Best Gaming Mouse Pads

Updated July 2020
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

24 Models Considered
8 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
375 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best gaming mouse pads

Last Updated July 2020

You may not think about your mouse pad very often. Perhaps you don’t even own one. For gamers, though, every detail matters. Just like gearheads do with their cars, gaming enthusiasts obsess over every component in their setup, turning seemingly trivial things like mouse pad designs into crucial points of focus. Enter the world of gaming mouse pads.

A basic mouse pad aims to provide a steady, comfortable surface to rest your mouse on while offering a bit of comfort to the user. Gaming mouse pads are built with a bit more thought, maximizing quick, accurate, and controlled mouse movements along with next-level ergonomics and style. Even if you’ve invested in a high-quality mouse, you won’t get your money’s worth without the proper surface.

Gaming mouse pads come in a variety of sizes and are generally made from either tightly woven fabric or plastic with a grippy, rubberized base. Some are double-sided for different game styles, while others are adorned with a wrist rest, LEDs, wireless charging tech, and other cool features. If you’re looking to improve your gameplay, scroll down to read more and scroll up to check out our favorites. 

Mouse sensitivity is measured in dots per inch (DPI). Lower sensitivity means a player has to move their mouse more than a high-sensitivity player does, with the benefit being increased precision. Mice with adjustable DPI can be adjusted with a dedicated mouse button or software.

Key considerations

Profile

The first concern you should have when shopping for a gaming mouse pad is its profile. For one, the pad has to fit on your desk, but it must be properly sized for your mouse-sensitivity preferences. If you use low mouse sensitivity, you need to physically move your mouse more than someone who uses high sensitivity, and you’ll need enough mouse pad real estate to permit that. Some companies offer extended mouse pads that cover the length of your desk, allowing you to place your keyboard and mouse on the same surface. 

Surface material

A gaming mouse pad’s surface is perhaps its most crucial detail, and it’s the only part the mouse comes into contact with. Not only does surface material dictate durability, but it also determines friction, freedom of movement, and precision.

Quality gaming mouse pads feature micro-woven fabric surfaces with anti-fray, stitched edges. Some are coated with hard plastic or vulcanized silicone, however. Low-friction plastic mouse pads are “faster,” fantastic for movement-heavy sports games or players with quick reflexes. Higher-friction fabric pads are “slower” but offer incredible precision for shooters and the like. 

That being said, don’t let convention dictate your decision. Try out different pads and settle on the design that works best for you.

Base

A high-end gaming mouse pad must remain stable to provide the benefits it promises. To accomplish this, they equip a rubberized or silicone coating on the underside, which grips your desk just enough to prevent slippage. Some models even have rubber corner stops or base to keep the pad secure. 

Base thickness is another concern, and the version you purchase comes down to personal preference. A slim base, which generally measures 2 millimeters thick, is ideal for players who like a solid feel. Standard bases are typically 3 millimeters thick and offer a nice middle ground between a natural feel and comfortable use. Bases that are 5 millimeters thick are on the heavy side but rather luxurious to use, and they’ll feel the same on any desk surface. 

EXPERT TIP

Many gaming mouse pads are machine washable for convenience, but not all of them are. Always confirm your manufacturer’s care recommendations to prevent damage, and never, ever put a mouse pad in the dryer.


Staff  | BestReviews

Features

Dual-sided

As we’ve covered, the majority of gaming mouse pads have fabric on top with a grippy coating below. Certain models, however, have a dual-sided design to give gamers more choice. One example would be a soft cloth top with a hard polycarbonate bottom, allowing gamers to seamlessly switch between games like Call of Duty: Warzone and Rocket League. That said, you sacrifice grip for increased utility, and the compromise may not be worth it. 

Wrist rest

Ergonomics is hugely important to gamers who often play for hours using small wrist and arm movements. To keep the strain off your joints, certain mouse pads have a built-in wrist rest with memory foam or a similar material. This could be a complete game changer or deal breaker depending on your mouse movement style, desk height, and other factors, so buy according to your needs. 

