When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.
- Wireless gaming mice have become technogically sophisticated and accurate enough to live to their steep prices.
- Wired gaming mice can be had for a reasonable price, however, and are largely unmatched in terms of response time.
- Our pick for the best gaming mouse is the Razer Viper Ultimate.
For decades, computers (PCs) have been powerful and fun tools, and for just as long we have wanted to play games on them. From games that are uniquely suited to PC to those best realized on robust hardware, PC gaming covers a broad range, and it attracts all kinds of players.
While game controllers are still prevalent at esport events, it’s the computer mouse that continues to let the best players excel as they vie for dominance in games like League of Legends, Overwatch, Starcraft, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.
The domain of gaming mice isn’t limited to just PCs either, as console games like Fortnite and Call of Duty now allow players to use mouse and keyboard setups-let me say, the advantage is real. It’s completely worth becoming a keyboard and mouse user for multiplayer games that support them on both PlayStation and Xbox consoles.
As a former game designer, I can tell you that most games are born and developed on PCs. The whole idea of aiming a weapon in a game, of selecting units, building defenses, and clicking on a target are PC and mouse centric. Accuracy, response time, muscle memory, reflex, etc. – these tend to make the difference between playing well and losing, and it all gets funneled from the player and into the game via the mouse.
Below are the best gaming mice I’ve tested for 2021 so far, broken down by subcategory and led by a pick for the best gaming mouse overall.
Here are the best gaming mice of 2021
- Best gaming mouse overall: Razer Viper Ultimate
- Best wired gaming mouse: Logitech G203 Lightsync
- Best budget wireless gaming mouse: Logitech G305 Lightspeed
- Best ultralight gaming mouse: Glorious Model O
- Best MMO/MOBA gaming mouse: Razer Naga Pro
The Razer Viper Ultimate is wireless and has the best mix of sensitivity, grip, weight, look, and feel.
Pros: The feel when moving, lightweight (74g), enduring battery life, subtle but cool look (with RGB), truly ambidextrous shape, surface texture, color options
Cons: Unnecessary charging dock, bloated Razer software suite, high price
My current favorite gaming mouse is the Razer Viper Ultimate, and aside from a few small qualms (like the pushy software), it offers a premium gaming mouse experience while still hitting a nice weight at 74g to provide an overall responsive and enjoyable feel.
In order to meet the needs of different gamers’ grips, Razer offers a variety of models (including the Basilisk and DeathAdder), and the Viper Ultimate is the company’s ambidextrous, wireless, and premium gaming mouse. It’s not only a great feel, weight, and responsiveness, but also a welcome texture that varies between the palm and sides of the mouse.
As part of the ambidextrous design, the Razer Ultimate has a two-button cluster on both sides. It also has a compartment on the underside where the USB dongle can be stored for travel and such. The battery life is good and extended smartly with a rating of up to 70 hours.
In addition to the standard black design, a few different color options are offered (Quartz/Pink, Mercury/White, and Cyberpunk 2077/ Yellow), and Razer includes a matching Razer Mouse Dock Chroma (RGB). I think the dock is superfluous as the mouse can be charged (and used while charging) with just the USB cable, though I suppose the dock helps give the mouse a premium feel. (A cheaper version without the dock is available, but only directly from Razer.)
The standard black is like a reinvention of the classic Razer style: sedate when off, but spiffy when the Razer logo lights up and breathes on the palm wrest.
Being the best overall gaming mouse, the Viper Ultimate is at home playing a first-person shooter (FPS) or a real-time strategy (RTS), running wired or wirelessly, and even outside of games. It feels complete without any corners cut and its weight is low enough to be an ultralight without that being the central feature.
The best wired gaming mouse
With its gaming-quality responsiveness, grip, buttons, and lighting, the Logitech G203 Lightsync is the essential wired gaming mouse.
