How to Buy a Mouse

The time has come for you to buy a new mouse and after a little time shopping you’re overwhelmed by the amount of options. If you’re a gamer you want something with lots of features and great performance. Working from home demands something comfortable that won’t leave you with shooting pains in your arm. Buying a mouse based on what you need is far better than buying a mouse that looks good.

Instead of getting technical I’m going to talk about the different activities and offer some advice for choosing a good mouse. Going through all the different features and brands would take forever. If a section doesn’t apply to you then feel free to skip it.

Buying a Everyday Mouse

Black wireless mouse and dongleIf you’re a casual computer user you might not care about what mouse you use. That’s alright. You don’t have to over analyze every technology purchase especially when a basic mouse is so cheap these days. The only real considerations you might want to think about are the following:

  • Wireless: Buying a wireless mouse is a good choice if you want a clean desktop or if you’re pairing it with a laptop. The downside of course is having to replace batteries or recharge the mouse. If you’re using a desktop computer I would recommend using a wired mouse to avoid the extra hassles.
  • Buttons: The standard three button mouse is great for everyday tasks but a few more buttons are handy. A five button mouse with the thumb buttons on the side make browsing the web quicker and more enjoyable. Buying a mouse with extra buttons doesn’t cost much more either so give it a try.
  • Brand: The market is flooded with brands offering flashy looking, cheap mice. Don’t waste your money. Lots of them will only last a few months and you can get name brand mice for the same money. Stick to a brand with a good reputation and you’ll be enjoying your mouse for a long time.
  • Price: You can buy a mouse that’s good quality for under ten dollars. I wouldn’t spend any more than twenty for a mouse that’s just for web browsing and occasional use.

Buying a Work Mouse

Black mouse with red wheelWorking all day at a computer can put a lot of strain on your hands and wrists. Buying a quality mouse can make a world of difference for you and make you more efficient. I’ll cover some of the different options that are great for using as a work mouse.

  • Regular Mouse: A quality, five button mouse with an ergonomic design is great option. Buy a major brand so you know it’s going to last with all the use it’s going to get. Luckily there are lots of choices in this area under twenty dollars. If you don’t like it after some use you can easily buy something else without breaking the bank.
  • Trackball: Some people swear by trackball mice. Instead of moving the mouse you roll a ball with your finger which means less strain on your body. They are also more precise for detail work like photo-editing and 3D modeling. Trackballs are more expensive but worth the investment if it helps you with your work.
  • Vertical Mouse: Unlike the traditional mouse where you lay your hand flat on the mouse, vertical mice are designed in a more natural way for your hand. They are weird at first but for office work they can greatly reduce repetitive motion stress.
  • Price: Spending more for a work mouse pays off in the long run. Comfort and durability are huge considerations when you’re going to be using your mouse for eight hours a day.
  • Personally, the editors here like the Microsoft Comfort series of mice, like this Microsoft Comfort Mouse 4000, sold at Amazon.

Buying a Gaming Mouse

Gaming mouse with all the bells and whistlesHigh level gaming demands the best equipment to gain an edge over your opponents. You need lots of features and quality as well to gain those crucial milliseconds that mean life of death. The gaming mouse market has exploded in recent years with tons of new brands and models. Deciding on which gaming mouse to buy is a big challenge but think about the following:

  • Brand: There are some big name brands that are big for a reason. Their attention to quality and good features have set them apart from the rest. These are more expensive, true but it’s worth it. You’ll see lots of cheap ‘gaming’ mice that look great but are a waste of time. Sure they look like the big name mice but they are made with inferior parts. They won’t last long and have disappointing performance. Basically they’re out there to grab casual gamers who want something cool looking on their desktop.
  • DPI: A good gaming mouse will have a high DPI rating or an adjustable DPI. DPI stands for Dots Per Inch. This is a rating of how precise the laser is at tracking movement and the higher the better. This translates to smoother movements and more accurate shots. Better DPI comes from better lasers which mean a higher cost.
  • Variable Weight / Configuration: Some of the craziest gaming mice out there have adjustable parts so you can fine tune them to fit your hand. You can also adjust the weight and weight distribution to fine tune the overall feel. A good quality adjustable configuration mouse can cost quite a bit so it’s not for the casual gamer. I wouldn’t recommend getting one of these unless you are serious about your gaming.
  • Software: Buying a good gaming mouse will also snag you companion software that helps your computer properly utilize all the features. This is what separates the real gaming gear from the cheap stuff. This software will help you fine tune how the mouse operates and even help you configure it for different games. You’ll be surprised when you buy cheap gaming mouse and buttons don’t work because your computer won’t recognize them. Companion software ensures you’re getting everything you’re paying for.
  • Price: Buying a good gaming mouse can put you back a pretty penny. Entry level you should expect to pay around fifty dollars. You can go up from there for more features and better quality. If you buy a ‘gaming’ mouse for under twenty dollars you’re not going to get anything of quality and be disappointed.