POINT AND CLICK
A well-made mouse is a must if you own a desktop computer, especially if you spend countless hours on it daily, as many business professionals and gamers do. But a good mouse can also come in handy if you use a laptop and find the built-in touchpad awkward to use. The cheapest computer mice sell for less than $10, but they lack anything beyond the ubiquitous left- and right-click buttons and scroll wheel and often suffer from poor functionality or an uncomfortable fit. Spend a little more, and you can get a wireless mouse with speedy Bluetooth connectivity and features like programmable buttons for repetitive gaming or web browsing. More expensive mice also have greater accuracy and sensitivity (measured in dots per inch, or DPI) to precisely translate the slightest movement onto the screen. Optical mice with LED sensors have lower DPI counts, while mice with laser sensors are more sensitive. If you do detailed graphics or design work, or a lot of gaming, you probably want a mouse with higher sensitivity. Otherwise, experts suggest that more than 2,000 DPI is probably overkill for the average user. Although wired computer mice, which connect to a computer via USB cable, tend to be cheaper than wireless mice, some gamers actually prefer them, because wireless mice generally have slower response times.
To determine our picks for the best computer mice, we looked at roundups and individual product testing results from sites like PCMag, CNET, TechRadar, Digital Trends, PCWorld, and Wirecutter. We also read through hundreds of owner reviews to get a sense of how expert-recommended products fare in real-world settings. Our picks include both wired and wireless mice designed to serve a variety of functions, from simple everyday use to seamless business multitasking and streamlined computer gaming. We even have an ergonomic vertical mouse, made for people who suffer from repetitive strain injuries such as carpal tunnel. That said, experts and users agree that, aside from price range and personal preference, choosing the “best” computer mouse really comes down to individual comfort. Even the most expensive, feature-rich recommendation can fail on that front. Since personal fit really can be determined only through use, be sure to purchase a mouse from a retailer with a generous return and exchange policy. Unless otherwise noted, all mice in this review come with a one-year limited warranty.
Prices and availability are subject to change.
LOGITECH M720 TRIATHLON | Best Value Wireless Mouse
Est. Price: $33 | Buy it on Amazon
- 8 control buttons; 6 are programmable.
- Can pair with up to 3 devices via Bluetooth and be used simultaneously across computers.
- 2-year battery life, according to the manufacturer.
- Bluetooth pairing doesn’t work reliably with some devices.
- Users report occasional lags in response, especially with the scroll wheel (which is also prone to “ghost scrolling”).
- Some say the plastic housing and buttons feel a bit cheap.
Takeaway: Logitech dominates the computer-mouse market with more than two dozen models for home and business, many of which are favorites of consumers and experts alike. Reviewers say the M720 Triathlon, with its 1,000 DPI sensor, offers terrific bang for the buck, because it can switch seamlessly among three devices in your home or office (even allowing cutting and pasting between computers!). It’s also very comfortable to use for extended periods of time, users say, and simple to customize using Logitech’s included software. Unlike some wireless mice, the M720 can pair with computers via Bluetooth or with a traditional dongle using radio frequency (RF), so connections can be switched as needed.
LOGITECH MX MASTER 2S | Best Wireless Mouse for Business
Est. Price: $75 | Buy it on Amazon
- 7 buttons, 6 of which are programmable, plus a second scroll wheel for the thumb.
- Supports 3 devices via Bluetooth.
- “Flow-enabled” mouse that can move between computers.
- Very responsive and precise tracking in expert testing.
- Rechargeable battery (charges from a computer via micro USB).
- Some users report trouble pairing via Bluetooth; Mac OS X devices seem to cause particular problems.
- A few complain about the large size or awkward positioning of the thumb controls.
- Definitely not designed for left-handed users.
Takeaway: The Logitech MX Master 2S gets more recommendations from professional reviewers and testers than any other wireless mouse we recommend. TechRadar gives it an incredible full-5-star rating, calling it, “a mouse perfectly sculpted for productivity.” Serious computer users love that the MX Master 2S can pair with up to three Bluetooth devices simultaneously for streamlined multitasking, and the added thumbwheel makes it possible to scroll horizontally as well as vertically. With an incredibly sensitive 4,000 DPI Darkfield laser sensor, it works on virtually any surface, including glass. Logitech advertises that the rechargeable battery can go 70 days between charges, and reviewers say this claim holds up. Most owners also say the mouse is easy to program and comfortable to use for long periods, although a few gripe that the design forces the hand into unnatural positions. Otherwise, aside from scattered reports of fussy Bluetooth connectivity, it’s hard to find truly negative feedback on this mouse.
MICROSOFT CLASSIC INTELLIMOUSE | Best Wired Computer Mouse
Est. Price: $30 | Buy it on Amazon
- A reviewer favorite for its comfortable shape and feel.
- 5 buttons, 3 of which are programmable.
- Users say it works well on all surfaces.
- Software download required to configure the mouse.
- Rubber side padding is prone to peeling after repeated use.
- Some say the stiff USB cable is too inflexible and can get in the way.
