A wireless mouse can be an extremely useful device to pair up with laptops, tablets and even smartphones, while reducing clutter in your desktop setup.
A wireless mouse used to be a more expensive and less responsive alternative to its wired counterpart. Thankfully, the technology has advanced to the point where a cheap $15 wireless mouse can perform just as well as a wired one, without the inconvenience of any tangled cables.
There are two main ways a wireless mouse can connect to a device. The more common method is via a specific radio frequency transmitted from a USB receiver plugged into the computer or other device connected to the mouse. This method offers a more reliable connection, but is only possible if there is an available USB port. The other method, Bluetooth, is handy for mobile devices with no USB port. But be aware the mouse’s performance can suffer if too many Bluetooth-connected devices are nearby.
Wireless mouse buying guide
The mouse’s shape and design is just as important as the connection type. Whether you spend a lot of time with your mouse or not, an ergonomic design will help reduce wrist strain and alleviate pain resulting from carpal tunnel syndrome.
Ergonomically designed mice tend to look a little odd, with strange angles that wouldn’t look out of place on an alien spaceship. Yet they’re designed very purposefully, in such a way that you can reach every button on the device with little to no effort. This is especially useful for specialized mice with multiple buttons, but it can also make extended browsing sessions much more pleasant.
Models with six buttons or more will include some sort of software or app that lets you assign shortcuts to specific buttons, such as program-specific actions that usually take multiple clicks. Mice with RGB lighting can also be customized to display your favorite colors and patterns.
Here are some more factors to consider as you're browsing for a wireless mouse:
• Power source. Your mouse’s power source can have a big impact on your workflow. A rechargeable Lithium ion battery is great for avoiding a trip to the store, but requires charging at least once a day. Models that use AA or AAA batteries can go for up to a year before needing to be replaced, but they do entail an extra cost.
• Charging. If your mouse uses a rechargeable battery, there are different ways of getting it to full charge. Some models use a USB cable, which lets you continue using the mouse as it charges. Other models might use a wireless charge pad, similar to certain smartphone models. These are usually best for overnight charging, since you can’t use the mouse while it sits on the charge pad. Cradle-style chargers exist too, but they also prevent you from using the mouse while it charges.
• Customizable settings. If your mouse is used for specialized tasks (gaming, graphic design, added productivity), a model with special apps and software can be invaluable. Some mice with several buttons (six or more) come with included software that allows you to customize what each button does. This is particularly useful for creating shortcuts to actions that would normally involve several clicks and/or keyboard inputs.
• Sensitivity. Gaming and certain types of computer work (such as graphic design) often require pointer speeds above what a standard mouse can deliver. Mouse sensitivity is measured in dots per inch (dpi), quantifying how many pixels your pointer will travel if you move your mouse an inch in any given direction. While the average work mouse will be set at 900 dpi, productivity and gaming mice can go as high as 20,000 dpi, though anything over 10,000 dpi could be considered overkill for most users.
Best wireless mouse
1. Best overall: Razer Pro Click Humanscale Wireless Mouse
Anyone in the market for a work-focused productivity mouse that can handle a little gaming on the side will want to look a the Razer Pro Click. The sleek and discreet profile would not look out of place in an office, but its eight customizable buttons and 16,000 dpi sensitivity can handle serious graphic design work as well as high-end gaming.
Like many specialized mice, it sports a rechargeable Lithium-ion battery that can be charged via USB cord. It also has the option for both Bluetooth and USB receiver connections, allowing for up to four connected devices.
Button customization is handled through Razer’s proprietary software, which might be troublesome if you can't install outside programs on your work computer. However, settings carry over from device to device, allowing for setup to be done on a home computer, instead.
2. Editor's pick: Logitech ERGO M575 Wireless Trackball Mouse
If a standard mouse is putting too much strain on your wrists, but you don’t want to splurge on a dedicated productivity or gaming mouse, Logitech’s ERGO M575 is a good compromise. It has only the essential buttons needed for mouse operation (left/right click, a scroll wheel and page forward and backward buttons), and it replaces the typical optical sensor on the bottom with what’s known as a trackball. The trackball allows you to control the mouse pointer without moving your wrists in uncomfortable positions.
Because you don't have to move the mouse to move the pointer, the M575 also has a weighted plate on the bottom that can be used to prop up the mouse into a more natural angle for your wrist. This model can connect either via USB or Bluetooth and uses a single AA battery for power, which can last up to 24 months.
Its main shortcoming is that, like every other Logitech mouse, it only comes in right-handed models.
3. Best productivity mouse: Logitech MX Master 3 Advanced Wireless Mouse
Productivity-focused mice can be overwhelming to newcomers due to the large number of buttons and customization options they have. The MX Master 3 is a great introduction to these models due to its emphasis on large, distinct buttons and multiple preset layouts.
It sports an USB receiver for dedicated connections, but it’s also Bluetooth-capable. This makes switching between multiple devices a breeze.
Though the design is very accommodating, the MX Master 3 is larger than average in size, which might not suit users who prefer a more discreet profile. Two scrolling wheels make side scrolling more comfortable, eliminating the need for awkward finger movements. For all its usefulness, the connection quality suffers when spread across multiple devices, which can be a little frustrating, especially in a productivity-focused mouse.
4. Best gaming mouse: Razer Basilisk Ultimate HyperSpeed Wireless Gaming Mouse
Gaming mice come in a variety of models tailored for different game genres. Though designed specifically for the first-person shooter genre of video games, the Razer Basilisk Ultimate can be customized to fit almost any game and still double as a competent productivity mouse.
The main draw is its 20,000 dpi sensitivity, which helps for faster cursor/camera movements in games that depend on twitch reflexes.
In terms of general features, the Basilisk Ultimate has 11 buttons, of which 9 can be customized. One of these buttons is a dpi switch, which helps adjust the mouse’s sensitivity without having to go into the settings menu. Like any gaming mouse worth its salt, the Basilisk Ultimate has an impressive 14 points of customizable RGB lighting, making it easy to accessorize with your gaming battle station’s own RGB color scheme.
Unlike productivity-focused models, the Basilisk Ultimate does not connect via Bluetooth. Instead it uses a USB dongle for maximum signal strength. It also has a bundled version that includes a wireless charging dock that also has customizable RGB lighting. The Basilisk Ultimate may have a higher price tag (over $50), but it will be the only mouse a serious gamer needs for a long time to come.