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The best mouse in 2021: find your perfect desktop companion

best mouse
(Image credit: Logitech)

Equipping yourself with the best mouse can dramatically improve your creative life. If you're making do with the mouse that came with your PC (or even with your Mac; that Magic Mouse is good until you need to flip it upside-down to charge it) you may be putting up with poor ergonomics and worse performance.

Ideally you want a mouse that's comfortable to use for hours on end and tracks your movement smoothly and accurately; luckily we've already done the research and gathered together a collection of the best options available now. But because there's not really an objectively best mouse for everyone (although our first pick comes pretty damn close), you should take a look at our guide to what to consider when buying a mouse for some helpful thoughts on what you need to consider before you choose your next mouse.

Our handy guide below will help you choose the best mouse for you, rounding up the best options available now with the pros and cons of each. If you're an Apple user, be sure to also check our roundup of the best mouse for MacBook Pro and Air.

The best mouse in 2021

Best mouse: Logitech MX Master 3cb badge

(Image credit: Logitech)

01. Logitech MX Master 3

The best mouse for creatives right now

Specifications
DPI: 4,000
Interface: Bluetooth and 2.4GHz wireless
Buttons: 7
Ergonomic: Right-handed
Reasons to buy
+Comfortable design+Can be used on different devices
Reasons to avoid
-Not ambidextrous

If you're in a hurry then that's cool; we can confidently state that the Logitech MX Master 3 is the best mouse for designers right now. Its ergonomic design makes it comfortable to use all day (however there's no left-handed option, which is something of an oversight), and it features plenty of customisable buttons that you can map to all your favourite Photoshop shortcuts.

The MX Master 3 will track accurately on pretty much any surface, and with 4,000 DPI it'll keep up with you even when you're steaming ahead in the creative zone. It'll charge in minutes over USB-C and will keep going for up to 70 days, and best of all you can connect it to several devices and switch between them instantly. And if you're back in the office now you'll be grateful for Logitech's Bolt wireless technology, which brings better reliability in crowded workspaces while bringing down latency.

Best mouse: Logitech MX Anywhere 3

(Image credit: Logitech)

02. Logitech MX Anywhere 3

The best mouse to use on the move

Specifications
DPI: 4,000
Interface: Bluetooth and 2.4GHz wireless (pairs with up to three devices)
Buttons: 6
Ergonomic: Right-handed
Reasons to buy
+Pairs with three devices+Compact and portable+Electromagnetic scroll wheel
Reasons to avoid
-Non-removable battery-Too small for some

The MX Master 3 is the ideal desktop mouse for designers, but if you'd prefer a smaller mouse that you can take out and about with you then we'd recommend the MX Anywhere 3. It's pretty much the MX Master 3 in a more compact package; most of its specs are identical, although you don't get a thumb wheel, but the MX Anywhere 3 is suitable for both left- and right-handed users, unlike its larger sibling.

The only real downside is that it's possibly just a little too tiny for some. Designed with portability in mind, it comes in a bit smaller than the average desktop mouse and could prove to be just a little cramped for all-day use. If you have small hands, though, it should be the perfect fit and an ideal everyday option.

Best mouse: Microsoft Classic IntelliMouse

03. Microsoft Classic IntelliMouse

The legend returns - a great wired mouse

Specifications
DPI: 3200
Interface: Wired
Buttons: 5
Ergonomic: Right-handed
Reasons to buy
+Solid design +Responsive 
Reasons to avoid
-Not wireless -Right-handed only

The best mice nowadays tend to be wireless as there's no longer a great performance advantage to having a wired mouse. Wireless mice used to be heavier and less responsive than their wired counterparts, with a tendency to eat through batteries, but today they're light, accurate and power-efficient. 

However if you fancy a bit of desktop nostalgia, the Microsoft Classic Intellimouse is definitely worth a go. Modelled on the original desktop favourite, it modernises design and brings with it the option to dial up the DPI to 3,200. It's a well-performing and comfortable mouse with pleasingly old-school styling, and for many the fact that you don't ever have to think about batteries will be a definite plus.

Best mouse: Microsoft Surface Mouse

(Image credit: Microsoft)

04. Microsoft Surface Mouse

Got a Surface? This is the mouse for you

Specifications
DPI: 1000
Interface: Bluetooth (BlueTrack)
Buttons: 2 plus scroll wheel
Ergonomic: Ambidextrous
Reasons to buy
+Matches Surface devices+Designed to be comfortable+Metal scroll wheel
Reasons to avoid
-All-day users might want something more ergonomic

Although the Microsoft Surface Mouse is, as the name suggests, designed for use with the Microsoft surface, it'll work just as well with any computer or tablet that has a Bluetooth connection, Mac and Android included.

We wouldn't say this is a mouse to be using 35 hours a week, so we'd recommend one of the more ergonomic options on this list for regular use, but this is stylish and looks the part, especially if you're doing client presentations or similar. The metal scroll wheel is a delight and the mouse is wonderfully accurate. 

Best mouse: Anker Vertical Ergonomic Optical Mouse

05. Anker Vertical Ergonomic Optical Mouse

The best cheap ergonomic mouse

Specifications
DPI: 1000
Interface: USB
Buttons: 5
Ergonomic: Vertical
Reasons to buy
+Good for RSI sufferers+Cheap as chips
Reasons to avoid
-Thumb buttons don't work on Macs-Unrefined

If you're a digital creative who spends a lot of time using a mouse for work, then having a mouse's comfortable and natural to use is essential. After all, an injury can mean losing work, so the odd-looking Anker Vertical Ergonomic Optical Mouse could be a wise investment.

It's designed to put your hand and wrist in a more natural and neutral 'handshake' position, which makes it something that may take a bit of getting used to, but if you can get along with it then you'll find it's an effective way to avoid RSI without compromising on performance.

