Best wireless mice: Cut the cord with these top performers

Our picks offer strong connectivity, speed, and portability.

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If you still think of wireless mice as laggy, battery-sucking substitutes for a real mouse, we’ve got good news for you. Mouse manufacturers have largely solved the latency, connectivity, and power-efficiency problems that once blighted these devices. The best of today’s wireless mice rival their wired counterparts in performance, battery life, features, and design.

There are two rather obvious benefits of a wireless mouse. It eliminates the tether to your computer, giving you greater range—essential if you are constrained by your work area or playing PC games on your TV—and removes a source of friction that often interferes with speed and accuracy. It also makes an essential device more travel friendly. No one objects to one less cord in their gear bag. You’ll probably pay a bit more for a wireless mouse than a wired one, but if you value this kind of convenience it’s worth it.

Want to pair your wireless mouse with a wireless keyboard? We’ve got you covered—see PCWorld’s roundup of the best wireless keyboards.

Our picks for best wireless mice include innovative designs, ergonomic features, and multiple connectivity options. They also cover both productivity and gaming uses, so you should be able to find at least one that suits your needs. You’ll find our tips on what to look for in a wireless mouse below our recommendations.

Best wireless mice 2020

Microsoft Arc Mouse

Microsoft Arc Mouse
Best portable wireless mouse

If we had a “most unusual mouse design” category, the Arc Mouse would win that as well. It lays flat until you bend it into an arc that conforms to the shape of your mouse-ing hand. It uses a single click pad for left and right buttons and scrolling, and the default settings can be changed in Windows device settings.

At just 5.17 x 2.17 x 0.56 inches, the Arc Mouse is easily the most portable mouse we tested. We also like that there is no USB receiver to worry about misplacing—the Arc Mouse connects via Bluetooth 4.0. Folks with extra-large hands might find it a little small, but for most it will be a welcome addition to their gear bag.

Pros

  • Travel-friendly size
  • Comfortable design
  • Good productivity performance

Cons

  • Limited customization options
  • Needs two AAA batteries
  • Might be small for bigger hands

Logitech MX Ergo

Logitech MX Ergo
Best wireless mouse with trackball

Trackball mice are an acquired taste, but the MX Ergo’s innovative design may have wider appeal. Its width and shape can accommodate most hand sizes and its responsive thumb-side trackball is easy to use and control.

A removable metal plate on the bottom serves a dual purpose. Its weight keeps the mouse perfectly still on your desk as you rotate the scroll wheel. And it can also be adjusted to tilt the mouse 20 degrees, an angle that puts your arm in a more natural, rested position.

The mouse has eight buttons—including a dedicated precision button that slows the cursor speed so you can make more accurate movements with the trackball—all of which can be customized using Logitech Options software. The mouse connects via an accompanying USB dongle or Bluetooth, and Logitech claims its battery can go four months on a single full charge. The only downer is it's not ambidextrous, so southpaws will have to look elsewhere.

Pros

  • Comfortable ergonomic tilt
  • Solid build
  • Highly customizable

Cons

  • Right-handed only
  • Expensive

Logitech MX Vertical

Logitech MX Vertical
Best ergonomic wireless mouse

If you have a history of mouse-related hand and arm discomfort, the MX vertical is a great option. Its upright position and contoured body puts your arm at about a 57-degree vertical angle, reducing the pressure on your wrist and creating a comfortable thumb rest. Despite the unconventional design, the mouse still offers familiar controls with split mouse buttons, a scroll wheel aligned to your first two fingers, and a pair of thumb buttons on the adjascent side.

The mouse supports Logitech’s Unified Receiver and Bluetooth connections. You can also wire it to your computer using the USB-C charging cable. You can use it with Logitech Options to customize button settings and with Logitech Flow to seamlessly control multiple computers with a single mouse.

The MX Veritcal is a high-performing productivity tool once you get acclimated to the vertical design, and one that may prevent pain and strain as well as ease them.

Pros

  • Comfortable ergonomic design
  • Can cross-control multiple devices
  • Customizable button mapping

Cons

  • Has a bit of a learning curve
  • Expensive

Microsoft Bluetooth Mouse

Microsoft Bluetooth Mouse
Best budget wireless mouse

For a no-nonsense, go-anywhere mouse, the Microsoft Bluetooth Mouse is hard to beat. As its name makes clear, it connects over Bluetooth so there’s no USB dongle to keep track of. Split buttons and a clickable scroll wheel let you precisely navigate web pages and large documents, and it tracks easily over most surfaces.

The Microsoft Bluetooth Mouse runs on a single AA battery but since it uses Bluetooth Low Energy, you can expect up to 12 months of battery life. It’s available in five colors.