Takeaway: If all you need is a basic computer mouse for web browsing, word processing, and other business tasks, and you don’t need a ton of programmable buttons or a flashy, wireless design, reviewers say the Microsoft Classic IntelliMouse is an excellent choice. The grandchild of the original IntelliMouse — which earned such strong loyalty after its debut in 1996 that it was upgraded in 2003 as the IntelliMouse 3.0 — this latest version of the wildly popular Microsoft mouse is a worthy successor, most owners say. It’s just as comfortable to use as its predecessors but has a slimmer, streamlined shape and a stepped-up 3,200 DPI laser optical tracker that is responsive on any surface. In TechRadar testing, it worked even on carpeting.
RAZER DEATHADDER ELITE | Best Gaming Mouse
Est. Price: $50 | Buy it on Amazon
- Judged the best gaming mouse of 2018 based on hands-on testing by both Wirecutter and PC Gamer.
- 7 programmable buttons.
- Very precise, with adjustable sensitivity up to 16,000 DPI.
- Comfortable to use for extended periods, most owners say.
- 2-year warranty.
- Scroll wheel is prone to squeaking after a few months of use.
- Online account required to use configuration software.
Takeaway: Razer gaming devices have a well-earned reputation among reviewers for their quality, and this low-cost entry in the DeathAdder line gets solid marks from owners for its performance — which many say is on par with gaming mice that are twice as expensive. Its ergonomics are top-notch as well. The large, smooth, and gently rounded shell feels very solid and remarkably comfortable in the hand, according to users. Owners also praise the grippy, padded side buttons and lightweight braided cord. The configuration software is easy to use and allows different user settings for multiple applications. The adjustable sensitivity can be set higher for greater responsiveness and a finer touch or lower for smoother, less jittery movements. The only drawback with the software is that you must log in to an online account every time you want to adjust the mouse’s settings, which garners some complaints from reviewers.
LOGITECH G203 PRODIGY | Best Cheap Gaming Mouse
Est. Price: $27 | Buy it on Amazon
- 6 programmable buttons.
- User gaming profiles can be saved.
- 2-year warranty.
- Low price for a lot of features.
- Some owners say the scroll wheel action isn’t very smooth.
- May not be comfortable for extended use.
- Scattered reports of random shutdowns.
Takeaway: Reviewers say this wired computer mouse is a good choice for beginner gamers because it’s inexpensive yet feature-rich, responsive, and precise. The scroll wheel and six buttons can be custom-set with the included Logitech support software, and owners like that the side buttons can be configured for either left
APPLE MAGIC MOUSE 2 | Wireless Mouse for Mac Users
Est. Price: $74 | Buy it on Amazon
- Pairs simply and quickly with Apple devices using a Lightning-to-USB cable.
- Built-in gesture control allows swiping, zooming, and scrolling like a trackpad.
- Long-lasting rechargeable battery.
- Low, smooth design is uncomfortable for some users.
- Can’t be used while charging.
- Not compatible with Windows computers.
Takeaway: Apple users are a loyal bunch, and a majority of those who have purchased and reviewed the Magic Mouse 2 give it a solid thumbs-up for performance. Most insist that this Bluetooth mouse is a breeze to pair with Mac desktops and laptops, and it tracks smoothly across any surface. Still, it’s a bit pricey for its rather basic features. The sleek design is very attractive and feels very solid, reviewers say, but it’s also not at all ergonomic. A number of owners complain that their hands or wrists felt cramped after extended use, while others say a careless hand movement can inadvertently trigger an unwanted swipe or zoom. The other chief gripe: The charging port is located on the base of the mouse, rendering it unusable when plugged in. But with a battery that’s advertised to run as long as a month on a full charge, maybe that doesn’t matter much. Mac owners who consider the latest Magic Mouse a must-have should keep in mind that it requires OS X El Capitan (version 10.11) or later.
EVOLUENT VERTICAL MOUSE C RIGHT WIRELESS (VMCRW) | Wireless Ergonomic Vertical Mouse
Est. Price: $98 | Buy it from Jet
- 5 programmable buttons.
- Tracking speed is adjustable on the fly.
- Ergonomic upright shape designed for less arm and wrist strain.
- 2-year warranty.
- May feel awkward to use at first.
- Scroll wheel isn’t very durable, some users say.
- Expensive given its fairly basic functionality.
Takeaway: People suffering from repetitive-stress hand or wrist injuries may find an ergonomic mouse like the wedge-shaped Evoluent VMCRW more comfortable to use than a regular mouse. With its vertical grip, this Bluetooth mouse does take some getting used to, reviewers say, but most agree it’s relatively comfortable to use and can alleviate stress on the forearm. The tracking sensitivity can be set from low to high (enhanced) and adjusted while using the mouse. The most common complaints about this mouse center on quality issues, notably with the scroll wheel, which several users say began to squeak or stopped rolling smoothly after just a few months of use. Other owners say the mouse stopped tracking accurately. For the price, there are certainly better functioning mice, but for those for whom ergonomics are a primary concern, this Evoluent mouse may just be the perfect fit. The ergonomic mouse comes in both wired and wireless versions — they even come in different sizes. The company also makes a similar mouse for lefties, the VerticalMouse 4 Left ($80 for wired; buy it on Amazon).