Best Cheap Computer Mice
Published on By Michael Sweet
Kensington Mouse in a Box K72356US Review
(From $6.00 Best)
If you're stalking a computer mouse for its rock-bottom price, this wired Mouse in a Box from Kensington is the one to capture.
The Kensington Mouse in a Box K72356US (starting at $6, Amazon) is so cheap it's practically disposable. But Kensington Mouse in a Box reviews indicate that most users aren't going to ditch this mouse anytime soon. At Best Buy, reviews offer up praise for its sturdy feel, responsiveness, and comfort. Users also say the cord is more than long enough to stretch from PC to mousepad. It's clear from reviews, though, that the attribute users appreciate most about the Kensington mouse is its low, low price. Users who commented at Newegg rave about the excellent value, with the consensus opinion asserting it has a comfortable feel and smooth scrolling. Several users also say it's a winner as a gaming mouse because it's quick and precise.
The Mouse in a Box is a wired, optical mouse that plugs into a USB port. The design is ambidextrous and features two buttons plus a scroll wheel. Light on features -- no extra buttons, no programmable software -- is no surprise given the sub-$10 price.
We doubt you can find such a good, solid mouse at a cheaper price. If you don't care about frills and just want a simple mouse that gets the job done, this one's for you.
Microsoft Wireless Mobile Mouse 3500 Review
(From $20.00 Best)
Few wireless computer mice are cheap, but Microsoft's Wireless Mobile Mouse 3500 is less expensive than most and much appreciated for its comfort and BlueTrack technology.
The Microsoft Wireless Mobile Mouse 3500 (starting at $20, Amazon) is popular for its price as well as its design. A "Studio Series" version of this mouse features original artwork and is available in several solid colors, although that version of the 3500 costs a few dollars more. With more than 400 Microsoft Wireless Mobile Mouse 3500 reviews posted at Amazon it's clear that the vast majority are thrilled with this budget mouse. In particular, reviews like the comfortable feel as well as the reliability and accuracy. They also praise Microsoft's BlueTrack technology, which lets the mouse work on most any type of surface, including rugs and furniture. That was one of the big selling points for an expert at PC Mag, who took the mouse for a test drive and found it traveled well on a variety of surfaces. The review expresses some disappointment that this model is short on features but commends the design, grip, and feel. A Microsoft Wireless Mobile Mouse 3500 review at About.com says it performs smoothly, with no lag or connectivity problems, and the scroll wheel rolls nicely.
The 3500 is a wireless mouse that runs on one AA battery (included with original packaging). It features an ambidextrous design and includes two buttons plus a scroll wheel. The 3500 uses a small USB receiver to signal the PC. As noted above, it uses Microsoft's exclusive BlueTrack technology, which eliminates the need for a mouse pad.
In short, this is a good quality wireless mouse that's relatively cheap. The BlueTrack technology should appeal to mobile users who often find themselves grabbing for a mouse wherever they find a surface. We found few critical reports about the Wireless Mobile Mouse 3500, leading us to conclude it's a solid performer.
This laser mouse sits a bit out of our price range, but you may want to go after it if you're looking for more features and buttons on a budget.
Logitech's M500 (starting at $28, Amazon) is a little pricier than the other computer mice we researched, but it also boasts more features. According to Logitech M500 reviews at Amazon, users like the fact that the scroll button has two modes: With a click, you can set the scroll wheel to a free scrolling mode that zips through long documents and web pages; click again and the scroll wheel reverts to normal, scrolling through a few lines before you feel the wheel click. They also applaud the laser component, which means they can mouse over almost any surface, and the solid and comfortable feel. Some users are fans of its gaming prowess, made possible by what they say is sensitive and precise responsiveness. Reviews posted at Staples echo all these assessments, and one user expresses relief that you don't have to worry about changing batteries with this wired mouse.
The M500 is a corded laser mouse that includes two side buttons in addition to the usual top two buttons and scroll wheel. Just plug the mouse into the computer's USB port and you're good to go. Unlike the other budget computer mice we reviewed, this model is for right-handed users only.
The Logitech M500 is a pretty good value if you're hunting for a mouse with more features than you'll find on other budget models. Here you get a couple of extra buttons and a dual-mode scrolling feature and precise laser tracking technology that's useful on many surfaces. Unfortunately, hard-core southpaws needn't bother -- Logitech doesn't seem to have a left-handed version of the M500.
