You should consider the key height when shopping for a keypad. All keypads have keys. By definition, a keypad is a “pad of keys.” Each key functions as an electrical switch. You can complete the circuit by pressing a key. The height of these keys, however, may vary. What is key height exactly, and why does it matter?
What Is Key Height?
Key height represents the height of a keypad’s keys. It’s the distance from the bezel or housing frame to the top of the keys.
Most keypads don’t have flat keys. Rather than sitting flush with the bezel or housing frame, the keys are raised. Key height is exactly what it sounds like: It’s the height of the keys. Keypads with tall keys will have a greater key height than those with short keys.
The Impact of Key Height
It may seem like an insignificant metric, but key height is important for several reasons. It will affect the size of the keypad. There are low-profile keypads that consume less space than their counterparts. Low-profile keypads have short keys. They have a lower key height, and thanks to their short keys, they are relatively small and compact.
There’s a correlation between key height and travel distance. Travel distance is the distance that the keys must travel to complete the circuit. You must push the keys down far enough so that the electrical contacts on the bottom of the keys touch the underlying electrical contacts. This is the travel distance. Keypads with a short key height typically have a lower travel distance than those with a tall key height.
Key height can affect the speed and accuracy of input. Different keypad users may have their own preferences regarding key height. Some users prefer a short key height, whereas others prefer a tall key height. Finding the right key height that matches your preferred style will promote a faster input speed and greater input accuracy.
Key height can affect tactile feedback. Tactile feedback is the sensation that you feel when you press a key. Most keypads produce tactile feedback automatically. Those with a tall key height, though, will typically produce more tactile feedback than keypads with a short key height.
Whether you’re shopping for a plastic keypad, a membrane keypad or any other commercial keypad, you should consider the key height. It will affect the size of the keypad, the travel distance, comfort, tactile feedback and more.