What To Look For in a Gaming Mouse – Tips & Hacks
Having a gaming mouse optimized for your playing style and needs is crucial for enjoying the best gaming experience. Whether you’re an amateur or professional gamer, your mouse will significantly impact your performance in certain types of games. However, there are a wide variety of gaming mouse models out there, and choosing the right one can be challenging. So, in this extensive guide, we’ll discuss everything you need to look for in a gaming mouse.
Choose a gaming mouse with a palm grip, a built-in DPI button, and ultra-lightweight honeycomb chassis features for FPS games. A mouse that allows for a claw grip, with adjustable weights, programmable buttons, and PTFE mouse feet is better for RPGs and MMOs.
Tips for Buying a Gaming Mouse
When participating in competitive games, you need the right gadget to bring out your best gameplay. With the perfect combination of features, you’ll gain an edge over other players and have a comfortable experience.
When buying a gaming mouse choose between a laser or optical sensor, a wired or wireless mouse, consider DPI and CPI, choose the weight, size, and design for specific styles of gaming, have the right number of buttons, and make sure that the polling rate is suitable.
Check out our review of the best PC gaming mice for some top-rated options.
But how do you know the technical specs to look out for in a gaming mouse? Follow these tips to find the right gaming mouse for your needs.
Tip 1. A Laser Sensor Is Better for Accurate Tracking and an Optical Sensor Is Better for High Response Rate
The mouse sensor helps to track the motion of the mouse and transfers the information to computer inputs. A good sensor will provide accurate tracking across varied surfaces and a wide DPI range. There’ll also be no jitter, acceleration, prediction, or angle snapping as you move and navigate the mouse cursor. There are two main classes of sensors used by gamers: laser and optical sensors. They both have their pros and cons and gamers are generally divided on the two options.
On one hand, laser sensors are the older and more sensitive options. Laser mice like this work especially well on smooth hard or transparent surfaces like glass. In addition, they offer higher accuracy when tracking due to deep sensing technology and sensor resolution. However, laser mice experience issues with lift-off distances, lower malfunction speeds, as well as jitters when moving the cursor.
On the other hand, optical sensors are more commonly used for gaming mice. These mice feature a more reactive sensor and can be used on a wide variety of surfaces. In addition, they do not exhibit any lag at high DPI. As a result, they are better suited for gaming purposes.
Tip 2. A Wireless Gaming Mouse Will Allow for an Easy Connection Vs. a Wired Gaming Mouse That Has Reduced Input Lag
Another factor to consider when choosing your gaming mouse is the type of connection the mouse has. Wireless mice are generally known for slower responsiveness and higher input latency although the technology is constantly improving. Many manufacturers like Logitech are making wireless mice like this with greatly reduced input lag. In addition, they allow for a cleaner workspace and prevent too many cords from obstructing aim and movement. Another issue to consider with wireless mice is battery capacity. However, most modern gaming mice can last a full day of intense gaming before needing a recharge. Some mice like these even support Qi wireless charging or charging mouse pads and docking stations for charging.
On the other hand, wired gaming mice are cheaper and feature faster responsiveness. They also offer a more stable connection and do not require constant charging. However, they cause a bit of clutter due to the pesky cables. You’ll have to put an effort into cable management to allow you to move the mouse freely. You can also invest in paracord cables for their ultra-flexibility and reduced drag. A mouse bungee like this will also come in handy if you want to reduce desk clutter and eliminate cable drag. We offer a number of recommendations in our article on the best mouse bungees.
Tip 3. Use the Size of Your Screen To Determine Your Optimal Dots per Inch (DPI) and Counts Per Inch (CPI)
What to look for in a gaming mouse? Your screen size is an important factor to consider when purchasing a gaming mouse. The screen size can help you determine the optimal DPI or CPI needed. DPI refers to the number of pixels the cursor moves per inch of mouse movement. On the other hand, CPI refers to the physical resolution of the mouse sensor camera measured as the number of pixels imaged by the sensor per inch of distance. These two factors determine the sensitivity of the mouse hardware. Generally, the DPI and CPI of the mouse need to be suitable for the screen size.
