Computers are with us at the office, at home, at school, and in just about every other space we humans inhabit. As they continue to become a more and more prevalent part of our lives, the ways in which we interface with them grow more important as well. For the most casual users out there, any mouse or touchpad will likely do. But, if you’re tech savvy enough to have clicked on this article, chances are you want a little bit more from your computing experience.
A high-quality, purpose built mouse can make or break your personal satisfaction with your system. It doesn’t matter how high-end your laptop is, or how powerful your desktop’s components are, if the main way in which you interact with them has a flaky connection, unresponsive buttons, or just isn’t comfortable for you.
This list will delve into both the productivity mouse and gaming mouse markets to provide you with the best options for every type of computer user. Whether you’re looking for a top-end mouse to ease your photo and video editing, an ultra-portable option to toss in your laptop bag, or a do-it-all mouse that’s just as good at mowing down enemies as it is at plowing through spreadsheets, we’ve got you covered.
Connection type: Wired | Battery: N/A | Connector: USB| Dimensions: 119mm x 74mm x 43mm | Weight: 85g | Programmable buttons: 16
The Razer Naga line and other mice like it might seem almost comical on first glance. Where a back and forward button usually reside there is, instead, an array of numbered buttons that would put many TV remotes to shame. Mice like these were originally designed to be ideal for games that require quick, simultaneous access to so many commands that, even with your other hand on a keyboard, you’d have trouble reaching them all in time.
This form factor has been around for many years now, helping gamers perform their best. But, the Naga line has also garnered something of a cult following among other types of PC users as well. The almost infinite customizability of the programmable buttons provide a slew of incredible productivity options for digital artists, video editors, clerical workers, and anyone else that encounters multiple repetitive tasks in a given day. For example, imagine using Photoshop while being able to zoom, cut, paste, create new layers, run preset actions, and change brush sizes, all with one hand, and all with about 10 more buttons to spare.
Similar scenarios work just as well for Excel, Final Cut, After Effects, even just browsing in Chrome with the ability to deftly manage your tabs with a single hand. Of course, all those buttons result in a fairly bulky mouse. But, the ergonomic, three-finger shape of the Naga line still provides one of the most comfortable mousing experiences on this list.
While we chose the Naga X for its excellent balance of weight, features, and cost, Razer also makes the pricier Naga Pro, which adds 2 extra side plates for 6-button and 2-button configuration, we well as wireless connectivity.
- Ridiculously customizable for any workflow or software
- Optional Pro variant supports even more use cases
- Bulky and fairly heavy
- Button layout may be a bit overwhelming at first
Alternatives: Both Logitech and Corsair offer their own takes on the macro-pad mouse form factor
Logitech’s G600 offers a very similar shape and button panel, but uses an older sensor and stiffer cable that we found to result in a less responsive and pleasant experience. However, its $40 price tag means you can test out this style of mouse without having to invest much in the experiment.
Corsair’s iteration, the Scimitar RGB Elite , offers a rounder shape and a button panel that can be slid forward and back to better fit your hand size. It’s priced similarly to the Naga X, but its RGB lighting strips and faux-steel button texture may skew too far into the gamer aesthetic for some.
Connection type: Bluetooth or USB receiver | Battery: Rechargeable (up to 70 days per charge) | Connector: USB-C| Dimensions: 101mm x 65mm x 34mm | Weight: 99g | Programmable buttons: 6
After its launch, Logitech’s MX Master quickly became a darling of the productivity mouse scene. The company soon leveraged that success into a smaller form factor with the MX Anywhere line. Now in its third iteration, the line continues to provide one of the best balances of functionality, comfort, versatility and reliability of any compact mouse on the market.
The surprisingly long list of features offered by the MX Anywhere 3 includes Logitech’s excellent MagSpeed Electromagnetic scroll wheel, which automatically goes into a near-frictionless mode when you scroll quickly, and returns to a click-by-click mode for slower, more precise scrolling, when moved slowly. Other highlights include a sensor that works on nearly any surface, a 70-day runtime on a single charge, 3 hours of use form a 1-minute charge, and the ability to simultaneously connect to up to three devices while switching between them with a single button press.
