Choosing a PC-gaming mouse requires special considerations. You’re not simply navigating around webpages and Office docs. As a gamer, your mouse is critical to tasks like fragging bots and shooting zombies.
On top of that there are personal preferences at play. Every little detail from the overall shape and size, to the number and placement of buttons, to a mouse’s cable (or lack thereof), and other myriad factors can change your opinion. More than any other peripheral, a mouse is the hardest to recommend, because there is no objectively perfect mouse. Everyone’s hands are different.
That said, we can guide you on your search. Below are our recommendations for gaming mice, built on years of experience first and foremost as gamers, and second as writers here at PCWorld.
1. Logitech G502 Hero — Best general-purpose gaming mouse
Some iteration of Logitech’s G502 mouse has been on this list ever since it first released back in 2014. It’s still one of the most comfortable mice I’ve ever used. It also packs a ton of buttons in smart places, with three thumb buttons, two more arrayed along the side of the standard left mouse button, and a tilt wheel. The latest version features the Hero sensor, which maintains the top-tier performance that the G502 is known for.
Read our full
Logitech G502 Hero review
2. Mad Catz R.A.T. 8+ — Best gaming mouse for tinkerers
If you like an aggressive mouse design, this is the gaming mouse for you. Mad Catz R.A.T. line is like no other. The modularity and the exposed knobs and levers are more than design choices, however. This is a gaming mouse for tinkerers.
Read our full
Mad Catz R.A.T. 8+ review
3. Cooler Master MM830 — Budget option
The MM830 has some gimmicks, like a built-in D-pad (that barely functions as such) and tiny little OLED display, but it’s still a solid gaming mouse where it counts. It feels good in the grip and durable, it’s got an elegant and understated design, and it houses the top-tier PMW3360 sensor—all for a budget price.
Read our full
Cooler Master MM830 review
4. Logitech Powerplay Wireless Charging System — Best wireless gaming mouse
The reason we are recommending Logitech’s wireless charging system over a particular wireless mouse, is that any of Logitech’s three compatible wireless mice are laudable. What sets them above the rest of the pact is the genius way the Logitech Powerplay mouse pad performs constant charging on your wireless mouse in the course of using it, so it’s never out of commission while it gets recharged.
Of the three mice that are compatible with Powerplay, the G502 Lightspeed ($100 on Logitech) is obviously our top recommendation. The G703 (also at $100), is a decent right-handed alternative though. And then there’s the G903 (now down to $90), which matches many of the G502’s features but opts for an ambidextrous shape.
Read our full
Logitech Powerplay Wireless Charging System review
5. Razer Mamba Hyperflux and Firefly Hyperflux — Best wireless gaming mouse for Razer fans
If you’re more a fan of Razer’s mice, it might also be worth checking out the Razer Mamba Hyperflux and Firefly Hyperflux combo. The conceit is the same. It’s a wireless mouse that you don’t need to worry about charging. Razer’s implementation is even more futuristic though—the Mamba Hyperflux mouse doesn’t have any battery.
Instead it’s powered directly from the Firefly Hyperflux mouse pad, with a capacitor in the mouse storing about 20 seconds of charge—enough to lift and adjust the mouse. That makes it less convenient for travel (mouse pad is a requisite); plus it’s more expensive than Logitech’s solution.
Read our full
Razer Mamba Hyperflux and Firefly Hyperflux review
6. SteelSeries Rival 650 — Best rechargeable wireless gaming mouse
Okay, so maybe you don’t want to purchase an entire mousepad just to use a wireless mouse. That’s understandable. Logitech’s Powerplay and Razer’s Hyperflux setups are cool and futuristic, but also expensive and somewhat impractical.
In that case, take a look at the SteelSeries Rival 650. It’s an attractive mouse, sure, with smart button placements, a bunch of weight customization options, and a flagship TrueMove3 sensor—the latest SteelSeries variant of the beloved PWM3360.
But the real treat is its charging speed—it nets about 10 hours of charge in 15 minutes.
Read our full
SteelSeries Rival 650 review
7. Roccat Tyon — Best MMO gaming mouse
The era of “the more buttons, the better” has mostly passed, but if you still roll like that the Roccat Tyon will serve you well.
With 12 buttons and an analog paddle, the Tyon is a beast. One of the thumb buttons is actually a modifier key, which Roccat calls “Easy-Shift Technology.” Using it effectively doubles the number of buttons at your beck and call, and it’s an intuitive approach that balances out the key’s questionable placement on the mouse’s thumb rest. If you’re lazy and let your thumb relax, though, you might inadvertently press it when you don’t mean to.
Read our full
Roccat Tyon review
How we evaluate mice
To find our favorites, we put a small herd of gaming mice through their paces. Everything from ultra-budget to ultra-customizable to ultra-small to ultra-packed-with-buttons is in the running here, and then some.
What paces, you ask? First, we assess a mouse’s skills in general use and gaming—from browsing Reddit to video editing to perusing Spotify to playing through Watch Dogs 2 and Battlefield 1.
We also consider the preferred grip. You probably don’t consciously think about how you grip your mouse—it’s like which sock you put on first or whether you hang your toilet paper over or under. But it’s important.
People largely fall into three different grip types: palm, claw, and fingertip.
Palm grip: This is probably the most common grip, and it’s what most mice are designed for. Your entire hand makes contact with the mouse at the same time, with your arm driving most of the movement. This is the most ergonomically comfortable grip, with the mouse shaped specifically to fill and complement your palm.
Claw grip: Claw grippers arch their fingers more, creating separation between the hand and mouse but keeping the fingertips and rear of the palm in contact. This allows for quicker button pressing and slightly quicker movement, but puts more strain on your wrists.
Fingertip grip: The most agile grip also puts the most strain on your wrists. Fingertip grip, as the name implies, involves guiding the mouse with only your fingertips—no palm contact at all.
Generally, a mouse that works for a claw grip will work for a fingertip grip. The main distinction is between palm and claw grips.
Button count: You’ll pretty much never find a three-button gaming mouse. Even the budget-friendly devices we’ve tested have five to 10 buttons. The award for “Most Buttons” still goes to the Roccat Tyon, with 14.
Sensor: Dots per inch, or dpi, is a measure of how many pixels the mouse moves on-screen per each inch of desk you move it across. Some people prefer to make large, sweeping motions with a lot of precision, necessitating a low dpi. Others want fast, jerky motions that start and stop on a dime—high dpi. The latter group will want to pay particular attention to each mouse’s limit.
At this point, the dpi arms race has become largely meaningless. Manufacturers push numbers that are so high as to be impractical for most people’s day-to-day use. Is that 16,000-dpi mouse actually more useful to you than the 12,000-dpi mouse? Probably not.
Shape: There are three main categories here, too: right-handed, left-handed, and ambidextrous.
We’ve looked at right-handed and ambidextrous mice because our testers here are right-handed. Some right-handed mice (such as the DeathAdder) have left-handed variants, but these are a rarity. Most southpaws will probably end up with an ambidextrous mouse, like the G-Skill Ripjaw MX780 or the Razer Diamondback.
Hayden writes about games for PCWorld and doubles as the resident Zork enthusiast.