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The best gaming mouse pad in 2020

best gaming mouse pad
(Image credit: SteelSeries)

The best gaming mouse pad can help protect your desk, and your mouse. While most mice will function just fine without a mouse pad, you have to ask yourself whether “just fine” is really enough for your immersive single-player adventures and competitive multiplayer matches. (You also have to ask yourself how many grooves you’re willing to wear into your presumably expensive and pretty computer desk.)

Luckily, finding the best gaming mouse pad for your setup is a pretty simple process. You simply need to ask yourself a few questions: “How big of a mouse pad do I want?” “How much do I want to spend?” “Would I like a hard or soft surface?” “Do I need any extra bells and whistles?” Once you determine those things, picking the best mouse pad just about takes care of itself. Compared to picking the rest of your PC accessories, it’s downright simple.

Tom’s Guide has compiled a list of the best gaming mouse pads based on our own hands-on experience, as well as user reviews on popular sites. Pick up one of these accessories, and you can expect both your mouse and your desk to remain pristine for a long time to come.

What is the best gaming mouse pad?

While the best gaming mouse pad varies depending on your preferences, my personal philosophy has always been to keep things as simple as possible. That’s why the Logitech G240 is my go-to accessory. This soft cloth mouse pad is large enough for most play styles, small enough for most computer desks, and it’s durable enough to last for years. Yes, you could buy a similar mouse pad from a cheaper manufacturer, but don’t be surprised when it starts unraveling after a month or two.

If price is a big issue, however, it’s hard to find a cheaper mouse pad than the Razer Sphex V2. This colorful, ultra-thin mouse pad costs less than $10, and sticks to any surface without leaving residue. It’s small, so it works best with high-DPI mice. But it also won’t wear out quickly, so you can play with as much force as you need.

At the other end of the spectrum, there’s the Corsair MM1000 Qi Wireless Charging Mouse Pad. While I don’t think most folks will want a gaming mouse pad that costs as much as a premium gaming mouse, if you can spare the money, it’s a pretty impressive piece of tech. This mouse pad charges certain Corsair mice as you play, as well as any other Qi-enabled tech you own. Even if you don’t have Qi wireless charging gear, the mouse pad includes charging adapters to let you juice up almost any piece of tech.

Office workers should also keep in mind that the best gaming mouse pad also has the potential to be the best productivity mouse pad. The qualities you need are exactly the same: a durable surface, an appropriate size and a solid grip. Any mouse pad on this list should also work well for productivity mice.

Gaming mouse pads don't come out with the same frequency as gaming mice themselves, so don't be on the lookout for a new accessory every month. On the other hand, the best gaming mouse pads are considerably more future proof than most other tech. There's not really much you can do to make a piece of cloth or plastic outdated; newer mouse pads tend to just have slightly different materials or designs. Whatever you buy now will be fine for the next few years.

The best gaming mouse pad you can buy today

Logitech G240 (Image credit: Logitech)

1. Logitech G240

The best gaming mouse pad overall

Surface Type: Cloth | Size: 11.0 x 13.4 inches | Thickness: 0.04 inches | Extra Features: None

Responsive, durable surface
Rubber grips
Optimized for Logitech mice
Somewhat expensive

If you’re in the market for a gaming mouse pad, there’s a good chance that you’ve just expended a lot of effort and brainpower selecting the best mouse, keyboard and headset for your setup. Maybe you even chose all of your components and built your PC from scratch. That’s one reason why the Logitech G240 mouse pad is so attractive: It requires very little consideration and almost no setup time.

It’s a cloth mouse pad. You set it down on a surface, and thanks to a rubber base, it won’t move very much. That’s literally all you have to do. If you have a Logitech mouse, you can optimize the surface calibration in the Logitech G Hub software, which is useful, but not strictly necessary. The Logitech G240 is simply a sleek, functional, durable accessory, and that’s probably all that most gamers need.

Razer Sphex V2 (Image credit: Razer)

2. Razer Sphex V2

The best budget gaming mouse pad

Surface Type: Polycarbonate | Size: 14.0 x 10.0 inches | Thickness: 0.02 inches | Extra Features: None

Incredibly cheap
Surface withstands wear and tear
Fits easily on most desks
Adhesive base makes it hard to move

Gaming accessories are expensive. If you want a top-of-the-line mouse, keyboard and headset, you’re looking at spending at least $350 — and that’s not even taking wireless variants into account. If you want to spend as little as humanly possible on a mouse pad from a major manufacturer, the Razer Sphex V2 is the way to go. This mouse pad retails for $8, and is often on sale for as little as $5. And, especially considering the price, it’s a surprisingly solid accessory.

