It goes without saying that gear to a gamer is like gear to a mechanic: if you don’t have the right tools, you can’t get the job done properly. Today’s article is built around the notion that even if you own an expensive gaming mouse if you don’t pair it with the best gaming mouse pad possible, you’ll not be able to use it at its full potential. The thing is, it would be useless to spend $100 (or more) of your hard earned money on a high-end mouse and then pair it to your 10-year-old ratty mouse pad. You deserve better than that, believe me.
Using the right stuff, as in the right surface, means everything for both pro and casual gamers. Moreover, if you’re into “digital sports”, and I am talking about competitive levels, owning a specially designed gaming keyboard would also be advisable. Again, that if you want to achieve your full gaming potential. Gear is everything if you want to play hard and go pro. Speaking of best mouse pads, there are a plethora of choices on the market, hence choosing one could be tricky. Fortunately for you, we’ve done the research, so you won’t have to.
How to Choose the Best Gaming Mouse Pad
Whether you own a regular (as in wired) or a wireless mouse, the surface you’re using it on is equally important, whether we’re talking about one’s personal preference for a hard or a soft mouse pad. The same goes with regard to the size, i.e. standard or larger. A dedicated mouse pad for gamers is built using special materials in order to facilitate quick and accurate movements, hence always go for a “gaming” mouse pad. As in, if you want a sports car, you don’t buy a Volvo, but a Ferrari, if you catch my drift (pun intended).
Most mouse pads for gaming are built with a rubber base, which confers them weight and stability, along with a cloth surface. There are also variants with a rubber base and a hard plastic/microtexture/aluminum surface. Here the “preference” issue comes into play, i.e. if you prefer a harder or a softer surface for when you’re “shooting from the hip”. Generally speaking, gaming mice with laser sensors work best on hard surfaces, while optical ones (infrared) are good to go on whatever type of surface.
While laser sensors are awesome in most circumstances, the caveat is that they have a higher lift-off distance compared to optical ones, hence when you reach the edge of your mouse pad, it may go berserk. So, if you own a mouse with a laser sensor, it would be advisable to go for the best extended mouse pad you can afford.
Also, extended mouse pads are the way to go if you prefer to have extra cruising space, especially during intense gaming sessions. However, most gamers do alright with standard size mouse pads. Keep in mind that extra mouse-pad real estate comes at a heftier price.
Smooth vs Textured
Depending on what type of games you’re playing the most, and also considering your play-style, you must choose between a gaming mouse pad with a smooth or a textured surface. Grip and glide are the metrics used to describe the amount of friction supported by a mouse when moved across the pad. Grippier (as in textured) mouse pads provide more tactile feedback, as in more precision and control over one’s movements, while smoother surface mouse pads (with less grip that is) allow for smoother (doh!) and faster movements.
The good news is that some of the best gaming mouse pads out there are built with dual-surface systems, i.e. one side of the pad is smooth, the other one is textured. This goes mostly for plastic/hard surface mouse pads.
Finally, there’s the stability vs freedom issue, i.e. wrist support or not. In order to prevent gamers’ bane, the carpal tunnel syndrome respectively, which is a common “feature” (or bug?) among hardcore gamers, ergonomic gaming mouse pads were created, aka mouse pads with wrist support. Some people feel constricted by mouse pads with wrist support during heavy gaming sessions, while others seem to enjoy them. Some cleverly-designed gaming mouse pads even have removable wrist rest modules.
Generally speaking, mouse pads with wrist support would protect a gamer’s best asset, as in they’re good for your wrist long-term, especially if you’re the sedentary type. This type of mouse pads also helps a lot with reducing fatigue during extended gaming sessions. However, they definitely restrict one’s range of movement, and if you’re not accustomed to having a mouse pad with wrist support, it may take a while to accommodate. The next best thing is a thicker mouse pad, which provides extra cushioning for your wrist, along with more stability.
With all these in mind, let’s take a look at the best mouse pads money can buy.
