Getty Images stock
The corded computer mouse is losing favor with consumers as cheap cordless models are becoming an increasingly popular.
With all the focus on touch screens, touchpads and multitouch gestures, it’s easy to forget that so much of the workload falls to the humble mouse. It’s still the primary way most people navigate a desktop PC, and even some laptop users prefer to use an external mouse. If you don't have the budget to completely replace a tired old computer, getting rid of a gunked-up trackball mouse is a start. And the cost of a new mouse starts in the single digits.
Below are Cheapism’s top picks for affordable computer mice.
- The Kensington Mouse in a Box K72356US (starting at $6) is a basic, two-button mouse with a scroll wheel that connects to a computer with a USB cord. It curries favor with consumers for more than just its ultralow price. In online reviews, they note how sturdy and responsive it is. (Where to buy)
- The Dynex DX-NPWLMSE (starting at $10) is a wireless mouse that wins over consumers in search of a bargain. It works by sending a signal to a tiny receiver that plugs into a USB port. An indicator light gives users a heads-up when the AA battery needs replacing. (Where to buy)
- The Microsoft Wireless Mobile Mouse 3500 (starting at $20) uses Microsoft’s proprietary BlueTrack technology, which impresses consumers and experts alike with its ability to work on almost any surface — even something like carpet or the arm of a couch. This is another AA-battery-powered wireless mouse with a small USB receiver. (Where to buy)
- The Logitech M500 (starting at $28) costs more money than the other mice on this list but offers more features, such as forward/back buttons on the side and “hyperfast” scrolling. This is a laser mouse that appeals to gamers with its responsive performance. For all its bells and whistles, though, this is a traditional corded mouse. (Where to buy)
A wireless mouse can move unfettered by a cord and keep your workplace uncluttered. It’s also easy to transport and use while you're on the go. However, it’s likely to be more expensive than an equivalent corded mouse, even before you factor in the cost of repeatedly replacing the battery (or batteries). The receivers that come with cheaper models also occupy prime real estate that could be used for other USB peripherals. (Pricier wireless mice use Bluetooth.)
Computer mice rely on a variety of different technologies to track their movement. Most low-cost mice these days are optical models with an LED in place of a trackball. Gamers favor laser mice for their precision and sensitivity. Microsoft’s BlueTrack technology boasts the ability to perform on surfaces that thwart optical and laser mice.
If you can, get your hand on a mouse to see how it feels before you commit — especially if you’re a southpaw. You don’t want to wind up with a mouse like the Logitech M500, an ergonomic model molded for the right-handed masses. The other mice on the list above are ambidextrous, and Microsoft’s website shows left-handers how to reverse the buttons and even the direction of the pointer on the screen.