Ready, Aim, Fire
Aiming, targeting, slashing, attacking. Some of the most important actions you take in a PC game happen with the click of a mouse. Any gaming mouse you buy will offer reliable connectivity, smooth and responsive tracking, and basic click and scroll functions. But it takes more than basic functionality to make a good gaming mouse.
Deciding On a Sensor
A high-quality sensor is the first step toward precision and accuracy. Less expensive mice will usually have optical (or LED) sensors, which offer fairly good tracking sensitivity, but do particularly well when lifted slightly from the tracking surface. Laser sensors, on the other hand, may be a bit more finicky in the heat of battle, but offer much better tracking. It's also possible to get the best of both worlds, using the two sensors in tandem to provide the high-accuracy tracking of a laser with the less delicate tracking of an optical sensor.
Trick It Out
The best gaming mice offer comfort and customization. Features match the unique needs of your preferred games, whether you're dealing with a firefight or staving off an advancing horde. Mice aimed at first-person shooters feature ratcheting scroll-wheels—letting you cycle through your arsenal without selecting the wrong weapon—and on-the-fly dpi adjustment for switching between the fast low-dpi tracking needed in a frantic firefight and the more tightly controlled high dpi needed for lining up a sniper's shot.
Mice designed for real-time strategy games and MMOs are often outfitted with an array of six to 12 programmable macro buttons. Set just under the tip of the thumb, these can either be used as number keys or programmed to execute longer macro commands.
All of the gaming mice currently available are made with some customization in mind, even if it's just tweaking the tracking speed. Each gaming gear manufacturer has developed its own customization software, which often includes advanced macro programming. In addition to recording macro commands, these dashboards will also let you swap preset profiles, and many also offer presets for non-gaming use, letting you leverage your programmable mouse in programs like Excel and Photoshop.
For maximum comfort, many gaming mice can also be customized physically. Removable weights are common, letting you tweak the total weight one way or the other. Some models take this even further, letting you shift the center of balance, or adjust the height and pitch of the palm rest.
Finding the best gaming mouse for you comes down to knowing your own preferred style of game, determining whether or not you will take advantage of more complex functions, and then tweaking the chosen mouse to your specific tastes.
Below are our top-rated gaming mice. Looking for other gaming peripherals? Check out our favorite gaming keyboards, monitors, and headsets. And if you need to buy a whole new system, you'll want to read about our top-rated gaming desktops and laptops.
Featured Gaming Mouse Reviews:
Razer Mamba (2015) Review
%displayPrice% at %seller% The versatile Razer Mamba gaming mouse offers unparalleled features and customization options, including adjustable click feedback, 16.8 million lighting colors, 10 programmable buttons, and wired or wireless operation. Read the full review
Corsair M65 RGB Laser Gaming Mouse Review
%displayPrice% at %seller% The Corsair M65 RGB Laser Gaming Mouse offers a killer design and lethal accuracy, and it comes in a rainbow of customizable colors. Read the full review
Logitech G Pro Gaming Mouse Review
%displayPrice% at %seller% Simple, comfortable, and practical, the Logitech G Pro Gaming Mouse is ideal for the professional gamer and anyone who wants to be one someday. Read the full review
Razer DeathAdder Chroma Review
%displayPrice% at %seller% Razer's DeathAdder Chroma gaming mouse serves up an ergonomic design, lots of customization options, and excellent performance. Read the full review
Cougar 300M Gaming Mouse Review
%displayPrice% at %seller% The Cougar 300M is an entry-level gaming mouse that offers an ergonomic design, numerous customization options, and a smooth gaming experience for a low price, but its slippery finish and stiff scroll wheel can make extended use difficult. Read the full review
Roccat Kova Review
%displayPrice% at %seller% If you're a southpaw, the $50 Roccat Kova is an ambidextrous gaming mouse that packs in comfort and performance for a great value. Read the full review
SteelSeries Rival 700 Review
%displayPrice% at %seller% With tactile alerts, a modular design, and an OLED screen, the SteelSeries Rival 700 gaming mouse is functional and fun, but adding modular components can get pricey. Read the full review
Hori Edge 101 Review
%displayPrice% at %seller% The Hori Edge 101 is a good-looking and customizable gaming mouse with plenty of features that match those on more expensive mice, even if it has some design flaws. Read the full review
HyperX Pulsefire FPS Gaming Mouse Review
%displayPrice% at %seller% As long as you don't need customization features or super-high sensitivity, HyperX's first gaming mouse is a solid and affordable option with simple setup and multiple dpi presets. Read the full review
Razer Naga Hex V2 Review
%displayPrice% at %seller% The Razer Naga Hex V2 is a straightforward but niche gaming mouse aimed at MOBA players, with useful thumb buttons for quick access to in-game commands. Read the full review