Best Gaming Mousepad – The Ultimate Guide
A gaming mousepad can be compared to the tires of a race car if you’re asking us. You can have the fastest car on the circuit with the best driver behind the wheel, but if you slap a pair of old and worn out tires underneath the car you won’t be seeing a lot of wins. The mousepad is a piece of kit that’s often ignored by the more casual gaming audience, but that really shouldn’t be the case. There are many different pads out there, all with different specifications and characteristics, so it’s definitely a good idea to find one that matches your preferences and playing style. You’ll not only increase your personal playing comfort but you’ll also increase your performance.
To help you with your search we’ve been taking a look at our analyzed professionals across all of our games, and we used that data to create a list of five popular pro pads. We have also supplemented this list with five of our own picks, so there should be something here for everyone. In this article we’ll go over the features and specifications of each mousepad so that you can make an informed decision on your next purchase. So whether you’re in the market for a new pad or you’re just looking to learn more about the available options; we’ve got you covered!
Gaming Mousepad Advantages
Perhaps the most important advantage is that these gaming mousepads are made for, well… gaming. They have been carefully designed to offer a smooth and reliable gliding experience. They’re designed for optimal tracking, so they have a playing surface with little to no irregularities, which will not only ensure a consistent and even mousing experience but will also ensure that the sensor in your mouse tracks whatever you’re doing accurately at all times. We don’t have to tell you how important it is for your gameplay that your mouse can accurately track your movements, so if you’re playing games where precision and consistency is even a tiny bit important it’s already a good idea to go for a gaming mousepad.
It doesn’t end there, however. There are tons of different kinds of gaming mousepads out there, so there’s bound to be one for you. Do you prefer a fast glide on a thin hard pad? You’ve got it. Do you want a thick pad with a very controlling feeling to rein in your wild swipes a bit? You can have that. It might not seem like it at first sight, but there can be a tremendous difference in gliding characteristics between two pads that, from afar, look the same. Getting a playing surface that matches your own needs can definitely improve your performance. Gaming pads also come in larger sizes, whereas most consumer-grade mousepads are barely big enough for even the highest sensitivity players.
Lastly there’s also the fact that a gaming mousepad is generally better for the long term health of your mouse. If you’ve got yourself a shiny new gaming mouse you don’t want to be sanding down the feet of your mouse by sliding it around on a wooden desk or a plastic cutting board you’ve found in the kitchen, for example.
All in all, the advantages seem clear to us. If you’re even a bit serious about your gaming it’s a great idea to get yourself a nice pad to really complete your setup.
Top 5 Mousepads for Competitive Gaming
This list is, as we mentioned before, based on what the professionals are using. We bundled together various variations of the same pad into one entry, however. Plenty of professionals use a special customized version of a certain pad with a team logo or gamer tag on the surface, but those pads are essentially all the same when it comes to the overall specifications and performance. These special colorways and personal editions usually have the logos and names added to the pad by sublimation, so the glide isn’t affected at all.
What you’ll see here is that most pros are using fairly large mouse pads, at least when compared to regular office mats. That’s because the overall sensitivity/eDPI of pro (shooter) players is way lower than that of most casual gamers. This gives them way more control over their aim and overall just makes for a more consistent and reliable aiming experience when compared to extremely high sensitivities where it’s nearly impossible to make any micro adjustments to the aiming reticle. Even if you feel like you don’t need a large mousepad we would recommend getting one if you have the space for it; it’s always better to have some spare space for your mouse movements than to have to run into the edge of your playing surface in the heat of battle.
MOST USED MANUFACTURERS
1. Zowie G-SR
People often think that all cloth mousepads have the exact same glide, but that’s a common misconception. The Zowie G-SR is living proof of that. When compared to (most) other cloth gaming mousepads this one offers a very controlling glide with a pretty large amount of surface friction. This won’t please everyone (then again, no product does) but it is a great option for people who have a tendency to use large, aggressive swipes or for gamers who often find themselves overshooting their target.
It’s a medium thickness (3mm) pad with stitched edges and a rubber base so that it never moves around when you’re swiping around. Due to the very specific gliding experience it’s perfect for people who are looking for a bit more control from their mousepad, and the stellar quality and stitched edges will ensure that this pad lasts you for years and years. It does require a bit of maintenance though, so you’ll need to wash it quite often if you want to keep that fresh gliding experience.
This is the best option for people who don’t like fast gaming pads, and it’s also warmly recommended for gamers who are often traveling as it’s plenty durable.
2. SteelSeries QcK+
The SteelSeries QcK+ is one of the most widely used gaming mousepads, not only in the pro circuit but also in the more casual scene. Most gear enthusiasts will probably have used this mousepad one way or another throughout their gaming careers, and it makes sense. The QcK+ doesn’t really offer anything special such as stitched edges or a crazy glide, but that’s arguably what makes it so popular.
