5 Best Gaming Mice 2018: What is the Best Gaming Mouse to Buy?
After spending over 36 hours of extensive research to find the best mice for various gripping styles and game genres, we concluded that the SteelSeries Rival 700 is the best gaming mouse. It’s armed with an advanced PWM 3360 optical gaming mouse sensor by Pixart and a sleek design that’s perfect for all types of grips. And oh, it’s also the only mouse that vibrates!
If all of this grip style nonsense sounds like Greek to you, though, then don’t worry. We’ll explain exactly what makes a good gaming mouse in more detail later.
The Rival 700 is equipped with an advanced Pixart PWM 3360 sensor that will give you on-point precision. The RGB lighting can be customized according to your preference through their proprietary software, SteelSeries Engine.
This also has an OLED display that you can customize to your liking. But what really sets this apart from every single gaming mouse are the vibration motors inside that gives off tactile alerts.
The Logitech G502 Proteus Spectrum is basically a predecessor of the discontinued Proteus Core.
This has RGB backlighting that can be customized with up to 16.8 million colors via the Logitech Gaming Software. You’re also able to make the most accurate shots with the best sensor on the market: Pixart PMW 3366.
Tune the weight of the mouse according to your preference with the five included 3.6g weights to hit the right balance and feel.
It’s the most customizable and easy-to-use mouse perfectly designed to give MMO players the edge to perform their best.
No matter if you’re out hunting bosses with your friends or ambushed in a PVP battle, this Pixart PMW 3366 sensor-powered mouse will give you the opportunity to take the finishing blow or turn the tides to your favor. It’s accurate, responsive, and has 12 thumb-buttons with a distinct design for a smooth no-look combo.
Unlike most wireless mice, you can use this for hours at a time. This is compatible with Logitech’s PowerPlay, the world’s first and only wireless charging system that charges your mouse during gameplay.
With this, you can forget about battery-life and go all-out when playing. Plus, you can customize the side buttons to accommodate lefties, too!
Just like a real glaive weapon, this comes in many shapes and sizes. This has 3 different thumb grips of varying textures and sizes that conveniently snap into place with magnets.
How We Choose
The list below is composed of 5 gaming mice that we consider the best in their respective categories. We list out the key points and features that matter to gamers in each category based on online gaming forums and our personal experience with the mice.
For each category, we evaluate at least 5 popular gaming mice. We then make our own evaluations and go with the one that offers the best functionality for gamers in that category. Each of the gaming mice below has an unique feature to boast over the rest of the entries on the list.
Important Key Points to Check Before Buying a Gaming Mouse
It is very important that you educate yourself so that you are familiar with the features that make a really good gaming mouse. Whether you’re interested in buying a gaming mouse under $50 or you want the best of the best, knowing what key points matter will always go a long way.
So before you make your next purchase, see to it that you look at the following:
CPI or DPI
Technically speaking, CPI (Counts Per Inch) is the same as DPI (Dots Per Inch).
DPI is used to measure the distance traveled by the mouse by counting the “dots” within the span of one inch it traveled. DPI is better used in reference to the printing world.
CPI is the correct term to use when measuring the number of steps the mouse makes when it moves within the span of one inch.
But because DPI is more widely used, manufacturers use it for marketing purposes.
Don’t forget that size matters (we’re not talking about what you’re thinking, though). When choosing a gaming mouse, choose one that fits your hand size. If it’s too big, it’s going to be heavy and likely uncomfortable. If it’s too small, it might feel like a toy.
Gaming mice have 2 types of sensors: Optical sensor or Laser sensor.
The main difference boils down to the illumination source. It’s also the reason why some mice work fine on smooth surfaces while others don’t. The optical sensor uses LED light as the source of illumination while the laser sensor uses, well… a laser.
Although they differ in terms of illumination source, they both use a CMOS image sensor, a type of low-resolution video camera that you can find in smartphones. This image sensor captures images of the surface it is on and uses it to determine how movement reflects in real-time use.
A mouse with more buttons is definitely preferred, especially as a gamer. Programmable buttons can be mapped according to a gamer’s play style. This benefits MMORPG players most, but it’s also useful for MOBAs. Some mice even have snipe buttons for FPS gamers.
Software and Profiles
Most gaming mice have some programmable buttons, but a gaming mouse that lets you save those as presets in different “profiles” is even more appealing. Software that lets you customize your RGB lights is also a plus.
Polling rate is the rate of data transfer and response from the mouse to the computer. It is measured in hertz and ranges greatly from 250Hz to 1000Hz.
A mouse with a 500Hz rate means that the computer receives updates about its position every 2 milliseconds. While 1000Hz is technically twice as fast at only 1ms, it still is very hard to determine the difference, especially to most average gamers.
Personally, I don’t think people talk about the weight of gaming mice nearly enough.
