Product Hub

Best mouse pads for gaming

Our top picks will make erratic movements and inconsistent sensor readings a thing of the past.

Rob Schultz/IDG

A great mouse pad is a must for gamers, reducing wear on wrists during hours of intensive play. Sometimes called mouse mats, they’ve evolved from the humble mouse pads of the 1990s to larger sizes that can accommodate more dramatic movements. Many modern ones use chemical coatings or specially engineered surfaces to improve sensor accuracy or reduce drag—a boon if you’re doing repetitive motion that requires high accuracy.

Plenty of mouse pad manufacturers exist, but few provide clarity or consistency in describing their products. For example, most don’t report how much friction you’ll encounter when using their mats with the most popular mice. To help you find the best mouse pad for your needs, we’ve tested several from a few different companies that represent a range of surface types (metal, plastic, or cloth) and usage cases (business or gaming).

Best gaming mouse pad

Cloth mouse pads tend to have a reputation for being flimsy, often tearing or coming apart easily. But the SteelSeries Dex is a standout. It’s hefty, with a textured cloth surface and a silicone underside that are tough enough survive machine washing.

Because its cloth top is almost rigid, the Dex doesn’t feel cheap or flop around. Even after a long bout of testing, we didn’t encounter any warping or tearing, as you’d expect with a standard cloth mousepad. And when it gets dirty, you can just put it through a standard wash cycle and presto—a clean pad.

Most importantly, mouse movement is smooth and consistent when using this mouse mat. There’s no detectable drag, and the pad stays put even during quick or excessive movements.

Runner-up

A solid aluminum pad with two different coatings, Corsair’s MM600 is the best of two worlds. You get a coarse side and a quick side, both of which are quite accurate and don’t interfere with mouse sensor readings. An additional benefit is that the polymer coating on both surfaces prevent the aluminum from becoming too hot or cold based on ambient temperature.

The only weakness of this mat is its use of four feet at the corners to hold it in place. If one doesn’t sit quite right, the pad can slide around during use. Otherwise, the design is nearly perfect—and it’s a lot cheaper than many higher-end competitors.

Most revolutionary mouse pad

To all you gamers who’ve scoffed at the prospect of a wireless mouse, we’ve been there. But Logitech has us converted. Its new Powerplay technology is centered on a mouse pad that charges your wireless mouse while you’re using it. And it works! (Read our full review.) 

Powerplay is a two-part system: the aforementioned mouse pad and (at the moment) one of two compatible mice: Logitech’s G703 and G903. Both mice are totally capable. Outfit the Powerplay mat with either the cloth or hard surface and enjoy wireless mousing knowing that your mouse pad is keeping your rodent supplied with juice. It’s a beautiful thing. 

What to look for in a gaming mouse pad 

The main (and most common) type of gaming mouse pad is the cloth mat. They’re flexible (literally), which allows you to lay them just about anywhere, be it a desk or a couch armrest. They’re also highly portable. Their only drawback is a lack of durability.

Heavy users might want to look at rigid mats. They come in varied materials, from hard plastics to steel and aluminum. But the increase in toughness also means a loss of flexibility (again, literally), and so hard mats are basically impossible to use on any kind of uneven surface.

Obviously, the best type for your needs will be a combination of how you plan to use it and how long you want the pad to last. If you’re at home most days and plan to leave your mouse mat on a desk at all times, you may not need to worry as much about durability. But if you’re constantly on the go and need to cram it into a messenger bag, you might want a pad that can endure regular abuse.

All of our mouse pad reviews

If you’d like to look into other options, below you’ll find capsule reviews of all the mouse pads we’ve evaluated so far. Be sure to come back, as we’ll continue to add to this list—and update our top picks when a new outstanding product crosses our desks.

At a Glance

Because cloth mouse pads tend to be on the cheaper end of the spectrum, they have the reputation of being flimsy, often tearing or coming apart easily. SteelSeries' Dex is an exception. With a hefty textured cloth surface and a silicone underside, the Dex is tough enough to withstand machine washing.

