Swapping out your old mouse (or trackpad) for an ergonomic model can make a world of difference. Just look at the ever-increasing number of companies offering ergonomically correct mice to combat users’ hand and wrist strain.
That’s why we spent weeks testing the top ergonomic mice you can pair with an ergonomic keyboard to determine which is best for creating a truly comfortable work station. And after putting nine different models through their paces, we found a winner:
A quick look at the winner
The Logitech MX Master 3 ($99.99; logitech.com) is an unequivocally comfortable mouse. It’s shaped to perfection, with special attention to the fingers that do the clicking. Using it felt like our fingers were lounging — with a sculpted ergonomic groove for nearly every finger.
The comfortable build is also remarkably customizable. Namely, there are five extra buttons (in addition to the left and right mouse buttons) within thumb’s reach, all of which can be customized. For instance, you can set the front thumb button to pause and play music and the back button to mute your audio. There’s also a horizontal scroll wheel above the thumb buttons, a feature unique to the MX Master among the mice we tested. Overall, the MX Master 3 is an ergonomic and customizable marvel, justifying its somewhat lofty price tag.
A deeper dive into the winner
The MX Master sculpt provides an extraordinary fit for the hand. From the back of the mouse begins an incline that peaks just below the base of your index and middle finger, so instead of hovering above the mouse, our primary clicking fingers relaxed on a solid structure. This provides a unique feeling of support lacking in the other mice we tested. From there, the mouse tapers off into a gentler slope toward the primary buttons and scroll wheel. There’s more than enough room for your clicking fingers, so even the largest hands should do just fine.
Your thumb gets special treatment, too. The left side of the MX Master smoothly dips into a flattened section upon which your entire thumb can rest. It’s made of soft rubber with gentle ribbing for comfort and traction. We would have liked to see similar attention given to the ring and pinky fingers. There is a steep slope on the right side of the mouse that provides some support, but not nearly as much as is given to the thumb. Regardless, our overall experience was one of unmatched clicking comfort.
Logitech made some really good decisions with the materials used on this mouse. The soft rubber on the thumb rest is a prime example, working its way up to the edges of the primary mouse buttons beneath your index and middle fingers adding both comfort and additional grip. Only a handful of other mice we tested employed rubber on any such surfaces, and only two did as generously. The metal scroll wheels (both vertical and horizontal) also feel solid and satisfying.
All that comfort does not come at the expense of functionality. MX Master 3 can be connected to three different devices simultaneously, and you can swap between them with a single button. There are two additional buttons as well as a horizontal scroll wheel above the thumb rest. Built right into the thumb rest is a gesture button, which, when held, will allow you to perform a variety of functions when you move the mouse at the same time. For example, holding this button and moving the mouse left or right allows you to swap between programs. The regular scroll wheel has a button built into it as well as a button just behind it. The latter, by default, swaps the scroll style between a smooth, fast scroll and slower line-by-line ratchet scrolling.
To take full advantage of all these extra buttons, you’ll need to download the Logitech Options application (available for Mac and PC). Within it, you’ll find a trove of options for modification. Every additional button (on top of the traditional left and right clickers), as well as the horizontal scroll wheel, can be reprogrammed. You can also make app-specific configurations. For example, we made the horizontal scroll wheel change the brush size in Photoshop and swap between sheets in Microsoft Excel. The gesture button comes with pre-built configurations, such as one for controlling music playback, but you can also customize your setup as well as change things like pointer speed and scroll direction.
Logitech Options also features Logitech Flow, which allows you to move your mouse seamlessly between connected devices. You can even copy and paste files between them. What’s extra cool is that this works across operating systems. To connect a device, you can use the included dongle or simply connect via Bluetooth. We put a desktop PC and a MacBook side-by-side, pressed Command+C to copy a file of the Mac, moved our cursor seamlessly onto our desktop, and pressed Control+V to paste it onto the PC. Never thought we’d experience something like that!
