Want to get the competitive edge in your favourite games? Up your kill count with our pick of the best mice for serious gaming
To compete with the very best gamers out there, you’ll need to equip yourself with the best gaming mouse you can afford. That’s where we come in: we’ve spent hundreds of hours playing games and running tests to sort the winners from the wannabes (it’s a hard life). Read on and we’ll help you pick the best mouse for your games and playing style.
If you already know what you’re looking for, scroll down and read through the bite-size reviews of all our current favourites. With prices that range from the budget-friendly to the wallet-bruising, there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re a beginner looking to gain an edge in your favourite games, or a seasoned expert who wants to maintain their elite kill-to-death ratio, we can recommend something that fits the bill.
If, on the other hand, you don’t know your palm grip from your claw grip, read on. We’ll explain everything you need to know in our handy buying guide.
How to choose the best gaming mouse for you
When it comes to choosing a gaming mouse, it’s easy to get sidetracked by marketing fluff. An incredibly high DPI and the latest sensor might sound like they’ll elevate your game to the next level, but in reality, there are more important things to consider.
Our guide will focus on those things. We’ve even illustrated the hierarchy of importance crudely below; if you read no more of this guide, make sure you keep the following in mind when buying your next gaming mouse.
Shape > weight > buttons > DPI > sensor > everything else
Why are shape and weight so important?
The shape and weight of your mouse – that is, the overall build of it – are directly related to how well you will perform in your favourite FPS/MMORPG/MOBA. The wrong build will feel unnatural and uncomfortable and may exacerbate mouse-related injuries.
The shape that suits you will depend largely on your mouse grip. Here’s how to work out which grip you use:
- Place your hand on your mouse.
- If your entire hand (palm and fingers) is resting on the surface of the mouse, you have a palm grip.
- If your palm is elevated, and only your fingertips touch the mouse, you have a fingertip grip.
- If the rear of your palm touches the mouse surface, and your fingers are visibly arched rather than flat against the mouse, you have a claw grip.
Palm grippers will appreciate a taller mouse (“high profile”) with a more rounded palm rest – in other words, a mouse that slots comfortably into the natural curve of your palm. You may also find that ambidextrous mice are noticeably less comfortable.
Fingertip or claw grippers, meanwhile, can get away with flatter mice (“low profile”); claw grippers in particular will prefer mice that have a flatter or less rounded palm rest.
Unfortunately, choosing a weight that suits you is a little less formulaic. I’ve tried mice that range in weight from 74g to 136g and found that I prefer mice in the middle of that range. Heavy mice are often large mice, and large mice are often unwieldy – even for those with larger hands.
Some mice offer removable weights, so you can adjust the heft of the thing on the fly, but this is uncommon. As a rule of thumb, lighter mice are preferable where rapid mousing action is required (ie. in shooters).
How many buttons do I need?
If you’re a Call of Duty/Battlefield/CounterStrike player, you’ll be happy with the standard two additional buttons mounted on the side of the mouse, plus a third dedicated DPI adjuster button (usually found below the scroll wheel).
Avid League of Legends or World of Warcraft players, however, will benefit from additional side-mounted buttons. Almost all modern mice come with PC-based software, so you can bind item slots or abilities to those extra buttons and keep your keyboard hand free for the important task of moving.
What is DPI, and how much do I need?
DPI, or dots per inch (also known as counts per inch, or Mickeys per second) is a measure of how far your mouse cursor moves on the screen when you move your mouse one inch. The higher the DPI, the more sensitive the mouse.
Most gaming mouse manufacturers flaunt their mouse’s extraordinarily high DPI as a killer feature, but the truth is, most gamers won’t ever even use a sensitivity higher than about 1,600DPI. Beyond that, in-game movement becomes very hard to control – and to think, some mice can reach a whopping 20,000DPI.
Why is the sensor not important?
For the simple reason that, unless you’re using a mouse from several decades ago (the kind with a little plastic ball inside) you’ll struggle to tell one sensor from another. None of the mice on our list have sensors so terrible as to put you off buying them.
What other things should I watch out for?
Cable: Is it braided? Cables with a fabric exterior don’t tangle and won’t catch on the edge of your desk like plastic ones.