It’s a basic pad that’s very friendly on your wallet and offers a very average glide when it comes to control vs. speed, so it’s unlikely to offend anyone. This is a great choice if you’re looking to buy your first gaming mousepad and you’re unsure what your preferences are when it comes to these kinds of things. The thickness of just 2 millimeters is nice for that seamless transition between desk and pad, but it can become a problem when used on rougher desks, so be wary of that. If you’ve got a rocky surface you should look towards the SteelSeries QcK Heavy further down this list.
3. Logitech G640
The Logitech standard
The G640 is Logitech’s ‘standard’ gaming mousepad. It’s got a middling thickness of 3mm, no stiched edges (at least not on the regular version; there are team versions for sale that do have stitched edges) and a medium to fast glide which is quite similar to what you’ll find on the QcK line.
This pad as such isn’t very remarkable or unique, but that doesn’t take anything away from this product. It’s a reliable gaming surface that requires very little maintenance to keep in top gliding shape, and thanks to the thickness it’s also gonna be a good option for people who are often playing away from home on unpredictable surfaces.
This is another great option for people who aren’t quite sure what they prefer when it comes to mousepads, as it’s very much a ‘middle of the road’ option.
4. SteelSeries QcK Heavy
A thicker QcK+
In our entry for the QcK+ we mentioned that it might not be an ideal pad to use on rougher surfaces due to the fact that it’s pretty thin at 2 millimeters, so the QcK Heavy is the answer to your woes if you’ve got a rocky playing surface to deal with.
Coming in at an impressive 6 millimeters in thickness it’s one of the thicker pads out there, and certainly the thickest pad in this list. This is great news for LAN gaming enthusiasts, as it’ll cover up all but the most insanely uneven surfaces so that you don’t have to worry about anything when gaming away from your home, but not everyone will love the feeling that this kind of height on a pad gives you.
Aside from that the QcK Heavy has exactly the same characteristics as the thinner QcK+. Some people note that the Heavy feels a little slower, but that’s probably because the pad is so thick that the mouse feet get ‘buried’ in the material a bit if you tend to press down hard on your mouse, which can make it feel like a slower pad.
This is a good option for people who have an uneven desk, and for people who like to game away from their own desk a lot.
5. HyperX Fury S Pro
The medium option
The HyperX Fury S Pro offers a medium glide (which puts it right between the G-SR and the other pads on this list) but it doesn’t really start off that way. Initially, the Fury S Pro has a bit of a faster glide but that fades after a certain while, making it a bit slower. This isn’t something that’s bad by any means (unless you happen to love the glide that this one offers out of the box, in which case you’ll find yourself having to buy a new one every once in a while) but it is kind of a strange quirk, doubly so because washing the pad doesn’t seem to get that initial feeling back.
Aside from that the Fury S Pro is definitely a great pad, and it’s one of the better ones to get if you are often traveling. With its 4 millimeters of thickness it doesn’t quite reach that presence that can make the likes of the QcK Heavy annoying to use for some people, but it’s more than thick enough to be reliably used on most reasonable playing surfaces.
The HyperX Fury S Pro is the one to go for if you’re looking for something with a slightly more controlling glide than the other pads on this list, while not being as controlling as the Zowie G-SR. Thanks to the stitched edges and 4mm thickness it’s also an ideal pad for LAN enthusiasts.
Best Mousepad for Competitive Gaming – Conclusion
You’ll probably have noticed that all the pads that we’ve listed so far are cloth pads. That’s because there are a lot more options to choose from in cloth pads due to their popularity (though one could argue this would change if pros started going for hard pads) and also because of the fact that a hard pad is much more difficult to take along with you, especially if you want a larger pad like the pros do.
Aside from that we see a variety of different gliding qualities here. The G-SR is a very controlling pad, for instance, while the QcK line is much faster with less friction. As such, if you want to go by what the pros use you’ll want to go for a large cloth pad, with thickness and glide being the factors that are up to personal preference.
We know that not only aspiring professionals read our guides, and that different people have different preferences. That’s why we’ve gathered our staff to come up with five additional picks to cover the ‘gaps’ that have been left by the pro picks. We tried to include something for everyone here, ranging from ultra thin pads to massive desk-covering gaming rugs, so you should be able to find something that you like in this article. We also tried to go for picks that are commonly available. There are tons of smaller brands out there making great mousepads, but in the interest of keeping it accessible for everyone we went for options that are a bit more mainstream.
The best overall gaming mousepad
The Zowie G-SR-SE is among the most popular mousepads with the pros (in fact it just barely missed the cutoff to make it to that list) and since our staff are all big fans of this particular pad we felt like it shouldn’t be excluded from this article.
