Laptop, mouse, and boarding pass

The Best Travel Mice of 2023

By Dave Dean Accessories, Remote Working2 Comments

A high-quality computer mouse helps improve productivity, increase comfort, and reduce the risk of wrist pain and other overuse injuries. While most of us have decent computer gear at home or in the office, the ergonomics of our setup often gets worse when we’re on the go. 

Thankfully, a few inexpensive upgrades can drastically improve your mobile office. The first is a portable mouse, which is what we’re talking about today. Pair a good travel mouse with a portable keyboard and laptop stand, and you have the makings of a lightweight portable office that can be set up in minutes. 

Unless you’re one of the few people who loves using a laptop trackpad, a good mouse is the best mobile work upgrade you can make. When shopping for a travel-specific version, consider aspects like the physical size, portability, connection type, battery life, ergonomics, and accuracy/sensitivity (measured in DPI, or dots per inch). 

There are thousands of mice on the market, though, ranging from a few dollars to a few hundred and everywhere in between. Finding the right one for your needs can feel intimidating, which is why we’ve spent many hours tracking down and testing the best travel mice for use on the road or in a coffee shop.

Whether you’re looking for a budget option, a professional-grade pointer, or even a gaming solution, these are the best travel mouse options of 2023. 

Best Travel Mouse: Logitech MX Anywhere 3
  • Size: 4.0 x 2.6 x 1.4 inches
  • Battery Life: Up to 70 days
  • Connection Type: Bluetooth, USB wireless dongle
  • Battery Type: Inbuilt

Best Mini Travel Mouse: Swiftpoint ProPoint
  • Size: 2.2 x 1.6 x 1.3 inches
  • Battery Life: up to two weeks
  • Connection Type: Bluetooth, USB wireless dongle
  • Battery Type: Inbuilt

Sale
Best Cheap Travel Mouse: Microsoft Bluetooth Mouse
  • Size: 4.1 x 2.3 x 1.5 inches
  • Battery Life: Up to 12 months
  • Connection Type: Bluetooth
  • Battery Type: 1x AA

Best Travel Mouse for MacBooks: Logitech MX Anywhere 3 for Mac
  • Size: 4.0 x 2.6 x 1.4 inches
  • Battery Life: Up to 70 days
  • Connection Type: Bluetooth, USB wireless dongle
  • Battery Type: Inbuilt

Best Wired Travel Mouse: Sabrent Mini USB Optical Mouse
  • Size: 3.3 x 2 x 1 inches
  • Battery Life: n/a
  • Connection Type: Wired (USB-A)
  • Battery Type: n/a

Sale
Best Travel Gaming Mouse: Razer Atheris
  • Size: 3.9 x 2.4 x 1.3 inches
  • Battery Life: up to one month
  • Connection Type: Bluetooth, USB wireless dongle
  • Battery Type: 2 x AA


What to Look For

Whenever you look into getting any kind of gadget to become your travel companion, you know there will be compromises. Fortunately, we’re very positive people around here, which is why we decided to rename compromise to criteria (trademark incoming! Maybe). 

So, here are the criteria we used when selecting the best travel mice, and what you should look for when making your own buying decision.

Size, Weight, and Portability

The majority of computer mice aren’t gigantic; most of them have to fit underneath a regular human hand, after all. However, every traveler knows how vital the size of ANYTHING is when you’re trying to fit all your belongings, including your laptop and mouse, inside a little carry-on bag.

Therefore, for most people, the lighter and smaller the mouse is, the better. To a point, at least: the mouse still needs to be comfortable when you’re using it. If you have larger hands and find small mice uncomfortable, don’t go for the absolute tiniest model on the market.

For travel in particular, it’s worth looking for a mouse that works on any surface, since you really don’t want to be carrying a mousepad as well. As a general rule, laser mice are best for this purpose, since they typically better at handling uneven or reflective surfaces.

Exactly how well they do this does depend on the model, though, and varies widely between brands. Double-check descriptions and reviews to confirm whether there any issues with this before you buy.

Connectivity

Wired

In general, when it comes to travel mice, wireless is better than wired. The obvious reason is greater comfort and convenience: you don’t have to worry about cables getting in the way while you try to use your devices on a cramped plane or train tray table.

