Best gaming mice: Find your perfect match

If you want to be competitive in PC games these days you can forget about using a run-of-the-mill office mouse. Instead, you’ll need a powerful device that’s optimized just for gaming.

Manufacturers go to great pains to design specialist devices that give players an edge, with enhancements like unique body sizes and shapes, customizable weight, and extra grips to increase speed and accuracy. On top of that, the best gaming mice have unique hardware enhancements like highly sensitive sensors and complex button configurations to keep up with fast paced games.

Deciding on the right mouse is a highly personal decision that needs careful consideration. Factors like the size and shape of your hand, your preferred grip style, the types of games you play, and the number of buttons you need, are all factors that you’ll want to ponder in your quest for the best gaming mouse.

Below you’ll find a list of tried-and-tested devices selected by PCWorld reviewers that sit among the vanguard of gaming mice. For a rundown on how they were selected and further buying advice, read our helpful advice below our list of recommendations.

1. Logitech G502 Hero – Best wired gaming mouse / Best overall

Pros

Incredibly comfortable

Buttons now rated for 50 million clicks

Hero sensor performs as well as the PWM3366

Cons

More expensive than the previous model, but not much has changed

Fairly heavy, which might dissuade some users

Still no wireless option

Logitech’s G502 mouse has gained a legendary status here at PCWorld by making our ‘Best of’ list every year for the last four years, hitting the right notes for power, comfort, and durability. Under the hood the G502 is powered by a very accurate Logitech Hero sensor, whose precise performance is highly sought after by serious gamers.

In the design department, it offers up dollops of comfort with an elongated pill-shaped body and high scoop that’s equally suitable for palm, claw, or fingertip users. MMO and MOBA gamers are well catered to with 11 well-placed buttons that respond quickly and are rated for up to 50 million clicks. Admittedly, the mouse’s 121 gram weight doesn’t make it the lightest option available, but yet it feels and performs just as well as lighter alternatives.

Read our full
Logitech G502 Hero review

2. Mad Catz R.A.T. 8+ – Best gaming mouse for tinkerers

Pros

Eminently customizable

Uses a reliable PMW3389 sensor

Feels durable

Cons

Customization options aren’t always intuitive

Heavy, even with the weights removed

Hard to know whether Mad Catz peripherals are the more reliable nowadays


Best Prices Today:


$97.94 at Amazon

The Mad Catz R.A.T 8+ is about as customizable as gaming mice come, featuring a modular design that allows you to change up its component parts exactly as you wish to find your ideal mouse shape and weight. Doing so requires you to pull discrete levers and turn knobs integrated into the mouse’s body, so there’s a fairly steep learning curve before you know what you’re doing.

Still, if you love tinkering, this mouse will keep you entertained for hours at a time. It also doesn’t skimp in the button department, providing 10 buttons all told, orientated in some pretty original positions for extra convenience. With a stripped-back, bare-bones look, the Mad Catz R.A.T 8+ also stands out in the crowd, making it an obvious talking point at any group gaming sessions.

3. SteelSeries Aerox 9 Wireless – Best wireless / Best for MOBA and MMO games

Pros

18 easily programmable buttons

Weighs only 89 grams

Quick and responsive

Dual Bluetooth 5.0 and 2.4GHz wireless

Cons

Some buttons on the side grid are hard to reach

The more buttons, the heavier and slower gaming mice tend to be, but the SteelSereis Aerox 9 bucks this trend with a whopping 18 buttons and weighing just 89 grams. Needless to say, having 18 buttons at your disposal rather than 6, 8 or 12, gives you a little more firepower to launch commands and macros in games where quick deployment is needed—especially in MMOs and MOBAs like The Elder Scrolls Online or Final Fantasy XIV.

