Last updated: Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Just a mouse pad? We think not! Even upgrading the simplest elements of your gaming setup can add up to significantly boost your performance. A gaming grade mousepad or mouse mat will provide consistent stability and precision. Obviously, upgrading a basic mouse to a new gaming mouse will have a greater effect on your game. But, if you’re already set in that department, a reliable surface is the next step. Finding the best gaming mouse pad can be tough, so we’ve put together an all-inclusive guide to help you find the most suitable mouse mate.
At competitive levels, a gaming grade mouse pad is a must have. Gameplay revolves around split second twitch reactions and pinpoint cursor accuracy. One misclick or missed headshot could lose a match. A high-quality mouse surface will promote fast, consistent cursor movement. This consistency allows you to develop muscle memory to “be one” with your mouse.
Furthermore, a gaming mouse pad will facilitate accurate, quick movements during those times you need to shoot from the hip. As a gamer once eloquently put, “Dat 360 no scope tho.” Most gaming mouse pads have enhanced tracking surfaces that will ensure your mouse tracks as accurately as possible. Here is an all-inclusive chart of some of the best on the market. Check it out.
- 1 Zoom Out: 20 Best Gaming Mouse Pads of 2018 Comparison Table
- 2 Gaming Mouse Pad Guide Part I: Size Selection
- 3 Gaming Mouse Pad Guide Part II: Smooth vs. Textured Surface
- 4 Gaming Mouse Pad Guide Part III: Freedom vs. Stability
- 5 Gaming Mouse Pad Guide Part IV: Plastic, Aluminum, or Cloth?
- 6 Our Top 12 Gaming Mousepad Picks
Zoom Out: 20 Best Gaming Mouse Pads of 2018 Comparison Table
Here is our overview of 2018’s top gaming mouse options.
|Turtle Beach X Large Traction||Cloth Surface, Rubber Base||14 x 10 inches ; 7 ounces|
|SteelSeries QcK||Cloth Surface, Rubber Base||13 x 11 inches ; 3 ounces|
|Glorious PC Gaming Race Large||Cloth Surface, Rubber Base||36 x 11 inches ; 13 ounces|
|ROCCAT Sense High Precision||Cloth Surface, Rubber Base||16 x 11 inches ; 8 ounces|
|Razer Sphex V2||Plastic, Multi-Use Adhesive Base||13 x 10 inches ; 1 ounce|
|Corsair Gaming MM200||Cloth Surface, Rubber Base||14 x 12 inches ; 2 ounces|
|Castle Motte Ergonomic Mouse Wrist Rest||Leather Surface, Nonslip Base||7 x 3 inches ; 1 ounces|
|HyperX Fury S||Plastic, Multi-Use Adhesive Base||14 x 10 inches ; 2 ounces|
|Corsair Gaming MM300||Cloth Surface, Rubber Base||36 x 12 inches ; 16 ounces|
|SteelSeries QcK+||Cloth Surface, Rubber Base||18 x 16 inches ; 8 ounces|
|Castle Moat *New*||Hard Micro-Texture Surface, Rubber Base||14 x 10 inches ; 16 ounces|
|Steelseries 4HD||Plastic Surface, Rubber Base||11 x 9 inches ; 17 ounces|
|Logitech G440||Plastic Surface, Rubber Base||13 x 12 inches ; 8 ounces|
|Razer Goliathus Extended Gravity Edition||Cloth Surface, Rubber Base||36 x 12 inches ; 18 ounces|
|ROCCAT Hiro+ 3D Supremacy||Silicone Surface, Rubber Base||14 x 10 inches ; 8 ounces|
|ROCCAT Alumic Double-Sided||Aluminum Surface, Rubber Feet||13 x 11 inches ; 8 ounces|
|Razer Vespula||Plastic Surface, Rubber Base||12 x 9 inches ; 12 ounces|
|Razer Manticor||Aluminum Surface, Rubber Base||15 x 12 inches ; 54 ounces|
|Razer Firefly Chroma||Hard Micro-Texture Surface, Rubber Base||14 x 10 inches ; 16 ounces|
|Logitech G Powerplay *New*||Interchangeable Cloth and Hard Surfaces, Rubber Base||13 x 11 inches ; 20 ounces|
Gaming Mouse Pad Guide Part I: Size Selection
Mouse pads, or as some have dubbed their bigger brothers “mouse mats,” come in a variety of sizes. Do you find yourself swiping off the edges of your mouse pad, or is your keyboard prone to shifting around during intense gaming sessions? An extended mouse mat may well be worth it. Generally, most gamers are going to be fine with a standard sized mouse pad. This being said, sometimes it can be nice to have some extra cruising space.
