The best computer mouse of 2021 for gaming, work, and travel

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • How you plan to use your computer mouse will dictate which one you should buy.
  • At higher prices, you can find mice with programmable buttons and different speed settings.
  • Using a mouse for long hours can fatigue your wrist, so you may want an ergonomic choice.

The best computer mice do more than point and click; they offer accurate, quick cursor movement without creating wrist strain. Logitech, Razer, SteelSeries, and Anker produce some of the most recommended mice.

“The number one thing to consider when buying any computer hardware is ‘What will you be using the device for?'” says Tom Gilmore, the technology education coordinator at Free Geek, a nonprofit that refurbishes computer hardware. “This single question dictates exactly what you need and can help guide you to either cheaper or more premium options, and help you to narrow down the vast number of options to just a few.”

A poorly designed mouse can increase the strain on your wrist and hands. Weak connectivity can lead to slow performance (and losing that computer game). Some won’t roll over rugged surfaces.

As a freelance writer and photographer for nearly a decade, I’ve been working from home since before 2020 made it the norm. I consulted a certified ergonomics expert and spent hours digging through expert mouse reviews. I’ve rounded up nine of the most recommended computer mice, from budget options to fully-featured stand-out products.

Here are the best computer mice you can buy

The best computer mouse overall

best computer mouse logitech mx master 3

The Logitech MX Master 3 is great for professionals who spend a lot of time mousing and need both comfort and superior performance.

With reviewer nods from Wirecutter to PC Mag, the Logitech MX Master 3 is lauded for its large but ergonomic shape. The mouse has a curve designed to fit your right hand, with a wheel and gesture pad near the thumb. A scroll wheel and forward and back buttons are also built into the mouse.

The control scheme offers app-specific shortcuts for programs from Zoom to Photoshop. Using controls built into the mouse may mean less back and forth between the mouse and keyboard.

That scroll wheel is capable of rolling through 1,000 lines per second, Logitech says. Slow the spin, and the wheel goes from line-to-line for more precision. The laser mouse offers 4,000 DPI for more sensitivity and is capable of tracking on difficult surfaces such as glass. (Higher DPI, like the Razer Pro Click‘s, make for a faster mouse.) The downside? It’s pricey. The $100 price tag makes the mouse best for power users that are using a mouse for several hours a day.

The best mouse for precision use

best computer mouse Razer Pro Click

With a 16,000 DPI optical sensor, the Razer Pro Click is ideal for long-haul users that need the most precision for detailed mousing.

The Razer Pro Click has one of the best optical sensors for a mouse, with four times more dots per inch than the Logitech MX 3. That superior sensor combined with the optical design (that doesn’t fall victim to the occasional jitter of a laser) makes the mouse good for detailed work, such as precise adjustments in Photoshop.

The mouse is designed with a large curve that Razer says prevents your wrist from resting on the desk. TechRadar’s review says that the mouse is so well designed that “you’ll barely notice you’re using a mouse at all.” The curve does prevent left-handed use, however. 

The mouse houses eight different buttons that you can customize to your liking. The mouse can connect to multiple devices through wireless. For twice the battery life at 400 hours, it also connects through Bluetooth. The charger isn’t the more modern USB-C, however.

The best ergonomic mouse

best computer moues Logitech MX Ergo

For power users that need to reduce wrist pain, the Logitech MX Ergo‘s trackball design means your hand rests comfortably in one spot.

The Logitech MX Ergo offers a custom tilt angle designed to better fit the shape of your hand, plus a lot of other features geared towards minimizing wrist strain. It’s a trackball mouse, which means you can keep your wrist in one position and use the trackball that sits near the thumb to navigate, instead. Trackball mice are not for everyone — using one requires reprogramming years of using a traditional mouse — but they can be more comfortable.

The MX Ergo’s plentiful buttons can also be programmed for different functions based on what app you are using. A mode button near the trackball allows you to switch between fast or more precise tracking. The mouse requires little power; Logitech says it lasts 70 days on a full charge, and plugging it in for just a minute will power another 24 hours of use.

Trackball mice are innately different, and not everyone will love this pricey option. The MX Ergo is also not made for lefties.

