Gaming mouse pads may be the missing piece of your gaming rig. After spending thousands on a curved monitor, a programmable keyboard, and enough RAM to run “Crysis 3” in the middle of summer, it’s easy to forget a crucial element of the gaming setup. A good gaming mouse pad makes every drag, scroll, and click on your mouse as responsive as possible, so you’re never caught off guard when gaming alone or with friends. Many of them come with glitzy features you’re looking for, and even a few hidden ones you didn’t know you wanted. Here’s a pick of the best gaming mouse pads in 2022.
— Best Overall: Razer Firefly Hard V2 RGB Gaming Mouse Pad
— Best XL: Corsair MM300 PRO Premium Spill-Proof Cloth Gaming Mouse Pad
— Best Hard Surface: Logitech Hard Gaming Mouse Pad
— Best Cool Design: SteelSeries QCK Gaming Surface - “Destiny 2” Limited Edition
— Best Cheap: HyperX Fury S Pro Gaming Mouse Pad
How We Picked the Best Gaming Mouse Pads
Is there a difference between a regular mouse pad and a gaming one? For the most part, yes. But like just about every product bearing the moniker “gaming” in its name, shopping for one should be done with a healthy amount of skepticism. Here are a few things we considered when picking out the best gaming mouse pads.
Size: Remember back in the dial-up days when mouse pads were small squares that didn’t give your mice much room to roll around on? A dark era of history, to be sure, but we know better now. Because the difference in price is negligible, we feel it’s best to go big or go home. Not only does a large gaming mouse pad really tie a gaming rig together, it provides ample freedom to move around. When gaming with a keyboard and mouse, things can get out of hand real quick, and the very idea of your mouse sliding off the pad and onto the table could make it less than responsive, and may cost you a loss or two. Or at the very least, a few moments of panic. The extra real estate is worth the cost.
Maintenance: It’s funny to think about, but a gaming mouse pad is a large piece of fabric. And whether it’s a gaming accessory or britches, the fabric needs regular cleaning. We’ll address just how to clean mouse pads a little further down, but luckily, it’s usually a very easy thing to do. Any mouse pad requiring special cleaning will always prove to be a little more annoying than one that doesn’t.
Glitzy Features: Mouse pads are simple, but they don’t have to be. Occasionally, they come with extra features that dazzle and amaze…but usually require power to run. In any case, powering it up shouldn’t cause any headaches. There’s a reason many gamers still swear by wired products over wireless: far less can go wrong.
Best Gaming Mouse Pads: Reviews and Recommendations
Best Overall: Razer Firefly Hard V2 RGB Gaming Mouse Pad
Why It Made The Cut: It may be overkill for most, but the Razer Firefly Hard V2 RGB Gaming Mouse Pad adds a smack of cool to any gaming rig.
— Dimensions: 10.84 inches L x 13.99 inches W x 0.14 inches D
— Mat Surface: Hard
— Weight: 1.65 pounds
— Hard surface coating made for speed
— Customize with up to 16.8 million light colors
— Cable catch organizes game space
Razer Firefly Hard V2 RGB Gaming Mouse Pad is one flashy number…literally. The border packs a customizable LED light powered by the Razer Chroma app.
At just under 14 inches wide, it’s a sprawling surface that provides plenty of space to drag your mouse on. The ultra-thin micro-textured cloth surface ensures that your mouse will glide across it with ease while giving you plenty of space to move around. It’s calibrated to work with optical mouse sensors for the best precision, so aiming becomes easier than ever. What sets this mouse pad apart is the border, which is powered by Razer Chroma. You can customize the colors of the RGB lighting (16.8 million of them, in fact) but also pick how these lights glow to make any rig look not just cool, but alive. The cable catch is conversely, decidedly low-fi, but it helps manage your mice’s cords to cut down on tangles. It’s easily the best mousepad out there, so long as you don’t mind splurging for it.
Why It Made The Cut: For absolute freedom of movement, you could do worse than the Corsair Pro Premium Spill-Proof Gaming Mouse Pad.
— Dimensions: 11.8 inches L x 36.6 inches W x 0.11 inches D
— Mat Surface: Soft
— Weight: 1.1 pounds
— Spill-proof surface
— Anti-skid rubber base
— Micro-weave fabric makes for fast movement
— Polarizing design
Why settle for a mouse pad that only fits your mouse, when you can get one that fits a mouse, a keyboard, and maybe even a frosty beverage?
