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Are Ergonomic Mice Okay for Gaming?

Someone using an ergonomic mouse at their desk.
Andrey_Popov / Shutterstock.com
Ergonomic mice are usually intended for office work, so they're often a poor choice for gaming. That said, plenty of ergonomic mice are specifically made for gaming, and they're quite good.

Repetitive stress injury is a serious, constant threat to computer users. Nobody wants to deal with carpal tunnel, which can interfere with work, play, and nearly every other aspect of your life. Ergonomic mice promise to reduce wrist strain, but are they a good option for gamers?

Warning: This article is intended to help people avoid repetitive stress injuries. If you’re experiencing severe wrist pain, or you’re worried that you have a repetitive stress injury, talk to a doctor.

Most Ergonomic Mice Are for Work, Not Play

The Logitech Lift in pink, white, and graphite.

The vast majority of ergonomic mice are intended for office work. They often have a limited range of motion due to their chunky, heavy, or awkward design. And because these mice aren’t intended for gaming, they often have a low polling rate of 125Hz or less, which can produce a noticeable amount of latency on high refresh rate monitors.

So, while you can use an ergonomic office mouse for gaming, the experience isn’t all that great. And, if possible, you may need to adjust some settings—a higher DPI setting can compensate for a mouse’s limited range of motion, for example.

If you’re a casual gamer, or someone who sticks to non-action games, these problems may not matter. You don’t need a fancy mouse to play Stardew ValleyMinecraft, or Civilization. An ergonomic mouse designed for office work, such as the Logitech Lift, is a fine choice.

But what about hardcore or competitive gamers? Well, you’re in luck. A handful of well-respected companies make ergonomic mice specifically for gaming.

Logitech Lift Vertical Ergonomic Mouse, Wireless, Bluetooth or Logi Bolt USB receiver, Quiet clicks, 4 buttons, compatible with Windows/macOS/iPadOS, Laptop, PC - Graphite

Read Review Geek's Full Review

For casual gamers who want to reduce wrist strain, the Logitech Lift is a compelling option. It isn't a gaming mouse, but it's fine for titles like Stardew Valley, Minecraft, Civilization, and The Sims.

But Gamers Have Plenty of Ergonomic Options

The RAZER DEATHADDER V2 X HYPERSPEED mouse on a black background.

The average gaming mouse is designed to offer a wide range of motion. This is usually accomplished through a lightweight, sculpted design. And, funny enough, these qualities contribute to ergonomics—a decent gaming mouse should produce very little strain or fatigue, especially when compared to a basic “professional” mouse.

Unfortunately, games are a lot more intense than spreadsheets. They require constant, jittery wrist movements, and are often played for several hours without a break. Even if you use an ultra-lightweight mouse, gaming will contribute to repetitive stress injury.

That’s why ergonomic gaming mice are slowly gaining popularity. These products usually go by names like “Razer Deathadder V2 X Hyperspeed,” which can make shopping a bit confusing. They also lack the bulky or vertical designs that are so common among “professional” ergonomic mice. Still, they promise to deliver a comfortable gaming experience without compromising on speed and accuracy.

From what I can tell, Razer’s Deathadder V2 X Hyperspeed is currently the most popular ergonomic gaming mouse. And it’s a pretty solid option—not only is it highly customizable, but it feels like a lightweight version of Logitech’s MX-series mice. (It’s also super affordable, which is nice.)

But there are some rising stars in this market. The ROCCAT Kone Pro Air has an incredible cult following and is widely regarded as the most comfortable gaming mouse. FANTECH’s Helios Go XD5 is a popular ergonomic option for gamers with small hands, and competitive players love the Pulsar Xlite’s ridiculously lightweight design.

Note that several factors can contribute to repetitive stress injury. If you’re sitting with poor posture or your wrists are constantly pressed against your desk, an ergonomic gaming mouse may not reduce wrist strain.