Wireless charging

Mouse pad features today would simply astonish gamers from just 15 years ago. The best example of that is wireless charging. Qi wireless charging — an open interface standard that uses inductive technology — is available on a variety of mouse pads. Qi-certified devices and even some noncertified models can be charged by resting on this type of pad, which usually features a built-in LED indicator to show status. There are even pads that can charge certain wireless mice as you use them.

RGB lighting

Gamers love practicality, but they also adore flashy and superficial style to set their rig apart from others. A common example of this is RGB lighting, which is available on mid-range and high-end gaming mousepads. Certain iterations have separate lighting zones that can be customized to a gamer’s liking.

DID YOU KNOW?

While some larger mouse pads can be rolled up for shipping and storage, certain models have unique undercoatings that should not be rolled or folded. As always, double-check the manufacturer’s specifications for proper handling tips.

Gaming mouse pad prices

Inexpensive: The entry point for mouse pads is about $5. These products are usually small, basic squares with a smooth surface devoid of luxurious padding. There’s not a great deal of real estate for gaming, either, unless you use higher sensitivity or play low-movement games. 

Mid-range: Budget $10 to $25 and you’re in range of almost every high-quality gaming mouse pad available. Woven fabric models, glassy models, and dual-sided models with anti-fray edges are common here, as are extended mouse pads and those with a wrist rest.  

Expensive: By spending $25 to $50, you’re essentially just adding frills to an already quality product. Expect features like multi-zone RGB lighting, wireless device charging, and ornate aesthetic designs.  

EXPERT TIP

If you use a wired mouse, consider a paracord cable. Paracord cables are extremely flexible compared to braided cables, giving the mouse a nearly wireless feel. They are also more durable than traditional rubber-coated alternatives.


Staff  | BestReviews

Tips

  • Keep food and drinks away from your mouse pad. As tempting as it may be to eat and drink at your computer, use caution to keep crumbs and liquids away from your mouse pad. Stray snacks can get inside your mouse, trip up the sensor as the mouse goes over it, or even damage expensive components. 

  • Wash your mouse pad by hand. It’s very simple. Rinse it thoroughly with water. Use a dab of gentle soap, if needed, and lightly scrub the surface to remove dust and grime. Rinse it clean, dab with a towel, and hang it to air-dry. 

  • Try a wireless mouse. A high-quality mouse pad is a fantastic way to improve your in-game agility and response time. It’s not the only option, though. Wireless mice offer incredible performance with no cables. Adding hyperglides to the bottom allows it to move around more freely. 

Gaming mouse pads are of the highest quality and thus have several benefits to non-gamers as well. Graphic designers use fine motor skills and precise mouse movements, so they love the increased utility. Writers, coders, editors, and anyone else who uses a computer for extended periods will, too.

FAQ

Q. What are the benefits of an extended mouse pad?
A. If you’re new to gaming or mouse pad shopping, you might assume all mouse pads are small and square. Modern setups are quite different, though. Longer extended mouse pads cover the majority of your desk, allowing your mouse and keyboard to live on the same surface. Not only does this look clean, but the pad absorbs keyboard vibrations for a more stable feel. There’s more comfort for your arms as well. And, if you pick the right style, it’ll give your space a makeover. 
 

Q. My mouse pad has a strong rubber smell out of the box. Is there a way to remove it?
A. When you remove a new mouse pad from its packaging, you might notice a distinct, rubber-like smell. This is a normal byproduct of the manufacturing process, but if you find it too strong, there are simple ways to remove it. The easiest is to fill a sink, tub, or bucket with warm water and a touch of dish soap. Soak the mouse pad for several minutes and let it air-dry. Repeat if necessary. For more pungent smells, try a mixture of water and white vinegar. 
 

Q. Are gaming mouse pads suitable as writing surfaces?
A. If your work or gaming space includes handwriting, sketching, or drawing, leave a dedicated hard desk space with no mouse pad on it. These pads are often a bit spongy and can cause you to punch right through paper or produce messy results. If you use a hard, glossy mouse pad, however, it might make the perfect writing surface. 

Other Products We Considered
The BestReviews editorial team researches hundreds of products based on consumer reviews, brand quality, and value. We then choose a shorter list for in-depth research and testing before finalizing our top picks. These are the products we considered that ultimately didn't make our top 5.
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