Best desk pad for gaming 2022
Looking to overhaul your gaming setup? A desk mat might be the solution for you
It may initially seem indulgent to have a mouse pad that extends up to the width of your entire desk. Trust us, there are a lot of very tangible benefits, both aesthetic and performance-wise. Particularly when it comes to gaming mice, and even gaming keyboards. However, there is a lot to consider when shopping around for the best desk pad so we are going to go over everything you need to know and even recommend some of our favorite options.
What is a desk pad and why should you buy one?
A desk pad is simply a large mousepad, you’ll often see them on the desks of gamers and office workers for a few reasons including style, concentration, and gaming performance.
There are a large number of reasons that make a desk pad a worthy investment for your gaming setup. Our personal favorite is the very real, very noticeable benefit to gaming that comes with extending the useable area of your mouse. This comes in particularly handy for competitive FPS players as the increasing use of lower DPI settings means that the mouse must be moved further than ever before, necessitating a larger mouse surface. Others may prefer it as it really does result in a cleaner-looking desk and can even aid in concentration too.
Buying a desk pad: Things to consider
What size desk pad should you get?
As the name implies, it’s possible to get desk pads that entirely cover your desk, this is particularly advantageous as it means that it becomes effectively impossible to run your mouse off of the surface. If you don’t want to go quite that crazy, there are plenty of less expansive options. It’s also important here to note that if you utilize a monitor arm that clamps to your desk, it’s likely that a full coverage desk pad will be impeded by the stem.
The best desk pads
There are a fair few things to consider when shopping for a desk pad, and given the ever-increasing complexity, it can be a confusing situation, fraught with frightful acronyms and initialisms that serve only to irritate and alienate. Anyway, these are the things you should be paying attention to.
- Size of your desk.
- Size of the desk pad.
- Surface type.
- Extras like lighting, wireless charging, colour scheme and overall design.
First up is the size of your desk, so grab a tape measure and measure the width and depth. The only absolutely vital consideration is that your desk pad shouldn’t exceed either of these metrics, there’s nothing more annoying than the errant edge of the mouse pad flopping over the edge of the desk.
The size of the desk pad you want can now be chosen, things to pay attention to here are what you want on the pad, and what you don’t. You’ll probably want your keyboard and mouse on the pad at a minimum, but other accessories such as a headphone stand and mouse bungee might also benefit from being on the pad. We’ve made a diagram below containing the more popular sizes of desk pad that you can use as a frame of reference. The mouse image is to scale so you can get a feel for the size.
The surface type is a very personal preference and there are a lot of variances. Generally speaking, mousepads are divided into two main types, hard and soft. Hard being a rigid material, and soft being a flexible fabric, most gaming mousepads are soft so that’s probably the baseline you’re used to. Whichever surface type you go for you’ll also want to pay attention to the speed. Speed refers to the friction between the surface and your mouse.
In addition to the type of surface, the specific material is worth considering, both in terms of practicality and aesthetics. If performance is less of a priority for you, you might opt for a high quality leather desk pad. These typically have a very premium feel to them and can result in a protected desk in spite of angry keystrokes and aggressive mouse movements. For a lower-cost alternative, there are high-quality PU leather variants available too. Additionally, having a desk pad can help prevent the odd stain here and there, and help keep your workspace free of mess, while keeping the desk surface scratch-free. Of course, the look of a desk pad is most down to your own personal preferences,
This affects how much effort is required to move the mouse. and how long it takes to stop moving. Those who play competitive FPS like CS:GO, Valorant, or Apex Legends will probably prefer a fairly fast surface for those all-important flick shots. RTS and MMO players will probably go for a slower texture, for more definitive movements. So think about the types of games you play the most before making a choice on the surface type.
Extra features: RGB, USB passthrough, cable management
The extras are where it gets more subjective and far more fun. We’re talking RGB, wireless charging, and design. There is a lot to consider here. Nowadays big companies like Razer and Corsair almost always have RGB versions of their peripherals, so if you want to add additional flair to your gaming et up, a desk pad can certainly help with that.
One of the more interesting peripheral developments in recent years has been the emergence of wireless charging built into the mouse pad itself. Logitech championed this tech with their PowerPlay mouse mat and has been implementing compatibility with an ever-growing number of their gaming mice. If you’re committed to keeping a minimalist and tidy gaming desk, these are certainly worth considering.
Is a desk pad worth it?
As with most things related to gaming technology, it depends heavily on your preferences. If you’ve commissioned a carpenter to build you a bespoke desk from a mixture of cherry and oak wood, you probably don’t want to cover the entire thing with a desk pad. The inverse must be considered too, however, as perhaps you’ve been a frugal gamer who instead opted for a desk from Ikea or perhaps used a door you found on the street. If this is the case a desk pad could provide a visual upgrade, in addition to the performance upgrades we mentioned earlier.
