Last Updated on January 5, 2020 by Aether
Do you need a mousepad for gaming? Yes, you do. Read on to find out why.
When I bought my first PC in the mid 90’s, the computer mice were completely different to how they are now. They were bulky, often heavy, and contained a trackball inside. To use a trackball mouse without a mousepad would be a total disaster.
Thankfully, those horrendous mice are a thing of the past. Today, almost all computer mice are built around optical sensors and lasers. For the regular user, optical sensors are very forgiving when it comes to what surfaces they are placed on. However, if you’re a PC gamer, you may be thinking whether or not you actually need one. As you can imagine, precision and fluid movement are paramount for gaming.
Comfort, precision and protection
Comfort, precision and protection are three very important reasons as to why you’ll be wanting a pad or mat for your mouse.
Spending long periods of time moving your wrist forward, backwards, left and right can cause irritation and strain to your wrist if it’s pressed up against an unsuitable surface. Most mousepads are comprised of soft and slick materials which help to support and cushion your wrist.
We briefly spoke about precision earlier, but we will elaborate now. If you’re a gamer then you don’t want any external factors to influence your movements and choices. Games which need lots of fast reactions, such as FPS and MOBAs, need thousands of specific movements every game. One slip up or miss-click could cost you your (gaming) life, or worse, it could cost you the game. A clean and suitable surface is the only way to ensure that are responsible for what your in-game character is doing.
Using a mouse without something suitable underneath for long periods will undoubtedly cause wear and tear. This damage isn’t restricted to just your mouse though, whatever surface you’re using it on can also become damaged. All it takes is the tiniest amount of dust or grit on the surface of what your mouse is placed on to become a problem. Scratches and more serious damage will occur eventually, regardless of how well you think your surface is clean.
More importantly, unsuitable surfaces will damage the underside of your mouse. As soon as damage occurs, your mouse will lose a lot of it’s accuracy and smoothness. A decent mouse is fairly expensive, so it would be a massive shame to ruin such an investment just because you didn’t purchase something that is relatively cheap in comparison.
There are a fair few different types of mousepad available on the market to suite all preferences and set-ups. Not only are there lots of different options, but most come in an array of sizes too. For instance, a lot of serious and professional FPS gamers opt to having extra-large mouse mats that cover their whole desktop because their mouse DPI is set very low. This enables them to have more control and precision over their shots, but requires their mouse to move significantly further.
Cloth mousepads are some of the most commonly used pads. They are the jack of all trades as they provide a great surface, are fairly cheap, feel nice on your wrist, and are easily portable.
One of the most bought is the SteelSeries QcK Gaming Surface. It comes in multiple thicknesses and colors, perfect for all types of set-ups and game preferences.
If you have no idea what sort of mousepad you want or need, then I’d recommend purchasing one of these. They’ll always be useful, and if you find that you want to upgrade to something more substantial later on, then it can still be kept as a backup.
Hard plastic mousepads
Next up we have hard plastic mousepads. These aren’t uncommon, but you won’t find them as frequently as their cloth counterparts.
The benefits of having a hard surface is that it will enable to move your mouse very quickly, with great precision. Hard pads can sometimes be found with extra features like backlights, which can add to the aesthetics of your set-up.
Although on the higher end, the Razer Firefly is a fantastic addition to an RGB light set-up.
Metal mousepads aren’t very common, but they are definitely a trending product. The pros for having a metal pad is similar to having one that’s made from hard plastic, but with additional durability and robustness.
If your work or gaming environment has the possible risk of a plastic mouse mat being damaged, then consider opting for a metal one.
Blade Hawks offer one that’s incredibly versatile and perfect for all types of gamers.
Do you need a mousepad for gaming?
To sum up, whether you need a mousepad or not for gaming is down to the individual. If you care about your performance then it’s definitely recommended. If you’re not too bothered, or are playing games where you don’t need to min-max every movement (i.e single player games), then you may be able to get away with not having one. For context, Shroud uses a $20 mouse pad for his gaming setup.
However, they are so inexpensive when compared to every other piece of gaming hardware, we’d recommend to at the very least pick up a cheap one.