The best mouse pad for gaming 2018

The best mouse pad for gaming

Think of this as the finishing touch for your PC set-up. Having the best mouse pad for gaming can make a difference to the way you play, but it isn't the most exciting buy. It's a flourish for your rig, especially if you get one with a fancy design, and it's a treat for that high-end mouse you just invested in. But what should you look for when you're buying a new mouse pad?

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The best gaming mouse options for 2018

The actual material and size makes a big difference. Most swear that an oversized, soft model is the best mouse pad for gaming of all types. However, mouse pads with harder surfaces can offer more precise control, and some game types don't require a larger pad because you're making much smaller movements overall. Then there are RGB mouse pads that light up while you play, and there are charging pads that actually juice your wireless mouse during use. So, it's a very personal decision. Below are the best ones we've tested, and they're all great additions to your set-up. Just make sure you're rocking the best gaming keyboard too.

1. Corsair MM300 Extended

The best oversized mouse pad

Surface Type: Soft | Surface Material: Cloth | Dimensions: 0.12 x 36.61 x 11.8 inches | Base: Rubber

It's huge
Very smooth tracking surface
Stitched edges
Very large Corsair branding

If you’re the type of PC gamer that plays with lowered DPI and sensitivity settings, you probably give your wrist quite a workout. With the massive mouse movements required to make those precise headshots in game, an oversized mouse pad is a necessity. Only available in soft cloth form, extended mouse pads are sized to run all the way across your desk with enough space for both your keyboard and mouse.

While it may seem unnecessary to place a stationary keyboard on top of a mouse pad, these oversized pads are all about uniformity. By placing the keyboard on the same surface level as the mouse with tons of room to spare, you never have to worry about running out of space for your mouse. This is especially important because lifting your mouse off of the mat to make multiple movements instead of one sweeping motion wastes precious time and affects accuracy. Measuring over three feet in length, the best mouse pad in this category is Corsair’s MM300 Extended. 

The MM300 is Corsair’s premium line of cloth mouse pads featuring a non-slip rubber base, stitched edges to prevent fraying and a sturdy thickness of 3mm. The extended version is the largest size available and designed to fit even the biggest gaming keyboards with plenty of room to spare. When combined with a compact, ten-keyless keyboard, the surface area for the mouse feels almost infinite. 

Like most cloth mouse pads, the MM300 Extended features a smooth, textile-weave design that ensures gliding a mouse across its surface feels like cutting through butter. We found it easy to make pinpoint attacks in our FPS testing with a hefty amount of overhead for DPI adjustments thanks to the massive surface area. Whether you like to move your mouse all the way across the desk or just a couple of inches to make a 180 turn, Corsair’s oversized mouse pad has you—and your desk—covered.

2. Logitech G440

The best hard mouse pad

Surface Type: Hard | Surface Material: Plastic | Dimensions: 0.13 x 13.39 x 11.03 inches | Base: Rubber

Low friction surface
Solid rubber base
MInimal branding
It's a little pricey

When it comes to pure speed and low tactile resistance, nothing compares to a solid, hard surface mousepad. PC gamers requiring subtle but rapid mouse movements generally 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 mouse pads while playing RTS and MOBA type games where swift map navigation and tight mobility are crucial.

Unlike their cloth counterparts that use very similar types of textile materials, hard mouse pads are made from a wide variety of components and blends such as aluminum, plastic, and rubber. Varying dramatically in friction, weight and design, 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 quick glance, the surface of the G440 might appear to be completely smooth but it is actually a polyethylene surface featuring micro textures that offer the perfect amount of resistance. The mouse pad provides a perfect 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.  

On the bottom, the G440 features a rubber base that prevents the pad from sliding around the table while making those speedy mouse movements. Combined with its generous 340mm x 279mm (13.4” x 11”) size, we found it effortless to stay focused on the game at several different DPI levels. If you’re looking for a durable, stable surface to zip across the battlefield, it’s hard to go wrong with the Logitech G440.

3. Corsair MM800 Polaris RGB

The best RGB mouse pad

Surface Type: Hard | Surface Material: Plastic | Dimensions: 0.2 x 13.7 x 10.2 inches | Base: Rubber

15 very bright LEDs
USB passthrough port
Syncs with other Corsair RGB products
Additional cable adds to desktop clutter

The functionality of a light up mouse pad is still going to raise some eyebrows, but Corsair's solution offers a whole lot more than just a flashy light show. It features a high quality micro-textured finish that allows mice to easily glide across the surface without sacrificing precision during small mouse movements. The MM800 makes no compromises with a surface that rivals the quality of our top hard mouse pad, the Logitech G440.

There are two major differences between Corsair's MM800 and competing RGB mouse pads. First, the MM800 features a USB pass through port that can be used to conveniently plug in your mouse or a flash drive. The second difference is that the MM800 uses a whopping 15 LEDs we found to be much brighter than Razer's.

Using Corsair's revamped iCUE software, you can easily create your own advanced lighting profiles for the MM800 or choose from a large sample of preset modes. RGB profiles from other Corsair products will automatically spill over to your mouse pad with ease. You can also download user shared profiles from Corsair's website.