But cables aren’t only annoying; they’re also a common point of failure. Contact points are always weak points when it comes to cables, and mice are no exception, especially at the point where the cable enters the main body of the mouse.

Carrying a wired mouse in your bag also increases wear and tear, even if the cable is retractable. Finally, it’s much easier than you might imagine to get caught up in the cable as you stand up from a table and accidentally drag your laptop off onto the floor. Trust us, we’ve seen it happen!

All of that said, there are some benefits to wired travel mice. The main one is the lack of batteries, which means there’s no need to carry spares or worry about them going flat at a vital moment. Not having batteries also typically makes them lighter and cheaper, and there’s less latency (lag) as well.

Wireless

Turning to wireless, you’ve got a couple of options: radio frequency (RF) and Bluetooth. Some wireless mice offer both options, some are just one or the other.

Radio-frequency (RF) mice tend to be a bit cheaper, provide good performance, and are very simple to use: you just plug a little dongle into one of your USB sockets. When it comes to travel, however, the dongle is also their biggest issue.

Lose the dongle, and your mouse is useless. That’s it. It’s exactly how most RF travel mice become useless, too, when the dongle accidentally slips out of your daypack or you forget to pull it out of a computer you were using.

Mice with a dongle “safe spot” behind the battery cover or in the base of the mouse are a good option once you’ve trained yourself to use it, but even so, dongles remain one of those things with a high chance of becoming a problem on the road.

Sure, you could just leave it permanently in your USB socket, but that’s just swapping one potential problem for another. There’s a non-zero chance of catching the protruding dongle on something solid like a table, or snapping it off on a rough travel day, and now you’ve got a bigger issue to deal with.

Bluetooth connection solves the dongle issue and lets you use your mouse with any Bluetooth-enabled device, often even multiple simultaneously. Besides not relying on a dongle, Bluetooth connections are usually less “crowded”, meaning less wireless interference from surrounding devices.

Ideally, if you’re going wireless, look for a mouse that has both RF and Bluetooth connections, since it provides the most flexibility. Note too that some wireless mice can also be used in wired mode if you plug their charging cable into your computer, providing a third connection option if two just isn’t enough.

Battery

For any portable device, battery life is crucial. It’s the difference between a gadget that’s useful and one that’s just a frustration, and having extra batteries or power banks for your gadgets is always a smart idea especially if you plan to spend plenty of time away from an outlet.

That’s just as true for wireless mice as anything else: a flat battery notification when you’re in the middle of something important is extremely frustrating, and definitely one of my little pet peeves.

When it comes to battery life, read the product descriptions and reviews carefully. It’s not only about total battery capacity (measured in milliamp-hours, or mAh), but also how long the mouse lasts between charges or battery replacements.

If you are going down the replaceable battery path, picking a mouse that uses only one battery instead of two can reduce expenses, and often indicates that the mouse requires less juice to run.

While AA/AAA batteries are easy enough to come by, buying a mouse with a built-in rechargeable battery is generally more convenient. USB C charging is best: it’s pretty fast, at least with the right charger, and many phones and laptops support it, so you don’t have to carry two sets of cables.

Of course, if you go for a wired mouse, you can ignore all of those concerns: no batteries means no charging or hunting down replacements.

Performance and Extra Features

Travel mice aren’t the greatest option when it comes to pure performance. Gamers know that the best and most precise gaming mouse is rarely the smallest, and larger, heavier models often have extra buttons and options that you don’t find on the travel-sized versions.

Still, there are some features even a travel-friendly mouse can have that will significantly improve performance:

  • Adjustable DPI: having a wider DPI range is preferable at home or the office, but can be even more helpful when traveling. You can adjust how sensitive the mouse via a button, switch, or software configuration, letting you work effectively in cramped spaces when you need to.
  • Customizable buttons: besides the basic left/right/middle buttons you find everywhere, better mice have a range of other buttons you can program however you want. Creating presets like this can be a real time saver if you often perform the same task(s), whether for work or gaming.
  • Device support: gamers aren’t the only consumer group that requires special gadgets – macOS users need Apple-friendly devices. You will find a mouse on the list that’s specifically designed for macOS, but many others can also work on Mac. Just be sure to check. 
  • Ergonomic design: while ergonomic mice help reduce strain on your wrist and hand, they’re usually not the best option for portability: they’re often asymmetrical, making them harder to pack. That said, even some ergonomic devices are indeed travel-friendly, as you can see below.

