Lightweight but sturdy, with matte rubber coating along the sides to prevent slipping and make precision movements easier. Sensible button placement and mapping. Braided cable prevents tangles.
Mouse is too big for some users’ hands. Switching button configuration in-game can be difficult. Buttons sound somewhat loud when pressed. Scroll button can fail.
Best button setup of any gaming mouse on the market. Easy to program settings and buttons. Controls can be quickly remapped to user preference. Software easy to use. Ergonomic shape fits hand well, and textured surface ensures grip.
Left and right clicking and scroll wheel are tight and take effort to press and scroll rapidly. Lasts only a year or two for most gamers. Bulkier than other gaming mice. Compatible with Windows only.
Minimal to no lag on wireless connection (as long as line of sight is clear). Thumb buttons are easy to access without impeding side control. Outstanding battery life of hundreds of hours.
Top side buttons are uncomfortable to reach and place a little too high for the thumb. Button action can fail after a year or so of constant use. Some aren’t happy with the programming limitations. Heavy and bulky.
Color-changing feature is an attractive bonus. Fits large hands adequately. Glides easily, and buttons click smoothly.
A little too lightweight for some. Color changing can’t be controlled or stopped. Side buttons’ forward-reverse function is opposite of what users are used to. Lasts about a year with regular use.
Very durable, withstanding drops from desk height with no problem. Braided cable to stop snarls. Visual DPI indicators are a huge help. Button presets are easy to program and perfect for games like Minecraft. Customizable lighting.
LED lighting is just so-so. Configuration software is confusing to use. Mouse buttons are too sensitive. Mouse buttons and number pad can fail after a year or so of constant use.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
If you’re a hardcore PC gamer – or you think you may become one – you probably already know that a gaming mouse is an indispensable weapon for your arsenal. Whether you need additional buttons to make it through a gnarly first-person shooter campaign or you just want to brighten up your gaming space with a colorful, light-up mouse, it’s helpful to be aware of the most important gaming mouse features. This shopping guide can help.
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If you’re interested in learning more about our favorite gaming mice on today’s market, skip on up to the top of this page to investigate our product matrix. For additional information on gaming mice – features, prices, and tips – please continue reading.
Customization is often cited as the most common reason PC gamers buy mice, and for good reason: by mapping each mouse button to specific functionality, players are able to be more effective in their favorite games.
When it comes to perfecting and personalizing your gaming mouse, button customization is definitely the fan favorite. But these aren’t the only settings gamers love to customize. Some gaming mice include the following options as well.
Gamers love to dress up their gaming computers, desks, and monitors with LED lights, so why not let the gaming mouse get in on the fun? Some mice light up in user-defined colors, and some slowly pulse a light to give the impression that the mouse is actually “breathing.”
Every gamer has their own preferences about how heavy or firm a mouse should be. Some high-end gaming mice include small weights you can insert in the mouse to customize its weight.
Gaming for hours on end can be rough on the wrists. Because of this, some gaming mice are designed in such a way that your hand position causes less strain. Even if you buy a gaming mouse that is ergonomically shaped, it’s still a good idea to buy a wrist rest for your mouse pad to reduce the risk of long-term injury.
Gaming mice are user-friendly for left-handed people. Most gaming mice allow users to easily customize the buttons to a left-handed orientation if desired.
Most computer mice are plug-and-play, meaning you can take them to just about any machine (Windows, Mac, or Linux) and expect the same basic functionality of pointing and clicking.
And while gaming mice might be considered plug-and-play because they behave this way, the best parts of a gaming mouse lie in its extended features. Customizations and extra features do require software, and that software is almost always Windows-only.
More to the point, the majority of computer games are Windows-only, so it makes sense that most gaming mice applications are Windows-only.
As you’re shopping for gaming mice, check the specifications to make sure you have the right operating system for the gaming mouse you buy.
If you are a Mac gamer or Linux fanatic, you will either have to find a Mac-friendly gaming mouse (difficult, but not impossible), search for compatible third-party applications, or in some cases, spend time in the operating system manually mapping each mouse button click to your taste.
Many gaming mice measure sensitivity through a “dots-per-inch” metric, which refers to the number of screen pixels the mouse can travel when moved a single inch. Gaming mice that feature a high DPI are more sensitive – a good thing for most gamers. Basic, non-gaming mice usually have a DPI of 1,600.
