The 10 Best Mouse Pads
10. 3M Precise
- partly made of recycled materials
- wrist rest is puncture-resistant
- edges are prone to warping
|Rating||3.6 / 5.0|
9. Innovera 50449
- fabric covering is very soft
- helps ease wrist strain
- initially emits an unpleasant odor
|Rating||4.0 / 5.0|
8. SteelSeries QcK
- simple yet functional
- resistant to lint and dirt
- can retain ripples after unrolling
|Rating||3.9 / 5.0|
7. The Pad MP-101
- reminds you to keep your desk clean
- backed by a lifetime guarantee
- more expensive than comparable items
|Rating||4.3 / 5.0|
6. Redragon Archelon P001
- waterproof and easy to clean
- specifically intended for gaming use
- tends to slide around a bit
|Rating||3.9 / 5.0|
5. Belkin WaveRest
- reduces hand and wrist stress
- good value for the price
- makes crinkling noises as you move
|Rating||4.4 / 5.0|
4. Razer Goliathus Speed
- smooth weave keeps friction low
- designed by professional gamers
- available in a variety of sizes
|Rating||4.3 / 5.0|
3. Glorious XXL Extended
- machine washable
- anti-fraying stitched edges
- low friction for speed and control
|Brand||Glorious PC Gaming Race|
|Rating||4.8 / 5.0|
2. UCFO Non-Slip
- made from eco-friendly rubber
- can be customized with any photo
- no-frills for those on a budget
|Rating||4.9 / 5.0|
1. Kensington Duo
- choice of red or blue accent panel
- satin finish is easy to wipe clean
- matches natural curve of your wrist
|Rating||4.8 / 5.0|
Why Do I Need A Mouse Pad?
For some people, mouse pads have a bit of an image problem. It could be because they’re given away as promotional items at conferences, so they seem kind of disposable. It could be that mice have evolved (there’s a phrase that would be scary out of context), so that instead of the clunky, easily malfunctioning rubber-ball-operated mouse of old, we all have optical or laser mice that can cope more easily with our bare desks – if they even need to touch them at all.
Or it could be because back in the 90s some of us bought embarrassing ‘novelty’ mouse pads to liven up our desks (did you ever have one of those transparent ones with the colored gel inside, so when you moved your mouse you could watch the gel flow around like lava? Man, my purple gel mouse pad looked great in my high school bedroom next to my inflatable armchair and my ‘Have A Nice Day’ poster…).
Whatever the reason, mouse pads don’t seem like something a responsible adult would spend money on.
If you happen to be a gaming responsible adult, however, that first paragraph won’t have made a lot of sense to you, because you know the truth: mouse pads are a gaming essential. When everything depends on your precision and/or reaction time, the tiniest of nanoseconds you could lose thanks to the grain of your desktop really matter – the surface of a good mouse pad facilitates smooth movement and aids pointer precision. Not only that, but if you spend hours in front of your computer, you need something that won’t chafe your hand and will support your wrist.
It’s not only gamers who spend hours at their desk, of course: millions of people do just that every day, because we get paid to. Some productivity bloggers have noticed that using gaming hardware for work computing can help us to work more efficiently and comfortably: in other words, if gamers need a mouse pad, then it wouldn’t hurt freelancers, cubicle workers or bloggers to use one, too.
gdgt Central lists five good reasons for keeping a mouse pad in your life – the last of which is ‘They can be pretty cool’. Maybe I should see if my old 90s relics are still in my mom’s attic.
How Much Do I Need To Spend On A Mouse Pad, Really?
Mouse pads range in price from free – pick up a crappy one next time you’re attending a convention, visiting a college’s open day, or working for an employer you don’t like – all the way up to around $60 for a mat optimised for gaming. (We’ve even seen a ‘special edition’ mat advertised for almost three hundred bucks.) So can you really afford the mouse pad you need?
Well, to rearrange the Rolling Stones a little, you might just get what you need, but you can’t always get what you want. Although you probably do need something to help you control your mouse and to protect your precious hardware (mouse, desk, wrist etc), the more expensive the mat you buy, the more incremental the benefits you’ll see.
Think of mouse pads a little like running shoes. Pick up any issue of Runner’s World and you’ll see in-depth reviews comparing the weight of running shoes, their shape, the thickness of their soles. Does any runner need the lightest shoe, the most expensive shoe, the latest in shoe technology? Strictly speaking, no: any beat-up sneaker would do, at least for a little while. But if they’re going to be running for hours; if they want to be the fastest; if they want the edge over their competitors – then they want to know they’ve invested in a quality shoe that will give them that edge.
Any mouse pad is fine if you’re just going to sit down and check your emails once a day. But if you’re putting in long hours of work or gaming, you’re going to want to check out our recommendations for that competitive edge; decide which features are the most important to you; and spend what you can afford.
A Few Career Highlights Of The Humble Mouse Pad
1969 - The first mouse pad was designed, by Jack Kelley of Herman Miller.
1970s-1980s - Mouse pad use becomes ubiquitous among users of ball-operated mice.
1983 - The first recorded use of the term ‘mouse pad’, as something other than an informal way to describe the place where a mouse lives.
1990s-early 2000s - An explosion in personal computer use lands a mouse pad on every desk; but with improvements.
2000-2010 - Major hardware manufacturers release ever more technologically advanced mice, leading many to wonder if these magic mice need a specific surface at all. But...
2010-present - Mouse pad manufacturers innovate to produce pads that are increasingly optimized to meet the demands of gamers. Mouse pads become serious pieces of gaming kits.