Price

Being a mouse isn’t the safest choice, whether in the world of gadgets, science, or the wild. When you travel, things can get messy, lost, stolen, or dropped. A mouse, because it spends so much time outside of your bag, is at a much greater risk of ending its digital rodent life prematurely.

For that reason, if you travel a lot, avoid spending a fortune on a mouse

Choose one that will do the job well, stay comfortable, and handle a bit of abuse, but don’t spend vast sums of money on something that’s so easy to break or lose. That way, if the worst does happen, you won’t suffer a mini heart attack when it comes time to replace it!


Best Travel Mouse: Logitech MX Anywhere 3

Logitech MX Anywhere 3 Compact Performance Mouse, Wireless, Comfort, Fast Scrolling, Any Surface, Portable, 4000DPI, Customizable Buttons, USB-C, Bluetooth - Graphite

Logitech is one of the most respected names in the computer accessory industry, and makes a wide range of different mice. The MX Anywhere 3 is one of the company’s most portable models, thanks to its compact size and durable construction.

It’s a decidedly un-picky device, able to operate on almost any surface including glass, and is built to withstand the inevitable bumps and drops that come with being on the move. We’ve used MX Anywhere mice for years on the road, and despite all the abuse they’ve received, they’ve just kept working.

While it’s smaller than many of Logitech’s standard models, the MX Anywhere 3 doesn’t skimp on features. It can connect via USB dongle or Bluetooth, and as with many of the company’s mice, remember up to three devices and easily switch between them with the press of a button.

It also works with all major operating systems, including Windows, MacOS, iPadOS, ChromeOS, and Linux. Battery life is impressive: Logitech claims the MX Anywhere 3 can run for up to 70 days on a single charge, and that’s pretty accurate: I only charge mine every 6-8 weeks, even with heavy daily use.

The rechargeable battery charges via USB C, and just a minute on the charger provides up to three hours of use. That’s very useful: the low battery warning always seems to come at the wrong moment, so I tend to give the mouse a quick charge at the time, then a full charge when I’m done for the day.

Other useful features include the MagSpeed scroll wheel, which lets you switch from the standard line-by-line approach to a free-spinning mode just by scrolling more quickly. Moving up to 1000 lines at once, I use this mode regularly when working in large spreadsheets, and it’s a real time-saver.

The Logitech Options software lets customize the functionality of certain buttons, and tailor each to specific use cases. There are also app-specific button settings for popular applications like Photoshop, Final Cut Pro, Chrome, Excel and others. 

Overall, this is a well-rounded travel mouse that’s durable, versatile, and has an impressive feature set. The only real downsides are that it’s more expensive than your typical mobile pointer, and there’s no storage compartment in the mouse for the included USB dongle.

Since the mouse also has Bluetooth built-in, the USB dongle isn’t strictly necessary for many people, but I’d still prefer to see inbuilt storage for a mouse that’s likely to be heavily used on the road. It’s just too easy to lose tiny accessories otherwise!

Pros
  • Easily switch between three different devices
  • Rechargeable battery with long life
  • Compact, travel-friendly design
  • “MagSpeed” rapid scrolling
  • Works on almost any surface
  • Highly customizable
Cons
  • Above-average price
  • No storage compartment for USB dongle
Buy on Amazon

Best Mini Travel Mouse: Swiftpoint ProPoint

Swiftpoint ProPoint Wireless Ergonomic Mouse & Presentation Clicker with Health Software, Vertical Pen Grip, Virtual Laser Pointer & Spotlight, Compatible with iPad & includes iOS App, black/gray

It only takes a quick glance at Swiftpoint’s ProPoint to realize that it’s not your average travel mouse. This thing is seriously tiny, far smaller than anything else we’ve talked about here, and requires an entirely different approach to using it as a result.

Rather than the typical “claw” grip you use with larger mice, the ProPoint’s design favors a “pen” grip instead. The new approach takes a little getting used to — I wasn’t sure about it at all to start with — but it’s a more ergonomic approach, and at least for me, became much more natural after a few days.