The best budget ergonomic mouse

best computer mouse logitech ergo m575

The Logitech Ergo M575 is for everyday users who want a comfortable trackball mouse but don’t need the extra buttons and custom tilt of pricier models.

The Logitech Ergo M575 is a good compromise when the $100 Logitech MX Ergo is too much. While the M575 lacks the custom tilt, extra buttons, and precision mode switch of the MX Ergo, it still offers some of the same ergonomic features. Despite selling for about $50, the M575 still has a custom DPI from 400 to 2,000.

The Ergo M575 is a trackball mouse; you don’t move the mouse around the desk, you move a trackball with your thumb. That design will take some getting used to, but keeping your hand in a stationary position is much more friendly on the wrist. The mouse is curved to fit better in the right hand.

Besides the typical mouse buttons, scroll wheel, and trackball, the mouse also houses back and forward buttons that you can reprogram with Logitech’s software. Connecting with Bluetooth, the mouse can run up to twenty months on one AA battery, according to Logitech. Used as a wireless mouse with the USB dongle, the battery life bumps up to two years.

The best portable mouse

best computer mouse Logitech MX Anywhere 3

Logitech’s MX Anywhere 3 is geared towards on-the-go computer users that demand more from a mouse. It’s also good for those with smaller hands.

The Logitech MX Anywhere 3 takes some of the features in the flagship MX Master 3 and adapts them to mobile users. The Mac version can even be used on iPads. The mouse still offers customizable buttons but in a travel-friendly size.

Logitech says that the mouse has a quick, 1,000-lines-per-minute scroll wheel with the ability to get down to pixel-level details. It’s made to withstand the typical bumps from riding in a laptop bag. Despite the smaller size, there is a slight curve made for a better fit in your hand.

The fast scrolling and 200 to 4,000 DPI sensitivity range mean the MX Anywhere 3 isn’t a budget travel mouse. A full charge will last 70 days, which is good but not as good as the Microsoft Surface Mobile.

The best budget portable mouse

Best computer mouse microsoft surface mobile mouse

Laptop users who want a portable, ambidextrous mouse for not much cash may want to consider the $35 Microsoft Surface Mobile Mouse.

Designed specifically for laptops, the Microsoft Surface Mobile Mouse is made for portability. The mouse uses a slimmer design that’s easy to tuck into a laptop bag. The Bluetooth mouse lasts up to a year on one charge, so you shouldn’t need to bring the charger with you.

The Surface Mobile has a symmetrical shape that’s suitable for left or right-handed users. But besides being lefty friendly, the symmetrical shape means you can use either hand to reduce strain on a single wrist. The base isn’t smaller than a typical mouse, and PC Magazine’s review says it tends to be more comfortable than smaller travel mice. 

The portable design doesn’t curve to the shape of your hands as well as with ergonomically-focused mice, however. At around $35, it also won’t deliver the extreme speed and precision of a high-end mouse.

The best gaming mouse

best computer mouse Razer DeathAdder V2

Gamers who prioritize comfort, as well as speed and accuracy, will appreciate what the Razer DeathAdder V2 has to offer. 

The Razer DeathAdder V2 is a favorite among gamers because the computer mouse offers speed, precision, and a comfortable grip. With up to 20,000 DPI, the wired customizable gaming mouse has plenty of speed and accuracy.

Beyond just the high-precision hardware, the mouse has a large arched grip and a comfortable thumb rest, which earned it a recommendation from The Verge. The mouse is also outfitted with several different buttons. Both the buttons and DPI settings can be adjusted using Razer’s software. A switch on the bottom allows the mouse to store up to five different setting combinations, which is ideal for different games or moving from gaming to web browsing.

While the $70 mouse is fast, some of that speed comes from the fact that it’s wired. That’s preferred by many gamers but can still be an inconvenience.

The best customizable gaming mouse

best computer mouse SteelSeries Rival 600

The SteelSeries Rival 600 has two sensors and custom weights for gamers that want ultimate customization, all for an affordable price.

The SteelSeries Rival 600 has two optical sensors that create a mouse with excellent tracking, including detecting when you pick it up. While SteelSeries says the mouse is best for esports, Tom’s Guide calls it one of the best all-purpose gaming mice.

