Was looking into ergonomic keyboards recently, thought it would be a fun question. What do you like? What don’t you like? Pics?
The Atreus. I love using it, I loved building it. I wish I could replace my laptop keyboard with the Atreus' column-staggered layout. The Atreus is small enough to take with me, but loud enough that I feel kind of awkward using it in a quiet coffee shop or on a plane.
I’ve been telling myself over 3 years I’ll make one. Great to hear it works as well as it looks. To be honest though as a 5 year Dvorak typist the keyboard I use doesn’t matter much anymore.
It’s really not so hard to make, you could finish it in a weekend. I’m a complete newb at soldering, so much so that I actually soldered the diodes and the mcu on the wrong side of the board at first. I had to remove the solder and then re-solder everything for it to fit in the case. That was messy, but even so, still works fine.
At least you got a PCB one. When @technomancy first started selling them, I watched him solder a rats nest of wires together to ship out to someone. It looked like hell!
Kinesis Advantage Pro. I have the pedal and never use it; the foot is way too clumsy to be effective at speed, and it would require me to sit in a very specific way to always have easy access to it.
Ergonomics are OK, but the bugs (sticky mods) leave me very disappointed. I also have a MS Natural 4k in the closet, can’t say I like it too much. Though it did reduce wrist pain coming from a standard flat keyboard.
Would probably like a Maltron 3D keyboard more than my kinesis (better ergonomics + real numpad in the middle + trackball option for when you don’t want to constantly move the hand from keyboard to mouse and back), though I hear it’s got these bugs too..
I don’t think I’ll be buying any more expensive keyboards. If I want one, I’ll fucking make one. It won’t have the bugs to disappoint me.
I use a maltron, but i have the model without the trackball. Apparently the trackball is pretty nasty.
And I think the numpad is over-rated. I kinda wish the whole middle panel was removed to reduce cost.
But it is a nice keyboard once you get used to it.
I don’t know about over-rated. I certainly don’t need it much. But when I do need it, I realize how much not having it hurts. It’s something I experience every once in a while.
I’ve never been a number pad person - I’ve always been one of those people who turns Num Lock off and uses the keys as additional cursor keys.
IBM model M, dvorak. Nothing special.
IBM model M, dvorak.
The most hipster of combination.
I have a Unicomp model M-like keyboard, but with a dvorak layout. Love it.
But… My favorite has to be a TypeMatrix 2030 USB, with a black US dvorak sleeve (the image below is a UK layout, but it doesn’t differ that much) Took less time to get used to than I thought, even with the Enter key in the center of the keyboard, and for me this thing just wins wins hands down.
Pfft–not even Colemak or Norman? Everyone has heard of Dvorak these days.
Well at least @God has good taste in keyboards too.
I use Das Keyboard (a model M derivative) at work and at home. Cherry blue switches, O-rings to limit bottom out impact and noise. I’m now on my 4th Das and have no intent to switch it up anytime soon. On the go I have a Leopold II (also cherry blues and o-rings). At home and mobile I use a gifiti wrist rest, workspace allowing. Only downside is that the wrist rests get seriously chewed up by watch clasps.
You’re on your 4th Das? What are you doing to the poor things? :-)
Fighting zombies and coworkers who break the build ;)
Edit: a conjugation
I used a HHKB Pro2 for a while, as well as the Lite version, and now I’m back to my Model M. Still my favourite keyboard of all time. And at this point, I’ve lost count of how many I’ve tried.
Oh, and the main reason I’m back to using it is my office is now sufficiently far away from the bedroom so my wife can actually sleep when I’m typing.
IBM model M, ps2->usb adapter
Arguably best keyboard ever made, still available for dirt cheap
I personally use the Kinesis Advantage Pro as well. The price is pretty staggering but I kind of needed it to work because after typing more than an a couple of paragraphs started to make my hands sore. My work paid for the whole thing. It took me maybe two weeks to be proficient at typing. After a month, I had caught up to my previous WPM. After another week or two, I could code with special symbols very quickly.
