I love key pads. I used to use the velcro type key pads but they would get stuck on any hang nails. Now I use the leather key pads and they are totally worth their money. My fingers tend to sweat when I write and the key pads help my fingers not slip off the keys. I've been reporting for over 20 years and no writing without them!
I used the rubber key pads and didn't like them and removed them. It deadened my sense of touch for the keys. Yes, it got rid of that slippery feeling, but to the point of feeling "sticky," like my fingers couldn't get off of the keys as fast to move on to the next stroke.
I can't use write without them. I personally like the leather best only because the pads don't slip on the keys over time. But the pads that have the best grip and don't wear are the Stenograph rubber keypads, but they will soon slip and stick to each other and cause misstroking.
I used Velcro in school but haven't in the 20 or so years I've been working. I have acrylic nails but I keep them very short. I tried the leather or rubber ones (can't remember which) and I had this deja vu feeling -- you know those dreams where you're trying to run away from something but you're in mud up to your knees and can't get anywhere? That was how I felt!
I swear I passed CR school once I put rubber key pads on my machine. Been using them ever since. Can't imagine trying to write without them. I love 'em.
Pros: fingers don't slip, no sound of fingernails on the keys. Cons: The rubber ones wear out pretty quickly and slip from the keys after a while or when the machine has been in a hot car. Once they slip, I either trim them or replace them.
The leather ones are totally AWESOME!! I wouldn't get any of the others. I did try the rubber and the velcro ones in school and liked the rubber better. but then I saw a fellow student with the leather and I had to try them. They are sooo much better than the rubber. My hands used to get so sweaty in class, and the leather keys helped so much. And I've had them on my current machine for going on three years now and they're not slipping, worn out, or coming loose. So I say got get them and enjoy them.
And i never heard of triple stacking the vowel keys. My right thumb is always sore from reaching. I hope I have enough extra leather pads because I'm going to put them on my machine right now for my job tomorrow. Great tip! I'm so thankful for CSRnation!