The MX Master has a rechargeable battery, charged with the included USB-A to USB-C cable. And the cable is long enough to use the mouse at the same time that it’s charging, though it can interfere with tracking. We’d recommend juicing up overnight. If you find the battery’s dead but need it in a pinch, a one-minute quick charge provides a whole three hours of use.
Overall, we were blown away by the Logitech MX Master 3. This ergonomic mouse feels like it was molded with clay and shaped for the human hand. While many mice we tested were plenty ergonomic, the attention to details including even the curvature at the base of our fingers really put this one over the top, as did all those customizable buttons, programmable with Logitech Options. At $99.99, you’re getting a mouse that’s absolutely packed with features and thoughtfully crafted for the best ergonomic experience.
How we tested
There are a lot of products with ergonomic claims out there, but finding the cream of the crop took some digging. After searching through numerous expert reviews, scrolling the pages of popular brands and using our own expertise, we settled on a set of nine mice to put to the test. Price-wise, these ranged from about $30 to more than $100. High prices are par for the course in high-end tech, but a majority of the devices we tested don’t breach the $100 mark.
We scored each mouse on design and comfort, customization and performance (you can read more about by scrolling down). Seeing as these are ergonomic mice, comfort took up a good portion of our rating scale. But we also placed great emphasis on customization and performance.
We ran a battery of tests on every mouse over sessions lasting up to two hours. We clicked objects of varying sizes, dragged and dropped files, highlighted text and much more. All the while, we noted any strain or discomfort in our hands, on both immediate and long-term. We also spent plenty of time getting used to non-traditional mouse formats, specifically trackballs and “vertical” mice with buttons at near-vertical angles. We also looked into the quality of materials that composed each mouse and at battery life, Bluetooth connection and warranties. Finally, we explored every customization option, like extra buttons, the amount of functionality available, and downloadable software.
Check out our category breakdown below.
Design and Comfort
- Overall design: We checked out the build of the mouse in detail, both visually and in-hand. Specifically, we noted the mouse’s architecture and button placement. We also noted how many additional buttons there were, and where they were located.
- Comfort: We spent about two hours with the mouse (after getting used to its weight and controls), concentrating on both short-term and long-term strain. An example of short-term strain would be if a button is difficult to reach with the nearest finger. An example of long-term strain would be discomfort in specific parts of the hand after using the mouse for the full session. We also noted any wrist strain over the long-term.
- Materials used: We researched material composition and quality. In part, this boiled down to how plastic, rubber, buttons and scroll wheels felt in our hands.
- Customization: We delved into every customization option available for each mouse, including those provided by accompanying software. This included additional buttons, different modes of use, physical modifications available, gesture controls and more.
- Overall use: We noted every quirk, good and bad, while using each mouse: how smooth tracking and scrolling were, how easy it was to access every button, how well we could hold the mouse. We also described how much effort it took to learn to use non-traditional modes such as trackball and vertical mice (the latter of which is characterized by primary buttons are at an exceptionally steep angle on one side).
- Bluetooth: We rated the connection quality of the mouse, how many devices could be connected at once and whether a dongle was required or included. In terms of connection quality, we mainly looked for any latency between mouse movement and cursor movement on the screen.
- Battery: We considered what kind of battery/batteries were required and how long they were expected to last. Some mice had an internal battery that could be recharged or even supported fast charging.
- Warranty: We looked into what warranty/warranties covered each mouse.
How we rated
We gave every mouse a score in each subcategory described above. The combined scores of each subcategory comprised its respective category’s maximum potential score. We weighted comfort and customization, two of the most important features in an ergonomic device, most heavily. Below you’ll find the exact point composition.
- Performance had a maximum of 45 points: overall use (15 points), Bluetooth (15 points) and battery (15 points).
- Design and comfort had a maximum of 30 points: overall design (5 points), materials used (5 points) and comfort (20 points).
