Trackball vs Vertical Mouse

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Updated November 28, 2022

We live in an age of ergonomics. Everyone should want to own devices that make their workday more productive and more comfortable, and a great way to do this is by purchasing the best computer mouse. Ergonomic mice are becoming wildly popular, and it can take time to choose which one to get. To help you be as informed as possible, we’ll compare two standard ergonomic-friendly options: Trackball vs Vertical mice.


  • Trackball and vertical designs are two ergonomics alternatives to traditional mice.
  • Trackball mice are stationary, as cursor movement comes from the user swiveling a large plastic ball on top of the mouse.
  • Vertical mice promote a natural position, similar to a handshake, and are considered the most ergonomic mouse option.

If you enjoy this but want to keep learning, we have a similar article explaining the differences between a vertical mouse and a regular mouse. And if you’re convinced that a trackball mouse is a right path, check out our list of the top-rated trackball mice available.

Insider Tip

Using tools like a wrist support cushion can significantly decrease the likelihood of carpal tunnel syndrome.

Trackball Mouse vs Vertical Mouse

An ergonomic design can be great for those struggling with hand and wrist fatigue or carpal tunnel syndrome. Or, simply, anyone who is looking for more comfort.

Traditional mice often lead to pain for those who sit at their computer for long hours each day. The reason is that a standard mouse leaves a user’s hand in an unnatural position. On the other hand, an ergonomic design has the user keep their hand in a neutral position, often leading to greater comfort.

However, there are multiple designs behind ergonomic mice. For example, a trackball is a stationary device where the user operates the cursor by swiveling a large plastic ball. This allows the hand to stay still.

On the other hand, a vertical mouse design looks like a mouse tilted up on its side. This angle is purposefully chosen to put a user’s hand in a more natural, handshake-like position. Here the users still have to glide the mouse across a surface to move the cursor, just as they would with a regular mouse.

So, both receive praise as “ergonomic” often enough, but there are some differences to note as you choose your next clicker. Additionally, feel free to read our article explaining how to use an ergonomic mouse properly, whether you choose a trackball or vertical mouse.

Ergonomic Benefit

Most will say that a vertical mouse packs the greatest punch from an ergonomic standpoint. The reason is that a vertical position is more natural than a horizontal one. So users can work longer and in greater comfort.

The trackball is nice because it reduces movement, but the position is still horizontal. However, it’s less cramped than a traditional mouse. However, this is mostly a personal preference, and users should try both before buying anything.


Thumb trackball mice do not have ambidextrous designs.

Desk Space

Trackball mice are great because of their static nature. While trackball mice vs regular mice tend to be larger, they reduce the need for physical movement because all users need to do is move their fingers to control the cursor.

STAT: The vertical mouse was invented in 1994. (source)

On the other hand, a vertical mouse operates the same way as a normal mouse, which requires a larger dedicated space for mouse movement.

Trackball vs Vertical Mouse FAQs

How should I choose between a finger-operated and a thumb trackball?

Both can be excellent choices, but users should test both out and see which is more comfortable.

What does a weight-adjustable mouse do?

A weight-adjusted mouse allows users to set the pressure needed to operate their mouse to their preference. This can be especially useful for those who have arthritis.

What is the best option for a left-handed user?

Middle-finger-operated trackball mice are great because they have an ambidextrous design. However, there are left-handed vertical options as well.
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