If you’re a passionate gamer, and especially if you love playing competitively, any advantage you can get over your opponents is very welcome.
The sad reality, though, is that most gaming equipment is super-expensive. This has been especially true in the last few years, when the pandemic caused a global chip shortage, and the crypto mining craze made GPUs skyrocket in price. Things are slowly improving now, but this stuff still isn’t cheap!
There are low-cost ways to treat yourself even when you’re on a budget, though, and they’ll still improve your gaming experience. While you can find a great gaming mouse, keyboard, or monitor when you don’t have much to spend, the cheapest item that can make a difference is a gaming mousepad.
While having any kind of mousepad is far better than having none, a gaming mousepad will make your gaming more comfortable and your mouse movements smoother and more precise. You’ll be able to play for longer, pain-free, and the added accuracy will aid you in making clutch plays when it matters.
And yes, all that thanks to a piece of inexpensive cloth or plastic underneath your mouse. 🙂
- Dimensions: 13.4 x 11.0 inches
- Depth: 3mm
- Surface: Plastic
- Extras: None
- Dimensions: 18.5 x 15.3 inches
- Depth: 3mm
- Type: Cloth
- Extras: None
- Dimensions: 13.8 x 10.2 inches
- Depth: 5mm
- Type: Plastic
- Extras: RGB lighting, USB passthrough
- Dimensions: 48.0 x 23.2 inches
- Depth: 3mm
- Type: Cloth
- Extras: RGB lighting, USB passthrough
- Dimensions: 11.2 x 8.2 inches
- Depth: variable
- Type: Cloth
- Extras: none
- Dimensions: 12.6 x 14.6 inches
- Depth: 8mm
- Type: Plastic
- Extras: Wireless charging, USB passthrough
How We Picked the Best Gaming Mousepads
As we said, any kind of mousepad is better than scraping your fancy mouse over your table over and over again. But, some features are important for gamers in general, and some are preferred for specific games or other purposes (because supposedly there might be life beyond gaming!)
In general, you should get the biggest mousepad your desk or table allows. That’s especially true if you play FPS games and use the recommended lower DPI and sensitivity settings for better aiming.
When these settings are lower, you need to move your mouse more, which is why regular office mousepads don’t work. All of the pads on our list are large enough to allow comfortable mouse movement. Some even let put your keyboard and monitor on them as well, protecting your table from scratching.
Classic cloth mousepads are very smooth and precise, but they’re usually hard to clean and don’t last as long.
Hard mousepads made of aluminum or plastic typically last far longer and have super-fast surfaces with minimal friction, but you can’t roll them up for storage or travel.
Cloth mousepads are more comfortable and easier on the wrist, because they’re softer. Some gamers with heavy hands prefer harder ones, however, since they won’t depress under pressure.
The thickness of the base will determine the overall comfort and feel of the mousepad. Cloth mousepads are usually thicker, which typically means they are softer and more comfortable, preferred by palm grippers. Thinner mousepads are usually around 2mm, while thicker ones go up to about 5mm.
The base also dictates the amount of grip the mousepad has. You usually don’t want to move your mousepad, and especially not while playing, which is why good grip is an absolute must.
If you’ve ever had a cheap office mousepad, you probably already know how they start chipping from sides first, and the cloth surface starts fraying away. This can happen to low-end gaming mousepads too, which is why the finish is important, especially around the edges.
In general, plastic/metal mousepads are much longer-lasting. A quality cloth mousepad will have anti-fray stitching, however, ensuring it lasts longer.
Like any other gaming equipment, mousepads also come with some extras. Honestly, most are unnecessary and do little more than raise the price, sometimes to unreasonable levels. Some of these are:
- RGB lighting – if you have an RGB mouse, keyboard, headset, computer case, why not an RGB mousepad? It can look cool, but that’s pretty much it, and needs to be plugged into a USB port. Great, another cable.
- USB passthrough – having a USB port on your mousepad is convenient, as it lets you connect other peripherals or charge devices while you play.
- Qi charger – having a Qi charger on your mousepad will let you wirelessly charge your phone while playing. That’s arguably useful, but it’s an expensive extra: expect to pay more for it.
- Wrist rest – if you have issues with wrist pain, then getting a mousepad with a cushioned wrist rest might be an option. Having your hand on a wrist rest all the time isn’t ideal for gaming performance, but if you’re working all day and only play during your breaks or after work, a wrist rest will help.
