Closeup of a woman's hand using a wired mouse on a white mouse pad.
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Hard mouse pads provide a smooth, level surface for your mouse to glide across quickly. Soft pads can do the same thing, so which is better? Let’s discuss the differences to see which you might prefer.

What Is a Hard Mouse Pad?

A hard mouse pad, like the Logitech G440 Hard Gaming Mouse Pad, is usually made out of plastic, metal, or glass to provide a smooth, level surface. Due to lack of friction, they’re great for gamers or anyone who wants or needs to move their mouse fast. With the speed and ultrasmooth surface, it’ll be harder to control your mouse with precision.

You can make large motions quickly with a hard pad, but it can take some time to get used to the swiftness and accuracy. This is especially true if you’ve only ever used soft mouse pads. There are textured hard mouse pads that can help with this, but they’ll introduce some friction for more control and less speed.

What Are Soft Mouse Pads?

A soft mouse pad is usually made out of cloth and provides a little bit of cushioning. This can make them comfortable to use for extended periods since you can rest your wrist and hand on them. Soft pads have some friction, but it can be easier to control your mouse with precision.

Your movements will be slower on a soft pad, but it’ll be easier to make small movements with pinpoint accuracy. Smaller pads are also easier to bring on the go since you can roll them up, unlike their hard counterparts.

RELATED: Do You Really Need a Mouse Pad?


You can use hard pads with good accuracy, but it’ll definitely take some practice. If you’ve never used one before, you’ll notice that your mouse practically slides across the entire pad with a small push. This means you’re going to have to handle your mouse more carefully to be more precise.

Nearly everyone’s going to find a soft mouse pad to be more accurate since the surface has some friction. If you’re doing any type of detailed work that requires a lot of precision, then using a soft mouse pad will be a safer bet. This is also true for gaming.


With little to no friction, hard mouse pads are great for speed. You’ll be able to make large motions at rapid speeds, which may be valuable for gamers or anyone who needs to navigate around the screen quickly.

If you don’t need the speed, then a soft mouse pad will work just fine. Be careful of switching from a hard pad to a soft one because the difference in speed will feel drastic. By adding more friction, it’ll feel like your mouse is heavier and harder to move.


Hard mouse pads don’t provide any cushioning, so you’ll be resting on the harder surface. If you’re going to be using your mouse for long periods, you may want to consider an external wrist rest to provide some cushioning and extra comfort. HyperX’s gel-infused wrist rest is a prime example.

For Ultra Comfort

HyperX Wrist Rest

A branded wrist rest that's made of cool gel-infused memory foam. It's very durable and stays in place.

If you’re going to be using your mouse for long periods, then you’ll likely value a soft mouse pad more. The soft cushioning will let you rest your wrist and hand on it, which can discomfort or pain. Some models such as the MRCO Ergonomic Mouse Pad even come with a wrist rest to provide extra comfort for long hours.

Portability and Size

Hard pads are less convenient to take with you since they can’t be rolled up. You’ll have to stuff it in your bag while it’s flat, which can be a pain if it’s too big. It’s also more difficult to find large hard-surface pads. Yes, there are some available on the market, but you have far more options with soft pads.

All soft mouse pads are portable because you can easily roll them up and take them with you. Even larger pads can be packed in a bag without taking up too much space. Of course, this depends on how big your bag and the pad are. Some mouse pads are unbelievably large and dense, which can make them more difficult to transport.

Durability and Cleaning

You’ll find hard mouse pads to be more durable since they’re made of tougher materials–metal, plastic, and glass. They can last for years with reasonable care. You won’t have to worry about them folding, ripping, or tearing like you would with a soft pad. The major downside is that hard pads can damage the feet of your mouse, especially if it doesn’t have quality friction pads.

The upside is that hard pads don’t require much maintenance to keep clean. You can simply wipe them down with a damp cloth. For stubborn stains, you can scrub the surface using a sponge and some soap, then dry it with a microfiber towel.

Soft mouse pads are made of cloth, which is more susceptible to rips and tears. They can also absorb spills, which can cause staining and bad odors. They require more care to properly maintain, but they’re not always as delicate as you might think. With reasonable care, they can also last for years.

Soft pads are not as easy to stay and keep clean since you have to remove any dirt or oil that gets stuck in the fabric. It’ll take some deep cleaning, usually by submerging it in water, applying dish soap to scrub the surface, and then drying with a microfiber cloth and leaving it out to air dry.

RELATED: When to Replace Your Old Mouse Pad

Which Is Better?

In terms of value, you can find both types of pads around the same price range. They can start as low as $5 and go up to $40 or more. The price always increases with size, so keep that in mind when making your decision. But which is better? Well, they’re both good in their own ways, and it really depends on your preferences.

A hard mouse pad will be better for you if you’re willing to put in more time to get used to the fast speed it provides with good precision. They’re ideal for keeping at a stationary work or gaming space since they’re not really convenient. Hard pads are also more durable and easier to maintain and clean.

A soft mouse pad will be better for you if you’re looking for a comfortable pad with good precision right out of the box. They provide cushioning for your wrist and hand, which can be beneficial if you use the computer for long periods. They come in larger sizes and are very portable, so you can bring them everywhere. You’ll need to take extra care of them to keep them clean, but they’re still pretty durable! Soft pads also don’t damage the feet of your mice.

Regardless of the pad you choose, you may find more value from a gaming model. They can come with special features like textured surfaces that eliminate friction while providing better precision. They come in a wide variety of sizes and are highly durable!

The Best Mouse Pads of 2023

Amazon Basics Gaming Computer Mouse Pad
Best Overall Mouse Pad
Amazon Basics Gaming Computer Mouse Pad
Orbitkey Desk Mat
Best Large Mouse Pad/Desk Pad
Orbitkey Desk Mat
SteelSeries QcK Gaming Surface
Best Gaming Mouse Pad
SteelSeries QcK Gaming Surface
Corsair Gaming Mouse Pad
Best RGB Mouse Pad
Corsair Gaming Mouse Pad
Vornnex Ergonomic Memory Foam Mouse Pad
Best Ergonomic Mouse Pad
Vornnex Ergonomic Memory Foam Mouse Pad
Logitech G440 Hard Gaming 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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