Are gold springs worth it?
Spring replacement is a common modification to alter the weight or feel of your mechanical keyboard switches. Some keyswitches come with different spring options and there is also a plethora of aftermarket spring types available.
Springs are usually made of stainless steel and the golden color ones have an additional coating.
Keyboard enthusiasts into spring swapping often use springs from manufacturers/brands like Sprit, TX and Durock.
Is there any difference between the silver colored springs and gold plated ones?
Well, there might be:
- plating issues
- ping noise
The first difference is apparently the color of the spring.
Since the springs are hidden inside your switches, which are hidden under the keycaps, aesthetics in this case shouldn't be a decisive factor.
In many cases, the gold plated product of the same manufacturer will be offered for a higher price.
E.g. take a look at two listings: the stainless steel springs designed by SPRiT and made in Korea with and without the gold coating.
The gold plated one is offered, 100 pieces both, for $19, while the stainless steel costs only $14.
Although springs are quite cheap, this price difference is considerable: the gold plated spring is sold for a more than 30% higher price.
Gold is a very nonreactive metal. So in theory it would resist rust or corrosion better than non-gold springs.
Even if you've never experienced spring corrosion or rust in your keyboard, this can be an issue.
I've seen some quite rusty springs in vintage keyboards porous to the point of breaking and falling apart at the touch. (In an otherwise immaculate board without any sign of abuse - other metal parts in mint condition.)
But that's 30+ years old stuff. I'm curious if springs in contemporary keyswitches are made of different materials/alloys and how the next few decades will affect them.
Plating falling off
In some cases the gold coating on gold-plated stainless steel springs was reported to have fallen off after a while which made the switch feel horrible.
Rumours say stock gold-plated springs tend to have less spring ping than stock regular silver ones. (I'd see a blind test with regards to this.)
However, once lubed, it shouldn't really make a difference.
If sound and spring ping is a concern try gold plated ones. Also if you are concerned about rust. However, springs are cheap and you can replace them any time – tomorrow or after a few decades when they developed some unwanted patina.