Pros: The distilled shape, clicky buttons, well set scroll wheel, four available colors, low price, lightweight (85g)
Cons: G203 Lightsync adds more RGB options, but G203 Prodigy has plenty for less; plain cable for a gaming mouse
Unlike the Razer Viper Mini, which is too compact for me, the Logitech G203 manages to have a wonderful shape at a good weight. The sensor is not as fancy as many gaming mice, but the feel, glide, and wired performance are nevertheless gaming grade.
It has six buttons and a scroll wheel, with the sixth button letting the user select the mouse’s DPI sensitivity. It’s a nearly ambidextrous shape with only buttons four and five on the left side limiting its utility for left-handed gamers.
The Lightsync part of the name refers to its prominent RGB features, and the lit G logo and light band are the flashiest aspects. But really, the G203 Prodigy seems to be the same stalwart mouse as the G203 Lightsync. Both G203 models are relatively inexpensive ways to upgrade a gaming setup. Whether you want to play online with friends leisurely, or actively spend time training your accuracy and speed, the G203 can well meet your needs.
The cable is plain and far from the nylon/paracord cables common to gaming mice, but that might only be noticed when transporting the mouse. The G203 can usually be had at a low price, and it’s a great first gaming mouse.
The best budget wireless gaming mouse
The G305 Lightspeed is an excellent, AA-battery-powered, wireless gaming mouse that should please nearly everybody not concerned with RGB or weight.
Pros: Quality shape and materials, four available colors, simple to use, great battery life
Cons: Heftier weight (99g), no RGB lighting, no internal battery or play charge option
The Razer Viper Ultimate is the best overall gaming mouse, but for a wireless gaming mouse that’s a little more straightforward and utilitarian, the cheaper Logitech G305 Lightspeed just nails it. Among wireless mice, the G305 is simple to get going and easy to use. This is also a rare case where I don’t think the software is really necessary, because the G305 is very much ready to go out of the box. DPI levels and battery life are easy to adjust and monitor without software.
Pop the G305 open, insert the included AA battery, remove the small USB dongle, and pop the cover back on. The USB dongle goes into the PC, and it’s time to flick the power switch (on the mouse’s underside) to on. What’s left then is to hit the DPI button located on the top between the great scroll wheel and the lone LED light, and dial in to the desired comfort zone via the desired DPI sensitivity. (Of course, the software is there if you need to reassign buttons or update firmware.)
From there, the G305‘s excellent shape and strong, welcoming build takes center stage. Because this mouse is so easy to set up and use, and because it lacks RGB or anything visually that screams “gaming mouse,” the G305 might not immediately stand out in a sea of gaming mice. But in use, it’s excellent all-around. The G305’s one real concession towards style is to offer blue and lilac shell colors to go with the more standard black and white.
In addition to accuracy, responsiveness with satisfying clicks, the requisite six buttons, and stalwart battery life, the G305 even promises to hold up better than most against abuse (including abuse from traveling). This mouse is perfect both as a first wireless gaming mouse (before getting into the premium territory) and for outfitting a new esports team. If there is one thing that holds the G305 back, it’s the weight, which is listed at 99g (I measured 97g). Those with a light touch, and those that often pick up the mouse may find it a touch too heavy. Then again, it’s tougher and simpler than most gaming mice.
The best ultralight gaming mouse
Glorious nailed the wired ultralight category with the Model O, a purpose-built mouse with the right amount of gaming flare.
Pros: Pleasing Pixart sensor, welcoming shape, four skates that ensure a nice glide, flair, lightweight (67g), fair price
Cons: The software is functional but needs some real TLC, side buttons are just ok
These days, the weight of a gaming mouse is a specification that is just as important as size and sensitivity. It’s almost like we are deep in the midst of the rise of the ultralight mice. It’s a trend whose merits are fairly easy to test out, as comparing two similar gaming mice that are mainly separated by 20-40g in weight will show very noticeable differences, even to the point of affecting play.
It’s in this weight-focused zone that the wired Glorious Model O fits so well. Sure, it looks like gamer hardware with its honeycomb shell, generous RGB lines (even in the scroll wheel) and bearded Glorious logo, but it has the internals to match its looks. The 67g weight and Pixart sensor pair well together in a light and pleasing design.
