Following the advent of the computer mouse in the mid-60s, it took decades before PC gaming took off in the eyes of the mainstream. Once it inevitably did, however, the introduction of the gaming mouse – gaudy designs, LED sheen and all – was nigh instantaneous.
Entertaining various forms, the gaming mouse has been there with us since John Carmack cracked open his first Diet Coke to code Doom. As it’s undergone a bit of a transformation over the years, you can expect the best gaming mouse to exhibit zippy responsiveness, refined customization software and, of course, ample pretty lights.
How to choose between the best gaming mice
Nevertheless, the question remains: how do you determine what’s the best gaming mouse for you? Ultimately, it depends on your specific needs. Playing habits and comfort preferences both factor equally into a product garnering the title of best gaming mouse.
First-person shooter players will reap the most benefit from a mouse covering the widest DPI (dots per inch) range possible. Otherwise, MOBA and RTS players will find that the perfect gaming mouse is simply a case of the more macros, the merrier.
Below, we've chosen the 10 best gaming mice, one of which is bound to suit you. Though they don’t all have reviews featured on TechRadar, each mouse occupying a space on this list has undergone extensive testing prior to its inclusion.
1. Razer DeathAdder Elite
Razer's most responsive DeathAdder ever
DPI: Up to 16,000 | Features: True tracking at 450 Inches Per Second, Resolution Accuracy of 99.4%, Mechanical mouse switches (up to 50 million clicks), Razer Chroma lighting, Up to 450 IPS / 50 g acceleration, Razer Synapse software
You know what you're getting with a Razer DeathAdder mouse, and this year's Elite model is one of the most responsive yet thanks to a new eSports-grade sensor that makes it easier than ever to keep enemies firmly in the center of your crosshair.
Razer's refreshed rodent features the same right-handed ergonomic design as its predecessor that moulds into your hand, all while adding two new buttons beneath the mouse's scroll wheel to change DPI (or dots-per-inch) on-the-fly.
While the DeathAdder Elite misses out on more advanced features such as the free-spinning scroll wheel that you'll find on Logitech's Proteus Core, the Razer's pretty RGB lighting (customizable lighting with 16.8 million color options through Razer's synapse software), big and accessible left-mounted buttons and grippable scroll wheel make it the best mice available in the price tier below.
2. SteelSeries Rival 700
A mouse with a side-mounted display
DPI: Up to 16,000 | Features: Gamesense support, OLED display, Tactile alerts, SteelSeries Engine 3 support, Programmable buttons, Onboard profile storage
SteelSeries has ventured where few gaming mouse makers dare by adding a black-and-white OLED display to its Rival 700. It can either be a useful tool for three currently supported games – Dota 2, Counter Strike: Global Offensive and Minecraft – or can instead be used to loop animated GIFs. There's a high level of customization on offer here thanks to the Rival 700's modularity. Users can snap covers on and off and even switch between a three- or six-foot cable. Tactile alerts are also in place, which trigger vibrations to indicate when health, mana and other in-game resources are replenished in the aforementioned games. Overall, a distinct piece of equipment.
3. Logitech G900 Chaos Spectrum
The ultimate wireless gaming mouse
DPI: 12,000 | Interface: Wired/Wireless 2.4GHz | Buttons: 11 | Ergonomic: Ambidextrous | Features: Customizable RGB Lighting, 30 hour battery life, removable side buttons
In recent years, wireless gaming mice have cultivated a rather adverse reputation, mainly in response to their perceptible lag. With the G900 Chaos Spectrum, however, Logitech seeks to change your mind. Using some form of wizardry, the company somehow managed to get its polling rate down to 1 millisecond on a 2.4GHz connection. Accompanied by accelerated coverage of the entire DPI range, zero smoothing and filtering, this gaming mouse is prepared for everything from your next game of Hearthstone to tournament level Heroes of the Storm. That goes without mentioning an ambidextrous design ideal for left-handed players in addition to a modular button layout.
4. Corsair Harpoon
A grippable textured budget mouse
DPI: 6,000 | Features: Optical gaming sensor with advanced tracking, Contoured design, Textured rubber side grips, Six programmable buttons, Onboard memory to store custom DPI settings
Featuring a grippable leather texture down the left-hand side, using the Corsair Harpoon is light slipping into a comfortable car with leather upholstery. Not a very expensive one, mind you, as the Harpoon is a budget offering that looks and feels cheaper than mice twice its price. Which is to be expected, of course, and with a snappy optical sensor and six programmable buttons including a center DPI switch and forward and back buttons on the side of the mouse, you have everything you need to game in any genre. Its average size makes it a good fit for both small and large hands, and Corsair's RGB-lit logo on the back makes it look rather cool when rested on your desk.
