Using the right mouse can make a huge difference in how well you play games. It makes more difference than you might think. It’s akin to the way a pronate runner may need the right shoes to accommodate the way his or her foot lands on the pavement. Yes, the basic specs are important: What kind of sensor is under the hood, and what kind of switches are under the mouse buttons? But there are a lot of other criteria as well. What’s the button arrangement? Is the mouse wired or wireless, and if wireless, what’s the latency? Is the mouse light or heavy, and is it adjustable? How does it fit your hand?
Indeed, there are a lot of things to consider if you want a mouse that’ll feel like it’s a part of your body rather than something you need to interact with when deep in the midst of a game. If you’d like a mouse that becomes second nature to you, read on. I’ve rounded to the top mice for gaming — both wired and wireless. And read on through the end, where I’ve put together buying advice and recommendations for getting the best gaming mouse for you.
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1. Corsair Nightsword RGBPros:
- 18,000 dpi accuracy
- 5 RGB lighting zones
- Enormously configurable weighting and center of balance
- 119 grams at its lightest
- Thumb rest unwieldy for some users
- Right hand only
Style: Wired | Handed: Right | Grip: Claw | Buttons: 10 | Lighting: 4 zones | Weight: 119 – 141 grams
The most distinctive element in the Corsair Nightsword RGB is the oversized thumb rest that sits on the left side of the mouse. That eliminates any possibility of this mouse working for lefties, but, for the righties among us, it keeps your mouse from dragging on the mousepad and slowing down the action, while keeping your thumb primed in exactly the right location for access to the five thumb controls.
But hidden from view is perhaps the Nightsword’s most interesting feature: its unique weighting system. The mouse comes with a half dozen weights (three 2.8 gram weights and three 4.5 gram weights) and six mounting holes. The mouse can track tits own weight, and when combined with the iCue PC app, you can manage the weight distribution and center of gravity of the mouse with incredible accuracy. For what it’s worth, Corsair says there are 120 different weight balance configurations (I’ll trust them — I haven’t counted). This is a mouse for someone who wants unparalleled control over the heft and feel of their mouse.
That’s not all. The mouse is built around the PixArt PMW3391 optical sensor with a resolution of 18,000 dpi, and you can adjust the mouse’s sensitivity in single dpi increments. There are ten buttons in total scattered around the mouse, all completely programmable and configurable via the iCue software. And don’t forget about the “RGB” in the mouse’s name — it has five zones, including the logo, scroll wheel, front and rear bumpers, and an indicator for your current DPI setting.
2. Glorious Model OPros:
- Good for left or right hand
- Includes RGB lighting
- Six buttons might be too few for some gamers
- No on-the-fly profile switching
- Hoxagonal holes can get dirty
Style: Wired | Handed: Ambi | Grip: Any| Buttons: 6 | Lighting: 4 zones | Weight: 67 grams
There’s a certain school of thought that says your gaming mouse should light. As in, super, really light. And once you try a really light mouse like the Glorious Model O, you might agree; heavy controllers tend to have heft that adds momentum when you move your hand around, and that momentum can cause you to overshoot your target, making your aim and actions less accurate. The Glorious Model O is among the very lightest mice you can buy. Weighing 67 ounces, it gets its featherweight because the mouse is covered with a hole-filled honeycomb shell and is about as simple as it’s possible to make a mouse. And the mouse cable doesn’t slow you down, since it’s a super-lightweight braided cord that’s very light and flexible.
The Pixart PMW-3360 sensor can be set to any resolution from 400-12000 dpi, and the buttons sit on top of Omron switches rated for 20 million clicks. It’s also equipped with RGB lighting in two zones (the wheel and sides), but you can choose the Model O Minus, which eliminates the RGB lighting and weighs in at just 58 grams instead. It includes a total of just six buttons, and the Glorious keeps things simple — you can’t set up multiple profiles and switch among them on the fly. If you want to change profiles, you need to do that via the desktop software.
3. HyperX Pulsefire SurgePros:
- Gorgeous wrap-around lights
- 16,000 DPI sensitivity
- On-board profiles
- Weight not configurable
- Modest button configuration
- Lefties can't use side buttons
Style: Wired | Handed: Ambi | Sensitivity: 16,000 DPI | Buttons: 6 | Lighting: 2 zones | Weight: 100 grams
The HyperX Pulsefire Surge is an unassuming mouse. In a world crowded with aggressive-looking sci-fi gaming mice with adjustable weights and a wealth of programmable buttons, the Surge looks like a fairly mundane productivity mouse — until you turn the PC on, that is. That’s when you see the stunning wraparound RBG lighting and you see that you were underestimating this controller.
