Finding the right mouse pad for your computing needs can be a bit of a challenge. For different requirements, different materials of mouse pads can benefit the overall experience of computer usage. There are both hard and soft mouse pads available on the market.
You might be wondering at this point if hard mouse pads are better than soft mouse pads? Which one is better for gaming? If these are the questions you have, then you’re in the right place because that’s what I’m here to tell you.
In this article, I will talk about mouse pads, what you should look for when buying them, and the differences between hard and soft mouse pads.
So, without wasting any further time, let’s get started with this comparison and find out which one is the best for gaming and other computer activities.
Table of Contents
What Are Mouse Pads Used For?
If you’re not familiar with mouse pads at all, these mats are padded surfaces that make mouse utilization quite easy and smooth. This happens because the surface of the mouse pad allows the mouse to track better than other surfaces like tables, glass, etc., and in turn, provide a better computer experience.
Another function that some mouse pads tend to have is an ergonomic wrist rest. Some mouse pads come included with a wrist rest to enhance your experience even further, and you don’t feel any strain or pain while using the mouse.
Over the years, many different mousepad technologies have made their way into the market and, nowadays, having a desktop setup without a mousepad is no way of using a mouse. So, you definitely need to get one for yourself if you want to have a good experience.
Mouse Pad Buying Guide
Now that you know that you need a mouse pad for your computer setup, it is time you understand that you’re going to need to consider a few features when you’re buying the best one. So let’s take a look at the things you need to look for in a good mouse pad.
1. Surface Material
The first and foremost element you need to consider when you’re looking for the right mouse pad is the material. Therefore, it is important to know what kind of material you want for your mouse pad.
There are multiple options; you can find metal, plastic, fabric, and many other kinds of surface materials for your mouse pads, so you can choose the one that works perfectly for your requirements and usage. Remember that depending upon your requirement, one material would serve better than the others.
A couple of decades ago, there weren’t a lot of different sizes available for mouse pads. But as mouse pad technology advanced and more people became aware of these elements, different mouse pad sizes came out.
If we take a look at the available options, two sizes are the most commonly used nowadays. One is the standard-sized mouse pad only for your computer mouse, and the other is the extended mouse pad that covers the entire desk space, and you can keep your keyboard on it as well. So, it would help if you chose whichever one seems the best for your usage.
You might not consider mouse pad thickness too much, but it definitely matters a lot, and you should surely think about the thickness of the mouse pad you’re looking for before you actually get it.
If you’re getting a soft mouse pad, a thicker mouse pad would be better because it will provide more of a cushion for your palm and wrist, while a thinner mouse pad would feel more grounded and might even cause strain. So, make sure you get the right thickness of the mouse pad.
Although plain mouse pads in black and white color are pretty tasteful and simplistic, the designs also need to be considered if you’re going for a more artsy and crafty look for your computer setup.
Different colored mouse pads with cool-looking patterns, graphics, and logos on them are available on the market, and you can choose ones that work perfectly with your setup. Just make sure you like them, and you can get them for yourself without a problem.
5. Extra Elements
Like other computer devices and accessories, mouse pads have a lot of new features and additional inclusions to offer nowadays. One of the inclusions is RGB edge lighting that some mouse pads have.
Other features mouse pads can include are ergonomic wrist pads and bumps for better experience and comfort. So, if you feel like you need to go overboard and get a really high-tech mouse pad, you can do that.
Are Hard Mouse Pads Good for Gaming?
As I said before, different mouse materials are better for different kinds of mouse usage and, yes, when it comes to gaming, hard mouse pads are definitely better for fast-paced FPS shooters and multiplayer games.
At the same time, if we look at the suggestions PC Gamer gives us for the best mouse pads for gaming, the top three suggestions comprise soft surface-type mouse pads.
The reason for choosing a hard mouse pad for gaming, however, is the requirement for quick movements, smooth swipes, and long tracking at a rapid pace. All of these actions are easily achievable with hard mouse pad surfaces.
This is because hard mouse pad surfaces are solid but at the same time provide little to no friction to the user when they’re tracking the mouse over them. So, hard mouse pads are surely good for gaming, and you should definitely get them if you want to play competitively. You’re going to have a great experience without a doubt.
Hard vs. Soft Mouse Pads
Hard mouse pads are solid mouse pads that have a surface made of either smooth plastic or some kind of metal. They’re completely even and cannot be pressed at all.
On the other hand, soft mouse pads are made of fabric material, and for that reason, they’re rougher but, at the same time, can easily be pressed and are not as solid as hard mouse pads.
We’ve taken a look at both materials individually to some extent. Now, it is time to completely explore both these options and see what makes them different and what gives them an advantage over the other in different mouse actions.
Fast Swiping Motion: Which One Wins?
Typically used for longer movements and strokes for designing and gaming, fast swiping is something hard mouse pads can do very well. This is because of the smoother surface of the hard mouse pads, which the softer mouse pads don’t tend to have.
They’re rougher on the bottom, which is why they’re not the best when it comes to fast swiping motions. So, hard mouse pads win when it comes to fast-paced movement.
Quick Stopping Motion: Which One Wins?
Quick stopping motion basically means that you’re going to want to get your mouse to stop at quick intervals for better accuracy. This is something that isn’t achievable through hard mouse pads because of the overly smooth surface.
So, when it comes to quick stopping motion, the rougher surface of the soft mouse pads helps you make sure that your movements are precise and accurate. That’s why soft mouse pads are better for quick stopping motion.
Which One Offers More Friction?
Friction doesn’t necessarily have to be a measure of good or bad. Instead, it depends on how you like to use your computer mouse and what kind of movements you require from it.
But if we talk about which material has more friction, soft mouse pads definitely win simply because of having a fabric material to them and a certain roughness that isn’t available in hard mouse pads. So, due to the extra roughness of the soft mouse pads, they’re able to provide more friction and, in turn, help in the quick stop motion that we talked about before.
Which One is Better For General Computer Usage?
Typically, harder mouse pads are better for gaming and competitive multiplayer gaming. But when it comes to generic usage, the mouse’s high DPI and super-smooth fast swiping motion isn’t required.
In those cases, generally, if you just want to casually play games and surf the internet and use your computer, you’re going to want to go for the soft mouse pads that allow precision and ease of accuracy.
Both hard and soft mouse pads are actually pretty nice and serve their given purpose in their spaces. But if you’re looking for a simple mouse pad for general computer usage, the ideal mouse pad material to go for would definitely be soft.
On the other hand, if you’re looking to get a mouse pad for smooth transitive computer usage for video games and designing, then going for a smooth plastic or metal hard mouse pad would be better.
Hard surfaces are recommended for gaming because they offer speed and low tactile resistance. If, however, you are looking for an oversized pad, going for a soft one would be better because a hard mouse pad wouldn’t be easy to manage.
Also, keep in mind that hard pads tend to be pricier than the ones made from cloth or other soft materials. So, choose wisely depending on your budget and overall requirements.