Kinesis Freestyle Edge and mechanical ergonomic keyboard alternatives

Lately I am getting pain in my left wrist (my WASD-ing hand) and by process of experimentation it seems like the soreness is coming from having to "break" my wrist to the outside (in the direction of my little finger). I understand this can lead to a condition called ulnar deviation, and as much time as I spend on computers by necessity and choice I have been worried for some time about developing carpal tunnel or related conditions.

Basically to relieve the soreness it seems like I need to be able to keep my wrist straight. The only way to do this for my left hand would be to rotate my whole keyboard clockwise, but then obviously my right wrist would have to "break" even worse to type. So I've started looking into ergonomic keyboards. Most of the ones on the market are cheap membrane crap like this and I am not willing to sacrifice the responsiveness of mechanical switches. The only mechanical ergonomic keyboards I have been able to find are the Kinesis Freestyle Edge (and its predecessors by Kinesis) and this model on Amazon, the Cloud Nine 989M.

I am leaning strongly towards the Freestyle Edge because I know Kinesis is at least an established company that's been around a while, whereas I have never heard of Cloud Nine before (no, they do not appear to be associated with the esports organization Cloud9), and I also prefer the more compact design of the Kinesis (I have been using TKL keyboards for some time). The only thing that gives me pause is that many reviews say that the "tenting" kit for the Kinesis is really a necessity, but they sell it separately for an extra $25 on top of $200 for the keyboard itself which kind of pisses me off. The Cloud Nine at least comes with tenting, albeit at a fixed angle.

So before I plunk out the cash: does anyone here have any personal experience with either of these products, especially the Freestyle Edge? Or are there any other ergo mechanical switch options I should be aware of?

I should mention my favorite switch type is Brown, I could maybe live with Reds and Blues are a non-starter.

I've been using one with reds at work for the last year and like it so much that I bought one with browns for home -- though it's still in the box since my entire office setup is at home with me until I go back into the office on a regular basis. I spent a few months looking towards the end of 2019 and there just aren't many ergonomic mechanical keyboards.

The tenting kit was essential for me coming from more than a decade of using MS Ergonomic 4000 keyboards, and it is indeed lame that they charge extra for it when it's already a ridiculously expensive device.

Someone on another forum was pitching me hard on the Moonlander, but it costs another $100 more (once you include their wristrests and tenting kit, and even more for lighting) and most of the advantages claimed (like being able to swap out the key switches) are stuff I will never care about.

Have you already tried a cheaper option just to see if the different keyboard shape even helps? I recommend the Microsoft Ergnomic, I have used versions of these for over 20 years, I think I have replaced it once in that timeframe.

You might try it see if you can live with the typing action, or if you find the typing position does help and want to invest in a nicer one, you can do that.

Oof, this is sorta timely. I spent over a decade on variations of the MS Ergo keyboards, and loved them. Then my last Ergo 4000 died, and I decided to give mechanicals a try. I picked up a Corsair Strafe with MX Browns, and have been using that for a few years. I still miss a split layout though, and I've got some fun money to throw around, so that Cloud Nine looks pretty nice.

I've still got a hard time convincing myself to drop $180 on a keyboard though. Any other options out there for a little less?

I started feeling the same woes of impending ulnar deviation doom and went with the Kinesis Advantage.

I've used it for almost twenty years of professional programming and my hands and wrists still feel great, for which I'm grateful.

With that said, the Advantage is very pricey and does not have an ideal layout for games, but Kinesis is a solid company so I'd feel confident that the Freestyle Edge is worth the money.

Bottom line: don't mess around when your hands start sending the warning signs. Get an input device that works for you. In the long run, the prospect of dropping a few hundred on a keyboard is peanuts compared to risking a career or living a life dealing with chronic hand issues that could have been prevented.

Wishing everyone good health and good luck with their keyboards!

I love my Advantage, it's such a great keyboard.

I've owned three Kinesis Advantage boards, and all three broke. They never lasted more than a year. I loved them, but after investing pretty close to a thousand dollars, I still didn't have one that worked.

Meanwhile, this Corsair K95 just keeps trucking along. Still Cherry mechanisms, but this board has lasted at least five years, and shows no sign of impending (or distant) failure.

Malor wrote:

I've owned three Kinesis Advantage boards, and all three broke. They never lasted more than a year. I loved them, but after investing pretty close to a thousand dollars, I still didn't have one that worked.

I'm sorry to hear this.

Was Kinesis unsympathetic in regards to warranty? I'm curious because according to their warranty page, the warranty period is currently at least two years (but maybe their policy was different when you had yours).

They were really dicks about it, with the third keyboard, because I'd bought it from a reseller, as they had it a little cheaper.

I don't like that company.

That's disappointing to hear they were jerks about it; reseller or not, a serial number should have sufficed.

I've always bought directly from Kinesis and never had any issue, especially with the refurbished keyboard I bought to replace my original Advantage because it had an old-school PS2 plug.

Another time, I bought a track pad and hated it. Kinesis accepted the return without any hassle.

Perhaps they've gone downhill lately, or maybe went downhill are are coming back up.

At any rate, thanks for sharing your experience and, again, sorry your interaction with Kinesis was crappy.