Now that many of us have spent more of 2020 working from home than in the office — and with no definite end in sight — it’s clear that makeshift desk arrangements aren’t doing our bodies (or our productivity) any favors. So if you’re still balancing your laptop on your knees while working in bed, it’s probably time to invest in chairs, desks, and other gear that promote good posture and help you feel a bit more professional.
We’ve covered ergonomic laptop stands and the best keyboards, and now we’re focusing on computer mouses, which many experts agree are more precise and comfortable to use than a laptop trackpad. And if you’re looking for a nice-looking mouse pad to spruce up your workspace, we rounded up plenty of stylish ones here.
Best overall mouse
It may seem expensive for a mouse, but if you’re serious about your at-home work setup, this wireless mouse comes recommended by no fewer than five tech experts. Along with a traditional top scroll wheel, the MX Master features a thumb wheel for fast, easy, and precise scrolling through documents, spreadsheets, or other programs. Sara Dietschy, a tech YouTuber and video creator, told us, “Having that horizontal scroll to move throughout a video timeline is huge for me, and for the average person who is in Excel spreadsheets or editing web pages, it’s actually extremely helpful.” Tyler Stalman, a photographer, tech YouTuber, and podcaster, says, “It’s a perfect balance of being a normal mouse with all the features you want and nothing extra.” Tech YouTuber Justin Tse and cinematographer Matt Workman both also use the MX Master and note additional features, like its seven-day battery life and ability to seamlessly shift between three devices — useful if you’re working on both your laptop and tablet. Finally, Austin Evans, who reviews tech on YouTube, calls it “a pretty killer all-around mouse.”
Best budget mouses
With nearly 25,000 five-star reviews on Amazon, this mouse is a great value for the price. It’s a hit among both gamers and those looking for a comfortable, affordable mouse. “It is super comfortable in the hand; it’s large enough to provide good support to help prevent hand fatigue, and grooves for your thumb, ring, and pinky fingers,” writes one reviewer. An avid gamer says, “I haven’t noticed any latency, glitches, or anything at all. As a matter of fact, I feel like I didn’t even need to break in this mouse when I started gaming with it.”
Strategist writer Jordan Bowman uses this relatively inexpensive mouse that has a three-year battery life (instead of charging via USB, it runs on AA batteries) and doesn’t take up too much room on his desk. “It also has a smooth scroll wheel that doesn’t stutter or lag behind when navigating large documents or web pages,” he says.
Best trackball mouses
If you’re spending more time at your desk these days, you’re likely concerned about proper ergonomics to avoid neck and back pain. We’ve covered the best chairs and desks for maintaining good posture, and using the right mouse will also help in preventing wrist and elbow pain. To maximize alignment, Alice Holland, a physical therapist at Stride Strong Physical Therapy, says, “Mice that allow for the natural internal rotation of the hand are best,” like this one which has a large trackball for easy scrolling without hand cramping.
This Bluetooth trackball mouse is popular on Amazon, where it gets points for comfort and ergonomics. One reviewer writes, “I keep buying them since the only required movement is your thumb, index, and middle fingers. They are perfect for those that do not want to suffer from carpal tunnel.” It can control multiple devices at once and will last several months on AA batteries.
Best vertical mouses
Because they’re held in a “handshake position” and encourage a natural arm position, vertical mouses are a favorite among physical therapists and chiropractors. Holland says that the Evoluent mouse (that also comes in a left-handed version) “allows the hand to be rotated to a comfortable angle,” without any unnatural shoulder or elbow twisting.
If you want to give a vertical mouse a try but aren’t sure you want to drop $90 on one, this cheaper option is a good choice to get your feet wet. It’s a hit among Amazon reviewers, including this one who writes: “This is how the mouse should have been designed from the beginning. It places the wrist and arm in so much more of a natural and comfortable position. When I bought it I figured there would be some adjustment to using it, but that’s not the case at all. I unpacked it and immediately started using it with no awkwardness.” There’s also a left-handed model.
Best gaming mouses
Serious gamers love the mouse’s accuracy, and that they can customize its button functions to match their gaming style. The editors of the Verge named the Logitech G502 Lightspeed the best wireless gaming mouse, calling it “a great gaming mouse for discerning gamers who don’t want to compromise, as well as people who have no idea what they should look for in a mouse.” Amazon reviewers love it, too: “The best gaming mouse I have ever used,” writes one. “This is a smooth and accurate ride, and can be customized/tailored to meet the user’s needs.”
For gamers who prefer wired mouses (citing a better connection with less lag time), the Razer DeathAdder is one of the most popular options. “This thing fits perfectly in my hand; the weight, tracking, and ergonomics are amazing,” writes an Amazon reviewer. Another says, “As soon as I rested my hand on this mouse something clicked in the back of my mind. The button placement, the tactile feel, the responsiveness, all of these things are things I never knew I was missing before.” Like the Logitech, it’s also programmable and gets praise for smooth, precise tracking.
If you like the feel of a laptop trackpad but are using a desktop computer (or just want a little more room), photographer and author Nicole Young recommends the Apple Magic trackpad. She says, “It’s noticeably more spacious than the traditional laptop trackpad, which means you don’t need to pick up your finger as often.”
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