When shopping for keypads to use at your business’s workplace, you’ll probably come across silicone rubber and mechanical keypads. They are two of the most common types of keypads on the market. While both silicone rubber and mechanical keypads feature multiple electrical switches — one for each key — they aren’t necessarily the same. Each type uses a different method to open and close their respective switches. So, what’s the difference between silicone rubber keypads and mechanical keypads exactly?
What Is a Silicone Rubber Keypad?
Also referred to an elastomeric keypad, a silicone rubber keypad is a type of the switching solution that’s defined by its material. As the name suggests, it’s made of silicone rubber. Normally, silicone rubber keypads contain other materials as well. The silicone rubber material is only used for the webbing material around the keypad’s switches.
What Is a Mechanical Keypad?
A mechanical keypad, on the other hand, is a switching solution made of individual moving parts. Each switch has multiple moving parts, including a housing, stem and spring. Like silicone rubber keypads, they consist of multiple switches — one for each key. The difference is that silicone rubber keypads feature webbing made of silicone rubber, whereas mechanical keypads feature individual moving parts, which are typically made of hard plastic.
Benefits of Silicone Rubber Keypads
Silicone rubber keypads are prizes for their superior strength and durability. While silicone rubber is a soft material, it’s highly resistant to water and other liquids. Therefore, silicone rubber keypads can be used in humid environments, such as the outdoors, where moisture is common.
Even if a silicone rubber keypad is exposed to moisture, it won’t damage thanks to its construction. The silicone rubber webbing creates a protective shell over the underlying switches, thereby protecting them from moisture-related damage.
Benefits of Mechanical Keypads
There are still reasons to consider a mechanical keypad. For starters, mechanical keypads are inexpensive. They typically cost less than other types of keypads, including silicone rubber keypads, making them an attractive choice for business owners who are on a tight budget.
Mechanical keypads also produce strong tactile feedback. As previously mentioned, one of the components used in their switches is a spring. The spring forces the individual keys to bounce back up. When you press and release a key, the key will bounce back up. This action creates tactile feedback, essentially notifying you that the keypad registered your command.