Need a New Gaming Mouse? Here’s What To Look For.

Key Points

  • The first gaming mouse was created in 1997.

  • There are three main ways to grip or hold a mouse; the size of the mouse affects grip style.

  • Integrated software makes finding your DPI/CPI easier.

  • Wireless mice are no longer avoided by hardcore gamers.

PC gamers often ask: What is the best gaming mouse? You already know that a mouse is a critical tool when playing on a computer; often, the mouse is used to aim, change the camera view, and explore the area.

However, while the best gaming mouse will not make you a competitive esports player overnight, it will help you improve your gaming capability and help take your gaming to the next level.

There are many ways to play computer games, but today's question is: What is the best gaming mouse for your needs? Read on to learn more about the crucial components of the mouse and receive a curated list of gaming mice.

The History of the Mouse

The first mouse was created in 1964. It got its name because the cord was attached to the rear, like the tail of a mouse. The first mouse had two wheels: One moved vertically and the other horizontally, but not at the same time.

The three-button mouse was created in 1968. The horizontal and vertical wheel was still there, but this mouse could move in different directions.

The Rollkugel or "rolling ball" was also created in 1968, just two months before the premiere of the three-button mouse. This was the first mouse to use a ball to track mouse movement and became an early version of 2022's standard.

1972 saw the introduction of the Xerox PARC, which used the idea of the Rollkugel ball, but the ball was metal. As far as its basic structure goes, the PARC was the mouse that set the standard for mouse design today.

In 1981, the first computer to come with a mouse was the Xerox 8010 system. The mouse used a ball to track its movement. Later that same year, the first optical mouse was created. In this mouse, optical sensors detected the mouse's movement.

By 1983, Microsoft showed up to the party and created a new standard—the Microsoft mouse, which became compatible with almost all PCs.

Logitech created the first cordless mouse in 1991. The cordless mouse granted computer users the ability to have more range of motion, unhindered by being connected to their setup by wires.

In 1999, the first gaming mouse was created by Razer. This mouse was symmetrical and could be used by both right-handed and left-handed people. It was capable of 1,000 to 2,000 dots-per-inch (DPI), which made it one of the first mice with such precise sensitivity. The Razer Boomslang was designed to be ergonomic and allow for hours of PC gaming, so it was longer and wider than most other computer mice of this generation.

As you see from this brief history, computer mice have changed quite a bit over the years and have come a long way in comfort and precision.

Crucial Components of the Mouse

A gaming mouse is, technically, just a regular computer mouse. However, gaming mice have additional features that are better suited to gaming than the average computer mouse.

Some of these features are adjustable sensitivity and programmable buttons.

Adjustable sensitivity is an important feature of gaming mice because each person is going to have a preference and some games will have preferred or suggested sensitivity settings.

Every gamer knows programmable buttons are important. Gaming mice are so popular because of their customizability. In the 2020s, most gaming mice have at least five buttons.

Some popular brands such as Razer and Logitech have software that helps you easily program your buttons to do things like adjust DPI, execute macros, and perform keystrokes.

However, many games already use all the buttons on the standard gaming mouse. You might need a mouse with over five buttons if you need programmable flexibility.

Together, these features allow gamers to react at higher speeds and stay comfortable while doing so.

A gaming mouse among smoky background

Mouse Shape

There are three main mouse shapes gamers regularly encounter while using a keyboard and mouse: ergonomic, symmetrical, and asymmetrical.

Ergonomic is meant to reduce wrist strain by allowing your hand to rest in a more natural position than against the desk. This mouse is specifically left or right-handed, so make sure you know which one you're buying.

Symmetrical mice are the most common type of mouse on the market; they're best for ambidextrous users, and the mouse looks the same on either side.

Asymmetrical mice are different on each side and will be left or right-handed, not ambidextrous. These mice are great for users who need more buttons on one side of their hand but not on the other.

Grip

When you're gaming, your mouse's grip matters. It affects how you interact with the game.

There are three main mouse grips gamers regularly use: the claw, the palm, and the fingertip.

The Claw

The first grip is the claw grip, which is great for improving your aim and reaction time. This is a very aggressive grip, and the name comes from the fact that on this mouse, fingers are placed under the knuckles and shaped to resemble a claw.

The claw grip is best for those who want to aim in quick, flicking motions. However, this grip doesn't have the best ergonomics, and the gamer's tracking isn't as good.