RGB: If lighting is the most important thing for you, don’t worry: we understand. Most of the mice on this list have customisable RGB lighting, though not all gaming mice can produce multiple colours. Check before you buy.
The best gaming mice to buy in 2020
1. SteelSeries Rival 3: Best budget gaming mouse
Price: £35 | Buy now from Amazon
SteelSeries’ cheapest gaming mouse is a minimalistic affair. At just 22mm high, and weighing only 77g, this is a low profile pointer best suited to the tip or claw grippers out there. In testing, however, this palm gripper soon adjusted to the low weight and slim frame and wielded the Rival 3 with more accuracy than any other mouse on test.
This mouse has two side-mounted buttons – standard fare for such a no-fuss model – plus a DPI toggle below the scroll wheel, all of which can be programmed using SteelSeries’ excellent Engine desktop application. Every button actuates with a very satisfying mechanical click.
The only claim to extravagance here is a slim LED strip that outlines the rear and sides of the mouse; it’s a touch of very tasteful RGB flair that’s also fully customisable via the Engine app.
If you’re an FPS fanatic on a budget, the Rival 3 is a lightweight, low-cost mouse from an esteemed family of SteelSeries gaming mice. It will serve you very well indeed.
Key specs – Dimensions: 120 x 58 x 22mm; Weight: 77g; Sensor: TrueMove Core; Maximum DPI: 8,500; Buttons: 5; RGB: Yes
SteelSeries Rival 3 – Gaming Mouse – 8,500 CPI TrueMove Core Optical Sensor – 6 Programmable Buttons – Split Trigger Buttons
£34.99 Buy now
2. Logitech G502 Proteus Spectrum: Best gaming mouse
Price: £89 | Buy now from Amazon
The Logitech G502 is one of the most popular gaming mice in the world – and for good reason. It features a flawless PixArt 3366 sensor that’s capable of up to 12,000 DPI, has 11 programmable buttons, Logitech’s much-loved Hyperscroll Wheel and comes with RGB illumination. The mouse also has additional weights of up to 18g (5 x 3.6g), though, is rather heavy already at 121g.
There’s also the newer G502 Hero and the G502 Lightspeed, which use the company’s 16,000 DPI Hero sensor. The latter is wireless and PowerPlay compatible, slightly lighter at 114g, and has 16g (4x2g & 2x4g) of optional weights. It costs £130, however, so we still recommend the G502 Proteus Spectrum.
Key specs – Dimensions: 132 x 75 x 40mm;Weight: 121g; Sensor: PixArt PMW3366; Maximum DPI: 12,000; Buttons: 11; RGB: Yes
3. Roccat Kain 202 Aimo: Best wireless gaming mouse
Price: £90 | Buy now from Amazon
Although it’s really just the white version of the esteemed Kain 200 Aimo, the Kain 202 Aimo was still our favourite mouse on test. That’s because it’s built with palm grippers in mind: with an angled, right-handed design, a high profile and a middling weight of 105g, this wireless mouse is an absolute joy to use both in-game and out.
Like its sibling, the 202 Aimo functions both wired and wirelessly; Roccat says the battery will last for 50 hours, or 35 with the minimal LED lighting on. This lighting, plus the two large thumb buttons and DPI toggle, can be adjusted to your heart’s content using Roccat’s incredibly detailed Swarm application.
In fact, this app is incredibly useful. Aside from the usual button/RGB programming, it shows you 2.4GHz signal strength, as well as battery status, which can be mounted as an icon in the Windows 10 tray. You can adjust everything from the automatic standby timer to the polling rate and lift-off distance – if you’re that way inclined. The only downside is that there’s no Mac version as of yet.
We’re highlighting the white model here because it looks stunning, but really, that’s just the cherry on an already-appetising cake.
Key specs – Dimensions: 124 x 65 x 43mm;Weight: 105g; Sensor: Roccat Owl-Eye; Maximum DPI: 16,000; Buttons: 5; RGB: Yes
Roccat Kain 202 Aimo RGB Wireless Gaming Mouse (16.000 dpi Owl-Eye Sensor, 89G Ultra-Light, Titan Click Technology) White
£89.99 Buy now
4. Razer Viper Ultimate: Best lightweight gaming mouse
Price: £150 | Buy now from AO
Choosing the right award for the Razer Viper Ultimate was tough. For one thing, it’s the lightest, thinnest mouse on trial; but it’s also ambidextrous, and it boasts the best battery life of any wireless mouse I’ve tested. However, that ridiculous 74g weight paired with a slight build and some rather unique specifications mean that the Viper Ultimate stands out as a mouse for anyone looking to capitalise on their lightning-fast reflexes.