When it comes to hooking up your gaming mouse to your computer, there are two types of connectivity to be aware of.
The vast majority of gaming mice are wireless. Wireless mice typically rely on a USB dongle that attaches to your computer, and they communicate wirelessly with the dongle over a unique frequency. Because they’re so portable (and ubiquitous), wireless mice are incredibly popular. Just don’t forget that you’ll need to supply the batteries, typically AA or AAA.
Wired gaming mice are exactly as they sound: they have all the features of their wireless cousins, but they connect to your computer with a permanently attached USB cable. While wired anything may feel like the Stone Age, wired mice often boast lower lag times than wireless mice, giving some computer gamers that split-second edge they crave.
Some gamers use their middle finger on the left-hand mouse button instead of their index finger. This allows the ring finger to take a more active role and the index finger to trigger specific buttons on the side of the mouse.
The price range for gaming mice is surprisingly wide: gaming mice can cost anywhere between $12 and $200.
$10 to $49
In this lower price range, expect to see a mix of impostors and solid performers. If the $10 to $49 window best fits your budget, take a moment to define how many additional mouse buttons you’ll need; many lower-end models skimp and only offer two or three more locations to click.
$50 to $75
This price range is full of the most intense gaming mice available. If you’re looking to customize exactly how much pressure you need to put on each button, or if you want a mouse with an LED light that can color-coordinate with whatever game you’re playing, look in this price range, as you’ll need something a bit better than entry-level.
$76 to $200
Some gaming mice carry retail prices in this wide upper range, although they are admittedly few and far between. A pricey gaming mouse may mean you’re getting the latest and greatest technology. It may also mean the retailer is overcharging you. When pitted against similar mice in the $50 to $75 range, it may be hard to justify spending this much.
A mouse is only as effective as its mousepad. Any mouse you purchase will need a smooth, non-reflective surface to work properly. When purchasing a gaming mouse, buy at least one mouse pad if you don’t have one already.
Before purchasing a gaming mouse, consider these tips.
Keep track of how you customize your gaming mouse for each game. Every computer game is different, and you’ll likely need to create custom button-mappings for each title. When you finish customizing each button for a particular game, keep records of your decisions either by exporting your settings in the gaming mouse software or keeping your own notes manually.
Get to know the bonus features of your mouse. Gaming hardware manufacturers frequently try to one-up one another by including unique features. Read your gaming mouse manual carefully to learn what extra functionality is included. For example, you may be able to hold a button down in a shooting game for a “rapid-fire” effect.
Buy a gaming mouse that matches the size of your hand. Not every mouse will be a great fit for your hand. For example, some gaming mice are specifically designed for larger hands. When you first get a new gaming mouse, spend some time determining if you’ve purchased the right size. You should be able to press every button easily without having to stretch any fingers.
For a high-end gaming mouse, check for third-party driver compatibility. Some third-party drivers can improve mouse performance and enable new features.
Make sure the gaming mouse you select has an adequate warranty. Gaming mice are designed to withstand a lot of abuse, but they can still falter after hundreds of hours of play. Buying a good warranty will save you the expense of having to buy frequent replacements.
Some of the best gaming mice are sold only as bundle with gaming keyboards. As you’re shopping for a gaming mouse, include the word “bundle” in your search terms to see available gaming mice you may have missed.
Q. Can I use a gaming mouse for purposes beyond computer gaming?
A. Yes. By default, all gaming mice have “plug-and-play” functionality and can move the cursor, left-click, and right-click on any computer. However, most gaming mice require software to enable any non-basic features, and that software is almost always Windows-based.
Q. How heavy are gaming mice?
A. Most gaming mice are quite light and weigh less than an ounce. Keep in mind, however, that some mouse batteries (such as AAs, which weigh about a half-ounce each) will increase the overall weight of the mouse.
Q. Can I program my gaming mouse preferences on a Windows machine and then move the mouse to another computer and keep my settings?
A. When you save your gaming mouse customization settings, they don’t get saved to the mouse itself; they get saved to the local computer. Unfortunately, any customizations you make to your gaming mouse from a specific computer will remain on that computer and will not be portable to another machine.
Q. Can I use a gaming mouse on a video game console like an Xbox One, PS4, or Nintendo Switch?
A. No. Gaming mice are designed to work with computers and not with video game consoles.