Having the best gaming mouse can mean the difference between victory and defeat. Whether you’re immersing yourself in massive single-player adventures or competing in multiplayer for glory and fame, a cheap productivity peripheral is simply not going to cut it.
A good gaming mouse doesn’t necessarily make you any more skilled, but it does give your skills a chance to shine through. Using this guide, you’ll be able to find the best gaming mouse for your play style, aesthetic preferences and budget. Whatever you wind up buying, it’ll be more comfortable, colorful and effective than a standard office mouse.
Some gaming mice are small and sleek, prioritizing speed over all other considerations. Others are large and full of extra bells and whistles, letting you customize the perfect fit and weight for your hand. Manufacturers also produce a variety of wireless gaming mice, in case your desktop is getting a little tangled. While there is no “best gaming mouse” for every single person, this guide should help you find the best gaming mouse for your particular setup.
The best gaming mouse you can buy today
The Logitech G502 HERO is, to the best of my knowledge, the best gaming mouse for most players. This large, ergonomic, customizable mouse gets just about everything right, from physical design to software options to optional features.
First and foremost, the G502 is a gorgeously made mouse, featuring a futuristic, angular design that’s nonetheless extremely comfortable to hold for long periods of time. Thanks to the Logitech G Hub software, it’s easy to set up custom profiles for each game you like to play. You can even adjust the mouse’s heft thanks to a handful of easy-to-install tunable weights.
While the G502 has been around for quite a few years, Logitech has given it some subtle redesigns. The Proteus Spectrum update gave the G502 full RGB lighting, and the more recent HERO update replaced the old sensor with a more powerful, higher-DPI model. If you’re of the wireless bent, you could also check out the Logitech G502 Lightspeed.
Read our full Logitech G502 HERO review.
When I reviewed the SteelSeries Rival 3, I did a double-take when I learned how much this mouse cost. Thirty dollars is what you’d usually pay for a cheap, no-name gaming mouse on Amazon, but not for a high-quality peripheral from a major manufacturer. And yet, the Rival 3 features the same superlative Danish engineering and robust software as other SteelSeries mice. It even has subtle RGB lighting, thanks to a rather elaborate LED strip on the bottom of the mouse.
The biggest selling point of the Rival 3, however, is its incredibly light weight: 2.7 ounces. SteelSeries claims that this feature can help esports players, who rely on subtle twitches and quick wrist motions to dominate the competition. Even if you’re not an ultra-competitive player, however, the Rival 3 is a comfortable, well-designed mouse with far more features than you’d expect for the price. Tom’s Guide is also currently in the process of reviewing the SteelSeries Rival 3 Wireless variant.
Read our full SteelSeries Rival 3 review.
The Razer DeathAdder V2 is the latest in a long line of Razer DeathAdder mice. The very first DeathAdder came out in 2006, and since then, it’s sold more than 10 million units. The reason behind the mouse’s ongoing popularity is simple: It’s a very, very good mouse. The DeathAdder V2 features a comfortable grip, plenty of programmable buttons, customizable RGB lighting and excellent performance across a variety of genres.
There’s almost nothing working against the DeathAdder V2, save for a sometimes recalcitrant software suite, and the fact that other mice offer a lot more bells and whistles. On the other hand, if you want something that’s both straightforward and full-featured, the DeathAdder V2 is one of the very best gaming mice on the market. If you want something smaller, there’s also the Razer DeathAdder V2 Mini to consider. Consider also the Razer DeathAdder V2 Pro, which is a wireless version of the beloved mouse.
Read our full Razer DeathAdder V2 review.
The Corsair Harpoon RGB Wireless is perhaps the best gaming mouse if you’re looking for an inexpensive wireless mouse from a major manufacturer. For $50, you still get a whole lot of functionality.
This mouse features an ergonomic design with textured grips, a deep software suite and flawless wireless functionality. You get a powerful, high-DPI sensor, functional RGB lighting and two programmable, convenient thumb buttons. It’s a straightforward mouse, but it’s a surprisingly good one, especially considering that it costs about $100 less than most wireless mice.
Another useful feature of the Harpoon RGB Wireless is that it offers Bluetooth functionality, so you can use it with tablets, smartphones and streaming devices — or with a computer, if you don’t feel like hooking up a USB dongle.
With all the lights turned off and the mouse in Bluetooth mode, you can get up to 60 hours of battery life. Even with all the bells and whistles powered up, the mouse can last for a few days of heavy gaming, and you can recharge via USB while you play.
