable RGB keyboard, go for a mechanical one. Mechanical RGB keys can last more than 10 years if they’re high quality.