It’s a good shape, the RGB is not too distracting, and the cord is a nice change from what has been standard for gaming mice. No details have been overlooked, though the software isn’t my favorite (at least the software isn’t bloated).
With style, lightness, and solid performance in hand, what’s left to be concerned about in this ultralight category is durability. Fortunately, unlike some newer mice, the Model O has been on the market and in the hands of a demanding community long enough to inspire confidence in its build, and since it is a wired mouse, there is a lot less to worry over. (Wired mice users don’t have to deal with wireless signal strength, battery life or even a lost or broken USB dongle.)
The Model O succeeds at everything it set out to do, which helps to make it a nice alternative to some of the mice from bigger brands. I would stick with the matte black or white and avoid the glossy variants as glossy shells don’t wear as well and tend to show damage and dirt.
The best MMO/MOBA gaming mouse
The Razer Naga Pro takes everything great about the Naga Trinity, improves it, and makes it wireless.
Pros: Modular design of the left button cluster and number of available buttons, sensor accuracy, battery life, suitable for larger hands and some different grips
Cons: Steep price, bulky weight (117g), three hot-swappable plates can become clutter
If you’ve been looking at the other picks in this guide, then you may have noticed a few trends such as lighter designs and ambidextrous shapes. The Razer Naga Pro has neither of these characteristics. Furthermore, unlike those other category winners, the Razer Naga Pro comes as part mouse, part mouse kit.
The mouse part of the Razer Naga Pro has the latest in Razer’s optical sensor tech as well as their wireless tech. (The Naga Trinity is the cheaper wired version.) It also has an internal battery with a battery life of up to 150 hours. It has a distinct right-handed ergonomic shape, but it’s weighty at 117g, and it’s the only mouse pick in this guide that offers a tilt scroll wheel.
It’s also the only mouse in this guide that is modular as it offers a trio of panels for its left side. On the left side, it can host two buttons, six buttons, or even twelve buttons. The twelve-button panel gives the mouse a whopping 20 buttons (including two from the tilt wheel and one on the underside), which is way too many for me but often desired in massively multiplayer online games (MMOs).
The panels are affixed magnetically and can be changed quite easily. I prefer the multiplayer online battle arena, or MOBA-friendly, six button panel, which is reminiscent of a Logitech G604 configuration. Underneath the modular panel is where the wireless USB dongle can be stored.
The Naga Pro offers that trio of configurations, making it a truly premium, semi-modular wireless mouse. The Naga Pro supports a charging dock but it isn’t included, which is addition by subtraction in my mind as the user can still use the included cable to charge or play over a wired connection. In addition to the standard and important 2.4Ghz wireless connection available through the USB dongle, the Naga Pro also offers a Bluetooth connection for those times when mobility and battery life are more important than performance.
While the modular left side and plethora of button options set the Naga Pro apart from smaller mice, it’s also a promising option for those with larger hands, especially if they tend to rest their palm completely on the mouse.
What else we considered
In this guide I’ve talked a lot about wireless gaming mice, and at each turn, the weight of the gaming mice was always a concern. Thus, one category that might be missing here is the ultralight wireless gaming mouse category. Wireless ultralight mice are very much on the cutting edge, and several ultralight wireless mice have recently hit the market. Here are three that we considered and liked but ultimately did not make the cut.
The Aerox 3 Wireless is a snazzy wireless ultralight. It has the feel and the looks, but it’s less polished all-around than I would like. For example, it has a power-saving feature that I dislike greatly. The mouse will sleep after one to 20 minutes. This is adjustable in the software (5 minutes default, 20 minutes max) but cannot be disabled. The part that bothers me is that in order to wake the mouse, I have to click a button whereas other mice wake on being moved.
Still, it has a fun take on RGB with a thin light ring on the bottom that comes through the holey shell, and it uses a well-designed USB-C cable. (Many mice require a proprietary micro-USB or USB-C connection while the Aerox 3 is meant to be used with other USB-C cables.) It also has an IP54 rating for dust and water protection.
