Gaming peripherals are often a jumbled mess of marketing terms that don’t actually mean anything, which can be frustrating if you’re just looking for a good mouse for a gamer in your life. But there are certain things that make a mouse better for gaming, so we sought out of the mice that actually deliver on those so you know what to buy this holiday season.
What to Look for in a Gaming Mouse
There are a few general things to look out for when comparing gaming mice.
- Shape: An important thing to keep in mind is whether a mouse is shaped right-handed, left-handed, or ambidextrously. Most mice are either right-handed or ambidextrous, but this is really just a matter of knowing what person you’re shopping for needs/likes. The overall shape of mice can also vary a lot with different heights and lengths.
- Wired or Wireless: Straightforward but very important—especially for gaming mice. A wireless gaming mouse will have to deal with latency and batteries, while wired mice have a wire that can impede movement. Latency is a big one for a lot of gamers, but over time more and more companies are finding ways to make the latency for wireless mice nearly unnoticeable. We’ll make special mention of whether each mouse is wired and wireless, and how long the batteries last on the latter.
- Ease of Movement: Stuff like flexible cords, smoother feet (the pads on the bottom of the mouse), and light weight can all make a mouse easier to move around. This is especially important if the person you’re shopping for plays a lot of games relating to fast aiming.
- Additional Features: RGB lighting, programmable buttons, and companion software are all useful things to have on a mouse, either for functional or aesthetic reasons. Mice that include stuff like this will definitely receive a special note.
Best Overall: Razer Viper Ultimate
The Viper Ultimate may be expensive, but it justifies that price by delivering a fantastic ambidextrous mouse. The combination of Razer’s 20,000 DPI sensor and optical mouse switches ensure pinpoint accuracy in both aiming and clicking. Despite being wireless with an internal battery, the Viper Ultimate is only 74 grams and comes with Razer’s “Hyperspeed Wireless” to cut down on latency.
There’s also a fair deal of customization to be had with the minor RGB lighting on the bottom of the mouse and the eight reprogrammable buttons on the mouse (four of which are dedicated thumb buttons)—all of this can be edited with Razer Synapse. You can expect the Viper Ultimate’s rechargeable battery to last about 70 hours, and you buy the mouse with a charging dock (which raises the price by about $30) if you want it to look cool when it’s not in use.
Razer Viper Ultimate Wireless Gaming Mouse Black
A great wireless mouse with low-latency and accurate clicks.
Best Lightweight Mouse: Cooler Master MM710
At 53 grams, the MM710 is one of the lightest mice on the market. Combined with the super-smooth feet and “ultra weave” cable, mobility will never be an issue with this mouse. The mouse uses the honeycomb design commonly found in ultralight mice and is shaped ambidextrously. The two programmable side buttons are nice to have as well (programmable in Cooler Master’s software), but besides that, the MM710 is a pretty standard mouse that’s managed to shave off a lot of weight.
The MM711 is worth mentioning as well, as it’s practically the same mouse but it comes in white, has RGB lighting, and weighs 60 grams for just a few more bucks.
Cooler Master MM710 53G Gaming Mouse with Lightweight Honeycomb Shell, Ultralight Ultraweave Cable, Pixart 3389 16000 DPI Optical Sensor
One of the lightest mice on the market at a great price.
Best Wireless: Logitech G603
The G603 is a personal favorite of ours for its ultra-low latency wireless thanks to Logitech LIGHTSPEED, comfortable design, and exceedingly long battery life—this thing will last for 500 hours on just two replaceable AA batteries. When it comes to pure wireless functionality, the G603 excels, so if that’s your primary focus this is definitely the mouse to buy. It’s shaped for right-handed users and has two thumb buttons on the left side to match. You can also reprogram all of the buttons on the mouse through Logitech G Hub.
Logitech G603 LIGHTSPEED Wireless Gaming Mouse, HERO 12K Sensor, 12,000 DPI, Lightweight, 6 Programmable Buttons, 500h Battery Life, On-Board Memory, PC/Mac - Black
The combination of Logitech's LIGHTSPEED wireless and 500 hours of battery makes this a great wireless mouse.
Best Budget: SteelSeries Rival 3
Budget gaming mice can be a minefield of mediocre options, but SteelSeries sought to change that with the Rival 3. At under $30, this wired mouse may be simple, but it gets the job done, and it even throws in some programmable side buttons and RGB lighting to boot. It’s shaped ambidextrously and everything can be reprogrammed using SteelSeries’ software.
SteelSeries Rival 3 Gaming Mouse - 8,500 CPI TrueMove Core Optical Sensor - 6 Programmable Buttons - Split Trigger Buttons - Brilliant Prism RGB Lighting
An inexpensive mouse that doesn't cheap out features.
A Mid-Range Choice: ROCCAT Kono AIMO
The Kono AIMO certainly has the looks down, but it backs up those angular edges and bright lighting with a surprising amount of customization available. Naturally, the RGB lighting is customizable, and not only can you reprogram all the buttons on the AIMO, but there’s also the “Quick-Shift” button which allows you to switch between multiple sets of functions on the fly.
That means you could set up a profile for a certain activity, and as soon as you’re done, immediately switch profiles to match your new situation. Combine that with the three available thumb buttons at your disposal, and users who like to dive-in deep with reprogramming are sure to love this mouse. This mouse is shaped for right-handed users, is wired, and everything can be edited in ROCCAT’s software.
ROCCAT Kone AIMO Gaming Mouse (High Precision, Optical Owl-Eye Sensor (100 to 16.000 DPI), RGB Aimo LED Illumination, 23 Programmable Keys, Designed in Germany) Black (Remastered)
With plenty of customization to be had, the Roccat Aimo is a great option at a mid-range price.
A Small Mouse: Razer Viper Mini
The Viper Mini is pretty much what it says in the name—it’s a smaller version of the Viper. This wired ambidextrous mouse only weighs 61 grams, has a little bit of RBG lighting, uses an ultra-flex cable for more mobility, and has Razer’s optical switches to avoid any misinputs. There are two programmable thumb buttons on the left side which you can edit using Razer Synapse. It’s a solid mouse and comes in at an impressively low price. For people who prefer smaller mice, this a great option.
Razer Viper Ultimate Wireless Gaming Mouse Black
A wired mouse with a compact form factor.