- Customization had a maximum of 20 points: customization (20 points).
- Warranty had a maximum of 5 points: warranty (5 points).
Other ergonomic mice we tested
The SwiftPoint ProPoint Ergonomic Mouse & Presenter SM600 is unlike any Bluetooth mouse we’ve ever used. It fits right in the palm of your hand as it’s less than 2 inches from end to end. It’s designed with two alcoves on the left and right for your thumb and middle finger, respectively. A ridge in the middle holds the buttons, controlled by your index finger. You can also tilt it on its side to use gesture controls. Despite its size, this mouse is genuinely comfortable through and through — and it’s much easier to control than you might imagine. Plus, it doubles as a presenter that you can point at your screen to control slide shows. You can pick up the free SwiftPoint P3 Control Panel on most operating systems, which allows you to customize all the controls and see your own mouse usage statistics.
Overall, we loved this mouse. It’s compact and portable, yet packs ergonomics better than many normal-sized mice. However, we had to pass it up as, compared to the Logitech MX Master 3, there isn’t much material for your fingers to rest upon, so they have to stay bent rather than fully relaxed. And as good as the customization software is, the MX Master simply features more buttons to modify.
The Logitech MX Vertical is a vertical mouse, meaning its primary buttons rest on the side at a steep angle. This mouse looks almost like a fossil, with a large, gently twisting region for your hand to grip. This area peaks with a long, ovular shape pointing at a 45-degree angle. On the right side, which is flat and halfway-vertical, are the main buttons and the scroll wheel. On the left side, which is concave, are two thumb buttons. That ovular area contains yet another button within reach of the thumb. Like the MX Master, most of the area you’ll grip is covered in a comfortable, ribbed rubber. To customize the buttons, you can take advantage of Logitech Options, software that works on Mac and PC.
Despite being so well constructed, the Logitech MX Vertical features little curvature on the actual clicking surface. Since it’s flat, you need to more actively grip the mouse to keep your hand on it. Relative to resting our hand on the Logitech MX Master 3, this was not nearly as comfortable. Plus, the MX Vertical features fewer additional controls to take advantage of.
The Logitech MX Ergo scored just below the Logitech MX Master 3. It’s a trackball mouse, featuring a sizable, accurate ball on the left side. Your palm and some of your fingers are treated to the same soft rubber as that of the MX Vertical and MX Master. The mouse is wide, with a gentle curve that ends with a groove on the right side for your ring finger. On the bottom is a metal plate that anchors the MX Ergo nicely, but also acts as a pivot to change the angle of the mouse from flat to 20 degrees tilted right. We loved this unique inclusion. The MX Ergo features two additional buttons beside your index finger, as well as a button to set the trackball to precision mode. This lowers the tracking speed greatly, greatly increasing precision on an already accurate trackball. You can download Logitech Options to customize every extra button.
The MX Master narrowly beat the MX Ergo due in part to its more precisely sculpted shape. The MX Master also has a horizontal scroll wheel, which the MX Ergo lacks. Despite these minor differences, the Logitech MX Ergo is exceptionally ergonomic — a great pick if you prefer trackball mice.
The Logitech MX Anywhere 2S has a simpler design that placed it lower than its Logitech companions on ergonomics. It’s under 4 inches long, featuring a gentle slope along the surface and a small groove on the left side for your thumb. Only the thumb area and a similar groove on the right side feature rubber; the rest is Logitech’s quality plastic. Above the thumb region are two additional buttons, as well as a button behind the scroll wheel. Overall, the main draw with this mouse appears to be portability. But there are nuances, such as the thumb groove and some subtle troughs along the primary buttons, that provide ergonomic support. Plus, you can customize the extra buttons with the Logitech Options program for Mac and PC.
All in all, the MX Anywhere features minimal attention to ergonomics compared to the other mice we tested. It also throws in fewer additional controls than the Logitech MX Master 3.
