Modern wireless mouse and pad on wooden background
Last updated: June 20, 2020

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The technology surrounding computers and computer accessories changes so rapidly it’s hard to keep up. This is as true of computers as it is things like computer mice, which are still a primary feature of most desktops. What about mouse pads?

Just as with computer mice, there have been plenty of advances in mousepad design and technology over the last several years. Mouse pads very, and people have different needs, which is why we have put the following guide together.

Key Facts

  • A mouse pad is something which helps you use a computer mouse in the easiest and most efficient way possible. The astronomical increase in popularity of video games has completely revolutionised the mouse pad, with products that are now specifically designed for gaming.
  • Things like office work also require certain special ergonomically-designed mouse pads in order to avoid repetitive stress injuries on the hands and wrists.
  • The materials which mouse pads are made from determine how easy it is to slide the mouse and its speed. The proper mouse mad is a must-have for gamers but is almost useless if you don’t have a good mouse to go with it. The opposite is also true, so you need to do your homework before buying either of these important computer accessories.

The best mouse pads on the Canadian market

In the gaming world, it is essential to use a good mouse pad for optimum speed, but it is also important to help to protect the wrist in many situations, including in the office. The below compilation is a collection of five of the best mouse pads on the Canadian market, including gaming and non-gaming, with value-for-money at the forefront.

SteelSeries – QcK Gaming Surface

SteelSeries QcK Gaming Surface is a smooth cloth surface that is made for precision gliding and movements to keep you accurate and consistent throughout the entire game. The non-slip rubber base on this mouse pad prevents slipping so you can game confidently. This pad measures nearly three feet long so it gives you more than enough space for long sweeping movements, and you very rarely, if ever have to readjust your position and take yourself out of the action.

This is a desk-sized mouse pad so there is ample room for pretty much all of your peripherals. The cloth is 4mm thick and is beloved by Canadian gamers (and gamers around the world). This pad will lay completely flat on your desk or gaming surface and will give you precision movements you didn’t even know were possible with non-gaming mouse pads. For the price, this is one of the best gaming mousepads on the market and one that you will love using as soon as you have it out of the box.

3M – Precise Mouse Pad With Gel Wrist Rest

3M makes a wide range of office and computer accessories and supplies that their Precise Mouse Pad With Gel Wrist Rest provides optimum ergonomic comfort and effortless gliding all at the same time. This mouse pad is even capable of extending the battery life of a wireless mouse by up to 75 per cent. This mouse pad facilitates neutral posture and helps combat the growth of bacteria. The non-skid base means no slipping and sliding around while you game or browse, and the textured surface makes for amazing mouse tracking.

When you have surfaces designed to enhance the precision of optical mice, you reduce the amount of energy required to scroll across the page. If you work in an office and are worried that repetitive movements are going to end up causing joint pain and even something like carpal tunnel, then you need the 3M Precise Mouse Pad With Gel Wrist Rest to help take the pressure off your hands, wrists, and joints. This is a reasonably large mouse pad measuring 8.7 x 9.2 inches.

 Vornnex – Ergonomic Memory Foam Mouse Pad

Vornnex’s Ergonomic Memory Foam Mouse Pad has stitched edges for extra durability, meaning you will get a longer life out of this product than with comparable non-stitched ones. The gel rest at the base of the pad allows your wrist to rest comfortably on top, taking off strain and minimizing the chance of repetitive stress injury. The non-skid base is made of natural rubber, so it stays firmly gripped to the desktop with no need for constant and annoying readjustment.

The smooth, breathable, lightweight memory foam cushions your hand and wrist while not making them sweaty. This is made to be used with a wide range of different computer mice and is large enough to be good for daily use. Whether you need something for work or for gaming, this ample mousepad with great ergonomic features will let you sit at your desk and computer for hours. If you don’t want to suffer from wrist pain, you need a mouse pad like this.

Corsair – MM300 Gaming Mouse Pad

Corsair’s MM300 Gaming Mouse Pad gives you a textile weave that provides precision and control the likes of which you probably haven’t seen before. Available in extended, medium and small sizes, and anti-fray and control-cloth surfaces, this mouse pad is tailor-made for superior gaming experiences. You get pixel-perfect targeting with this pad that lets you position your cursor down to the millimetre. The stitched edges are high quality and made to ensure there is no peeling that can end up rendering a mouse pad useless.

Having to constantly readjust a mouse pad while you’re playing can mean the difference between success and failure, and the MM300’s anti-skid rubber base ensures this mouse pad stays where you need it. The 370mm x 270mm surface gives you ample room for sweeping movements, as well as shorter precision ones, so you don’t need to worry about having to move off the pad in order to do what you want to do and go where you want to go. You can play for hours at a time with this mousepad without feeling fatigued.

Razer – Sphex V2

Razer’s Sphex V2 is an optimized gaming surface with polycarbonate finish that gives you ample space and amazing texture for precision tracking and movements. This mousepad was made with gamer specifications in mind, and the anti-slip base and the extra-fine fabric texture makes even the most delicate movements easily executed. Whether you use an optical or a laser mouse, this mouse pad is designed to enhance the performance of either and take your gaming to a whole new level.

