The best mouse can make even the dullest drudgework a little easier to glide through, so it's worth taking time to find the one that works best for you.
While just about every office job will offer you a cheap, forgettable peripheral, you don't have to settle for a subpar computer mouse — especially if you do graphic design or video editing work. This page will offer some salient suggestions to help you find the right peripheral for you, as well as our tips for finding the best wireless mouse.
(Check out our best gaming mouse selections if you're more interested in how it plays than how it helps you work — although a good gaming mouse will usually work well for productivity, and vice versa.)
- Pair your new mouse with one of the best gaming PCs you can buy
- Want a fancy keyboard, too? See the best gaming keyboards
- Ultimate back to school guide 2021: Laptops, Chromebooks, headphones and more
Having one of our picks for the best mouse is especially helpful if you work from a home office. If your home computer is a laptop, you may not even have a discrete mouse, having grown reliant on a touchpad instead. But no touchpad can replace the speed, precision and versatility of a good mouse.
If you're looking for a computer mouse that can handle anything you throw at it, Tom's Guide has compiled a list of the best mouse for a variety of use cases. If you have a lot of money to spend, you can get something exceptional — but even if you’re on a budget, you can get a big step up from a touchpad. Whether you want something complex or simple, there's (probably) a much better mouse than what you're currently using.
What is the best mouse?
As you may have guessed, there is no "best mouse" for every potential use-case. Some mice are huge and feature-rich; others are small and inexpensive. A graphic designer probably needs a different mouse than an accountant — and this is assuming that you need a mouse exclusively for productivity, and aren't interested in a gaming model instead.
Generally speaking, though, the Logitech MX Master 3 is the best mouse for most people. It's highly customizable, incredibly comfortable, it's wireless, it's got a long battery life and it even has an innovative scroll wheel that you won't find on any other mouse. Granted, this computer mouse costs $100, so it's not a peripheral to buy on a whim. (In my opinion, however, it is the best wireless mouse for productivity users.)
At the other end of the spectrum is the Logitech M325, which is about as simple as a mouse gets. This small, wireless peripheral costs $30, and is a natural companion for laptops. It fits into backpacks, purses, pockets — anything. And its batteries last for more than a year, so you'll rarely have to replace them. It doesn't have any extra buttons or features, but it can still make your life a lot easier, especially if you travel frequently.
The best mouse for going back to school
Back to school season has arrived, and that means you may be on the hunt for a new mouse to help you or someone you love tackle their coursework.
If you're looking for a lightweight mouse that can be thrown in a bag and carried around during a full day on campus, we recommend the Logitech M325. As outlined above, it's small, wireless, and can generally be had for $30 or less, so it's easy on the budget and cheap to replace if it ever gets lost. It should last a good year or more on a single set of batteries too, which is a nice touch.
If the student in question is taking an Apple laptop or desktop back to school, it's not a bad idea to send them with an Apple Magic Mouse 2. It's a bit pricey (like all Apple gear) and the thin, slick design can be hard on big hands, but if it feels comfortable to use (try to find and test one in a store before buying) the Magic Mouse 2 lets students using Apple hardware navigate through documents, websites and media simply by moving your fingers, rather than having to point and click.
The best mouse you can buy today
The Logitech MX Master 3 is the best mouse, at least on the productivity front, as well as the best wireless mouse. It's comfortable, feature-rich and lasts an amazingly long time on a single charge. This sleek gray peripheral is the latest iteration of Logitech's MX Master series, and everything the company has learned from the previous iterations is on full display. The buttons give satisfying clicks, the grip is pleasant to hold and the horizontal thumb wheel makes scrolling through documents a breeze.
The software is where the MX Master 3 shines, however, as it comes preinstalled with a variety of different functionalities for popular programs. From Photoshop to Excel, Logitech has already predicted how you might want to use the horizontal scroll wheel and gesture controls, and developed optimized profiles for each program. You can also use the handy Logitech Flow feature, which lets you drag and drop files between two totally different computers, as though they were connected via USB.
Read our full Logitech MX Master 3 review.
If you walk into an electronics store and make a beeline for the laptop mice, the Logitech M325 is probably the first thing you'll see. This mouse is inexpensive and ubiquitous, but it came by its popularity fairly. This small gadget is optimized for laptops, making it ideal for frequent travelers, or workers with limited desk space at home. It's also extremely comfortable, and provides a DPI just high enough to comfortably scroll across a screen without overshooting your target. It's arguably the best wireless mouse for the price.
