The best gaming mouse pad

From bestreviews.com
By
Jennifer Blair
BestReviews

An extended gaming mouse pad allows you to play both your keyboard and mouse for more comfortable, effective gameplay.

Serious gamers know how important having the right gear is. If you game on your computer, the system and its accessories are critical to gameplay -- even something as simple as your mouse pad. You want your mouse to be able to respond quickly to the game, so you need a surface that allows you to move the mouse with speed and accuracy. A gaming mouse pad is designed specifically for fast-paced action, but it's constructed with comfort in mind, too. It provides cushioning for your wrist, with some even featuring a wrist rest to provide even greater support. Gaming mouse pads can also offer other features such as wireless charging and LED lights to really take your gaming to the next level.

Our buying guide has all the advice you need to find the best gaming mouse pad for your gaming setup. We've rounded up some specific product recommendations, including our top pick from Razer, which features both hard and soft sides and boasts a comfy wrist rest to provide plenty of support.

Considerations when choosing gaming mouse pads

Size

The size of a gaming mouse pad is obviously a crucial feature because it has to fit comfortably on your desk as part of your gaming setup. But the size can also affect how sensitive your mouse performance is. If you prefer to use a lower mouse sensitivity, opt for a larger mouse pad because you'll need the space to move your mouse around more. If you prefer to use a higher mouse sensitivity,  a smaller pad can work just fine.

Some brands offer extended gaming mouse pads that are large enough to cover the full length of your desk. This can be a great option if you want to place your mouse and keyboard on the same surface.

Surface material

A gaming mouse pad's surface material is critical because it plays a role not only in how precise and free your mouse's movements are but also how durable the pad is. Some gaming mouse pads have a woven fabric surface that's stitched along the edge to prevent fraying. Other models feature a vulcanized silicone or hard plastic surface.

Hard surfaces are usually low friction and allow you to move your mouse faster, which is ideal for movement-heavy games or those that require quick reflexes. Soft surfaces are higher friction, which doesn't allow for super-fast movement but does offer greater precision that's often necessary for shooter games.

Base

A gaming mouse pad should be stable enough to stay in place when you're gaming. Some pads have a silicone or rubber coating on the bottom to grip your desk and keep it in place. Other models have rubber stops at the corners to keep it from shifting.

The thickness of the base material can determine how comfortable you find the mouse pad. A thinner base, which is usually only 2 millimeters thick, is a good option if you want a more natural base. An average base material measures about 3 millimeters thick, and is an excellent compromise between a natural and cushioned feel. Thick bases that measure about 5 millimeters thick are somewhat bulky, but they offer a more cushioned feel while you're playing.

Features

Double-sided

Most gaming pads feature a top working side and a bottom side with some sort of base or grippy material to keep it in place. But some pads are actually double-sided -- they feature a woven fabric side and a hard plastic or polycarbonate side. That allows you to switch between a low- or high-friction mouse pad based on the game that you're playing.

Wrist rest

If you have marathon gaming sessions, you want a gaming mouse pad that keeps you as comfortable as possible. Some are ergonomically designed to provide support for the wrist and arm movements required for gaming. These pads usually feature a built-in wrist rest that contains memory foam or another type of cushioning material to help support your wrist.

Wireless charging

Some high-end gaming mouse pads are equipped with Qi wireless charging capabilities. That allows you to just rest Qi-compatible devices on the mouse pad to charge them. The pad usually has an LED indicator to display the charging status. Some high-end models even allow you to charge your mouse as you're using it on the pad.

Lighting

It may not affect performance, but some gamers enjoy having a mouse pad that lights up. Some high-end pads are outfitted with LED lighting to give your gaming setup a little more personality.

Price

You can expect to spend about $5 and $50 for a gaming mouse pad. Basic models that are relatively small, don't have much padding, and don't offer any special features usually cost $5 to $10. For a larger, extended mouse pad with a wrist rest, you'll typically pay between $10 and $25. High-end gaming mouse pads with extra features such as lighting and wireless charging generally cost between $25 and $50.

FAQ

Q. How do I clean a gaming mouse pad?

A. It's best to wash your mouse pad by hand. Dampen it with water, using a gentle soap to scrub any spots or stains. Rinse it with clean water, dab it dry with a towel, and allow to air dry completely.

Q. Can I use a gaming mouse pad if I'm not an avid gamer?

A. While gamers may get the most benefits from a gaming mouse pad, you may also want to invest in one if you're a graphic designer and need more precise movement from your mouse. A gaming mouse pad can help those who work in the coding or writing fields and anyone who spends long periods on a computer.

Gaming mouse pads we recommend

Best of the best: Razer's Vespula

Our take: A dual-sided gaming mouse pad with a cloth side for more precise movement and a polycarbonate side for faster movements.

What we like: Offers both hard and soft gaming surfaces. Provides a large working surface. Boasts a supportive foam wrist rest. Base is made of non-slip rubber.

What we dislike: A great gaming mouse pad, but one of the more expensive options.

Best bang for your buck: AmazonBasics' Gaming Mouse Pad

Our take: A solid mouse pad for beginner gamers who are on a budget but still want a high-performing, durable option.

What we like: A truly budget-friendly option. Features a thick, nonslip base. Cloth surface is smooth to allow for easy movements. Can be cleaned in the washer. Comes in several sizes.

What we dislike: Edges aren't particularly smooth, so they can feel uncomfortable on your wrist or arm.

Choice 3: SteelSeries' QcK Gaming Mouse Pad

Our take: A basic but still high-quality mouse pad that won't break the bank and can keep you comfortable during long gaming sessions.

What we like: Soft woven cloth surface features a high thread count for improved accuracy. Base is made of nonslip rubber. Well-constructed for improved durability.

What we dislike: Doesn't offer much support for the wrist.

Jennifer Blair is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.

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