The Kensington Pro Fit Ergo Vertical Wireless Trackball came third on the scoreboard. The first thing you’ll notice is a large trackball facing upward at about a 70-degree angle. Along the right side, the mouse curves and winds to fit your grip very well. At the end of this curvature are the main mouse buttons, which rest at a steep, sloping angle. On the left side of the mouse is a wholly vertical area upon which your thumb can grip. Above the thumb region are three extra buttons, and to the left of the index finger are two more. All of these buttons can be customized via the KensingtonWorks program, available for Mac and PC.
This mouse was certainly ergonomic, given its combination of a vertical design, generous trackball size and finely curved structure. But a primary issue that arose was the accuracy of the trackball. In large motion it was fine, but during more precise movements like highlighting text, tracking was a little choppy. We missed the precision offered by the Logitech MX Ergo. Plus, the MX Ergo features a more comfortable rubber coating and overall higher quality construction.
The Kensington Pro Fit Ergo Vertical Wireless Mouse is another example of a very finely crafted device. The mouse is designed to be gripped by your entire hand. The right side features a warped looking curve full of grooves and peaks that, when held, perfectly cradle your fingers. The left side also features a wide trough for your thumb. To borrow an analogy we used before, it’s like holding a piece of clay molded to the human hand. In terms of extra buttons, there are two above the thumb and one behind the scrolling mechanism. We say mechanism because, in place of a wheel, this device has a scroll ball, though it still only scrolls vertically. To customize the buttons, you can download the multi-OS KensingtonWorks program.
Despite being so incredibly well sculpted, this Kensington mouse controls somewhat awkwardly. With your grip entirely on the mouse, it takes a tremendous amount of acclimation if you’re used to traditional mice. Normally, your fingers might take part in the more precise movement of the mouse, but to take full advantage of the ergonomic structure, you’ll have to rely on your arm for such movements. And those of us with larger hands also overshot some of the buttons when fully gripping this mouse, making it a little awkward in our hands.
The Microsoft Surface Mouse takes a much more minimalist approach than the other mice we tested, leading to some shortcomings on the ergonomics front. It’s shaped very much like a traditional mouse, with a simple, bulbous slope from front to back. This more steep slope fits the hand a little better, but the only finger that actually gets special attention is the thumb. On the left side of the mouse is a flattened, rubber area upon which your thumb can rest. Above this thumb region are three additional buttons. There’s also a button behind the scroll wheel. To customize these buttons, and even assign macros to them, you can download the PC-only Microsoft Mouse and Keyboard Center software.
As we mentioned, this mouse’s greatest downfall is its minimalism. While it looks sleek, and doesn’t even require a dongle, it does not provide much sculpted support for most of your fingers. Over longer sessions, we felt stiffness in our clicking fingers as a result. Plus, its software is PC-centric, cutting out a significant portion of its potential user base.
The AmazonBasics Full-Size Ergonomic Wireless Mouse is a good attempt at an affordable ergonomic mouse. Its shape is what we’d call traditional with a twist. The main buttons feature an uneven slope that accommodates for the different lengths of the index and middle finger. Plus, there’s a concave region on the left for your thumb. On the right, there’s a similar region that the ring and pinky fingers can at least grip onto. Above the thumb are three additional buttons (one of which we could not find a function). Beneath the thumb is a button that opens the Windows start menu. And finally, there’s a button behind the scroll wheel. Unfortunately, we could not find any customization software to go along with this mouse.
The AmazonBasics mouse features an ergonomic design, but it is still far less nuanced than that of the Logitech MX Master 3. And its material construction feels much cheaper, even creating a sharp edge on the right side that can dig into your ring finger at times. On top of not having accompanying software, this mouse appeared to utilize mouse acceleration. This is a function that attempts to smooth out mouse movement, which ends up making this mouse feel slightly less accurate and responsive than the MX Master.
Read more from CNN Underscored’s hands-on testing: