Often the last and regularly overlooked piece of the gaming setup puzzle, the mouse pad plays a crucial role in ensuring that physical mouse motion converts responsively and accurately into on-screen action. A quality mouse pad helps with response times and precision, both essential factors that can make all the difference between securing those coveted wins in your favorite games or nursing wounds after yet another hard-to-stomach loss.
While the classic mouse pad suits sliding around a mouse for everyday PC use and work, it falls short when gaming. With fit-for-purpose, calibrated surfaces conducive to pin-point sensor accuracy, oversized designs for low-dpi aficionados, and wireless charging tech, gaming mouse pads are engineered for performance. Thanks to a host of feature-rich mouse pads dedicated to gaming that cost next to nothing, there’s no point in soldiering on with an ancient, grimy pad.
To that end, today, we’ll be taking a look at the best gaming mouse pads out there and covering a range of big-name brands, budgets, and desirable features. From decked-out RGB-pumping lookers that spice up a setup to simple, no-frills, functional pads that will improve the tactile feel of the gaming experience, our product guide includes something for everyone, even the most demanding players out there.
While we could easily pass off the mouse pad as a glorified piece of cloth, there’s a lot there to consider, especially in the gaming pad category.
We spent time with quite a few mouse pads before settling on our top picks, eyeing up factors such as materials, surface texture, size, thickness, durability, and extra features such as wireless charging, stitched edges, and RGB lights. Naturally, price also played its part, although mouse pads are pretty cheap by PC accessory standards, so the difference between them is relatively marginal.
Below, you’ll find reviews for five gaming mouse pads that struck a chord with us. We’ve categorized them based on where they shine brightest – size, rigid and soft materials, RGB, and so on.
It’s worth noting that unlike other PC peripherals, it would take a concerted effort to botch a mouse pad, so most of the options out there, even those throwaway marketing freebies, will deliver on their core function – allowing a mouse to slide and glide with relative ease. As such, take these as recommendations rather than gospel.
Let’s dive in.
Best Gaming Mouse Pad in 2021
Best of both worlds surface texture
Edges are prone to peeling after heavy use
The SteelSeries QcK Gaming Surface keeps things simple and proves in the process that you don’t need to spend much at all to get a quality mouse pad. Unabashedly a budget option, the SteelSeries QcK Gaming Surface delivers everything you’d want from a pad without any refinements or added features. The price certainly isn’t representative of the mousing experience on offer here.
Constructed with micro-woven cloth, the SteelSeries QcK Gaming Surface is soft, comfortable, and is highly portable because its flexibility allows it to be rolled up. It’s also suitable for machine washing to boot.
The surface takes a best of both worlds approach, and from our experience, it is beautifully calibrated for both speedy, fluid movement and a more controlled, accurate play style thanks to a high thread count and smooth texture. Whether you prefer a high or low dpi, use a mouse with an optical or laser sensor, the SteelSeries QcK Gaming Surface won’t feel too resistant or too smooth. The durable silicon rubber underside also does wonders to prevent unwanted slips and slides, keeping it firmly on your desk.
SteelSeries offers the pad in a range of sizes, all at reasonable prices, from an ultra-compact 9.8’’ x 8.2’’ x 0.08’’ Small to a massive 63’’ x 31.5’’ x 012’’ 5XL desk pad. Thickness ranges from 2 to 3 mm, so not the most padded out there but still comfortable to use.
The only issue we have with the SteelSeries QcK Gaming Surface is that its edges are prone to fraying and peeling after heavy use. Consequently, mileage will vary. It’s a reasonable compromise for such a low price, but those with a more aggressive mouse style may want to opt for something a little more durable, or better yet, check out the SteelSeries QcK Edge further down our guide.
Razer Chroma RGB lighting
No USB port on RGB controller
Scratchy RGB strip
The top oversized desk pad we came across was undoubtedly the Razer Goliathus Extended Chroma Gaming Mousepad. With 36.22″ x 11.57″ x 0.11″ dimensions, it offers ample play space for both a mouse and keyboard with plenty of room to spare for those clutch flick maneuvers.
