Mouse Shape Comparison

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Updated November 18, 2022

Finding the best computer mouse can be labor intensive. Every year, new devices are developed, and old ones fall out of fashion. So, to help you understand the different options, we’ll be conducting a mouse shape comparison to help you understand how the main types stack up against each other.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Various mouse shapes are designed to increase user concerns like comfort, accuracy, and function.
  • Mice with larger body sizes, like a trackball, vertical mouse, and touchpad mice, prioritize ergonomics and are better for those who work at their computer for long hours.
  • Gaming mice are shaped to fit additional buttons to increase overall functionality.

If you want to read up on more in-depth comparisons, we have additional resources, such as a trackpad vs mouse or ergonomic vs ambidextrous mice.

Insider Tip

Trackball mice are ambidextrous and often more comfortable for left-handers.

Mouse Shape Comparison

The mouse has been around since the 1970s and, in its time, has evolved a good deal. There have been many adaptations and fascinating new designs to make them more efficient, accurate, and comfortable. But such a glut of options doesn’t make it easy on consumers, who need to consider them all when shopping.

To paint a clear picture of what’s available, we’ll categorize these options into five types based on shape:

  • Traditional Mice (Mechanical/Optical/Laser): Your typical mouse shape and setup: left/right button plus a scroll wheel. Users glide the mouse across a surface to control the cursor.
  • Wheel/Trackball Mice: These mice are operated by a large ball that the user moves with their fingers or thumb to guide the mouse cursor.
  • Touchpad: Shaped like a pad, users drag their fingers across to move the cursor and tap to click.
  • Vertical Mice: Shaped almost like a mountain or iceberg, meant to keep the user’s hand in a handshake position.
  • Gaming Mice: Similarly shaped to traditional mice, but often larger due to extra buttons. Some gaming mice come with up to 15 additional buttons.

Every mouse model comes with its advantages and disadvantages. However, it’s important to remember that there’s no king on the hill. “Best” always comes down to personal preference, and you should test out various types in person before buying anything.

For those who know they are looking for an ergonomically focused device, we have a great guide on how to use an ergonomic mouse.

Accuracy

There are several ways to think about what mouse accuracy means because it depends on your use. If you are looking for accuracy and speed, then a gaming mouse or traditional laser/optical mouse is the superior option. However, trackball mice and trackpads are also excellent if you’re going for precision for tasks like graphic design; they aren’t as quick to maneuver.

Warning

Trackball mice need to be cleaned often, as their design makes it easy for debris and dirt to get into the ball bearings.

Functionality

Gaming mice offer the broadest range of functionality by far. Many come with additional buttons and software programs allowing users to program each button to perform a specific task. Users can even program mouse buttons to perform keyboard tasks. So if you want a mouse with the largest performance range, finding a gaming mouse is the way to go.

Another fascinating frontier of mouse functionality comes in the trackpad design. For example, Apple’s Magic Trackpad has implemented haptic technology, which allows users to program their device to respond differently depending on the force of their tap. The haptic feedback opens up new opportunities for users to program their trackpads to increase responsiveness and control.

If you want a further look into this, you can read our guide comparing trackballs vs traditional mice.

Ergonomics

Ergonomic shape differences significantly impact the mouse’s body size. Most ergonomic mice have a larger body size. The trackball mouse was one of the first models to divert from the traditional mouse shape. Instead, its shape allows the user to keep their wrist and arm stationery, only requiring users to move their fingers.

The same goes for both trackpads and vertical mice. Again, reducing wrist movement makes users less likely to experience discomfort or wrist pain. So if you want to prioritize ergonomics, start by looking into these mouse shapes.

STAT: Gaming mice typically have a minimum of 6 buttons. (source)

Affordability

A traditional mouse is your best bet for those looking for a quality mouse without breaking the bank. Gaming mice and ergonomic mice are always more costly. For perspective, traditional mice can be found for under $10, while the cheapest gaming mouse will cost about $20. Ergonomic mice, like trackballs, trackpads, and vertical mice, tend to start closer to $30.

Mouse Shape Comparison FAQs

What is ergonomics?

Ergonomics is an analysis of how to improve working conditions to increase productivity.

Can you use an ergonomic design for gaming?

An ergonomic mouse works for casual gaming, but it's not recommended for fast-paced or competitive gaming settings.

What is a track point mouse?

A track point mouse is a small circular pad on a computer's keyboard, usually near the G and H keys, that allows a user to control the cursor.
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