Some mouse pads, such as the Logitech G840 XL are more like desktop mats than just a mousing surface. Aside from providing virtually limitless mousing space, it also offers gamers a pad for resting wrists and arms, and enough room for keyboard placement as well. Some advocates argue it offers a more consistent mouse surface as the large surface area provides a uniform height across your desktop.
The extra room is particularly helpful if you tend to get a little twitchy during gaming. If this is the case, having a long mouse mat that supports both your keyboard and mouse. It provides plenty of extra mousing area. Is that additional real estate worth the cost? Fortunately, in the realm of gaming mouse pads, you’re typically only seeing a range of 10-30 dollars.
Gaming Mouse Pad Guide Part II: Smooth vs. Textured Surface
Consider the types of games you like to play, as well as your play style within those genres. The texture density of a mouse mat will have a big impact on the glide and grip of the mouse surface. Both glide and grip are terms used to describe the amount of friction a mouse encounters when moved across the mouse surface. A mouse surface that has less grip will allow faster, smoother movements. One with more grip will allow more control and precision movements. Hard mouse pads typically have greater glide than soft ones. If you’re not sure what surface would be best for your play-style or desire the utility of both, we look at options in the article that feature dual surface systems.
- A smooth surface maximizes movement freedom. Think FPS games where you’re running around with an automatic or shotgun and want to be able to quickly react. Also, this is going to make switching from one target to the next that much quicker and you know what that means. An epic voice glorifying your multi-kill.
- A textured surface that provides tactile feedback. Think more control here, this type of surface will better promote precise movements such as a sniper who needs to seamlessly track his opponents. The heavier the texturing applied to the top of the mouse surface, the more control you will receive.
Gaming Mouse Pad Guide Part III: Freedom vs. Stability
Wrist support or no wrist support? Ergonomics are an important aspect of most pieces of gaming peripherals, equipment, and accessories. Particularly for hardcore gamers, a wrist rest can go a long way in preventing carpal tunnel. Frankly, we feel constricted by a wrist rest and feel like they are more of a hindrance than helpful. One idea is to use a wrist rest when performing other activities and then switch to a gaming surface when in game mode. The ROCCAT Alumic and Razer Vespula mouse pads actually sport removable wrist rests so you can customize on the fly. Here are some other thoughts on wrist rests:
- Wrist support is going to be better for your wrist in the long term. It will protect one of your best assets as a gamer.
- Having wrist support can also help reduce fatigue in extended gaming sessions.
- No wrist support is going to allow a larger range of movement. If you’ve gamed without wrist support for years, it can definitely take some time getting used to.
- If you are like us and feel that wrist support “gets in the way,” consider a thicker pad. A thick mouse pad will add extra stability plus a cushion to rest your wrist during those downtimes. Ergonomic-wise, it is the next best thing to a full wrist support module.
Gaming Mouse Pad Guide Part IV: Plastic, Aluminum, or Cloth?
Your mouse’s sensor is another thing you will want to take into consideration when deciding on a mouse pad. Optical sensors are good to go with either soft or hard surfaces. However, with laser sensor mice, hard surfaces are better. Next generation laser mice fire beams from the sensor to the mouse surface. When this mechanic is applied to a cloth surface, the sinking created by the weight of the mouse can potentially throw off the laser. This is the primary reason they perform better on more rigid surfaces.
