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When the Covid-19 pandemic began and many Americas started working from home, we did the best we could with what we had. Plop your laptop on the kitchen table (or hunch over it on your couch), grit your teeth and get to work. As working from home continues to look like a longer-term proposition — with some companies announcing a move to permanent remote work — it's time to make your workspace more comfortable, efficient and ergonomic. And that starts with a dedicated mouse.
How to shop for a mouse
Your laptop's trackpad is not as comfortable, or precise, as a good external mouse can be. If you want to work more efficiently, then, it's time to invest in one. As you’re shopping around, here are a few things to consider.
Mouse size and shape
Above all else, you want a mouse that is comfortable for you. Different types of mice cater to different types of grips. You may need to buy-and-try to ensure your mouse of choice contours properly to your hand and the way you hold your mouse, options ranging from flatter designs to nearly vertical one.
Wireless mouse vs wired mouse
Wired mice are more affordable than their wireless cousins, while wireless mice offer less cable clutter — though you do need to charge them occasionally, which can be a hassle. Note that some wireless mice may require a USB dongle, too, while others will work over Bluetooth — provided your computer or laptop has Bluetooth built-in, of course.
Mouse buttons: how many are there and where?
While basic mice might have two buttons and a scroll wheel, many productivity- and gaming-focused mice will offer up extra buttons for moving back and forward in your browser or performing other quick actions. Ideally, you'd be able to customize what these buttons do through the manufacturer's software, too, but not all mice offer this capability.
Mouse sensitivity, and other extras
Some mice offer the ability to increase or decrease tracking sensitivity, as well, so your cursor will move slower or faster across the screen. Mice with higher sensitivity can also be useful for precise movements like photo editing, and other mice will offer extra features like precision scrolling or small replaceable weights that let you make the mouse lighter or heavier.
Best mice to buy in 2020
If you're still using the mouse that came with your computer, you might be holding yourself back. Plenty of style-forward mice might look cool (like Apple's infamous Magic Mouse), but they're terribly uncomfortable compared to more ergonomic options — especially from brands like Logitech, which has the mouse market pretty well cornered in terms of quality, feature-filled products. Ready to upgrade? Here are some of your best options right now.
Best wireless mouse overall: Logitech
Let's not beat around the bush: The Logitech MX Master 3 is the mouse you should probably buy. It has an extremely comfortable, contoured shape, multiple buttons, an extra scroll wheel and — best of all — a free-spinning scroll wheel that'll help you jump to the top or bottom of a page with the flick of your finger. It's hard to put into words how amazing this feature is but trust me: After 10 years of using it, I can't buy a mouse without this kind of scroll wheel. If you want to save a bit of money, the older MX Master 2S is still available as well, with a similar feature set.
Best affordable mouse: Logitech
If you like the idea of multiple buttons and super-smooth scrolling but don't want to pay the premium of the MX Master 3, Logitech's M720 gets you a lot of the same features. They're slightly downgraded here and there — and the mouse sports fewer buttons and therefore fewer customizable options — but still present in all the ways that matter for less than half the price.
Best basic mouse with no Frills: Microsoft
Look, I get it — you want to ditch the trackpad but you don't want to spend the money on a multi-button productivity machine. The Microsoft Basic Optical Mouse is a staple in office buildings far and wide and with good reason: It's comfortable, reliable and extremely well-priced. It’s also ambidextrous — something most ergonomic mice can't claim.
Best ergonomic mouse: Logitech
If you find that a regular mouse is giving you wrist pain, you might want to look into an alternative form factor. We dive into your many options in our guide to the best ergonomic mice, but my personal favorite is the Logitech MX vertical, which helps you keep your wrist straight at your desk. Sadly, it doesn't have the incredible scroll wheel of the other Logitech models above, but it's worth the sacrifice if you're experiencing discomfort.
Best gaming mouse: Logitech
If you plan on doing some gaming alongside your at-home work, you might want a mouse with higher sensitivity, low-latency wireless performance and — let's be honest here — cool lighting effects. Logitech's G502 is arguably the best around, sporting adjustable sensitivity, a sniper button near your thumb and the same amazing scroll wheel you'll find on Logitech's productivity-focused offerings. Add in Logitech's software for customizing its lighting and performance and you've got a gaming powerhouse. There's also a more affordable wired version, which I personally use every day.
Best mouse with lots of buttons: Razer
Gaming mice often have more buttons than their productivity-focused counterparts, giving you quick shortcuts to all your in-game weapons, spells or other abilities. But having extra buttons is a boon to gaming and work alike, and if you're the kind of person that lives and dies by one-click shortcuts, a gaming mouse like the Razer Naga could give you a huge boost, even if you only use it for work. Razer also makes left-handed versions of their mice — if you're a southpaw, their entire lineup is worth a look.