On top of the generous button selection, the Aerox 9 features a quick 18,000 DPI sensor and dual 2.4GHz Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, so it’s highly versatile and portable. Design-wise, the Aerox 9 looks and feels fantastic thanks to a futuristic honeycomb-shaped back with RGB lighting. Additionally, since it weighs under 100 grams, it’s fast enough to keep you competitive in first-person shooters.

Read our full
SteelSeries Aerox 9 Wireless review

4. Razer Basilisk V3 – Best mouse wheel / Best for scrolling

Pros

The Razer Focus + sensor gives faultless performance

Scrolling is made simpler with the HyperScroll Tilt Wheel

The RGB lighting looks fantastic

Cons

It’s quite heavy and bulky

You’re limited to wired connectivity only


Best Prices Today:


$63.50 at Amazon

The Basilisk V3 resembles the Razer Basilisk V2 in size and shape, sporting similar right-handed curves and a slightly arched thumb rest. Among its best features are an 11 button layout, 26,000 DPI Razer Focus+ sensor, and second-generation Razer optical switches that are fast enough for all kinds of gaming—whether that’s casual or serious. But the real magic lies in the Basilisk V3’s HyperScroll Tilt Wheel, which is a fancy name for its mouse wheel. This tilts in four directions and triggers downwards to put five commands at your fingertips, ideal for tactical FPS games like Rainbow Six.

Impressively, the HyperScroll Tilt Wheel also has extra AI scrolling modes that make your scrolling and browsing a lot easier. In our testing we enjoyed toggling between “Tactile” and “Free-Spin” modes, which allowed us to switch between a slow, precise scrolling action and a faster, smoother scrolling action that was useful for getting to the end of long websites more easily.

Read our full
Razer Basilisk V3 review

5. HyperX Pulsefire Haste Wireless – Best for esports / first-person shooters

Pros

Weighs just 61 grams

Has a highly accurate sensor

Design is comfortable and aids performance

Cons

Lacks Bluetooth

Button configuration is dull

Has only one RGB lighting zone

If you’re merely a good gamer HyperX’s Pulsefire Haste Wireless is the kind of mouse that can elevate you to the status of excellence. Weighing just 61 grams, it’s the lightest and quickest mouse I’ve had the pleasure of gaming with, feeling barely-there in my hands.

Just looking at the specifications, you’d be mistaken for thinking its PAW3355 16,000 DPI sensor is a little underpowered—it’s not, proving incredibly accurate in shooters like Overwatch and CounterStrike: Global Offensive, especially with the DPI profile set to the lowest setting. Other things that make this mouse a class act include its quick 2.4GHz wireless connectivity, futuristic and comfortable honeycomb-shaped back, and the extra grips and PTFE glide skates that come supplied in the box.

Read our full
HyperX Pulsefire Haste Wireless review

6. Cooler Master MM830 – Best budget gaming mouse

Pros

Incredibly comfortable and durable

Top-tier performance, with a PMW3360 sensor

You can put a gun on your mouse, I guess

Cons

D-pad is largely the same as any other thumb buttons

OLED screen is superfluous at best

PWM3360 cranked to 24,000 DPI for no reason


Best Prices Today:


$67.74 at Amazon

The MM830 differentiates itself from other budget gaming mice with fun features like a built-in D-pad and tiny OLED display that you can set up to show information like your RAM, CPU, and GPU usage stats. But looking beyond these novelties, it also performs well in games, which is infinitely more important. Powering that performance is a top-end 24,000 DPI PMW3360 sensor, which for comparison’s sake, is the same as the premium Logitech Hero sensor just with a higher power draw.

On top of the mouse’s body the MM830’s sports a textured plastic exterior that provides plenty of grip for your hand. A gentle right-hand scoop also makes it incredibly comfy to use even for long gaming stints.

Read our full
Cooler Master MM830 review

7. Logitech G203 LightSync – Best ultra-budget gaming mouse

Pros

A comfortable design that resembles more expensive esports mice

Sturdy and well-built

The RGB lighting really pops

Cons

Some sensor lag was experienced with large, fast movements

The sensor’s lift-off distance is higher than some mice

The RGB logo on the top isn’t customizable


Best Prices Today:


$19.99 at Best Buy |
$29.99 at Amazon

Few devices offer as much bang for buck as this wired RGB gaming mouse that combines comfort, style and decent performance but without a hefty price tag. The Logitech G203 resembles more expensive esports mice with its simple 6-button configuration, small body and ambidextrous shape, but despite being substantially cheaper than rivals, it still feels sturdy and well-built. The G203’s 8,000 DPI sensor isn’t the quickest you’ll find, but for causal gamers it’s still a more than adequate performer that tracks accurately.

The G203 isn’t lacking style either. It features a signature rounded back design with colorful RGB band and Logitech logo that lights up your gaming den with pops of color. The RGB band is also customizable in the Logitech G Hub app, with the option to personalize three separate lighting zones.

Read our full
Logitech G203 LightSync review

8. ROCCAT Kone XP – Best RGB gaming mouse

Pros

Stunning RGB lighting that lights up the whole top section

The Owl-Eye sensor is highly accurate and powerful

The 15 buttons can be customized with up to 29 functions

Cons

The button layout can be confusing before you get the hang of it

Some gamers may not like the bold RGB

The supporting Swarm software could do with an update


Best Prices Today:


$89.99 at Amazon

There are ordinary RGB gaming mice and then there’s the wired ROCCAT Kone XP whose dazzling RGB lighting is something else. More precisely, it features eight internal lighting “pipelines” powered by 22 individual LEDs that diffuse light throughout the mouse’s transparent plastic top. That much RGB is a bold statement that you’re either going to love or hate. But either way, it’s hard to deny the Kone XP points for originality.

Despite its flashiness, the ROCCAT Kone XP is also a very capable performer in games. It sports a 15-button layout—programmable to 29 functions—that makes it ideal for MMO, RPG, and RTS gaming, where you can rarely have enough options for commands. What’s more, a 19,000 DPI Owl-Eye optical sensor and quick optical switches ensure the Kone XP is suitably fast and responsive when you need to fire off commands quickly and accurately.

Read our full
ROCCAT Kone XP review

9. Razer DeathAdder V2 X Hyperspeed – Best dual-purpose gaming and productivity mouse

Pros

Comfortable, ergonomic design

Dual Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity

Long battery life

Cons

No RGB lighting

Slightly slower than top-shelf gaming mice


Best Prices Today:


$44.99 at Amazon |
$44.99 at Best Buy

The Razer DeathAdder V2 X Hyperspeed combines features for gaming as well as productivity, making it ideal for both. In the boardroom it syncs stealthily with its surroundings thanks to an all-black design with no RGB lighting zones. But beneath its modest exterior it hides a highly sensitive 14,000 DPI sensor, which is a solid performer in AAA games.

Dual 2.4GHz Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity lets you switch between your gaming PC and work laptop just by flicking a switch underneath the mouse’s body. Unlike some gaming mice, the Razer DeathAdder V2 X Hyperspeed is powered by either an AA or AAA battery, making it ultraportable. It can stay powered a whopping 235 hours in Wi-Fi mode and 615 hours in Bluetooth mode just on a single AA battery.

Read our full
DeathAdder V2 X Hyperspeed review

10. SteelSeries Rival 650 – Best rechargeable wireless gaming mouse

Pros

Get 10 hours of charge in only 15 minutes

Comfortable and attractive design

Removable weight system provides plenty of options

Cons

Heavier than some might like

Expensive

Third thumb button is small and awkwardly placed

Two features stand out to make the SteelSeries Rival 650 a top choice for gamers. The first is a dual sensor system comprised of a TrueMove 3 sensor and a dedicated depth sensor. The depth sensor allows the Rival 650 to detect lift-off at a distance as small as half a millimeter, which is double the sensitivity of rival gaming mice. Needless to say, if you’re prone to lifting, the Rival 650 should help steady your aim.

