How To Choose A Gaming Mouse?

While our selection of the best gaming mouse should help you compare current models based on your budget, it’s still essential to take stock of the different criteria to consider before purchasing.

With hundreds of references available, there are mice to suit all gamers and all styles of play. You still have to know what you are really looking for.

Looking for the best gaming mouse? Can not decide between a corded or wireless mouse? Rather light for FPS or heavy and versatile? You are on the right page!

In this complete guide, we invite you to discover a selection of the best models currently available, with references covering all styles of play and especially all budgets.

From 40$ to nearly 200$, everyone should be able to find what they are looking for and our buying guide will help you understand the criteria to be taken into account. You will also find our answers to the most frequently asked questions about gaming mice.

How To Choose A Gaming Mouse?

Ergonomics and handling

When buying a dedicated mouse, ergonomics is the first point to check. You will spend hours with your hand on your field mouse, so it is better that it is perfectly adapted to your morphology, whether in terms of comfort, size, or even weight.

Today there are models covering most of the needs of gamers, with very compact and very light mice, medium-sized models, and finally others larger and heavier.

There are mainly two formats for mice designed for gamers. On the one hand, mice with asymmetrical design, and on the other, models with a so-called “ergonomic” design.

The former have, as their name suggests, asymmetrical design. This design allows in many cases to adapt the mouse to right-handed and left-handed players, offering identical side panels and controls on each side. This is not always the case, however, and some symmetrical mice are still designed for right-handed people.

  • Some examples: Logitech G Pro Wireless – Razer Viper – SteelSeries Sensei 310 So-called “ergonomic” mice have a design that more naturally follows the shape of the hand. The format is designed to improve the grip of the mouse while enhancing comfort during longer gaming sessions. No button is present on the right-side panel.
  • Some examples: Logitech G502 Lightspeed – Razer Basilisk V2 – SteelSeries Rival 310 In recent months, more and more players are moving towards so-called “ultra-light” mice. These models generally display weight of less than 80g, with certain references being able to approach 50g such as the Cooler Master MM710 for example.

These very light models are mainly designed for low-sensitivity FPS players. Thanks to their featherweight, these mice are indeed much more manageable and make it easier to carry out large movements.

Mice weighing between 80 and 120 g are considered medium-weight mice. They offer a good compromise for most players, neither too light nor too heavy.

Compared to the ultra-light models, they are often a little larger and have more controls in order to gain versatility. They are often recommended for players not limited to just first-person shooters. Among the best-known examples, we can cite the SteelSeries Rival 310, the Razer Basilisk V2, or the Logitech G502 HERO.

Finally, models over 120 g can be considered as rather heavy references. These are often larger mice, adapting more easily to players with large hands or those who want a lot of additional controls.

In this range, we find for example the Roccat Kone AIMO at 130 g or the Corsair Scimitar Elite at 122 g.

Finally, note that some models may come with weights allowing you to adjust the weight of your mouse. This is the case with the SteelSeries Rival 650 for example.

The different handling

There are mainly three types of grip, often dictated by the format and size of the mouse.

Here, it is above all a matter of preference but it is important to check how you are used to holding your mouse, some models being more suitable than others.

Palm grip

This is probably the most common grip among gamers, but also the most natural for a large majority of users. In this position, the hand rests flat on almost the entire mouse, the palm remaining in contact with the palm rest.

The level of the facades is maintained on one side by the thumb, and on the other by the little finger or even the ring finger depending on the size of the mouse. The movements are mainly carried out by the arm, making it possible to reduce the fatigue accumulated in the hand.

Claw Grip

This grip is similar to the first, but the hand no longer rests entirely on the mouse. As its name suggests, the hand here takes on the appearance of a “claw”, with the index and middle fingers slightly bent.

Actions are validated via the fingertips, and the mouse is held in place via the thumb and ring finger on the sides, and the palm of the hand on the back. The Claw Grip is a grip generally appreciated by gamers looking for quick activations, although in practice it provides some fatigue on long gaming sessions.

Fingertip Grip

The last grip is managed entirely with your fingertips, hence its nickname Fingertip. This is a configuration also widely used by gamers, who will only come and hold their mouse with their fingertips without using the palm rest.

In this position, the arm moves very little and the movements of the mouse are achieved by “sliding” the latter between his fingers. This grip is generally reserved for light and fairly compact mice.

Build quality

Most mice are made from ABS plastics, but not all have the same level of quality or finish.

The first point to check is the absence of play. By shaking your mouse in all directions, these different components must not move a bit or present the slightest squeaking. Likewise, you should be able to press firmly on the facades of your mouse without cracking its plastics.

Obviously, it’s difficult to really check all this before having the mouse in your hands. That’s why we always recommend that you review our full reviews before checking out!