It comes in either standard or mini, the latter of which is easy to take with you on the go. Once you get used to this mousepad it will be hard to use anything else. This mousepad was made for gamers by gamers, and the polycarbonate surface is as good as it gets in the world of gaming. It is durable, weighs only 51 grams, and measures 355 x 254mm, giving you the right amount of surface area to game comfortably. It is also, importantly, not a noisy mousepad so you can game in silence when need be.

Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about mouse pads

Can you remember what the old mousepads were like? The modern ones are certainly much different (and better) than the standard 20 cm squared ones that first hit the market. Whether you game or work in an office, most people demand an ergonomic mouse pad. Below are some of the most commonly asked consumer questions.

 man looking at a computer screen, thinking about the job at hand

You may not need a mouse pad if you work in an office, unless you’re a professional gamer.
(Source: Rui Santos: 19877100/123rf.com)

What is a mouse pad exactly?

A mouse pad is a supportive or bounded surface on which the computer mouse rests. It is made to help optimize mouse movements for precision and speed on your monitor and track perfectly with the cursor.

Are mouse pads known by other names?

As was previously mentioned, a mouse pad is basically a mat upon which your mouse rests. Some gamers refer to it as a “pad” or a “gaming mouse pad” however these are all essentially the same thing.

Blank mat and wireless mouse on textured background

Not all mousepads were created with gaming in mind.(Source: Belchonock: 97804727/ 123rf.com)

Is it really necessary to use a mouse pad?

The answer to this will be dictated by what you do on your computer. Some people who are used to laptops are fine just using the touchpad. Some gamers are happy to use the surface of their desk, even it does not produce the same kind of results as a good quality gaming mouse pad does.

Paul EhrlichAnonymous

“To err is human, but to really mess up you need a computer”.

What are the benefits of using a mouse pad?

A good mouse pad with an ergonomic wrist rest can help you avoid repetitive stress injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome. Some gamers also confirm that a good mouse pad can be key to success in online games. Mousepads also offer other benefits, like improved accuracy, faster movements, better grip, and, depending on the material, a cleaner surface that lets your mouse track better. Here are the key advantages:

  • Agility: This means a mouse slides easier and tracks the movement of the cursor on the screen more exactly.
  • Grip: Grip allows the mouse to move over the surface more efficiently, resulting in greater accuracy of movements.
  • Eliminate dust: Typical polyester (plastic) mouse pads are generally ideal for optical mice and for eliminating dust particles.
  • Resting joints: Mouse pads that feature gel-filled wrist rests are great for creating more comfortable gaming and browsing experiences.
  • Gamers mouse pads: Mouse pads designed for gaming have special surfaces which track better, and are much longer and wider for sweeping movements.
  • Less wear: Larger gaming mouse pads means your mouse hits the desk less and is easier on your mouse in the long run.

Do I need a large mouse pad for office work?

Not necessarily. Innovations in the gaming world are being introduced in other professions especially those that require long hours of computer work. Office work typically relies a lot on keyboard shortcuts which minimize the amount of mouse work involved.

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If you need a mouse to work of game you are going to need a good mouse pad.

Why is a mouse pad important for gamers?

A mouse pad brings control and speed to the game but will not help you win a competition if you do not have a good mouse. It is necessary to have a mouse with a high DPI (dots per inch) rating, as DPI translates to higher sensitivity and more accuracy.

Mice with higher DPI don’t need to move as much in order for the movement to register on the screen. In addition, when you acquire a mouse you should also look at the response time, as well as its functions and weight.

Blank mat and wireless mouse on wooden background

The one thing nearly all mouse pads have in common is that they are suitable for web browsing. (Source: Serezniy: 110477251/123rf.com)

Is it worth it to buy a gaming mouse pad?

If you are a gamer, then absolutely yes, it is completely worth it. With the arrival of the optical and the laser mouse the old-fashioned mouse, using a ball tracker, have become outdated. Many of these accessories are tailor-made for gaming and will not function unless you have the right mouse pad.

These mousepads are specially made to increase the mouse’s sensitivity and response. It is also important that the mouse pad is wide, robust and comfortable to provide for uniform and fast movement.

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If you are really serious about gaming in Canada, it is possible to find mouse pads that will run you at least a hundred dollars or more.

What types of mousepads can you find on the market

Type of mouse pad Advantages Disadvantages
Fabric More budget-friendly

Are compatible with all types of mouse.

The fabric distributes the pressure of the mouse, making the movement easy.

It’s better to go for the ones with stitched profiles

Cloth ones stain easily and are not always washable.

Can deteriorate over time, and are not always accurate enough for gamers.

Plastic Better glide and movement compared to fabric mouse pads.

More durable.

Easier to clean.

Deteriorate with use, particularly when there is a lot of friction. Can also become deformed.

