Best Mouse Pad
When mice primarily used the physical rotation of a ball to track movement, mouse pads were necessary to ensure a secure grip and accurate motion. However, as optical and laser mice have replaced the older designs, these pads have become much less necessary. Many people still prefer to use them though since they can provide a more comfortable workspace and improve performance under certain conditions. For example, gamers often use high-performance mouse pads to gain an edge over other players and even non-gamers can still benefit from mouse pads, since they can provide wrist support and a smooth surface. Be sure to check out the mouse pad buyer’s guide below for all the information you need to pick the best pad available.
Best Mouse Pad Overall:
A great mouse pad is not necessarily an easy thing to choose despite what you may thinkl. For one thing, everyone has their own preferences and quirks when it comes to computer use and you should look for a pad that best fits how you prefer to use a mouse. For example, if you like to make subtle wrist movements, look for a textured surface that can precisely channel these short, quick moves. On the other hand, if you tend to move your mouse from your elbow, a large, smooth surface is usually best. Beyond that you should also look for a mouse pad that’s the right size for your work area.
We’ve chosen these best mouse pads thanks to their textured surfaces which make computer use a much more precise affair than just using your mouse on your desktop or a book. All of these mouse pads are made from materials so they’re comfortable to use as well as ensuring long-term durability and resistance to everyday wear and tear. These mouse pads also come in sizes ideal for most home desktop setups and work areas.
The QcK is a durable, high-performance mouse pad available at a reasonable price. On top of that, there are a number of options available from SteelSeries including different sizes and even a couple weights to choose from. Read Full Review
While advertised as a gaming mouse pad, this best pick definitely works well for general use despite its name. The surface on this one is designed for mid-level control, not too fast or too textured, which makes it great for general computer use. Your wrist stays comfortable thanks to the soft fabric and it has a rubber base that helps ensure stability. Read Full Review
This is a pretty standard mouse pad that’s ideal if you’re looking for multiple pads to set up in a school or office at a reasonable price. It's not very large but it comes with a wrist pad attached to it, to keep your hand comfortable during use. Read Full Review
This mouse pad offers a very simple design, but it does integrate a wrist rest and is designed to stay in place as you use it. It has a smooth surface, so this one is best for those who prefer fast mouse movements, rather than smaller, precision controls. Read Full Review
If you want a simple, basic mouse pad, then this is the one to get. There's no wrist pad or rest, no options for different sizes, just a straightforward mouse pad that does the job. The "Microban" surface is antimicrobial, which helps keep the mouse pad clean even after a lot of use, making this ideal for a public computer setup. Read Full Review
Best Gaming Mouse Pad:
Perhaps the most common users of mouse pads (since laser and optical mice don't strictly need them) are gamers, who prefer certain surfaces that ensure precision during gaming. There are a number of companies, most of which also make gaming keyboards and mice, who produce pads designed for gamers. Some include a wide range of different models and sizes available, which can fit different gamers who have their own preferences. When shopping for a mouse pad intended for this purpose, look at the kinds of options each model offers and consider how well each mouse pad fits your needs as a gamer.
We’ve chosen the following best gaming mouse pads primarily because they offer the ideal surface textures for gaming, including options for both fast and precise gaming experiences. You also get a good selection of different sizes available with these mouse pads able to fit just about any computer setup or gaming rig. These gaming mouse pads are also made from durable materials which include rugged fabrics and plastics to ensure these selections stand up to years’ worth of extensive use.
This is a soft mouse pad which is easy on your wrists and useable in a wide range of setups. It's available in four different sizes, so you can get the best fit for your work area, and the Control Edition is textured for precise gameplay. This pad is about as good as it gets for gaming responsiveness and there's also a Speed Edition if you need even faster movements to keep ahead of the competition. Read Full Review
This is a tremendous mouse pad that works well for any computer user but is definitely designed with a serious gamer in mind. The surface is smooth for fast gameplay, making it ideal for MMO or MOBA gaming where you want to move the mouse quickly across your screen. This washable pad is water-resistant with a heavy silicone base that keeps it in place even during frenetic gameplay. Read Full Review
The large size of this model is at once a strength as well as a weakness. If you have the room for this baby and tend to move your mouse a lot during gameplay, this is a great choice. For smaller desktops and playing areas, however, this is probably going to be too much mouse pad for your needs. Read Full Review
This gaming mouse pad has an interesting design, featuring a wrist pad and is double-sided with a different surface texture on each side to give your some variety. On one side is a smoother surface for fast gaming, while the other side is more textured for precise movements. Read Full Review
This is the heavy model of the QcK, which is definitely one of the best mouse pads on the market. The heavy version, however, provides a bit more thickness and durability than other ones, which you're likely to prefer as a gamer. This is a fairly large mouse pad, with a cloth surface, that’s great for just about any gamer but especially for the beginners out there. Read Full Review
Mouse Pad Buyer’s Guide
While mouse pads might not be as essential to computer use as they once were, there’s still a number of reasons to use one. First and foremost, even with an optical or laser mouse, a pad can help ensure precision and easy movement while handling a mouse. Different designs and surface types can help with accuracy, or let your mouse move more easily across the pad. You’ll want to consider what size is right for your workspace and make sure you pick a pad that works with your type of mouse.