Pros

  • Compact, ambidextrous design
  • Clickable scroll wheel
  • Inexpensive

Cons

  • No programmable buttons
  • No ergonomic features

SteelSeries Rival 650

SteelSeries Rival 650
Best wireless gaming mouse

Wireless gaming mice offer a critical advantage—no cord resistance to slow down your movements or mess with the precision of your aim. Our top pick is the the SteelSeries Rival 650. It features an eye-catching design, smart button placement, and of wealth customization options. It also uses a unique dual-sensor system, pairing SteelSeries’ exclusive TrueMove3 with a dedicated depth sensor that keeps your aim steady when you lift up and adjust the mouse.

The SteelSeries Rival 650 uses quick-charging tech similar to what you find in phones, giving you about 10 hours of charge from a mere 15 minutes plugged in. Best of all, you get all this for about half the price of its competitors.

To learn more read our full review of the SteelSeries Rival 650.

Pros

  • Fast charging
  • Comfortable and attractive design
  • Removable weight system provides plenty of options

Cons

  • Heavier than some might like
  • Expensive
  • Third thumb button is small and awkwardly placed

Logitech G603

Logitech G603
Best wireless gaming mouse for travel

You can use your main mouse for gaming on the road. But Logitech’s G603 is a better choice. This dedicated wireless gaming mouse features six programmable buttons, including the scroll wheel and a comfortable scoop shape that conforms to right-handers’ thumbs. Two AA batteries power up to 500 hours of gaming thanks to Logitech’s proprietary HERO sensor, which provides accurate performance with no smoothing, no acceleration, and no interference up to 12,000 DPI. 

To learn more, read our full review of the Logitech G603.

Pros

  • Adopts Logitech’s comfortable G703 scooped shape
  • 500 hours of high-performance gaming off two AA batteries
  • Flashy one-piece battery cover and button design

Cons

  • Heavy, thanks to the dual batteries
  • Hard to say how durable the buttons will be over time

What to look for in a wireless mouse

Connectivity

In lieu of a cord, wireless mice connect in one of two ways: via Bluetooth or radio frequencies. Most modern computers ship with Bluetooth support, so if you purchase a Bluetooth-compatible mouse, you’ll just need to pair the two devices to get up and running.

Wireless mice that connect using radio frequencies come with a USB-RF receiver that plugs into a USB port on your computer. This is a plug-and-play process and the mouse should talk to the receiver—often called a “dongle”—as soon as you plug it in. If you don’t or can’t keep the dongle plugged into your computer at all times—you only have so many USB ports, after all—you’ll have to vigilantly keep track of it. If you lose it, your mouse won’t be good for anything but a paper weight. For this reason, some mice come with a small compartment in which you can store the receiver when it’s not in use.

The main concern with wireless connectivity is latency. If your input doesn’t register onscreen nearly instantly, you productivity will quickly take a hit. A mouse’s responsiveness is even more critical when gaming, where quick reflexes can be the difference between virtual life and death.

Unfortunately, there’s little agreement around which connectivity method is faster. Gaming companies like Razer and SteelSeries claim RF connections have the advantage, and that is likely true for gaming. But the latency difference between Bluetooth and RF, which is measured in tenths of a millisecond, is probably negligible for productivity. In our tests, we saw little difference between the two types of connectivity during basic work tasks.

Ergonomics

Mouse use has been implicated in repetitive stress injuries for years, and manufacturers have responded with all kinds of quirky designs they claim will prevent or relieve wrist and arm pain. They have tweaked the mouse’s sculpt, button position, and shape seemingly every which way to facilitate a more natural angle for your arm when it’s moving and at rest. But just because the box says a mouse is ergonomic doesn’t mean it’s guaranteed to reduce your discomfort. The only way to tell for sure is to use it for a period of time, and unfortunately retailers don’t typically allow test drives.

Still, for designers, PC gamers, and others who who spend continuous hours using a mouse, prioritizing an ergonomic model is probably worth it. Just remember, the type of mouse you use is only one factor in minimizing RSIs, and your habits may be an even more important factor.

Programmable buttons

While the functions of left and right buttons and the scroll wheel are clear, many mice include additional buttons on the side and/or top of the mouse that you can configure for custom tasks. Mapping these buttons to things like the back button of your browser, “cut” and “paste” commands, or other repetitive tasks can save you a lot of time in the long run. Typically, if a mouse comes with a half-dozen buttons, it will also include the manufacturer’s software for programming them.

 

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At a Glance
  • Microsoft Arc Mouse

  • Logitech MX Ergo

  • Logitech MX Vertical

  • Microsoft Bluetooth Mouse

  • SteelSeries Rival 650

  • Logitech G603

 
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