Unlike a mechanical mouse (which uses a ball) or a laser mouse (which uses a laser), an optical mouse uses a reflective LED light in order to track movement, which is why the best mousepads for optical mice offer a surface that’ll achieve maximum responsiveness. Since an optical mouse senses the top of where it’s resting, it’ll work best on a smooth, non-glossy material — but you’ll also want to consider the additional features that make for a convenient, comfortable experience such as support pads for wrist support as well as the size.
The most effective optical mousepads can be made from anything from plastic to fabric, but they all have one thing in common: They’re matte, so they won’t reflect the LED light back at the mouse. From there, consider which features make for a great mousepad for you in general. It should be durable and non-slip, especially if you’re a gamer or you tend to be particularly hard on your computer accessories. You’ll also want to consider the shape, size, and comfort level; for example, some mousepads stretch underneath your entire setup so you have plenty of room to work with, while others are curved and have built-in support pads to prevent wrist pain while you’re at your computer.
All of the mousepads below are highly rated and well-made, but most importantly, they’re designed to work seamlessly with optical mice — and reviewers have confirmed it.
1. The overall best mousepad for optical mice
The 3M Precise mouse pad is one of the only options on the market that’s specifically designed to improve the precision of optical mice (even at fast speeds) and, if your mouse is wireless, extend the battery life up to 50%. The secret is the plastic geometrically patterned surface, which also wipes clean and draws less current than darker materials. The thin but cushioned foam center offers support, while the non-skid backing stays in place during work, browsing, or gaming. Currently, it has more than 13,000 ratings and an overall rating of 4.6 stars. The only drawback might be that it only comes in one size and color.
- Surface material: plastic
- Available colors: one
- Available sizes: 9 by 8 inches
One reviewer wrote: “Sometimes an optical mouse is fussy about the surface over which it moves. This pad is designed to make the mouse work more efficiently and without irritating delays. It's also thicker than the cheap (but pretty) art print mouse pads I had been buying, and definitely works better. It's inoffensive to look at. In the right setting, it would be downright attractive with its muted grey and white geometrical pattern.”
2. A large, budget-friendly mousepad
Even though it’s one of the most affordable options on this list, this mouse pad is large and durable. On top, you’ll find a smooth Lycra-infused fabric that’s consistently accurate, but also waterproof and resistant to stains and rips. The back has a dense, rubber base that prevents sliding, while the edges are reinforced with additional stitching to prevent peeling and fraying. It’s available in three large sizes, and almost 20,000 reviewers have awarded it an overall 4.7-star rating.
- Surface material: Lycra cloth
- Available colors: black
- Available sizes: large (8.5 by 11 inches), X-large (10.8 by 12.6 inches) and XX-large (11 by 14 inches)
One reviewer wrote: “This is the best mousepad that I've used. It is very flexible and it readily lies completely flat on my desk. The top surface is a very smooth fabric-like material with a super-fine weave that is very nice to the touch and completely responsive to my optical mouse (Logitech M705). The rubberized backing is just right to keep the mousepad from sliding around on the desk -- it hasn't moved at all since I've been using it for about a week. [...] The sewn edge is beautifully done and looks like it will stop the edges from fraying, which is usually what wears out first on a mousepad.”
3. The best for gaming
Thousands of gamers have given this RBG gaming mouse pad an overall rating of 4.7 stars. It fits underneath your keyboard, but still leave plenty of space for mouse navigation, while its textile-weave surface is smooth, waterproof, and works well with optical mice. It also has a rubberized bottom for non-slip protection. Last but not least, it offers a light-up RGB edge with 14 different modes for ambiance so you can immerse yourself in your gaming setup; simply plug it into a USB port and use the single button to customize the settings. (For a few dollars less, you can also opt for a stitched-edge version without the RGB lighting.)
- Surface material: textile weave
- Available colors: black (with or without an RGB edge)
- Available size: X-large (31.5 by 11.8 inches) with RGB edge; medium (11 by 8.2 inches) and XX-large (31.5 by 15.7 inches) without
One reviewer wrote: “Mouse slid across the pad smoothly and had no issues with the optical sensor across the pad. The rubber backing held nicely and rarely moved during heavy gaming or work use.”
4. The best with a wrist rest
If comfort is your top priority, it can be hard to find a mousepad that’s both ergonomic and designed for use alongside an optical mouse, but according to reviewers, this wrist support mousepad offers both. Its slow-rebound gel pad supports and comforts your wrist, while its curved ergonomic shape suits any computer setup. Most importantly, it’s wrapped in a soft Lycra material that reduces friction and responds well to the LED light in an optical mouse. It is designed to minimize edge-curling and the non-skid PU base prevents unwanted movement on your desk. It only comes in one size, but you can choose from a wide range of solid colors.
- Surface material: Lycra cloth
- Available colors: pink, gray, black, blue, green, red, dark blue, navy, dark gray
- Available sizes: 11.02 by 8.46 inches
One reviewer wrote: “My optical mouse works perfectly on this mousepad. The size and orientation are perfect for a right-handed user, and it stays put nicely. It has a film over the back that needs to be removed before placement. The gel wrist support is the perfect size and I can't believe I survived without it.”