Do you like your mouse wheel to click when you scroll, or spin freely?

Mouse wheel
(Image credit: Razer)

It's always fun to delve into the preferences of PC gamers. We've asked how organized you keep your desktop, what grip you use on your mouse, how often you clean your PC, and lots of other questions about your various gaming habits and quirks.

And today, another question: Do you like a clicky spin or a free spin? Many mice let you push a button to swap between a clicky wheel and a free-spinning wheel, but which do you typically settle on? Clicky wheel or free spin? We've got our answers below, as well as some from the members of the PC Gamer forum. We'd love to see yours in the comments!

(Image credit: Pixabay)

Jody Macgregor: Free spin

My mouse click makes enough noise already. When I scroll what I want to experience is the silent gliding of a ninja's rollerskate. Also, websites feel like they need a lot more scrolling than they used to? All these infinite pages you accidentally nudge down into then want to scroll back to the top of like you're coming up for air. I have one of those Logitech mouses that lets you switch between the two but I use freespin all the time.

Chris Livingston: Clicky spin

At first I didn't like my mouse wheel being all clicky when I spun it, mostly due to it being a bit noisy. But I'm used to it now and freespinning just feels way too... frictionless. It's like stepping on the gas pedal of a car, but instead of going from 0-60, you're just instantly going 60. I don't want that! I need the gradual build up. I need some structure to my scrolling. I want to consume web pages a segment at a time, not all in one gulp. I can still put big spins on my clicky wheel when I need to but I really have to exert some force which makes a big, long scroll feel earned. Clicks 4 Lyfe.

Stevie Ward: Free spin!

PEOPLE DO CLICKY MOUSES?! WHY? Why would they do this?

(Image credit: Razer)

James Davenport: Clicky spin

What if bats couldn't make little clicking noises? Dolphins? They would not be able to make much sense of their environment or communicate effectively, dying out in a matter of weeks, possibly less. Animal shows would begin to suck and my friend group would have nothing to do on Animal Show Night. A mouse wheel that clicks is, functionally, the same. Without it, PC gamers are operating in the dark, the abyss, embracing the void. I'll admit, that sounds cool as hell, but it actually doesn't sound at all because there's no noise coming from the mouse wheel, and that's a fact.

Andy Chalk: Clicky spin

Back when I was playing flight sims regularly, I had a CH throttle that drove me nuts because it didn't have an afterburner detent (a lock for the throttle), so I was never 100 percent confident that I was fully balls-out in a crisis. It's basically the same with mouse wheels—I need that tactile feedback under my finger to reassure me that things are happening as they're meant to. The wheel clicks, the page moves, the gun swaps, and I am happy.

Tyler Wilde: Clicky spin

I'm very confused by the noise complaints. When I scroll the scroll wheel on my Razer DeathAdder, there's resistance, and it 'clicks' into grooves—it can't just spin freely like a ball bearing—but it doesn't make loud clicks. If I scroll quickly it sounds a bit like a zipper being zipped, but at maybe a quarter of the volume. If I turned my fan on I wouldn't be able to hear it. I think the anti-clicky-scroll-wheel camp was possibly turned off by some kind of weird, extraordinarily loud scroll wheels that no normal person could tolerate. Get mouse with a regular, lightly clicky scroll wheel, and you can live a blessed life like I do.

Wes Fenlon: Ain't no scroll wheel like a Logitech scroll wheel cause a Logitech scroll wheel don't stop

Picking between a clicky scroll wheel and a smooth, free-spinning scroll wheel is a fool's errand. Obviously you need a notched scroll wheel that makes distinct, tactile steps for playing PC games. How else are you going to swap weapons in an FPS? You'd never land on the right one! But also, obviously a free-spinning wheel is the better experience for long web pages and quickly scrolling by all those damn ads that interrupt what you're trying to read. As Jody mentioned, Logitech solved this problem years ago with its "mometum" scroll wheel, which is on the G502 and the kingly G903 (some of our favorite gaming mice). You click a button to switch scroll modes, and the mouse is a heavy chunk of metal (especially on the G402) that can just spin and spin and spin. I keep mine on notched mode most of the time, because that precision control is often the more useful. But there's no mouse interaction more satisfying than clicking in that button and giving the wheel one mighty flick to scroll with lightning speed.

(Image credit: Razer)

Shaun Prescott: What's a mouse wheel?

Honestly, I still manually click and drag the scrollbar but maybe I'll stop doing that.

Evan Lahti: No mouse wheels ever

The mouse wheel can scroll all the way down to hell. As someone that deals with chronic hand pain as a result of thoracic outlet syndrome, I have been ascending and descending the internet on PgUp and PgDown for years. Yes, I'll still make micro-adjustments with the dainty scroller, if superfine, docking-to-a-space-station-like maneuvers are needed, but generally, smacking that PgDown grants me the power to reject an entire page in a single economical motion. Big fan of Home and End, too, especially when it comes to word processing. The six neglected keys above the arrow panel are the gateway to enlightenment, guys.

Logitech MX Master 2S Wireless Mouse

(Image credit: Logitech)

From our forums

Frindis: Good question! I really like to have a clicky mouse wheel when I am browsing the web. I just got used to hearing the sound and it helps a bit knowing how fast/slow to scroll if that makes sense. When playing a game I seldom use a mouse wheel, as using the keyboard is for the majority of scenarios way faster.

Indecent Louie: I think I prefer clicky, my current one is clicky and it feels nice having this feeling of making an impact during the scroll. Nothing against a smooth scroll but as Sweet Dee would say - "clickity clackity, clickity clackity", you can't really argue with that logic.

Alm: I am one for the clicky wheel too. It's nice to have that feedback.

RustyLink: Clicky wheel here... in fact I'd forgotten all about smooth ones, don't think I've used one since I was at uni and now having flashbacks to just spinning it hard and letting pages scroll (before people realised walls of content don't really work.

XoRn: I don't think I've ever considered one preferential to the other though I suppose I have mostly used the clicky ones. I did have a lot of fun with the Logitech G500 toggle button. Spinning the wheel in the flywheel mode was entertaining if just to see how long it took to spin down.

Johnway: I like a clicky mouse wheel. It feels more tactile and I can be more precise when scrolling down windows. A free spinning one feels like its broken to me. My mouse at work allows me to switch between the 2 and yeah, definitely like a bit of resistance to my scrolling.

Christopher Livingston
Senior Editor

Chris started playing PC games in the 1980s, started writing about them in the early 2000s, and (finally) started getting paid to write about them in the late 2000s. Following a few years as a regular freelancer, PC Gamer hired him in 2014, probably so he'd stop emailing them asking for more work. Chris has a love-hate relationship with survival games and an unhealthy fascination with the inner lives of NPCs. He's also a fan of offbeat simulation games, mods, and ignoring storylines in RPGs so he can make up his own.