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If I had to pick one reason to game on a PC — rather than the more affordable, couch-comfy gaming consoles — it'd be the mouse. Moving and aiming with a mouse and keyboard is far easier and more precise than a joystick, which means you can get your enemies in your sights every time. And a good mouse designed for gaming can step up your skill even further.
SKIP AHEAD How to buy a gaming mouse
Best gaming mice to shop this year
There are dozens of great gaming mice on the market but a few standout models will do the job for most people.
Best gaming mouse overall: Logitech
Logitech makes some of the best mice in the business and its G502 line has been one of the most popular go-tos for years. Its comfortable shape, momentum scroll wheel and just-the-right-number of buttons would make it a great pick on basics alone—but it also comes with adjustable weights, a top-tier sensor for low latency and up to 25,600 DPI sensitivity, and even compatibility with Logitech's Powerplay mouse pad, which charges the mouse while you use it. If you want to save some money, the wired G502 Hero is also a great choice, and a bit lighter due to its lack of battery.
Best high-end gaming mouse: Razer
Razer is the other big name in gaming peripherals, and their Basilisk Ultimate offers a number of unique features over other mice. For one, its buttons use optical sensors rather than mechanical, which allow for oh-so-slightly more responsive actuation and increased longevity. It also allows you to adjust the tension of the scroll wheel, which is cool—but not as useful as Logitech's momentum-based scrolling, in my opinion. It's more expensive, but if you like the extra features, it—along with its wired sibling—are great alternatives.
Best affordable mouse: Logitech
If you don't want to spend $50 to $100 (or more) on a mouse, Logitech's G203 gets you the important bits for a much more affordable price.
It comes with six buttons, an adjustable sensor (up to 8,000 DPI) and a comfortable (albeit smaller) shape with solid build quality all around. There's also a wireless version for not much more money if you really can't stand wires.
Best ultra lightweight mouse: Glorious
A new trend has risen in the past few years: ultra lightweight mice featuring a honeycomb design that cuts down on as much mass as possible. This allows for super quick movements in first-person shooters, and has become popular among seriously competitive gamers.
While the Glorious Model O isn't the absolute lightest on the market, it's in the upper echelon with a quality sensor and a comfortable shape.
Best customizable gaming mouse: Razer
Designed for massively multiplayer online games like World of Warcraft, the Razer Naga series adds a ton more buttons to the side of your mouse, so you can slot in as many shortcuts to spells, items and weapons as your heart desires.
How to buy a gaming mouse
Gaming mice, as their name implies, have a few extra features specifically designed for the virtual battlefield, arena or level. As you shop, here are some things to consider.
Gaming mouse size, shape and weight
Everyone's hands are different — there's no one mouse that's right for everyone. If you have larger hands, a larger mouse will likely be more comfortable, and if you're left-handed, you'll want an ambidextrous model that skips the asymmetrical right-handed design.
Lighter mice are easier to move, while different shapes contour to the different grips people use — so if you find one mouse doesn't fit comfortably in your hand, return it and try another.
Wired gaming mouse or wireless
For a long time, wired mice were the primary choice for competitive gamers who wanted the lowest latency possible. These days, many wireless gaming mice are more than fast enough to cover gaming needs, though they do cost more and require occasional recharging.
Number of buttons
Some gaming mice stick to conventional two-button layouts while others cram extra buttons into every nook and cranny as shortcuts for your spells or other weapons.
Some people like having those extra shortcuts while others don't use them much at all.
Gaming mouse sensitivity and sensor quality
While gaming mice like to one-up each other with higher and higher sensitivity ratings (measured in DPI), most quality gaming mice should work on most desk surfaces with high enough sensitivities for most players.
Having an adjustable sensitivity, though, is handy as it tends to be more precise than Windows' built-in sensitivity slider.