Humans aren’t designed to sit in front of a computer for 8+ hours a day. Nonetheless, most of us do just that, whether it’s for work, recreation, or both. It’s bad for our health, and often results in pain or discomfort in various parts of our bodies.
Upgrading the ergonomics of your computer setup can help. If you sit all day, consider a standing desk. If you use a laptop, buy a laptop stand and portable keyboard. And if you notice pain, tingling, or other discomfort in your hand, wrist, arm, or shoulder, it may be time to switch to a vertical mouse.
Vertical mice (mouses?!) force your hand to sit at a more natural angle. Often this is described as the “handshake” position, mimicking how you’d hold your hand when reaching out to greet someone.
Many people find vertical mice to be far more comfortable than traditional mouse designs, leaving your hand in a neutral position that can reduce strain on your wrist. That said, it certainly takes a while to get used to, so if you’ve just made the switch to a vertical mouse, give yourself a few weeks to adjust.
Vertical mice are becoming more popular, with dozens of new designs and models hitting the market. I joined the “vertical crew” a few years ago, and haven’t looked back. If you’re considering a similar move, these are what I’d consider the best vertical ergonomic mouse options on the market right now.
- Size: 5 x 4 x 4 inches
- Connection: Wireless dongle, Bluetooth, wired
- Battery Life: Up to 4 months
- Compatibility: Windows, macOS
- Size: 5.4 x 2.9 x 2.7 inches
- Connection: Wireless dongle, Bluetooth
- Battery Life: Up to 6 months
- Compatibility: Windows, macOS, Linux, mobile
- Size: 5.2 x 3.4 x 3.1 inches
- Connection: Wireless dongle
- Battery Life: Up to 3 months
- Compatibility: Windows, macOS, Linux, ChromeOS
- Size: 4.3 x 2.8 x 3.0 inches
- Connection: Wired
- Battery Life: n/a
- Compatibility: Windows, macOS (partially)
- Size: 4.1 x 2.6 x 2.3 inches
- Connection: Wireless dongle (wired also available)
- Battery Life: up to 2 months
- Compatibility: Windows, macOS (partially)
- Size: 4.6 x 3.6 x 3.3 inches
- Connection: Wireless dongle (wired also available)
- Battery Life: up to 4 months
- Compatibility: Windows, macOS
What to Look For
Vertical mice, like traditional mice, come in a range of shapes and sizes. And while there are some commonalities among them—such as the number of buttons and scroll wheels—there are also important differences that you need to take into account when choosing the best vertical mouse for your needs.
Some of these differences related to ergonomics, others to productivity, and still others to longevity, but they’re all important when deciding what to buy.
First, you’ll want to make sure that the mouse is comfortable to use. For many of us, the whole reason we’re looking at vertical mice in the first place is because we’ve experienced pain or discomfort using a traditional mouse. The last thing you want to do is switch to something even less comfortable.
That’s especially true if you’ll be using a vertical mouse for many hours a day, which, let’s face it, applies to more and more of us. Everything from the size and weight to the angle, button placement, and choice of materials play into how comfortable it is to use for extended periods.
Second, you’ll want to look for a mouse with adjustable features so that you can customize it to your hand size and grip style. Depending on what you’re working on, customizing your mouse can be a big help for productivity. These settings include:
- Programmable buttons and gestures
- Scroll wheel tension
- Adjustable palm rest
Finally, you’ll need to consider how the mouse is going to connect to your computer(s), the kind of treatment it’s going to get (will it always live on your desk or do you expect to travel with it?), and of course, how much you’re prepared to spend on it.
A good vertical mouse doesn’t have to cost a fortune, but there are definite differences between those at the bottom of the price range and those that cost a few tens of dollars more.
Here’s what to look for when shopping for a vertical mouse.
The first thing to consider is the mouse’s dimensions. Vertical mice come in different sizes, and you’ll want to choose one that’s appropriate for the size of your hand.
