The 10 Best Mouse Pads
This wiki has been updated 39 times since it was first published in February of 2015. With the time we spend sitting in front of a computer, it's essential to have the right mouse pad in order to reduce strain to our wrists and hands and maintain efficiency. Whether you're a frequent gamer or a heavy-duty typist, we've got you covered with this selection, which includes a variety of styles, materials, and colors to choose from, including a few high-tech, futuristic models. When users buy our independently chosen editorial selections, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
December 30, 2020:
There are tons of mouse pads available, and they can actually serve very different purposes. The DealzEpic Art, for example, is good for casual computer users who don't need a ton of space, while the Razer Goliathus Extended is the opposite, with plenty of real estate and a programmable RGB-lit border. The Glorious Helios is an interesting choice that's supremely durable and adheres to your desktop. Both the Kensington Duo and VicTsing Ergonomic have fixed wrist rests, which can offer more support than separate mouse pad and wrist rest sets.
We also want to mention the Artisan Shidenkai FX Mid, which is a majorly high-end unit. It will degrade with regular use, and it is expensive, but if you want to experience the Ferrari of mouse pads, this is the one.
Overall, though, if you don't need any fancy features and want something durable, smooth, and reliable, there's probably a version of the SteelSeries QcK that will fit your needs.
May 29, 2019:
A mouse pad that feels good to one person might annoy another, but we think we can confidently say that the SteelSeries QcK and Glorious XXL Extended can please most users. They allow for gliding but with no slippage, and they come in plenty of sizes. The SteelSeries also offers an RGB version that boasts illuminated in-game and Discord notifications. Of course, both of these choices are geared more toward gamers; office workers with ergonomic needs might check out the VicTsing Ergonomic or the Kensington Duo. These support the wrist, making a desk job more comfortable. Note, though, that as with most gel types, they will leak if treated roughly, so be careful with your loose staples and pens. Finally, we removed the UCFO Non-Slip due to availability issues, but we found a comparable decorative choice, the DealzEpic Art, for those who are all about style. It features fun prints in everything from fluffy animals to abstract art.
The Original MouseRug The Original MouseRug is a classy addition to any office, especially since the patterns are based on actual tapestries, making this a fine option for true art lovers. Those who enjoy coordinated items will probably appreciate the matching bookmarks and coasters, too. mouserug.com
Why Do I Need A Mouse Pad?
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.
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.
How Much Do I Need To Spend On A Mouse Pad, Really?
Mouse pads range in price from free – they're readily available as convention swag, brand promotions, or five-finger discounts at soon-to-be-former employers – all the way up to surprisingly high costs for a mat optimized 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?
Strictly speaking, no: any beat-up sneaker would do, at least for a little while.
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.
2010-present - Mouse pad manufacturers innovate to produce pads that are increasingly optimized to meet the demands of gamers.
1980 - Invention of the first optical mice . These required particular reflective mouse pads etched with grids, which caused no end of PEBCAK problems for tech support.
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.