It’s true, though, that the HyperX Pulsefire Surge isn’t super sexy looking, as some gaming mice go. It has it where it counts, though. The mouse is built on a Pixart 3389 sensor with a sensitivity of up to 16,000 DPI. And you’ll get 50 million clicks from the Omron switches under the buttons. Speaking of buttons, there are just six: You get a DPI switch behind the mouse and a pair of button on the left; everything is programmable via HyperX’s excellent NGenuity software. And you can swap profiles on the fly, three of which stored in the mouse’s on-board memory, so you can take this laptop on the go.
If there’s anything not to love in the Surge, it’s the middling 100-gram weight. It’s probably fine for most users, but it’s not adjustable, so it might be too heavy for folks looking for as featherweight mouse and too light for users who like to customize the feel of the mouse.
4. Logitech G502 HeroPros:
- Comfortable grip
- Infinite scroll wheel
- RGB lighting is underwhelming
- Not suitable for lefties
- Switches aren't Omrons
Style: Wired | Handed: Right | Sensitivity: 16,000 DPI | Buttons: 11 | Lighting: 2 zones | Weight: 121 – 139 grams
The Logitech G502 Hero is a favorite among gamers, and for good reason. The angular mouse — which, from certain angles, looks like it could win a land speed record — is surprisingly comfortable for long gaming sessions thanks to nice contours that fit the right hand very nicely. It is packed with 11 buttons, though they don’t generally feel crowded. And it’s hard not to love the scroll wheel, which can toggle between standard notched scrolling and infinite scrolling. When in infinite scroll mode, you can spin through long menus, inventories, and web pages with reckless abandon.
The mouse weighs 121 grams out of the box, but comes with fiv 3.6 gram weights, each of which you can apply to the bottom of the mouse. You can ratchet the heft up to 139 grams, if a heavy mouse is your deal. Logitech includes the new 16K Hero sensor with a sensitivity you can dial from 100 to 16,000 DPI. And if you like lighting, Logitech has you covered here as well with a pair of RGB lighting zones. That said, the lighting isn’t especially remarkable — just the logo and a few accents illuminate.
5. Logitech G502 LightspeedPros:
- Ultra-responsive wireless
- Can charge wirelessly on optional PowerPlay mat
- 11 programmable buttons
- PowerPlay charging mat costs more than the mouse
- No version for lefties
- Buttons might feel crowded
Style: Wireless | Handed: Right | Sensitivity: 16,000 DPI | Buttons: 11 | Lighting: 2 zones | Weight: 114 – 128 grams
Logitech’s G502 has long been a favorite wired gaming mouse, but recently the company has released the G502 Lightspeed, a wireless version of that classic controller. If you don’t mind spending well over $100 on your mouse, this is a compelling option that looks great and performs superbly as well.
It’s wireless, and uses Logitech’s G ultra-fast, no-latency wireless connectivity system (you’ll need to insert a USB dongle in an available port). That’s not the only thing that’s wireless here: If you opt to add the PowerPlay wireless charging pad (which costs about $150 right now), you can wirelessly charge the mouse continuously, and never run into a low-power situation. Otherwise, you get about 60 hours of runtime from the mouse between charges (without the lighting — more on that later).
Under the hood, Logitech has incorporated its 16K Hero sensor, which has a 16,000 DPI sensitivity, along with a formidable 11 fully reprogrammable buttons. Of course, this is a righties-only mouse, thanks to the very comfortable form-fitting shape and small thumb rest that keeps your hand off the mat. This mouse has a very cool feature: You can drop the scroll wheel into a hyper-fast scroll mode, which makes it easy to flip through long web pages (when you’re working) or through inventories and control menus) when you’re gaming.
At its lightest, the G502 is 114 grams, but it comes with six weights that you can use to fine-tune the weight and balance of the mouse if you like it a bit heavier. There’s also a programmable dual-zone light show; using the RGB lighting can take the battery life from 60 hours down to about 48.
6. Razer Basilisk Ultimate HyperSpeedPros:
- 20,000 DPI sensor
- 11 buttons with DPI clutch
- wireless cradle included
- A little pricey
- Funky charging cradle
- Weight not adjustable
Style: Wireless | Handed: Right | Sensitivity: 20,000 DPI | Buttons: 11 | Lighting: 14 zones | Weight: 107 grams
You might notice that the Razer Basilisk Ultimate HyperSpeed looks remarkably like the Logitech G502 Lightspeed, and that’s probably not a coincidence. This is a high-performance device that’s competing directly with Logitech for the crown of best gaming mouse, and it has the specs and components to prove it. For starters, it’s a wireless mouse that’s powered by Razer’s HyperSpeed wireless technology. You’ll need a free USB port for the wireless dongle, but it is among the very fastest on the market, with no noticeable latency in actual gameplay.