A mouse pad shouldn’t cost a fortune, so don’t waste your money. Gaming equipment is expensive, and if you want to keep playing the latest games with a decent framerate, you’ll need to have a powerful machine and constantly upgrade it.
So, look to splurge elsewhere, and ensure your mouse pad is good value. It does make a difference, but it’s never going to be the thing that really pushes your gaming performance forward, so don’t overspend.
Best Hard Gaming Mousepad: Logitech G440 Hard
Logitech is a big name in the world of computer peripherals, and you can always find the company’s mice, keyboards, or headsets somewhere near the top of the most “best of” lists. The same is true for gaming mousepads, as their G440 Hard is the best hard gaming mousepad available.
If you like playing with high DPI, you’ll love this mousepad. The hard, low-friction polymer surface means your mouse will fly, enabling high-speed 360-degree turns. At the same time, the consistent texture ensures you’ll always remain in control, guaranteeing precision even at high speeds.
G440 has a rubber base, so it grips well on almost any table surface. Sizewise, at 13.3 x 11 inches, it’s big enough for comfortable gaming, especially with higher DPI, but won’t take up too much space. There are no stitched edges to interfere with your play, plus it’s very easy to clean, so it it can tolerate the usual gamers’ sloppiness.
Overall, this G440 Hard doesn’t have any significant flaws. It’s not as large as some other mousepads on the list and as with any hard mousepad, it can’t be rolled up, but that’s about it.Buy on Amazon
Best Cloth Gaming Mousepad: BenQ Zowie G-SR
If your #1 concern is maximal control, the BenQ Zowie G-SR is the mousepad to get.
It provides more friction than most cloth pads, helping ensure accurate movements and precise shooting. Expect to hit those amazing flick headshots in CS: GO, no matter how fast you move your mouse. Well, at least some of the time.
As for the build quality, it’s impressive. Stitched edges help ensure no fraying or peeling, unlike the majority of cloth mousepads. The rubber base is particularly soft and 100% flat, ensuring comfortable gaming and maximal precision while keeping the pad fixed in place.
The dimensions are very large, 18.5 x 15.3 inches, which means you’ll never run out of space even if you play on low sensitivity and DPI settings. The 3mm thickness is standard.
Alternative option: While the G-SR is our pick here, some players don’t like the added friction. If that’s an issue for you, take a look at the company’s G-SR SE Deep Blue version instead.
The smooth texture means you’ll be able to move your mouse faster, but will still retain high levels of control. It looks fantastic, too, much better than G-SR. The only downside is that the edges aren’t stitched, which isn’t great for durability.Buy on Amazon
Best RGB Mousepad: Corsair MM800 Polaris
If you’re a fan of RGB gaming gear, you probably already own an RGB case, keyboard, or mouse (probably all of them), and maybe even speakers or a headset. If you have all of that, it’s obviously time to get an RGB mousepad, and Corsair’s MM800 Polaris is the way to go.
This pad has 15 RGB LEDs that are very bright and produce accurate colors. You can fully customize it via the Corsair iCUE software, creating your own color profiles. If you own other Corsair gaming RGB gear, you can synchronize the lighting in the app as well.
It’s not just about the fancy RGB lighting, though. The micro-textured plastic surface provides effortless, low-friction movement of both optical and laser mice, ideal for higher DPI settings.
At 13.8 x 10.2 inches, it’s large enough for comfortable gaming at those higher DPI settings. The non-slip rubber base ensures the mousepad stays in place, with a total depth of 5mm.
The MM800 Polaris has a handy feature that separates it from competitors like the Razer Firefly V2: a USB passthrough. That gives you back the port you lose by plugging in the RGB lighting, and puts it in a very useful position. Kudos to Corsair for that.
The mousepad does have a couple of flaws, though. As mentioned, you need to connect it to the wall or your PC via a cable, and it you use a wireless mouse and keyboard, a wired mousepad makes no sense.
The biggest issue, though, is the price: as with any other RGB gear, when compared to regular mousepads, the MM800 costs twice as much. You’ve really gotta want those lights!Buy on Amazon
Best Deskpad/Oversized Gaming Mousepad: SteelSeries QcK Gaming Surface 3XL
Desk pads cover the whole surface of your desk and let you put your keyboard and monitor on them, not just your mouse. This has several advantages: it protects your table from scratching and sweat, is softer on your wrists, and looks great.
Our choice in this category is the SteelSeries QcK Gaming Surface 3XL, an oversized version of the best-selling gaming mousepad right now.
