When choosing a keypad, one of the decisions you’ll have to make is whether to choose a membrane or mechanical model. There are dozens of different keypads available, though most fall under one of these categories. So, which one is right for you?

Overview of Mechanical Keypads

Mechanical keypads are traditional keypads that provide a noticeable “click” when you press a key. They are designed with separate moving parts for each and every key. If the keypad features six keys, for instance, it will have at least six moving parts — one part for every key. And when you press one of these keys, the respective parts become engaged; thus, resulting in a high level of tactile feedback. Of course, this is one of the reasons why some people prefer them. The high level of tactile feedback produced by mechanical keypads helps to reduce typing and input errors. Furthermore, studies have shown that tactile feedback is linked to user satisfaction, meaning users enjoy using devices that provide tactile feedback.

Overview of Membrane Keypads

A membrane keypad, on the other hand, creates little-to-no “click” when you press a key. There’s a slight degree of tactile feedback, but it’s minimal compared to that of a mechanical keypad. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that membrane keypads are a bad choice.

While it’s true that membrane keypads produce minimal tactile feedback compared to mechanical keypads, they excel from their counterpart in a few different ways. First and foremost, membrane keypads offer a higher level of strength and durability. Because they are designed with a single, flexible membrane, they can withstand harsh environments where mechanical keypads cannot. If you plan on using the keypad outdoors, for instance, you should probably choose a membrane model for this reason. The membrane design will protect the keypad’s electrical circuitry and components from the intrusion of moisture.

Additionally, it’s worth mentioning that membrane keypads have a longer lifespan than mechanical keypads. As a result, you’ll get more use out of a membrane keypad before having to replacing it. This is because membrane keypads don’t have separate, moving parts.

As you can see, there are pros and cons to both mechanical and membrane keypads. Ultimately, you need to choose the type that’s best suited for your application. Consider when and how you’ll be using the keypad and choose the one that offers the highest level of utility.