A great mouse mat is a must for gamers, reducing wear on wrists during hours of intensive play. Many modern ones use chemical coatings or specially engineered surfaces to improve sensor accuracy or reduce drag—a boon if you’re doing repetitive motion that requires high accuracy.

(Don’t mistake mouse mats for the smaller mouse pads, once an absolute necessity in the era of mechanical mice. Because optical and laser mice can work on so many different kinds of surfaces, the humble mouse pad has largely disappeared.) 

Plenty of mouse mat manufacturers exist, but few provide clarity or consistency in describing their products. For example, most don’t report how much friction you’ll encounter when using their mats with the most popular mice. To help you find the best mouse mat for your needs, we’ve tested several from a few different companies that represent a range of surface types (metal, plastic, or cloth) and usage cases (business or gaming).

Best gaming mouse pad

Cloth mouse pads tend to have a reputation for being flimsy, often tearing or coming apart easily. But the SteelSeries Dex is a standout. It’s hefty, with a textured cloth surface and a silicone underside that are tough enough survive machine washing.

Because its cloth top is almost rigid, the Dex doesn’t feel cheap or flop around. Even after a long bout of testing, we didn’t encounter any warping or tearing, as you’d expect with a standard cloth mousepad. And when it gets dirty, you can just put it through a standard wash cycle and presto—a clean pad.

Most importantly, mouse movement is smooth and consistent when using this mouse mat. There’s no detectable drag, and the pad stays put even during quick or excessive movements.

Runner-up

A solid aluminum pad with two different coatings, Corsair’s MM600 is the best of two worlds. You get a coarse side and a quick side, both of which are quite accurate and don’t interfere with mouse sensor readings. An additional benefit is that the polymer coating on both surfaces prevent the aluminum from becoming too hot or cold based on ambient temperature.

The only weakness of this mat is its use of four feet at the corners to hold it in place. If one doesn’t sit quite right, the pad can slide around during use. Otherwise, the design is nearly perfect—and it’s a lot cheaper than many higher-end competitors.



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