The second feature highlighted by our PCWorld reviewer is its fast-charging capability that gets you back gaming sooner when the battery runs out. SteelSeries claims just 15 minutes charging time is enough to power the mouse for 10 (or more) hours of battery. On top of these two useful innovations the Rival 650 sports an elegant design that lets you peel of the left and right side panels and adjust it to your preferred weight.

Read our full
SteelSeries Rival 650 review

How we test gaming mice

To ensure that our gaming mice selections are the pick of the crop, the PCWorld team subjects them to extensive play testing as well as a legion of other tests. We scrutinize everything from how well a mouse perform in games, to the size and shape of it in the hand, to comfort and ergonomics, to customizations. Here are the main categories our tests fall under:

Gaming performance: At the end of the day it doesn’t matter how a mouse looks; it’s how it performs that matters. To evaluate a mouse’s performance we look specifically at how sensitive and responsive its sensor is and also how well the sensor tracks movement. Precision is also a key consideration, with mice that are more accurate generally scoring better in our reviews than those that aren’t. In wireless mice we also evaluate the speed and strength of the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth signals, keeping a look out for red flags like signal dropouts or interference. Some mice also come with software enhancements that determine the mouse’s lift-off distance, which we also examine in our testing. Design and ergonomics: You won’t find another tech device for which design plays a more crucial part of a user’s experience. And, while it’s true that there’s no one shape, size, or configuration that fits every gamer, there’s enough variation out there for every gamer to find their own perfect fit. When looking at design, we consider the size and shape of the device itself and the type of hand it fits. Gamers tend to use one of three common grip types—palm, claw, or fingertip—so a mouse’s compatibility with one or all of those types is a big consideration. Software: Being able to tweak settings like your mouse’s DPI and polling rate and create specific profiles for your favorite games can make or break your gaming experience, which is why a mouse’s software support is so important. Our PCWorld reviewers’ focus here is to consider the range and scope of software support and how readily settings can be modified, changed, and saved for future use.

What to look for in a gaming mouse

Connectivity: Wired versus wireless?

It used to be generally well accepted that wired gaming mice had the edge over their wireless counterparts, providing gamers with a much faster and more accurate signal between mice and PCs. However, that’s less true than it used to be thanks to the popularity of 2.4GHz Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless technologies, which have almost levelled the playing field.

I say almost, because there’s no denying that wired gaming mice still deliver the fastest and most secure connections you can get. That said, whether or not you choose one type over the other should come down to your gaming priorities.

If you’re a serious competitive gamer or esports player, where winning or losing sits on a knife’s edge, opting for a wired mouse over a wireless one is a good decision, since it’s less likely a signal dropout or interference will disrupt your play. Every competitive edge counts. However, wireless mice are infinitely more portable and allow you to switch between devices at a whim, so if nimbleness and portability is more important, a wireless mouse will be a better fit.

What size and shape should I get?

Hands, just like gaming mice, come in all different shapes and sizes and for comfort reasons it pays to match like with like. While categorizing sizes of hands can be highly subjective, chances are you’ll be able to guess whether your hand is on average small, medium, or large. You can then find a mouse that best fits from among the size categories below:

Small gaming mouse: Length: Less than 6.7 inches; width: 2.9 to 3.3 inches Medium gaming mouse: Length: 6.7 to 7.9 inches; width: 3.3 to 3.9 inchesLarge gaming mouse: Length: 7.9 inches; width: 3.9 to 4.3 inches

Gaming mice generally come in three shapes: left-handed, right-handed, and ambidextrous. Ambidextrous mice are designed to be neutral in that they can be just as easily used by your left or right hand. Alternatively, left-handed and right-handed mice are tailor-made for the dominant hands specified by their namesakes, often sporting bespoke curves and button placements for one or the other. Unless you switch between hands, using a gaming mouse that matches your dominant hand will go a long way to improving your performance and comfort.

