Best Trackball Mice

Updated January 2021
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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 all opinions about the products are our own. 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 all opinions about the products are our own. 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 all opinions about the products are our own. 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.

30 Models Considered
8 Hours Researched
2 Experts Interviewed
92 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 trackball mice

If you spend a lot of time in front of a computer, you’ve probably experienced hand or wrist strain from using your mouse. To alleviate strain, pressure, and cramping, consider making the switch to a trackball mouse.

A regular mouse is usually flat or triangular, which only puts the hand and wrist at awkward, uncomfortable angles. Trackball mice are ergonomically shaped to provide a more comfortable experience. In addition to their unique contouring, they also have a multidirectional ball located beneath your thumb or fingers. This eliminates the need to contort your arm and shoulder to move the cursor because you can simply roll it across the screen with a gentle flick of the thumb.

If you’re curious whether you’d benefit from using a trackball mouse, keep reading to learn more about the unique designs on the market. Take a look at our favorites, too. We’re sure you’ll find one that covers all your needs.

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Many trackball mice come with a manufacturer warranty, so be sure to save all your purchase information just in case there’s a problem. It’s also a good idea to register your mouse on the manufacturer’s website.

Key considerations

Regular vs. trackball mice

If you’ve only used a regular mouse, you’re well aware of the amount of effort it takes to manipulate it to move the cursor. In fact, you need to employ muscles from the hands all the way up to your shoulder to move one. As your hand and wrist aren’t in an ergonomic position, you might sustain injury with prolonged use.

A trackball mouse requires far less effort to move the cursor. Given its design, you only need to use your wrist and fingers to move it. This helps to alleviate tension and pressure in the hand, wrist, arm, and shoulder.

Wired vs. wireless

An easy way to narrow your search is to decide whether you prefer a wired or wireless trackball mouse. A wired mouse is ideal if you don’t want the extra cost of batteries, which you’ll need to buy for and replace in wireless models. With that said, the average wireless mouse can run anywhere from 6 to 18 months on a set of batteries.

If you’re interested in portability, a wireless trackball mouse is likely the better choice. These come with a USB receiver, which usually docks inside the mouse. Many wireless mice come with a carry case as well. While you can carry a wired trackball mouse in your bag, the cable means it takes up more room.

OS compatibility

Before you begin comparing trackball mice, it’s important to know the operating system (OS) of your computer. Be sure to cross-reference it with the systems compatible with the mouse, because you’ll need to install or download the driver to recognize the mouse as a new, compatible peripheral.

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Caution
While it’s tempting to apply hand lotion throughout the day, the residue from oils and creams can stick to the trackball. The lotion can settle in the cradle and cause unwanted resistance, corrupting the mouse’s motion.
Staff
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Features

Ergonomics

Trackball mice have a much different shape than that of regular mice, which is attributed to their ergonomic design. The wrist sits in a relatively neutral position, while the hand is elevated to reach the trackball with minimal stretching or effort. You’ll also notice that trackball mice have a larger footprint than regular mice and provide a more comfortable platform for the entire hand-wrist area. 

Trackball

Size: There isn’t a standard trackball size, though it tends to range in diameter from approximately 1.3 to 2.8 inches. Smaller trackballs are considered an acquired taste and are often preferred by children or adults with smaller hands. A larger trackball has a universal appeal, but if it’s set too high in the mouse, it can be somewhat uncomfortable to use.

Location: The most common location for the trackball is just beneath the thumb on the side of the mouse. However, manufacturers have experimented with the location, especially in the past decade. Some newer models place the trackball just beneath the fingertips, while others place it in the middle of the mouse under the palm.

Buttons

While the designs of trackball mice can differ from those of regular mice, they often have many of the same buttons. However, the buttons often have unique shapes and locations. Most trackball mice have the equivalent of right- and left-click buttons, as well as a scroll wheel.

More involved designs may have a dots per inch (DPI) button to adjust sensitivity to movement, as well as a wheel to scroll up or scroll down. There are also trackball mice with programmable buttons that allow you to set specific commands. This is an especially attractive feature if you’d like to reduce your overall number of keystrokes.

If you work in a quiet office or are sensitive to sound, invest in a trackball mouse with quiet operation. With these models, the clicking of the buttons is muffled by internal components to reduce their overall volume.

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Accessories

Mouse pad with wrist support: Fellowes Gel Crystal Mouse Pad
Enjoy additional support when using your trackball mouse when you invest in a mouse pad with wrist support. We like this one from Fellowes because the gel cushioning is soft and contours to your wrist.

Keyboard wrist rest: Kensington Duo Gel Keyboard Wrist Rest
It’s important to have adequate support when using your keyboard, which is why it’s recommended that you invest in a wrist rest. This one from Kensington featured ventilated gel to keep hands cool and comfortable.

Trackball mice prices

Trackball mice range in price from $25 to $100, mostly depending on the number of additional buttons or custom features.

Inexpensive: Entry-level trackball mice cost between $25 and $40. These mice are fairly simple, so it’s not unusual for them to only have the trackball and the right- and left-click buttons.

Mid-range: These trackball mice cost between $45 and $60 and include wired and wireless models. These last longer and are more responsive than cheaper models and are often equipped with programmable buttons.

Expensive: The most expensive trackball mice cost $70 to $100 and include specialized designs that are intended for use by advanced users. Not only do they have a wide variety of programmable buttons, but their ergonomic designs are far more comfortable than lesser-priced options.

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Did You Know?
Even though many trackball mice are advertised as universally compatible, it’s important to cross-reference the operating system to be safe. Keep in mind that not all trackball mice are compatible with Mac OS.
Staff
BestReviews

Tips

  • Practice makes perfect. There’s a bit of a learning curve when it comes to using a trackball mouse, so give yourself enough time to acclimate. It’s also a good idea to keep your regular mouse on hand for a little while because you might decide to return to it if you don’t like the trackball mouse.
  • Store the mouse in a drawer between uses. If your desk has a drawer, store your trackball mouse inside it between uses. This helps keep dust and dirt from settling between the buttons as well as beneath the trackball, which could affect their operation.
  • Opt for a small trackball mouse for kids. If your little ones are learning to use computers and mice, consider investing in a small trackball mouse for them. There are several models that feature a mini trackball to accommodate smaller hands.
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A well-maintained trackball mouse can last a few to several years. To prolong the life of your mouse, clean it regularly and avoid accidental drops.

FAQ

Q. What type of trackball mouse is best for lefties?

A. While it seems like a small detail, if you’re left-handed, the location of the trackball can make or break your decision. The vast majority of mice, trackball and regular, are designed for right-handed users. Left-handed individuals often fare best with a mouse whose trackball is located in the middle. Many of these models have programmable buttons that allow lefties to fully customize their experience.

Q. How do I clean a trackball mouse?

A. For superficial cleaning, you can simply use a can of compressed air to blast away dust, crumbs, or hair. If the mouse needs a deeper cleaning, it’s recommended that you use alcohol wipes. However, it’s important not to saturate the mouse in alcohol or you could damage the internal components. Some trackball mice can be taken apart for cleaning, and the ball can be removed, cleaned, dried, and replaced.

Q. Who can benefit the most from using a trackball mouse?

A. Those who have difficulty controlling the location of the cursor do well with a trackball mouse. Individuals in this category include those with hand injuries, arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, or people whose hands are prone to cramping. Trackball mice are also recommended for people who use their mouse continuously for prolonged periods of time. The mice combat fatigue and help maintain a healthy, ergonomic position of the hand and wrist.

 

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