Pros: SteelSeries shape with an ultralight style and weight, impressive gaming performance, good for everyday use outside of games, supports play-charging and fast-charging, internal battery, Xbox One support, price
Cons: Various settings depend on the PC app, fresh but not necessarily distinct in look, right-handed, click to wake battery management
The Pro X Superlight is cutting edge. It’s a wireless ultralight that pushes the extremes to get down to a rated 63g weight (closer to 61g really). It packs Logitech’s most efficient and most precise sensor without sacrificing battery life. It also manages to have a traditional mouse shell which ought to be good for anyone wanting a very light gaming mouse but also a sedate look. There is no RGB to be found on the Pro X Superlight unless you count the lone, usually dim LED on the top.
On the bottom of the mouse there is a great compartment which houses the USB dongle, and by removing the little magnetic door, the mouse can get even lighter. That said, this mouse might be too light. Parts of it feel excellent, like the scroll wheel, while other parts feel hollow, like the thin shell. I’ve also found that my main mousepad causes the Pro X Superlight to stutter.
Pros: Great feel, traditional shell design, impressive sensor sensitivity, supports play-charging, internal battery, long battery life
Cons: DPI adjustments are initially PC app-dependent, basic looks, finicky back thumb button, could take some getting used to, plain looks, price
The Glorious Model O Wireless is very much the wireless ultralight that Glorious has promised. Rated at 69g (I’ve got it just under 70g), it brings with it so much that was great about the wired Model O. It has a great shape that only falls short of ambidextrous due to the placement of the thumb buttons. A great lookin matte black (or matte white) with satisfying primary buttons and scroll wheel along with good thumb buttons. Happily, it does have a DPI button (up top) and a DPI light (on the underside) as well as the same, nice RGB lighting and logo placement as its wired cousin.
The new Glorious-developed BAMF sensor is different from the wired Model O, but the feel is consistently accurate. The battery life is not incredible but it’s ok, especially since it can charge while being used. The Model O Wireless is not without its quirks. The included USB-C cable has a right way up both when connecting to the mouse and when connecting to the USB-C dongle connector. There’s new software as well, the Glorious Core. It’s a step up from previous Glorious software, but it still raises an eyebrow when first run, when updating, and even when checking battery level; it’s slight roughness that I suspect will be smoothed out through updates. Still, I think Glorious delivered with the Model O Wireless. It’s great while gaming and happy doing day to day stuff. And let’s not forget the pleasing price. It’s only shortfall is that after much time spent with both mice, I prefer the more expensive Viper Ultimate’s shape.
Pros: Very purpose-focused, ultra-lightweight (67g), attractive design, the RGB lighting, the low price
Cons: Thumb button placement could be better, the software experience, the USB-C cable trident design, no storage spot in the mouse for the USB dongle
How to pick the best gaming mouse
Grip & feel: There is a lot of tech that goes into the design and manufacture of a gaming mouse, but ultimately, if gripping and moving the mouse doesn’t feel right, then look elsewhere. A brief period (from a few hours to a week) of readjustment may be necessary, but gaming mice are meant to be responsive and to glide with accuracy. Gaming mice are also meant to serve different kinds of hand sizes and grip techniques. Many gaming mice have the same sort of sensor and features, but offer a different shape. There is a range starting with the ambidextrous and symmetrical shaped mice on one end, the classic right-hand shaped mice in the middle, and the extremely hand-fitting ergonomic shaped mice on the other end. Those with larger, heavier hands may find ergonomic mice like the Razer Basilisk Ultimate to be suitable to their grip. Others will likely find themselves gravitating between the truly ambidextrous mice and the classic right-handed shape.
Of course, even with the right grip, if the buttons aren’t responsive, if the wheel isn’t consistent, if the tracking is too floaty, then it isn’t the right mouse.