The best gaming mouse comes with an adjustable DPI setting either with software or an extra DPI button like this one. This will allow you to tailor the DPI to the screen size for the best tracking speed and sensitivity. With a larger screen, a high DPI will allow you to make a more significant cursor movement per inch of the progress of the mouse. This can help improve your gaming experience. However, an insanely high DPI or CPI is not always better as it can lead to inaccuracy.
Make sure to read our tips for choosing a gaming mouse DPI for optimum gameplay for more information.
Tip 4. Pick the Mouse Weight, Design & Size so That It Will Enhance Your Play and Keep You Comfortable
When purchasing a gaming mouse, you need to go for options that not only enhance your gameplay but also offer a comfortable gaming experience. There are different ways of holding a mouse and knowing your preferred grip style and hand size will help you choose a suitable mouse. The weight, design, and size of the mouse are also vital as they determine your ability to enjoy your gaming style.
How to Choose Mouse Weight
Your preferred mouse weight will differ based on your playing style. Although you can certainly get accustomed to a particular weight, there are pros and cons to different weight options from heavy to lightweight. Many gaming mice also come with adjustable weights which you can add or remove to get the optimal weight for you.
Heavier mice like these can be quite hefty and more challenging to maneuver. However, they are also stable and prevent unwanted movements. Our review on the best heavy gaming mice to buy offers several appealing options. You’ll be able to create more accurate motions and rest your hand comfortably without it sliding around. Gamers that prefer a palm grip usually prefer heavy gaming mice.
Lightweight gaming mice are great for gamers who flick their mouse. These mice are easy to maneuver and navigate, allowing you to make quick and sudden movements nimbly. They are better suited for gamers that prefer a claw or fingertip grip.
Check out this video tutorial by Dazs that explains the difference between heavy and light mice.
How to Choose Mouse Design
Another important factor to consider is the design of the mouse. As this factor is mainly subjective, it is best to choose a design that accommodates your preferred grip style and tastes. According to this article from the Journal of Applied Ergonomics, different wrist postures and grip styles will also affect comfort and productivity.
There are three main categories of mouse design shapes: ergonomic, symmetrical, and ambidextrous. Ergonomic gaming mice like these are asymmetrical and are shaped to fit the contour of the hand. They are very comfortable to hold and navigate, featuring more points of contact between your hand and the mouse. They are especially great for gamers that prefer a palm grip.
These symmetrical gaming mice, on the other hand, come with a balanced shape with a small bump at the rear. The shape prevents you from resting your palm on the mouse, making it easier for claw and fingertip gamers. Ambidextrous mice like this are also symmetrical in shape but come with mouse buttons on either side of the mouse. This makes the mice suited for both right and left-handed gamers.
How to Choose Mouse Size
It is best to go for gaming mice with sizes that fit your own hand size. This allows you to lift, navigate and move the mouse around easily without straining your fingers. Pay close attention to the width of the mouse as this factor is more important for comfort than length. Many manufacturers classify their mice as small, medium, or large on their website, so check out the size rating of the mouse. By measuring your own hand size, you can find a fairly good fit for your mice. We recommend going through our reviews on the 7 best gaming mice for small hands and the 6 best gaming mice for big hands.
To measure your hand size, get a ruler like this and measure the distance from the base to the tip of your middle finger. This measurement will be the length. For the width, measure across the center of your hand with your fingers tight together. You can then use your hand measurements as a rough guide for choosing your mouse size. Generally, your mouse size should be between 60 to 70% of your hand measurements. You can also test out different mouse options to get a feel for the best size fit for you.
Tip 5. A Gaming Mouse With Lots of Buttons Is Good for MMORPGs and MOBAs Gaming
Most gaming mice come with programmable buttons ranging from 5 to 12 buttons like these. The extra buttons allow you to add more functionality to the mice and execute complex commands with little movement. They can also be programmed to adjust DPI and perform keystrokes quickly and easily. They are especially great for MMORPGs, MOBAs, and similar games where you can key bind the buttons for added flexibility and customization. You can also use them for gaming-related controls like push-to-talk and streaming software settings. However, the added buttons increase the bulk of the mice and also the price.
This article from the Patriot Store explains why DPI is so important.