The weight might be a highly subjective part of a mouse, but it can greatly affect just how accurate you are when you need to make that sharp 180 degrees turn to spot and kill an enemy. Thankfully, more and more gaming mice with adjustable weights are starting to pop up.
Material and Durability
A gaming mouse can be made out of plastic, metal, or even glass. This is why you’d want to choose a mouse that’s made of material you’re comfortable with.
Durability and material usually go hand in hand. However, this isn’t always the case, because it also depends on how well you handle the mouse (and how often you rage quit!)
It is also worth noting that mice are rated for the number of clicks they’re projected to last before you start to see abnormalities, such as clicks not properly registering. However, number of clicks is an imperfect measurement to say the least.
However, if you’re wanting a durable gaming mouse, then you usually can’t go wrong when buying a premium mouse, regardless of the material.
When choosing a gaming mouse, go for the most comfortable one for you. Remember that you’ll be using the mouse for hours on end (and possibly for multiple years), so you might as well get a hands-on feel of the mouse if you can.
Battery Life (for wireless gaming mice)
Wireless gaming mice are as great as wired gaming mice these days. Gone are the days where lag is a concern when buying a wireless gaming mouse.
However, the battery life still is a concern for users who prefer wireless over wired setups. But if you choose the best wireless gaming mouse, it’ll be years before you need to change the battery.
Different people hold the mouse in different ways and different mice are made to accommodate this. Don’t just pick a mouse because they’re popular or because all your friends are using it. Instead, pick whatever fits your playstyle and gripping preference.
There are three main types of mouse gripping:
- Palm Grip - Entire hand rests on the mouse. This lets you move the mouse fast since your actions come from your arm. However, clicking can be slower and using your arm means it’s not always the most precise.
- Claw Grip - Palm rests on the back of the mouse while fingers are arched to make the index and middle fingertips perpendicular to mouse buttons. Because of this, not only can the mouse be easily picked up and moved, but it’s also more precise than palm grip.
- Fingertip Grip - Hand hovers in the air with only the last digit of the fingers in contact with the mouse. Since your palm doesn’t rest on the end, this gives you the most precise control. However, it’s also the hardest to learn, the most arduous on your hands, and generally requires a smaller mouse since you are effectively palming it.
The Palm and Claw grip are the most common grips amongst gamers.
No matter what games you play, or the individual merits of each grip style, it is important to ensure you’re choosing a mouse that matches your grip style, which leads to our next discussion...
How Do You Test And Tell Which Gaming Mouse is Best For You?
Picking the right mouse for you isn’t rocket science. All you have to do is go to your nearest computer hardware shop and try out all the available mice to see which is perfect for you.
But, if you’re like most people who are too busy to go downtown (or your city is so small that there is no downtown), then our list should save you the hassle. We’ll cover the features of each of the gaming mice, talk about the feel and experience, and give you an idea of whether it’s best for claw, palm, or fingertip grip.
The 5 Best Gaming Mouse
SteelSeries Rival 700
|Check Current Price|
Logitech G502 Proteus Spectrum
|Check Current Price|
|Check Current Price|
|Check Current Price|
|Check Current Price|
SteelSeries Rival 700
- CPI (Counts Per Inch)16,000
- Weight4.8 ounces (136 g)
- Cable Length3.28 ft (1m) and 6.56 ft (2m)
- Has vibration motors that can be customized
- Designed for all grip styles
- Rated for 30 million clicks
- Has an OLED display
- Modular parts for easy customization
- Has a high 16,000 CPI (counts per inch)
- Only has 6 buttons
- No horizontal scrolling
- Might be heavy to some
- Vibration only supported in 3 games
The SteelSeries Rival 700 is a very unique gaming mouse because it’s equipped with vibration motors. This is the only gaming mouse that’s built with this feature. Instead of just relying on what you see on your screen, the vibration motors can be set to give you alerts such as when you get a headshot on CS:GO or perhaps when you’re running low on health in DOTA 2.
All of the vibration patterns and settings-- as well as the RGB lighting-- can be customized via the SteelSeries Engine (a SteelSeries proprietary software). It’s just unfortunate that this only supports 3 notable games at the moment: CS:GO, Minecraft, and DOTA 2. But we’re hoping that this will support more games in the future.
The software also lets you adjust the CPI settings; you can go up to 16,000 in increments of 100.
Out of the box, you’ll find 2 cables-- a 2m long braided cable and a 1m long plastic cable. While the mouse has a carbon-like cover, the sides are textured so gripping won’t be an issue. Moreover, the Pixart PMW 3360 optical sensors can be removed and replaced with a laser 9800 module (although you’d have to buy it separately).
The OLED display is great because you can use it to show your currently active profile or your in-game status. Aside from that, this can also be used for aesthetics. In fact, you can even draw your own image and use it on the display via the software.
