10 Best Trackball Mice | June 2017

10 Best Trackball Mice
Best Mid-Range
★★★
Best High-End
★★★
Best Inexpensive
★★★★
We spent 40 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top options for this wiki. Whether you have limited desktop space or just prefer the action of a rolling ball, one of these trackball mice will let you zip around your computer's screen quickly and accurately without having to move your arm across your work surface. Many find that these designs help to alleviate hand and wrist strain as well. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best trackball mice on Amazon.
10
The ABCGoodEFG Wireless is easy to install on any system with its plug and play USB receiver. It can be used as a handheld cursor or set on a desktop for use like a standard mouse, making it a bit more versatile than most models.
  • comfortable and lightweight
  • solid and well-balanced feel
  • ball tends to stick sometimes
Brand abcGoodefg
Model WIREL-MOU-RED
Weight 0.3 ounces
Rating 3.6 / 5.0
9
The 3-inch ball of the AbleNet BigTrack makes it one of the largest options available. It has left and right click buttons and is a great choice for people with disabilities, older people, or kids who may have trouble controlling smaller units.
  • requires minimal fine motor control
  • offset buttons limit accidental taps
  • takes up a lot of desk space
Brand AbleNet
Model LYSB0006ZM7VY-CMPTRACCS
Weight 1.9 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0
8
The Elecom EX-G Series is an affordable wireless option that connects to your computer via a small USB receiver and has eight buttons, including three programmable function keys. An integrated tracking speed control switch on its side allows for quick adjustments.
  • receiver storage port on the bottom
  • forward and back browsing buttons
  • instructions are in japanese
Brand Elecom
Model M-DT2DRBK
Weight 9.1 ounces
Rating 3.6 / 5.0
7
The Yumqua Y-10W puts the power in the palm of your hand, literally. It is an off-table, ambidextrous model that can be held between your fingers easily, but it may be difficult for people with large hands to control precisely.
  • good choice for frequent travelers
  • 10-meter working wireless range
  • button layout is a bit confusing
Brand YUMQUA
Model Y-10W-US
Weight 2.4 ounces
Rating 4.1 / 5.0
6
The Kensington SlimBlade boasts a low profile, a minimalist design, and an elegant style that looks good on your desk, plus you can customize its buttons via the included software. It is compatible with Windows and Mac operating systems.
  • lots of speed customization options
  • very little pointer drag
  • clicking noise is overly loud
Brand Kensington
Model K72327EU
Weight 14.9 ounces
Rating 3.5 / 5.0
5
With its large scrolling cylinder, articulated left and right click buttons, and an illuminated blue orb, the Clearly Superior L-Trac Glow looks straight out of a 1980s sci-fi film. Thankfully, it boasts up-to-date technology, including user-selectable tracking resolution.
  • up to 1600 cpi sensitivity
  • precise laser-based navigation
  • may occasionally pinch your fingers
Brand Clearly Superior Techno
Model CST2545-5WGL-RC
Weight 1.3 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0
4
The Logitech Trackman Marble delivers smooth and reliable tracking and has an ambidextrous design with a top-located oversized ball that offers fingertip control for accuracy and speed. It has two large buttons with integrated inset forward and back navigation controls.
  • ball is easy to remove for cleaning
  • helps reduce wrist fatigue
  • scroll speed is a bit slow
Brand Logitech
Model 910-000806
Weight 12.6 ounces
Rating 4.3 / 5.0
3
The Sanwa Supply MA-TB39 is a good choice for those with larger hands who find other models a touch too small. Its sleek all-red housing looks beautiful, resists fingerprints, and provides a nice alternative to the mostly black and silver options on the market.
  • minimizes accidental clicks
  • as precise as an optical mouse
  • central scroll wheel
Brand Sanwa
Model MA-TB39R
Weight 14.6 ounces
Rating 4.7 / 5.0
2
The Logitech M570 has a sculpted shape that supports your hand and is designed to keep your wrist in place while you work, reducing strain. It comes with a unifying receiver that lets you connect up to six compatible keyboards and accessories at once.
  • 18 months of use per battery set
  • very smooth cursor control
  • easy-to-see led battery indicator
Brand Logitech
Model 910-001799
Weight 9.9 ounces
Rating 4.6 / 5.0
1
The body of the Kensington Orbit K72337 provides an ergonomic platform for you to work comfortably with for hours, limiting hand fatigue. It comes with software for customizing its right and left-click buttons, and works with all operating systems.
  • ambidextrous design good for lefties
  • includes a detachable wrist rest
  • scroll ring for navigating pages
Brand Kensington
Model K72337US
Weight 10.4 ounces
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

Buyer's Guide

Keeping It Comfortable

If you spend a lot of time working at a computer station, you're going to be forced to use either a mouse or trackpad for the entire day in order to navigate your screen. This can get tiring after a while because you're constantly having to move your wrist and arm back and forth to get the pointer where you need it to be. A trackpad can relieve some of the strain from your wrist through the use of your fingers to move the cursor and pointer, but not all of it. That said, if you're a person who suffers from arthritis or chronic pain, you'll need a solution that keeps your wrist from being overworked. If you simply don't care for a conventional mouse with a clicker, then the trackball mouse is a good alternative.