Tip 6. A Mouse With a High Polling Rate Helps Improve Sensitivity and Tracking
The mouse polling rate indicates the rate at which the mouse reports its position to the computer, measured in hertz. The higher the polling rate, the higher the number of times the mouse sensor reports its location and tracking. It is usually best to go with a mouse with a high polling rate as this will help decrease delay and increase the accuracy of your mouse's motion and cursor movement. In addition, mice with higher DPI will require a higher polling rate to avoid gaps in the tracking speed. A mouse like this with a high DPI and polling rate is ideal for FPS games where quick and nimble responses are crucial.
However, any rate above 500 Hz is negligible compared to human response times. In addition, too high a polling rate will increase CPU usage and slow your computer down unnecessarily, due to your processor constantly updating the cursor position. Many gaming mice allow you to adjust and choose your polling rate so select a medium value.
Summary of Gaming Mouse Features To Look For and Their Benefits
|Gaming Mouse Example
|What Kind of Games to Use It For
|What Features Make it Good for these games
|What Kinds of Games It’s Not Designed For
|Logitech G MX518
|8 Programmable buttonsHigh DPI rangeHigh tracking responseEfficient SensorLow Click Latency
|Razer Viper V2 Pro
|Ultra lightweightSymmetrical shapeExcellent build quality100% Pure PTFE mouse feetGreat Battery Life
|SteelSeries Rival 600
|Dual Optical SensorSilicone Side GripsErgonomic designLow Lift-off DistanceAdjustable Weights
|Razer Naga Pro
|12 Button Thumb GridErgonomic form factorTilting scroll wheelCustomizable Modular Side PlatesLow Click Latency
|Roccat Kone XP
|Multi-button design100 million click lifespanIncreased speed and controlPure PTFE glides
You might also be interested in learning what our gaming keyboard recommendations are. If so, make sure to read our related article to find out!
How To Tell if a Gaming Mouse Is Good - Hacking Together the Right Setup
The right mouse will help complement your gaming setup and maximize your gaming experience. Your gaming mouse can make all the difference between losing and winning a competitive game. It can also make or mar your experience. As such, there are several features that you need to consider when inspecting your new gaming mouse.
To tell if a gaming mouse is good, examine the materials it is made with. A mouse made with ABS plastic is better for durable, lightweight, and non-slip features. Make sure the cord is also durable and flexible so that it does not restrict freedom of movement during gameplay. Check the feet of the mouse to ensure that it will move with the right amount of friction or smoothness. Examine the buttons on the mouse to see if they are conveniently positioned and offer good tactile feedback.
Keep these tips in mind when assessing whether a gaming mouse is good:
Tip 1. Look for a Mouse Built With Durable Materials
One of the most important factors to look out for in your new mouse is the build quality. The materials the mouse is made from will determine not only the durability but also the weight and playing experience. Gaming mice are typically made with different types of plastic. Many are constructed with ABS plastic, although the density and finish quality will differ from mouse to mouse. It is best to go for options with plastic that isn’t too slick as this will prevent your hand from sliding around. Also, look out for options that can hold up to greasy and sweaty palms.
Another factor to consider when looking at the build quality is the mouse grip. Mouse grips are usually made from silicon or rubber. Look out for mouse grips that offer sufficient support and comfort and allow for easy lift off and movement. However, ensure the mouse doesn’t attract dust or cause discomfort for your thumb. You can also purchase grip tape like this to apply to your gaming mouse. Generally, the mouse should feature a solid construction with no creaks or rattling components when maneuvering.
Tip 2. Does The Shape Fit Your Hand?
It is important to go for a mouse shape to fit your hand and grip style. Ths is one the most important things to look for in a gaming mouse. The right shape can improve your gameplay and help you become more proficient at different games. As a result, figure out your grip style, whether fingertip, claw, or palm grip style. Our article on how to choose the ideal gaming mouse grip type for you will prove useful when deciding on this. Regardless of your gaming style and grip style, first ensure the mouse has a safe shape, with soft curves as this one does, that does not cut into your hand. Also, ensure the mouse is not excessively grooved or requires you to hold it in an uncomfortable position.
Once you know your grip style, you can then consider the mouse shape you want. Ergonomic shapes are usually preferred by palm grip gamers due to the increased comfort. Symmetrical mice are great for claws grip and fingertip users due to the support. Ambidextrous mice are favored by both right and left-handed gamers for their symmetrical and balanced shape. Go for the shape that best suits your preferences and style.