The Razer Goliathus Extended Chroma Gaming Mousepad’s flexible micro-textured cloth surface offers a well-rounded balance of speed and accuracy. It is suitable for low and high sensitivity settings without favoring one or the other. It’s smooth for fast split-second movements but has enough resistance to hone in on those tight CS: GO and Valorant angles too. The non-slip natural foam rubber base also keeps it glued to any desk.
While the Razer Goliathus Extended Chroma Gaming Mousepad’s main attraction is the spacious surface, we’re also taken with the RGB lighting. Rather than overbearing, the RGB wire sewn into the pad’s edge adds a subtle spot of color while also doubling as a protective layer against fraying and curling. Razer’s Chroma system brings Chroma-integrated games to life beautifully and offers excellent customization with 16.8 million colors and a dizzying range of effects to choose from.
Other than a steep price tag relative to other mouse pads, we really have to dig to carp the Razer Goliathus Extended Chroma Gaming Mousepad. In an ideal world, the RGB controller mounted on the top-right would include a USB port to mitigate clogging one up on the PC itself. The RGB strip can also cause minor mouse resistance and wrist/forearm rub issues for some.
10 RGB Modes
No USB pass-through
Edges a little rough
RGB-equipped mouse pads tend to command a premium, but the Blade Hawks RGB Gaming Mouse Pad lowers the barrier of entry. It features seven static light modes and three dynamic modes that funnel vibrant visuals to a wire strip stitched into its edge. The top-left mounted RGB module sports a button letting you turn the lights on and off, change modes, and adjust the brightness. A nifty memory function resumes the last selected mode after a power-off.
The Blade Hawks RGB Gaming Mouse Pad’s micro-texture cloth surface falls more on the smooth side. It’s ideal for low dpi settings, especially as the pad offers a generous 31.5″ × 12″ x 0.2″ of play space with enough room for a keyboard and other peripherals with plenty of space for mouse movement. The surface also lands some bonus points for being waterproof. The bottom of the pad is made of non-slip, textured natural rubber to keep it firmly in place and help ward off unwelcome slipping.
Mimicking an issue that often flares up with edged RGB pads, the Blade Hawks RGB Gaming Mouse Pad’s stitched edge can be a little rough to the touch and can rub if you’re prone to a lot of forearm movement. Like the Razer Goliathus Extended Chroma Gaming Mousepad, it lacks a USB pass-through on the RGB module, so make sure you have a USB port to spare.
Near-indestructible stitched edges
The only reservation we have about the SteelSeries QcK Gaming Surface is the edges, which tend to fray and peel after extended use. Seemingly keen to remedy the one downside to an otherwise superb mouse pad, SteelSeries also offers the SteelSeries QcK Edge. As you’ve probably guessed, it includes far better edges, albeit at a slightly higher price.
SteelSeries took the QcK (the same balanced surface, the same non-slip base, and the same range of sizes) and tacked on extremely robust, fray-resistant, stitched edges. The new edges make all the difference and can safely handle years of constant use without any sign of peeling or fraying. It’s a small improvement, but one that genuinely elevates the SteelSeries QcK Edge to the top of the best cloth gaming mouse pad stack. That is if you are okay sacrificing niceties such as RGB lighting.
To avoid repeating ourselves, head back to our review of the SteelSeries QcK Gaming Surface to get a sense of how highly we rate the QcK range.
Versatile two-sided hard/soft design
Highly customizable RGB
Cooler Master logo on cloth side takes up precious play space
While hybrid speed/control mouse pads provide a balanced texture, they don’t excel at either. Cooler Master approaches the problem of offering a mouse pad for all play styles differently by having the pad adapt to the player.
The Cooler Master MP860 Dual-sided Gaming Mousepad does just that with a dual-sided design. One side has a soft, comfortable cloth fabric surface, while the other has a rigid, aluminum surface. Jumping between them is as simple as flipping over the mouse pad. According to Cooler Master, the low-friction cloth is suited to speed and the smooth aluminum to control. Both sides are of excellent quality, and overall the pad feels robust and durable, measuring 14.1″ x 10.2″ x 0.3″. Due to the size, it isn’t particularly suited to low dpi sensitivity, though.
