The computer mouse is easily one of the most commonly used input devices around, yet hardly any thought goes into selecting a decent one. Computer mice come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, ranging from the familiar flat mouse with two buttons and a scroll wheel to ergonomic models designed to keep your wrist and forearm free from repetitive strain injuries. Gaming mice provide more programmable buttons, while laptop mice are designed to be compact and easy to travel with. With so many options available, we recommend taking a look at the computer mouse buyer’s guide below for more information to help you choose the right mouse for your needs.
Logitech M705 Wireless Laser Mouse
Logitech MX Vertical Mouse
Anker 2.4G Wireless Vertical Ergonomic Optical Mouse
Logitech Bluetooth Mouse M557
Microsoft Bluetooth Mobile Mouse 3600
Mad Catz R.A.T. PRO X Ultimate Gaming Mouse
The primary function of a good computer mouse is to serve as an input device, but there's no reason why it shouldn't be as comfortable and versatile as possible. The Logitech M705 checks all of these boxes, and carries the added benefit of being completely wireless. The innovative Laser Grade tracking sensor works on many different surfaces, including reflective or smooth surfaces that other optical mice simply won't function on. The M705 is equipped with Logitech's Hyper-fast function that allows the scroll wheel to switch between standard detents and free spin, making it infinitely easier to flip through longer documents. Each of the other buttons is customizable; out of the box, the thumb buttons can be used to navigate forward or backward through web browser pages. The dongle included with the mouse is Logitech's Unifying Receiver, meaning a single dongle will support other Logitech devices in your setup. The right hand design may not seem ideal for left-handed users, but we've seen feedback from lefties saying that it's perfectly comfortable regardless.
In the field of ergonomic mice, the vertical form factor seems to have taken over as the preferred format. Logitech's MX Vertical Mouse is the best of the bunch, combining top-notch build quality, sleek styling, and user comfort that no other mouse seems to be able to match. The 57-degree angle mimics a handshake posture, providing an intuitive grip while removing wrist and upper forearm strain at the same time. There's also a prominent thumb rest built into the base in order to provide a more stable grip. The MX Vertical Mouse features two primary buttons in addition to a scroll wheel (clickable as a third button) situated in between, as well as a thumb-operated two-way rocker switch. Each button is customizable via the settings menu; the unmarked button located on top of the mouse controls DPI adjustment to increase or decrease sensitivity on the fly. Unlike many other wireless mice, the MX Vertical Mouse features an integrated battery with a USB-C port for recharging. Connectivity is handled via Bluetooth or an optional USB dongle; the USB-C to USB-A charging cable can also be used to create a wired connection in a pinch. It's not the most affordable mouse around, but it's certainly a lot more tolerable than treating carpal tunnel syndrome.
The most distinctive feature of Anker's ergonomic mouse is its vertical form factor. While it may look strange and uncomfortable at first glance, the upright design is based on real-world medical research that shows it can noticeably reduce strain compared to a flat/horizontal mouse. The vertical orientation positions your hand and wrist more comfortably during operation, allowing stress-free use of the mouse for extended periods of time. In addition to the two main buttons and clickable scroll wheel, there are two thumb-operated buttons that default to navigating forward or backward in a browser. It also features a tracking sensor that is user selectable to 800, 1200, or 1600 DPI (dots per inch) which allows on-the-fly sensitivity adjustment without requiring a dive into the settings menu. The wireless 2.4 GHz dongle takes up a USB port; the on/off switch is located on the bottom of the mouse, and the device will automatically power itself off if left idle for over 8 minutes. Anker's vertical mouse provides most of the ergonomic benefits of the Logitech MX Vertical Mouse without the price tag, making it a great option for anyone looking for an ergonomic mouse.
This outstanding offering from Logitech features a diminutive, ambidextrous design that is as easy on your eyes as it is your hands. Its buttons are customizable, allowing users to tailor the mouse to their needs. As well, there's a dedicated button for one-touch access to the Windows Start menu. The Bluetooth connectivity provides computability with any Bluetooth-enabled PC or tablet, and it can be used with Windows, OS X, and Chrome OS. This mouse also has a service life of one year off of a single battery thanks to a smart sleep mode that will automatically power the device down when not in use. Logitech provides a three year hardware warranty, making it a great choice for long-term use.
This Microsoft mouse features Bluetooth wireless connectivity so it doesn't need a USB port, provided that your computer supports Bluetooth. It features Microsoft Blue Track sensor technology which enables the mouse to easily track on virtually any surface. It’s ambidextrous for either right of left-handed individuals and the small size fits easily into your hand; however, its diminutive size might not be suitable to all users. All in all, this is a laptop mouse that offers great features despite the small size.