In addition to the plastics used for the frame, it will also be necessary to check the quality of the grips (if the mouse has any). Often positioned on the faceplates of the mouse, they are usually made of rubber and some models can wear out more quickly than others.

Finally, don’t forget to take a look at the skate side. They play a vital role in the glide of your mouse and should not be overlooked. More and more mice are switching to 100% PTFE pads and this is what is recommended in most cases.

The pads of your mouse can wear out over time and some manufacturers have taken the initiative to offer an additional set in their box.

Number of buttons

Regarding the number of buttons, we find today for all tastes and all uses. Again, try to define your real needs and habits when you play.

At a minimum, there are generally two additional buttons on the front and a third behind the dial. This minimalist setup works well for games that don’t require a lot of shortcuts. This is particularly the case For FPS Mouse, where the various secondary actions are more naturally assigned to keys on the keyboard rather than on the mouse.

If you’re used to playing different styles of games, you might want to switch to a mouse with more controls. Here, there is a little for all tastes with mice offering between 6 and 10 programmable buttons.

There are many different configurations, for example with 3 buttons on the fronts, 2 buttons behind the dial, or additional controls stuck against the two main clicks.

Depending on the model, these configurations may require some adaptation time and it is sometimes possible to tangle the brushes a little during the first uses. Once the layout is mastered, a mouse with many programmable controls can still provide serious benefits depending on the title and the way you play.

Finally, for players who really need a lot of shortcuts, there are models that can embed about fifteen programmable buttons. These are often models intended for MMO players, with a grid of 12 buttons on the front.

These models are very useful to activate your skills or spells directly from the thumb and quickly chain your rotations. Again, this design takes time to adapt and these models will clearly not be to the tastes of all players.

If you hesitate, note that at Razer there is the Naga Trinity mouse, offering three facades with 2, 6, or 12 additional buttons. Something to adapt to all uses and you avoid investing in several different mice.

Sensor and precision

Compared to traditional mice, gaming mice have a much more reliable and efficient sensor. They allow you to provide better tracking of your movements and therefore maintain perfect precision in any situation.

In recent years, technologies have evolved a lot and current optical sensors are in the vast majority of cases sufficiently precise and responsive for gaming. Even on models positioned at the entry-level.

Several points, however, make it possible to differentiate the optical sensors embedded in gaming mice. While they are mostly designed by the same manufacturer (PixArt), not all are created equal.

Sensor sensitivity

The first point to check concerns the sensitivity of the sensor. It is expressed in DPI (for Dot Per Inch ) and its maximum value is generally between 4,000 and 20,000 DPI.

In practice, the sensitivity will have an impact on the movements of your cursor according to the movements of your mouse. The higher the sensitivity, the less you will have to move your mouse to move your cursor. Conversely, a very low sensitivity forces you to make larger movements to move your pointer.

Typically, most gamers are happy with a sensitivity of between 400 and 3000 DPI. FPS players generally favor very low sensitivities, so that they can gain precision when aiming.

We explain ourselves. If you’re gaming at high sensitivity, even the slightest movement of your mouse can cause your viewfinder to move across the screen. Under these conditions, it is difficult to be really precise and to chain headshots.

Conversely, if you opt for very low sensitivity, you will sometimes have to browse your entire mouse pad to move your viewfinder from one end of the screen to the other. In this configuration, you gain precision and it is easier to position your cursor where you really want it.

Obviously, this implies having enough space to move around but also to move your mouse a lot more, hence the growing success of ultralight models.

In use, optical sensors that can climb up to 16,000 DPI are therefore of no real interest when gaming. Obviously, even if a sensor displays enormous sensitivity in its technical sheet, it is still possible to configure it on the level of your choice. Either directly on values ​​predefined by the manufacturer, or with your own choices through the software supplied with your mouse.

In short, do not succumb to brand marketing, and keep in mind that 99.9% of current mice have sufficient sensitivity to play in good conditions, regardless of the resolution of your screen.

Speed ​​and acceleration

In addition to the sensitivity, we find on the technical sheet of optical sensors data concerning their speed. To put it simply, this value corresponds to the maximum speed up to which the sensor will be able to follow your movements.

It is generally expressed in IPS, for Inches Per Second. The higher this value, the faster it will be possible to move your mouse while maintaining perfect tracking.

As with sensitivity, the majority of current sensors offer a speed high enough to track 99.9% of players. A SteelSeries TrueMove3 + sensor goes up to more than 350 IPS while that of the Razer Viper Ultimate is capable of handling movements of 650 IPS or nearly 16 m / s.

On the technical sheet of optical sensors, there is also data related to acceleration. It is expressed in G and as its name suggests, it corresponds to the acceleration that the sensor will be able to take before stalling. Then again, with models going up to 50G you can go.

