Mousepad Buying Guide: Looking deeper than the Surface

Mice are often seen as the most vital part of a gamer's arsenal and quite right too but what use is having the perfect mouse if you're throwing away your advantage with a poor mousepad surface.

Without a reliable mousepad, your mouse can slip and slide all over the place, making it frustrating and difficult to aim accurately.

There are a lot of different mousepads out there, so you need to find the right one for you. Different materials offer different levels of glide and control. And of course, you want one that looks good too. After all, it's going to be a big part of your gaming setup.

So with that said, let's get started...

1. Best mousepad material for gaming

Mousepad Surface

When deciding which mousepad material best suits you, it’s important to know what you’re looking for from your surface with regards to friction. So, do you like to be in control or to go fast? 😎

a) Types of Surface

Offers greater control via the texture resulting in less wear on mouse feet. Ideal for gamers with lower sensitivity.

Ultra-smooth tracking surface providing accuracy with very little friction. Targeted for high-sensitivity gaming.

b) Materials

The most common type of mousepad surface, cloth pads are designed to be smooth, consistent, and as durable as possible. They are popular among gamers due to their low friction, creating more control and producing higher accuracy. They can also be rolled up, making them easier to transport to LANs. Due to the nature of the material, they have a shorter lifespan and will need replaced more frequently.

Hard surfaces are typically made from plastic but have started to see a resurgence of glass too. They have less friction than cloth pads which can give you higher speeds whilst aiming. Boasting a much longer lifespan than cloth pads and easier when it comes to cleaning, although, they can wear down your mouse skates faster than a cloth pad.

Hybrid surfaces looks to provide the best of both worlds; Combining the speed and durability of a hard surface with the comfort and flexibility of a cloth one.
Cordura is made from synthetic fibre-based fabric technologies, is water repellent and has high resistance to dirt. It has hard-wearing and often very thin, however, there are slim pickings when it comes to brands.

Recommendation: Cloth all day. With such a huge focus on lightweight mice over the years, cloth is more suited and with more choice, sizes available and more affordable. If you're more inclined for heavier mice and happen to have a laser sensor, it's worth trying a glass surface.

View Cloth Mousepads

2. Best size for gaming mousepads

Mousepad Size

Sizes can be confusing, especially when brands do what they love to do and make up their own naming conventions that differ from the norm, just to keep you on your toes.

To make it easy, we’ve gone ahead and put together a little table showing how the sizes fall into place:

Size Dimensions
Small 240-300 mm x 200-250mm
Medium 300-400mm x 250-350mm
Large  400-500mm x 350-450mm
XL 500-950mm x 290mm and over
XXL 951-1200mm x 290mm and over
3XL 1201mm and over x 290mm and over

a) Small to Medium

Small gaming mouse pads are good for several reasons. First, they're small, so they don't take up a lot of space on your desk. Second, they're usually cheaper than larger mouse pads. And third, they're easy to transport if you want to take your gaming setup with you on the go.

Smaller pads are also perfect for gamers with a high sensitivity and force you to be more precise with your movements. And, as any gamer knows, precision is key.

b) Large

Large gaming mousepads are without a doubt, the most popular with our community and brands.  With more surface area to work with, you'll be able to make faster and more sweeping movements which is ideal for gamers with a lower sensitivity.

Also, due to their popularity, there is an abundance of choices out there!

c) XL to 3XL

Having a long mousepad is handy for absorbing keystroke vibrations from keyboards with mechanical switches, just make sure you measure you're desk first, so you don’t end up with the pad flopping over the edges. They also lend themselves to more aesthetic designs, really give your setup a chance to pop.

Recommendation: Based on own our personal experience and customer feedback, the most popular and suitable size for the vast majority of gamer’s is between 450mm to 500mm wide, falling within the Medium / Large categories.

View Medium Mousepads & Large Mousepads

3. Base

Mousepad Base

As you can imagine, it’s vital for your pad to stay firmly planted on your desk. There’s nothing worse when your pad shifts place during those big flicks, throwing your aim off completely.

Many brands have this sussed now with non-slip rubber bases, gripping tightly to most surfaces.