The combination of materials neatly sidesteps the biggest complaints people tend to have about cloth mouse pads. The Dex’s cloth top is almost rigid, so it doesn't feel cheap or flop around. Even after extensive testing, we didn’t experience any warping or tearing like you'd expect with a typical cloth model. Additionally, as dirt and debris build up on the pad, all you need to do is give it a wash and it'll be nice and clean again. (For those concerned with the bacterial load around the average workspace, that's a splendid feature.)

Plus, while the surface is a lot rougher than you'd expect—almost like corrugated cardboard—mouse movement is smooth and consistent, with no detectable drag. Combine that with the excellent silicone backing that resists sliding even during quick or excessive movements, and you've got an absolutely stellar product. Its only drawback (and a minor one at that) is that it comes in just one size.

Pros

  • Machine-washable
  • Sturdy and durable
  • Allows smooth, consistent mouse movement

Cons

  • Only one size available

At $100 for the mousepad and another $100 to $150 for a compatible mouse, Logitech's Powerplay is still early-adopter tech for sure—but keeping your wireless mouse battery topped off sans wires is futuristic.

Pros

  • Works as advertised! Keeps your wireless mouse charged sans wires
  • Choice of cloth and hard surfaces
  • Easy to install the Powercore charging module

Cons

  • At $100 for just the mouse pad, this is expensive tech
  • Only compatible (at the moment) with two specific Logitech mice
  • Makes wired mice seem archaic

A solid aluminum pad with two different coatings, Corsair's MM600 is the best of two worlds. To switch, all you need to do is flip the mat around. Four feet at the corners hold the mat in place instead of more typical full-back contact with a surface. Those feet are the only real weakness: If one of the feet doesn't sit quite right, the pad can slide around during use. Otherwise, the design is nearly perfect.

Both the coarse and quick sides of the MM600 are plenty accurate and don't mess with mouse sensor readings. Plus, because each side is coated with a polymer, the pad doesn't feel unusually cold or hot based on ambient temperature (which can be a bit jarring if you're just starting at your desk early in the morning). Overall, these surfaces are among the best around, and this mouse pad is quite a bit cheaper than many higher-end competitors.

Pros

  • Two different coatings offer the best of both worlds
  • Mouse movements are accurate on both surface types
  • Polymer coating keeps aluminum comfortable to the touch

Cons

  • If one of its four feet don't sit right, the pad can slide around

A mid-tier cloth mouse pad, the MM300 is a good alternative to SteelSeries’ QCK line if you want more control over your mouse movements—and higher durability.

A stitched ridge surrounds the mat and binds the surface to the underside to help prevent fraying. Beyond that, the pad is fairly standard. You'll get a textured fabric emblazoned with the Corsair logo and a coating to help mouse sensor readings, as well as a rubberized base to keep the pad in place.

Like the QCK, the MM300 comes in a few sizes, including an extended version that stretches almost a full meter. The difference here is that it's a bit coarser—a sacrifice of speed for control. If you have a standard, non-gaming mouse, the drag may be a bit much, but it shouldn't be a problem for most others.

Pros

  • Gives more control over mouse movements
  • Durable

Cons

  • Use of a non-gaming mouse can feel slow on its surface

The Firefly is a basic hard plastic mouse pad with one major conceit: RGB lighting around the edges. This mouse mat belongs to Razer’s Chroma line of products, which all incorporate RGB LEDs controllable by the user.

If you already own Razer Chroma peripherals, owning the Firefly works out particularly well, because you can coordinate effects, macros, lighting, etc. through Razer’s proprietary Synapse software. But even if you're not going for a unified theme, Synapse works well enough without feeling like a piece of unnecessary bloatware.

As for actual performance: Firefly's mousing surface is rough, but it provides a decent glide with most mice. On the underside, there's a hexagonally patterned rubber coating that grips most surfaces pretty well, except for glass desks. If you use glass for your workstation or home desk, expect the Firefly to slide around.

