Most switches can be classified as either mechanical or touch-based depending on their operation. Mechanical switches have moving parts. When you press a key on a mechanical switch, some of its parts will move to open or close the circuit. Touch-based circuits, on the other hand, don’t have moving parts. They live up to their namesake by responding directly to a touch.
One of the most popular types of touch switches is capacitive. Capacitive technology is used in both touchscreens as well as touch switches. If you’re looking to buy a touch-based switch, you may want to choose a capacitive switch for the following reasons.
#1) Fewer Accidental Keypresses
Accidental keypresses are less likely to occur with capacitive switches than other types of switches. Capacitive switches are designed to control a circuit — just like all switches. They will only open or close the circuit, however, when the key is exposed to a conductive object. Touching the key with a bare finger will cause the circuit to open or close. Touching the key with a nonconductive object, conversely, won’t open or close the circuit.
#2) Simple Design
Capacitive switches feature a simple design. They only consist of a single electrode, which is placed directly behind a panel made of a nonconductive material. Other types of switches require multiple electrodes. Resistive switches, for example, require two electrodes. Therefore, they feature a more complex design than their capacitive counterparts.
#3) Easy to Use
There’s no denying the fact that capacitive switches are easy to use. Unlike mechanical switches, they don’t require pressure to press the key or keys. Keypresses are triggered directly upon contact with a conductive object, such as a bare finger. Just placing your finger directly on the key will force the capacitive switch to open or close the circuit.
Like all touch-based switches, capacitive switches are long-lasting. Mechanical switches can degrade over time. Each keypress will expose a mechanical switch’s parts to wear and tear. The parts of a mechanical switch will move when the key is pressed, which may cause them to fail prematurely. This isn’t a concern with touch-based switches. Touch-based switches like capacitive switches don’t have moving parts, so they typically last longer than mechanical switches.
#5) Available WIth Backlighting
Capacitive switches are available with backlighting. They support several types of backlighting. You can find capacitive switches with light-emitting diode (LED) and electroluminescent (EL) backlighting, for instance. LED and LED backlighting may also be used with light guides to evenly distribute the light across the top panel.