Mechanical vs Optical Mouse – Pros & Cons

Do you still use a ball-bearing mouse? Nowadays, most computer users use an optical mouse instead of the mouse containing a ball, also known as a mechanical mouse. Unfortunately, these ball mice have become old-fashioned because of their many drawbacks. As the name suggests, these mechanical mice work based on mechanics or machinery, while optical mice work on the physical action of light, and here are the top picks of optical mice available in the market.

Mechanical Mouse Vs. Optical Mouse

As they have a time difference, both the mechanical mice and optical mice have many differences. Many lacks in the old ball bearing mechanical mice, so many advancements have been made in the optical mice to cover up the deficiency. You will see some of the significant differences between these both mice in this article.

1. Light Mechanism

The significant difference between mechanical and optical mice is the usage of light. It does not mean that if the optical mice contain an “optical” word, it would be the only mouse using light phenomenon. If you keenly focus on the working of a mechanical mouse, you would see the interference of the light in it as well. The difference is the working of light in both of the mice.

Mechanical Mice

In mechanical mice, light emitters emit light while the light detectors detect the breaks in the LED light. The movement of wheels between the light emitter and the light detector breaks the flow of light. The only purpose of light is to convert the analog signals of the mouse into digital signals for the computer to understand. If the detector detects the light appropriately, the better your mouse will work on the screen.

Optical Mouse

The optical mouse works solely based on light reflection and light detection phenomenon. A lens between the reflecting light magnifies the light until it reaches the light detector. This magnification helps in the precise movements of the mouse cursor on the screen. The better the magnification, the better your mouse will send the signals to your computer for its best sensitivity.

2. Components

As both of the mice are different from each other, their components also differ from each other. Most of the parts used in the mechanical mice got a replacement because they failed in the efficient working. As a result, there is a change in most of the features in the formation of optical mice.

Mechanical Mouse

The central part of the mechanical mouse is the ball present at the lower end of the mouse. This ball works with the help of two wheels, one horizontal while the other is for vertical movement. Thus, if you move the mouse horizontally, the wheel on the x-axis will help the ball move. While if you want to move the cursor vertically, the y-axis wheel will accelerate the ball of a mouse.

Optical Mouse

Unlike a mechanical mouse, this optical mouse does not contain a ball. Instead, it includes a left-click button and a right-click button. Both these buttons surround a scroll wheel button which is present between them. A lens is present in light reflection to increase the intensity of light for efficient working. Instead of the x-axis and y-axis wheel of mechanical mice, this optical mouse works on the reflection phenomenon of the LED light.

3. Working

As the components of these mice differ, their working processes are also changing. If one of them works on a mechanical basis, then the other on an optical basis. One contains many parts for the accurate mouse movements while the other does not need as many components, but only good light would be enough for its working. Therefore, wear and tear of mechanical mice would be harmful to it while light problems would be harmful to optical mice.

Mechanical Mouse

Mechanical mice work with the movements of their x-axis wheel and y-axis wheel. For example, if you move your mouse in upward or downward directions, the y-axis wheel will rotate. Or, if you move the mouse from left to right, the x-axis wheel will spin. The wheels of the mouse attach with the ball of the mouse; if they move, the ball will automatically proceed. This ball movement will send analog signals to convert into digital signals in a microchip, which helps the computer to recognize the instructions.

Optical Mouse

An optical mouse works more accurately than a mechanical mouse. The light emitter emits light towards the downward direction. When light strikes the lower surface, it reflects in an upward direction. In the pathway of light, till light detector lens is present, which helps in the magnification of light. Through this process, you can take more accurate mouse pointer results.

Advantages/Disadvantages Of Mechanical Mouse

As you have some advantages of these mice, there are many disadvantages as well.


Some of the advantages of mechanical mice are as follow;

  • Inexpensive
  • Easy to use
  • Best for the glassy surface


  • Dust and dirt issue
  • Open bottom
  • Needs hard surfaces

Hence, mechanical mice were best for the older times, but the requirements have also changed by the change in the needs. These mice are more exposed to wear and tear. Even average damage can badly affect the working of a mechanical mouse. Because of the opening for the ball, it gets dirtier quickly. You need to uncover it to clean the inside parts of this mouse which is time-consuming as well.

Advantages/Disadvantages Of An Optical Mouse

Comparatively, this optical mouse has more benefits than the mechanical one. It is the latest and most admired by today’s users.


  • More accurate
  • No breaking issues
  • No dirt
  • Needs software
  • Use light phenomenon


  • Battery issues
  • DPI issues

In short, the lifetime of this optical mouse is much greater than any mechanical mouse. It is more durable and highly affordable. Its optical phenomenon makes it more effective and efficient in comparison to the mechanical mouse. You do not need to worry about cleaning your mouse as it does not contain any opening that allows dirt or dust to enter it.

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Summing It Up

To sum it all up the mechanical and optical mice have lots of differences but both mice are helpful in their ways. Mechanical mouse or mouse type with a ball was once highly admired, but the change in the technology and its efficiency rate and optical mouse is the best option. Its optical phenomenon has increased the sensitivity level of your mouse pointer. You can get precise results by slightly moving your mouse on the mouse pad with the help of an optical mouse.

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