Playing PC games with a standard mouse might save you a few dollars but it can ruin your gaming experience. “They’re not good and they don’t have gaming specs,” says Kahlief Adams, creator and host of the gaming podcast, Spawn On Me. He remembers playing Overwatch years ago on a gaming laptop with a cheap basic mouse: “You’re trying to flick around to see different kinds of enemies to go attack. And you can’t, because you’re just slow and you can’t turn around fast enough. And you’re seeing everybody else basically 360 spin with the flick of a wrist.” As soon as he got his hands on a proper gaming mouse, however, “It absolutely changed the way I played stuff. It gave me more of an advantage. It made me feel like I was able to execute the actions that I had in my mind with my actual hands.”
Anyone looking for a gaming mouse should consider three main details, Adams says. If the mouse is too heavy or cumbersome, it can wear out your wrist during longer gaming sessions. (While most mouses weigh an average of more than 100 grams, ultralight mouses can weigh as little as 50.) Also check the mouse’s dots per linear inch or DPI, which is a number used to measure sensitivity. “Your mouse is constantly scanning wherever you’re placing it. And the higher your DPI, the more precise you can be in terms of your movement.” Non-gaming mouses tend to have lower DPI’s, because that’s all they need to handle basic uses, but gaming mouses tend to go into the tens of thousands, “so that they can accurately pinpoint where you want your mouse to be,” he says. Finally, pay attention to how many function keys your mouse has. “A mouse that has a lot of extra buttons is great for players who find themselves needing to multi manage lots of different things,” Adams says. “If you’re playing a MOBA, you can hotkey a thing to one of those buttons. Or if you’re playing an RPG game, you can set one of those buttons to be like your health or your shield or something like that.”
A good gaming mouse won’t turn you into the next Ninja, but it will increase your performance. And it will definitely help you have more fun. To aid in your search for the right gaming mouse for you we spoke to Adams and five other gamers. Here are their favorites.
Best overall gaming mouse
Four out of the five experts we spoke to recommend Logitech gaming mouses. Cameron Faulkner, a staff writer at our sister site the Verge, says the Logitech’s G502 Lightspeed is his current favorite. Despite being wireless, he says, the mouse doesn’t have any noticeable lag. The grip is comfortable, and he likes “that it includes customizable weights for a personalized feel,” if you’re looking for some more resistance while playing. The G502 has a DPI of 25,600 and 11 programmable buttons, so you’ll be able to react quickly in game and hit a variety of buttons with your own custom settings.
Best minimalist gaming mouse
Adams is also a fan of the Logitech G series, and explains that “they have multiple ones for different kinds of players” and are available at various price points, depending on the level of customization you’ll need. For gamers who are looking for a featherlight minimalist mouse, he suggests the G Pro X Superlight. “This mouse will not only have you clicking on heads like you’ve never done before, but you also look stylish while you do,” he says. “This wireless powerhouse sports a DPI up to 25,400 and feels fantastic in the hand.”
Best casual gaming mouse
If you don’t need a top-of-the-line gaming mouse with a ridiculously high DPI, Jamin Warren, the founder of TwoFiveSix, recommends the Logitech G703. It has a 16,000 DPI and six programmable buttons, and it uses Logitech’s Light Speed technology. Warren says the G703 has “clear responsive clicks and a comfortable fit” in his hand.
Best budget gaming mouse
“I use a SteelSeries Rival 300,” says Eric Van Allen, news editor at USGamer. “It’s pretty basic, and doesn’t have much in the way of extra buttons,” he says. (It only has six). The 300 was recently discontinued but it’s similar to the SteelSeries Rival 3. It doesn’t have the same level of customization you’d get with the Logitech G502 mouse, but you can easily swap between settings, customizing those six buttons for each game you like to play. Plus, it has a comfortable grip and you can quickly adjust the DPI on the fly.
Best budget ergonomic gaming mouse
F. Martin of Arkitechnology, a popular TikTok tech reviewer with over 297,000 followers, recommends the Cooler Master MM710. “It’s light and has a fantastic sensor,” he says. It has a 16,000 DPI, a unique honeycomb ergonomic shell designed for comfort and longer play times, and two extra side buttons. It lacks some of the bells and whistles of other gaming mouses, but it’s a great price for solid performance.
Best budget wired gaming mouse
Martin also recommends the Viper Mini, which, at 8,500 DPI, has about half of the sensitivity of the Cooler Master, but has six programmable buttons to help during games where you need to quickly toggle between items in your inventory or swap weapons.
Best wireless gaming mouse
Kyle F, a tech TikToker and gamer, calls the Razer Viper Ultimate the standard for wireless mouses in the gaming community. It’s lightweight and responsive and has eight programmable buttons.
Best wired gaming mouse
Kyle F. uses the less expensive Glorious Model O, “which is pretty well known in the gaming community because of how light it is.” He went with a wired mouse over a less-expensive wireless mouse, because “they aren’t nearly as good, and besides, a wireless mouse is always somewhat of a risk, since it uses batteries, which can be heavy, and you risk them dying in the middle of a game.” To get the feel of a wireless mouse, Kyle uses the Glorious PC Glorious Mouse Bungee, which holds the mouse’s cable up and out of the way. “If you stick the bungee at the back of your desk, it holds the cable up in the air, basically floating, causing no drag against the mouse,” he says. “With the bungee attached, my mouse, which I got for $50, feels just like the Razer. It’s really improved my game.”
The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best women’s jeans, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, ultra-flattering pants, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.
Every editorial product is independently selected. If you buy something through our links, New York may earn an affiliate commission.