The usefulness of this multi-device connectivity is further enhanced by the MX Anywhere 3’s ability to be paired with both RF (using the included Unifying Receiver) and Bluetooth devices running Windows, MacOS, iPadOS, ChromeOS, or Linux. This model is even compatible with Logitech’s Flow software, a component of its Logi Options app that allows a single mouse to operate across multiple systems as if they were one computer connected to multiple monitors. Moving the mouse to the edge of one screen simply shifts it over to the next, and even brings any connected and Flow-enabled Logitech keyboards along for the ride.
- Massive feature list beats most full-size mice
- Logitech Flow compatibility
- USB-C fast charging and 70-day battery life
- Compact size
- Smaller size isn’t comfortable for long-term daily use, especially for larger hands
- Pricey for a compact mouse
The Razer Orochi V2 was designed to be an on-the-go gaming mouse. However, this goal resulted in a device that’s received nearly universal praise as a candidate for everything from a full-time gaming mouse for your desktop to an excellent compact productivity mouse. While it can’t match the MX Anywhere 3’s scroll wheel or software features, it does offer versatile battery options, running on any AA or AAA battery. Like the MX Anywhere 3, it also supports both Bluetooth and RF, but weighs less than 60 grams while doing it.
Microsoft’s unusual take on the ultra-portable mouse also deserves a look. The Arc Mouse actually folds flat to stow away in a shape that’s barely any thicker than the average tablet. While it snaps into something closer to a normal mouse shape, it’ll never be the most ergonomic device to use. However, the novelty, compactness, and touch-sensitive scrolling make it an unusual option that’s sure to get a curious glance or two when out and about at the coffee shop.
Connection type: Bluetooth or Bolt USB receiver | Battery: Rechargeable (up to 70 days per charge) | Connector: USB-C| Dimensions: 125mm x 84mm x 51mm | Weight: 141g | Programmable buttons: 6
As the number of electronic devices in our day-to-day lives continue to increase, so too does the amount of RF interference caused by those devices. This isn’t an issue that plagues everyone, but for those of you who have suffered through a spotty connection while sitting next to your router, or heard a screech in your wireless headset every time you moved your Bluetooth mouse, you know the extreme annoyance interference can cause.
To combat this issue, Logitech took its already-excellent MX Master 3 mouse and swapped out its venerable Unifying Receiver for the new Bolt Receiver. This updated connection protocol provides not only improved resilience to external interference, but also upgraded security for users concerned that a third party could intercept their mouse and keyboard inputs for malicious reasons.
On top of this added benefit, the MX Master 3 for Business includes all of the original’s exceptional features: the MagSpeed scroll wheel, connectivity for up to 3 devices (Bolt and Bluetooth), extended 70-day runtime, and its Darkfield sensor that will precisely track your movements on just about any surface. Like the MX Anywhere 3, it is also compatible with Logitech Flow.
Note: Logitech currently only offers the MX Anywhere 3 for Business through its business sales channels, making it difficult for private users to purchase the device directly from the manufacturer. Thankfully, third party retailers like Walmart have no problem selling you as many of these business-focused mice as you’d like.
- Operates in RF-heavy environments where other mice would stutter
- Added security compared to RF or Bluetooth-based products
- USB-C fast charging and 70-day battery life
- Large and heavy, making it less than ideal for small hands
- Not widely available at many consumer retailers
Unfortunately, there’s really noting exactly like the MX Master 3 for Business that we can recommend. However, there is one other highly viable solution to high-interference environments: a corded mouse. For the best of those, take a look at our next category.
Connection type: Wired | Battery: N/A | Connector: USB| Dimensions: 124mm x 68mm x 43mm | Weight: 87g | Programmable buttons: 6
It’s surprisingly difficult to find a good quality, corded mouse outside of the gaming category. Most manufacturers seem to think corded=cheap, and limit their hard-wired options to their bargain models. The results is that most option suffer from cheap components, poor ergonomics, and other quality control issues. Thankfully, as we’ve said multiple times already, a gaming mouse can easily come to the rescue for those who want a solution to interference, or just don’t want to be bothered fussing with batteries and easily lost wireless USB adapters.