If you have large hands, larger models will have more room for your fingers and palm, without cramping your digits or forcing you to hold your wrist at an unusual angle. Likewise, smaller mice are more suitable for those with smaller hands, able to be used without stretching to reach the buttons.
There’s a noticeable difference between the two: larger mice are typically 4-5 inches in length, while smaller models are more like 2.5 to 3.5 inches long. The width varies too, albeit by a smaller amount. Don’t underestimate the importance of getting the right size: it really makes a difference to the comfort.
To a lesser extent, the size of the mouse should also depend on how much you’ll be using it and what you intend to do with it. If you plan to use your mouse for gaming or other intensive activities, a slightly larger model may give better hand support and allow space for useful extra features.
Like any pointing device, you’ll want to ensure the model of vertical mouse you go for has enough buttons for your requirements, along with a suitable scroll wheel.
A good number of buttons is usually between four and six, depending on your specific needs. You also want to look for a scroll wheel with smooth scrolling capabilities, as this will help you move around large documents more quickly and with fewer finger movements.
Make sure the buttons you need are easily accessible, too, so you don’t have to reach too far or twist your wrist awkwardly. This is partially related to choosing the right size of mouse in the first place, but the design of some models is also better than others in this regard.
For those who play games or use complex software, it’s worth looking for a mouse with programmable buttons and onboard memory. This lets you customize what each button does, including (in some cases) creating macros and shortcuts that perform several actions with a single click or movement.
Your mouse’s sensitivity, measured in DPI (dots per inch), is another important factor. A higher DPI means that your mouse can track more accurately, making it easier to do precise work like drawing or in certain types of game.
For most people, a DPI of 2000-3000 DPI is the sweet spot for general use, letting you move your cursor quickly (but not too quickly) around the entire screen without having to reposition the mouse. A higher DPI is particularly important for a vertical mouse, as it helps to reduce the amount of pressure needed to move it.
Many models come with adjustable sensitivity settings, letting you customize the DPI to the type of activity you’re doing. This isn’t vital for most office work, but some people will certainly benefit from it.
What are you planning to use your mouse with? For most people the answer will be one or more computers, but there are different ways you can choose to connect: Bluetooth, a wireless dongle, or a physical cable.
Everyone is familiar with Bluetooth by now, and chances are your computer supports it. It’s a straightforward way of connecting a wide range of accessories, including most models of vertical mouse, and lets you easily switch your mouse between computers as needed.
While Bluetooth 5.0 or better is preferable (it provides longer range and better battery life), an earlier version isn’t a dealbreaker for something like a mouse.
Some mice come with a little dongle that you can use to wirelessly connect to a computer that doesn’t support Bluetooth. If you go down this route, just make sure you have a spare USB port of the right type (typically USB-A) to connect the dongle.
The same applies if you opt for a wired mouse, of course: the cable has to plug into something, and that something is typically a USB-A port.
Wireless mice are generally more convenient, but they require regular charging or replacing sets of disposable batteries. While having an internal battery is the simplest and most common option, remember that it will eventually wear out, and usually isn’t replaceable when it does.
Wired mice, on the other hand, don’t require batteries and are generally less expensive. They also have a faster response time (in other words, less lag), which makes them particularly appropriate for fast-action gaming. On the downside, cables are messy and can drag annoyingly on your desk or table.
Like many things in life, the amount you spend on a vertical mouse often has a pretty direct correlation with how durable it is.
High-quality models are made from durable plastic or metal, with better switches inside the buttons, so they’re more resistant to damage and you can expect them to last longer. The warranties often reflect this.
On the flipside, cheaper mice tend to use a lower-grade plastic that’s prone to cracking or breaking, and buttons that won’t stand up to tens of thousands of clicks.
How much that matters, of course, is up to you. If your mouse will live on your desk and only be used now and then, a cheap and cheerful version may still last many years and be all you need. If you plan to drop it in a backpack regularly or use it for several hours every day, however, it’s worth spending a bit more.