No matter what you put on it, we don’t recommend using it to keep track of your character’s vitals and status since taking your focus away from the game is, well, bad.
The mouse is also perfect for all 3 gripping styles, too. There isn’t much to say about the button placement because it’s similar to many gaming mice out there. But I must say that they do have a tactile feel when clicked. It’s just that the mouse wheel is a little hard to press in.
Logitech G502 Proteus Spectrum
- Has a snipe button for easy take outs
- Tunable weight and balance for accurate feel
- Advanced optical sensor PMW 3366
- Dual-mode hyper-fast scroll wheel
- 11 programmable buttons
- Adjustable scroll wheel
- Scroll wheel may be too stiff
- Lack of customizable lighting
Precision and accuracy is everything when you’re an FPS gamer; this is why the Logitech G502 Proteus Spectrum is our pick for FPS titles.
It is equipped with the best sensor on the market-- the Pixart PMW 3366. On top of that, Logitech also claimed that this utilizes the Delta™ Zero Technology, which I personally call the “zero everything sensor” technology because it has zero acceleration, zero filtering, zero smoothing, and zero pixel rounding. Essentially, it greatly improves the accuracy and precision of the mouse. Although it’s still possible to turn off mouse acceleration for a more accurate 1:1 mouse movement.
The CPI can also be adjusted up to a max of 12,000 in increments of 50 through their proprietary software: Logitech Gaming Software. Although the lighting can also be adjusted, it is sadly not as customizable as most gaming mice in the $80 range. In fact, the only thing that lights up is the profile and the G logo.
It has a soft touch on the back and a very satisfying rubber texture on the sides for better gripping. It also works well for both palm and claw grip users.
Plus, the scroll wheel can be set to hyper-fast scroll for fast and accurate maneuvers. You might want to do this regardless, since the default scroll wheel setting may be too stiff to maneuver for some.
Buttons also have a very satisfying click and are placed ergonomically so you shouldn’t need to alter your grip. With a rated 16.8 million clicks, the 11 customizable buttons will surely be handy. Plus, the sniping button isn’t limited to sniping because it can also be mapped to any other function, like grenades or med kits.
Another interesting feature is the set of tunable weights that you can attach to the mouse. The Logitech G502 lets you customize the weight accurately to your liking with the 5 included 3.6 g weights that you can snap on easily.
- Total of 20 MMO-tuned buttons
- Has a G-shift button
- Ergonomically designed for best comfort
- 12 uniquely designed thumb panels
- Custom RGB lighting
- No name “gaming-grade” laser sensor
- Less appealing to FPS players
MMORPGs like Star Wars the Old Republic and World of Warcraft have are loaded with tons of skills, abilities, and spells, oh my! Being able to cast this plethora of abilities efficiently can make or break a situation. The Logitech G600 is specifically designed for this.
Aside from the fact that you can scroll horizontally with the mouse wheel, this has 18 more MMO-tuned buttons for a grand total of 40 button combinations.
Essentially, the G-shift button acts like your keyboard’s shift button and doubles the function of each programmable button on the mouse. By default, it’s located to the right of your right-click button, but it can be assigned to any button.
Honestly, the G-shift button will feel awkward to most users, at least at first. But as familiarity settles in, it shouldn’t be much of an issue. And like it, the left and right mouse buttons have a really crispy sound when clicked. (Although some might find this annoying.)
The 12 thumb buttons boast a dual-dish design (aka a curve that makes the buttons easier to press) that was developed with direct input from both MMO gamers and leading MMO game developers. This is what makes it the go-to mouse if you’re a hardcore MMO gamer.
To make it even better, the 12 thumb buttons are backlit and can be customized through the Logitech Gaming Software. You can also adjust the CPI (DPI) settings from there-- from 200 up to 8,200 in increments of 50. This lets you hit small enemies accurately from a good distance.
Its accuracy and array of customizable buttons also make it the best MOBA mouse on our list.
Gripping the mouse isn’t hard because the right side is textured. But when compared to the two above, it isn’t as good in terms of “feel”.
This may generally work for all types of grip but will be a delight for palm grip users because of how the G-shift button accommodates the ring finger perfectly as it rests on the button. Plus, this doesn’t have a groove for the thumb like the other mice.
And oh, the mouse is equipped with an unnamed laser sensor. While the sensor never seemed like a hindrance, it is worth taking note of. Rest assured that this is probably the top gaming mouse for MMOs.
- Wireless charging
- Can be customized for lefties
- Solid build
- Advanced optical sensor PMW 3366
- Lightweight (the lightest among the list)
- LIGHTSPEED wireless technology
- Better than a lot of wired mouse
- Extravagantly expensive
- Shape isn’t very ergonomic
- Works best only with PowerPlay
Ok honestly, we crowned the Logitech G903 as the best Logitech gaming mouse because it’s compatible with the Logitech PowerPlay mouse pad.