Lifting distance (or Lift-off)

When you lift your mouse off its mat, your cursor tracking stops. The lifting distance corresponds to the height from which the tracking is stopped. This distance is measured in mm and is generally between 1 and 3 mm.

As a general rule, players favor fairly short lift-off distances, so as to maintain their cursor position when lifting their mouse to reposition it. This is particularly useful for gamers with low sensitivity since it is often necessary to lift your mouse if you want to cover a long distance on the screen.

Some mice come with software allowing you to calibrate this distance according to your surface of use but also to adjust it according to your preferences.

Sampling rate (or Polling Rate)

The polling rate of a mouse, understanding the “transfer rate” in French corresponds to the number of times the mouse searches, reports, and exchanges data. The higher it is, the more responsive your mouse will be. The polling rate or transfer rate is expressed in Hertz (Hz).

A typical mouse typically uses a transfer rate of 125 Hz. This means that the mouse will control and monitor data 125 times in one second. Gaming mice, on the other hand, are generally sold with transfer rates of 250, 500, or even 1000 Hz. Set this to its maximum level if you have the possibility.

Some more recent models offer sensors with a polling rate of 2000 Hz. In practice, it is difficult to really feel the difference compared to a 1000 Hz model except perhaps when playing with a very high framerate, on a screen with 240 Hz for example.

The best current optical sensors

  • Pixart PMW3366
  • Pixart PMW3360
  • Pixart PMW3361
  • Logitech HERO
  • Razer 5G
  • Razer Focus +
  • TrueMove 3 (custom 3360)
  • Pixart PMW3389
  • Pixart PMW3310
  • TrueMove 1

Connectivity

Like classic mice, mice for gamers are offered in a wired version but also in a wireless version. If the second category, for lack of responsiveness, has long been shunned by the players, this is no longer the case.

There are now wireless gaming mice as fast and responsive as wired models, and it is now possible to play your favorite games with much greater freedom of movement.

If you opt for a wireless model, be sure to check whether the latter is powered by batteries (increasing the weight and cost over time) or via an internal battery. Also, remember to consult the feedback on the announced autonomy as well as the charging system. Most models allow you to continue playing in wired mode when the battery is dead.

Recently, some wireless mice can also come with a mat allowing them to be recharged automatically. Several technologies are available, for example with the PowerPlay system at Logitech or the more classic Qi at Corsair or HyperX.

If you opt for a wired mouse, remember to check the quality of the cable used. Depending on the model, there are cords more or less thick and above all more or less flexible.

In practice, the more flexible a cable, the less disturbing it will be when playing. This is a point on which more and more manufacturers are making efforts and which can avoid you having to use a bungee for example.

Among the mouse models with excellent cables, we can list the different Razer Viper, the Xtrfy M4 or the models from Glorious.

Software and settings

Most mice intended for gaming use come with software to install on your computer. From this, you can create different configuration profiles depending on your games or applications.

There are generally several tabs, allowing you to modify the assignments of the different buttons on your mouse, to manage the backlighting effects, or to adjust the options of the optical sensor. Most tools also allow you to create or record macros.

Do not hesitate to consult the presentation of the different software on our complete tests in order to get a better idea of ​​the options offered. Some software relies on their intuitive side, while others opt instead for a configuration that is sometimes very extensive and reserved for the most informed users.

If your mouse has onboard memory, then it is possible to save different configurations on it and switch between them even when you are not using your PC.

Also, note that some gaming mice choose to ignore the software part. The adjustment of DPI, polling rate, or lighting is done directly from the mouse, by combining certain buttons or via switches positioned under the base.

Additional options

In addition to the main characteristics listed above, the manufacturers do not lack the imagination to stand out from the competition. Here are some examples of additional options that may be available on some models.

RGB lighting

Gaming mice are obviously no exception to the RGB fashion and more and more models are accompanied by light effects.

If you decide to go for one of these models, keep in mind that each brand has its own ecosystem. Understand by this that you will not be able to synchronize the lighting of a Razer mouse with that of a SteelSeries keyboard. If possible, opt for peripherals from one and the same brand.

Then check the different effects offered and the quality of the software by referring to our full tests. For each mouse tested on GamerTech, we take stock of the software used.

Finally, if you want to move towards a wireless model, don’t forget that RGB lighting can tend to considerably reduce the autonomy of your mouse.

Secondary commands

Many mice provide an option through their software to configure secondary actions. This option often has a different name for each brand, for example, Selector G for Logitech, EasyShift [+] at Roccat, or even HyperShift at Razer.

Thanks to these features, by keeping a specific button on your mouse activated, all the other buttons automatically switch to their secondary action.

Thus, a mouse originally having ten buttons can in the blink of an eye switch to twenty shortcuts.

Rather interesting to quickly access its menus on an MMORPG or activate a command more rarely used on his favorite FPS. The option is also very interesting during office automation or for photo editing and video editing tasks.