Razer DeathAdder V2 X HyperSpeed: Award-Winning Ergonomic Design - Ultra-Fast HyperSpeed Wireless - 235hr Battery Life - 7 Programmable Buttons - Gen 2 Mechanical Switches - 5G 14K DPI Optical Sensor

The Razer DeathAdder V2 X HyperSpeed offers low-latency gaming through the Razer HyperSpeed Wireless protocol. Its comfortable, lightweight design is surprisingly ergonomic, and gamers will appreciate the seven programmable buttons.

What About Trackpads and Trackballs?

A photo of a trackball mouse.
Hodoimg / Shutterstock.com

Some people prefer to use a trackpad instead of a mouse. And, in fact, I use a Magic Trackpad at my desk. While I wouldn’t call trackpads “ergonomic,” they can reduce wrist movement by placing more control at the tip of your finger.

Unfortunately, trackpads are a very poor choice for gaming. They’re fine for point-and-click titles, but if you want to play action-packed shooters or MMOs, you should avoid using a trackpad.

On the other hand, I’ve found that trackball mice are an excellent ergonomic gaming solution (with some practice). I’m a huge fan of the Kensington Expert, a legendary trackball mouse that features four buttons and a rotary scroll wheel. It’s easily customizable, it’s comfortable, and if you’re trying to game without hurting your wrist, it’s a reasonable option. (You’ll need to adjust a lot of settings to get the sensitivity right, though.)

The Kensington Expert is my preferred trackball mouse, but there are plenty of great alternatives. I strongly suggest checking out the ELECOM HUGE, a beefy and cozy trackball mouse with a proper scroll wheel, eight customizable buttons, and a DPI switch. (My only other suggestion is to avoid thumb-controlled trackballs. Your forefingers provide better control than your thumb.)

ELECOM HUGE Trackball Mouse, 2.4GHz Wireless, Finger Control, 8-Button Function, Precision Optical Gaming Sensor, Palm Rest Attached, Smooth Red Ball, Windows11, macOS (M-HT1DRBK)

The ELECOM HUGE trackball mouse offers eight programmable buttons, a proper scroll wheel, and three DPI settings. It's an interesting option for gamers who want to avoid repetitive stress injury.

Should You Use an Ergonomic Mouse for Gaming?

The ROCCAT Kone Pro Air mouse on a flashy blue background.

If you spend a lot of time at a computer, you should take every possible step to reduce wrist, neck, and back strain. Repetitive stress injuries are incredibly common, but they often take years to flare up. And, unfortunately, it can take several years to recover from this sort of injury.

There are several ways to reduce strain while sitting at a desk. I suggest starting with the cheapest and most effective method—set your monitor, desk, and chair to a comfortable height. Sit with good posture, and when you use a mouse or keyboard, keep your wrists off of your desk. Ideally, your wrists and elbows should hover at the same level. (This is why vertical mice are so effective. They force you to keep your arm in “handshake” position.)

Once your desk is nicely set up, an ergonomic mouse will help you further reduce wrist strain while gaming. But ergonomic mice are usually intended for professionals, so you need to buy something that’s actually gamer-ready. A high polling rate and lightweight design can go a long way.

ROCCAT Kone Pro Air Gaming PC Wireless Mouse, Bluetooth Ergonomic Performance Computer Mouse with 19K DPI Optical Sensor, AIMO RGB Lighting & Aluminum Scroll Wheel, 100+ Hour Battery Life, Black

The ROCCAT Kone Pro Air has a large cult following thanks to its sculpted, ergonomic design. It's one of the most comfortable gaming mice, and it regularly goes on sale at Amazon.

Andrew Heinzman Andrew Heinzman
Andrew is the News Editor for Review Geek, where he covers breaking stories and manages the news team. He joined Life Savvy Media as a freelance writer in 2018 and has experience in a number of topics, including mobile hardware, audio, and IoT. Read Full Bio »