Need mechanical keyswitch advice coming from MS Sculpt Ergo

I have never typed on a mechanical keyboard and have no idea what any switches really feel like. I have been using a Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic at home for close to 6-7 years now. It has started to come apart so I decided I will upgrade to an ErgoDoxEZ. But I'm stuck on what switches to get.

My Sculpt Ergo has scissor switches on top of rubber domes with an actuation force of ~50 grams. Does that make them feel tactile or linear? I don't know, but they feel comfortable to type on and I average around 80 wpm. Resting my fingers on the home row I also never have an accidental keypress, but of course when you press hard enough the keys are immediately bottomed out.

At work I have a Microsoft Natural Ergo 4000. I don't particularly like the feeling of the keys and sometimes realize I'm really hammering on them. Maybe that comes from my long use of the MS Sculpt.


* Quiet enough to pass the wife test because we share a small home office.
* Obviously I play games as well
* At work I write code much of the day and expect I'll be bringing my ErgoDoxEZ there eventually.

I'm hovering between Kalih Box Red or Box Black because I'm guessing they might feel similar to the MS Sculpt and are supposed to be very quiet. My worry is that the Reds might be too sensitive so maybe the Blacks would be a safer bet.

But would tactile switches be a more natural transition from the MS Sculpt Ergo? Maybe Cherry MX Brown or Kalih Box Brown? The switch selection is somewhat limited because I want to get the Glow version of the ErgoDoxEZ.

I hope you can give me some advice

Hmm, I was going to suggest visiting a Microcenter if you had one nearby, because they stock zillions of keyboards in all different switch types, but your location says Scandinavia, so that's out.

In the Cherry switches, I personally prefer the linear (smooth) types, because in the MX design, both the tactile (feel a click) and clicky (hear a click) switches don't trigger at the activation point. They're entirely extraneous to the actual function of the switch, purely cosmetic effects, and that seems silly to me. I love buckling spring keyboards, and in those the clicky sound is a direct function of how they work. They're clicky because they have to be, not as a glued-on afterthought.

It's not in stock now, but if you can find something like this:

... that would let you try out a bunch of different Cherry switch types, at least.

This is also out of stock, and seems to be a sampler for the Kailh switches you're eyeing:

I think the only reasonable way for you to find out is by trying the switches, and samplers seem to be the cheapest way to narrow down what feels right to you.

If you really like the feel of rubber domes, you could look into Topre switches. They're basically the best rubber dome keyboards on the market; very expensive, very durable, and very comfortable after you break them in. (they're pretty nasty-feeling for a few weeks until the rubber softens up.) They use springs underneath the rubber domes, which trigger capacitative sensors, so they activate at the very bottom of the stroke. They've got a real nice springback at the bottom, too, which becomes exceedingly comfortable to type on after about twenty minutes. What I was noticing is that my fingers didn't have that tiny ache in them anymore after typing for awhile. However, because they activate at the very bottom of the stroke, they're a little slow-feeling for games.

If you're buying a keyboard for production typing, the Topres might be the best there is. But if your usage involves much gaming, the true mechanicals may work better.

Thank you for the detailed answer!

After some searching I found one place that had Kalih switch tester in stock so I can get a feeling for them soon. I agree that getting these kind of testers is the best way if stores like Microcenter are not an option, but like you I struggled to find testers in stock online.

The Topre switches I had never heard of! It sounds like they are the most expensive switches available and won't fit on a keyboard like ErgoDoxEZ. Are you using a board with them?

Until I get the switch tester I'll probably continue to obsess about whether the ErgoDox is a good purchase or not

The best balance I've found between noisy keyboard and good feel is Logitech's boards that use their Romer-G switches.

It is night and day quieter than the MX Brown switch based board I have on the other PC two feet away but the feel is still good.

But definitely test out as many as you can beforehand, or buy from somewhere with a good return policy.

Topre boards are expensive, but they are very well built. Mine was so solid that felt like you could use it as a weapon. It wasn't as heavy as a Model M, but it was really densely packed, and felt almost perfectly rigid.

I ended up not using it, however, because of the slow response time of the keys; I was comparing it with the MX Reds on this Corsair keyboard (which I'm still using), and the MX Reds were effectively instant, activating near the top of the stroke. The Topres activated at the very bottom, so they felt quite a bit slower. Realized I wasn't using it, and got rid of it.

But, man, for heavy typing, I've never used a board I liked better. Once it was broken in (two or three weeks), it was gloriously comfortable. Out of the box, it was pretty horrid, but as soon as those rubber domes broke in, wow.