Mouse CPI vs DPI

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Updated November 18, 2022

For a premium computer mouse, figuring out CPI vs. DPI for mouse users is critical for the best sensitivity settings. Whether you want a top-end gaming mouse or a standard model, understanding the technical aspects of physical mouse movement can help you make an ideal pick. Learning the correct term for mouse sensitivity is critical for advanced users and competitive players. So, stick around to understand what’s best in the mouse CPI vs. DPI debate.


  • CPI (count per inch) and DPI (dots per inch) measure mouse sensitivity, and mouse manufacturers use these terms interchangeably.
  • CPI is a more accurate measurement than DPI ratings, but they stand for the same thing.
  • A generic mouse should offer at least 400 CPI or DPI, but gaming models can exceed 1000.

If you’re considering a regular mouse vs. a gaming mouse, it is critical to understand mouse sensitivity vs. DPI. Finding a mouse model that meets your work or gaming preferences might not matter if you forget to compare speed vs. control for mouse pads. Adjusting your mouse sensitivity settings affects how your mouse cursor reacts to the physical movement of your hand, wrist, and arm.

Insider Tip

You can get enhanced pointer precision by slowly adjusting in-game mouse sensitivity settings to find your ideal speed.

If you’re struggling to achieve accurate mouse movements in your favorite games, consider comparing the Steam Controller vs. a keyboard mouse. Finding your ideal gaming mouse is largely up to personal preference, but a gamepad might be advantageous in some titles.

CPI vs DPI for Mouse Sensors

On a basic level, the difference between mouse DPI (Dots Per Inch) and CPI (Counts Per Inch) is the unit of measurement.

Counts are a unit of measurement that describes the rate that mouse movement is reported to the computer. So, a high-CPI mouse reports more detailed movement and therefore has a higher sensitivity.

DPI stands for dots per inch. DPI measures the number of pixels per inch of screen space on a computer monitor. A high-DPI mouse moves through more pixels per inch of screen space and is more sensitive to physical movement.

Gaming mouse manufacturers use these terms interchangeably to describe higher-end gaming mice with DPI and CPI ratings. For example, SteelSeries Engine mice use CPI, while Logitech employs DPI marketing.


CPI is a more accurate rating for mouse cursor sensitivity since it refers to signals from the hardware. While DPI isn’t a bad way to measure a mouse, you also need to consider your monitor resolution for an accurate reading.


You will experience a loss of precision by using an optical mouse on a glossy surface like marble or glass.


Whether you choose a DPI or CPI-rated mouse, a higher number will yield a more sensitive mouse. The numbers are interchangeable, so you do not need conversion to compare DPI and CPI mouse models. A generic mouse should have a DPI or CPI rating of at least 400, but gaming models should be about 800 to 1200 CPI.


A high DPI or CPI-rated model will yield faster cursor speed because it will be more sensitive to physical mouse movements. So, a high rating in either DPI or CPI should result in high-speed gameplay or efficient office work.

STAT: A 2020 Pew Research Center poll showed that 93% of Americans use the internet, but only 77% use home broadband. (source)


Since DPI and CPI ratings are interchangeable, you shouldn’t expect a price hike either way.

Mouse CPI vs. DPI FAQs

How do I clean optical mice?

Experts recommend using a dry Q-tip on the optical sensor. Do not use any form of liquid cleaning solution on the mouse sensor, and do not apply too much force with the Q-tip. You can use car putty or blu tack to grab stubborn crumbs or lint.

Are laser mice and optical mice the same thing?

Laser mice and optical mice are similar, but they use different light sources. Laser models utilize a laser beam for navigation, while optical mice use an infrared LED.

What is the polling rate for computer mice?

The polling rate is the measurement of how often your mouse communicates with the PC. 125Hz is a good polling rate for most computer mice, but gaming models should have a 500 to 1000Hz polling rate.
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