The mouse and software are compatible with Windows, macOS, and iPadOS, but if you don’t need to configure it, it’ll work with most other Bluetooth-compatible operating systems as well, including Linux and Android.

Extremely lightweight, the ProPoint weighs less than an ounce, and that smaller size and weight is very noticeable. After using it for a couple of weeks, I switched back to my usual desktop mouse for a day, and it felt ridiculously big and heavy by comparison.

The tiny size opens up extra opportunities to use the mouse while traveling. It’s small enough to use on the palm rest of your laptop, for example, or the few inches of space alongside it on your airline tray table. When not in use, the ProPoint and its USB charger/dongle live in a hard, protective carry case.

As small as it is, the ProPoint is packed with features. Pretty much everything is customizable, including the three buttons on the top, the side scroll wheel, and the actions that take place when you tilt the mouse to the right and click a button or move it in a given direction.

Move a slider on the bottom, and the mouse switches into presentation mode. Ideal for business use, this lets you hold the mouse in your hand and change slides at will, or activate a virtual laser pointer on-screen to highlight whatever you’re talking about.

Battery life is pretty good: the company suggests you’ll get up to two weeks from a charge, and that’s about what I’ve seen in my testing as well. The mouse charges from a small USB dongle, which also doubles as a receiver if your computer doesn’t have Bluetooth built-in.

All in all, it’s remarkable just how many features are baked into this tiny travel mouse. It’s an expensive option, and will take a little getting used to when you first start, but there’s really nothing else quite like it on the market. Read our full Swiftpoint ProPoint review for more.

Pros
  • Extremely small and light
  • Packed with features
  • Compatible with most computers and devices
  • Presentation mode, including virtual laser pointer
  • USB charger doubles as a wireless receiver
Cons
  • Small size and pen grip means it takes a few days to get used to
  • Expensive
Buy on Amazon

Best Cheap Travel Mouse: Microsoft Bluetooth Mouse

Microsoft Bluetooth Mouse - Black. Comfortable design, Right/Left Hand Use, 4-Way Scroll Wheel, Wireless Bluetooth Mouse for PC/Laptop/Desktop, works with for Mac/Windows Computers

As perhaps the only genuine household name on this list, I probably don’t need to explain Microsoft to you. Known for excellent hardware and software, the company’s Bluetooth Mouse is its simple answer to the growing need for portable mice at affordable prices. 

Compared to the Logitech MX Anywhere 3, the Microsoft Bluetooth mouse is a basic model. It doesn’t have any of the fancy features or bells-and-whistles, but it does what it’s supposed to do well. Striking a nice balance between comfort and portability, and is available in five different colors. 

As the name suggests, the mouse connects to other devices via Bluetooth, and has a Swift Pair feature for Windows that allows for rapid Bluetooth pairing. It uses the newer Bluetooth 5.0 LE, which improves both speed and range, but is backwardly-compatible with devices running older Bluetooth versions. 

There’s no USB dongle or physical cord needed, which is definitely a useful feature for portability. That said, some people prefer to have a mouse with both options, and this particular mouse only works with Bluetooth.

As a Microsoft product, this mouse works best with Windows machines, although it should work with most devices that use Bluetooth. Some macOS users have reported compatibility issues, however, particularly with older MacBooks. 

The biggest downside of this mouse is that clicking any of its buttons wakes up the mouse, even if it’s powered off. This means that if it’s stored in a backpack or briefcase and gets jostled around, it may turn itself on, draining the battery.

Pros
  • Comfortable, compact design
  • Choice of 5 colors
  • Cheap
Cons
  • Accidental mouse clicks can wake up the mouse while it’s stored
  • Doesn’t work with some Mac products
Buy on Amazon

Best Travel Mouse for MacBooks: Logitech MX Anywhere 3 for Mac

Logitech MX Anywhere 3 for Mac – Wireless, Ultrafast Magnetic Scrolling, Any Surface, 4000DPI Sensor, USB-C, Bluetooth,MacBook Pro/ Air,iMac,iPad Compatible - Pale Grey

If you’re having a deja-vu moment, don’t worry. Yes, this is the same mouse we featured as our pick for the best portable mouse. The only difference is that this version is engineered for Mac users, and works seamlessly with MacBooks, iPads, and other Apple gear.

