If you’re looking to save money, then you’ll want one of our picks for the best cheap gaming mouse. While PC gaming is generally an expensive hobby, it doesn’t have to be, if you pick the right parts — and that includes being frugal with peripherals. While expensive gaming mice come with all sorts of bells and whistles, cheap gaming mice often perform just as well, particularly for everyday gameplay.
For our guide to the best cheap gaming mouse, we’ve set $50 as a price ceiling, as wired gaming mice can climb up to $90, while wireless gaming mice often top $150. Rest assured, however, that every mouse on this list comes courtesy of a major manufacturer, and has something special to offer, whether it’s an ergonomic design, RGB lighting or even wireless connectivity.
Read on to learn about our picks for the best cheap gaming mouse, and find one that suits your tastes; they’ll all suit your budget. If you’re willing to pay a bit more, you can also check out our guide to the best gaming mouse overall.
What is the best cheap gaming mouse?
For simplicity, looks and performance, it’s tough to beat the Logitech G203 Lightsync. This small, sleek gaming mouse costs $40 and comes from one of the best mouse manufacturers on the market. In addition to pretty RGB lighting, the mouse has a simple layout, with just enough extra buttons to be useful, and just enough of an ergonomic curve to be comfortable. While it’s not the absolute cheapest mouse on this list, it arguably has the best combination of form and function.
If you’re looking for wireless gear instead, the Corsair Harpoon RGB Wireless is probably the way to go. Unlike many other cheap wireless gaming mice, the Harpoon RGB Wireless uses a rechargeable battery rather than disposable AA or AAAs. The device lasts for up to 60 hours on a single charge, and while the squat shape won’t be to everyone’s taste, it offers much more than you might expect from a $50 peripheral.
Beyond that, the best cheap gaming mouse depends on what you want out of a peripheral, from the tiny profile of the Razer Viper Min, to the all-around utility of the SteelSeries Rival 3.
The best cheap gaming mouse you can buy today
The Logitech G203 Lightsync is the best cheap gaming mouse for most people. For starters, the Logitech pedigree is hard to argue with when it comes to mice, gaming or otherwise. Even Logitech’s inexpensive gear has a premium feel, and its mice are built to last. The G203 Lightsync itself is a small, sleek, lightweight mouse, with a slightly curved chassis, a few extra buttons and a customizable LED strip around the base.
What makes the G203 Lightsync work so well is its straightforward design. Using the mouse is immediately intuitive, and the robust Logitech G Hub software only expands your options. While this peripheral doesn’t have many bells and whistles, it does come in a variety of colors, including black, white, blue and pink. That’s considerably better than the “black or bust” color scheme on most gaming mice.
Read our full Logitech G203 Lightsync review.
The Corsair Harpoon RGB Wireless is perhaps one of the best wireless gaming mice I’ve ever reviewed. At $50, it’s also one of the least expensive. This compact mouse has just about everything going for it. It’s comfortable to hold for long periods of time; it works wonderfully in-game; its battery lasts for a long time on a single charge; it connects wirelessly via either USB or Bluetooth. You can reprogram buttons or set up software profiles with the Corsair Utility Engine (iCUE) software. There’s even a tiny bit of RGB lighting.
Granted, the RGB lighting doesn’t enhance the package that much, and the Bluetooth can be a little touchy at times. Otherwise, though, the Harpoon RGB Wireless doesn’t have any significant flaws — unless you have large hands. Then it’s arguably a little hard to hold.
Read our full Corsair Harpoon RGB Wireless review.
If you’re looking to spend the absolute least amount of money possible on a gaming mouse from a major manufacturer, look no further than the $30 HyperX Pulsefire Core. Not only is this mouse about as inexpensive as they come; it’s also frequently on sale for closer to $20. That’s an incredibly good deal, considering that HyperX makes some of the best no-frills gaming peripherals on the market.
The Pulsefire Core is pretty simple in terms of design. It has four extra buttons, a textured grip, a tiny RGB logo and not much else. The mouse performs beautifully in most games, though, which is the most important thing. If you want a cheap gaming mouse that’s as straightforward as they come, the Pulsefire Core is what you’re looking for.
Read our full HyperX Pulsefire Core review.
Like many other gaming mice on this list, the SteelSeries Rival 3 is beautiful in its simplicity. It’s a small wired mouse, with a slightly curved profile and just a few extra buttons for good measure. What sets the Rival 3 apart from most of its competitors is a gorgeous programmable LED strip on the bottom of the device, which lets you imbue the mouse with a bit of visual flair.
In terms of performance, the mouse works well for the most part, although the sensor doesn’t play nicely with hard mouse pads. On the other hand, the Rival 3 costs only $30, which is pretty inexpensive even by the standards of cheap gaming mice. At less than 3 ounces, it’s also one of the lightest mice you can find without resorting to controversial honeycomb designs.
Read our full SteelSeries Rival 3 review.
The Razer Basilisk Essential is almost as good as the regular Razer Basilisk. That’s high praise, when you consider that the Basilisk is one of our very favorite first-person shooter (FPS) mice. The Basilisk Essential is ideal for FPS players, since it features an innovative “clutch” button that can slow down dots-per-inch (DPI) sensitivity as you line up difficult shots. Even if you don’t like FPS games, however, the Basilisk Essential still performs well in other genres.