Perhaps the single most important factor that impacts mouse performance is the type of surface on a mouse pad. For basic office use or in a retail environment, any kind of mouse pad will probably work. When it comes to gaming, graphic design, and other applications where it really matters, you need to consider the pads surface and control.
Slick surfaces let you move the mouse very quickly across them, which is great for some types of gaming like playing MMOs or MOBAs. On the other hand, textured surfaces tend to give you more precise control, which is usually ideal for playing an FPS title or doing intricate graphic design where you need to make small, precise movements. Ultimately, you need to decide on a specific surface if you prefer speed, control, or something that gives you a good combination of both.
Hard vs Soft Pads
Hard pads are usually made from plastic and similar materials and are rigid. They don’t roll or fold up and provide you with a solid surface when you are using a mouse. Soft pads, on the other hand, are flexible and easy to store; plus, they’re a bit more forgiving if you rest your hand on it at all.
In terms of functionality, both types of pads work very well and this really does come down to personal preference. Pick a pad that will be comfortable for you to use and look at the surface types and materials to see which meets your personal preference.
Material and Durability
While the material used in the construction of a mouse pad might not directly impact mouse performance, it makes a big difference regarding how long the mouse will last. You want to pick one with a rubberized base which helps it stay in place and not shift under intense hand movements.
You definitely want to pick a pad from a reliable manufacturer backed by satisfied user reviews. A particular mouse pad might look great, but someone who has owned the one you want for a couple years can tell you if it held up well through thousands of hours of use.
Your work area or desktop space will largely dictate the size of your mouse pad. There are a wide range of sizes available, especially if you’re looking at high-quality gaming or professional mouse pads. You might consider wide mouse pads that fit under your keyboard, to provide some shock resistance under the keys, with material that extends under your mouse. If you tend to move your hand a lot, then you want a large mouse pad that will keep you on the pad even when making wide movements and gestures. If your workspace is limited, then a small mouse pad is obviously ideal.
You want to make sure you pick a mouse pad that will function properly with your mouse. While most pads work with older ball and optical mice, laser mice can be more difficult to control. If you get a pad which isn’t compatible with your type of mouse, you can find yourself losing input sensitivity, dealing with slowed response time, and even having the on-screen icon stop responding to your movements. Look for a pad that works with your type of mouse and tune into the user reviews to be sure your particular
There are not a ton of extra features you are likely to find on a mouse pad, but a few things are worth considering. Wrist pads are the most common thing you are likely to see, which keeps your wrist comfortable during mouse use. This type of pad can also help keep your wrist elevated in a position that reduces the possibility of carpal tunnel syndrome due to mouse use.
You should definitely look for a mouse pad with wrist support, although separate wrist pads are available. While the look of your mouse pad might not be the most important consideration, you should consider one that integrates well with your established computer setup. If you really want to make an impression, you can even find a mouse pad with colored lighting that you can set to match your rig and other illuminated hardware, but that’s definitely not a necessity.
Manufacturer and Warranty
Much like choosing other computer hardware and peripherals, you want to pick a manufacturer that’s reliable and well known for making quality mouse pads. Companies like SteelSeries, Xtrac, and Fellowes are well known for producing solid products that work very well. You can also consider manufacturers known for making peripherals, like Razer and XFX.
While the warranty on a mouse pad might not be quite as important as something like a $500 graphics card, you should still keep it in mind. You want to pick a model covered by at least a six-month warranty, though a year or more of protection is really ideal.