Best Gaming Mouse Pad Buying Guide


“Should I get my fingers on a gaming mouse pad?”, or ”What should I look for?”  These are questions that many gamers might ask if they don’t own a gaming mouse pad and consider buying one.

A mouse pad is basically a surface that your mouse is gliding on, which was pretty much essential back when mice were using a trackball to track their movements:


Yup mice were rolling on that grey ball, as you can see above.

These old mice needed a surface that gave friction for the ball to roll. But today modern mice don’t utilize a tracking ball, but rather laser- or optical sensors. Therefore, a mouse pad isn’t needed on that particular case, since they do work on most surfaces.

However, there is a difference between tracking on random surfaces and tracking on optimized surfaces. Of cause, the mouse may track on a surface such as glass, but that doesn’t mean that you might enjoy it. Maybe it gives too little friction, too uncomfortable for your wrist, and so on. The issue for gamers that consider buying a mouse pad is mainly because of the material of the surface.

Yes, it is a personal issue and in some cases also a luxury issue, but having the right mouse pad with the right surface, does help you feel right when using your gaming mouse.

 

Types of Mouse Pads


There are many types of mouse pads out there with their own specific shape, feature, and material. I’ll try to account for types of common mouse pad materials and their advantages and disadvantages.

 

* Cloth pads


Cloth pads are usually made from soft foam and fabric and are known to be the most comfortable type of mousepads. Though thin cloth pads are not as comfortable as the thicker ones, they are less bulky. Taking LAN parties into consideration, cloth pads are also the most flexible and transportable pads because you can just roll them up and go.

Gliding and griping wise, they do give friction and tactile feedback when you glide your mouse over the surface, which some do prefer.

However, cloth mousepads tend to get dirty over time, and they can be a drag to clean. Their edges also tend to fray or start coming off every 5-6 months or so, which can be a deal-breaker.

 

Advantages 


Thicker pads = Very comfortably. Flexible and easy to take with you, even if they are big.Good friction and tactile feedback (if you prefer that).Great for low budgets.


Disadvantages


Dirt and liquid stains can become a drag to clean off. Cloth edges are prone to fray or start coming off the mouse pad.

 

* Hard pads


Hard pads are often made from plastic with rubber bottoms to prevent them from sliding. They are known for being very thin and lightweight. In general, Hard pads don’t give as much friction and tactile feedback as cloth pads and thus give you a smooth gliding. They come in many varieties, and some have a rougher surface while some have a smooth surface.

A hard pad is also easy to clean because you can just wipe it off if it gets dirty or stained.  Durability-wise, hard pads are known to be durable and can serve you for a good amount of time before wearing off. However, they aren’t as flexible as a cloth pad, and may therefore not be as transportable too. Taking that into consideration – they might be prone to bend or break if you for example forgot it between your car seat and your heavy gamer rig.


Advantages 


Thin and lightweight.Easy to clean.Durable (Though not as durable as glass or metal pads)Great varieties of surfaces, but they usually have low friction and tactile feedback. (If you prefer that)


Disadvantages


Not comfortable as cloth padsBigger pads can be a drag to take around.

 

* Aluminum pads


Most aluminum pads are made from anodized aluminum. They are known for being pretty expensive and very durable because of the materials that it’s made of. Aluminum pads are typically a bit thicker than hard pads, but thinner than thick cloth pads.

However, even if they are smooth to touch, they do give a lot of friction which can be a deal-breaker for low-friction users.  There is one more thing to consider before buying one. They do make more noise than cloth- or hard pads.


Advantages 


Thin and lightweight (Not as hard pads though)Easy to clean.Very DurableGreat friction (More than cloth pads… Unless you use a microfiber rag as a mouse pad)


Disadvantages


ExpensiveNot comfortable as cloth padsBigger pads may be a drag to take around. They are loud compared to cloth- or hard pads. Can be a deal-breaker for low-friction users.

 

* Glass pads


Glass pad areas we call them, mousepads made out of glass. While most modern mice do track on glass pads, some might still have trouble with that, so be advised.

Anyway, glass pads do have a special feel and look which can look pretty classy on your desk. Nevertheless, it is still made out of glass and is therefore also pretty fragile.
Dropping it on a hard surface will likely shatter it. Because of that, they will typically be thick and bulky.

Gliding and gripping wise, they give a very little amount of friction and tactile feedback because of the smooth surface, though they do make a lot of noise when you
use your mouse on them.

 

Advantages 


Unique look and feel.Easy to clean.Very durable if not being dropped very little amount of friction


Disadvantages


ExpensiveNot comfortable as cloth padsVery fragile make a lot of noise

 

Conclusion


As mentioned earlier, getting the right/best mouse pad is a personal thing, as there is no “best mouse pad out there”. Some may prefer cloth pads with their high comfort and transportability, while others prefer hard rigid mouse pads that are smooth and durable.

It all depends on what you prefer, and knowing the characteristics of each type of mouse pad, will definitely help you find the right one.