Thanks to a durable 2.4 GHz wireless dongle, you can use the mouse wirelessly anywhere — and with up to 18 months of battery life, you'll rarely have to replace the peripheral's single AA battery. Another cool thing about the M325 is that, unlike many other productivity mice, it comes in a variety of colors: red, blue, purple and pink. Logitech also produces extremely similar mice under its Party and Doodle collections, which adorn their mice with floral and cartoon patterns.
If you like old-school tech, you can't argue with a classic. The Microsoft Classic Intellimouse brings back one of Microsoft's most beloved mouse designs, which debuted in 1996. This time around, the Intellimouse features an attractive gray-and-black chassis, a smooth grip and customizable DPI settings. What's more: Microsoft has outfitted the device with BlueTrack technology, which means the sensor tracks accurately, even on glass surfaces.
Because the Classic Intellimouse has a long body, it's ideal for users with palm or fingertip grips. Better still: The device still doubles as a gaming mouse, just like its 1996 counterpart did, thanks to its ergonomic design and programmable thumb buttons. As far as clean, comfortable, no-nonsense peripherals go, Microsoft has been showing us how it's done for more than 20 years. There's also the Microsoft Pro Intellimouse, if you want a chassis with a gradient color scheme.
The Logitech MX Vertical flips the idea of an ergonomic mouse on its head — well, more accurately, on its side. This mouse is essentially what would happen if you squished a productivity mouse, then made it stand upright. It's a little hard to describe, but once you see the MX Vertical in action, you'll know right away whether it's for you. If regular mice strain your wrists through small, repetitive motions, the MX Vertical might offer some relief. This is because it forces you to move your whole hand around, thus minimizing the strain on any one muscle.
Aside from that, the mouse is classic upscale Logitech goodness, from its adjustable DPI, to its durable build quality, to its robust software that lets you drag and drop files across two computers with Logitech Flow. It might just be the best wireless mouse for workers who struggle with wrist strain.
I've always maintained that a good gaming mouse is also a good computer mouse in general, and that's definitely the case with the SteelSeries Rival 3. This sleek, medium-sized peripheral features a no-nonsense, semi-ambidextrous design with two programmable thumb buttons and a pretty LED strip on the bottom. The Rival 3 is the only mouse on this list with programmable RGB lighting, and while that won't make you any more productive, it will make your desk look a whole lot prettier.
The reason the Rival 3 works so well for productivity users, though, is because of its programmable DPI and robust software. You can set up profiles for individual apps, and customize convenient macros for the thumb buttons while you're at it. The Rival 3 is also very cheap, making it a robust option for the same price as many smaller, less versatile mice.
The Apple Magic Mouse 2 doesn't function much like most other mice on this list. Unlike our other best mouse picks, the Magic Mouse doesn't have a large, comfortable profile, or helpful extra buttons. Instead, it adopts a "less is more" approach, with an extremely thin design and a focus on gesture controls. Hook the Magic Mouse 2 up to a Mac, and you'll be able to navigate through documents, websites and media simply by moving your fingers, rather than having to point and click.
Of course, there's very little reason to buy the Magic Mouse 2 if you don't have an Apple device, since it doesn't have any special functionality on Windows PCs. It's also quite expensive, especially considering just how minimalist the design is.
How to choose the best mouse for you
There are three things to consider when choosing the best mouse for your particular situation: features, size and price.
Features vary from computer mouse to computer mouse. Some, like the Logitech M325, have no extra features whatsoever. What you see is what you get. Others, like the Logitech MX Master 3, have tons of extra buttons and entire software suites, which let you customize just about every aspect of the mouse's performance. If you do a lot of graphic design or video editing work, a feature-rich mouse is a boon; if you stick mostly to typing and Internet browsing, a simpler computer mouse will work just as well. If you're looking to reduce desk clutter, the best wireless mouse for your setup is a worthwhile consideration.
Size is also a consideration, although this is strictly a matter of personal preference. Mice like the Microsoft Classic Intellimouse are long-bodied, and appeal to users who hold mice with their entire palms. Smaller mice lend themselves to a "claw" grip, meaning you can comfortably hold it with three fingertips.
Price is related to a mouse's feature set. Complex mice cost a lot of money; simple mice are cheaper. But beware extremely cheap mice, especially those from second- or third-tier manufacturers; they won't last long.