The best gaming mouse pad is more essential than you'd think. Without a smooth surface to glide your mouse on, your precision in some games might wobble. A good mouse pad isn't as key as the best gaming mouse (opens in new tab), but it's worth considering if you're well equipped with everything else.
Some of today's mouse pads offer more features than just a foam-bottomed area for your mouse. Some are covered in RGB lighting, while others provide Qi wireless charging that'll power your phone or wireless mouse for complete cable-free gaming.
Anyway, most of these require some form of proprietary compatibilities, such as Logitech's Powerplay system, so be sure to check whether your mouse and mouse mat will work together before you go jumping in, hand first. The list below covers the mouse pads we've liked most, and we've tested all of them extensively (played games a lot) to ensure they're up to the best standard.
That said, there's little to go wrong with a mouse pad, so don't feel too bad if the design you want hasn't made the list. It'll likely be a cloth mat with some rubber on the bottom, the same as the rest, and it would really have to be of a low quality to actually be bad in practice. Though I will just rule out any mouse pads with wrist rests built-in right now. Sorry, but no. Absolutely not.
Best mouse pad for gaming
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The Razer Strider claims to be something of a hybrid; the flex and soft finish of a fabric mouse pad with the stick-to-itiveness and glide of a more rigid model. I dare say it actually delivers on both counts, too.
It's the mouse pad I'm using both at work and at home (one XXL and the other Large), which says speaks volumes for the quality of the pad, as I've quite a few mouse pads to choose from.
A firm fabric lines the top of the Razer Strider's surface, and this is able to deliver a swift and effortless glide with any half-decent gaming mouse. It's not as soft a finish as others on this list, but it's still comfortable to rest your palms on for the better part of a day.
Beneath that lies anti-slip rubber to effectively stick this mouse pad to your desk with zero chance of lateral movement. This extra layer also firms up the entire mouse pad, and to keep it from fraying there's some smart black stitching around the mat's edge. This stitching is really tight to the edge of the mat, so you can actually push your mouse over the edge of the pad without issue.
For a zero fuss and well-made mouse pad, look no further than the Razer Strider.
There's not much to say about the Corsair MM100, but it's that sort of simplicity, and its extremely low price tag, that we like. If you want a non-descript black rectangle with minimal branding that your mouse will glide across like ice, this is your pad.
It really is a back to basics design. If you can really call it much of a design at all. It's smooth on the top, rubberised on the bottom to stick to your desk, and, uh, that's it. There's no stitching around the edges, which mean repeated scuffs can cause some frays, but it's really pretty robust as far as textile mats go.
The MM100 is your regular, modern mouse pad style for gaming. It's not too small, not too big. Just right for generally big mouse movements. If you really want to crank down your DPI and go for full elbow-length swings of your mouse, you'll probably want something bigger than this that takes up the entire desk.
Otherwise, for most gamers, this is a great pick if you only want to spend a little on a mouse pad—which is totally understandable, by the way.
Novelkeys (opens in new tab) is well-known for its custom group buys, covering everything a PC enthusiast could desire from key switches to mousepads. It specializes in colossal desk-sized pads in a range of often limited edition styles. You'll want to check out its website every so often to see the latest flavor, as it will often swap out old designs for new ones.
The Camping mouse pad (opens in new tab) featuring a sprawling mountain range used to live on my desk at home until I covered it in thermal paste and decided aesthetic desk pads aren't my thing anymore. That exact design is no longer available, but there are always much more accessible for you to pick up throughout the year. Most mouse pads come in at an accommodating 900 x 400 x 4mm size with a rubber bottom, cloth top, and outer edge stitching to match.
While it used to be the case that most of Novelkeys' designs were limited run group buys, it appears you can now just pick them up right away so long as there's stock. There's currently an awesome Ghostbusters deskpad (opens in new tab) for sale on the site, so hopefully it's still there when you're reading this.
Nothing compares to a solid, hard surface mousepad when it comes to pure speed and low tactile resistance, except maybe Razer's hybrid. PC gamers requiring subtle but rapid mouse movements often prefer these slick, low friction surfaces that allow them to glide their mouse with ease. While it does ultimately come down to personal preference, we prefer using hard mousepads while playing RTS and MOBA type games where swift map navigation and tight mobility are crucial.
Unlike their cloth counterparts that all use very similar textiles, hard mousepads are made from a wide variety of components and blends, including aluminum, plastic, and rubber. They vary dramatically in friction, weight, and design, so there is sure to be a hard mouse pad out there that is perfect for you. For us, the simplicity and ultra-smooth surface of the Logitech G440 make it our top choice when considering speed.
At a glance, the surface of the G440 might appear to be completely smooth, but it is a polyethylene surface featuring microtextures that offer the perfect amount of resistance. The mouse pad provides just the right amount of feedback without any excess noise generated from our rapid mouse movements. Logitech seems to have found the perfect middle ground between abrasive and smooth as we were able to seamlessly move and stop our mouse with ease during intense battles.
The SteelSeries QCK Prism offers a soft-touch mouse pad with flexible RGB lighting around its edge. It's real pretty at night, I have to admit, with two zones that can be configured within the SteelSeries app to surprisingly lovely effect.
I've been trying out the XL version, which offers plenty of space for your mouse and keyboard with just enough headroom. That's even with a full-size keyboard—you'd have tons of real estate for big mouse movements with a TKL or compact keyboard.
What is fundamentally a well put together mouse pad with some pretty RGB lights weaved in around the edges, the QCK Prism delivers exactly what I'm after and doesn't ask too much for it. This is actually a reasonably priced mouse pad, considering its RGB credentials.
Best mouse pads for gaming FAQ
How we test mouse pads
It's not easy assigning value to a piece of cloth, but someone's got to do it. When we receive a new mouse pad to test, we do what we do best: Play lots and lots of PC games.
Once we've got a feel for how a particular mouse pad feels underhand, we play a couple more games to get a feel for things. After that, if we like how it looks and is built to last rigorous gaming, it gets a thumbs up. If not, it's a thumbs down, and it's tossed on the great mouse pad fire raging since '85.
That being said, it's nearly impossible to mess up a mouse pad, even an old book makes a solid substitute, so there's rarely a bad word to be had or a pad to be ritualistically burnt. Massive price tags and needless functionality will see a few occasionally sent to the naughty corner, however.