Scroll wheel encoders change how a scroll wheel will feel and function. They do not affect the clicking of the mouse wheel, but rather the feeling of the scrolling and rotations.
In order to replace an encoder, it needs to be a mechanical encoder, not an optical one. If you aren't sure, you can find a list of encoder heights and mice with optical encoders here.
NOTE: When replacing encoders, you will need to solder them. We recommend practicing with some old broken electronics before jumping into modding your current gear.
For a light and smooth scroll:
Kailh Black Backing Encoder
For well-defined steps:
For a balanced encoder, great for gaming:
TTC Gold Encoder
Kailh Grey Backing Encoder
Measuring your Encoder Height
Here is a Kailh 9mm encoder. To measure the height of a scroll wheel encoder, you need to take a measurement (in mm) from the base of the mounting plate to the center of the encoder wheel holder.
Some encoders have a small number engraved somewhere on the front plate. For example, an engraved "9" means that the encoder mounting height is 9mm.
Mechanical encoders are the most common type of encoder found in gaming mice. They detect the physical motion of the scroll wheel and convert it into electrical signals.
Mechanical encoders cannot replace optical encoders.
All of the encoders that we sell are mechanical encoders.
Kailh switches and encoders are quite popular due to availability and quality. More and more companies are using Kailh components in their new releases.
The Kailh black backing encoders offer a light and smooth scroll. These are typically the best for browsing, but might not be the best for productivity and gaming.
The Kailh grey backing encoders are slightly more tensioned, making them a better all-round choice.
TTC makes a few different scroll wheel encoders, with the TTC Gold encoder being the most popular. It's a safe choice if you need a replacement and aren't sure what to go with. They are a great balance between smoothness and tactility, and fall towards the middle of the encoders that we sell.
TTC has also recently released an "office" set of encoders. They are designed with office mice in mind, but they still feel sturdy and well built. We don't think you will regret using these in gaming mice if you enjoy heavier scrolling.
Japanese ALPS encoders are the most tactile encoders on the market with the most tensioning, with a satisfying feel and feedback. They are commonly found in Roccat mice. These are our personal favorite, but sadly they don't offer many height options, so may not be compatible with many mice.
If you love the feeling and feedback of a heavier scroll with well defined steps, these might be a good pick for you!
F-Switch is an OEM manufacturer. You can find their encoders in mice from brands like Glorious and PWNAGE.
They offer a few different options, with the most common being pink-core or brown-core encoders. They tend to be smoother and quieter than other encoders.
Unfortunately these are not available on the market to buy separately.
Note: Optical Encoders
Some mouse manufacturers use optical scroll wheel encoders instead of mechanical encoders. These encoders work based on light signals rather than the detection of physical rotations.
Optical encoders are not interchangeable with mechanical encoders. If your device uses an optical encoder, it wont support any of the mechanical encoders that we offer.
For further information on encoders, check out any of the resources below:
Here is an excellent article from Nidec Automation on optical encoders: https://blog.nidec-avtron.com/encoders/how-optical-encoders-work
Encoder swap video tutorial by ENTS: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F0NSbeyhqVk
Stock Encoder Height Spreadsheet by Chroma: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1L8PUiSMGKeJsbjkb_DpT-I4cmfWR0M9EvvLGetNQj9Y