Do you really need a gaming mouse? For many people who play casually, probably not. Most modern mouse peripherals are responsive enough to satisfy most gamer’s needs, while being precise enough for what most games tend to require. However, there’s a good load of people out there who prefer to game competitively, whether it be in the realm of multiplayer battle arenas, first-person shooters, or even single-player speedruns. For these people, every advantage matters and a gaming mouse can make the difference in unloading a special attack at just the right moment, controlling your weapon’s recoil, or shaving a split second on your next run at a game level.
Even when you’ve decided to get a gaming mouse, choosing which one to get isn’t that easy. Do you want something light, something heavy, something that fits snugly in your palm, or a little bigger? While most gamers tend to go through a few mouse models before settling on one, we’re hoping this list can help narrow down your options to make your search just a little easier.
SteelSeries Rival 3
If you don’t want to spend too much upgrading your gaming controls, this affordable mouse offers arguably the best bang for the buck at 30 bucks or less. It’s a straightforward mouse peripheral, from the design to the available controls, with none of the frills you find in more expensive models (other than the RGB LEDs, which seem to be mandatory for gaming accessories). The big star here is the optical sensor, which offers highly accurate 1-to-1 tracking that really levels up your competitive games, while the mechanical switches do a great job of registering your clicks (albeit, not as fast as their optical counterparts).
Some gaming mouse look like any regular mouse. Others are unmistakably for gaming. The Basilisk V2 belongs in that latter group, with a sharp design that looks like it borrowed its aesthetics straight out of a sci-fi video game. With a 20K DPI sensor, optical switches, and customizable scroll resistance, this mouse, literally, feels too advanced for its price, allowing for quick, precise, and responsive controls beyond what others offer at the same price point. It’s also highly customizable with 11 programmable buttons, making it perfect for using macros while denying it steadfastly every single time when your teammates ask (“I swear, I’m not using macros for recoil control”). Beyond the specs, though, it’s just a great-feeling mouse, with a shape that cups comfortably in hand – provided, of course, you’re right-handed, as it doesn’t have ambidextrous support.
Want to get a wireless gaming mouse? Prepare to spend close to $100 (or a little above it). If you’re not quite up for that kind of expense, you can explore the affordable wireless options out there and, for our money, the Harpoon Wireless just might be your best bet. Boasting a less than 1ms response time, it allows for responsive wireless gameplay that will allow you to keep up during fast-paced multiplayer action. It has a 10,000 DPI optical sensor, mechanical switches, and six programmable buttons, so you get all the basics covered, while a light 99-gram weight, contoured shape, and rubber grips allow for ergonomic handling. On the downside, the battery only lasts around 30 hours when using the 2.4GHz connection, so you’ll have to charge it on the regular.
If you play a lot of MOBA and want to offload a good chunk of controls from the keyboard onto the mouse, then you’ll want one of those models that go wild on the buttons. This is one of our favorites in that niche, with 17 programmable buttons, 12 of which can be repositioned using a slider system for fine-tuning their placement. As you can imagine, all those controls make it one of the heavier models we’ve tried, making it a little difficult to use for anything other than MMOs and MOBAs. For those game categories, though, it very well may be a godsend. Other features include an 18,000 DPI optical sensor, Omron switches, and even a finger rest on the right side for comfort.
One of the lightest gaming mouse models out there at just 59 grams, the Model O- uses perforations across its body to shed as much weight as possible. It has compact proportions, which, coupled with the lightweight build, makes it ideal for gamers with small- to medium-sized hands who want to be able to perform quick flicking and swiping motions. Features include built-in skates that let you glide through any mousepad with ease, a drag-free braided cord, and customizable controls. They also keep controls to the bare minimum, with just the extra thumb buttons on each side to support ambidextrous gameplay. If you find yourself blaming your mouse’s heft or size for losing battles in-game, this just might be the mouse to take your game to the next level.
If you put a premium on a mouse’s feel during gameplay, you’ll definitely love the Nightsword’s customizable weight, which can be fine-tuned between 119 and 141 grams to find the perfect weight distribution. It does that using two sets of weight with six different mounting locations, offering up to 120 different configurations, with the bundled software automatically detecting the mouse’s center of gravity in real time based on how you grip the peripheral, allowing you to get an objective assessment of how the current weight and balance affects the way you play. It’s a downright impressive feature. Beyond that, we love the contoured shape that cups nicely in hand, rubber grips that secure it during high-intensity action, and 10 programmable buttons that offer generous customization.
Razer claims it delivers 25 percent faster response times compared to other gaming wireless mice and, while it’s hard to compare speeds at those split-second levels, it definitely feels free lag-free during games. With a 20,000 DPI optical sensor, 650 IPS tracking speed, and a 1,000Hz polling rate, it gives you all the room to maneuver during the most action-packed encounters, while optical switches and eight programmable buttons allow you to quickly react and respond to any in-game situation. We also love the light weight, textured side grips, and ambidextrous shape, along with the generous battery life.
There was a time when gamers didn’t even consider a wireless mouse for gaming – the latency was just too much that it didn’t give you the competitive advantage you required. Fortunately, that time has long passed and this wireless option from SteelSeries has become one of our favorites with its simple design, straightforward controls, and ability to fit well with a wide range of hand sizes. If you’re not a fan of gaming mice with too many buttons that you’ll just end up mis-clicking and you’ve finally decided to give up on wires, this just might end up being one of your favorites, too. According to SteelSeries, this was designed with input from over 100 professional FPS players, so it’s been tuned for ultra-precise 1-to-1 tracking and uses optical magnetic switches for hyper-fast response times.
The G Pro Wireless is kind of legendary in our eyes – it’s the first wireless mouse that a lot of gamers we know really embraced, finally putting an end to the long-running divide between competitive gaming and wireless controls. It’s exceptionally lightweight, courtesy of an exceptionally thin yet sturdy outer shell, while being ambidextrous, making it viable for right- and left-handed players alike. The buttons use mechanically-tensioned springs that have their own separate keyplates to ensure accurate detection, while delivering a satisfying tactile feel that keeps you confident in the thick of the action.
If you like your mouse to remind your of Volton’s head every time you see it, this wireless gaming mouse should do just that. Beyond the sci-fi aesthetics, it offers impeccable ergonomics that make it comfortable during long gaming sessions, along with ultra-precise 1-to-1 tracking with the 25,600 DPI HERO sensor, metal spring tensioning on the main buttons, and 60 hours of use between charges, complete with support for the outfit’s wireless charging mouse pad. It’s a feature-packed mouse, with 11 programmable buttons, customizable sensitivity, and even an adjustable weight system that uses six removable weights for fine-tuning balance and heft.