Tip 3. Make Sure the Cord Is Durable
Wired gaming mice are preferred for their fast responsiveness. However, the mouse cord is usually a source of irritation and frustration for many gamers. When purchasing a wired mouse, ensure that the cord maintains a reliable connection and does not fray or weaken over time. It is also best to go for flexible cords as this will not impede mouse movement. Thicker cables are generally more durable but cause more cable drag. Paracord cables like these are great options to look into when choosing wired mice. Many gaming mice also allow you to mod the features and replace the mouse cord.
Tip 4. Look for Feet That Offer Frictionless Gliding
Mouse feet like these determine the interaction and motion of your mouse on your mouse pad. The best mouse feet reduce friction and provide smooth and seamless gliding over varied surfaces. They not only increase comfort but also increase speed and maneuverability. In addition, good mouse feet like these, provide solid contact between the mouse and mouse pad to enable good tracking on the sensor.
It is best to find mouse feet that are durable and last for a relatively long time. Replacing and upgrading mouse feet is also quite easy to do. Go for materials such as PTFE (Teflon) which have lower friction. In addition, select feet with soft edges to avoid scratchiness while playing. Finally, ensure the mouse feet have the right thickness tuned for the mouse sensor – not too thin or too thick.
Tip 5. Examine the Buttons To Make Sure They Offer Good Tactile Feedback and Can Be Reached Comfortably
Buttons play a huge role while gaming as they allow you to quickly execute macros, perform keystrokes and adjust game settings. When choosing your gaming mouse, you’ll have to keep an eye out for the kind of button press that suits your preferences and games.
Choose extra buttons based on the type of games you play and whether you actually need the shortcuts. Ensure the buttons are positioned conveniently and comfortably to prevent accidental clicks. Examine the stiffness of the buttons and select one based on the intensity of your clicking during gameplay. Some games require a more rigid and tactile button while others require softer clicks.
RTS and MOBA gamers typically favor buttons with softer and more distinct clicks and low travel. This helps to execute click commands rapidly and consistently at will. Shooter game players prefer mice like these with heavier buttons to prevent accidental shots or random firing that’ll give away position. As you’re not constantly clicking, you should also feel less shooter fatigue. No matter the switch weight, ensure double clicking on the mouse is minimal.
Summary of What Makes a Gaming Mouse a Good One
|What To Look For
|What To Avoid
|Example Mouse With “Good” Features
|ABS plastic, sweat-resistant, anti-fingerprint
|Sticky or slippery builds
|Corsair Scimitar Pro
|Logitech Lift Vertical
|Asus ROG Gladius III
|Pure virgin-grade PTFE material
|Hotline Games Mouse Feet Skates
|Tactile and comfortably positioned
|Double clicking buttons
Tips for Finding a Mouse for RTS Gaming
Real-time strategy games require gamers to make quick as well as long-term decisions simultaneously, to win. There is also an emphasis on fast-paced gameplay. As a result, you’ll have to choose a mouse that takes these factors into account and serves your needs.
For RTS gaming choose a mouse that is suitable for a claw grip, has adjustable weights, and has higher sensitivity.
Here are a few tips to help you choose the right mouse for RTS games:
Tip 1. Choose a Mouse Suitable for a Claw Grip For Increased Stability and Precision
Claw grip is a favorite of RTS and other action-like gamers. The grip style involves resting your hand in a claw-like shape on the mouse. Only your fingertips rest on the mouse while your palm rests on the back of the mouse. Claw grip gaming mice with this design offer better control and faster gliding motion, suitable for RTS games. The mouse, like this one, is typically shorter with less aggressive back arch and increased agility.
Tip 2. Choose a Mouse With Adjustable Weight To Suit Different Games and Functions
Gaming mice for real strategy games tend to be on the heavier side compared with other mice. Adjustable weights allow you to add or free up weight on the mouse for better stability and control. This will help improve accuracy when controlling the mouse cursor. The added weight provides resistance and stabilizes your hand movements while gaming.
Tip 3. Choose a Mouse with Higher Sensitivity and Polling Rate for a Better Response Rate
The best gaming mice for strategy games will feature high sensitivity and polling rates as these ones do. This allows the mouse to make precise and fast-paced movements without compromising precision. The higher the sensitivity and polling rate, the better your response time for quick movements. However, too high sensitivity and polling rate can compromise accurate tracking, so set the parameters at the optimum level. You can go through our article on how to change mouse sensitivity for more tips.