In the same vein, there is sometimes a “Sniper” button on the edge of the mouse. Also configurable from the software of the field mouse, it allows taking advantage of an alternative sensitivity when it is activated.

For example, you can play with a sensitivity of 800 DPI for the movements of your character, and occasionally switch to 400 DPI when you are in a shooting phase, requiring more precision. We find this option in particular on the Logitech G502, the Razer Basilisk or the Corsair M65 RGB.

4D wheel and free scroll

Some mice come with a wheel that offers horizontal and vertical scrolling. This option is sometimes called a “4D wheel” according to the manufacturers.

In practice, this mainly allows you to have 2 additional shortcuts when you tilt the dial to the right or to the left. Rather practical!

A little in the same spirit, on a few rare models it is possible to adjust the resistance of the dial during vertical scrolling. The different versions of the Logitech G502 allow for example to choose between a notched or completely free-scrolling mode, while the wheel of the Razer Basilisk can be configured with higher or lower resistance.

Many of you contact us to obtain additional information during your research and we have thus decided to answer directly on this guide to the questions that arise most regularly.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which brand of Mouse to choose?

As a general rule, we will not recommend choosing a mouse based on its brand but rather on its characteristics. Most manufacturers offer full ranges, with models accessible for casual gamers and much more comprehensive ones for the pickiest users. Among the current main brands, we can notably mention Razer, Logitech G, SteelSeries, Corsair, Zowie, or Roccat. To get an overview of the different models of each brand, you can consult our dedicated reviews.

How many DPI for my gaming mouse?

Unable to answer this question, it will depend on the preferences of each player but also other parameters such as the game you want to play or the resolution of your screen. Keep in mind that the higher the DPI, the faster your sensor will move. Conversely, by reducing the DPI of your mouse you will have to make more movements to move your cursor. As a rule of thumb, FPS and TPS gamers tend towards sensitivities between 400 and 1000 DPI in order to gain accuracy when aiming. Feel free to try several settings to find the one that best meets your needs.

How to hold a mouse?

Again, this will depend on individual preferences but also on the size of your mouse. If you have a rather compact mouse, we will generally recommend moving towards a grip type Claw Grip or Fingertips Grip. Conversely, if your house is large you will probably be the most comfortable in a Palm Grip configuration . Either way, try to select a mouse that matches the size of your hand. Consult the dimensions of the different products and take a look at our complete tests to get an overview of the ergonomics offered by each product.

Are there mice for little hands?

Some models are actually more suitable for smaller hands and younger players. Among the references currently available, we think in particular of the Razer DeathAdder Elite, the Corsair Harpoon RGB, the Zowie FK1, or the Logitech G203.

What about big hands?

Some mice with a larger size are particularly suitable for players with large hands. If this is your case, we recommend for example the Roccat Kone AIMO, the Razer Naga Trinity, the Corsair Glaive RGB, or the Zowie EC1-A.

How to program your gaming mouse?

To program your mouse and change its options, you usually have to use software that can be downloaded from the manufacturer’s website. You can come and modify the actions of each of the buttons, adjust the backlighting zones or even configure the sensitivity of your sensor. If the main brands offer complete and intuitive software, beware of entry-level models which often suffer from poorly optimized or even impossible-to-find software.

How to clean your gaming mouse?

It is recommended that you clean your mouse regularly if you want to avoid having dust and other dirt accumulate on it. We advise you to follow the pictorial guide proposed by WikiHow and to repeat the operation once a month.

Which mouse for Fortnite?

Fortnite is a bit of a special FPS in the sense that the constructions force you to set up a lot more shortcuts than in other games. If we can obviously configure the construction of its walls, ramps, and other traps on the keys of his keyboard, it can be effective to assign certain shortcuts directly on his mouse. So, while we often recommend relatively simple mice for other FPS, Fortnite fans can move towards models with more buttons like a Logitech G502, a Roccat Kone AIMO, or again from a SteelSeries Rival 500. These mice integrate more buttons than the average and allow you to chain your constructions in the blink of an eye.

Which mouse for MMORPGs?

MMORPGs being quite specific games, there are mice specially designed to meet the needs of World of Warcraft, Final Fantasy XIV, and other Black Desert enthusiasts. These models are often equipped with a grid of 12 buttons on the front allowing easy access to all of its main skills. This frees up space on your keyboard for secondary shortcuts (equipment, inventory, map, etc.) or quite simply to interact with other players in your guild. Among the most famous models, we can mention the Roccat Nyth or the Corsair Scimitar Pro RGB. You can find more models in our MMO mouse guide.

Where to buy gaming mouse?

Since it is seldom possible to try on a mouse before purchasing it, it is generally recommended that you order your products from Amazon and take advantage of the free 30-day return if the model does not suit you.


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