Normally, I wouldn’t recommend putting a drink anywhere near a mousepad, but the Corsair Pro Premium Spill-Proof Gaming Mouse Pad is virtually spill-proof. The stain-resistant coating makes liquid slide off the surface, which you can easily clean with a simple swipe of a kitchen towel. Anti-fray precision stitching also means that the surface won’t peel. And what a surface! A dense micro-weave makes gliding your mouse smooth and precise. It’s a solid mousepad without any obvious compromises…that is, if you can live with the design. This Corsair mouse pad went a little heavy on the gaming aesthetics. Whether or not you think that’s a good thing is entirely up to you.
Best Hard Surface: Logitech Hard Gaming Mouse Pad
Why It Made The Cut: For high-DPI gaming, this Logitech Hard Gaming Mouse Pad is sturdy and affordable.
— Dimensions: 11.02 inches L x 13.39 inches W x 0.12 inches D
— Mat Surface: Hard
— Weight: 8.08 ounces
— Larger than an average mouse pad
— High-DPI gaming ready
— Climate pledge friendly
— Layers may separate after intense use
For some gamers, high-DPI gaming is the only way to go. To put it simply, the higher the DPI settings, the quicker mouse movements become, even when gliding the mouse over short distances. This feat is easier on a hard mat surface, like the Logitech Hard Gaming Mouse Pad.
The low surface friction this pad provides improves mouse and cursor control for the best in high-speed gaming. This ensures greater tracking, performance, and of course, aiming precision. Logitech Hard Gaming Mouse Pad’s base won’t skid, even under intense gaming sessions. However, if you tend to go hard on your mouse drags, this mouse pad may not stand the test of time, and the layers may even start to peel. It’s still mighty affordable and is even built sustainably enough to qualify it as a Climate Pledge-friendly offering.
Best Cool Design: SteelSeries QCK Gaming Surface - “Destiny 2” Limited Edition
Why It Made The Cut: The SteelSeries QCK Gaming Surface is beloved by gamers and felines alike (seriously).
— Dimensions: 11.81 inches L x 35.43 inches W x 0.15 inches D
— Mat Surface: Soft
— Weight: 1.21 pounds
— Interactive lighting
— Pinpoint accuracy
— Comes with exclusive “Destiny 2” item
— Attracts cats
Collaborations can be polarizing, but this “Destiny 2” themed gaming mouse pad by SteelSeries has a gorgeous, muted design, even for those unfamiliar with the popular FPS game.
It sprawls across even large tabletops to accommodate keyboards and mice. Interactive RGB lights are fully customizable and create simple and complex lighting effects in seconds. These lights work in conjunction with in-game alerts, and music, and even interact with apps like Discord. The high thread count surface optimizes tracking for both optical- and laser-sensor mice and is rigorously tested to maintain excellence. Such a premium build quality means you can expect to shell out a pretty penny for it. Also, there’s a strange pattern of cats getting a little too cozy with the SteelSeries Gaming Surface, and resting on it for hours. Whether or not you think this is a good thing truly depends on how well your cat takes direction when you just want to play a few rounds of “Fortnite” before bed.
Best Cheap: HyperX Fury S Pro Gaming Mouse Pad
Why It Made The Cut: If you’re looking for frills, you won’t find them here, but the HyperX Fury S Pro is affordable and game-ready.
— Dimensions: 11.81 inches L x 14.17 inches W x 0.15 inches D
— Mat Surface: Soft
— Weight: 9.7 ounces
— Simple, seamless, and portable
— Dense weaving improves accuracy
— Very inexpensive
— Non-slip in name only
A fancy mouse pad, at the end of the day, is still a mouse pad. There’s no busy design, no LED lights, and it’s small enough to fit on even tiny desks. The simple but sturdy HyperX Fury S is good enough for most looking for a gaming mouse pad.
Despite its affordability, its weaving is dense, which may be good enough for gaming on the higher end of the DPI spectrum. Even after it’s rolled up, this mouse pad unfurls easily and lays flat, making it a pretty solid portable option. While it purports to be non-slip, users have mixed feelings. Expect the edges to flare up and the pad to slide, depending on how intense your mouse drags are. Its price point simply cannot be beaten.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Gaming Mouse Pad
Measure Twice, Buy Once
Even larger gaming mouse pads will likely fit on the desk your gaming rig lives on. But desk space, for many, is precious. Do you want to dedicate up to 40 or more inches just to a mouse pad? The answer may be an emphatic “Yes!” but it’s certainly not a universal feeling. Before even considering a mouse pad, we recommend mapping out the real estate it will hog up on your desk.