As you would expect, the feature set is largely the same: precise tracking, customizable buttons, USB or Bluetooth connectivity, rapid scrolling, and a rechargeable, high-capacity battery. Since it’s specifically designed for Mac products, there are no compatibility issues to worry about here. 

Suffice it to say that for Apple fans, this is the best travel mouse you can buy. For a more detailed breakdown, just scroll up the page a little and read our perspective on the PC version.

The upsides are numerous, but the downsides remain the same as well: it’s more expensive than your typical mouse, and there’s no real way to check remaining battery life until the low battery indicator comes on. 

Pros
  • Works on nearly any surface
  • Precise tracking
  • Connects via Bluetooth or USB C
  • Optimized for macOS
  • Customizable buttons & preset profiles
Cons
  • More expensive than average
  • No way to check remaining battery life
Buy on Amazon

Best Wired Travel Mouse: Sabrent Mini USB Optical Mouse

SABRENT Mini Travel USB Optical Mouse with Retractable Cable for Computers and laptops | Mac & PC Compatible (MS-OPMN)

If you’re looking for a basic, wired mouse on a budget, the Sabrent Mini is a good option. This little mouse can fit in just about any laptop case, or even a purse, and it costs about as much as a pint of beer at your local pub. 

The Sabrent Mini connects via a retractable USB cord for easy storage. It’s plug-and-play, meaning there are no software or drivers to download. It works with both PC and Mac devices, but doesn’t support Linux. Otherwise, it offers very basic functionality, making it a good choice for travel but less so for daily use. 

The main downside is that this is a very small mouse. The dimensions are approximately 3.25 x 2 x 1 inches (take a look at the pictures to get a feel for the size compared to a typical hand). For folks with larger hands, this will likely be too small to comfortably use.

Also, it’s not the most durable mouse. While that’s to be expected for such a cheap product, it would be wise to plan to replace this every year if you’re using it frequently. 

Pros
  • Retractable cable
  • Budget-friendly
  • Plug-and-play
  • Compatible with Windows and Mac
Cons
  • May be too small for those with large hands
  • Mediocre durability
Buy on Amazon

Best Travel Gaming Mouse: Razer Atheris

Razer Atheris Ambidextrous Wireless Mouse: 7200 DPI Optical Sensor - 350 Hr Battery Life - USB Wireless Receiver & Bluetooth Connection - Classic Black

Looking to play a few games of Fortnite or Rocket League while away from home? The Razer Atheris is a portable gaming mouse that gives impressive precision in a compact package. It’s an ambidextrous model, which means the design is symmetrical and works the same for both right and left-handed gamers. 

This wireless gaming mouse is powered by two AA batteries (included,) which provide up to 350 hours of use. It can connect via Bluetooth or USB dongle, and includes a feature that detects signal disruptions and switches frequencies automatically. In theory, at least, this helps prevent lag. 

With a 7200 dpi sensor, this mouse holds its own with many full-size gaming mice. A quick sensitivity adjustment feature also lets you toggle settings in-game, allowing for fine-tuned sniper shots on the fly. Five customizable buttons let you tailor the mouse to the specific games you like to play.

There have been a few reports of Bluetooth pairing problems, but fortunately the USB dongle is a good backup in case of issues. Although the mechanical switches come with a two-year warranty, the rest of the mouse isn’t as durable. It’s a relatively inexpensive mouse for the feature set on offer, so it seems that Razer may have cut some corners in terms of build quality. 

Pros
  • 7200 dpi
  • Ambidextrous design
  • Both wireless dongle and Bluetooth connection
  • 350 hr battery life
  • Five programmable buttons
Cons
  • Bluetooth pairing can have issues for some units
  • Mediocre durability
Buy on Amazon

Main image via Shutterstock, product images via Amazon

About the Author
Dave Dean

Dave Dean

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Founder and editor of Too Many Adapters, Dave has been a traveler for 25 years, and a geek for even longer. When he's not playing with the latest tech toy or working out how to keep his phone charged for just a few more minutes, he can probably be found sitting in a broken-down bus in some obscure corner of the planet.

Comments

  1. Avatar

    This is a super helpful article! What advice would you have for those who often engage in a “death grip” on their computer mouse, or who have larger hands? I shy away from recommending travel mice due to their smaller dimensions.

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