The Zowie G-SR-SE isn’t just a recolor of the G-SR. It’s a completely different pad with a completely different feeling. It’s less controlling than the regular G-SR, and thanks to its very tightly packed foam base it offers an extremely smooth and interesting gliding experience. It’s definitely not as fast as some other pads on this list (we’d classify it as ‘medium glide’ ourselves) but the mixture between control and speed really sits well with us, and we’re confident that a lot of gamers out there would feel the same.
Thanks to the tightly packed foam and thickness of 3.5 millimeters it also performs extremely well on rougher surfaces, which means that you can also take this on the road without having to worry too much. Do note that Zowie has also released a Divina version of the G-SR-SE, but aside from the colors the Divina versions are exactly the same.
SteelSeries QcK Prism
Best RGB mousepad
Looks aren’t important for competitive gaming performance, but if you’ve got a nice coordinated setup going on it’s always nice to finish it up with some RGB shimmer. While this obviously doesn’t give you any performance benefits at all we also felt like it was important to make sure that an RGB pad doesn’t limit your performance either. The QcK Prism delivers in that sense; it has the same texture that the renowned QcK line offers, but with added RGB illumination strips to the sides.
The Prism is also available in a larger version, so you can safely get this product if you’re a lower sensitivity player. While the fully programmable RGB lighting on this pad will be an unnecessary addition for most players we included this one because it delivers on the eye candy aspect as well as on the performance aspect, so it’s a viable option for RGB fanatics.
Best desk size mousepad
Having a large mousepad on your desk is all well and good, but you don’t know freedom until you’ve tried a pad that covers your entire desk and then some, depending on your desk size. The Glorious 3XL with it’s 122×61 cm size is large enough to use as a sleeping mat for a small child, but it’s anything but a gimmicky product.
The 3XL (this same pad is available in more conservative sizes as well, by the way) offers a very nice medium to fast gliding experience that can effortlessly stand up to what some of the more mainstream brands are offering. The fact that you never run out of surface to mouse around on is also a special feeling in and of itself, so if you’re a very low sensitivity player or you’re of the opinion that you just cannot have enough space for your mouse this is a dream come true for you.
This obviously isn’t an ideal traveling pad (unless you use it as a blanket on the plane or whatever) but having your entire desk covered in mousepad does look pretty cool, and the glide and performance of the 3XL is fantastic to boot.
Best hard mousepad
Most gamers these days are using cloth mousepads, but there are obviously still those who prefer a hard pad. The Logitech G440 is a great option if you’re one of those aforementioned people. It’s not the largest mousepad in the world (at 26×34 cm) so super low sensitivity players should probably be wary here, but aside from that it checks all the boxes. The polypropylene top provides that trademark fast glide with little friction that you want if you’re a fan of hard pads, while the rubber base ensures that the G440 stays put when you’re gaming. With a thickness of 3mm it’s also unlikely to offend anyone, so all in all this is a great option for fans of hard pads.
Best ultra thin mousepad
This is the second time that Glorious pops up in our staff picks list, and the fact of the matter is that they fully deserve the two spots. The Glorious Helios not only is one of the thinnest pads out there at the moment (coming in at 0.5 millimeters of thickness) but it’s also one of the only hard pads on the market that’s available in a large size.
If you’re looking for an ultra thin pad and/or a large hard pad this is one of your only options at this point in time, but rest assured that it won’t disappoint. The Helios offers a nice and speedy, low friction glide and the fact that it’s almost imperceptible when you’re using it makes for a unique experience. The bottom is covered with an adhesive so that your Helios doesn’t end up in the corner of your room once you do an aggressive swipe, and that adhesive does what it promises to do without leaving any traces on whatever surface you’ve decided to put it on.
This isn’t the best pad for gamers who are often moving around, but if you’re in the market for a (large) and ultra thin hard pad you absolutely need to take a look at this one.
Best Gaming Mousepad – Conclusion
Mousepads come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, and it’s mainly up to you to figure out which one is going to be right for you. All of the pads in this article are going to be doing exactly what they need to do when it comes to performance (i.e. they don’t slide around or have a surface that starts to bundle up after a couple of hours) so it’s mainly a job of figuring out what suits you. If you’re completely unsure we would recommend you to go for a nice middle-of-the-road cloth pad to start out with.
As a little side note: the glide of cloth pads can be affected by a number of factors, including how clean the surface is, the humidity in the air, and the age of the pad. As such it can be quite hard to rank the gliding experience of similar pads. Therefore it’s possible that person A would rank a certain pad to be faster than person B would, and it’s also why we try to be as ‘broad’ as possible when ranking the gliding experience of these pads. Nevertheless, there should be an option in here for everyone regardless of your preferences, so hopefully this guide has been informative for you.
Thanks for reading!