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While some tech accessories get smaller as time progresses, mouse pads (or more aptly called “mouse mats” now) have gotten bigger – and that’s a good thing.
The best mouse pads give you plenty of room to move around on a soft surface that takes up half your desk. Not only that, but when you do hit the edge, most new mouse pads have raised perimeters that’ll let you know simply by feel, so you can keep your eyes on the game, project, or whatever you’re creating.
What Are the Best Mouse Pads?
If you’re shopping for the best mouse pad for your home office, work desk or even your kitchen counter, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Durability: A good mouse pad can also double as protection from spills, with most being waterproof and highly-durable to extreme wear and tear. The fabric on some of the tougher ones is made from similar materials as suitcases and jackets, tightly stitched but still providing a smooth surface to move around on, and can take a beating too.
Glide: “Glide factor” is something else to look at. There’s a balance between control and speed that differs from user to user, as well as mats, and is a personal preference to what feels most natural and comfortable. A gritty pad that puts up some resistance might be an annoyance to those who need to speedily zip around the screen, but helpful to others who need a steadying pushback from their pad.
Grip: On the flip-side, the back matters too. The best mouse pads will have a good grip so it’s not slipping and sliding out from under your mouse, particularly for the impassioned gamers. Heavy mouse movements can dislodge a poorly-gripped pad, as it slowly creeps away from where it’s supposed to stay, and you’ll constantly have to readjust it.
Other Materials: For those users sensitive to sound, alternate materials and stitching are available specifically to cut down on the constant whooshing noise your mouse can make while running along the surface. A pad with smooth stitching on both the X and Y axis will help you effortlessly glide in every direction, and one with a surface that encompasses your keyboard can even help cut down noise from mechanical typing. There are even sleek mouse mats made from metal these days, ensuring something that matches your personal work and gaming style.
How Do You Clean a Mouse Pad?
Mouse pads, even the most durable ones, can get pretty grimey over time. This is especially true for black fabrics, which can turn a grey-white and get discolored from streaks, dust, as well as sweat and oils from our hands. Same goes for creasing – on the darker models that are too sensitive, even one fold can create a mark for life. So if you’ll need to roll it up for a daily commute, keep that in mind and get something that’s meant to be bent. You should also wipe or dust off your mouse pads regularly — some will even hold up to being wiped down with a good disinfecting wipe or damp cloth. You could also pick up a mini vacuum from Amazon to help zap up crumbs, dirt and other small particles.
Just like test driving a car and finding the one that’s right for you, mouse pads all have a different aesthetic and feel to them, and depending on what you’re using it for, there’s one out there for your PC needs. We’ve selected four here that’ll cover gamers, designers, workers, and your desk as well.
1. Glorious XL Gaming Mouse Mat
Don’t let the “Gamer” label in the title lead you away from this Glorious mouse pad. While it’s absolutely ideal for gamers, this works just as well for graphic designers, or anyone looking for a versatile quality across the board in a mouse pad.
The friction and resistance here is low and super smooth, while remaining speedy enough for gliding with control. It’s also extremely durable – designed to be rolled up and roughed up, without leaving creases and marks. And if it gets gross from spills and food and sweat, not a problem – it’s machine-washable, and comes in an array of different sizes to meet your needs.
2. HyperX FURY S Pro Gaming Mouse Pad
HyperX’s FURY S cloth mouse pad is soft to the touch, finely-textured on top, and isn’t going anywhere once it’s put down. The natural rubber textured underside has a reliable grip to the surface of your desk, remaining stable even under the most stressful conditions.
There are a few different options available in terms of size and surface material, depending on if you’re leaning more towards precision or speed. Either way, it’s comfortable on your wrist, and the seamless anti-fray stitched edges can keep up with heavy usage without unraveling. They can also be safely washed with warm water and dish soap when they start to get a little musty.
3. VAYDEER Hard Silver Metal Aluminum Mouse Pad
This hard surface not only looks cool, but performs well too – on both sides.
On the metal side, aircraft-grade aluminum alloy with a sandblasted oxide layer is sleek, smooth and stylish, while being waterproof and easy to wipe down. Or flip it over for a premium leather-lined surface that provides a little more traction.
As opposed to some of the glass ones out there, this modern mouse pad is pretty silent for such a hard surface. It’s also especially nice when sitting on a couch or a bed, instead of having to use a book or a magazine for a steady surface.
This should work with all types of mice out there, including the old-school trackball ones.
4. VicTsing Mouse Pad With Stitched Edge
This mouse pad can keep up with the demands of constant PC usage throughout the day, seamlessly gliding from gaming to work and internet browsing. Its extra-thin size can even be an advantage to some gamers, though its overall footprint is much smaller than the rest featured here.
The reinforced stitching guards against fraying and damage, and the surface is smooth with a bit of traction. The natural rubber base is environmentally friendly too, and provides a solid, sticky grip to most any desktop surface.