Best mouse: Logitech MX Ergo Wireless

06. Logitech MX Ergo Wireless

The best trackball mouse

Specifications
DPI: 512 – 2048
Interface: Bluetooth and 2.4GHz wireless
Buttons: 8
Ergonomic: Right-handed
Reasons to buy
+Comfortable design+Accurate trackball
Reasons to avoid
-No left-handed version-Tilt options are limited

Trackballs are another alternative for anyone who's looking for the best mouse for ultimate ergonomic comfort, and Logitech's MX Ergo Wireless is the top option available right now. With a trackball your hand stays where it is, and you move your cursor by spinning the ball with your thumb. 

It's a solution you'll either love or hate; we'd advise trying it to see how you get on before spending any money. If it suits you, you'll find that the find that the MX Ergo Wireless is an effective, comfortable and precise option.

Best mouse: Logitech Pebble

(Image credit: Logitech)

07. Logitech Pebble

A low-cost option for use on-the-go

Specifications
DPI: 1000
Interface: 2.4 GHz wireless connectivity; USB receiver
Buttons: 3
Ergonomic: Ambidextrous
Reasons to buy
+Great value+Plug-and-play
Reasons to avoid
-Basic option-Logitech MX Anywhere 3 is much better

Looking for a cheap, basic mouse that'll work with pretty much everything and that you can take anywhere without being too worried about losing it? Take a look at the Logitech Pebble. It's easy to set up with a USB receiver that'll just plug in and work, and it performs really well.

Of course, you're not getting anything fancy for this price. While the symmetrical design can be used in either hand (good news for lefties), if you're going to be using it for long hours you might want to consider something with a more ergonomic design like the Logitech MX Anywhere 3.

Best mouse: Microsoft Bluetooth Mobile Mouse 3600

(Image credit: Microsoft)

08. Microsoft Bluetooth Mobile Mouse 3600

The best budget mouse for creatives

Specifications
DPI: 1000
Interface: Bluetooth
Buttons: 2
Ergonomic: Ambidextrous
Reasons to buy
+Really, really cheap+Comfortable and easy to carry around
Reasons to avoid
-Smaller than most mice, not good if you are big-handed-Basic

For a more ergonomic cheap and portable option than the Logitech Pebble, we'd go for the the Microsoft Bluetooth Mobile Mouse 3600. There's a lot to love about it; it's comfortable to use, easy to set up, and it boasts a properly impressive battery life that should see an AA lasting you up to a year

The low price, long battery life and compact design make this one of the best mice you can buy if you tend to travel a lot. It means you'll never have to leave home without a reliable pointing device that's a pleasure to use.

Best mouse: Razer DeathAdder Chroma

09. Razer DeathAdder Chroma

A gaming mouse that can be used anytime

Specifications
DPI: 10,000
Interface: USB
Buttons: 5
Ergonomic: Right-handed
Reasons to buy
+Very comfortable+Very accurate
Reasons to avoid
-Lighting feels a bit gimmicky-Software can be flaky

If you can cope with the occasionally challenging styling aimed at a younger, more excitable market, a quality gaming mouse could well be the best mouse for you in terms of both performance and ergonomics. And if you can live with the name, the Razer DeathAdder Chroma is an excellent option. Like the Microsoft Classic Intellimouse it's wired, but it makes the use of the cable with a ludicrous DPI of up to 10,000 that you should at least try for five seconds before dialling it right back down, assuming you can get the pointer to stay still long enough. It also boasts RGB lighting effects that you'll probably play with for a bit before settling on a single colour that matches your desktop décor. 

Basically it's a great-value, responsive and comfortable mouse that gives you better performance than you'd get from a wireless mouse at a similar price point. If you don't mind its cord running across your desk, what's not to love?

Best mouse: What to look for

The best mouse can be a pretty subjective choice; there are various factors in play that may or may not matter to you, depending on what you plan to use your mouse for. There are a few things to look out for, though.

First up, how ergonomic is the design? You want something that's going to be safe and comfortable to use for long periods of time. Many mice have specially sculpted bodies that are designed to fit your hand in the most comfortable way, however if you're left-handed you might have trouble finding one that'll work for you. Vertical mice and trackballs can be a great ergonomic option, however if you're used to the movement of a standard mouse then you may find them tricky to get used to. We're just a little ambivalent about ergonomics; if you want to avoid RSI then you'd be better off getting a mouse mat with a wrist rest.

Next: wired or wireless? It's not that big a deal these days, to be honest. The advantage of a wired mouse used to be that you'd get great performance without ever having to worry about batteries, however the current level of wireless technology means that you don't have to spend very much money to get a responsive wireless mouse that'll keep going for months on a single AA. And if you're planning to use it for some after hours gaming you may be able to turn up the DPI and report rate to make it even more responsive.

Speaking of DPI, what sort of number should you be looking for? For day to day use, anything over 1,000 will suit you fine and ensure that your mouse can cope with most surfaces; that said we just checked our current mouse settings and it's going at 800 DPI, which feels plenty smooth enough right now. There's a bit of a DPI war between gaming mouse manufacturers at the moment, trying to eke the biggest DPI out of their sensors, but ultimately these huge numbers are meaningless; the 10,000 DPI you can get out of the Razer DeathAdder Chroma seems impressive, but if you tried to use it in real life the tiniest nudge of your mouse would send the cursor flying across the screen.

Some features will depend entirely on how you use your mouse. We've picked a wide range of options to cover all bases, whether you spend a lot of time using desktop software or tend to work on the move. There are mice that are small and easy to carry around with you, and wireless wonders with all kinds of extra buttons and features, plus everything in between.

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