- Soft surfaces such as cloth are usually padded and offer a nice refuge for overworked wrists. MMORPG gamers who participate in raids, FPS players who have breaks in between matches, and MOBA gamers who have an occasional death timer to wait out all benefit from the comfort advantage of a padded mouse surface.
- Hard surfaces, particularly aluminum, are going to be a more durable long-term and last a long time. An added benefit is that they are waterproof, a spill or two won’t hurt these guys, and they are easy to wash. Hard mouse pads generally work better with gaming mice with laser sensors.
Our Top 12 Gaming Mousepad Picks
Without further ado, here are our top gaming mouse pads and mouse mats that we recommend!
The Moat is a mouse pad from a new little company called Castle. We’ve found their products toe the line on price and quality quite well. If you’re looking at going LED lighting, this is a great option for gamers and you don’t have to drop $50+ like you would with the big brands. It features 9 lighting modes and 3 brightness modes. This micro-texture, rigid surface is ideal for speed and tracks well with both laser and optical mice. The 14 x 10 surface area offers plenty of swiping space and the non-slip rubber base keeps it rooted in place.
Razer’s latest edition to their mouse mat line-up is the Firefly. A fitting name, this stylish mouse pad will light up your desk and accentuate your gaming mouse. It features Razer’s Chroma lighting tech enabling you to select one of 16.8 million color options. Manage colors and other options through Razer’s Synapse software.
The micro-textured surface is optimized for the full spectrum of sensitivity settings and mouse sensors. Though for best results, Razer suggests a Razer Mouse (of course) with one of their 4G dual sensors for optimal surface calibration. The premier gaming peripherals company says they have tweaked the surface for just right balance of speed and control, for pinpoint mouse movement and cursor tracking. We must admit, it’s a one-of-a-kind, flashy mouse mat and it has a price tag to match.
The QcK Heavy mouse pad is an XXL extra thick pad with a rubber base and smooth cloth surface. If you’re looking for a nice cloth surface for a decent price, this is likely your best bet. This mouse pad is made specifically for fast twitch gamers of the FPS and action variety (high resolutions and low sensitivity mouse settings). If you prefer soft surfaces, this is one of the best on the market.
Another really cool thing SteelSeries has done is released several versions of this mouse pad. These other four options feature jaw-dropping graphics. So if you’re looking for a bit of customization or a follower of Fnatic or Navi SteelSeries has you covered. The QcK mini is a thinner version than the Qck Heavy and $10 less to boot. If you can’t justify spending over 10 bucks on a mouse pad the QcK is likely the best value. It is nothing short of the best-selling gaming mouse pad of all time.
If you prefer hard surfaces over the traditional cloth pad the 4HD is a sharp looking, “high definition” surface. This mouse surface was engineered specifically with laser gaming mice in mind. Steelseries talks about the surface composition technology: “The finely textured surface consists of tens of thousands of light reflecting microscopic points, optimized to enhance the tracking capabilities of next-generation gaming mice.” The 9HD is a bigger version of the 4HD if you have a propensity towards high-velocity, long mouse strokes. SteelSeries states that they developed this in parallel with their Xai Laser gaming mouse.
One of the best hard surface gaming mouse pad money can buy. Ultra-stable, with a high DPI engineered surface, the G440 gives gamers great traction performance. It has a very clean look with a slate gray and a Logitech blue “G” etched in the bottom right. Logitech offers this pad in dozens of design print options, they even feature a few Jack Daniels designs. The downside is it is 10 dollars more expensive than the SteelSeries 4HD, but if you’re a big fan of the look; or just a Logitech fanboy, this is an excellent option.
Razer has seriously got mouse mats and pads down to a science. The company has even taken it so far as to introduce surface calibration in their Synapse 2.0 software. Most argue they make the best mouse surface products on the market and for good reason. They are the pioneers of the mouse “mat” category. The Goliathus is a product of Razer’s relentless pursuit of perfection in crafting the ultimate mouse mat. The Goliathus comes in two different editions, Speed and Control. Naturally, the control mat sports a heavily textured weave while the speed mat utilizes a slick taut weave.