In terms of benefits, matrix keys and thumb key modifiers are incredibly less painful for my hands and probably tied for the first requirement of a keyboard for me. I also think that spacing between the two hands helps alleviate a lot of the pain. I’ve considered trying using two apple bluetooth keyboards or the Kinesis Freestyle that only has the tether between the two halves. This avoids my hands contorting to conform to the very straight and flat style of a traditional keyboard. Although keyboards like the Microsoft Ergo are better, I think the key modifiers being under the thumb still force my hand to contort in horrible ways and end up hurting my hand.
Also, you should probably always keep a bluetooth keyboard tucked away somewhere so that other people can type on your keyboard. However, at my place of employment, this type of keyboard is probably the most popular ergonomic keyboard and you end up being frequently surprised when someone you’re collaborating with is also able to use it.
For context, even typing up this reply on my MacBook Pro started causing sore spots in my left hand. However, I’m able to type out multiple paragraphs for reports, documentation, and email with ease on the Advantage. I’d consider it a requirement if I were to change jobs and lose my current keyboard to get a very similar replacement because of this pain.
This all sounds more or less exactly like my experience with the same keyboard. I’ve tried a few fancy keyboards before (Das, Ergodox) and none of them really did much for me. The Advantage a steep learning curve but has been absolutely incredible since I got over it. The keyboard of dreams would be basically a Kinesis Advantage (so bowl shapes, thumb modifier keys) but split in half like the Ergodox or the Kinesis freestyle.
I’m just in the process of switching to the ErgoDox EZ. One week in, and after a sweary first few days, I’m mostly typing without thinking about typing again. Very happy with the keyboard so far. Looking forward to customising the layout.
This switch makes my history of ergonomic keyboards:
I’m still on the microsoft keyboard line and very happy with the Sculpt Ergonomic. The compact design is a big improvement over the Ergo Keyboard 4000. Pricing of the Microsoft line of keyboards is roughly a third opposed to the ErgoDox EZ, but price may not be your first priority.
The upgrade was very much a treat. I was on the 4000 for 5 years (though I had 2 in that time due to wear), and the Sculpt for a bit over 2. I had a £100 gift to put towards something, and thought I’d treat myself.
Aside from the lack of mechanical keys the Microsoft keyboards are awesome!
Hah, my order actually looks similar, except switch the ErgoDox EZ with the Sculpt. I went from the 4000 to ErgoDox EZ, but realized the ErgoDox is much too large for my hands, and I really wasn’t having a remotely good experience typing on it. So back to the Sculpt I go.
Nothing special, at the moment, just a Kinesis Freestyle 2. With the Mac layout, although I use Linux (I suppose the Win one wouldn’t have been any better). I keep the halves flat to my desk, separated by about six inches. It’s an ordinary QWERTY layout, nothing special, but mechanically nice.
I think I wrote on the older thread that I was eagerly awaiting my keyboard.io “heirloom keyboard”. Their backer updates have been a lot of fun to read; as of this month, they finally have a factory that is in the process of tooling up, and are hoping to ship by the end of November. It has been quite a ride; to my surprise, I don’t regret backing it, which I think is one of the most positive things one can say about a hardware Kickstarter. :)
I am going to make an effort at learning Dvorak when it arrives; in order to reduce the sense of guilt at inevitably giving up on that, I expect to use either blank keycaps, or keycaps with some sort of rune or fantasy character set, if they wind up offering that option.
Also a freestyle 2 user, with the force touch trackpad in its original box holder in the middle. Makes for less finger travel to mouse around.
Right now I’m using:
At home and on the go: A Bluetooth GON’s NerD 60 pcb with a Poker 3 plate, Gateron switches (“jailhouse blues” except with a cut rubber o-ring insert placed between slider and stem), NPKC unprinted PBT rainbow keycaps with LPWL 2.5mm o-rings, and a TEX acrylic case.
At work: KBParadise V60 with Matias Quiet Click switches, Tai-Hao ABS double-shot Dolch keycaps and an aluminum case harvested from my Poker 3 (Rest in Pieces).
I’ve also got an artisan gem keycap on the way to go on my NerD’s escape key and also I just jumped on the LightCycle DCS groupbuy with alps stems for my V60, because Dolch is starting to become an eye-sore.