The Viper Ultimate can handle mousing speeds of up to 650IPS (inches per second), which in layman’s terms means it can keep up with exceptionally rapid movements without losing the ability to track said movement. Great for general accuracy, but especially so if you lower your DPI for added precision – low sensitivities require faster mouse movements.
To add to this growing pile of positives, the Viper Ultimate will last 70 hours on a single charge and includes a nifty magnetic charging dock with braided cable. You can customise lighting and button functions within Razer Synapse, where you’ll also find the option to switch between right- and left-handed modes. Put simply, this mouse does it all – which explains the high price.
Key specs – Dimensions: 127 x 58 x 38mm;Weight: 74g; Sensor: Razer Focus Plus; Maximum DPI: 20,000; Buttons: 7; RGB: Yes
5. SteelSeries Rival 500: Best gaming mouse for MMO/MOBA
Price: £76 | Buy now from Amazon
The SteelSeries Rival 500 is a fantastic take on your regular MMO/MOBA/RTS mouse. Most mice have a series of buttons on the left-hand side. SteelSeries has developed a way of having up to 15 buttons without the need to adopt a claw grip.
Two under-thumb buttons sit on the left side; both can be disabled through a mechanical switch found under the mouse. The Rival 500 has RGB lighting and houses the impressive PixArt PMW3360, meaning your movements will be accurately tracked. It also features tactile feedback: you’ll be alerted about in-game events through the mouse’s vibrations.
Key specs – Grip: Claw, palm and fingertip; Weight: 129g; Sensor: PixArt PMW3360; Maximum DPI: 16,000; Buttons: 15; RGB: Yes; Dimensions: 118.75 x 78.34 x 43.34mm
6. Corsair Gaming M65 Pro: Best gaming mouse for claw/fingertip grip
Price: £59 | Buy now from Scan
If you’re a self-affirmed claw or fingertip-grip gamer, the Corsair Gaming M65 Pro might be your match made in heaven. It features the impressive PixArt PMW3366 sensor that goes up to 12,000 DPI; it also has eight programmable buttons and three-zone RGB lighting.
The mouse is relatively heavy at 115g and can be further increased to 135.5g with the supplied weights. The weight system itself is ingenious as it allows you to customise the weight distribution to your liking.
Key specs – Dimensions: 118 x 72 x 39mm; Weight: 115/135.5g; Sensor: PixArt PMW3366; Maximum DPI: 12,000; Buttons: 8; RGB: Yes
7. Roccat Kone Aimo Remastered: Best gaming mouse for big hands
Price: £70 | Buy now from Amazon
If your mitts are on the large side, or you grip your mouse with your entire palm, the Kone Aimo Remastered is the mouse for you. Unusually wide and noticeably weighty, the Kone Aimo Remastered features three very large side-mounted thumb buttons and a two-button DPI toggle (to increase and decrease sensitivity) rather than the usual one.
Of course, this does mean that we found it a touch unwieldy: as you’d expect, the sheer heft of the mouse makes rapid movements a tad more challenging for those with average-sized hands. In testing, I was a little less accurate with this mouse, and found that my wrist tired more quickly.
Assuming you need a larger mouse, though, the Kone Aimo Remastered is very well equipped. One of the more RGB-intensive options on this list, the Aimo Remastered has five independently lit “zones”, all of which can be individually customised via the Swarm app. It’s also one of the only mice on this list I would describe as truly ergonomic: the sides of the mouse are concave to allow your fingers and thumbs to rest more naturally.
Our only complaint is that the scroll wheel travels with a cheap-sounding clack. Otherwise, this is a stellar mouse for large hands.
Key specs – Dimensions: 125 x 85 x 40mm; Weight: 130g; Sensor: Roccat Owl-Eye; Maximum DPI: 16,000; Buttons: 7; RGB: Yes