Dynex DX-NPWLMSE Review
(From $10.00 Good)
The wireless DX-NPWLMSE mouse from Dynex is cheap enough, but some users report that the buttons stick when clicked.
Dynex's basic wireless mouse is about as cheap a wireless mouse as you'll find, and Dynex DX-NPWLMSE reviews assert it does the job for most anyone on the prowl for a bargain. At Best Buy users indicate they're quite impressed with this mouse and conclude it's an excellent value, citing the quality, comfort, and battery life as evidence. Some users who posted reviews at Amazon agree, although others aired their complaints. These less favorable reviews say the mouse is a bit slow to respond to movement, the batteries give out too quickly, and the mouse buttons sometimes stick when you click them.
The Dynex DX-NPWLMSE (starting at $10, Amazon) wireless mouse is an ambidextrous model that runs on one AA battery (included in the original packaging). The mouse features a low battery indicator that lets you know when the battery should be replaced. Like most cheap computer mice, the Dynex DX-NPWLMSE has two buttons plus a clickable scroll wheel. The mouse contains a tiny wireless USB receiver for sending signals to the PC.
If you prefer a wireless mouse to a wired one but still want to cap your outlay at $15, the Dynex DX-NPWLMSE is almost certainly your best bet. Be aware, though, that it may not work as seamlessly as pricier wireless mice or corded devices. Although most users report smooth mousing, several were stymied by sticky buttons.
Where to buy
If you have a desktop computer, you need a mouse. In fact, many laptop users prefer to use a cheap computer mouse rather than the touchpads built into their systems. No surprise, then, that computer mice are almost as prolific as their real-world namesakes. Lots of companies make computer mice, from simple wired mice to more extravagant wireless mice designed for PC gaming. But you don't have to spend a bundle to get a quality mouse -- there's a good cheap mouse for every PC.
Cheap Mouse Buying Guide
Cheap computer mice are available in several types, shapes, and sizes, and you want to be sure to find one that feels comfortable to use. Ideally, get your hands on a mouse at a local store to make sure it's a good fit before bringing it home. If you have smaller hands, consider buying a compact mouse, such as the Microsoft Wireless Mobile Mouse 3500 (starting at $20). Be sure the mouse has some heft to it for smoother tracking across the mousing surface.
Cheap Wireless Mouse vs. Wired Mouse.
Whether you buy a wired or wireless mouse is largely a matter of personal preference. A cheap wireless mouse like the Dynex DX-NPWLMSE (starting at $10), which is relatively well reviewed for its price, makes for a less cluttered work area and is more convenient when you're on the road with a laptop and hardly in a position to fuss with a mouse that's connected through a wire. Bear in mind, though, that a wireless mouse generally costs more upfront than a wired mouse and requires ongoing outlays for batteries. A cheap wired mouse, like the Kensington Mouse in a Box K72356US (starting at $6), is ready to go, battery-free, as soon as it's plugged into the PC -- and there are no recurring costs.
Optical Mouse vs. Laser Mouse.The days of trackball mice are long gone, and we're all grateful for that. Most cheap mice today are "optical laser" devices that use an LED light to track their movement on a mousepad; the Kensington Mouse in a Box is one example. You may also come across "laser" mice, which use a laser, rather than an LED, to track movement and cost about the same as optical mice but happen to be more precise; the Logitech M500 (starting at $28) is a good cheap laser mouse. It's worth noting, as does a CNET editor, that laser mice work well on many surfaces while optical mice sometimes balk on black or shiny surfaces. However, she adds, a laser mouse may be too sensitive for anyone other than a gamer. (Should you opt for a laser mouse anyway, look for one with adjustable sensitivity.)
Some mice from Microsoft, including the Wireless Mobile Mouse 3500, use the company's proprietary BlueTrack technology. Neither optical nor laser, BlueTrack incorporates a large (and visible) blue beam, image sensor, and pixel geometry that track accurately over just about any surface, including fabrics and wood.
All cheap computer mice have at least two buttons and a scroll wheel, which often serves as a third button when clicked. For most users three buttons are enough, although some cheap mice, like the corded Logitech M500, feature five or more buttons. A mouse with extra buttons should include software that lets you assign different functions to the buttons, such as auto-scrolling or closing a document.