You already know how important it is in gaming to have a great gaming mouse. But where getting a great mouse and getting a subpar one can come down to a difference in price, the same is so with many gaming mouse pads. Most noteworthy mouse pads don't cost all that much, and they'll be a huge step up over the freebies you find at events or budget barrel options you might find in an actual barrel at your local electronics store.
A basic mouse pad helps keep crumbs on your desk from marring the smooth swiping experience of your mouse and can also extend the lifespan of the feet on your mouse. Great ones improve mouse tracking, as the textured surfaces give its sensor something tailor-made for it to see sliding by. It doesn’t stop there, as some feature RGB lighting and special materials to really make the most of your gaming experience. There are a ton of options to choose from, so check out our favorite gaming mouse pads below.
TL; DR – These are the Best Gaming Mouse Pads:
- Corsair MM200 Pro Premium
- SteelSeries QCK Medium
- Razer Acari
- Cooler Master MP510
- Artisan Ninja FX Shidenkai
- Cooler Master MP511
- Razer Sphex V3
- SteelSeries QcK Prism Cloth 5XL
- Razer Firefly V2
- Razer Atlas
Corsair MM200 Pro Premium
Best Gaming Mouse Pad
The Corsair MM200 Pro Premium gets all the small details right, ensuring comfort and longevity. This pad is a thick 6mm of plush rubber, giving you a bit of extra cushioning if you have a palm grip and like to rest your wrist without muddying down your play. While on the bottom is anti-skid rubber that'll help keep the mouse pad in place even as the action gets intense.
When it comes to the fabric used on the Corsair MM200 Pro Premium, it’s ultra soft and densely woven, letting your mouse easily glide along with little friction. That fabric also features a spill-proof and stain-resistant finish, so the occasional accident with a bottle of soda won't ruin it or even stop you from playing for long. And to further increase the lifespan of this pad is its stitched edges, which go a long way to help prevent fraying or separation of layers.
SteelSeries QCK Medium
Best Budget Mouse Pad
SteelSeries makes some great mouse pads, and their cheapest options offer an experience far greater than the price would suggest. Look at the classic QCK Medium, which costs $10 but is ready for high-performance play with its exceptionally smooth surface thanks to a tightly stitched fabric delivering fluid mouse movements. It’s pleasingly soft but not so plush and thick that your mouse will push into it.
The rubberized bottom on the QCK series pads keeps them from slipping all over your desk, and they are thin and flexible enough that you can simply roll them up and take them wherever you go. If you need a bigger option, SteelSeries offers a bunch of sizes that still maintain affordable prices and exceptional quality. The QCK Large is ideal for gamers working on full-arm aiming, while SteelSeries even has versions that can cover entire desks.
Best Hard Mouse Pad
If you’ve got a heavy hand when mousing around in your favorite games, you may not want a big, soft mouse pad that can depress and throw off the consistency of that smooth gliding. The Razer Acari helps you get around with minimal friction and insane accuracy thanks to its hard surface. With its nano-bead, textured top layer, this pad provides your mouse’s sensor with finer points for better tracking, and it's also waterproof to ensure its longevity.
The Razer Acari offers plenty of space to hone your skills, and you can rely on large muscle groups for your flick shots and precision aim. It’s ultra-thin, so you don’t need to worry about your mouse ever getting muddied down, and your wrist will remain super comfortable. While at the base is a non-slip rubber foam to help hold the Acari in place during all the action.
Cooler Master MP510
Best Cloth Mouse Pad
The Cooler Master MP510 goes beyond the basics of a simple cloth mouse pad, as it uses a Cordura material. That is an ultra-durable nylon that can help shrug off spills if you have a habit of keeping your drinks too close to your mouse pad. You’ll also find it has a different feel to most cloth mats, as it’s more textured, giving you more precise control over the mouse.
To further the longevity of the Cooler Master MP510 is anti-fray stitching to prevent the various layers of the pad from peeling. You even get a fun little glow-in-the-dark logo accent which gives it a gamer feel while avoiding the hassle that sometimes comes with RGB lighting. Of course, the underside is rubber, providing tons of traction to ensure the mat stays in place during even your wildest movements.
Artisan Ninja FX Shidenkai
Best High-End Mouse Pad
Can't choose between a soft or hard mouse pad? No worries, the Artisan Ninja FX Shidenkai gives you the best of both worlds—though it comes at a premium. This mat offers a soft pad embedded with tiny glass beads creating a composition that allows it to be squishy like a sponge and incredibly slick simultaneously. This interesting blend of characteristics lets you consistently glide the mouse across this surface and then apply pressure to come to a dead stop.
It doesn’t stop with the top layers, as the base of the Artisan Ninja FX Shidenkai keeps the pad in place no matter how intense the action gets. And everything is held together with quality stitching to prevent peeling and fraying, ensuring this high-end mat lasts a long time.
Cooler Master MP511
Best Durable Mouse Pad
For competition, you can’t have a mouse pad fraying at the edge or scuffed up in a way that’ll make your mouse sensor falter. So, it’s worth it to go with a more durable mouse pad, like the Cooler Master MP511. This beastly pad (though smaller options are available) is built tough with Cordura fabric that can handle some abuse. Cooler Master has even seen fit to stitch the edges of the mat for further longevity.