QuickTip: Always keep your desk clean and free from chocolate digestive crumbs to ensure a proper grip between your pad base and desk surface

4. What is the best mousepad thickness?

Mousepad Thickness

This is a common question that gamers ask when they are looking for a new mousepad with the quick and safe answer being 3mm.  This is the sweet spot between thick and thin pads, providing the best of both worlds.

Other thicknesses should not be ruled out though, and prove to be popular in their own right.

Slimmer pads, ranging from 0.5 (😏) to 2mm offer a firmer feel due to less cushioning but can make imperfections on your desk more noticeable.

Thicker/heavier pads (5mm+) offer more cushion, increasing comfort and also dulls the sound of your mouse being slammed during those rage moments.  Depending on the placement of the pad, the thicker edge can be an irritant on the forearm.

5. Edging

Mousepad Edging

a. Stitched

The edging of the mouse pad is stitched, preventing the pad from fraying or peeling. This gives it increased durability over other pads as well as being machine washable. The stitches take up real-estate of the surface area but this is very minimal and often not a cause for concern.

b. Non-Stitched

Well, a non-stitched mousepad is simply a mousepad that doesn't have any stitched edges 🤯. It’s seen as more comfortable due to the flush edging but a downside to that can be the fraying that starts after some heavy use.

c. RGB Lighting

For gamers trying to pimp out their setup, a number of brands incorporate a lighting strip around the edge of the mousepad which can usually be controlled/adjusted with software.  Not only does it give you that extra sparkle, but it also makes you aim better. Fact.

Recommendation: It's a bit of a coin flip on this one, but personally, I tend to go for non-stitched as I often notice every little distraction when I'm gaming, so catching my arm on the stitched edge or trying to avoid the sides when making those countless 180 sweeping double-headshots (💪) is a no go. 

View Non-Stiched Mousepads

6. Appearance

Mousepad Appearance

Mousepads can have a huge impact on the vibe of your setup and become a focal point with the many slick designs available today.

Luckily, we seem to be in the heyday when it comes to unique and exciting mousepad designs, with more and more brands offering more than the standard black.

It’s always down to preference here, so aim for something that fits your style/setup, after all, you'll be staring at it all day long!

7. Which gaming mousepad brand is best?

When it comes to gaming mousepads, there are a few different brands that stand out from the rest. But which one is the best?

Well, that depends on what you're looking for in a mousepad. If you want something that's battle-proven and will last a long time, then you may want to go with Zowie. But if you're looking for something that's a bit more stylish and eye-catching, then you might want to try out Xtrfy’s offerings.

Below are the heavyweight contenders of the gaming world, either making their mark over many years or exploding onto the scene in recent times. Choosing any of these brands almost guarantees quality:

a) Tried and Tested

With that said, there are certain brands that dominate various categories, as mentioned above, which have become key requirements for gamers:

c) Best Performance

d) Best Looking 

e) Best All-Rounders

Ones to watch: Lethal Gaming Gear have been making impressive strides into developing their own peripherals, with a range of pads which have been well received across both sides of the pond.  Based on what we’ve seen so far, we’re expecting this trend to continue over the next year for sure.

8. How much should I spend on a gaming mousepad?

Here's the thing: there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. It all depends on your budget and your needs. If you're a hardcore gamer who wants to be at the top of their game or just a bit more flamboyant that the norm, then you'll obviously want to spend more money in the pursuit of the perfect pad. But if you're just a casual gamer, then you can get away with spending less.

Spending around the £30-40 mark will get you a high-quality cloth mousepad which will cater for most gaming needs, whilst anything up to £100 will earn you bragging rights.

No matter how much you end up spending, just make sure that you don’t sacrifice quality for something that looks pretty, as this is for esports at the end of the day and not just for gliding through reddit!

9. Conclusion

When it comes to the crunch, only you will know what feels right but our advice for those just starting out with a hope of making it in esports, start with the features that have ‘happy mediums’, such as thickness, size or feeling (glide), to help narrow down your search quicker. For example, a large cloth pad, 3mm thick.

For the casuals with a bit of flare, go big or go home.  Extended heavy pad with epic graphics or vibrant lighting!

Lastly, for those seasoned veterans in the enthusiast mousepad game, you know what you like 😉

For more information on gaming mousepads and relevant terminology, check out our 'Tech Explained: Gaming Mousepads' section.

Buying guide