Video gaming mouse

The Palm

The palm grip is probably the most ergonomic grip for a mouse. It's also the most common grip that people use—gamers and non-gamers alike. To get into this grip, rest your palm on the mouse and let your fingers naturally fall into place. That's it!

This grip is great for controlled movements, better tracking, and precise aim. It's ideal for DPS and FPS players. However, to palm grip properly, you must have a mouse that is correctly sized for your hand.

The Fingertip

The fingertip grip means that your palm never touches the mouse unless the mouse is pulled backward to aim downward. This is the fastest mouse grip for aiming because it gives you a faster reaction time for quick mouse clicks.

However, this grip has less agility and is difficult to master. This grip causes strain to your wrist and your fingers. In extreme cases, it leaves you with a permanent range of motion and dexterity problems.

Mouse Size

Mouse size is important depending on the type of mouse grip you're using. For some grips, your mouse needs to perfectly fit your hand. For others, it doesn't matter quite as much.

Consider the following basic three sizes:

  • Small: A small mouse is less than 6.7" in length, and has a width range of 2.9 to 3.3". This mouse size is best suited for the fingertip grip.

  • Medium: A medium mouse is 6.7 to 7.9" in length, and has a width of 3.3 to 3.9". This mouse size is best suited for claw grip.

  • Large: A large mouse is 7.9" in length, and has a width of 3.9 to 4.5". This mouse size is best suited for palm grip.

Connection

Connection — whether Bluetooth, wired, or dongle — is going to vary in speed. Wired mice are always going to be faster, but sometimes they just aren't practical. For example, if your tower is set up on the floor to save desk space, you may not want to use a wired mouse.

Latency, or a lag between the input of the mouse and the output of the display on the screen, is a big problem for gamers. If you have latency lag you'll miss shots and movements in-game. Gamers used to avoid Bluetooth and wireless mice due to latency issues, but technological advances have largely fixed those problems.

The Click Latency Sheet is a Google spreadsheet that reviews a ton of different mice brands and types, stating the latency and any notes that the user has found about the mouse in question. It's a great resource when looking for the best gaming mouse for your needs.

DPI and CPI

It's important to know that the intended use of dots-per-inch (DPI) is for printers, as this describes how many dots a printer can fit into an inch.

With gaming, DPI is used to average how many pixels a mouse touches. The higher the DPI, the faster the mouse will move on the screen.

Is a higher DPI better for gaming? The short answer is yes and no. The higher the DPI value, the faster the mouse can move, but when you're hitting DPI values of 16,000 or more, the on-screen cursor will not be easily visible or controllable.

The great thing about most gaming mice is that, unlike a regular computer mouse which has a fixed DPI, gaming mice have multiple selections for DPI, so you can select the DPI that you're most comfortable with.

DPI is such a strange term for mice that a new term has come about: counts-per-inch (CPI). CPI is the same as DPI.

A wired video gaming mouse with various buttons

How To Find DPI

Finding your DPI involves some trial and error because the sensitivity of your mouse is going to depend on hardware and software settings. It's also going to depend on preference and the type of game you're playing.

Different models and manufacturers often have different ways to determine and alter your DPI settings. You can typically use the software that came with the mouse or use the DPI button (it may be a combination of buttons) to change your DPI in pre-determined increments.

If your mouse has drivers — like Logitech or Razer mice — then you'll have access to software that tells you about your mouse's DPI. This is found under "performance" in the mouse's settings.

If your mouse is a plug-and-play mouse from a smaller brand, then you'll probably only have a button on the mouse to change the DPI. This is because there's no specific software with that mouse and most likely no specific driver to make the mouse work on the computer. Plug-and-play is up and running quickly, with little user interference.

Most mice have an LED indicator to indicate what DPI you're currently on, especially plug-and-play mice.

The Most Popular Brands

The most commonly used gaming mouse brands are the following:

  • Logitech: All Logitech devices use Logitech software. The specific software depends on the mouse, but most Logitech gaming mice use Logitech G Hub. It'll recognize the mouse for you and take you to adjust your DPI.

  • Razer: Razer mice use Razer Synapse, which automatically recognizes the mouse you're using and takes you to the settings to adjust your DPI.

  • Zowie: Zowie mice have a DPI button on the bottom of the mouse, as well as a DPI indicator. The color shows you what DPI the mouse is on. The DPI options for this mouse range from 400 to 3200 DPI.