If you’re interested in ergonomics I suggest either the ErgoDox or the Atreus (they’re both open source!), although a lot of programming friends of mine really really like the Happy Hacking Keyboard. In terms of custom keyboard PCB’s and plates I wouldn’t recommend GON’s to anyone that isn’t already familiar with the terrible keyboard groupbuy feeling of waiting months for a part to come in international post. Winkeyless is much more responsive and ships faster, and their parts are just as good (but they don’t have a bluetooth option ?)
Ohh, nice writeup. I’ve always done massdrop group buys and haven’t really ventured off the beaten path in terms of some of the more niche MK websites. Will definitely check out GON and Winkeyless though :D
looking at /u/whbboyd’s link to the last thread 8 months ago about keyboards it’s funny to see how my workhorses have changed
I have been using a Model S keyboard for about a year now and I couldn’t imagine using anything else at this point. Mechanical keys really do have a distinct feel and I have noticed I have much more accuracy.
The Model S comes only in a wired option but it has two extra USB ports on the side that can be used. I can’t say I dislike anything about it other than the noise but that can be solved with having brown keys instead of the blue ones.
Monoprice has $50 mechanical keyboards. I use one of those.
A similar question was also posted eight months ago; some of the responses there may interest you, as well.
I use old-style (non-chiclet) Thinkpad keyboards, exclusively and everywhere. Laptops are all sufficiently-old Thinkpads, and my desktop and work computers are equipped with Thinkpad desktop keyboards. I’ve flirted briefly with other options, but I’m so accustomed to having the Trackpoint there that I get incredibly frustrated when it’s missing and I want to make minor adjustments or click without taking my hands off the keyboard.
I use a pair of Ergodoxes (one with MX Cherry Blues and one with Matias Clicks) and an Atreus with MX Cherry Blues. They’ve ruined me for traditional keyboards.
An Apple wired keyboard with numeric keypad.
I’ve been using these keyboards for years as well. I love them (and I do not use OS X).
Over the years I’ve tried several mechanical keyboards with different kinds of switches but this keyboard remains the one I return to.
The one keyboard I do want to try out is one with Topre switches. From several switch testers I’ve tried out these always jump out as the switch I like best, but these keyboards are pretty expensive.
+1 to Topre. I’ve been using a Type Heaven for the last two years, and love it.
I have a couple:
I have a few more at home:
Let me visit your wallet’s grave, you and your leather money-holding friend are long lost at this point.
CANNTTT…. STOPPP… BUYING… KEYBOARDS
Eyeing up an HHKB for my next purchase, too :P
That’s really the final blow.
I use an Apple Extended II
I’ve got a Matias too but it’s a bit too loud for office use.
literally my favorite factory keycaps ever
My favorite keyboards are low-profile ones with a small amount of key travel. I don’t know why but I just like them. Cheap too.
Right now, a Filco majestouch convertible 2 (mechanical, full-size, bluetooth) my other keyboards that get high usage are all Das. Buy Windows keyboards if you ever have to switch OSs, even if you have a Mac, as OSX is much better at remapping keys. Changing capslock to be cmd on OSX and ctrl on Windows makes for reasonably consistent shortcuts.
I use a CODE keyboard currently. My main complaint is that I don’t have rainbow LEDs for it. I also used to use a Kinesis Freestyle, but it just didn’t work out long-term.
I use a Keyed Up Labs (KUL) ES-87. It’s a relatively no-nonsense quiet mechanical keyboard (I have the Cherry MX Brown switches).
Corsair Vengeance K70 with Cherry MX Browns. I love the rolling volume control on this one: spinning it up and down emits a series of volume up/down keypresses.
60% keyboards seem to be the in thing right now, but you can pry my arrow keys and media buttons from my cold, dead hands.
I had burning / shooting pain in my wrists one week that freaked me out. Got a kinesis, had no problems after that. I don’t use it anymore though, I guess I type less now. I just use my plain Macbook Pro keyboard.
I’m using an ErgoDox EZ, both at home and at work. Looks like this at home. Layout is Dvorak-based at the moment, but I’m working on my own layout, too. I have written quite a bit about my ErgoDox journey, but the short story is that split keyboards are the best thing since sliced bread. While the ErgoDox is not perfect (the thumb cluster is not the best, and the bottom row is useless to me, save one key on each side), it is just not comparable to any other keyboard I have used.
This may be due to the programmability too: being able to have one-shot modifiers has been the biggest improvement for my typing comfort since switching to Dvorak.