Best of the best build quality and customizable features characterize this pro gaming mouse from Mad Catz. If features a magnesium alloy chassis, Teflon, and ceramic feet. Virtually every component that touches your hand is customizable. It also comes with three different hot-swappable optical and laser sensors modules enabling the mouse to be tailored to any user play-style. On board memory allows users to assign and store up to ninety programmable commands and nine different profiles. This mouse also comes with three different scroll wheels in different shapes and materials, once again allowing unparalleled customizing options. The only downside to this fine offering is a very high cost for all its tasty features. However, if you want the best of the best, this is an incomparable choice.
Computer Mouse Buyer’s Guide
While large offices and schools typically pick the cheapest, simplest mice on the market, there are actually a wide range of options available to you. Consider how each mouse connects to your system and the tracking method used, to get the right model for your setup. If you do a lot of PC gaming or use complicated graphics or editing programs, a mouse with numerous programmable buttons and adjustable DPI can be very helpful. Even for day-to-day web browsing, look at the scroll functionality and manufacturers available. All of these decisions can seem overwhelming, but with a little guidance you can easily pick the best model for you.
Hand Orientation and Ergonomic Designs
Hand orientation is probably the first thing you should consider when looking at different types of mice. Many are designed for either right-handed or left-handed configuration, placing optional thumb buttons in a position appropriate for one orientation or the other. There are also ambidextrous mice designed for comfort and with buttons which can be used easily with either hand.
Choose a model appropriate for your mouse-hand, or pick one which works well for either hand. Ergonomic models are designed to keep your hand resting in a comfortable position while you use the mouse, reducing potential development of wrist strain and/or carpal tunnel syndrome. Some of these models are unusual in design, but worth considering if you need to keep your hand and wrist more comfortable during use.
One of the most important things to determine is whether you prefer wired or wireless functionality. Ultimately, connectivity comes down to personal preference and what your setup looks like, but consider all aspects of wired and wireless mice before making a choice.
A wired mouse is limited by a physical connection, so make sure you pick one with a long enough cord to work easily in your workspace. You should also be sure to pick a mouse with either USB connectivity or a PS/2 plug and make sure your motherboard’s back panel or system has the right type of connection for any mouse you pick.
Wireless mice give you more freedom, since you don’t have to worry about a cord, but typically have slower response times making them less ideal for serious PC gaming. You’ll need to choose either a Bluetooth mouse, if your system has Bluetooth connectivity or a model with a wireless dongle.
Older mice used a ball to track movement physically as you rolled it along the underside of the mouse. The physical components were prone to clogging from hair and dust and are generally inferior to newer optical and laser mice. There are still some models that use a trackball you control with your thumb, which provide great accuracy and are popular among artists.
Optical mice use an LED and sensor to detect movement; they can be used on just about any surface that is not transparent and provide excellent accuracy. A laser mouse uses a laser instead of the LED and offers the best accuracy and sensitivity, making it preferable for high-end gaming and similar applications. If you can afford it, choose a laser mouse, but just be sure you have a mouse pad that works with it for optimal sensitivity and responsiveness.
Buttons and Programmability
While most mice have at least two standard buttons, you can find a lot of models with additional buttons. At least one or two extra ones are very helpful because they typically let you easily navigate documents and websites; some mice even you the ability to program buttons to function differently within the specific confines of various programs.
If you’re a serious PC gamer, consider a gaming mouse designed for the type of game you most often play. MMO mice give you a ton of buttons for all of your spells and abilities, while an FPS mouse focuses on precision for excellent targeting and quick navigation.
A scroll wheel lets you easily move up and down in a document or website, but there are newer options that give you even better functionality. Some types like the Apple Magic Mouse let you enter commands by simply making finger gestures on the surface of the mouse. This can let you scroll up and down, zoom in and out, and enter other input with just one or two fingers. You want to choose a mouse with at least a simple scroll wheel, but gesture input gives you more options if you’re willing to learn the movements.
DPI Options and Maximum
DPI, or dots per inch, is a measurement of mouse sensitivity, with higher numbers indicating greater precision during mouse use. For casual computer use, DPI is not terribly important, but it can make a big difference when it comes to high-end PC gaming or digital artwork.
You should pick a mouse with high maximum DPI as well as options for switching or adjusting the sensitivity, which lets you alter sensitivity as necessary. If you are interested in a gaming mouse, then look for a maximum DPI of around 8,000 for an MMO-style mouse, or over 10,000 for a mouse designed for FPS titles.
Manufacturer and Warranty
Since your chosen mouse is likely to get a lot of use, it is important to pick one from a reliable manufacturer that offers a long-term warranty. For a basic mouse, you should consider manufacturers like Logitech, Microsoft, and Fellowes. If you are interested in a specialty model, like a gaming mouse, then companies like Razer, Logitech, and SteelSeries make reliable models that provide excellent performance. You also want to look at the warranty offered by these companies, with a one-year warranty being the bare minimum you should accept, but a three-year warranty is preferable.