Gone are the days when wireless mice were laggy, battery-sucking substitutes for a real mouse. Wireless mice have improved in leaps and bounds over the past few years, with mouse manufacturers having largely solved the problems that blighted these devices in the past. Stability, practically lag-free connections, and long battery lives are now the norm. In fact, with none of the issues that held them back in the past, wireless mice have become the go-to mice of choice for most people.
Wireless mice come with two rather obvious benefits: they eliminate the tether to your computer and they are travel friendly for when you need a mouse on the go—no one objects to carrying around one less cord. While you might pay a bit more for a wireless mouse than a wired one, the value of this kind of convenience is well 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.
Looking for a wireless mouse specific to gaming? Take a look at our best wireless gaming mice.
Our picks for best wireless mice include innovative designs, ergonomic features, and multiple connectivity options. They also cover both casual 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. Read on to learn more.
Microsoft Arc Mouse – Most portable wireless mouse
- Travel-friendly size
- Comfortable design
- Good productivity performance
- Limited customization options
- Needs two AAA batteries
- Might be small for bigger hands
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 people it will be a welcome addition to their gear bag.
Logitech MX Ergo – Best wireless mouse with a trackball
- Comfortable ergonomic tilt
- Solid build
- Highly customizable
- Right-handed only
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.
Logitech MX Vertical – Best ergonomic wireless mouse
- Comfortable ergonomic design
- Can cross-control multiple devices
- Customizable button mapping
- Has a bit of a learning curve
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.
Logitech Lift – Best ergonomic wireless mouse for lefties
- Comfortable vertical grip
- Left-hand option
- Highly customizable buttons
- Smooth tracking
- Angle of mouse better suited for people preventing or reducing mild wrist and elbow discomfort
Logitech does it again with the Lift. What sets this ergonomic offering apart from the excellent MX Vertical is that this mouse is smaller, thus suited for small-to-medium hands, it can be had in a left-handed version, and it comes in fun duo-tone colors. It’s comfortable in the hand and can connect via Bluetooth or the included 2.4GHz wireless dongle. The buttons can be customized using the Logi Options+ software, so this mouse will meet your work-process demands as well as your demands for physical comfort.
Microsoft Bluetooth Mouse – Best budget wireless mouse
- Compact, ambidextrous design
- Clickable scroll wheel
- No programmable buttons
- No ergonomic features
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.
SteelSeries Rival 650 – Best wireless mouse for gaming
- Fast charging
- Comfortable and attractive design
- Removable weight system provides plenty of options
- Heavier than some might like
- Third thumb button is small and awkwardly placed
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 a wealth of 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.
Logitech G603 – Best budget wireless mouse for gaming
- 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
- Heavy, thanks to the dual batteries
- Hard to say how durable the buttons will be over time
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.
What to look for in a wireless mouse
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.
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.
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.
What are the disadvantages of a wireless mouse?
There are a few disadvantages of a wireless mouse compared to a wired version. The main disadvantage is regarding speed and response time. Information travels faster via a wired connection than a wireless radio protocol connection—which most wireless mice utilize. This speed difference can be especially noticeable while playing games that require fast reflexes and split-second decisions. However, most modern gaming mice now utilize advanced technology that produces almost nonexistent input lag.
Another disadvantage to using a wireless mouse over a wired mouse is that of power. Wired mice draw their power directly from the device they are connected to and therefore never run out of juice. However, a wireless mouse runs off of batteries that either need to be recharged occasionally or replaced.
But at PCWorld we think that these disadvantages are relatively minor and using a wireless mouse likely provides more advantages than drawbacks.
Do all wireless mice need USB?
No. While it is still common for wireless mice to utilize a USB dongle that connects to a computer, more and more wireless mice are beginning to use Bluetooth connections instead. There isn’t any performance difference between the two; however, if your device has Bluetooth compatibility, that might be the way to go. Bluetooth has the advantage of not requiring an open USB port on your device and many peripherals can be connected to one device via Bluetooth.
How do you connect a wireless mouse to a computer?
To connect a wireless mouse that uses a USB dongle, it’s as simple as plugging the dongle into your computer and then turning on the wireless mouse. Most likely your computer will automatically download any firmware required and then you’re off to the races.
If you want to connect your wireless mouse via Bluetooth, first ensure that both your mouse and computer are Bluetooth compatible and it’s enabled. Then find your device settings on your computer and press and hold the synchronization button on the wireless mouse. It should pop up on the list of available Bluetooth devices on your computer. Simply click to connect and you’re good to go.