4. Razer Firefly and Mamba Hyperflux

The best wireless charging mouse pad

Surface Type: Hard or Soft | Surface Material: Plastic or Cloth | Dimensions: 0.5 x 13.97 x 11.12 inches | Base: Rubber

Integrated RGB lighting
Includes hard and soft surface
Very expensive
No USB passthrough

If you're like us, you've probably ditched the idea of wireless mice for serious gaming long ago. They came with a handful of issues including latency, replacing batteries mid battle or plugging a cable in to charge. Whatever the case was, the wireless freedom became hardly worth the trouble.

Thankfully those days of wireless mice dying in the middle of a crucial boss fight are gone. Now there are several wireless charging mouse pads that allow you to never worry about wireless mouse batteries again. Our favorite from the bunch is Razer's Firefly Hyperflux paired with the Mamba Hyperflux. This combination is one of the priciest mouse and pad combos around but we'd say it's well worth the investment.

Razer's Hyperflux Wireless Power Technology uses a magnetic field to transfer power from the pad to the mouse. As long as the Mamba is sitting on top of the mouse pad, it's being provided with a constant stream of power. It also comes with a reversible mat that lets you choose between a hard or a soft surface.

The Hyperflux system also completely eliminates the need for a battery inside the mouse, allowing Razer to bring the Mamba Hyperflux down to a shocking 96 grams. This makes it the lightest wireless gaming mouse by a hefty margin. Combine that with its untethered freedom and the mouse truly feels like an extension of your hand. The only downside is that you can't use the wireless mode without the mouse pad. However, you can take the micro-USB cord from the pad to plug in the Mamba and use it on the go.

For those with wireless charging phones, Corsair's MM1000 can also be considered here. Since it uses the Qi standard for wireless charging, you can simply place your phone in the corner to keep it charged while you game. On the other hand, if you have the budget for it, Razer's Hyperflux is our top choice for its performance and sleek RGB lighting. Pair it with one of our best wireless gaming mouse options and you're laughing.

5. Roccat Taito Control

The best cloth mouse pad

Surface Type: Soft | Surface Material: Cloth | Dimensions: 0.14 x 15.75 x 12.60 inches | Base: Rubber

Large surface area
Excellent surface texture for control
Thick with stitched edges
Can be noisy during intense mouse movements

The most affordable and common type of mouse pad is the classic cloth one. They are primarily made of rubber composites with synthetic fabrics woven together to create a dense foamy structure with a soft top. Designed to provide a smooth, consistent, and durable surface, cloth mouse pads are highly preferred by gamers requiring pin-point accuracy with little friction. Most FPS professionals prefer large cloth surfaces, as they make large sweeping motions with low DPI mice.  

Some peripheral makers (Roccat included) parade their logos across mouse pad surfaces, so we definitely appreciate the subtle approach the Taito Control takes. The stitched blue edges prevent fraying and provide a nice accent color that makes the mouse pad stand out without drawing too much attention away from the mouse on top.  

Unlike other manufacturers that create a variety of sizes for their cloth mouse pad, Roccat has opted for a middle-of-the-road approach with the Taito Control. Its generous 400mm x 320mm (15.7” x 12.6”) size puts it slightly above competitors’ “medium” size but comfortably below their “large” or “oversized” options. This makes it a great choice for a wide range of gamers. The Taito Control is also thicker and heavier than most of its competitors, making it our top choice for both comfort and durability.  

Although we’ve found that some of the other mousepads offer a comparable blend of speed and precision, the Taito Control offers a slight edge with its marginally rough surface. It isn’t the smoothest of cloth mousepads, but its slight friction gives you more control without sacrificing speed. Combined with its non-intrusive design and premium construction, the Taito Control edges out the competition to top our chart as the best overall cloth mouse pad.

How we test mouse pads

Unlike most of the hardware we test, mouse pads aren’t nearly as mechanically complex. This means they don’t require rigorous switch testing or complicated software simulations, so we use more practical tests instead. When we receive a new mouse pad to test we do what we do best: Play lots and lots of PC games. 

Since mouse pad preference between games can be highly subjective, we try to separate and categorize similar mouse pads for testing. First we put each mouse pad into its ideal gaming environment, noting where it excels and where it falls short. For example, an oversized cloth mouse pad would be paired with low DPI settings and a competitive FPS. We then switch between mouse pads of the same category and note the differences. Each mouse pad is tested with a minimum of two gaming mice (laser and optical) and put through several hours of gaming with multiple titles. We always use one of the best gaming monitors to ensure display doesn't impact the results of our mouse testing on-screen.

After examining performance in games, we test speed and accuracy with the use of a free training simulation for gamers called AimBooster. We run each mouse pad through the basic "Speed" training at 1920x1080 several times and note any variance in scores. The simulation is designed to improve your reaction times and precision, which makes it a great tool for testing how well a mouse tracks on a mouse pad. After thoroughly examining the performance of each mouse pad, we finally look at any additional features to choose our favorite. While most of our time is spent in our practical performance tests, we also take a great deal of consideration into specs and features such as slippage, weight, dimensions, and durability.

In the end, we always recommend gamers find the type of mouse pad that is most suitable for their gaming style before fully committing to an exact model. Some of the games we use to test mouse pads include: Starcraft 2, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Overwatch, League of Legends, DOTA 2, and World of Warcraft.

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