A trackball mouse is a pointing device that consists of a freely-moving ball held in place by a socket with sensors for detecting its movement and rotation. A user can move the trackball with their fingers, thumb, or the palm of a hand. Unlike conventional computer mice, the trackball has no limits to its movement. A user can continue rolling the ball, even when the screen pointer has nowhere else to go. By contrast, a traditional sliding mouse has to be lifted and re-positioned should a user run out of room to move it across their desk.

A trackball offers several ergonomic advantages. Firstly, its usage encourages the freedom, flexibility, and independence of the thumb and fingers from the wrist and arm. It is often molded to support the wrist during operation, which provides extra cushioning and limits the possibility for pain or injury from extended use.

Unlike traditional mice, trackballs are not limited to use only on flat surfaces, as the ball can freely rotate on its axes while being held in place by its socket. This means it can be moved in virtually any direction without having to slide the entire mouse across a desk's surface. Such an application makes this mouse particularly useful on small desktops where space is limited. Additionally, it can be used effortlessly with a laptop from most any angle without impacting its accuracy. This comes in handy when using a laptop on unstable surfaces, such as a bed or on a boat.

One of the most popular applications for the trackball mouse includes the gaming industry. Because there is no requirement for a mousepad, a gamer experiences improved accuracy when playing first-person shooters, role-playing (RPG), and arcade-style games through the use of quick-spinning trackball action.

Large trackballs are used at computer stations with sonar equipment, at radar consoles in air-traffic control rooms, and even as part of computer-aided design workstations where precision and graphical work is common.

Trackballs are easily built into public internet access terminals and are more difficult to steal and vandalize than a traditional mouse.

A Brief History Of The Trackball Mouse

The original concept for the trackball was invented in 1946 by Ralph Benjamin. While working for the British Royal Navy Scientific Service, Benjamin helped to design a radar plotting system called Comprehensive Display System (CDS). Benjamin's project used analog computers to predict the future positions of target aircraft based on data points that were provided by a user with a joystick. Benjamin felt that the use of a joystick could be improved upon, so he invented a ball tracker system which he called roller ball. Although the concept was patented in 1947, only a prototype of the device was ever developed and it was kept a military secret from that point on.

Although Benjamin can be credited with the original idea for the trackball, the first practical application for this type of mouse was invented in 1952 by Canadian engineers Tom Cranston and Fred Longstaff as part of their effort to design an improved target coordination system called Digital Automated Tracking and Resolving (DATAR). The DATAR system was similar to Benjamin's 1946 concept, but the difference was in the use of a digital computer for target calculations instead of analog. The DATAR system made use of a Canadian duck pin bowling ball weighing several pounds, which represented the first use of a trackball to move a cursor.

During the 1960s and 1970s, trackballs continued to evolve as high-cost, high-precision instruments for military use, each with a diameter range between two and four inches. By 1980, it was introduced into the gaming industry in the form of Atari's Missile Command. In 1989, Logitech introduced its first trackball called the Trackman. Logitech and Microsoft also launched trackballs designed for portable computers in 1991. With the evolution of more advanced optical tracking technology and standardized electronic interfaces (i.e. USB), the popularity of the trackball grew because it was easy to use as a plug-and-play device. It was also interchangeable with a traditional computer mouse.

Finding The Best Trackball Mouse

The trackball is ideal for comfort and practicality for your computer station. For that reason, any trackball device offering additional wrist cushioning (detachable or otherwise) is usually a good thing. This is definitely true if your motivation for investing in one is to relieve wrist pain and fatigue.

If you consider yourself a gamer, a trackball can be a godsend for playing involved first-person shooters, fighting, or racing games that require a lot of mouse precision and freedom to control what's on the screen.

Some of the best trackballs are wireless and offer up to a thirty-foot range, which can definitely come in handy if you're a graphic artist working on a large monitor and you require some distance to see and manipulate your work.

The trackball itself should also be easy to remove for cleaning, as it's inevitable that you'll spill something on it sooner or later.



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Last updated on June 08, 2017 by Ezra Glenn

Ezra is a writer, photographer, creative producer, designer, and record label-operator from New York City. He's traveled around the world and ended up back where he started, though he's constantly threatening to leave again.


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