The 12,000-DPI mouse offers custom sensitivity settings as well as custom weights. Four weights can be configured into slots on both sides of the mouse to customize the feel and balance. The lift-off distance can also be configured between 0.5 and 2 mm.

The mouse is made from reinforced plastic and has seven buttons. The buttons use mechanical switches that have been tested to 60 million clicks. The downside is that the button placement isn’t quite perfect, according to PC Gamer.

The best budget gaming mouse

best computer mouse Logitech G502 Hero

The Logitech G502 Hero is good for gamers that balk at the higher price points of most gaming mice.

Gaming mice tend to be higher in price, but the Logitech G502 Hero is around $50 and still offers the features most gamers look for. 

The Logitech G502 allows gamers to customize the weights as well as the RGB lights. With DPI from 100 to 16,000, the mouse can easily be customized depending on if speed or accuracy is most important to the game. There is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Wirecutter’s biggest complaint is that the many buttons can limit where you place your hand.

 The G502 is a wired mouse, which is better for speed, but it is also available in wireless as the pricier Logitech G502 Hero Lightspeed.

How to find the best computer mouse for you

Buying computer peripherals is seldom a one-size-fits-all scenario. Both the shape of your hand and your primary use will change your definition of a great mouse. When choosing a computer mouse, consider the following:

Optical or Laser? Optical and laser mice are quite similar, says Free Geek‘s Gilmore. Both use a camera-like sensor to look for changes in the surface to tell the computer how to move the cursor. A laser mouse uses a laser to light that sensor and tends to do a bit better on glossy surfaces. Some can even work on glass. But on a typical wood desk, most users won’t notice a difference.

DPI or CPI: The dots-per-inch (or counts-per-inch) specification on a mouse is similar to the resolution of the sensor. A higher DPI means a faster mouse, Gilmore says, which is even more important when using a high-resolution monitor. A lower DPI mouse can be more precise. Some high-end mice allow you to choose different DPI settings, so you can switch based on whether you want speed or precision.

Connectivity: A wireless mouse eliminates the cord but uses a USB dongle to connect to the computer. A Bluetooth mouse is similarly wireless but doesn’t need that dongle to connect with a Bluetooth-compatible device. You might want to consider that option if you have limited ports. Take a look at wireless and Bluetooth mice’s battery lives so you’ll get a sense of how often you’ll be charging them. Wired mice still have their place, particularly for gaming. Wireless and Bluetooth mice may introduce some lag that’s noticeable in fast-paced games.

Weight: Lighter mice are typically easier to move around. Fast-paced gamers tend to consider the weight of a mouse.

Comfort: How a computer mouse feels will depend on the size of your hand, says Kevin Weaver, a clinical assistant professor of physical therapy at New York University. He is also certified by the Board of Certified Professional Ergonomists and the Oxford Institute.

He suggests using both hands with an ambidextrous mouse to halve the time spent on a mouse. “As best as you can, centralize your mouse,” he said. “If you look at most laptops, the touchpad is built into the base, right under the space key, in a centralized position. That’s a best-case scenario because you can use your left or your right and have half the frequency.”

If using your non-dominant hand feels too odd, he suggests choosing a contoured mouse that fits with your dominant hand. “[I]t’s important to go test these out in a showroom or store. One size does not fit all, one rule does not fit all,” he said.

What else we considered

We like the Anker Ergonomic Vertical Mouse and the Logitech M720 Triathlon, but both are being discontinued by their respective manufacturers. You can still find the Anker model for around $21 and the Logitech for about $39.

What we’re currently testing

While the mice above come with excellent reviews from reputable publications, we’re testing all the mice to determine what’s the best for different applications. In addition to the mice above, we’re also testing two more.

The Logitech MX Vertical: This vertical mouse is recommended by several publications. Using a vertical mouse takes some getting used to. We’ll try it out to see if that learning curve may be worth the effort for users with wrist pain.

The Apple Magic Mouse 2: Apple’s mouse uses gesture controls on the surface, much like the trackpad on a MacBook. The mouse is slimmer, however, and doesn’t fit into your hand like a contoured mouse.

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