Tips for Finding a Mouse for FPS Gaming
When it comes to first-person shooter games, the most important factor to consider is performance. If you want to destroy noobs in Fortnite, you need to have a gaming mouse optimized for comfort and efficiency.
For FPS gaming choose a gaming mouse that has a Button to adjust DPI, allows for a palm grip, and has a honeycomb shell.
A mouse for FPS gaming like this one should allow you to quickly adapt to different kinds of scenarios and adjust functionality to suit your needs. Our article on the best FPS gaming mice will come in handy when looking for the right device.
Below are some tips to help you choose the best mouse for FPS games:
Tip 1. Choose a Mouse With a Built-In DPI Button to Easily Tweak Mouse Sensitivity
The best gaming mouse for FPS games should give you the flexibility to fiddle around with your in-game sensitivity like this one does. You should be able to easily experiment with different sensitivities to find your sweet spot for a game. You should also be able to easily change the sensitivity to suit a particular game. Many gaming mice feature a DPI button and this will be helpful in changing DPI even in-game. Some feature a dedicated sniper button which is easy to reach and helps to decrease DPI for those headshots.
With a higher sensitivity, you can make quick rapid movements in the game environment while with a lower sensitivity, you can quickly and accurately lock in on a target. You’ll have to find the right sensitivity so that you’re not dragging your mouse around just to shoot an enemy and for you to aim accurately at an enemy’s head. Read our article on how to test and change mouse DPI for more information.
Tip 2. Choose a Gaming Mouse for a Palm Grip for Smoother Tracking and Better Accuracy
In a palm mouse grip, the mouse comes in contact with most of your fingers and the palm of your hand. Your hand is cupped in a relaxed, natural, and low-tension position. This grip allows you to leverage your entire arm and elbows to aim, instead of with your fingers and wrist which results in a choppier aim. This more holistic use of your hand and arm allows for smoother tracking, more controlled movements, and steadier aiming. Other grip styles will result in less control and shakier aim.
Tip 3. Choose a Mouse With Honeycomb Shell for a Lightweight Device
With a honeycomb chassis, you’ll be able to reduce the mouse weight and elevate your gaming experience. Lightweight mice like these are crucial to fps gaming as they allow you to make quick movements easily. You’ll be able to control your mouse motion without too much strain or resistance and glide the mouse smoothly on desks and mouse pads.
Tips for Finding a Mouse for MMORPG Games
With the right mouse, you should be able to level up your MMORPG gaming experience. These MMORPGs (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games) have their own unique pace, length of gameplay, and gaming actions which you need to consider. The best mouse will help to increase not only convenience but also functionality while gaming.
To find a mouse for MMORPG games look for extra programmable buttons, pure PTFE feet, and a configuration app for customization.
You can read our article on the best gaming mice for Fortnite, the world-famous MMO game, for detailed reviews.
Here are some tips to consider when searching for a mouse for your MMORPG gaming:
Tip 1. Choose a Mouse with Extra Programmable Buttons for Added Functionality
This is one of the main features to look out for when choosing a mouse for MMORPG gaming. Having easy access to multiple action buttons on a mouse like this will allow you to implement in-game features without lifting your arm. You’ll be able to easily key bind and assign functionality and in-game commands to the various buttons. This will allow you to have your entire arsenal and stats at your fingertips. Apart from assigning keyboard shortcuts to the mouse keypad, you should also look out for comfort. There’s no use in having multiple buttons if your fingers can’t comfortably reach and click them.
A great MMORPG mouse should come with at least 10 to 12 buttons so you can assign the full function key or number row. The buttons should also be large enough with discernible gaps and edges to prevent any accidental misclicks. They should also feature tactile feedback as well as tactile guides like a bump or textured center key. Check out our review on the best multi-button gaming mouse for our top recommendations.
Tip 2. Choose a Mouse With Pure PTFE Feet for Smooth Gliding Movements
Virgin-grade PTFE offers the lowest friction coefficient, allowing for smooth and seamless mouse motion. It’s a great accessory to look for in a gaming mouse. With these mouse feet, you maintain extra smooth movement on a wide variety of desks and mouse pads. This is particularly useful for MMORPG mice with side button panels. The extra buttons result in a larger chassis and heavier build so having Teflon mouse feet will help reduce resistance to movement.