Gel crystal More precise and allows rapid, easy movement.

If looked after, the material does not wear out.

Easy to clean.

It is possible to get involuntary or unintended movements because of the ease of movement with this kind of mouse pad.

Due to its fragility, gel crystal mouse pads can break and are not the best for laser sensors.

Aluminium Ideal for those looking for speed and precision.

More expensive than fabric mouse pads but are long-lasting.

Keep cool in summer but are cold in winter.

Can be a bit noisy, especially if you work or play in silence.

What kind of maintenance does a mouse pad require?

Aside from regular cleaning, there are some maintenance things you can do to extend the life of your mouse pad. This includes washing your hands before using your computer and keeping food and liquids away from it. This is what you should now about mousepad cleaning:

  • Clean your mouse pad frequently: The underside of the mouse can accumulate dirt from the mouse pad, hence the importance of cleaning it.
  • Wash your hands before using your mouse: This makes sense because your hands can be quite dirty after a day of walking around, riding public transportation etc.
  • Food and drinks near your mouse pad: Many people eat while at their computer and if you do it’s a good idea to frequently spot clean the area to get rid of errant crumbs. They could be picked up by the mouse. Drinks and liquids are always hazardous to keep around your computer (or anything electronic). If you get your mouse pad wet, wipe it down immediately.
Woman using computer mouse with laptop on table

You need your mouse to be highly sensitive to movement.(Source: Belchonock: 97712064/123rf.com)

How do you clean a mouse pad?

Cleaning will  depend on the material it is made of as it will differ between plastic and cloth mouse pads. You will need to take a different approach to clean plastic versus fabric mouse pads. The below table lays out what you should do to keep your mouse pad looking brand new:

Type of mouse pad How to clean it
Fabric Rub in a soapy solution of water and shampoo or dishwashing liquid.

Rinse and air dry. Alternatively, you can pop it in the washing machine.

Plastic Similar to a cloth mouse pad, make a soapy solution, then wipe gently with a cloth.

The same if it has a gel pad. Moisten, rub gently, rinse and let air dry before using again.

Aluminium Make a soapy water solution, with cold or lukewarm water. Then rinse with plenty of water.

Dry the mouse pad. Finally, take a drop of oil and polish the surface with a cloth for a while.

Gel crystal In this case, use a glass cleaner. If not available you can also use a bit of alcohol and a cloth.

Shopping criteria

If you are still on the fence about a new mouse pad, you should know how to evaluate the options out there before buying one. If, however, you are an experienced gamer, you already know pretty much everything there is to know about mouse pads. Below are the most important criteria to keep in mind when buying one:

Intended use

As we touched on earlier, to get the right mouse pad you have to first know what you’re using it for – gaming or office work. If you are using it in the office, then an ergonomic design with a built-in gel pad is essential for keeping your wrist happy. If you are a gamer, then you want to look for the right surface material, as well as ample surface area.

Additionally, if you are a competitive gamer you are going to need not only a great mouse pad, but a top-of-the-line mouse as well. This means more money spent, but most gamers are willing to put the cash down if they think it will make them more likely to win.

Wireless Computer Mouse on mouse mat isolated on white background

Mouse pads might not seem necessary, but they can make using a computer or laptop so much more effective.
(Source: Alexlmx: 46047583/123rf.com)

Surface

Surface matters big time if you’re a gamer. Gaming experts also contend that you shouldn’t buy mouse pads with bright colours, because optical mice pick it up as interference and you can experience irregular jumps. It is equally important to not get a mouse pad that has a highly reflective surface.

Material

The material will be dictated by the kind of mouse you use, either to work in the office or to compete. Glass and aluminium pads are ideal for gamers because they maximize speed and control, but fabric works well for beginners and is suitable for most office purposes.

Size

A mouse pad’s size is crucial because it dictates how far you can move the mouse across the screen with a single movement. Speed is a key feature of computer games, so being able to make rapid sweeping movements is important. A bigger size can also be useful if you are a draftsman, graphic designer or architect, among other professions.

Thickness

You must also have a thick enough mouse pad that any interference from the surface below doesn’t get in the way of the tracking. If you are looking for a mouse pad for gaming, you’re going to want something that is at least 2mm thick. The most competitive players usually go for something that is at least 5mm thick.

Summary

Until just a few years ago, most mousepads were just there to sit the mouse on top of and usually only measured about 20 cm x 20 cm. The explosion of video games and competitive gaming, however, changed all that. Mouse pads are now vital computer accessories and most people wouldn’t dream of not using one.

Gamers especially need a good mouse pad to help give them a competitive edge. It is important to get a mouse pad that is both high-quality and is compatible with the mouse you use (particularly its sensor). Modern mice are designed to be used on mouse pads, so do yourself a favour and get a good quality one.

If you enjoyed this guide to mouse pads and found it helpful, share it with your friends and family on social media. Additionally, you can leave a comment in the below section and tell us what you think!

(Source of the featured image: Belchonock: 97712254/ 123rf.com)

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