1. ASUS ROG Scabbard Extra-Large
Asus’ ROG range of products are boasting cult-status in the gaming community (ROG stands for Republic of Gamers by the way), and the Rog Scabbard mouse mat stands true to ROG tradition.
The Extra Large particle is due to the Scabbard’s 35.4″ x 15.7″ dimensions, while the thickness is kept on the down-low, at just 0.08″. Build quality is top notch, and, on top of that, the ROG Scabbard comes with amazingly low friction for a cloth mouse-pad, while feeling sturdy and boasting an incredibly tight and small weave.
- tracks on-par with most premium gaming-grade mouse-pads on the market
- huge, but totally worth it, provided you have enough space on your desk
- very comfortable
- looks and feels like a high-quality ROG product
- a tad pricey and smelly (according to some users)
2. ROCCAT TAITO
The Roccat Taito is a gaming mouse pad designed and built to deliver no-nonsense performance for gamers looking for quality at an affordable price. Retailing for under $15, this piece of gaming gear comes with a high-quality cloth surface, engineered to deliver complete control and smooth mouse actions, while the rubberized back keeps it firmly into place, providing optimal grip.
The materials and workmanship are Roccat-grade, as in excellent, the cloth surface is durable and wear-resistant, with stitched edges, and, on top of that, it’s incredibly cheap, compared to other high-quality gaming-grade mouse pads.
- amazing quality considering the price asked
- great gear for “control freaks”
- hits the sweet spot between silky smooth speed and control/precision
- large enough for longer mouse movements
- none really at this price
3. Logitech G Powerplay
The Logitech G Powerplay is a wireless charging device from one of the world’s most iconic companies, and it works with gaming mice like the Logitech G703 and G903. What’s special about this wireless gizmo is that it can deliver continuous charging for your wireless mouse while in use, as in while you’re playing your favorite game, and that’s pretty cool in my book.
Another amazing thing about this baby is that it comes with both soft and hard gaming mouse pads, and there’s also a powercore module included in the retail package, for converting compatible mice.
- works perfectly as advertised
- typical high-quality Logitech product, both for the soft and hard gaming pad
- easy to install and to use
- keeps your wireless mouse charged at all times
- kind of expensive
4. HyperX FURY S
The HyperX Fury S is a minimalist mouse pad designed for pro-gamers. The surface is made from high-quality cloth, which provides reduced friction and tons of control, while the base uses natural rubber.
The best thing about this professional grade gaming mouse pad is that it delivers amazing quality given the price tag, playing in the best bang for the buck category. Just give it a try and you won’t regret it for a second.
- fast and smooth surface
- amazing quality for the price
- durable and portable
- nice and thick, yet portable
- some users complain about bad smell
5. Razer Goliathus Extended Chroma
If you’re into extended gaming mouse pads with a cloth surface and shiny lights, the Razer Goliathus Extended would definitely fit the bill. The micro-textured cloth surface delivers amazing control and speed, while the Chroma thingy translates into 16.8 million customizable color options if that’s your cup of tea.
The rubber base is designed to prevent slipping and keeps the mouse pad firmly into place, and if you can live with the price, the Goliathus is definitely a fun “gadget” to have.
- the lighting effects, especially the reactive lighting at mouse pressure, are quite fun
- good cable management
- performance wise, this is one of the best cloth RGB lighting mouse pads out there
- some users complain about software glitches
- bells and whistles come at a price
6. Corsair MM1000 Qi
The Corsair MM1000 Qi is a state of the art mouse pad for gamers, a really expensive piece of gear which comes with wireless charging. The retail package includes adapters for most smartphones.
The Qi particle stands for wireless-charging, obviously, and it allows you to charge any Qi-certified device effortlessly sans wires. The surface is made of hard micro-textured plastic, and as far as mouse pads go, the MM1000 Qi is pretty good, being pleasantly solid and well built.