In most cases, you’d want a gaming mouse pad for your mouse but this one is not your ordinary mouse pad.
Wireless charging is starting to become the norm these days and although it isn’t new (because the Corsair MM1000 mouse pad can do that, too), the G903 is ten times better because you can use this while charging on a Logitech PowerPlay mousepad.
This takes wireless gaming to an entirely new level-- you have a wireless gaming mouse that works just as good as (if not even better than) most wired gaming mice on the market that doesn’t die out if used on a PowerPlay mousepad.
Plus, you can clean this mousepad the same as any regular mouse pad since it is separated from the actual PowerPlay board.
And because it has an ambidextrous design, lefties can easily use this mouse, too. While it is geared towards claw grip users because of the gap from the fingertips to the palm rest, it can still work well for both palm grip users and fingertip grip users.
Button clicks are crisp and like the G502, you can also customize the mouse wheel for a hyperfast scroll wheel experience. But the default scroll wheel isn’t as stiff as the G502 this time.
The accuracy and fast response time are made possible because of the following technologies:
- PMW 3366 sensor for speed and tracking
- Logitech Delta Zero Technology for zero acceleration, zero filtering, zero smoothing, and zero pixel rounding
- Lightspeed Technology for lag-free 2.4Hz wireless connection
If you don’t have the PowerPlay mouse pad, this also comes with a Lightspeed wireless nano receiver and a wireless extension adapter. Or if you want it wired, for whatever reason, it also comes with a charging/data cable. The included 10g weight module can be snapped in or out according to your preferences.
The Logitech Gaming Software also lets you adjust the CPI settings anywhere from 200 CPI to 12,000 in increments of 50. However, adjusting the RGB lighting via the software won’t be as exciting because you can only mess with the G logo and the center lighting.
- Has 5 CPI settings
- Comes with 3 interchangeable thumb grips
- Very solid build
- High 16,000 DPI
- Uses the new iCUE software
- Size may be too large for people with small hands
- Textured grip is not too grippy
- Only has 6 buttons
- Limited customizability
The Corsair Glaive has a smooth rubberized feel that works well for all types of grips although it’s specifically designed to work well for palm grips. Overall, it’s also very comfortable.
Plus, you can choose among the 3 thumb grips that it comes with:
- A textured thumb rest
- A more flat but textured thumb grip
- A smooth thumb grip
Like some of the other mice, it has side buttons that many might find awkward at first, but, much like when you buy a new pair of shoes, after a few days you should adjust.
It is worth mentioning that it’s a bulkier size than the rest of the mice on the list. Although this will fit most small to medium hands, this will be the best gaming mouse for big hands.
The left and right mouse buttons also give off a satisfying solid “clicky” sound. The mouse wheel might be a little tight for some-- it provides a good deal of resistance when you press it down and scroll it-- but it wasn’t a problem for us and shouldn’t be for most.
The Pixart 3367 sensor on the mouse is also able to pick up minute movements whether it’s set to 400 CPI or the 16,000 CPI max. It also doesn’t have any jitters, angle skipping, or snapping based on the online line tests performed.
You can customize the colors, calibrate, and map the keys via the new-- and fairly robust-- iCUE (Corsair Utility Engine) software. There are various color settings to choose from and you can even make CPI adjustments down to the single digit, not that you will notice the difference between one or two CPI.
Now Which Gaming Mouse Best Suits You?
To be able to choose the right gaming mouse for you, try to evaluate and list down the types of games you play.
- The SteelSeries Rival 700 is a quality mouse and offers unique vibration functionality, which might be worth it if you play one of the supported games often.
- If you play a lot of First Person Shooter games like CS:GO, PUBG, and Fortnite, we highly recommend the Logitech G502 Proteus Spectrum. If you best budget gaming mouse, the Corsair Glaive will be perfect, too.
- On the other hand, if you’re a hardcore WoW player, or you mostly play MMO games, get the Logitech G600.
- If you’re in the market for one of the better wireless mice on the market, then the Logitech G903 is a terrific option.
There you have it!
When choosing a gaming mouse, make evaluations ahead and determine your gripping style to accurately pick the best one for you. Also, don’t forget to choose a mouse based on the types of games you play.
Have you had any experiences with the mice on our list? Share it down the comments!
Zak Storey, STEELSERIES RIVAL 700 REVIEW, PC Gamer, May 16, 2017
Hayden Dingman, Logitech G903 review: The best wireless mouse that (lots of) money can buy, PCWorld, October 20, 2017
Gordon Goble, Logitech G600 MMO Review, Digital Trends, August 20, 2012