In general, the control mat is better for RTS gamers and the speed mat is better for action gamers. Nevertheless, every gamer has their own unique preferences and play style. Additionally, the Goliathus mouse mat comes in four different sizes: small, medium, large, and extended so you can purchase the one that best suits your gaming setup. It has a very Razer-Esq style with a green and black graphic that looks pretty cool matched with sleek Razer peripherals. If you’re looking for the best, this mouse mat is it.
If you want a mouse pad that’s going to last a long, long time—maybe you’ve burned through a couple—the Hiro might be the one to rescue you from your mousepad woes. This pad features the most advanced surface tech we’ve seen, with fray resistance edges. Additionally, ROCCAT crafted the Hiro with a vulcanized silicone “3D” surface, a surface optimized for seamless mouse gliding.
ROCCAT claims that this mouse pad is a fusion of the best speed and control surface properties of the best mouse surfaces available. Whether this is true or not, the Hiro is the most fluid glide we’ve come across yet. They went with a minimalistic design, featuring ROCCAT branding in the bottom right and a standard black color.
The Vespula features a dual-sided surface. One-side is dubbed the control side (textured) and the other side the speed side (smooth). If you’re new to gaming mouse pads and are not too sure what surface would work best for you, this is a great mouse surface solution. The Vespula comes with a gel wrist rest. The wonderful thing is that the mouse pad itself and the wrist rest are two entirely separate pieces. When set up the wrist rest still gets in the way every so often, but we found it less obtrusive than some of the more bulky ones that are built into mouse pads. It is flatter and the gel material conforms to your wrist nicely. The two distinct surfaces can be easily switched between mid-game to adjust glide to your specific gameplay needs.
If you’re looking for something like the Vespula but want a great alternative, the Alumic fits the bill. ROCCAT has molded the Alumic into one of the most versatile mouse pad we have come across. The Alumic has speed and control surfaces like the Vespula. The Alumic also features the included gel wrist rest that is separate from the mousepad. The wrist rest perfectly matches the shape of the mouse mat like a puzzle piece, giving the unit a completed look when using it. This offering from ROCCAT allows gamers to have the best of both worlds in both ergonomics and surface texture. Constructed with an aluminum core, this mouse pad is built to last.
It was only a matter of time before someone established a gaming accessories company named Glorious PC Gaming Race. We were pleasantly surprised with the quality of their mouse mat. It is probably the best priced oversized mouse pad on the market currently. You can fit a keyboard and mouse on this pad and still have plenty of room to zoom around. It’s also everything you’d come to expect from a quality mouse mat: anti-fraying edges, waterproof & machine washable, a heavy rubber surface gripping bottom, and smooth surface texture.
The logo features a Zeus-like god flexing his massive arms. Unfortunately, it doesn’t show him squeezing a peasant in a headlock with his jacked biceps. Since they are a new kid on the block, they’ve tried pretty hard to make a name for themselves with great products. In the mouse mat department, they’ve succeeded.
Corsair has gotten technical with their foray into the gaming mouse pad and mouse mat arena. The cool part of their offering is that you can customize it to no end. No matter what size or surface specification you desire you can personalize the mouse pad to your preferred gaming style. The design is minimalistic, with a small logo in the bottom right corner. They’ve used natural rubber for the underside so you don’t have to worry about it making your nose hairs twitch with fury after pulling it out of the box. If you know exactly what you want and stick with one genre of game Corsair’s pad is a great buy.
Kingston took a page out of Razer’s playbook and brought out their own “skyn” mouse pad. “Skin to win,” as they say. Get the combo pack and you can switch between the Speed and Control depending on your needs. Bonus: that also means it’s going to take them twice as long to get dirty and old if you utilize them both equally. This ultra thin mouse surface is compatible with both laser and optical mice. Kingston has even stamped this mouse pad with a 2-year warranty, so you’re covered for quite some time.