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The Best Mousepad for an Even, Comfortable Workspace

When mice primarily used the physical rotation of a ball to track movement, mouse pads were necessary to ensure a secure grip and accurate motion. However, as optical and laser mice have replaced the older designs, these pads have become much less necessary. Many people still prefer to use them though since they can provide a more comfortable workspace and improve performance under certain conditions. For example, gamers often use high-performance mouse pads to gain an edge over other players and even non-gamers can still benefit from mouse pads, since they can provide wrist support and a smooth surface. Be sure to check out our picks for the best mouse pads in 2021 and the buyer’s guide below for all the information you need to pick the best pad available.

Best Mouse Pad Worth Considering in 2021

SteelSeries QcK Heavy Mouse Pad - Best Mouse Pad Overall

The QcK Heavy is just one model out of a number of options available from SteelSeries. However, the “Heavy” version is great for serious gamers looking for more support from their mouse. There are a number of sizes available in the QcK line, and the Heavy is available in a somewhat larger size than some other mouse pads. This is great for gamers who prefer a wide range of motion available, but can be too large for some desktops.

Though it has a textured surface for great gameplay, the results might not be quite as precise as some other models on the market. The tradeoff is this option is a bit less expensive than our other picks. Basically if you're not sure about the benefits of a gaming mouse pad and just want to pick one up and try it, then this is a great one to get your feet wet.

SteelSeries QcK Mouse Pad - Runner Up

If you're not sure what type of mouse-user you are, then the default QcK Medium size is probably going to work perfectly for you. It grips the surface of your desk or work area quite well, making it great for gaming or just your daily computer work. This mouse pad also has a cloth surface which keeps it nice and smooth and is pretty easy on your hand or wrist. If you tend to use your elbow while controlling a mouse, the smooth texture is perfect; if you're a wrist-controller, then the smooth cloth will be easy on your hand as it rests on the mouse pad.

One of the best things about the QcK mouse pads is how many different styles and sizes you can choose from. There are small and large pads available, so you can get as much surface as you need and have room for. There is also a QcK Heavy model that is a bit more durable and works better for long-term use, as it won't flatten out or wear down as easily.

Logitech G240 Cloth Gaming for Low-DPI Mouse Pad - Most Quiet

This is a great mouse pad that might be designed with gaming in mind, but works really well for any kind of computer use. The surface of this mouse pad is soft cloth and textured, which puts it between pads designed for either speed or control exclusively. This makes it great for general use given that it runs pretty fast and also has enough texture for precise movements.

The rubberized base on this mouse pad keeps it in place, even if you tend to move your hand rapidly, and the cloth and rubber used are durable, designed to withstand long-term use. This pad is also easy to transport, since it is soft enough to roll up and pack away with a laptop or tablet device. At about 11x13 inches, this is a great option for just about any computer setup, though Logitech sells a larger model, the G640, which is also a soft cloth option but is 15x18 inches in size.

Belkin WaveRest Gel Mouse Pad - Consider

This is a very basic mouse pad, but it does just what it was designed for. The pad itself is a fairly small, standard size and it includes a wrist "gel" pad at the base. Due to its size and the pad, this is definitely a great choice if you tend to use your wrist more when controlling a mouse. For elbow-based mouse users, though, the small size can be restricting and the large wrist pad is probably going to get in your way. This is a very affordable option, so it's great to purchase in bulk for use in offices/workspaces where numerous mouse pads are going to be needed. The surface on this mouse pad is pretty smooth and comfortable, letting your hand and mouse move quickly on it, plus this pick designed to be durable to ensure years of use.

Fellowes Microban with Mouse Pad - Best Mouse Pad Overall

It's important to note this is about as basic a mouse pad as you're going to find on the market. It has a rubberized backing so it stays in place while you use it, and a polyester surface that is durable for long-term use. You're not going to find a detailed texture on the surface of this pad for precision mouse control or an extra slick surface for faster movements. What you will find, however, is the "Microban" surface, which is anti-microbial and helps keep the mouse pad sanitary.