The G403 Hero has one of the most comfortable shapes we’ve ever tested, fitting into the hand naturally thanks to its ergonomic curves. Combine this with its huge, responsive side buttons and comfort curves on the left and right mouse button, and you’ve got a package that will spoil your hand for all other mice the first time you pick it up.
The G403 does feature RGB lighting. But, if you think this might offend your super serious co-workers, it can be set to a neutral color, dimmed, or disabled completely. That’ll leave you with one of the most comfortable, responsive, and cost-effective wired mice we’ve ever tested.
Note: Like the G403 shape but prefer something wireless? Logitech also produced the G703, an exact clone with a wireless connection for a little added weight.
- Ideal ergonomic shape makes for all-day, painless use
- Programmable side and DPI button are some of the nicest feeling we’ve tested
- Top-tier sensor for bargain bin pricing
- Heavy for a wired mouse on today’s market
- Rubber side panels can wear over time
Razer once again offers a cost-effective alternative here with its Razer Viper Mini . It offers an equally ergonomic, somewhat smaller, shape to the G403, and is frequently available for less than $30. It’s a hard price to beat, especially when taking into account the model’s excellent sensor, optical switches, and one of the best cables on a corded mouse we’ve ever tested.
Users that want something larger without any added weight can also consider the HyperX Pulsefire Haste This unit uses honeycomb holes in the shell to drive down weight without adding any of the discomfort or creaky, low-quality feelings that similarly pierced mice can often suffer from. Despite this rare accomplishment, it too is often available for $40 or less.
Connection type: Logitech Unifying Receiver or Bluetooth | Battery: AA (up to 24 months of run time) | Connector: N/A| Dimensions: 103mm x 64mm x 40mm | Weight: 101g | Programmable buttons: 7
The Logitech M585 Multi-Device is like the MX Anywhere 3’s ambitious younger sibling. It offers nearly all of the same features–multi-device connectivity, Logitech Flow compatibility, massive runtime, and compact design–in a package that costs about half as much.
Sure, there are some compromises. The scroll wheel is of the more mundane variety, and the multi-device connection is limited to two instead of three. But with both Unifying Receiver and Bluetooth connectivity on board, this still makes the M585 the ideal solution for tossing in your laptop bag, especially if you’re the kind of user that’s left a mouse or two behind on the plane or at the library.
Speaking of the library, Logitech also offers a “Silent” version dubbed the M590 silent. This edition is almost identical to the M585, but includes switches that are much quieter at the cost of some tactile feedback. While we don’t necessarily recommend it if you’re not bothered by average mouse sounds, it’s a great option for those that work in noise-sensitive environments, or just can’t stand all that dang clicking.
- Multi-device control for less than $40
- Logitech Flow compatibility
- Easy AA battery swaps last up to two years
- Surprisingly heavy for such a small mouse
- No USB connector to use if you’re out of AAs
From the gaming side of things, Logitech’s G305 also offers a budge-friendly option in a larger size. Typically priced at less than $50, and often available for under $30, the G305 comes in a wide variety of colors, includes easy AA battery swaps for 250 hours of runtime, and has internal components so good that mouse enthusiasts frequently remove them for use in custom-designed and 3D printed mice that sell for hundreds of dollars.
Connection type: Proprietary USB receiver | Battery: Rechargable (up to 70 hours of continuous run time) | Connector: Micro USB| Dimensions: 125mm x 64mm x 40mm | Weight: 63g | Programmable buttons: 5
For several years, Logitech’s original G Pro mouse was considered the gold standard for laser-focused gaming Mice. But, as time went on, competitors from other companies showed up with equally exceptional sensors and wireless connectivity in packages that were much lighter. Not to be outdone, Logitech went back to the drawing board to create a new version of the G Pro that was not only lighter than its predecessor, but one of the lightest mice on the market that didn’t rely on honeycomb shells and potentially annoying holes in its case to reduce its weight.