  • Glorious: Download the specific software for your particular mouse mode, then find and change your DPI. You can also change your DPI using the DPI indicator on the bottom of the mouse.

  • Corsair: The software for this brand is called Corsair iCUE, and it should recognize your mouse immediately.

  • Endgame: This brand has a software configuration for your mouse, which lets you see and change your DPI.

  • Roccat: This manufacturer has its own software, SWARM. It should automatically recognize your mouse and take you to see your settings to make any desired changes.

  • Dream Machine: Mice from Dream Machine have configuration software for each model that allows you to see and change the DPI settings of your mouse.

  • Xtrfy: These mice have a DPI button on the bottom and have DPI settings that range from 400 to 16000 DPI.

Video gaming mouse among keyboard and monitors

Best Gaming Mice

The best gaming mouse is ultimately going to be based on user preference. However, every gamer needs a starting point.

Consider these options, largely thought to be among the best:

Naturally, you need a few more details before making a decision, so keep reading.

SteelSeries Rival 5Most Affordable (Wired)

The SteelSeries Rival 5 is affordable at just $60. It's a multi-genre gaming mouse, perfect for Battle Royale, FPS, MOBA, MMO, and other games that require fast reactions. It has an ergonomic build with nine programmable buttons and five quick-action side buttons.

It uses the Golden Micro IP54 Switches and has PrismSync lighting with 10 zones of color choices.

The Rival 5 has the typical assortment of buttons expected on a mouse, a third button situated near where your thumb rests, and there's a two-way flickable button above the back and forward buttons. This flickable button is great for fast reactions in real-time games such as MOBAs or MMOs.

The SteelSeries Rival 5 has cut down on the weight of the mouse, however, this did not come without a cost. The Rival 5 cut out a depth sensor, but the TrueMove Air optical sensor can make up for that loss.

Video gamer's hand on a gaming mouse

Corsair Harpoon RGB WirelessMost Affordable (Wireless)

If you're on a budget, don't worry! You can still choose between wired and wireless mice. The Corsair Harpoon RGB Wireless is a good, budget, wireless mouse.

This mouse uses 2.4GHz Slipstream Wireless connectivity, to give you a strong connection with low latency, so you shouldn't notice too many issues with response times.

This mouse has the typical six buttons and an adjustable sensitivity of up to 10,000 DPI. It has 30 to 60 hours of battery life and does not need to be plugged in all the time. However when charging, it does need to be plugged in, and you can continue to use it while it charges.

And, you've guessed it! There's some RGB lighting so you can make this mouse fit your aesthetic.

Logitech G502 X Lightspeed Most Flexible Profiles

The Logitech G502 X Lightspeed is the Logitech successor to the G502. This is a wireless mouse packed with features. The mouse is angular, using geometry to resemble something right out of the game Cyberpunk 2077. The design also gives it a bit of an ergonomic boost.

The G502 X is responsive and reliable and even has a sniper button. There's a DPI shift that allows you to choose your DPI and a scroll wheel. Controls can easily be reprogrammed, and you can even save up to five separate profiles on the mouse and change between them using the Logi G Hub software.

The DPI range is 100 to 25,000 DPI, so while you'll probably never use 25,000 DPI settings, it's an option.

The Logitech G502 X uses a lightspeed wireless connection to the USB dongle, which means you're getting the same speed and accuracy that you'd expect from a wired mouse.

Razer Basilisk V3 Pro Most Buttons

The Razer Basilisk V3 Pro is great for first-person shooters, because of its Focus Pro 30k optical sensor, and its DPI setting of up to 30,000 DPI.

The mouse features an ergonomic design, and this is paired with responsive movement and smooth tracking. There are 11 programmable buttons on this mouse, and each of these buttons has optical switches.

The Basilisk V3 Pro has a lag-free connection thanks to its Razer HyperSpeed wireless or USB-C wired options. It can even be used with other devices than your PC thanks to Bluetooth.

The Basilisk V3 Pro has 13 customizable lighting options as well. This provides you with some great aesthetic choices.

Video gamer uses mouse and keyboard

Ready To Click?

Understanding the history of the mouse, how far it's come, and the technology that creates the specs you're looking for when you search for a new mouse will help you make the best decision possible.

Read some more reviews today to help you find the right mouse to take your game to the next level!