At 14 x 10 inches, the mouse pad is small enough for most desks, but big enough to facilitate a wide range of motion. Its polycarbonate surface is neither hard nor soft; “smooth” would be a better word, and it holds up well, even after months of use. It has an adhesive back, however, so wherever you plunk it down is where it’s going to stay.

Logitech G440 (Image credit: Corsair)

3. Logitech G440

The best hard gaming mouse pad

Surface Type: Plastic | Size: 11.0 x 13.4 inches | Thickness: 0.04 inches | Extra Features: None

Low-friction surface
Reasonable size
Tuned for Logitech mice
More costly than regular mouse pads

Most gaming mouse pads are made of soft cloth, but some players (and some mouse sensors) prefer a hard surface. The best gaming mouse pad with a hard surface is the Logitech G440, which provides the same straightforward, no-nonsense experience that you'd get from Logitech's softer options. There's no special feature that puts the G440 ahead of the competition; it's simply well-made and also plays particularly well with Logitech gaming mice.

The asking price is fairly high, but hard mouse pads are almost always more expensive than soft ones, so that's not terribly surprising. If you have a non-Logitech mouse, the surface tuning also won't be quite as accurate. However, since surface turning is more of a perk than a necessity, it's not really a make-or-break feature. If you prefer your mouse pads to have a little more friction than cheaper cloth models, the G440 is a good choice from a trusted manufacturer.

SteelSeries QcK Heavy XXL (Image credit: SteelSeries)

4. SteelSeries QcK Heavy XXL

The best extra-large mouse pad

Surface Type: Cloth | Size: 35.4 x 15.7 inches | Thickness: 0.16 inches | Extra Features: None

Large enough for a whole desk
Relatively inexpensive
Heavy enough to prevent slipping
Much wider than most mouse pads

Extra-large mouse pads appeal to a very specific kind of gamer: the one who never wants to worry about his or her mouse leaving the confines of a mouse pad. The SteelSeries QcK Heavy XXL is big enough that you can put your entire keyboard on top of it, and still have more room left over than a traditional gaming mouse pad would give you.

The QcK Heavy XXL is almost three feet long and more than a foot wide, so this is not the best gaming mouse pad if desk space is at a premium. But if you do need something big, the QcK Heavy XXL is an excellent choice, thanks to its sturdy cloth surface, its rubberized grips and its thick, comfortable design. At $30, it’s also not nearly as expensive as some other mouse pads of similar size.

Corsair MM1000 (Image credit: Corsair)

5. Corsair MM1000

The best Qi charging gaming mouse pad

Surface Type: Plastic | Size: 14.2 x 10.2 inches | Thickness: 0.24 inches | Extra Features: Qi wireless charging

Responsive hard surface
Can charge mice as you play
Compatible with all Qi devices
Expensive

While a truly wireless desktop is still a few years away (at least), the Corsair MM1000 can help you get as close as humanly possible. That’s because this innovative mouse pad charges anything with Qi functionality — and almost anything without Qi functionality, too, thanks to three handy included adapters. Some Corsair gaming mice, like the Corsair Dark Core SE, work with the MM1000 out of the box, meaning that you can charge your peripheral any time it has to be dormant for a few minutes. You may never need to connect a USB wire to your mouse again.

Of course, you can charge other Qi gadgets, too, like phones and headsets. But the MM1000 isn’t just a good mouse pad because of its ancillary features. The accessory’s hard plastic surface provides just enough friction for a comfortable gaming experience, while a USB passthrough port lets you keep all of your accessories hooked up in the same place.

Tom's Guide does not publish in-depth reviews of mouse pads, but we had a lot to say about the MM1000 as an accessory for the Corsair Dark Core RGB Pro SE gaming mouse. In the review, we discussed the MM1000's utility, as well as its potential drawbacks.

How to choose the best gaming mouse pad for you

Choosing the best gaming mouse pad is a very straightforward process. Start by choosing between a hard or soft surface, then decide how much desk space you want it to take up. Think about whether you want any extra features, and you’re pretty much done.

Some gamers insist that soft or hard surfaces are better for certain genres, but in my experience, it’s mostly just a matter of preference. I like hard surfaces because they’re a little harder to wear out, but the truth is that both hard and soft mouse pads can last for years, particularly well-designed ones from major manufacturers. (Like everything else in life, you can’t buy a cheap, no-name brand of mouse pad and expect it to stand the test of time.

Two common extra features are wireless charging and RGB lighting. The latter is purely an aesthetic preference. In my experience, RGB adds a lot of cost onto a mouse pad for zero additional functionality, but if you’ve got a very pretty desk setup, it might be worth the premium. Wireless charging, on the other hand, is very cool, but each manufacturer has a slightly different approach to it. The Corsair MM1000, for example, can charge any Qi device; the Logitech PowerPlay can charge a variety of Logitech mice, while the Razer Mamba Hyperflux works only with its included mouse. Do a little research before you commit.