Weight: A big feature for gaming mice of yore was adjustable weights. Modern trends, however, see gaming mice vying for lighter weight all around. Ultralight mice, a category of gaming mice that are under 80g in weight (and tend to be closer to 60g), are gaming mice focused on being light and responsive even at the cost of fancy features like modular buttons. But even those gaming mice that stay away from being called “ultralight” have shed weight. Weight affects the feel, and feel does affect performance as well as enjoyment.
Wired versus wireless: Gaming mouse technology is truly amazing, and wireless gaming mice can offer just about everything that a wired mouse can without much in the way of compromise. But why opt for a wireless gaming mouse over a wired one? To be precise, it is a comfort thing. Without a cable tethering the mouse, the mouse is more comfortable to use, and less likely to take you out of the game (or even your work zone) to fuss over the cable. Of course, wired gaming mice offer great features at a much lower price and without having to worry at all about power or even the rare signal concern. What’s nice for those of us who have a hard time choosing between the two is that many wireless mice offer the ability to use the mouse while charging with a cable or even with the mouse turned off. One could use the mouse with the cable until it became irksome and then switch to wireless mode.
Wireless power: If opting for a wireless gaming mouse, then there needs to be some consideration for how the mouse will be powered. Good wireless gaming mice are both power efficient when in use and smart about saving power when not in use. Finding that the mouse has a low battery or, even worse, a dead battery should be a rare thing, even as rare as once a month. Cheaper wireless gaming mice tend to use AA batteries while more expensive mice have internal batteries. Mice can be charged through their included cable (either micro-USB or USB-C) or in some cases through a charging cradle or even, in the case of the Logitech Powerplay, a charging mouse pad. As mentioned above, I like mice with internal batteries and the cabled play-charge option. I can go wireless until I hit low battery, plug in, and keep going.
Bluetooth vs USB dongle: Wireless gaming mice tend to use a USB dongle in order to connect via a 2.4Ghz wireless connection for maximum performance and ease of use. Often, the dongle can be stored inside the mouse to help keep it from getting lost during travel or storage. Many mice do, however, offer the ability to connect via Bluetooth. The idea here is to allow for a dongle-less connection, say to a laptop with built-in Bluetooth. This is an option when mobile, or I suppose if the dongle has been misplaced. The fancy performance of the gaming mouse will be restrained by the Bluetooth connection, but in many cases, the battery life will be extended considerably, which could be helpful when on the move.
Bundled software: Gaming mice are generally quite good at just working when connected to Windows, however, accessing and adjusting various features will typically require special software from the manufacturer. Even the Glorious line of mice uses software and should, out of box, have their firmware checked. Gaming mouse software is useful for adjusting RGB lighting and button assignments as well as power options for wireless mice. Adjusting DPI sensitivity out of the box can usually be done without software (by cycling through presets using a certain button on the mouse), but there is at least one instance I know where even that was relegated to the software. As with all such software, some apps are more focused and stable while others are more bloated and need regular updates.
Build: The mouse brands mentioned in this guide, including Logitech and Razer, have a good reputation for build quality. Just be reasonably good to a gaming mouse (don’t throw it against a wall, take it into a bathroom or to the beach), and it should provide years of excellent performance without issue. Aside from the buttons and scroll wheel, gaming mice have almost no moving parts, and the thing most likely to wear down first are the PTFE feet on the bottom that provide the glide. A mouse that gets dirty from messy food items should be cleaned and put back in service. If a button fails/is failing, the manufacturer should be contacted regardless of what the warranty states. When transporting a gaming mouse, be careful of the cable and buttons (an internal pouch on a backpack usually works).
Price: Wired gaming mice like the Logitech G203 and Razer Viper Mini are priced at $39.99 while the ultralight wired Glorious Model O is $49.99. The wireless Logitech G305 Lightspeed is $59.99, but premium wireless gaming mice with internal batteries range up to $149.99. While some people consider computer mice to be a free-with-purchase kind of thing, the $40-$150 range really isn’t bad for something that might be used all-day everyday while still lasting for years on end.