Overall, we think they are worth it as your mouse slipping off the edge of a small mousepad is incredibly annoying and can spell disaster during competitive gameplay sessions. Additionally, the increased surface area can prolong the usable life of the desk pad as you won’t be constrained to the same small patch. This means your mouse feet won’t wear away as quickly, and the surface will endure for longer too.
Pros and cons of a desk mat
Of course with any gaming or productivity space, you should consider the potential effects of any given upgrade as you may have to make sacrifices in one area to reap the benefits of another.
- Makes for a more unified desk space
- An increased amount of usable mouse area
- Can improve the typing experience by slightly reducing the impact when bottoming out, this is of particular concern if you’re a user of mechanical keyboards and find bottoming out to be fatiguing.
- They have the potential to be very expensive.
- More difficult to clean, if you buy a full-coverage desk mat your desk will probably become grubby sooner than you’d like.
Best desk mats 2022
MM700 RGB Extended Mouse Pad
930mm X 400mm
Yes. Three-zone RGB
- Comprehensive lighting
- Integrated USB hub
Aside from the premium materials, large size, and minimalist styling, the lighting is the really fun bit here. Desk pad RGB is usually only provided via a single LED, and the lighting lines the perimeter of the desk mat via a plastic tube akin to a fiber optic cable. The disadvantage of this is that light weakens over distance, so the further away from the LED, the dimmer the lighting. This is especially noticeable in low-light environments and is the reason for many incensed customers leaving bad reviews.
Luckily Corsair has managed to find a way around this issue by having two LEDs, they are positioned on opposite sides of the hub, meaning that they don’t have to cover as much distance as other desk pads out there. This results in uniform brightness around the entire outer edge of the mat.
Additionally, Corsair has integrated a two-port USB hub into this mat. It’s located in the upper-right corner, making it easy to swap out peripherals at a rapid pace, it’s also super-convenient for quickly putting wireless keyboards and mice on charge. This is a conscientious offering from Corsair and we wish it was a more common occurrence. It’s also worth noting here that there’s been a fair number of reports that the MM700 RGB doesn’t always sit perfectly flat, usually due to unintentional stretching of the fiber-optic tube.
Razer Goliathus Extended Chroma
920mm X 294mm
Yes, two-zone RGB
- Vivid customizable lighting
- Cable routing
The Goliathus continues to uphold Razer’s reputation and we are big fans of the size and fabric quality. additionally, it benefits from having four distinct colorways, which is annoyingly rare in the realm of desk mats. you can even get the Goliathus in a Halo Infinite design. Such variety should be far more common as it’s certainly helped Razer cement its position on this list. It doesn’t feature a USB hub but it does have some fairly neat cable routing for those of you in pursuit of a tidy gaming desk. With a quick sync-up to Synapse 3, the Goliathus will perfectly integrate with the rest of your Razer peripherals for a seamless and impressive light show.
We also like the reasonably fast texture, this is an ideal desk mat for those of you who need the speed necessitated by competitive FPS like CS:GO and Valorant. However, it’s not overly slick and some pretty impressive precision is retained despite the speed. The non-slip rubber base provides high levels of grip, meaning that this pad will stay planted and reliable even when subjected to aggressive and sudden mouse movement. While it lacks overly fancy features such as an integrated wireless charger, it will still provide better mouse performance and probably the most vivid RGB lighting of any desk pad on this list.
NITRO CONCEPTS DM12 Desk mat
1200mm X 600mm
- Limited branding
Of course, the main feature of this is the frankly gigantic size. The 1200mm X 600mm footprint is also a very common desk size, so your dream of having a desk that is just 100% totally mousepad can now become true. We also love the stitched edges to prevent fraying and an agreeably stable anti-slip rubber underside to keep your new desktop in place. an additional benefit of this desk pad is the creation of a virtually limitless area of useable mouse pad area. We do feel compelled to mention that you should really double-check your desk size before committing to a mouse pad such as this, as often times the measurements provided by the manufacturer may be marginally inaccurate.
KTRIO Large Gaming Mouse Pad
800mm X 300mm
- No branding
The KTRIO gaming mouse pad ticks all the boxes that arise from the main benefits of a desk pad. More surface area, tidy, and performance-enhancing, and it comes in at a very reasonable sub-$20 price point. It also comes in 4 sizes, from huge, to frankly unreasonably big. But at least there are options for the consumer, something that isn’t nearly as common as it should be.
Additionally, we love that it’s entirely unbranded, too often do logos get in the way. This is especially annoying as one of the main benefits of a desk pad is that of organization and tidiness. This pad is entirely absent of branding, making for an overall more congruous desk, and resultingly high productivity.
Still looking for mouse pad-related content? We’ve got some more stuff for you right here:
Yes indeed reader, we managed to write around 2000 words about desk pads. To be fair there is a lot more to think about than you might initially be aware of. But the main things you need to take away from this guide are size, material, and price. Everything else comes as a result of these factors so if you get them right, you’ll have found yourself a great desk pad. We still recommend the Corsair MM700 RGB as not only is it a great desk pad as it is, but it has a USB passthrough, meaning it adds extra functionality, without compromising on base performance
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