Even when you’ve accounted for important features like DPI, buttons, and durability, the design of the mouse is still a factor. This is an item that you’ll potentially be using for thousands of hours over its lifespan, after all, and minor problems can become major annoyances over that time.
Does the particular mouse you want feel good in your hand? Is it the right size and shape for your hand to grasp, use, and move it around comfortably? Are the buttons and scroll wheel in the right place for you? What can you physically change about the mouse to customize it to your liking?
Ok, with all of that out of the way, let’s get into the recommendations!
Best Vertical Mouse Overall: Logitech MX Vertical
Logitech makes the best vertical mouse at the moment, and the competition isn’t even close. The company implemented advice from ergonomic experts when designing their new model, going as far as producing a research study comparing it to a standard computer mouse.
The results noted a 10% reduction in muscle strain, although since the study was run by Logitech itself, this should be taken with a grain of salt.
Regardless, the result of all this research and development effort was the Logitech MX Vertical Wireless Mouse, one of very few models on the market to have actual ergonomic certifications. It’s designed so your wrist rests at a 57-degree angle, which Logitech claims is the most natural position.
This claim could certainly be debated, but based on the comfort ratings and general customer reaction to this mouse, it’s at least believable.
Ergonomics aside, the Logitech MX is just a good mouse. It has a precise 4000 DPI sensor, with a range of connection options: USB wireless dongle, Bluetooth, or USB C cable. It’s the best vertical mouse for Mac and PC alike, working well with both platforms, and lasts up to an impressive four months on a single charge.
Logitech’s FLOW feature provides cross-computer control, letting you use the mouse on up to three computers at once so you can seamlessly transfer files, copy/paste text, and more. It’s a bit of a niche requirement, but if you use multiple computers for work, trust me, it’s a game changer.
The only real downside is that it’s one of the more expensive options out there. While we personally think the Logitech MX is worth the cost, there are certainly cheaper models available.
Best Value Vertical Mouse: Mojo Perfect Grip
Looking for a budget-friendly option? The Mojo Perfect Grip fits the bill. Although there are cheaper options like the iClever (below), the MOJO strikes a good balance between price, features, and comfort, and is our pick for the best value vertical wireless mouse.
As with the Logitech model above, the Mojo can connect by either Bluetooth or wireless USB dongle. This improves the versatility of the device, and means that you don’t necessarily need to have a free USB slot in order to use it.
It has an adjustable DPI of up to 2400, and is compatible with most devices (Windows, Mac, Linux, and mobile). Another selling point is its sound, or lack thereof. The Mojo has very quiet clicks, which the othe people in your house or office will thank you for!
It’s also quite comfortable, with a neutral handshake position that could be described as even more vertical than the Logitech model. The Logitech MX has that 57 degree slant we mentioned, while the Mojo is almost entirely vertical.
It’s tough to know exactly which style you’ll prefer without trying both. I don’t have a strong opinion on it either way, although it’s worth noting that the Logitech does tend to get better subjective comfort ratings overall.
Battery life is good, at around six months depending on usage. Note that the Mojo uses a single AA rather than having an internal rechargeable battery, and comes with a battery in the box. Given how long it lasts, we don’t see having to replace it two or three times a year as a major problem, but others might.
The main downside of the Mojo is that it simply doesn’t have the build quality of a higher-end model. It’s a budget-friendly mouse, and its durability reflects that. Don’t expect it to last forever, or put up with a lot of rough treatment if you keep it in your daypack.
Best Cheap Vertical Mouse: iClever Vertical Mouse
If you’re on a tight budget, or just want to try out this style of mouse without spending a lot of money, check out the iClever Vertical Mouse. This one has a somewhat different shape to the others on this list, but the feel is overall pretty similar.
Highlights include very quiet clicks (almost no sound at all), an adjustable DPI up to 2400, cross-platform compatibility (Windows and Mac), and of course that budget-friendly price point. As with the Mojo above, the iClever uses disposable batteries (in this case, a pair of AAAs) that last up to three months.
