The 10 Best Gaming Mouse Pads
This wiki has been updated 28 times since it was first published in July of 2015. If video games are more than a casual hobby for you and you want to step things up a notch, try one of these dedicated mouse pads. They're designed specifically to provide greater responsiveness and control than regular models, allowing for improved performance and enjoyment. And when you want to share your latest triumph with a screenshot, they'll even make working in Photoshop feel cool. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
April 22, 2021:
It's not terribly surprising that there are few advancements to mousepads these days. We've zeroed in on some of the most popular, effective, and long-lasting models on the market, and we're happy to report that they all remain just as relevant today as when we first recommended them. For what it's worth, in fact, this note was written - and many, many hours of video games also played - while using a SteelSeries QcK. The entire line is generally pretty simple and affordable, and if you don't need something flashy or specially designed for competitive play, you'll almost certainly find a SteelSeries option for you.
We also want to briefly mention a company called Artisan JP, which we also bring up in the Special Honors section. These are as close as you'll get to boutique or artisan mousepads. They're imported directly from Japan - even the website is primarily in Japanese - and there are, to our knowledge, no other companies with such a comprehensive selection of high-performance mousepads. If you opt for this premium route, make sure to do your homework, because their offerings all have specific properties and purposes, while some have notable break-in periods, and some will actually need replacing more often than a more traditional model.
March 27, 2020:
A casual observer might think that all mouse pads are roughly the same, but for dedicated gamers, that's actually far from the truth. There are two main factors to consider when deciding on a gaming mouse pad: speed and control. The harder and smoother a mouse pad's surface is, the more quickly you'll be able to move the mouse, and the softer and more granular the surface is, the more precisely you'll be able to stop moving the mouse. Some options go to one extreme or the other, and some strike a balance between the two. If you know which type you prefer and don't want to spend a fortune, the HyperX Fury S comes in both and is very affordable. You can also select exactly the size you need, ranging from relatively small to big enough to fit underneath a full-size keyboard. Speaking of varied options, the SteelSeries QcK comes in even more configurations, with multiple RGB models to choose from as well. Rounding out the multipurpose options is the Roccat Alumic, which actually has two usable sides that you can switch between whenever you want.
The Zowie Gear G-SR is a control-enhancing model that's extremely popular among professionals and streamers; it is, as they say, large and in charge, so make sure you have enough desk space before you decide on it. The Cooler Master MP510 is a bit smaller and similarly cushy, plus, it's waterproof.
If you're looking for fast reaction times, the Razer Firefly V2 is one of the most advanced speed-oriented models to consider, and its lighting is on a par with the best. The Razer Goliathus Extended is another excellent option from the popular brand, but it's considerably more control-focused. The Razer Sphex V2 is, in a way, the opposite of the Goliathus; it's slightly weighted for speed, but the fact is that it's about as slim as any you can possibly buy. Its reusable adhesive backing ensures it won't slide around but doesn't add any noticeable thickness.
The Corsair MM800 Polaris is yet another brightly lit option, and while it does have a convenient USB pass-through, its awkward placement means you'll probably need to get a separate clip for cable management unless you're using a wireless mouse. Finally, the Logitech G Powerplay, while highly specialized, is one of the most advanced options on the market. You'll need one of Logitech's advanced gaming mice to use it -- only two of them have the functionality built in, but it does come with a puck that fits in a handful of their other models and adds wireless charging.
Artisan JP If you know exactly what kind of surface you're looking for and you're willing to make a considerable investment, head over to Artisan JP's website and peruse their impressively wide selection of high-end mouse pads. Their various models are surprisingly different from one another, so they're not ideal for novices, but esports professionals swear by them. Some of the more popular ones are infused with tiny glass beads that reduce friction and increase consistency, but, believe it or not, they can have a significant break-in period. artisan-jp.com
A Brief History Of The Computer Mouse
In the 1960s, as computing technology developed ever more quickly, so too did the computer mouse begin to take a more practical form.
