October 07, 2019

Kailh Box Switches

by Erez Zukerman

I’m excited to announce we’re adding four new switches to our stable! Yay for choice. :) A clicky, a tactile, and two new linear switches — check out all the specs and images below.

What are Kailh Box switches?

So, these are a little different. Let’s start with a video from Kailh:

As you can see, the Kailh Box switches have… a box. The usual “plus” shape on the stem has been surrounded by four walls. This isn’t just for show: These switches are IP56 dust- and water-protected, and the box is a part of that. This won’t make your ErgoDox EZ or Planck EZ waterproof, but it does make for a more reliable switch.

Kailh Box switches aren’t new; that video above is from 2017. We generally like to wait with components and see them perform in the wild for a period of time before offering them ourselves. We are now confident that Kailh Box switches are high-quality and reliable — so it’s time to add them to our host of switches.

One thing you might notice is that these are only available on the ErgoDox EZ Glow and the Planck EZ. These boards all ship with keycaps from Tai-Hao, which work well with Kailh Box Switches. For the ErgoDox EZ Original and Shine, we use keycaps from Signature Plastics. Those fit a little too tightly on the Box switches, making them hard to remove. In the interest of reliability (once again), we decided not to offer this particular combo (Kailh Box with Signature keycaps).

Kailh Box Brown (Tactile)

  • Pre-travel: 1.80mm +- 0.3mm
  • Total travel: 3.6 +- 0.3mm
  • Actuation force: 50 +- 15gf
  • IP56 sealed

As we’ve come to expect from a switch labeled Brown, the tactile bump is gentle. These feel solid, right between a loud clicky switch and a smooth linear. Actuated slowly, you’d feel an almost buckling effect as the switch reaches its tactile point.

Kailh Box Red (Linear, soft)

  • Pre-travel: 1.80mm +- 0.3mm
  • Total travel: 3.6 +- 0.3mm
  • Actuation force: 45 +- 15gf
  • IP56 sealed

These are very civil switches. Typing on them is a pleasant, gentle experience. The linear action is easy on the fingers, and the sound is a little muted. Like other Kailh switches, actuation is beautifully smooth and fluid.

Kailh Box White (Clicky)

  • Pre-travel: 1.80mm +- 0.3mm
  • Total travel: 3.6 +- 0.3mm
  • Actuation force: 45 +- 15gf
  • IP56 sealed

Slightly lower in pitch than the Kailh Gold, these are clicky to the point of being crunchy. Actuation is a smidge lighter, and it feels as though the box design might result in a slightly more resonant click.

Kailh Box Black (Linear, firm)

  • Pre-travel: 1.80mm +- 0.3mm
  • Total travel: 3.6 +- 0.3mm
  • Actuation force: 60 +- 15gf
  • IP56 sealed

Oh, such springy smoothness. We often think of Black switches as somewhat firm due to the high actuation force, but the buttery smooth action of the Box Black makes them feel lighter somehow. These switches still push back, but they don’t feel tiresome.

Check Them Out

The new switches are integrated into our visual ordering process for both the ErgoDox EZ and the Planck EZ. Go check them out, and if you end up getting them, email us to let us know what you think!

Erez Zukerman

Erez Zukerman

Erez Zukerman is the CEO and Co-Founder of ZSA Technology labs.