Your preferred grip type should also be considered when selecting a suitably shaped mouse. Here’s a rough guide for matching grip types with mouse shapes:

Palm grip: Long, flat mice tend to be a better fit and more comfortableClaw grip: Narrower and smaller mice tend to suit this grip style Fingertip grip: Lighter mice are often preferred by fingertip grippers to reduce strain

How light should my mouse be?

Gaming mice weights have been gradually trending downwards over the years as players look for lighter options that are quicker to move and prevent arms and wrists getting overly tired or sore in long play sessions. FPS (first-person shooter) gamers in particular tend to go for the lightest mice possible, seeing every millisecond of speed advantage as worth chasing.

Despite this, there’s no ideal gaming mouse weight for all gamers, but rather a deeply personal preference. In fact, some gamers—often those with larger hands or stronger arms—actually prefer heavier mice for the extra stability they get. Still if you are one of those looking for the lightest mouse possible, anything under 100 grams will be among the lightest on the market.

Does DPI really matter?

Your mouse’s sensor is the essential hardware component that relays movement to your PC. Mice sensors are rated for DPI, or dots per inch, which tells us how far a cursor moves per inch of mouse movement—that is, how sensitive it is. Manufacturers really hype up the importance of high DPIs, which can be a bit misleading because they don’t necessarily equate to better gaming performance (they can, but not in all circumstances).

For example, if you play a lot of FPS and want the absolute best accuracy while targeting opponents, a lower DPI (between 800-1,000) is preferable, since this allows you to make short, sharp, and precise movements more easily. However, if you make a lot of wide, sweeping hand movements, or if your display is a very high resolution, a mouse with a high DPI (between 12,000-30,000 DPI) can be an advantage.

The great thing about most modern gaming mice is that they can switch between DPI profiles just by clicking a small button behind the mouse wheel. That said, our advice is to opt for a gaming mouse with the highest DPI your budget allows, and then choose your preferred setting for different gaming scenarios by using this handy DPI-switching feature.

Is an optical or laser sensor better?

Optical sensors are the most popular with gamers since they tend to have less jitter and smoothing problems. These sensors work by casting down infrared or LED light onto your mousepad and capturing thousands of digital images per second, that then reveals the precise location of the mouse to the PC.

On the other hand, laser sensors use a vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser diode to determine positioning. In most cases an optical sensor will do just fine. However, if you plan on using your mouse on a translucent surface (like glass), a laser sensor is preferable since it will have better sensitivity to a variety of surface textures.

Button count: How many do I need?

The type of games you play should help you determine how many buttons you need. For example, if you’re a big fan of real time strategy (RTS), role-playing games (RPG), or massively multiplayer online (MMOs) games, you’d be we’ll advised to choose a mouse with between 10 and18 buttons—like the Razer Naga Pro or the SteelSeries Aerox 9. These games typically require you to fire off a lot of commands quickly, so the more buttons you have to program commands and macros in, the better.

On the flipside, if FPS is your go-to game type, you’ll probably want to keep your button count to between 6 and 8 buttons. Chances are you won’t need the higher button-count for your smaller list of commands. Plus, buttons tend to increase a mouse’s weight, so opting for a mouse with fewer will most likely mean it’s lighter and quicker to move in the frantic FPS action.

RGB lighting or no?

RGB lighting is a fun feature to have in any gaming device that can brighten up your gaming den with pops of color. It can also be pretty useful, allowing you to see your device better in dimly lit rooms or at night. And yet, there may be times when you opt to use a mouse that has only a minimal RGB, or none at all.

The most common example is if you plan on using your gaming mouse covertly at work. In this case, mice like the Razer DeathAdder V2 X Hyperspeed, that have no RGB lighting zones and can convincingly pass as standard black office mice, are ideal because your colleagues will be none the wiser.

Gaming, Mice

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