The sensor is also top-notch; while most performance mice top out at 16,000 DPI, the Basilisk has a 20,000 DPI sensor. Let’s be real here: There’s no chance you’ll actually notice a difference in performance between a 16K and a 20K sensor, but if you want the mouse with the best possible tech, this mouse checks the box. The mouse has 11 buttons scattered about, and includes a killer feature: a “clutch” that drops the DPI to 800 temporarily when you hold the button down. FPS gamers can use it to instantly improve their accuracy when switching to a sniper rifle, for example. There’s room in the mouse’s on-board memory for up to 5 profiles you can switch between any time you want.
You get about 100 hours of battery life between charges, which is great, through the bundled charging cradle means you will probably never come even close to wearing the battery down as long as you put the mouse in the cradle after every session. The dock looks cool and elevates the mouse off the desk — as if it’s some sort of high tech trophy — though it’s less convenient to use than just setting the mouse on a charging pad.
Razer also goes above and beyond when it comes to lighting. While most gaming mice have just a couple of lighting zones, the Basilisk has an insane 14 fully customizable RGB lighting zones. It almost seems ungrateful to complain in the face of that, but come on, Razer: 14 zones on the mouse, but one non-programmable zone on the charging cradle?
7. Razer DeathAdder v2Pros:
- 20,000 DPI sensitivity
- Fast optical switches
- Great ergonomics
- Some gamers may find 8 buttons limiting
- RGB lighting is minimal
- Design is almost but not quite ambidextrous
Style: Wired | Handed: Right | Sensitivity: 20,000 DPI | Buttons: 8 | Lighting: 2 zones | Weight: 82 grams
There’s nothing remarkable about the appearance of the Razer DeathAdder v2. It could just as easily be an office mouse that handles spreadsheet duties — and in fact a lot of people use it for double duty. But the DeathAdder is an ergonomic wonder, shaped ideal for gamers who like a full-on palm grip so their hands can wrap around the shell of the mouse. And internally, Razer prides itself on premium components. The sensor is a custom chip developed by Razer in partnership with Pixart, and the resulting Razer Focus+ sensor has a 20,000 DPI resolution and Razer claims that the chip has additional features, like “smart tracking” that can read the mousing surface and automatically calibrate, as well as Motion Sync for more accurate tracking. The DeathAdder also boasts optical switches, which allows for faster clicks and no “debounce” delay between clicks — and promises a massive 70 million lifetime clicks.
The DeathAdder has eight programmable buttons, including a switch in the base to let you swap around among five profiles that you can store on the mouse itself, which is great if you take your mouse on the go and need to use it on a POC that doesn’t have Razer’s excellent desktop software. The profile also includes the two RGB lighting zones. Don’t expect a lot here though — you just get a light on the Razer logo and wheel.
The mouse weighs in at 82 grams, which is on the lighter side, which most gamers should appreciate. There’s no adjustability, though, so you’ll either like it or learn to live with it.
8. SteelSeries Rival 710Pros:
- OLED display
- Custom high-accuracy sensor
- Modular components
- Heavy, non-adjustable weight
- A little pricey
- OLED and haptic feedback shjould do more
Style: Wired | Handed: Right | Sensitivity: 16,000 DPI | Buttons: 7 | Lighting: 2 zones | Weight: 135 grams
The SteelSeries Rival 710 may be in the same family as the SteelSeries 600, but in a lot of ways, it’s a very different mouse. It shares a similar ergo right-hand-centric shape and seven programmable buttons, but SteelSeries mixes it up quite a bit from there. First and foremost, it has an OLED display built right into the mouse, in the front left quarter panel. The display has a resolution of 128 x 36 pixels, and you can send any monochromatic text or image to the mouse from the desktop software. Moreover, the display can also show information about the sensor’s sensitivity settings, Discord notifications, in-game statistics, button mapping info, and more. Though let’s be honest: This is an admittedly cool solution in search of a problem. There are few scenarios in which you’ll be able to glance at the front corner of your mouse during gameplay. Even so: Still very cool.
There’s another innovative feature lurking in the Rival 710: haptic feedback. The mouse’s rump can vibrate to notify you about all sorts of notifications, and you can configure what the mouse tells you as well the intensity and style of the vibration patterns.
Rather than including a Pixart sensor, SteelSeries has designed its own sensor, the TrueMove3. This sensor favors accuracy over raw resolution and tops out at 12,000 DPI (though you can still select 16,000 DPI, which it accomplishes through some sort of interpolation trickery). The mechanical switches are rated for about 60 million clicks. And unlike most mice, SteelSeries says that the internals in the Rival 710 are fully modular and replaceable. So you can grow old with this mouse if you want to, swapping out internals for better components over time.
