The best gaming mouse pad might not be a PC gaming essential, but it's definitely on the 'nice to have' list. At any rate, providing you're already pretty nifty with one of the best gaming mice, the best gaming mouse won't make you a worse gamer, only a slightly flashier one.
Ditch that frayed mess of a mouse mat and get one of these beauties listed below instead. Any one could really help set off your battle station, give it some style and personality, and above all else, offer a much more comfortable gaming experience.
And some of today's mouse pads offer more features worth your while. Some are covered in RGB lighting, while others offer 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 below list ranges from simple and functional, all the way up to completely bonkers mousepads for gaming, and we've tested all of them extensively (played games a lot) to ensure they're up to the best standard.
Best mouse pad for gaming
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.
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.
The MM300 is Corsair's premium line of cloth mousepads featuring a non-slip rubber base, stitched edges to prevent fraying, and a sturdy thickness of 0.12 inches (3mm). The extended version is the largest 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 mousepads, 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 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 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.
Novelkeys 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 limited edition styles. You'll want to check out its website every so often to see the latest flavor, as it usually only runs each one for a limited time as a group buys.
The Camping mouse pad featuring a sprawling mountain range is currently gracing Jacob's PC setup and comes with a tiny tent and campfire decal in the bottom left. That exact design is no longer available, but there are always much more accessible for you to pick up throughout the year. Most mousepads come in at an accommodating 900 x 400 x 4mm size with a rubber bottom, cloth top, and outer edge stitching to match.
Just make sure to plan if you're hoping to pick up a Novelkeys design. You will have to wait until the conclusion of the group buy before the production of your chosen mouse pad begins, after which it can be a few more months before you receive it. Due to the nature of a group buy, there can be delays along the way, too. Still, with mouse pads as well-made and gorgeous to look at as these, you can be sure they're worth the wait.
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 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.
This light-up mouse pad's functionality 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 our top hard mouse pad's quality, the Logitech G440.
There are two major differences between Corsair's MM800 and competing RGB mousepads. First, the MM800 features a USB pass-through port that can be used to plug in your mouse or a flash drive conveniently. The second difference is that the MM800 uses a whopping 15 LEDs, which we found to be much brighter than Razer's Firefly HyperFlux.
Using Corsair's revamped iCUE software, you can easily create your 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.
The Gigantus V2 offers several different sizes, from 14 inches to a huge 47 inches. It's enough to cover most desk surfaces, which are great for gamers who play with big sweeping gestures. You can even customize your mousepad with the logo from your favorite esports team or competitive shooter.
This soft surface type mouse pad performs pretty well. Though, if you usually use hard surface mats, it may take some getting used to. The lack of any side stitching could affect its durability down the road, but performance-wise, the Gigantus V2 is still an impressive
Another added benefit of Razer's giant mousepad is that the underside can second as a green screen for pets. Weird how Razer doesn't mention that in any of their marketing material.
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.