Cheap mouse pads are a dime a dozen online, but just because they’re cheap doesn’t mean they’re worth buying. So how do you know if a mouse pad is worth buying?
I’ve put together this guide to help you know what to look for in a mouse pad, and at the end, I’ll review a few popular mouse pads to find the best mouse pads on the market.
Finding a Good Cheap Mouse Pad
When it comes to finding a good mouse pad, there are many things to take into consideration, including your own personal taste, the size of your desk, and the different features of the mouse pad itself. Here are some of the things you should keep in mind while you’re shopping for mouse pads.
Size: Mouse pads come in a wide variety of sizes from about twice the width of a mouse up to three feet long. This is where you should take your desk size into consideration. Are you using a desk with a keyboard tray? If so you will need a smaller mouse pad.
But if you’re using a desk that’s six feet wide you can consider longer ones that will also provide space for your keyboard and still have space left over.
Padding thickness: The thickness of the padding is very much a personal preference. Some prefer mouse pads to be as thin as possible, giving the impression that there’s almost no space between the mouse and the desk. Others prefer a bit of thickness for extra padding. There is no wrong choice in this. It is entirely down to what you find most comfortable.
Wrist support: Another personal preference is in wrist support. Repetitive stress injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome are a big concern for anyone spending an extended amount of time at their desk. Ergonomic tools have been created to reduce the likelihood of these by making the body sit in a more natural way.
For mouse pads, this means wrist supports. The gel is the preferred material for mouse pad wrist support as it will provide support without creating any painful edges for your wrist to rest on and will conform, slightly, to the way you hold your wrist when you’re using a mouse.
Cover: Mouse pads come in a variety of different types of covers. That is the material which the mouse and your hand touch on the surface while you’re using the mouse.
Most mouse pads have cloth covering them, It provides a smooth, comfortable surface for mice, however, it is also prone to becoming fuzzy over time which has a significant impact on the performance of the mouse. Other mouse pads will have a plastic surface.
These are the easiest to clean and provide very smooth surfaces for mice, but they can be somewhat uncomfortable to use. Sweating can also be a concern for both types of mouse pads.
Cloth covered mouse pads will soak up the sweat, while plastic ones will trap the sweat between your skin and the mouse pad, making you stick to it.
Many cheap mouse pads suffer from frayed edges as the glue that binds them to the padding slowly comes apart. Not only does it look unappealing but it will impact performance. Many mouse pads get around that by sewing the edges.
Backing: The backing of a mouse pad is the part that touches the surface you’re resting the mouse pad on, this can be a table, a desk, or any other surface you’re using. The most common materials your surface can be made out of can be glass, metal, or wood.
All of these will interact with the back of your mouse pad differently. The very cheapest and lowest quality mouse pads will have a very smooth back made out of the padding. These will slide around your surface and aren’t very good.
Most mice will use a textured backing that will move if pushed but won’t move from regular mouse use. There are even some mouse pads which will stick to your surface with strong glue to hold the pads in place.
These are very damaging to your surface, however, and I cannot recommend them. The best option is to go with one with a good texture on the back. These won’t damage tables, can be moved easily, but won’t move from normal mouse use.
Ease of Cleaning: Finding a mouse pad that is easy to clean is a surprisingly difficult thing to do unless you’re willing to sacrifice comfort. Most mouse pads you can only surface clean which isn’t enough when cloth is involved.
These days some mouse pads are starting to be made that are machine washable, but these are rare. Hard surfaced mouse pads have the advantage when it comes to cleaning, but, as I said before you will have to sacrifice comfort and many of the other things that are important when picking out a new mouse pad.
So with that in mind, I would suggest you NOT base your mouse pad purchase on the ability to clean it. A cheap mouse pad is easy to replace if it’s that dirty or sweated in.
Mobility: Will you want to take your mouse pad with you? If you’re using a laptop, this is almost certainly going to happen. Obviously, having a mouse pad that is glued to your desk isn’t the way to go this time.