Picking the G Pro X Superlight up for the first time is an odd experience. It almost feels like an empty shell or dummy model. “This can’t be a functional mouse,” you might think. But is it ever…The built-in Logitech Hero sensor is one of the best out there, period. And, the lack of RGB lighting means you can still get 70 hours on a charge, even with the lightweight battery it uses.
Even more surprising is the fact that Logitech still managed to retain the device’s compatibility with its Powerplay charging system, a line of wireless charging devices that uses an optional puck that can be placed into the bottom of the mouse to constantly trickle charge from a specially designed mousepad. Even if you don’t want to drop the extra $120 on the Powerplay charging system, some clever third party peripheral creators have come up with a dock that uses the Powerplay connection on the bottom of the unit. This incredibly handy and surprisingly sturdy little accessory is just $30, and eliminates the need for a cord nearly as well as Logitech’s own mousepad solution.
- Almost unbelievably light
- Battery life is incredible for its weight
- Comes with a set of optional grips to increase comfort for users with sweaty hands
- May actually be too light for some users
- Wireless charging requires extra $120 accessory
Razer has yet to update its flagship wireless mouse for the ultra-lightweight era, but the Razer Viper Ultimate remains an excellent option, even years after its initial release. Its super-responsive optical switches, excellent sensor, truly ambidextrous design, and included dock can all be had for less than $90 most days. It also has one of the most loved, and most-copied shapes around thanks to its comfortable curves and rubberized sides. It does come in at a beefier 74g weight, but that might actually be a bonus for some users.
Connection type: Proprietary USB receiver | Battery: Rechargable (up to 140 hours of continuous run time) | Connector: Micro USB | Dimensions: 130mm x 67mm x 40mm | Weight: 110g | Programmable buttons: 7 to 11
Maybe you only plan on buying one mouse for everything. Maybe you want a mouse that can come with you between machines, serving you just as well write writing up TPS reports as it does while you’re getting plays of the game. If someone told me I’d only be able to use one mouse for everything I do for the rest of my life, I’d tell them they’re nuts, then I’d ask for a Logitech G903 Lightspeed.
Based on the original G900, the G903 Lightspeed, as the name would suggest, updates the mouse to use the latest Lightspeed wireless connectivity. This offers better range and performance, and lower latency times (covered in more detail below in our section on wireless dongles vs Bluetooth.) Alongside the upgrades, the unit retains the original’s excellent scroll wheel, which can be manually switched between a tactile mode and a free spinning mode to suit your needs, much like the MX models above. The versatility continues to the G903’s side buttons as well. Either side can be removed and capped off, or replaced with a pair of buttons, raising the mouse’s total to 11 programmable inputs.
All in all, the G903 offers a little bit of everything: excellent sensors and wireless connectivity for gamers, ample buttons for macro users, long battery life for travelers, and versatile recharging options for everyone. It may not be the absolutely best single-purpose mouse out there, but it is the best jack of all trades currently on the market.
- Extremely versatile button layout and use cases
- Compatible with Logitech’s Powerplay charging pad
- True ambidextrous design is great for left-handed users
- One of the heaviest mice on the list
- Not the most ergonomic or comfortable design for all hand sizes
Logitech’s G604 offers even more buttons than the G903, but misses out on the Powerplay compatibility and reconfigurable side inputs. It also relies on replaceable batteries instead of a built-in, rechargeable cell, which can be either a pro or a con, depending on your priorities. However, its ability to connect via Bluetooth as well as its USB receiver, and its dual connectivity with two simultaneous devices give it a leg up on the G903. For less than $50 it’s a great choice if you’re alright with a beefier, less game-focused shape.
What makes “Gaming” mice different from regular mice?