Tip 3. Choose a Mouse With a Configuration App for Easy Customization
This is another important feature for MMO gaming mice. Configuration software lets you customize your buttons, create in-game macro commands, and adjust other settings. With the extra buttons on the mouse, you’ll need to be able to have easy access to your controls and inputs. The apps and software allow you to see the inputs and also create custom commands.
The configuration apps even provide custom profile options where you can create different custom settings for different games. Many also feature onboard memory for storing the most important profiles when switching PCs.
Summary of What Makes a Gaming Mouse a Good One
|What Games Is It Good For?
|Features That Make It Better for These Games
|High DPI optical sensor, premium, and ergonomic designhighly customizable
|Pulsar Xlite V2
|Lightweight chassis,suitable for palm grip style,adjustable DPI and CPI,low minimum lift-off distance
|Corsair Scimitar RGB Elite
|RPG or MMORPG
|12-Button side panel,corsair companion software,onboard memory, low click latency
What To Look for In a Gaming Mouse Pad - Finding a Mouse Pad That Works Well With Your Mouse
It is crucial you invest in the best mousepad for your gaming mouse as this will have a huge impact on motion, functionality, and comfort.
When considering what to look for in a gaming mouse pad, first think about the right size for your gaming needs. Then, look for a mouse pad that is made of fabric and features a non-slip grip, RGB lighting, and USB passthrough.
Why spend money on the best high-end gaming mice as our article discusses, if they’re going to be paired with the wrong mouse pad? A good mouse pad will complement your desk setup aesthetics, offer pinpoint control and increase tracking of mouse movement.
These are the tips to consider when looking for a gaming mouse pad:
Tip 1. Choose an Extended Gaming Mouse Pad for Added Space and Comfort
There are several sizes of mouse pads - extended, large, medium, and small. Choosing a particular size is largely a matter of personal preference. However, there are some benefits to extended mouse pads. Extended mouse pads like these help to balance the work space so that your mouse and keyboard are on the same level. This helps to provide a smooth and anchored feeling during gaming sessions. They can also help decrease noise from the vibration of the keyboard while typing. In addition, they offer a more comfortable wrist rest when using the keyboard or mouse.
Most gamers prefer larger mouse pads as they provide a wider surface area for moving the mouse and can also accommodate all mouse grip styles. They work well with low and high DPI/sensitivity, providing increased control and accuracy while moving or aiming.
Tip 2. Choose a Mouse Pad That is Slip-Resistant for Better Support
Another factor to look out for when choosing a gaming mouse pad is its resistance. Slip-resistant pads like this have a textured surface underneath that prevents them from slipping or sliding around as you move the mouse. The non-skid backing allows it to stay securely in place and eliminate unwanted movements. This is especially important for gaming. With a slip-resistant mouse pad, you won’t have to worry about the pad squeezing or obstructing motion during intense gaming sessions.
Also, make sure to get a water-resistant pad to prevent damage due to spills, and ensure you regularly clean your mouse in any event. Our article on how to clean a sticky mousepad goes into detail on the topic.
Tip 3. Choose a Mouse Pad With RGB Lighting for Aesthetics
While RGB lighting in a mouse pad like this does not offer any real functionality, it does help to enhance your gaming experience. The colors and effects can help complement other gaming accessories and the entire setup in general. They can also help boost your creativity and imagination and provide a more intense and immersive experience. With different customization options available, you’ll be able to craft a space tuned to your tastes.
Tip 4. Choose a Mouse Pad With Built-in USB Passthrough for Convenient Access
When purchasing a gaming mouse pad, look out for a pad that features a built-in USB passthrough as this one has. This enables you to connect your wired gaming mouse conveniently at a closer distance to the mouse pad providing added flexibility and movement options. Some mouse pads also feature cable holders for easy cable management, giving your desk setup a cleaner look.
Tip 5. Choose a Soft Mouse Pad Made of Fabric for Increased Comfort and Accuracy
While playing intense games, you’ll need an efficient gaming mouse. However, the gaming mouse will have little effect if paired with the wrong mouse pad. Mousepads made of silk-like fabric like these offer incredible tracking performance suitable for gaming sessions. They provide a comfortable gaming experience and a surface for accurate tracking and precision of your mouse.