It's a great option for an office, school computer lab, or library computer setup as it’s inexpensive, effective, and easily replaced in case of damage or loss. The 9x8 inch size is a bit small, so keep that in mind if you tend to make large gestures while using your mouse. If you want anything with a lot of options or extra features, then this just isn't the one for you. On the other hand, if all you need is a simple, straightforward design, this pick is right up your alley.

Buyer's Guide

While mouse pads might not be as essential to computer use as they once were, there’s still a number of reasons to use one. First and foremost, even with an optical or laser mouse, a pad can help ensure precision and easy movement while handling a mouse. Different designs and surface types can help with accuracy, or let your mouse move more easily across the pad. You’ll want to consider what size is right for your workspace and make sure you pick a pad that works with your type of mouse.

Mouse Pad Buyer’s Guide

Surface

Perhaps the single most important factor that impacts mouse performance is the type of surface on a mouse pad. For basic office use or in a retail environment, any kind of mouse pad will probably work. When it comes to gaming, graphic design, and other applications where it really matters, you need to consider the pads surface and control.

Slick surfaces let you move the mouse very quickly across them, which is great for some types of gaming like playing MMOs or MOBAs. On the other hand, textured surfaces tend to give you more precise control, which is usually ideal for playing an FPS title or doing intricate graphic design where you need to make small, precise movements. Ultimately, you need to decide on a specific surface if you prefer speed, control, or something that gives you a good combination of both.

Hard vs Soft Pads

Hard pads are usually made from plastic and similar materials and are rigid. They don’t roll or fold up and provide you with a solid surface when you are using a mouse. Soft pads, on the other hand, are flexible and easy to store; plus, they’re a bit more forgiving if you rest your hand on it at all.

In terms of functionality, both types of pads work very well and this really does come down to personal preference. Pick a pad that will be comfortable for you to use and look at the surface types and materials to see which meets your personal preference.

Material and Durability

While the material used in the construction of a mouse pad might not directly impact mouse performance, it makes a big difference regarding how long the mouse will last. You want to pick one with a rubberized base which helps it stay in place and not shift under intense hand movements.

You definitely want to pick a pad from a reliable manufacturer backed by satisfied user reviews. A particular mouse pad might look great, but someone who has owned the one you want for a couple years can tell you if it held up well through thousands of hours of use.

Size

Your work area or desktop space will largely dictate the size of your mouse pad. There are a wide range of sizes available, especially if you’re looking at high-quality gaming or professional mouse pads. You might consider wide mouse pads that fit under your keyboard, to provide some shock resistance under the keys, with material that extends under your mouse. If you tend to move your hand a lot, then you want a large mouse pad that will keep you on the pad even when making wide movements and gestures. If your workspace is limited, then a small mouse pad is obviously ideal.

Mouse Compatibility

You want to make sure you pick a mouse pad that will function properly with your mouse. While most pads work with older ball and optical mice, laser mice can be more difficult to control. If you get a pad which isn’t compatible with your type of mouse, you can find yourself losing input sensitivity, dealing with slowed response time, and even having the on-screen icon stop responding to your movements. Look for a pad that works with your type of mouse and tune into the user reviews to be sure your particular

Additional Features

There are not a ton of extra features you are likely to find on a mouse pad, but a few things are worth considering. Wrist pads are the most common thing you are likely to see, which keeps your wrist comfortable during mouse use. This type of pad can also help keep your wrist elevated in a position that reduces the possibility of carpal tunnel syndrome due to mouse use.

You should definitely look for a mouse pad with wrist support, although separate wrist pads are available. While the look of your mouse pad might not be the most important consideration, you should consider one that integrates well with your established computer setup. If you really want to make an impression, you can even find a mouse pad with colored lighting that you can set to match your rig and other illuminated hardware, but that’s definitely not a necessity.

Manufacturer and Warranty

Much like choosing other computer hardware and peripherals, you want to pick a manufacturer that’s reliable and well known for making quality mouse pads. Companies like SteelSeries, Xtrac, and Fellowes are well known for producing solid products that work very well. You can also consider manufacturers known for making peripherals, like Razer and XFX.

While the warranty on a mouse pad might not be quite as important as something like a $500 graphics card, you should still keep it in mind. You want to pick a model covered by at least a six-month warranty, though a year or more of protection is really ideal.

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