Pros

  • RGB lighting (if that's your thing)
  • Surface provides light resistance for mouse movements

Cons

  • Rubber backing doesn't grip well on glass desktops

Razer's Manticor is a tough beast. As an anodized aluminum mousepad, it's weighty and sturdy. Its coarse texture also helps accuracy in mouse sensor readings.

Overall, that’s this mouse pad’s primary function. The bottom is a standard rubberized coating, meaning that the Manticor isn’t reversible. It’s also not very portable—after all, you'd have a tough time folding or rolling aluminum and then still having something usable afterward.

But it makes up for its lack of versatility by providing excellent performance. We never noticed jitter or other tracking problems in our time with the pad. For days on end, each movement was accurately represented on-screen without exception. However, it does come at the expense of additional resistance in movement. Every stroke of the mouse makes a grinding sound—even with Razer's own DeathAdder and Naga series. Using the Manticor can get tiring after a few hours of heavy gaming.

If you're already used to a high-friction pad, this might not be a huge issue. Even if you aren't, the accuracy could be worth it if you use an extremely sensitive mouse—with a heavy emphasis on “if” and “extremely.”

Pros

  • Sturdy and tough
  • Excellent mouse accuracy during use

Cons

  • Can cause fatigue after a few hours of heavy gaming

Like SteelSeries’ Dex, the Razer Megasoma 2 tries to strike a balance between being sturdy and flexible. The silicone coating and thick cloth give it a sense of weight and substance that's uncommon in other cloth-style pads.

While not as textured as SteelSeries' cloth/silicone pad, the Megasoma 2 is a bit coarser than other products in the Razer line—and still has excellent glide, with no discernible resistance. In fact, the surface has just enough give to feel pleasant without allowing your mouse to sink in and slow its movements.

Accuracy is also excellent, never causing a noticeable sensor problem. Our sample did fray a little bit with heavy use/abuse, but the binding between the base and the top was still intact, so it wasn't a big problem. Other than that, the Megasoma 2 is a solid choice for those needing a portable and comfortable hybrid mouse pad.

Pros

  • Excellent mouse accuracy during use
  • Good balance between sturdiness and flexibility

Cons

  • Frayed a little bit with heavy use

While Logitech’s G440 is a hard-surface mat, its G240 is a flexible cloth mouse pad. This model is straightforward, with a thin cloth surface and a rubber foam underside.

Like the G440, the occasional signal problem will crop up during mouse use, but not enough to be an irritant. The surface wears down fairly quickly, so depending on how often and how much you use the pad, you’ll likely get about one to two years out of it. Since it’s fairly cheap, that’s not at all a problem.

Pros

  • Decent mouse accuracy during use
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Surface wears down relatively fast

The Logitech G440 is the company's main hard-surface mouse mat. It’s a no-frills, middle-of-the-road piece, with a basic plastic surface and a rubberized foam underside, and sits at a height of about 2mm. It also has a hard edge that your wrist will likely rub on a bit if you're not careful.

Accuracy is okay, though occasional signal problems do occur. More of an issue is how the surface wears down relatively quickly, depending on how often and how much you use the pad. You’ll likely get about one to two years out of it—and given its low price, that’s acceptable.

Pros

  • Decent mouse accuracy during use
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Surface wears down relatively fast

Steelseries’ QCK line offers a light cloth surface with a rubber-foam backing in a wide variety of sizes. The mini is targeted at laptop users, while the base model is aimed at average gamers. The + is for someone who wants a little more room; the Heavy for those who want a thicker, sturdier base, and the XXL for people who want a tremendously large mousing surface (a little less than 0.5 square meters).

Those basic distinctions aside, they're all effectively the same. They're basic, but thicker and a lot sturdier than your standard, non-gaming fare. As cloth pads, their surfaces can on occasion cause your mouse sensor to twitch, stutter, or skip, especially if there's pet hair or dust on it. The bond between the cloth surface and the rubber bottom is also somewhat weak and won't hold up to extreme wear.

That said, the QCK line is a solid option that can fit most budgets and use scenarios.

Pros

  • Good variety of mouse mat sizes
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Can cause occasional hiccups in mouse accuracy