What I like about the EZ:
What I don’t like about the EZ:
I’m waiting for the keyboard.io M01 to ship, to fulfill most - if not all - my keyboard dreams.
I am fairly new to mechanical keyboards world, but I much prefer them to keyboards in modern laptops (I have been using mostly MacBooks).
Currently I use KBT Poker 2 (ISO/UK) with Cherry MX Blue switches, qwerty layout, Polish Pro (basically US International PC with ability to use Polish diacritical marks). I used to use Das Keyboard 4 Ultimate with Cherry MX Blue switches as well. Both keyboard were amazing, but I think I’m going to stay with some smaller keyboards for now.
My next purchase is going to be Ergo Dox.
I have a tenkeyless Filco Majestouch 2 with Cherry MX browns. It’s a brilliant keyboard, with a superb feel, and I love the sound. For me, the sound and feel almost make typing fun.
I’ve always liked the look of the Kinesis Advantage but haven’t made the plunge yet. In the 90s I loved the original Microsoft Natural Keyboard (even though it had horrible keycaps, I loved the layout) and the Advantage seems a natural development of that layout.
I still use a QWERTY layout - a few times in the past I’ve tried to switch to Dvorak (and even bought a TypeMatrix 2020 with both sets of labels on the keys to help), but found the learning period too frustrating to stick it out. I can type very quickly on a QWERTY layout, which makes the frustration even worse.
For those interested in keyboards and input devices in general, check out geekhack.
Realforce 104UB with ergonomic key weighting. Topre key switches are a joy to type on and don’t annoy my coworkers.
Just got my Realforce 87U with ergonomic weighting a month ago. Still getting used to it.
Before I was using a DEC LK411 with PS/2 connector. Proper curved backplane, proper spherical keycaps, nice enough layout, cheapo “switches”.
I found it a bit awkward until I got these wrist rests: https://www.massdrop.com/buy/16002
Can’t see it… But yes, wrist rests are needed for a keyboard like this. I was thinking about getting some.
Edit: looks like mass drop links are broken? They are called the npkc wooden wrist rests
This link works for me.
I was thinking of getting a Filco wooden wrist rest which has a slightly different profile.
I’ve suffered from bad RSI in the past, so ive tried a fair few ergonomic keyboards.
My main keyboard, the one i like most, but which is hardest to learn to use, is the maltron two handed 3d keyboard: http://www.maltron.com/shop/category/48-maltron-dual-hand-3d-keyboards
Then for travelling I use a Goldtouch go 2: http://shop.goldtouch.com/products/goldtouch-v2-adjustable-comfort-keyboard-pc-only-includes-usb-and-ps2-connector
In the past I tried the desktop goldtouch version and a microsoft sculpt. I’d like to try a kinesis advantage some day.
I also reccommend the Logitech m570 trackball mice. They are brilliant and, unlike the above keyboards, take an hour or two to adjust tohttp://www.logitech.com/en-gb/product/wireless-trackball-m570
Its a shame ergonomic keyboards cost so much.
I made the switch to logitech trackball mice about three years ago and I love them - a much better idea than pushing an ordinary mouse about - especially on my standing desk which is rather narrow :~)
I like a light touch, which seems to be most common on cheap keyboards (though the Apple Aluminium Keyboard was also fine). So I use an Ebuyer Extra Value keyboard; at this point most of the letters have worn off but that’s fine. Dvorak but in software.
(When I was in university I moved the keycaps around so my keyboard was physically dvorak. No fewer than five friends claimed that they could touch-type QWERTY and asked me to switch the keyboard over to QWERTY when they needed to type something on my computer. Turned out none of them could actually touch-type)
Filco MJ2 TKL w/ MX Browns.
Sigh. My Sun Type 7 USB keyboard died last month. It wasn’t ergonomic, had too many keys, but it was quiet, and I loved it. At least I still have the stapler.
I cheaped out big time and replaced it with an AmazonBasics $9 special, and it is awful. Loud and cheap. Key spacing feels weird. Don’t get one. (Their mouse is fine though)
A lot of time you can re-use the switches and matrix by wiring in a custom USB microcontroller if you’re handy with a soldering iron: https://blog.lmorchard.com/2016/02/21/modelm-controller/
I have been using a Logitech Wave keyboard for a while that I’m kinda ‘meh’ on. I like the shape of the keys (the wave), and the wrist pad. But it’s pretty large, has a bunch of junky keys I never use, and the particular model I have is older and has a huge dongle (the newer logitech dongles are tiny and much nicer).