The downside is that some users have reported issues with scrolling consistency: essentially, the scroll wheel doesn’t always do what you’d expect. I’ve been using this mouse myself for the last 1.5 years, and ironically, a few days before writing this article, the scroll wheel started malfunctioning, occasionally “jumping” up the page when I’m scrolling down.
Given that it’s been working flawlessly for 18+ months, however, and the fact that it’s very affordable, I’m okay with the occasional scrolling glitch. For the price, the iClever is still a great mouse overall.
Best Vertical Gaming Mouse: ZLOT Vertical Gaming Mouse
Most gamers aren’t overly concerned about ergonomics, but if they’re playing as much GTA: V or Overwatch as I do, they probably should be!
There aren’t a whole lot of vertical gaming mouse options on the market, and good ones are even less common. The best of them is the ZLOT Vertical Gaming Mouse, a unique (okay, strange) looking mouse, with a joystick-style rocker control on the top of the mouse that’s just in reach of your thumb.
For most games, you likely won’t use this rocker, but since you can reprogram it (along with all the other buttons) to perform whatever functions you like, it’s a useful option for more control-heavy games. The mouse has onboard memory to store your macros, so you can easily move it between machines.
The RGB lighting leaves you under no illusions that this mouse is aimed at gamers, and neither does the connectivity: in order to keep latency to a minimum, the ZLOT is a wired-only mouse that connects via a USB cable.
The ZLOT has a maximum DPI of 10,000, but unfortunately the lowest DPI is 2500, which will be too high for some. Lockups and other problems aren’t out of the ordinary with the bundled software, either, and it’s also Windows-only: the mouse may work on Mac, but you can’t change settings or reprogram buttons.
Even with the software issues, though, this an inexpensive way of getting good gaming-specific features in a vertical mouse form, and it works well enough (for Windows users, at least) to be our top pick in this underserved category.
Best Left-Handed Vertical Mouse: Perixx Perimice-719L
Where are my left-handed folks at?
Standard mice can often be used with either hand, as long as they are symmetrical and the buttons can be customized. With vertical mice… this is not the case.
The highly specialized design of a vertical mouse is hand-specific, so if you’re a lefty, you’ll definitely want to look into something like the Perixx Perimice-719L.
This model comes in both wired and wireless configurations, and is fairly compact and portable. Clicks are quiet, and the mouse is certainly budget-friendly. While it’s designed for Windows, the 719L works fine on Mac as well, other than the forward and back buttons.
I’d describe this as a semi-vertical mouse, as it has a fairly substantial slant to it, allowing the hand to rest at roughly a 50-degree angle. This is comfortable for some, but is somewhere between a vertical mouse and a traditional mouse. If you want a fully vertical left-handed mouse, try the Evoluent VM4L instead.
Best Vertical Mouse for Large Hands: Evoluent VMDLW
If you have large hands, you likely know the struggle of finding a comfortable mouse. This can be particularly true with vertical mice, as they’re designed to curve with the shape of your hand to allow it to rest naturally.
If you’ve got larger hands, the Evoluent VMDLW is a great option. Ironically, Evoluent also makes the best vertical mouse for small hands, and also has a medium/standard size version as well. We’ll call that the Goldilocks model.
Evoluent was one of the first companies to make vertical mice, and remains a significant force in the industry today. The VMDLW is one of their largest models, with a comfortable, ergonomic design that’s best for those with hand lengths exceeding 7.5” (measured from the base of the hand/top of the wrist to the tip of the middle finger).
This model works well with both Mac and PC, and has programmable buttons that you can tailor to a range of uses. On the downside, it has a very glossy, smooth finish, which can cause your hands to slip a little if you start to sweat. It’s also a bit pricey, although you’re definitely paying for quality here.
Main image via Velimir Zeland/Shutterstock.com, product images via Amazon