But perhaps less obvious is that wrist support mouse pads don’t travel well. They take up more space than the typical mouse pad, and they don’t roll up very well. If they do roll then each time you do so you’re damaging the gel support section, making it worse less effectively and possibly creating situations that do more harm than good.
Mouse pads that are thinner have an easier time rolling up. However, many can suffer from bulges as the cloth cover comes apart from the padding. This will have an impact on the performance of your mouse.
Funny Space Cat Mouse pad
|New Top Funny Space Cat and Pizza Rectangle Non-Slip Rubber Mouse Pad Mousepad Mat||Check Price|
Product prices and availability are accurate as of the 2018-10-28 at 13:11 and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.
This is a pretty simple rectangle non-slip rubber mouse pad, what is great about it is the picture of the awesome cat playing with a pizza, it will bring a smile to your face every time you see it.
Belkin WaveRest Gel Mouse Pad
Product prices and availability are accurate as of the 2019-03-18 at 19:09 and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.
Brought to you by Belkin this is a simple yet effective black, gel mouse pad. This mouse pad will bring maximum support for your wrist and an excellent tracking surface for your mouse.
Innovera Mouse pad with Gel Wrist Pad
|Innovera Mouse Pad with Gel Wrist Pad, Gray (50449)||Check Price|
Product prices and availability are accurate as of the 2019-03-18 at 19:39 and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.
This mouse pad with gel wrist pad are perfect for wrist support. It is made out of smooth fabric for reduced writs irritation. Classic look to match any decor is brought to you by Innovera.
Kensington Duo Gel Mouse Pad with Wrist Rest
|Kensington Duo Gel Mouse Pad with Wrist Rest - Blue (K62401AM)||Check Price|
Product prices and availability are accurate as of the 2019-03-18 at 20:38 and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.
This mouse pad is perfect for you if you spend long hours at your desk. The Duo Gel Mouse Pad combines a rigid base for fast and accurate mouse movement with a wrist rest, brought to you by Kensington, the industry leader with 20 years of ergonomic expertise
SteelSeries QcK Mini Gaming Mouse Pad
Product prices and availability are accurate as of the 2019-03-18 at 20:19 and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.
This classic mouse pad has been released in 2005, it has since been tested by professionals gamers. The SteelSeries QcK mini is compatible with all types of mice and is ideal for starters because of its great value.
Vipamz Extended XXXL Non-slip Rubber Base Textured Weave Gaming Mouse Pad
|Vipamz Extended XXXL Non-Slip Rubber Base Textured Weave Gaming Mouse Pad, Black - 36x12-Inch||Check Price|
Product prices and availability are accurate as of the 2019-03-18 at 19:48 and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.
If you’re the type of person to always hit your mouse on your keyboard then this is the perfect mouse pad for you, Vipamz mats allow plenty of movement space, prevent gamers from running off the edge.
Razer Goliathus Small CONTROL Soft Gaming Mouse Mat
Product prices and availability are accurate as of the 2019-03-18 at 18:49 and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.
Razer brings you the perfect mouse pad, with a control surface, a soft mat , optimized for all sensitivity setting and sensors and it’s available in four different size. Tested and approved by pro-gamers.
The Razer Goliathus is in my mind one of the best cheap mouse pads available. It’s designed with gamers in mind so it will stand up to long term use, and has features that improve the performance, really going a step above the competition.
Because it’s a higher quality than the others, you don’t see the issues that the others have like the cloth pulling away from the padding, or creasing from being rolled up. The Razer Goliathus also comes in a variety of sizes which means it will fit on more desk situations than others.
Razer has earned a reputation for being the best in the gaming peripherals market, a reputation well earned. Yes, it still has some downsides, but these are minor when compared to the others, but these are far outweighed by the quality and performance of the mouse pad. So, if you’re searching for a high quality, but cheap mouse pad for gaming the Razer Goliathus might just be the one you’re looking for.