- you’ll never run out of power on your wireless mouse again, provided it’s Qi certified
- well built and attractive
- fantastic surface for gaming
- pretty expensive for what it is
7. Razer Sphex V2
The Razer Sphex V2 is an ultra-thin mouse pad, specifically designed for hard-core gamers. Its ultra-thin silhouette makes it the ideal choice for people looking for an unobtrusive gaming experience. Moreover, the Sphex V2 is developed to squeeze the last drop of performance from high-end gaming mice, laser and optical alike.
The surface is made using an extremely durable polycarbonate material, and it’s optimized for both control and speed.
- performance at an affordable price (under $15)
- comes with adhesive base, which gives it amazing stability
- blends with your desk
- paper thin
- not suitable for gamers who prefer thick(er) mouse pads
- adhesive wears off rather quickly if you move it often
8. BenQ Zowie G-SR Large E-Sports Gaming Mouse Pad
BenQ is not the biggest name in the gaming niche, yet their G-SR E-Sports gaming mouse pad is not bad at all. This baby is a classic cloth mouse pad for gaming, with a 100 percent flat soft rubber base, which delivers amazing comfort during prolonged gaming sessions, while promoting a consistent glide across the surface.
- plenty of room
- decently priced
- delivers an optimal balance of speed and control, glides really well
- great choice for FPS games
- comes with stitched edges for increased durability
- gets dirty relatively easy, hence requires regular cleaning for optimal performance
9. CORSAIR MM300 Extended
If you’re looking for a “bigger than life” mouse pad, the Corsair MM300 Extended has your name on it. This high-performance gaming mouse pad is specially designed for maximum control, with an emphasis for mice with gaming-sensors, featuring an anti-fray cloth surface for low friction tracking and pixel-precise targeting.
Tech-talk aside, the MM300 is optimized for all types of gaming mice, both optical and laser, and comes with a classic anti-skid rubber base, which keeps it firmly into place during intense gaming sessions.
- incredibly smooth and precise
- bigger than life!
- sturdy and reliable
- comes with stitched guard edges to prevent surface peeling
- none, really
10. SteelSeries QcK
SteelSeries is another iconic name in the gaming industry, and their QcK Cloth is arguably the ideal choice if you’re looking for an extended gaming mouse pad. As in, a big fat one, size L. Also, this mouse pad is quite affordable, under $15 actually at the time I am writing this piece, which makes it incredibly appealing for gamers on limited budgets looking for an affordable high-quality gaming mouse pad from a reputable company.
The iconic/proprietary micro-woven cloth surface of the QcK is optimized for both low and high DPI mice, and its rubber base is grippy enough for eliminating unwanted movements.
- its generous real-estate surface (450 mm x 400 mm x 2 mm / 17.72 in x 15.75 in) makes it ideal for gamers looking for extended mouse pads
- budget friendly
- no-nonsense gaming mouse pad, high quality, durable
- none at this price
11. Razer Firefly Chroma Hard
The Razer Firefly Chroma comes from a big name in the gaming industry, and it makes for a beautiful piece of hardware by any metrics, an RGB lit gaming mouse pad, which is available in both hard and soft variants. In this particular case, we’re talking about the hard/plastic made version, which looks absolutely stunning on one’s desk.
Firefly Chroma has a micro-textured hard surface, and it features Razer’s proprietary Chroma LED Lighting system, having LEDs lined up on 3 sides. Which means, if you hook the Firefly Chroma to a USB port, it will glow in the dark. Literally. Gaming wise, this mouse pad is specially designed to help improve mouse tracking. That besides having cool shiny lights. The bottom is made from a rubbery/anti-slip material.
- arguably the most beautiful gaming mouse pad in history
- very thin for a lit mouse pad, only 4 mm thick
- glows in the dark
- offers a good balance between precision and speed
- if you’re looking for the ultimate precision, you’d be better with the cloth version
- kind of expensive for what it is, i.e. a glorified gaming mouse pad with LEDs