5. Logitech G502 Proteus Spectrum
Heavyweight champion of profound customization
DPI: 200 - 12,000 | Features: 11 programmable buttons and controls, including DPI shift, Customizable lighting from a palette of 16.8 million colors, Up to five 3.6g weights for personalised mass and balance, Surface-turnable gaming sensor with Delta Zero tech, 5 on-the-fly adjustable DPI settings, 3 on-board profiles
Logitech's gaming mouse makes heavy-handedness seem like a good thing. Its hexagonal core can be customized with up to six 3.6 gram weights, giving you a lighter or heavier mouse to wield. Adjusting the mass and balance isn't the G502's only trick: its surface-turnable gaming sensor packs Logitech's Delta Zero tech, which lets you use it on a wide variety of surfaces beyond your regular mouse mat.
Clicking a middle mouse button lets the G502's scroll wheel spin freely, which helps prevent knuckle strain when navigating long webpages and forms. Add to that 11 customizable buttons including four on the left-hand side, a three-speed DPI shift under the scroll wheel and a logo that lights up 16.8 million colours in the dark using RGB backlighting, and you have one attractive, tech-stuffed gaming mouse.
6. Razer Naga Hex V2
Colorful rodent bears its MOBA teeth
DPI: Up to 16,000 | Features: 7-button mechanical thumb wheel, Pre-configured MOBA profiles, 16,000 DPI 5G laser sensor, DPI switch buttons
Razer's refreshed Naga Hex gaming mouse has once again been refreshed, this time with MOBA and MMO players in mind. If you need your mouse to do the job when it comes to timely spellcasting, it could be a great addition to your setup. The Naga Hex 2 positions a thumb grip alongside seven quick-access buttons arranged in a circle that, with a bit of muscle memory training, allow you to fire off spells and perform other actions in a snap. There's also two buttons along the top for adjusting dots-per-inch (DPI) sensitivity on-the-fly, accompanied by two rubber plates on the sides help with grip. In addition to offering a wealth of different buttons, the Naga Hex V2 is lightweight and looks great thanks to Chroma RGB lighting that adds a dash of color to the side-mounted buttons, mouse wheel and Razer logo. Lighting behaviour is configured using Razer's Synapse software, and you can jump right into the action by downloading its League of legends and DOTA 2 profiles.
7. Cougar Minos X3
Feature-packed and priced just right
DPI: Up to 3,200 | Features: RGB backlighting, 6 buttons, OMRON switches, On-the-fly DPI switcher
Cougar is fast developing a reputation for creating peripherals capable of going toe-to-toe with those from rival brands, but sold at a lower price point. The Minos X3 is one such mouse, one that’s targeted at esports gamers. Featuring a pro-grade optical sensor that makes mousing around the mouse pad smooth and precise, six buttons and on-the-fly DPI switching, it packs all of the essentials you would need under its plastic and rubber shell. That it sports eye-catching RGB backlighting that bleeds around the base of the mouse is the cherry on top.
8. Corsair Sabre
A swift, accurate and lightweight weapon
DPI: 10,000 | Interface: Wired | Buttons: 8
Another impressive mouse from Corsair, the Sabre is comparatively stripped down compared to the M65 Pro leaving just the essentials for a reasonable price. The first thing you notice is how light the mouse is. Its lightweight body combines excellently with its fast and accurate optical sensor to feel like a durable mouse you can wield in your hand for playing games of any genre. Corsair's CUE software is a little fiddly to get to grips with, but once figured out can be programmed to cycle colors around the Sabre's four RGB-lit zones.
9. G.Skill Ripjaws MX780
A comfortable customizable gaming rodent
DPI: Up to 16,000 | Features: 8,200dpi Avago laser sensor with on-the-fly dpi switching; Ambidextrous and Height-Adjustable weights; 8 programmable buttons and four-zone RGB lighting; Onboard profile storage (5 configurations); G.SKILL Unified Driver system
Some gaming mice forego comfort in the name of features, which can't be said for the RipJaw MX780. It boast a number of features designed to make your hand grip feel just right, including a height-adjustable palm rest, ambidextrous and interchangeable side grips and adjustable weights. It all adds up to make one of the most comfortable gaming mouses we've tried in some time, and it's responsive to boot thanks to an onboard 8,200 dpi laser sensors that supports on-the-fly DPI switching.
10. SteelSeries Rival 500
A swiss army knife of a gaming mouse
DPI: 10,000 - 16,000 | Features: 14 buttons, DPI adjuster, RGB backlighting, SteelSeries 3 Engine software
The SteelSeries Rival 500 is initially overwhelming due to the number of buttons on the left-hand side. However, give it time and this becomes one of the most formidable gaming mice money can buy. This veritable swiss army knife boasts an incredible 14 buttons, making it ideal for everything from MMOs and MOBAs to shooters, strategy and simulation games. And if you don’t need all of them, a switch on the underside of the Rival 500 disables some of the buttons on the left-hand side, turning them into a comfortable thumb rest. The mouse fits nicely in the hand and is super customizable thanks to the SteelSeries Engine 3 software, which is intuitive and helps you make the most of those buttons and its RGB backlighting.
Gabe Carey has also contributed to this review