Desktop computers are becoming popular again: After falling gradually throughout the 2010s and then sharply in 2020, desktop computer sales increased by 7% in 2021, according to major PC manufacturers Dell and HP. Apple, generally known for its smartphones, has also made waves with its new desktop versions: the 2021 iMac and the 2022 Mac Studio.
This increase in desktop computer sales has led to increased interest in accompanying accessories such as mice and keyboards. Laptop users looking for advice on the best computer mice should turn to experts who have been testing mice for decades: gamers.
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PC games, especially competitive shooters like Valorant and Apex Legends, require fast inputs and exact precision. To meet this need, companies have been manufacturing specific brand “gaming mice” for years. Don’t worry about the name, though: these mice are great for gaming, work, and everyday browsing.
Whether you’re a gamer looking to upgrade your desktop setup or just want to upgrade your home workstation with a high-quality mouse, we asked gaming experts how to buy gaming mice for help you narrow down your options. We’ve also rounded up our experts’ favorite gaming mice.
What is a gaming mouse?
A gaming mouse is generally a mouse designed for extreme precision, comfort, and customization. Unlike a mouse you might buy from Apple or Microsoft, gaming mice are designed to be precise and comfortable for long periods of time. Gaming mice often prioritize ergonomics and responsiveness, resulting in less strain on your wrist and smoother cursor movements. Esports athletes, whose livelihood depends on the precision of their mouse, only use gaming mice to compete.
Physically, gaming mice come in wired and wireless varieties, and they usually have additional buttons near the thumb and on the top of the mouse to perform additional functions while gaming and browsing. Many brands offer companion software that allows you to customize your button inputs, cursor speed, and backlight color.
The best gaming mice in 2022
The experts we spoke to shared their favorite gaming mice, as well as what they look for when buying a new mouse. Most of the gaming mice they recommend are comfortable, versatile, and mid-priced.
“Remember that even if you’re trying to get a ‘gaming’ mouse, you’ll be using that same mouse for everything you do on the computer, so it should be comfortable to use,” said Jake Rabinowitz, software engineer. and developer of PogoChamp. (Full disclosure: Jake is also my brother.)
Below are our experts’ gaming mouse picks.
Best for Simple Wireless Gaming: Logitech G305
Logitech is one of the biggest brands in computing peripherals in general, and the brand’s gaming mice strike an excellent balance between price, comfort, and precision. While Logitech sells plenty of mice, nearly all of our reviewers recommended the Logitech G305 as a simple, affordable wireless option. It connects via the included USB-A wireless receiver, which creates a reliable, low-lag connection between your mouse and computer.
“When I started getting better at shooting games and wanted to experiment with different gaming mice, the Logitech G305 was the best budget option that had everything I love,” said Justin Ha, designer of games at Points. “It’s a smaller wireless mouse with side buttons and a button to switch between sensitivities.”
Some might find the G305’s single AA battery annoying. Fortunately, battery life is excellent – Ha said he only had to replace the battery after nine months of use.
Best for wired precision: Logitech G502 HERO
“[Logitech’s] The G502 is a reasonably priced wired mouse with smooth scrolling and a few extra buttons. It’s everything I was looking for in a mouse, and I’d say it does the job pretty well,” Rabinowitz said. Although it prefers Logitech’s now-discontinued G700 series, the G502 HERO is one of the best-selling gaming mice, according to the brand, and offers some great features.
The G502 HERO connects via a USB-A cable and sports three thumb buttons, two buttons on the left click edge, two center buttons, and a scroll wheel with side inputs. The G502 HERO also comes with removable weights, although our reviewers generally prefer to remove all weights for a lighter feel.
Best for wired and wireless freedom: Corsair Harpoon Wireless
Some gaming mice, like the Corsair Harpoon Wireless, offer wired, wireless, and Bluetooth connectivity, and our experts highlighted it as an affordable and flexible option. “I’ve been using my Corsair Harpoon for a while now,” said Nicole Gutierrez, web developer and MMORPG enthusiast. “It’s comfortable, well balanced and has everything I need.”
The Corsair Harpoon can connect wired or wirelessly to your computer via a USB-A cable or USB-A wireless receiver. It can also connect via Bluetooth. It has six programmable buttons and a customizable backlight.
Best for Big Hands: Razer DeathAdder V2
Razer’s most popular mouse, the DeathAdder V2, is a critically acclaimed wired gaming mouse with an arched design and incredibly precise inputs. “It’s a budget gaming mouse that a lot of people would recommend as an introduction to the world of more sophisticated gaming mice,” Ha said.
The DeathAdder V2 connects via USB-A and features eight programmable buttons, customizable backlighting, and a fast, precise optical design. This mouse is slightly larger than the competition, making it ideal for people with large hands and a less appealing option for those with smaller ones. “If you’re really into little mice like me, you’ll feel a little uncomfortable with the DeathAdder,” Ha said.
Best for MMO games: Logitech G600
Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) games like Final Fantasy XIV and Lost Ark are hugely popular and usually require clicking many different buttons. Instead of using the mouse cursor, many MMO gamers buy specialized MMO mice like the Logitech G600.
The Logitech G600 connects via a USB-A cable and has 12 thumb buttons for utilizing the many capabilities of MMO-style games. All MMO mice offer a plethora of buttons, but our reviewers liked the G600 because of its differentiated, easy-to-feel thumb button shapes. Logitech’s Customization Software makes the setup process easy, letting you customize the many thumb buttons in a snap.
How to buy gaming mice
With an overwhelming amount of choice, it can be difficult to choose just one gaming mouse to buy. Our experts have focused on a few key things that can help you find your ideal mouse.
There can be hundreds of different gaming mice to choose from, but our experts recommended sticking with reputable companies like Logitech, Razer, and Corsair.
“You’re going to use a mouse every day,” Ha said. “Make sure it’s one that feels reliable and meets your comfort needs.”
Wired vs Wireless
Wired and wireless mice offer different advantages. Wireless mice are clutter-free and more portable, while wired mice never have connectivity or battery issues. Some mice, like the Corsair Harpoon, offer both wired and wireless connectivity.
“I’m a wired guy in general,” Rabinowitz said. “I just don’t want to bother with low battery and Bluetooth.” Rabinowitz mentioned that mice with both wired and wireless connectivity can offer the best of both worlds.
“For a long time, I preferred wired mice because I thought I would be very annoyed charging wireless mice,” Ha said. “Now I’m all for wireless mice forever. The freedom to move your mouse anywhere on a large desk is so much nicer.”
Many gaming mice are loaded with features, but our experts noted that they rarely use them. Multiple profiles is a common extra feature, but it’s a feature almost all of our experts overlooked. The features they liked were usually hardware or button related.
“I’m a sucker for a scroll wheel that can switch between smooth and smooth scrolling,” Rabinowitz said. “If you’ve never spun a metal scroll wheel at full speed, you’ve never experienced the true potential of a computer mouse.”
Both Gutierrez and Ha agreed that side buttons are a must for any new mouse, as many games have many or clunky inputs. “Whatever keys I find uncomfortable to press with my left hand, I will map to a side mouse button,” Ha explained.
Why trust Select?
Selected Writer Harry Rabinowitz has played video games all his life. He primarily plays games on his desktop computer and has spent his entire professional career as a writer – both experiences have allowed him to test out a wide variety of mice, keyboards, and gaming peripherals. For this story, Rabinowitz spoke with several game and software developers. Combining their advice and recommendations with his own expertise, he reviewed highly rated gaming mice from top brands like Logitech, Razer, and Corsair.
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