9. SteelSeries Rival 600Pros:
- Super-short lift-off thanks to second sensor
- Innovative weight system
- 8 RGB lighting zones
- Not for lefties
- Some users may find even the lightest setting to heavy
- Sensor only tracks to 12,000 DPI
Style: Wired | Handed: Right | Sensitivity: 12,000 DPI | Buttons: 7 | Lighting: 8 zones | Weight: 96 – 129 grams
The SteelSeries Rival 600 has a few remarkable features that are designed for high-performance esport-style gaming. Perhaps the most intriguing feature is its dual sensors. Most mice have a single sensor for tracking 2D movement on the desktop; the Rival 600 features the TrueMove3+ sensor, which is actually two sensors in one. The second sensor for measuring depth, designed to minimize the lift-off distance (which SteelSeries says is about 0.5 mm). That makes the Rival 600 perhaps the best mouse on the market if you frequently lift and re-center your mouse during gameplay. The resolution is a crisp 12,000 DPI. The mechanical switches are rated for 60 million clicks.
Also noteworthy is the Rival 600’s weighing system. Out of the box, the mouse weighs 96 grams, but it comes with eight 4 gram weights. You can arrange them in any configuration in slots on either side of the mouse. Just pop off the side and insert the weights to taste. The Rival 600 is not the first mouse to offer the ability to arrange weights so you can fine-tune the center of balance of the mouse, but most weight slots are generally clustered more tightly, limiting your options. The Rival 600 really gives you a lot of flexibility with how you arrange your weights.
Unfortunately, this is yet another mouse that is almost-but-not-quite symmetric, so it’s really only of value to right-handed gamers (though lefties could conceivably make it work). It features 7 programmable buttons and has a generous 8 RGB lighting zones. A lot of the lighting is only interesting when you’re not gaming, of course, as your hand completely covers a lot of the surface area.
What to Look for When Shopping for a Gaming Mouse
Different manufacturers take different approaches to gaming mice, because they sometimes are designed with different kinds of games in mind -- it's critical to be able to quickly change the sensitivity of the sensor in a shooter, for example, while a wealth of programmable buttons are essential for MOBA and MMO games for quickly accessing inventory items and issuing commands like spells. While any mouse will work in any game, sort of, you simply can't be competitive in an MMO without a mouse that you can bind all sorts of useful combat commands to a slew of easily accessed buttons, for example.
But virtually all gamers care about some basic specs. The foundation of every mouse, for example, is the optical sensor, which is measured by its sensitivity in DPI, or dots per inch. While the higher the DPI of a mouse the better, there are practical limits to how useful a high-DPI mouse actually is. There's no reasonable way to actually experience the difference between a 16,000 DPI and a 20,0000 DPI mouse, for example. You might also want to compare the polling rate of the sensor -- again, the higher the better.
The other major mechanical part of the mouse is the switches that lie under the various buttons. Most switches are mechanical, but optical switches which use light to trigger clicks, are rising in popularity. Optical switches have no practical disadvantages, but mechanical switches can slow you down because they can only be clicked so quickly. If you click too fast, clicks can get lost in the process. You might also watch for the switches' failure rating: How many millions of clicks is it rated for?
On the subject of ergonomics, it's a lot more subjective. Some gamers like light mice; others like heavier ones. Sophisticated mice may come with additional weights you can add to the mouse until it feels right under your hand, and responds the way you like. If you're a leftie, your mouse options may be more limited -- you're looking for a mouse that's designed for the left hand or a symmetric mouse that is ambidextrous.
And keep in mind that different mice are designed to work best with certain kinds of grips. Some gamers wrap their whole hand around the mouse using something called a palm grip. Other gamers favor a claw grip or a tip grip, which are two styles in which your palm doesn't actually touch the top of the mouse, but hangs in the air with only your fingertips making contact.
The Best Value in a Gaming Mouse
While choosing a laptop or a sound card is often something you can do mostly my looking at specifications and features, a mouse is a different animal (so to speak). A mouse is something you hold in your hand; it's designed for comfort, ort at least it should be. So even if you study the specs and features and narrow down your choice that way, you might still end up dissatisfied if it doesn't feel right in your hand. That said, there are some mice that rise to the top.
If you're a fan of lightweight mice, the choice is easy: The Glorious Model O is more or less the lightest mouse you can buy, and even if you aren't sure you want a light mouse, just using one for a few hours might turn you into a convert. As long as you don't eat and drink a lot at your desk, though -- because that honeycomb design traps dust, dirt, and gunk.
For the ultimate wireless mouse, there are a couple of great options, but it's hard to pick anything other than the Razer Basilisk Ultimate HyperSpeed. I love the Logitech G502 Lightspeed, but the fact that the PowerPlay mat is an extra expense -- and as costly as the mouse all over again -- means the Razer has an edge. It is packed with 11 programmable buttons, a super-hi-res sensor, and that awesome DPI clutch.
Finally, for the ultimate in configurability, the SteelSeries Rival 600 takes the prize. It does the best job of any mouse on the market for addressing lift-off, and I love the weighting system. It even has a generous 8 lighting zones.
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