In the deskpad world, size does matter, and the Gaming Surface 3XL is humongous! A whopping 48.0 x 23.2 inches means you can fit EVERYTHING on this mousepad — there’s enough room here for a 747 to land, let alone your full-sized gaming keyboard and mouse.
This is a micro-woven cloth mousepad, an approach well-known for its great feedback and precision, and one that works well with any kind of mouse. The never-slip base stays in place at all times, which is particularly important when you have your keyboard and monitor on the surface as well.
The only issue is that it doesn’t have stitched edges, which means there’s potential for it to fray over time. Cloth mousepads tend to get dirty a bit easier as well, but this one is washable and has proven to be quite durable, which is nice.
It’s also worth noting that an RGB option also exists. It will typically double the price, though, making it a definite splurge. YOLO!Buy on Amazon
Best Ergonomic Gaming Mousepad: Gimars Elongate
Ergonomic mousepads have a foam cushion to reduce wrist pressure and raise your arm, putting less strain on muscles and tendons. If you suffer from wrist pain due to sitting in front of a computer all day, ergonomic mousepads can make your life a little easier.
When it comes to gaming, though, having your wrist fixed in a single position isn’t ideal if you play with low DPI or mouse sensitivity. When that’s the case, you are more likely to move your mouse around much more and in bigger swipes.
The second issue is the position of the cushion itself, which prevents you from hard swiping the mouse downwards. This is a huge problem, as you will have to readjust your mouse whenever it hits the cushion. If you do that in the middle of a frag, you’re dead.
Because of this reason, most ergonomic “gaming” mousepads aren’t a good option unless you play on ultra-high sens/DPI, are a “wrist” gamer anyway, and rarely move your arm.
Our pick, the Gimars Elongate, is different. It’s large enough to allow side-to-side mouse movements without going off the pad, and also has more space than most ergonomic mousepads on the Y-axis. This means there’s less chance of hitting the cushion during a downward swipe.
The surface itself is made of lycra fabric and is very smooth. The cushion is filled with high-density memory foam, which is comfortable but firm, and helps keep your hand in a good ergonomic position.
The textured rubber base has non-slip stickers to help keep the pad firmly in position at all times. You’ve also got a bunch of different color options to choose from, and the price is reasonable. This isn’t a gaming thoroughbred mousepad, but if you have issues with wrist pain or carpal tunnel, it might well do the trick.Buy on Amazon
Best Gaming Mousepad With Wireless Charging: ASUS ROG Balteus Qi
If you own a phone that supports wireless Qi charging and are happy spending a bit extra, you’ll love the ASUS ROG Balteus Qi. This high-end mousepad lets you wirelessly charge your phone or other mobile device while you’re playing, just by placing it on the corner of the pad.
If your device is able to be charged wirelessly, chances are it’ll be compatible with the inbuilt 10W Qi charger. Drop it onto the corner of the pad with the Qi logo, and all going well, you’ll get a pulsating light on the edge to let you know it’s charging.
The pad itself charges via a micro-USB socket on the edge of the controller unit, and there’s a passthrough USB socket so you can plug in a keyboard, mouse, headset, or other wired USB device as well.
The mousepad feels great under your hand, with a hard, micro-textured surface that allows fast, precise movements without losing control. The grippy base keeps it firmly stuck in place as you play, and there’s plenty of space available.
Note that this is a vertical pad, so the dimensions are (slightly) longer vertically than horizontally. Check that your desk can accommodate the extra height before you buy, just to avoid an unpleasant surprise when you open the box.
12.6 x 14.6 inches is plenty for comfortable gaming, at least at higher DPI settings, even allowing for the fact you’ll lose a bit of space whenever you put something to charge on the Qi wireless pad.
In not entirely shocking news for a gaming mousepad, there’s RGB lighting on offer here as well: 15 different zones of it, in fact. It’s part of the Aura Sync ecosystem, so you can link it up to other compatible gaming gear and turn your room into a pulsating nightclub if you so desire.
The Balteus Qi was very expensive when it first came out, to the point where we didn’t recommend it because it was just too expensive for what it was. Prices have fallen significantly since then, however, and you should now be able to pick it up for under $100. At that price, we think it’s a far more compelling option.Buy on Amazon
As you can see, a gaming mousepad is much more than a piece of cloth. It’s a small investment compared to other types of gaming equipment, but it does influence your gaming performance.
There are far worse ways to waste money on items that don’t improve either your in-game experience nor your comfort levels (read: RGB cases), so why not treat yourself with a good gaming mousepad. You deserve it!
Main image via EKKAPHAN CHIMPALEE/Shutterstock.com