Hard or Soft Gaming Mouse Pads
Not to belabor the point made in the intro to this compilation of the best gaming mouse pads, but back “in the day,” all mouse pads were soft, ugly, and cheaply made. While there are a myriad of mouse pad offerings, for simplification’s sake, we’re going to divide them into two camps: soft and hard surfaces. Each has its advantages and disadvantages, so it really depends on how you play and what you play.
— Soft Gaming Mouse Pads: These mouse pads offer more friction, which means less speed and more control. If your hands are a little jittery, these soft pads won’t pick up slight involuntary movements the way a harder mouse pad will. If you primarily play first-person shooters, precision is oftentimes more important than speed, so you’ll be at home with a softer pad like the SteelSeries QCK Gaming Surface - “Destiny 2” Limited Edition.
— Hard Gaming Mouse Pads: Because the surface is virtually friction-less, things move lightning fast. Some may find it moves a little too fast. Stopping on a dime is virtually impossible unless you’ve got crazy quick reflexes and response times. But some gamers (including myself) rather like moving at warp speed, when gaming, editing video, or messing around in Photoshop. The Razer Firefly Hard V2 RGB Gaming Mouse Pad is a good hard surface offering.
How to Properly Clean a Mouse Pad
Make peace with it: no matter what mouse pad you get, it’s going to get messy. A dirty mouse pad not only looks totally gross but if it’s caked in dust, some of that could potentially mess with the tracking of your gaming mouse. Luckily, keeping mouse pads clean is easily done, and you likely have all the tools you need to do it yourself.
— To clean cloth mouse pads: Dip a sponge in a small amount of warm water. Add a very small amount of dish soap to the soft side of the sponge. Never clean with the rough side, it could damage the surface of your mouse pad. Lightly scrub the dirt off using the soft side of the sponge. Then, press an absorbent microfiber towel onto the surface to absorb any remaining liquid. Allow the mouse pad to dry completely before using it.
— To clean hard mouse pads: These are far easier to clean because of their uniform surface. Apply a small amount of dish soap (or light multi-purpose cleaner like Meyers) to a microfiber cloth and lightly scrub the surface of the mouse pad. Dry with a clean microfiber towel. Allow it to dry completely before using it.
There are many ways to go about cleaning a gaming mousepad. Some go as far as submerging their mouse pads in a bathtub and using a nail brush and laundry detergent. For most cases, especially with smaller pads, this is probably overkill. If your mouse pad has electrical components, make sure they aren’t plugged in when you’re cleaning them. The above methods for cleaning will work with RGB mouse pads as well, though you may need to take extra precautions so you don’t render them unusable. When in doubt, consult the manufacturer of your mouse pad.
Q: Do gaming mouse pads make a difference?
In general, gaming mouse pads offer better tracking and control. A good gaming mouse pad will not make a cheap gaming mouse much better. Still, many gamers swear by them.
Q: Which type of mouse pad is best for gaming speed or control?
In general, hard mouse pads offer more speed, and soft mouse pads offer more control.
Q: How can you tell if a mouse pad is good?
There are many aspects that make a mouse pad good, but in general, your mouse should have enough room to move around without running out of space. Both the Corsair MM300 PRO Premium Spill-Proof Cloth Gaming Mouse Pad and the SteelSeries QCK Gaming Surface - “Destiny 2” Limited Edition accommodate lots of space for your mouse and your keyboard.
Q: Do mouse pads improve aim?
Surface affects the aim in optical mice. These mice tend to work better on non-reflective surfaces with textures of equal thickness. Cleanliness can also affect aim, so make sure to clean your gaming mouse pad often.
Q: Are soft or hard mouse pads better?
It depends on if you want to prioritize speed or precision. Softer pads have more friction, so mouse movement is slower but more precise. Hard mouse pads, with their even surfaces, allow for lightning-fast movement, albeit, with far less control.
Q: What mouse pad do esports players use?
Final Thoughts on Gaming Mouse Pads
Do you need a special mouse pad just for gaming? Professional gamers swear by them, so they may just provide a competitive edge, all while tying your gaming rig together. Speed demons will level up with the Razer Firefly Hard V2 RGB Gaming Mouse Pad, our best overall pick. For a more traditional smooth pad that spans across your rig, the SteelSeries QCK Gaming Surface - “Destiny 2” Limited Edition is unmatched. Sometimes, simple is best, and the HyperX Fury S Pro Gaming Mouse Pad is both a solid entry and totally affordable.
This post was created by a non-news editorial team at Recurrent Media, Futurism’s owner. Futurism may receive a portion of sales on products linked within this post.