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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.
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.
Trackball mice are ambidextrous and often more comfortable for left-handers.
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:
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.
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.
Trackball mice need to be cleaned often, as their design makes it easy for debris and dirt to get into the ball bearings.
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.
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)
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.