Though it's true that advanced users can manipulate just about anything by using a keyboard, most users need a mouse to browse web pages, navigate programs and create content. And that's why it's a shame that many users never break free of their built-in laptop touchpads, even if comfort and efficiency have to take a back seat.
The Logitech MX Vertical is one of the best productivity mice. / Credit: Logitech
If you have the option, don't settle for a run-of-the-mill peripheral; invest in the best productivity mouse for your workspace. Even if you have only $25 at your disposal, you can still improve your entire workday tremendously. From small, wireless options that are ideal for laptops, to large, ergonomic models that could fundamentally change the way you browse the web, productivity mice can be every bit as varied and interesting as theirgaming counterparts.
If you're reading this article, chances are good that you spend at least 40 hours per week toiling away in the digital salt mines. If you want those 40 hours to fly by — or at least feel a little more tolerable — read on for our top picks to help you select the right mouse for the job.
Logitech MX Master 2S
Unless you start investigating specialty graphic-design options, you're not likely to come across a productivity mouse that's more expensive than the $100 Logitech MX Master 2S. However, you're also not likely to come across a productivity mouse that's more comfortable, versatile or functional. Logitech's premium peripheral has it all, including textured grips, a large thumb rest and a secondary scroll wheel that can zip across websites horizontally. From gesture controls, to customizable dots-per-inch (DPI) sensitivity, to a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, the MX Master 2S offers a lot of features that other productivity mice eschew for cost reasons. If you have the budget for it, the MX Master 2S is about as good as they come.
If your mouse has ever given up the ghost right before a big presentation, you may have run out to the nearest office supply store and picked up the cheapest Microsoft mouse available. But Microsoft makes higher-end mice, too — and they're actually pretty good. Take the Wireless Mobile Mouse 4000, for example. This $35 wireless USB mouse is small and sleek, with textured grips, an ergonomic design and even a small thumb button for a little extra functionality. If you have small hands, or you simply want something you can toss into a backpack and use with limited surface area (like a café table or airport waiting area), the Wireless Mobile Mouse 4000 is a good option.
Pros: Textured grips; Extra button; Strong wireless performance Cons: Somewhat expensive; No Bluetooth
Buttons: Four | Size: 4.0 x 2.4 x 1.6 inches | Weight: 3.7 ounces | Software: No
The $100 Logitech MX Vertical Advanced Ergonomic Mouse turns everything you know about productivity mice on its head — somewhat literally. Instead of resting your palm on top of this mouse, you hold it from the side, much like you would a cup of coffee. You manipulate the device by moving your whole hand, rather than just your wrist, potentially making this mouse much easier for workers who suffer from carpal tunnel symptoms. The MX Vertical's unusual profile is its biggest selling point, but this mouse also provides all the bells and whistles that come standard with upscale Logitech mice, including adjustable DPI, a rechargeable battery and robust software.
Pros: Best execution of "vertical mouse" concept yet; Creative software; Textured thumb rest Cons: Potentially uncomfortable design; Sluggish extra features; Expensive
Buttons: Six | Size: 3.1 x 3.1 x 4.7 inches | Weight: 4.8 ounces | Software: Yes
Suppose you want a mouse with textured grips and extra buttons, but you don't really feel like paying upward of $100 for it. That's where the Cherry MW 3000 ($25) comes in. This wireless USB mouse doesn't have programmable software, Bluetooth connectivity or a rechargeable battery, but it does have a textured thumb rest, two thumb buttons and a DPI adjuster. Though most technophiles know Cherry for its key switches, the company's mice offer the same kind of durability and attention to detail. The MW 3000 is a no-nonsense peripheral at a no-frills price, but it's just about guaranteed to feel more comfortable — and work more efficiently — than a cheap, wired office model.
Pros: Inexpensive; Comfortable design; Good wireless connectivity Cons: No rechargeable battery; Nowhere to store USB dongle
Buttons: Six | Size: 4.2 x 2.7 x 1.5 inches | Weight: 4.4 ounces | Software: No
A good gaming mouse can make a surprisingly decent office mouse, too. That's certainly the case for the Razer Atheris ($50), which offers a comfortable grip, lots of connectivity options and a full software suite in a small, portable package. Razer's laptop-optimized mouse has textured finger rests and small thumb buttons. Image-conscious workers need not worry about an overwhelming "gaming" aesthetic; there's a subtle Razer logo on the palm rest, and that's it. With the Razer Synapse software, you can adjust DPI and program buttons, so any complex keystrokes you need will be right at your fingertips. You can even connect via Bluetooth or a 2.4-GHz wireless dongle.
Pros: Small and portable; Excellent USB and Bluetooth wireless connectivity; Low-key, attractive design Cons: Serious software flaws; Less precise handling than with full-size models; Heavy for its size
Buttons: Six | Size: 3.9 x 2.5 x 1.4 inches | Weight: 2.3 ounces | Software: Yes