Scroll wheel encoders change how a scroll wheel will feel and function. They do not affect the clicking of the mouse wheel, but rather feeling of the scrolling and rotations.
NOTE: When replacing encoders, you WILL need to solder them. You can easily destroy your device if you aren't sure what you are doing. We recommend practicing with some old broken electronics before jumping into modding your current gear.
Quick Encoder Rundown
Here is a quick comparison between the encoders we sell. Feel free to keep reading this page for further information on each one.
Scrolling smoothness - Kailh (smoothest) > TTC Gold > Japanese ALPS > TTC Office (most defined)
Force required for scrolling - Japanese ALPS (heaviest) > TTC Office > TTC Gold > Kailh (lightest)
If you prefer a heavier scroll with well defined steps, we recommend the Japanese ALPS or the TTC Office.
For the lightest and smoothest scroll, we recommend a Kailh red encoder.
For something in between the two, not too heavy and not too light, we would recommend the TTC Gold.
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.
Once you are certain you have a mechanical encoder, you need to measure the mounting height of the encoder, which will determine the encoders are compatible your device.
Measuring your Encoder Height
To measure the height of your 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 will have a small number engraved somewhere on the front plate. For example, an engraved "9" means that the encoder mounting height is 9mm.
Kailh 9mm encoder. Measuring from the center of the wheel holder to the base of the mounting plate.
Mechanical Encoder Differences
Kailh switches and encoders are becoming much more popular recently due to the availability and quality. The Kailh red-core mechanical encoders are quiet and smooth while still maintaining defined steps. These are typically the best for gaming and browsing, but not the best for precision.
TTC makes a few different scroll wheel encoders, but the gold variant is 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. These are not for everybody, but if you love the feeling and feedback of a heavier scroll with well defined steps, these might be a good pick for you!
Some mouse manufacturers (for example, Zowie and Vaxee) use optical scroll wheel encoders instead of mechanical encoders. These encoders work based on electrical signals rather than the detection of physical rotations. Optical encoders are not interchangeable or replaceable by mechanical encoders. If your device uses an optical encoder, it wont support any of the mechanical encoders that we offer.