I cannot stand apple keyboards - the short profile, the squishy keys, and the straight-up minimalist design with no thought to ergonomics at all. I’m thinking it was designed by the same person as the hilariously bad apple hockey puck mouse. And yet I see -sooooo- many people using them.
I’m giving a Kinesis Advantage2 a shot based on the review by Avdi Grimm, which also inspired me to try a pedal. I’m hoping I’m as big of a fan as Avdi clearly is.
Thinkpad keybard with Trackpoint. Used to use a USB one for my work desktop, now simply use an X1 Carbon.
At home, I switch between my Dell XPS 13 and the wireless Apple chicklet keyboard. I vastly prefer keyboads with Trackpoint though.
In a prior life, I was a devoted Happy Hacking Keyboard fan.
My work and personal laptops are Thinkpads (T460p and a T400) and for the
most part I use the built-in keyboards. At home I have a full-size Samsung
keyboard for when I have my Thinkpad docked, but it’s nothing special. I’d
love to get a mechanical keyboard for home, but there are so many choices
it is hard to narrow down. I’m leaning toward the UniComp Ultra Classic though.
Several tenkeyless mechanical keyboards with Cherry MX Brown.
I am using a Pok3r with Cherry MX Blues at home… and a Pok3r at work, also with Cherry MX Blues but with dampened keys. My coworkers have gotten used to it and now the clickering is a hallmark of me being in the office. Also, I grew to prefer the feel of the dampened keys. I would dampen the keys at home as well but there I have the DSA Granite keycaps instead of the (indeed pretty high quality PBT) stock OEM keycaps and these have different stems so the dampening rings don’t fit that well.
ErgoDox EZ, Norman. https://mobile.twitter.com/search?q=romanzolotarev%20ergodox
Coming from a Cherry MX board with Cherry Brown switches and now using a Ducky Shine 5 with Cherry Blue switches. It’s very pretty. :)
Ergodox with zealios switch and PBT keycaps. Otherwise novatouch TKL or Leopold FC660C. Love topre switches and PBT dsa keycaps. I’m slower with ergonomic keyboard. But it’s more confortable.
i use my laptop
I’m waiting for my Ultimate hacking keyobard to go into production, and at home I’m using an Microsoft Ergonomic keyboard with a bit of home improvement :~)
Primarily use a Coolermaster Novatouch (relatively affordable tenkeyelss Topre clone with mostly Cherry-compatible stems), but I’m trying to move towards using a Planck with 65g Zealios more. While the Planck is an adorable brick of aluminum that fits nicely in my bag, I haven’t taken the time to really get used to the ortholinear layout.
I use the Kinesis Advantage. It’s fine, although there are bugs (as @duclare notes, the mod keys can get stuck) and I’d really like full-sized function keys. But the topology of the keyboard and the key layout makes a lot of sense, and after 15 years, I think I’d only change for something much more radical.
That said, I really, really, really with the USB HID stack allowed for more than eight modifier keys.
Topre Realforce, tenkeyless. One for home, one for work.
At home I have an ergodox that I built from a massdrop kit (original, not infinity) with cherry clear switches.
Now I also bought an ergodox ez since I didn’t want to put the effort into building another one for work. It’s got gateron brown switches which are must softer, which I’m surprised to find I think I might actually prefer to the clears. It’s not as satisfying to pound on the keys, but I think I type faster and with less fatigue, and it forces me to type more precisely since it’s easier to make typos.
I like the Lenovo KLU-0225. The new Lenovo laptop keyboards are excellent as well.
Lenovo X230 German keyboard set to US layout in software :)
Luckily I’ve never hit RSI so I basically use whatever keyboard is available the the time. I’ve dabbled in mechanical keyboards but I honestly don’t notice any difference from typing on a rubber dome except for the noise.
WASD 105-key ISO with Cherry MX Clear switches.
This is the same company that makes the CODE keyboard, but I have no need for backlit keys and prefer to have the number pad on the right, which the CODE lacks.