The Basilisk Essential has almost nothing going against it. There’s only one RGB lighting zone on the palm rest, so you’ll almost never see the pretty colors, and the full-priced Basilisk is still a more premium-feeling mouse. At $50, it’s also one of the more expensive mice on this list — but it’s well worth the cost.
Read our full Razer Basilisk Essential review.
The SteelSeries Rival 3 Wireless is almost identical to its wired counterpart. It costs $50 instead of $30, and it weighs 3.7 ounces rather than 2.7 ounces. Otherwise, if you cut the wire off of a Rival 3, you might not be able to tell the two apart.
Like its corded variant, the Rival 3 Wireless features a plain, low-profile chassis, augmented by a gorgeous, customizable LED strip on the bottom of the mouse. There are a handful of extra programmable buttons, but otherwise, it’s as plain as they come.
Be warned that the Rival 3 Wireless uses AAA batteries rather than an internal rechargeable power source. However, you could theoretically get up to 400 hours of battery life, depending on your wireless and lighting settings. Assuming you’re at your computer eight hours per day, that’s still almost two months of use.
Read our full SteelSeries Rival 3 Wireless review.
While it’s one of the older mice on this list, the Logitech G305 is still well worth picking up. In fact, time has been kind to the G305. When it debuted in 2018, it cost $60; nowadays, it costs $40, making it a solid budget pick.
Like most Logitech mice, the G305 has a comfortable design, great in-game performance and a lot of customization options via the Logitech G Hub software. It’s also wireless, which is a rarity in $40 gaming mice.
Granted, the G305 is missing a few features that newer wireless gaming mice possess, such as a rechargeable battery or a Bluetooth connection. There’s also no lighting whatsoever, RGB or otherwise. On the other hand, you can buy it in six different colors, including a stylish blue/white/black hybrid and a striking green.
Read our full Logitech G305 review.
Pay close attention to the “mini” in the Razer Viper Mini’s title. If the idea of a small gaming mouse appeals to you, this is a solid choice; if not, there are larger options that should be more comfortable for players with big hands.
Assuming you’re OK with a small chassis, however, the Viper Mini has a lot to offer. At 2.4 ounces, it’s one of the lightest gaming mice available, and the nearly symmetrical design is both comfortable and functional. The mouse performs well with just about any game genre, and the lighting is much better than you might expect from a budget gaming mouse, thanks to some tasteful underglow. At $40, it’s not the absolute cheapest gaming mouse you can get, but it’s worth it if you like the design.
Read our full Razer Viper Mini review.
If you want the most straightforward gaming mouse you can possibly get from a major manufacturer, the Roccat Burst Core Pro may fit the bill. This plain-Jane peripheral has a simple black or white chassis, a tiny bit of RGB lighting, three extra buttons and not much else. You can reprogram buttons with the mercurial Roccat Swarm software, but there are no special features to speak of beyond that.
The beauty of the Burst Core, then, is in its simplicity. This is not a mouse that requires a lot of setup or maintenance. You simply plug it in, and you’re good to go for the next few years. At $35, it’s one of the cheaper mice on this list. Just be sure to steer clear if you have a hard mouse pad, as the two don’t work that well together.
Read our full Roccat Burst Core review.
The vast majority of cheap gaming mice are for right-handed players. That’s why it’s refreshing when a mouse like the Corsair M55 RGB Pro comes along and offers a little something for everyone. This ambidextrous gaming mouse is perfectly symmetrical, offering excellent performance for righties and lefties alike. The mouse works well with any game genre, feels comfortable to hold and doesn’t cost that much money.
However, the M55 RGB Pro’s ambitious design comes with one major drawback: It’s extremely easy to accidentally click the two thumb buttons on the non-dominant side of the mouse. From a practical standpoint, this isn’t a dealbreaker, since you can simply deactivate whichever buttons aren’t in use. But if constantly hitting buttons that you don’t mean to press will drive you crazy, then you may want to steer clear.
Read our full Corsair M55 RGB Pro review.
How to choose the best cheap gaming mouse for you
The first thing you should decide when choosing the best cheap gaming mouse for your setup is whether you want a wired or wireless model. While wireless models offer greater freedom and fancier features, they also cost more: usually about $50. In this price range, it’s also not uncommon for wireless gaming mice to run on disposable AA or AAA batteries, which can get old fast if you use your mouse for eight hours (or more) every day.
From there, deciding on a mouse is primarily a matter of size and lighting. Cheaper mice skew toward the smaller end of the spectrum, so be sure to check the dimensions first if you have large hands. Similarly, inexpensive gaming mice often don’t have much RGB lighting, if they have any lighting at all. A few models do have robust, programmable LED strips, however, so be sure to get one of those if you’re in the market for something pretty.
How we test a cheap gaming mouse
The way that Tom’s Guide tests a cheap gaming mouse is the same way that we test a regular entry on our best gaming mouse or best wireless gaming mouse list. We start by plugging the mouse into a computer and testing the software suite, if there is one. Then we dive into at least four different games across four different genres. We also try to use the mouse as a daily office tool, since any good gaming mouse should double as a productivity mouse, too.
For wireless gaming mice, we try to run down the charge and evaluate whether a device’s battery life is in line with a manufacturer’s estimates. If a mouse has RGB features, we play with various color settings to see if some parts of the spectrum look better than others. The primary issue, however, is whether the mouse feels comfortable to hold, particularly during marathon gaming sessions.