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Best budget mouse for gaming in 2021

SteelSeries Rival 3
(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

The best budget mouse for gaming is an essential piece of your low-cost PC gaming station, which should also include one of the best cheap gaming laptops. Unless you are desperate for extra buttons or adjustable weights, you don't need to speed more than $50 to get a great mouse. But if you are looking for something fancy, you can check out our list of the best gaming mice overall.

Otherwise, these best budget mice for gaming should be more than enough to satisfy the average player while saving them loads of money (that can be spent on games!). If you’re building a gaming station, be sure to check out our best gaming keyboards, best gaming monitors and best gaming chairs

What is the best budget mouse for gaming? 

The best budget mouse for gaming depends on how much you’re willing to spend. The high-end choices in this list cost anywhere from $45-50, while the most affordable option, the SteelSeries Rival 3, is as low as $26. The Rival 3 is a great pick, boasting a comfortable grip, alluring design and an excellent optical sensor.

The Corsair Katar Pro XT is a few dollars more expensive, with an increased CPI reaching 18K. It’s also the lightest mouse in this list and boasts Corsair’s great iCue software. But if you’re willing to spend a little extra, the Corsair Sabre RGB Pro is an excellent pick for $45. This mouse boasts a mind-blowing polling rate at 8,000Hz, meaning it updates the cursor’s position more frequently than almost anything else at this price. And if you want an all-around awesome mouse for $50, the SteelSeries Rival 5 boasts an excellent grip, nine programmable buttons, gorgeous RGB functionality, and a sleek design.

SteelSeries Rival 3

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

1. SteelSeries Rival 3

Most affordable budget mouse for gaming

Specifications
Price: $25.99
CPI: 8.5K to 10K
Polling Rate: 1K
Weight: 77 grams
Reasons to buy
+Attractive design+Comfortable to hold+Highly affordable
Reasons to avoid
-Cheap rubber cable-No adjustable weights 

The SteelSeries Rival 3 comes out on top in the gauntlet for best budget gaming mouse due to its effective balance between affordability and quality. For only $26, the Rival 3 boasts a solid modern optical sensor, alluring RGB lighting, and a stylish design. Considering its price tag, you wouldn’t expect this minimalistic design to look and feel so premium.

And thanks to SteelSeries’ robust software, you can freely change the Rival 3’s CPI, angle snapping, acceleration, deceleration, and polling rate. And you can also change the RGB effects on the mouse to suit your tastes. 

Although the mouse is lightweight and satisfying to use thanks to the TrueMove sensor, the cheap rubber cable does a disservice to an otherwise excellent mouse. A braided cable would’ve been a much better alternative, although the current cable doesn’t create any drag.

See our full SteelSeries Rival 3 review

Corsair Katar Pro XT closeup with scroll wheel RGB

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

2. Corsair Katar Pro XT

Best lightweight budget mouse for gaming

Specifications
Price: $29.99
CPI: 18K
Polling Rate: 1K
Weight: 73 grams
Reasons to buy
+Incredibly lightweight+Great software+Affordable pricing
Reasons to avoid
-Stiff scroll wheel-A bit small

The Corsair Katar Pro XT is another highly affordable gaming mouse, but it comes with a few advantages and disadvantages over the previous entry. It’s the lightest mouse on this list, coming in at a staggering 73 grams. Unfortunately, it was also a bit too small for our reviewer, who claimed the size wasn’t ideal for their grip. And although its minimalistic design is attractive, the scroll wheel is a bit too stiff for comfort.

Otherwise, The Katar Pro XT’s 18K CPI and 1K polling rate is sure to satisfy most gamers on a budget. And with Corsair’s iCue software, you can remap every button (except left-click) and deep-dive into editing the extensive RGB options available. The Katar Pro XT is a great entry-level mouse thanks to excellent performance, precision tracking, low price, and robust software.

See our full Corsair Katar Pro XT review 

Corsair Sabre RGB Pro angled showing RGB scroll wheel

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

3. Corsair Sabre RGB Pro

Best polling rate on a budget gaming mouse

Specifications
Price: $44.99
CPI: 18K
Polling Rate: 8K
Weight: 74 grams
Reasons to buy
+8K polling rate+Still under $50+Robust software
Reasons to avoid
-DPI button placement-Rubber scroll wheel

SteelSeries Rival 5 Gaming Mouse

(Image credit: Future)

4. SteelSeries Rival 5

Best all-around budget gaming mouse

Specifications
Price: $49.99
CPI: 18K
Polling Rate: 1K
Weight: 88 grams
Reasons to buy
+Very comfortable grip+Plenty of buttons+Hits exactly $50+18K CPI
Reasons to avoid
-Up/down button is annoying-1K polling rate

The SteelSeries Rival 5 is a personal favorite, but it’s also the most expensive on this list, coming in at exactly $49.99. It excels in nearly every category; its grip is firm and comfortable, while the precise tracking and plethora of programmable buttons make it a great pick for gamers seeking a mouse that can do a little bit of everything.

SteelSeries’ GG software is excellent, allowing you to change settings, mess with the extensive RGB functionality, and freely reprogram any of the Rival 5’s nine buttons. I turned my DPI button into an instant-mute toggle for Discord, and even made profiles that change what my buttons do for games like Doom Eternal and World of Warcraft.

However, the mouse isn’t perfect. Since the Corsair Sabre RGB Pro is cheaper than the Rival 5, it’s disappointing that the Rival 5 has only a 1K polling rate. And I can never get used to the up/down button, as it takes slightly longer to push than it would take to just press a button.

See our full SteelSeries Rival 5 review 

How to choose the best budget mouse for gaming 

Choosing the best budget mouse for gaming depends on your preferences. Some people are looking for extra buttons, others need a lightweight build, and a few just want the most affordable option. If you fall under the latter category, we recommend the SteelSeries Rival 3. It’s the most affordable gaming mouse in this list, boasts a modern optical sensor, and a stylish design.

If you need something lightweight and effortless, the Corsair Katar Pro XT weighs only 73 grams. This makes it the lightest mouse on the list; it also boasts a CPI of 18K, an attractive minimalistic design, and benefits from the impressive iCue software. And with the Corsair Sabre RGB Pro, you’ll get your hands on an affordable gaming mouse with a polling rate of 8,000Hz; every other mouse on this list has a polling rate of 1,000Hz, making the Sabre RGB Pro a miracle. And finally, the SteelSeries Rival 5 is a personal favorite. It’s great for those who are looking for an affordable mouse with nine buttons, as each of them is easily programmable through SteelSeries’ great GG software.