Closeup of the SteelSeries logo on a gaming mouse pad.
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Does a gaming mouse pad really feel better to use or are they only good for gaming? How are they even different? Let’s answer these questions and discuss the main difference between the two to see which is better for you.

Cost

Mouse pads are very cheap compared to other computer accessories. You can find gaming and regular pads around the same size for as low as $5-10. The price increases in size, so if you’re looking at a large pad, it’ll be about $20-30 with extra-large options around $40.

It’s usually only gaming mouse pads that come in larger sizes, so they’ll be more expensive than your average-sized pad. However, they come with great features such as a perfectly smooth surface, an anti-slip base, and even RGB lighting!

Size

When shopping for the average mouse pad, you’ll notice that they’re typically small compared to gaming mouse pads. This is due to the lack of activities that require you to make large movements with your mouse.

It’s mainly in the gaming world where you’ll need to make gigantic swipes to play the game effectively. One of the best examples is first-person shooters. In these games, players will occasionally need to make a 180-degree turn to face the opponent behind them. In MMORPGs, you may constantly need to turn your mouse to move, and this is easier on a larger mouse pad.

These are just a few examples that require a significant amount of mouse space, especially if you play with a lower sensitivity. Those with higher sensitivities won’t need as much space. However, you never know when it’ll come in handy, such as for other games or if you decide to lower your sensitivity.

Some people enjoy placing their keyboard on their mouse pad too, but you’ll definitely need a larger and longer one to do so. For these reasons, gaming mouse pads often come in big sizes, but smaller options are always available.

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Regular mouse pads aren’t necessarily small, as they provide you with enough space to use your mouse without issues. Your average pad will suffice for most activities, including some games that require less movement. You can also find large options on the market, but they’ll usually be gaming pads.

Smooth Surface

If you choose a hard pad they’ll usually offer a consistent, smooth surface. You may find some materials to be more reliable than others, such as glass or metal. For the soft options, some surfaces will be rougher than others.

Rougher surfaces provide more friction, which can make your movement feel slower. If you’re someone who likes to move their mouse quickly, you’ll benefit more from a gaming mouse pad as they can eliminate friction completely. These pads are designed to provide the smoothest possible surface for fast and accurate movements.

The best part is that you can use gaming pads for productivity and general use, too. Your movements will feel more fluid and with great precision. Regular mouse pads are also smooth, but not to the same degree as gaming ones. You’ll definitely feel more friction on the average pad, but it might not bother you. If this is the case, sticking to a regular mouse pad is perfectly fine because you should still have good precision.

Additional Features

Gaming mouse pads often come with additional features that may appeal to you. For example, Razer mouse pads may come with RGB lighting for better aesthetics, like the Firefly v2. Simply plug it in and watch it light up! The downside to this kind of feature is that you’ll have to keep it plugged in when you want to use it, which means another wire on your table.

Some gaming pads such as the Everlasting Comfort also come with a separate wrist rest for additional ergonomic support. These can help prevent fatigue and pain in the wrist and hand, so they’re great for those who spend long hours in front of the computer.

Regular mouse pads don’t usually come with anything besides the mouse pad itself. However, you can get yourself an ergonomic pad with a built-in wrist rest, such as the MROCO Ergonomic Mouse Pad.

The Best Mouse Pads of 2022

Best Overall Mouse Pad
Amazon Basics Gaming Computer Mouse Pad
Best Large Mouse Pad/Desk Pad
Orbitkey Desk Mat
Best Gaming Mouse Pad
SteelSeries QcK Gaming Surface
Best RGB Mouse Pad
Corsair Gaming Mouse Pad
Best Ergonomic Mouse Pad
Vornnex Ergonomic Memory Foam Mouse Pad
Best Hard Mouse Pad
Logitech G440 Hard Gaming Mouse Pad
Profile Photo for Andy Nguyen Andy Nguyen
Andy Nguyen has been a professional freelance writer for over three years and has written hundreds of articles. He has loved computers and technology ever since he started gaming as a kid back in the 1990s. He's the person everyone he knows turns to for help with tech, too. Andy also runs a blog where he provides information and guides for students on becoming more productive.
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