The Cooler Master MP860 Dual-sided Gaming Mousepad features nineteen 16.7 million color LEDs mounted on the pad’s edge. These are fully customizable via Cooler Master’s MasterPlus+ software and synchronize with other Cooler Master peripherals. There’s plenty there to play with, and it should suit even the most demanding RGB enthusiasts.
As for the negative, a Cooler Master logo sits in the upper right-hand corner on the cloth side, abruptly cutting off the surface and taking up precious play space. A minor gripe, but one to keep in mind, given the pad’s surface isn’t on the larger end of the size spectrum.
Things To Consider
Materials and Surface Texture
Mouse pad materials come in two main categories – soft and rigid. Soft refers to cloth pads favored for portability, comfort, thickness, and space-saving (their flexibility allows them to roll up for easy storage). Rigid pads are generally made of polyethylene plastic or metal and are the material of choice for durability and rough desks. They also tend to offer a flatter, more uniform surface.
As for surface texture, this relates to play style, specifically whether you place more emphasis on speed or control when gaming. Smooth surfaces are more fluid and allow the mouse to glide effortlessly for a slicker overall feel. Rough surfaces, on the other hand, offer more resistance for more reliable in-game precision and accuracy.
Gaming mouse pads come in various sizes, from your classic small pads measuring roughly 10” x 8” to obnoxiously massive desk pads exceeding 60” in length. It’s not easy to rank one particular size as better than the others. It all comes down to personal preference and your preferred dpi setting.
Larger pads with more surface area tend to favor mice with lower dpi settings. They offer more physical real estate for exaggerated sweeping motions that are part and parcel of playing with a lower dpi.
On the other hand, mouse pads on the smaller end of the scale are better suited to users with less on-desk space to dedicate to a pad and those that prefer higher dpi settings. These settings mean you can swiftly dart the mouse from one side of the screen to the other with a small motion requiring significantly less mouse pad space.
In the grand of things, gaming mouse pads don’t cost much at all, and you can easily pick up a quality pad for a modest sum. In most cases, spending $20-$40 will land you with a great mouse pad that should last for years, reduce mouse wear and tear, and suit your play style. Any less, and you might as well use one of those basic mouse pads packaged for free alongside other PC components or dished out by companies to promote their wares.
Like most gaming accessories, you can easily overspend for a premium pad decked out with all the trimmings, tempered glass, and bespoke surface graphics, but for most, this is overkill. Simplicity is the name of the game here. We suggest only buying pricier pads if they have a feature you imperatively need, such as QI wireless charging capabilities or a large desk pad size.
Personal preference largely dictates what constitutes the best gaming mouse pad, but in our estimation, the SteelSeries QcK Gaming Surface, or the slightly more expensive, stitch-edged SteelSeries QcK Edge, delivers value and performance. They’re undoubtedly no-nonsense options free of any extras, but you get a premium mousing experience at an affordable price. Unless you have particular needs, we recommend the SteelSeries QcK range to anyone with a gaming setup.
Our money is on the massive Razer Goliathus Extended Chroma Gaming Mousepad for those that want an oversized desk pad. It’s an excellent option for its RGB chops and well-rounded balance of speed and accuracy. The Blade Hawks RGB Gaming Mouse Pad is another strong RGB-focused option, but at a more palatable price than the Razer pad.
Finally, those who want versatility from a mouse pad should consider the Cooler Master MP860 Dual-sided Gaming Mousepad. Both sides are usable with one made of the cloth, and one of aluminum.
With that, we’ll bring our guide to the best gaming mouse pads to a close. We hope our recommendations prove useful and you find a pad that serves you well for years ahead. Don’t hesitate to drop us a message if you have any pressing questions or know of any great mouse pads that didn’t make it on our list.