A device approximating the form and function of the now ubiquitous computer mouse was first developed in the early 1940s. As is so often the case with innovative technology, the unit was developed to assist with the waging of war. The earliest trackball controlled "pointing device" was designed to help a radar system that could track incoming enemy aircraft. It was part of the "Comprehensive Display System" that was run by a series of analog computers.
In the 1960s, as computing technology developed ever more quickly, so too did the computer mouse begin to take a more practical form. Several companies in several countries developed mice using trackballs that could interface with computer hardware and software, but none would prove practical prior to the release of the Xerox Alto in the 1970s. That computer, one of the first personal computers that saw broad appeal and use, could be controlled using a mouse, which freed its operators from the laborious task of memorizing (or referencing) long text commands.
The Xerox Alto was a successful computer, and its moue was a fully functional piece of hardware. But the mouse alone cost far too much for most consumers. Then in 1980, under the leadership of it visionary founder Steve Jobs, Apple Computer partnered with a group of researchers and product developers from Stanford University to develop a functional, affordable mouse. The unit they came up with and soon offered to the general marketplace was the Apple Lisa, the first widely successful personal computer that used the now common graphical user interface, or GUI.
Soon the mouse and the GUI interface had been adopted by Microsoft, and by the mid 1980s, the mouse was being used by people at home, at work, serving the government, and beyond. It followed logically that the mouse would also become one of the most popular ways to control the action of a computer game. Today one can find mice in all shapes and forms, from the ergonomic mouse to the upright mouse to the Bluetooth mouse and beyond. For the best experience using a mouse for gaming, one should treat himself or herself to an excellent gaming mouse pad as well.
Why Gaming Mouse Pads Make Sense
The quality of your game play experience is dictated by the level of control you exert over the action. When every split second matters, you need to make sure your hardware is as responsive and precise as possible. You can do much to fine tune your game play by adjusting the sensitivity settings of your mouse (and indeed by choosing the right mouse for your specific needs in the first place), but you give your mouse a great deal of added support by getting a good gaming mouse pad.
By ensuring an optical mouse provides clean, consistent control, a gaming mouse pad removes the issues your mouse can experience on reflective surfaces like glass or a glossy tabletop, or that can occur with uneven or textured surfaces such as wood. Your gaming mouse pad is to your top quality mouse as race track is to a super charged vehicle: if you've made the considerable investment in a great mouse, it only makes sense to make the minor investment in a great gaming mouse pad.
A gaming mouse pad also offers the added benefit of protecting the desk (or tabletop) you use during long gaming sessions. There will be no wear and tear endured by your desk even if you are moving your mouse around vigorously thanks to the protection afforded by a large, durable mouse pad.
Choosing The Right Gaming Mouse Pad
Gaming mouse pads are not expensive items, even at the high end. Thus the gamer who also uses his or her computer for work or other purposes can afford to use one mouse pad for their gaming, and another for different applications, if need be.
They are also a poor choice for use at smaller desks or tables, of course.
When choosing a gaming mouse pad, size matters. Many gaming mouse pads are wide enough to span much of your desk, accommodating your keyboard and providing a sizable area for mouse operation as well. If you use a desktop computer and are fine with always having the same setup at your desk, these are fine options.
If you use multiple monitors that require plenty of lateral motion for proper control, these wide mouse pads are likely necessary. If, however, you use a laptop that might need to sit closer to the edge of your desk, or that you often use in varied locations, these large pads are illogical. They are also a poor choice for use at smaller desks or tables, of course.
And remember that it's perfectly acceptable to select a gaming mouse pad based on aesthetics alone, aka the "cool factor." Many gaming mouse pads have unique designs and color patterns that make them stand out, while others are even illuminated, which not only looks great, but can also make it easier to use your computer in lower light settings. So if you want your gaming setup to look as great as it functions, treat yourself to a vibrant, eye catching mouse pad your friends and colleagues will appreciate.