Speed vs Control on Mouse Pads

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Updated November 18, 2022

If you’re shopping for a premium computer mouse, you might consider control vs speed on mouse pads. Top-tier gaming mouse pads ensure precise movement and improved reaction times. That said, picking the correct mouse mat for excellent performance can seem confusing. Luckily, you can find an ideal option with our speed vs. control mouse pad debate guide.


  • The surface of your mouse pad can affect your quickness and accuracy level while aiming a mouse cursor.
  • Speed mouse pads offer a smooth surface that’s ideal for heavy mice and quick mouse maneuvers.
  • Control mouse pads have a rougher surface that helps users maintain cursor accuracy, especially with a light computer mouse.

In terms of performance, understanding mouse CPI vs. DPI will help you find a comfortable experience, even during constant mouse movements. That said, some competitive games call for a control pad, so read War Thunder mouse vs. joystick for a detailed example.

Insider Tip

You can ensure accuracy for laser mice by using a dark matte plastic or cloth mouse pad instead of a glossy glass desk surface.

Any desk mat or mouse pad should have a rubber base to help it stick to your desk space. Comparing plastic mouse pads vs. cloth can help you find a balance between speed and control in games and office applications.

If you’re an avid gamer, you should compare a gaming mouse pad vs. a regular model for a custom gaming experience.

Control vs Speed on Mouse Pads

The main difference between a speed and control-style mat is the top surface of the mouse pad. Speed pads offer a smooth surface so gamers can quickly move their mouse.

Control mouse pads feature a rougher surface than speed variants, which are ideal for high-precision games and multimedia work tasks. These mouse pads are popular among users who play strategy games or long-range competitive shooters.


The controlled glide on a control mouse pad yields higher accuracy than a speed pad. While the average gamer can still aim in games on a speed mouse pad, the smooth surface makes it harder to control the cursor.


Mouse users enjoy a super-fast glide thanks to the low-friction surface of a speed mouse pad. You may lack control with a highly-sensitive light mouse on a speed pad, but switching to a heavy mouse might lead to more accurate play. Regardless of which type of mouse you use, a speed mouse pad is better for quick cursor movement over a control mouse mat.


Cheap gaming mouse pads often split along the stitched edge, and you will need to replace them more frequently.

Cursor Control

As the name suggests, a control mouse pad is a better pick than speed models for cursor control while working or gaming. The rough surface is ideal for light mice so that users can still quickly aim while maintaining command of the mouse cursor.

STAT: A 2018 Pew Research Center survey showed that 90% of teenage American boys play video games on a computer. (source)


You shouldn’t pay more for speed or control mouse pads, but your choice might affect how long your mouse lasts. For example, you can wear down the mouse feet with a rough control mouse pad by playing too quickly or pressing the mouse buttons too hard.

Speed vs. Control Mouse Pads FAQs

How do I clean a mouse pad?

You can use a lint roller or tape to remove crumbs and dirt from a cloth mouse pad surface. If you have a plastic mouse pad, you can clean the smooth surface with a damp cloth. Whether you have a cloth or glossy mouse pad, you shouldn't use bleach, alcohol, or cleaners containing ammonia.

Do I need a thick mouse pad?

You do not need a thick mouse pad unless a bumpy desk. Thicker mouse pads ensure a smooth surface for your mouse to glide across, and they can improve your cursor accuracy on uneven desk space.

Can I use a non-Apple mouse on Mac?

While older Apple computers didn't play well with third-party peripherals, modern Macbook Pros allow for a wide range of mice, keyboards, and game controllers. That said, you may need a USB-C or Thunderbolt adapter for some third-party hardware.
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