Read our full Corsair Harpoon RGB Wireless review.
The original Razer Basilisk did something incredibly clever for FPS mice. Rather than have a third “sniper” button to lower DPI while lining up shots, it had a clutch. This small strip of metal is much easier to find, and much more convenient to click down, than a sniper button.
The Razer Basilisk V2 improves on the Basilisk’s great design, adding a better sensor, an adjustable scroll wheel and better gliding feet. It’s especially helpful for FPS players who need to aim precisely, but it’s also a perfectly good all-purpose gaming mouse; you can simply remove the clutch and plug the hole with a rubber stopper, if needed.
My only real issue with the Basilisk V2 is that adjusting the scroll wheel isn’t as foolproof a process as it could be. However, once you find a comfortable position for the scroll wheel, you’ll probably never need to adjust it again, making it almost a moot point. The Razer Synapse software is robust, although it may take a few days to learn all of the options at your disposal.
Read our full Razer Basilisk V2 review.
The Razer Naga Trinity is arguably the best gaming mouse for MMOs. But thanks to its unique design, it can also be the best gaming mouse for MOBAs, or even action/adventure games. Rather than being stuck with a single style of thumb buttons, the Naga Trinity offers three swappable panels: one with two buttons, one with seven buttons in a “hex” pattern (really, “hept,” but let’s not split hairs) and one with a whopping 12 buttons.
The 12-button configuration is incredibly useful for World of Warcraft, Final Fantasy XIV and other MMO favorites, but the other two side panels ensure that you can use the Naga Trinity with just about any genre and still excel. It’s a large, heavy mouse, which is good for players with large hands, and the side panels are effortless to swap in and out. If you’d prefer a wireless model, consider the similarly excellent Razer Naga Pro instead.
Read our full Razer Naga Trinity review.
The Corsair Dark Core Pro RGB SE demonstrates that you don’t have to pay more than $100 to get a full-featured wireless gaming mouse. This ambitious peripheral combines a comfortable grip and a generous number of programmable buttons with extremely pretty RGB lighting. The result is a mouse that’s highly functional and easy on the eyes. It even recharges wirelessly, provided you can bring your own Qi charger.
The scroll wheel on the Dark Core Pro RGB SE is admittedly not the best choice for hardcore productivity work, and it’s not always easy to know how much battery you have left. But that’s not usually a huge problem, considering that the battery can last for dozens of hours. While you can get cheaper wireless gaming mice and fancier wireless gaming mice, the Dark Core Pro RGB SE represents a perfect midpoint between the two.
Read our full Corsair Dark Core Pro RGB SE review.
How to choose the best gaming mouse for you
There are three things to consider when buying a gaming mouse: design, features and price.
Design is probably the single most important consideration for a mouse. Ultimately, the best gaming mouse is the mouse that feels most comfortable in your hand; everything else really is secondary.
As such, you should see if you can hold a mouse before you commit to buying it. If not, at least consider whether you want a large mouse or a small mouse, a mouse with a high profile or one that’s low to the ground, a mouse with a ton of extra buttons or just a few, and so forth.
Extra features are another consideration. These include things like wireless connectivity, tunable weights, RGB lighting and swappable parts. The general rule here is that the more features you want, the more expensive a mouse will be. A wireless mouse with swappable parts can cost up to $150; a small mouse with just a few extra buttons and perhaps a light or two could cost $30, or even less, if you’re looking at older models.
Price is usually a function of how many features a mouse offers, but there’s another way to save: Buy mice from an older generation. (This doesn’t, however, mean “buy used mice.” That’s usually a bad idea.) Once a shiny, new version of a mouse comes out, the perfectly good older models often plummet in price.
How we test gaming mice
To test gaming mice, we run them through at least four games across a variety of genres: usually FPS, RTS, RPG and MMO. We make sure we get a few hours of game time whenever possible. We also use mice for productivity for at least two days, in order to gauge the shape, comfort and overall design.
Software is another important part of a mouse’s evaluation, as almost every gaming mouse from a major manufacturer has access to a software suite. We analyze a software suite for functionality, ease-of-use and system resource drain. The best software packages are lightweight and easy to learn; weaker software packages tend to be unstable or convoluted.
Price factors into our evaluations as well, although “cheaper” does not always necessarily equal “better.” Instead, we believe that more expensive mice should offer more features, especially if they’re priced similarly to competing mice that offer similar feature sets. Cheaper mice should always be comfortable and effective in-game, although we don’t penalize them for offering simpler designs or fewer bells and whistles.