There’s no monolithic standard that defines a gaming mouse. Long ago, your gaming mouse was most likely to be whatever came packed in with your PC, or whatever the local Circuit City happened to have in stock. Now, the vast majority of gaming mice offer a few features that make them superior not just for actual gamers, but for everyone looking to get work done or complete their digital creations on a PC. Those benefits are:
Remappable buttons: Most gaming mice can interact with their manufacturer’s software to help you remap their buttons to new functions. Whether it’s Logitech’s Options software, Razer’s Synapse, or another app, this allows the user to add keyboard shortcuts, macro commands, even entire input scripts to their mouse. As mentioned in some of the entries above, this can provide massive benefits to productivity for digital artists, office workers, and anyone else that could benefit from having a repetitive task distilled to a single button click that’s always in hand. Even something as simple as a “Close Tab” command can be life changing for the right user.
Better sensors: The sensors used in gaming mice are designed to be as precise as possible. For gamers, this means better aim and more responsive movements. For everyone else, this improved hardware represents less frustration over missed clicks, a more responsive feeling cursor, and better customizability of cursor sensitivity through the aforementioned companion software.
Aesthetics: There isn’t as much difference between gaming and non-gaming mouse aesthetics as there used to be. While RGB lighting continues to be a part of most gaming mice, many of the most high-end options have left such flare behind in favor of clean, minimalistic looks. One of the most expensive mice on this list, the Logitech G Pro X Superlight, is about as bland looking as a mouse could be. This means that any apprehension a non-gaming user might have about being embarrassed when their coworkers see what’s on their mousepad is most likely avoidable and outdated.
Weight: In recent years, gaming mice have been losing weight. Despite companies previously offering ways to add weight to their mice, they’re now scrambling to release the lightest mouse possible. Whether the lightening is accomplished via holes in the outer shell, or just a clever internal structure, gaming mice can weigh as little as one half of their more productivity-focused counterparts. Users that feel fatigued at day’s end, and those with mobility issues may want to consider this fact when selecting their mouse.
Are wired or wireless mice better for me?
This is a surprisingly difficult question to answer. The obvious logic would suggest fewer wires on your desk is always desirable. But, there are some situations where a wired mouse may still be the best option. If you work in an office or room with a lot of RF interference from other devices and wireless networking hardware, a wired mouse avoids potential disconnects. Likewise, a wired mouse will never conk out on you because you forgot to charge it or didn’t bring enough batteries on your extremely important business trip. While the responsiveness of wireless mice can now easily meet their wired counterparts, their convenience is, in some ways, still behind. It’s up to you whether you’d prefer having to manage things like batteries and wireless reception, or if you rather just have to deal with having one more cord on your desk.
Why do I need a USB receiver for my mouse when Bluetooth exists?
Bluetooth is an excellent technology, overall. But, it’s not without its flaws. For most of its lifespan, a major one flaw has been its susceptibility to latency. This refers to a lag time between a user or device issuing a command and that command being completed on the other end of the wireless connection. If you’ve ever noticed the audio in your Bluetooth wireless earbuds is just slightly behind the visuals of the video you’re watching, that was latency rearing its ugly head. This delay is fairly minor, often less than 200 milliseconds. But, when it’s consistently applied to every movement of your mouse, every click…it can be quite annoying. For gamers, it’s often completely unacceptable. That’s why most gaming mice and even many productivity mice rely on RF-based dongles, even if Bluetooth is available as an optional, secondary connection method.
These USB receivers work over a different frequency than Bluetooth to prevent interference with Bluetooth devices, and they are purpose-built to reduce latency to the minimum possible. Some of the best RF receivers have so little latency they match their wired counterparts on a 1:1 basis for responsiveness. If you’re not bothered by the minimal delay offered by Bluetooth, then, by all means, continue to enjoy the benefits of near-universal connectivity and easy setup it provides. But, if you prefer the best feeling mousing experience, you might have to put up with one more USB adapter.
How did you choose these mice?
Each mouse on this list was selected because it is the best option currently available for a particular purpose. Whether that purpose is offering the maximum number of programmable buttons for the digital creative or Excel wizard, or it’s providing excellent functionality in a compact package for road warriors, these mice are the best of the best at what they do.
Nearly all of these entries have been personally tested by myself. The few that haven’t were thoroughly vetted through trusted sources and authoritative reviews from other mouse enthusiasts and tech experts. You can’t go wrong with any mouse on this list. It’s just a matter of deciding which one is optimal for your particular priorities and needs.