It’s not just the stamping and sliding of your mouse that the Cordura fabric can withstand but also sweat and spills, so when you accidentally knock over a drink, you can just wipe it up as it won’t immediately soak in. And though it’s the same fabric as another one of our picks, the Cooler Master MP510, it has finer weaving, so it’s not as rough for super smooth gliding and optimal comfort.
Razer Sphex V3
Best Flat Mouse Pad
For a mouse pad that can get the job done while feeling like it's almost not there at all, the Razer Sphex V3 is what you're after. This hard mouse pad will all but meld into your desk space with an almost pure black design. But even more so thanks to its incredible thinness at less than half a millimeter thick.
The Razer Sphex V3 provides the smooth gaming surface you need to easily glide around, giving you little resistance for your flick shots for a consistent feel. The hard polycarbonate build means you won't have to worry about it rumpling up underneath your mouse. And given how thin and light it is, you might be worried about it sliding around, but Razer has seen to this with an adhesive base that'll keep it in place.
SteelSeries QcK Prism Cloth 5XL
Best “Desk Pad” Mouse Pad
Forget about mouse pads that just cover a portion of your desk, as the SteelSeries QcK Prism Cloth 5XL is here to take over the entirety of your tabletop. At over 60 inches wide and over 30 inches deep, this mouse pad will cover up even some of the biggest gaming desks and standing desks.
The QcK Prism Cloth 5XL is made of a thick, micro-woven cloth for a smooth-gliding surface with a fine texture that helps your mouse track accurately. Meanwhile, the underside has a rubberized surface to keep it firmly in place on your desk. That's only half the fun, though, as all models of the QcK Prism Cloth also feature an RGB light strip around the perimeter of the mouse pad. That light strip has two-zone lighting and supports the SteelSeries engine, so you can have it sync up with your other SteelSeries devices, flash with music, or even offer visual cues from your games.
Razer Firefly V2
Best RGB Mouse Pad
With RGB lighting emanating from your gaming PC, keyboard, mouse, and everything else, you might as well complete your setup with a light-up mouse pad like the Razer Firefly V2. It features 19 RGB lighting zones that wrap around the entire edge of the mat. Using Razer’s software, you can play around with their various effects or even have the lights react to action in certain games.
The RGB lighting is just part of the appeal of the Razer Firefly V2, as you get a slim profile and hard surface with great accuracy for quick swipes and precise smaller movements. It also has a non-slip base to ensure it doesn’t budge even when the action gets heated. And while you’ll have to add another thing to plug into your PC, it doubles as a mouse bungee to keep your wired gaming mouse's cord out of the way.
Best Fast Gaming Mouse Pad
For a mouse that glides with ease, a glass mouse pad may be the way to go, and the Razer Atlas is the best. The $100 price tag might scare some, but the butter-smooth glass surface features 2μm texturing and is optimized for optical sensors. So, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a mouse that doesn’t track perfectly, while low static and dynamic friction ensures speedy movements.
You may be concerned about the durability of the Razer Atlas. Luckily, it's made of CNC-milled tempered glass that’ll hold up against a good deal of pressure. The surface is way easier to clean than a traditional mouse pad and has a protective coating to prevent scratches and dirt. With a 279 square-inch surface area, it’s also plenty big for all your wildest movements, and a rubber base keeps the pad firmly in place as you make them.
What to Look for in a Gaming Mouse Pad
Below we've broken down the various surface types most gaming mouse pads feature as well as some of the materials they’re usually made of. Shopping for the best gaming mouse pad might seem as simple as finding one that looks good to you and will fit in with your gaming setup, but there’s more to these mouse pads than you would think.
For starters, you’ll usually find that mouse pads will have either a smooth or rough surface, and these different types of textures cater to certain styles of play. You’ll find that most mouse pads made of cloth are a bit resistant and make it harder to quickly whip your mouse around. The main reason you’d want to slow down and limit your mouse movements is for better control in shooter-style games or other tasks that requires precision.
Outside of mouse pads made of fabric, you can also get the same experience from a hard mouse pad with a grainy or coarse texture. On the flip side, most hard mouse pads are designed to have a slick surface that makes it feel like your mouse is gliding on ice. The idea behind these low-tack surfaces is to make it easier for gamers to move their cursor from one side of the screen to the other as quickly and easily as possible, which comes in handy for real-time strategy games.
All hard mouse pads aren’t necessarily restricted to just having a slick surface either. Some manufacturers will also glue on a sheet of fabric or speckle the surface so it's grainy like sand to give users play space better suited for control.
As for what materials mouse pads are made of, it’s pretty straightforward. Cloth mouse pads are made of…well, cloth. Hard mouse pads, for the most part, are made of plastic, and usually of the polyethylene variety. Some manufacturers also make mouse pads out of metal, which helps make them extra sturdy and unquestionably flat. Alternatively, you might find other wilder options like tempered glass and acrylic.
Ultimately, getting any of these mouse pads is better than not having one at all, but think hard about the types of PC games you want to play before you make your final decision.
Kevin Lee is IGN's Hardware and Roundups Editor. Follow him on Twitter @baggingspam.