If you recently purchased a gaming mouse or are looking to get into competitive gaming, you may find yourself asking yourself whether you really need a mouse pad for gaming. And most importantly will a mouse pad make a difference in your gaming performance?
In the past, mouse pads were needed because the old trackball mice used a rubber ball to track surfaces. The rubber ball needed a surface that could provide enough grip for it to roll. This was provided by a mouse pad.
But today’s optical and laser mice are much more advanced. Instead of a rubber ball, they constantly “take pictures” of surfaces which are then compared by your computer to give a representation of how far a mouse was moved along a surface and in what direction.
This means that in most cases a modern mouse will work just fine without a mouse pad. So, what’s the point of having a mouse pad for gaming?
The following are some of the reasons why you might consider getting a gaming mouse pad:
- Get better tracking
- To prevent scratches on your desk
- Lots of surface options to choose from
- To maintain pointer precision
- Provide comfort for your wrists
- To increase the lifespan of your mouse’s feet
- Extra features
- To make it possible to use an optical mouse on a reflective/glossy surface
1. Get Better Tracking
Mouse pads have a uniform, flat surface which helps the mouse sensor track your movements with a lot of accuracy. Accuracy is especially important when playing MOBA or FPS games where your movement has to be precise.
For example, when playing a game like Overwatch or CS:GO an even surface allows you to move with precision and have more control of your crosshair. On the flip side, if the surface is uneven, you may miss your target or giving away your position, costing you the game.
2. Prevent Scratches On Your Desk
Using your gaming mouse on your table will certainly cause the area in which you move your mouse to develop permanent scratches over time. This makes your gaming desk look less appealing, especially if it has a painted surface.
The best way of avoiding a worn area is to get a gaming mouse pad. Even a cheap gaming mouse will prevent this kind of damage from happening.
3. Lots Of Surface Options To Choose From
With gaming desks, you’re stuck with only one surface type. But if you want to be able to switch between surfaces to get the perfect glide that matches your play style and taste, getting a mouse pad makes sense.
Mouse pads can be made out of plastic, cloth fabric, aluminum, or glass. Each of these materials has a different feel and texture making it possible to get one that suits your specific needs.
4. Maintain Pointer Precision
Unlike desk surfaces that often develop bumps, notches, and other inconsistencies on the surface, gaming mouse pads are rigid and usually have a consistent texture. This keeps friction constant, making it possible to predict how far your mouse will move when force is applied.
Without consistent friction, maintaining pointer precision can be hard because you can’t start and stop your mouse with accuracy.
5. Provide Comfort For Your Wrists
Hard surfaces, such as those found in most gaming desks, can cause strain or irritation to your wrist after long gaming sessions. A better alternative would be to get a cloth mouse pad that is more comfortable so that your wrist isn’t constantly pressing against a hard surface.
In fact, some mouse pads have a squishy wrist rest to provide some extra support to your wrists. The comfort level varies depending on the thickness of the mouse pad and the material used.
6. Increase The Lifespan Of Your Mouse Feet
Surfaces such as tables tend to develop scratches and bumps caused by normal wear or objects falling on them. Using your gaming mouse on such surfaces will cause the mouse feet to wear out sooner.
Preventing mouse feet from wearing out is important because they minimize friction and allow your mouse to glide smoothly and effortlessly. The best way to increase the lifespan of mouse feet is to get a mouse pad.
Also, mouse feet are louder when dragged on hard surfaces such as wooden desks. You can significantly dampen this noise by getting a cloth mouse pad.
7. Extra Features
High-end gaming mouse pads such as the Corsair MM1000 Qi and the Razer Firefly are not just slabs of plastic or cloth. They now come with additional features which include:
- USB hub/pass-through-allows you to plug your gaming mouse directly to the mouse pad itself, thus freeing up USB ports on your PC.
- RGB lighting- enables you to customize and sync RGB lights to match the patterns of your other peripherals.
- Wireless charging- enables you to charge your phone or wireless mouse by simply placing it on the mouse pad. This way you don’t need to worry about the battery life of your wireless gaming mouse.
These features aren’t necessary but are added for convenience and to make your overall gaming experience more immersive.
8. Make It Possible To Use Your Optical Mouse On A Reflective/Glossy Surface
Unlike laser mice, optical mice don’t work on shiny or reflective surfaces such as glass. Therefore, if you plan on getting an optical mouse to use on a glossy or glass surface, then you’ll definitely need a mouse mat.
Do You Need A Mouse Pad For A Laser Mouse?
Laser mice can work on all solid surfaces without issues. However, you should consider getting a mouse pad to enhance tracking, protect your desk surface from scratches, increase the lifespan of mouse feet, and provide comfort to your wrists.
Do You Need A Large Mouse Pad For Gaming?
You don’t need a large mouse pad if you are comfortable playing games with your mouse set to a high DPI or if your current mouse pad doesn’t restrict mouse movement.
Consider getting a large or extended mouse pad If you find yourself constantly reaching the edges of your mouse pad or if you want your mouse and keyboard to be on the same level.
Conclusion- Reasons You Need A Mouse Pad For Gaming
Even though mouse pads don’t guarantee that you’ll become a better gamer, they definitely matter for gaming. Mouse pads can help you maintain pointer precision and get better tracking.
They also prevent rapid damage to mouse feet, as well as permanent scratches to your gaming table or desk. If you get one made out of cloth, it will provide a more comfortable surface for your wrists to rest on.