The best gaming mouse pad in 2023

best gaming mouse pads
(Image credit: Future)

The best gaming mouse pad is, generally speaking, whichever mouse pad you can find that fits on your desk and matches your general aesthetic. Having tested dozens of mouse pads over the past few years, Tom's Guide hasn't found many significant differences among most standard models from major manufacturers. For the most part, you simply determine what size you want, figure out whether you'd prefer a hard or soft surface, then pick whichever manufacturer you like best. There are various niceties that might factor in at extremely high competitive levels — stitching, grip styles, material composition — but for everyday play, you can just buy something simple and use it until it wears out.

As to whether or not you need a gaming mouse pad, that's mostly a matter of preference. Unlike the ultra-sensitive mice of yore, modern gaming mice can track on just about any surface, so laminate and wooden desks don't pose much of a challenge. However, a gaming mouse pad can prevent scuffing and improve gliding motions, so I'd say that's worth a little money — especially since you can get many of these mats for $10 or $20.

How to choose the best gaming mouse pad for you

Why you can trust Tom's Guide Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

If there's one piece of advice I could impart for choosing the best gaming mouse pad, it would be "don't overthink it." I took notes when I tested each mouse pad, and "works well" was my final observation for every single one. When you get right down to it, most mouse pads are just soft pieces of rectangular cloth, or hard pieces of rectangular plastic. The design is relatively difficult to screw up — and even if you do get a real piece of junk, you can replace it for about $10.

It's also worth noting that, perhaps due to their low price and high turnover, buying mouse pads can be unpredictable at the best of times. Of the 10 models we ordered for our initial tests, only five arrived — and three of those five were different than the pads we wanted. Every retailer simply refunded our order rather than attempting to track the missing goods or find a replacement.

In other words, even the companies that sell mouse pads don't put an awful lot of effort into finding the perfect mouse pad.

Essentially, when you're looking for a mouse pad, consider whether you want a soft or hard surface, then decide how big you want it to be. Beyond that, it's mostly just a matter of aesthetics. Even the prices don't differ all that much from brand to brand.

Marshall Honorof

Marshall Honorof is a senior editor for Tom's Guide, overseeing the site's coverage of gaming hardware and software. He comes from a science writing background, having studied paleomammalogy, biological anthropology, and the history of science and technology. After hours, you can find him practicing taekwondo or doing deep dives on classic sci-fi. 

  • bahoicamataru
    almost every single pick is bad, failed to mention any decent pads such as those from xraypad, artisan, the coolermaster mp510, or the dechanic control. do not trust this reviewer, he doesn't know enough about mouse pads, and doesn't even talk much about speed, static friction or other actually important aspects.
  • Edckiii
    So what is a good gaming pad as my son is a gamer and thinks his black gaming pad is no longer good...
  • COLGeek
    Edckiii said:
    So what is a good gaming pad as my son is a gamer and thinks his black gaming pad is no longer good...
    This is a thread to comment on an article. You should start a thread in the forum to seek this sort of advice. In addition, I would recommend posting your question at our sibling site, Tom's Hardware, instead.
  • Dev1lman
    Why is it always Razer, Logitech, Steelseries? There are so many better mouse pads out on the market. Like Lethalgaminggear, Artisan, equate, XTen, endgame gear, list goes on and on. Not to bash the article, I respect your doing the count down. Just get outside of those crap pads. They are marketed big time by a company for eSports players and in most cases the eSports player has to use them for sponser reasons. Thanks for your time.