Gateron Black vs. Yellow – What Are the Differences?

The keyboard switch market is an ever-expanding one, with new switches hitting the market every day and giving us more and more choices to pick one that works best.

With so much variety in play, keeping track of the traits of all these switches and how they differ from each other can become quite challenging, making it hard to make a decision we are comfortable with even after hours of research.

To make things easier for our fellow keyboard enthusiasts, we will be comparing Gateron Black and Yellow switches for those interested in going with one of these linear switches but can’t decide on one.

So, what are the differences between Gateron Black and Yellow?

The main difference between a Gateron Black and a Gateron Yellow is the actuation forces they require.

While Gateron Blacks require 60gf of force for actuation, Gateron Yellows only require 50gf, meaning that Gateron Yellows are lighter to press than Gateron Blacks.

While slight, the difference in actuation forces allows both of these switches to feel and sound different than each other and create a unique typing experience.

Differences Between Gateron Black and Gateron Yellow

Both Gateron Blacks and Gateron Yellows are linear switches that are more similar to each other than different, with only one factor to separate the two, which is the actuation force.

That being said, the difference in actuation force is more than enough to cause both of these switches to sound and feel quite different from one another.

To begin with, let’s take a quick look at the actuation force of both of these switches.

  • Gateron Black – 60gf (60cN)
  • Gateron Yellow – 50gf (50cN)

Gateron Black is the heavier switch between the two, requiring more force to actuate than the Gateron Yellow.

So, how does this difference affect your typing experience?

The most apparent difference in experience is how heavy the key feels, with the Gateron Black clearly having a heavier feel than the Gateron Yellow.

A heavy switch reduces the chance of input errors, whereas a light switch is easier to touch to type with, which leaves the choice down to personal preference.

In terms of sound, you will find that a Gateron Yellow sounds quieter than a Gateron Black, as switches with higher actuation forces naturally sound louder.

While the difference in sound isn’t too apparent unless you pay attention to it, those who use their keyboard in a loudness-sensitive environment will certainly benefit from using Gateron Yellows.

On the other hand, Gateron Blacks provide the loudest sound between all of the linear Gaterons for enthusiasts who enjoy hearing the sound of their keypresses.

Which Is Better Between Gateron Black and Yellow?

As the only thing that separates Gateron Blacks and Gateron Yellows is the difference in actuation force, neither is objectively better than the other.

While a Gateron Black is a better choice for those who are looking for a heavy switch, a Gateron Yellow is the clear choice for typers that prefer their switch to be lighter.

Is Gateron Black Good for Gaming?

The most significant factor to consider when choosing a switch for gaming is for it to be linear, and as Gateron Blacks satisfy this condition, they are a fine choice for gaming purposes.

That being said, Gateron Blacks are one of the heaviest switches around, which can both be a good and a bad thing for gaming, depending on your habits.

If you find yourself making input errors often during gaming, Gateron Blacks will most likely prove to be quite helpful to reduce these errors as they require a large amount of force to actuate.

On the other hand, if you have no issues with input errors and are looking for a switch that allows you to press the keys as quick and effortless as possible, you will be better of with a Gateron Yellow (50gf), a Gateron Red (45gf), or a Gateron White (35gf).

Are Gateron Yellows Loud?

Gateron yellows are one of the quietest switches around, even though they aren’t designed to be silent, primarily because they are linear and require a low amount of force to actuate.

That being said, many external factors affect the loudness of the switch, such as the keycaps, keyboard plate, mounting style of the keyboard, and housings of the keyboard that hold the switches in place.

As a result, the loudness of the switch itself often does not produce meaningful information unless the comparison is between a clicky switch that makes an audible click sound; and a tactile or linear one with no click sound.

Do You Need to Film Gateron Yellows?

Gateron Yellows are one of the smoothest Gateron switches out there with absolutely no wobbling issues, meaning that there is no need to film them.

As a rule of thumb, the only time you actually need to film a switch is when you experience wobble.

If you are unsure, you can always test for the wobble. To do so, remove one of the keycaps and try to move the stem of the switch around. If the stem feels loose and moves freely, it can most likely benefit from a switch film.

That being said, if you enjoy the deeper and more consistent sound that filmed switches produce, you can always feel free to film your Gateron Yellows for that purpose, as the film won’t take away anything from the feel of the switches.

Wrapping Up

Even though there isn’t much to separate the two, the slight difference in actuation force is easily noticeable between the Gateron Black and the Gateron Yellow both in terms of feel and sound.

While light typers will definitely enjoy the feel of a Gateron Yellow a lot more due to its lower actuation force, those who find themselves making a lot of input errors due to keys actuating too lightly will most likely feel more comfortable with Gateron Blacks.

If you are planning on buying either of these switches, we also highly recommend grabbing a test kit to try them for yourself before committing, as trying them yourself will give you a better understanding than a thousand words can.