Here at Digital Foundry, we’ve weighed in on some of the top gaming peripherals on the market, from the best gaming mice and mechanical keyboards to recommended gaming headsets and monitors. Now it’s time to look at an underappreciated part of your gaming arsenal – the humble mouse pad or mouse mat. This surface affects how your mouse movements are translated into in-game actions, so it makes sense to make sure you’re not being held back by an old, dirty or simply unsuitable mouse pad. That’s why we’re taking a look at the best mouse pads, from cheap and cheerful budget options to the best premium examples available.

We’ve gone with five battle-tested recommendations to start, and we’ll look to add to these in the coming weeks and months as we have a chance to try more examples and fill out the types of mouse pads you’re most interested in. As well as making recommendations, we’ll also look at the more basic principles of mouse pad design and explain what options are out there by answering some frequently asked questions. Let’s get started with some great entry-level options, before we move onto more specialist examples.

Best cheap gaming mouse pad
SteelSeries QcK Mini 

You don’t have to spend a lot to get a good mouse pad. SteelSeries’ QcK Mini is our favourite cheap option, offering a good gaming surface for less than a tenner. The small size, 25x21cm (10×8″) is the cheapest option at £7/$7, but the medium size still fits in our budget at £9/$10. Note that you are giving up some niceties here, like a thicker design and a more durable stitched edge, but these are understandable ommissions given the price. Regardless, you’re left with a highly usable cloth pad that’s easy to take to LANs and will fit even in cramped conditions.

Best mouse pad for gaming overall
Corsair MM350 Champion Series 

Thicker mouse pads provide added comfort and help guarantee a flat surface even on a bumpy desk, so the 5mm-thick Corsair MM360 Champion Series is a natural choice here. We tested the X-Large 45x40cm (18×16″) size, which provides more than enough space for 180-degree flicks in CS:GO at 400 DPI. The stitched edge is flat and soft, protecting the mouse pad without affecting comfort as some poorer mouse pads do. All in all, this is a strong option for anyone looking for a good balance between speed and control in games of all genres.

Best mouse pad for control
Zowie G-SR 

The most popular mousepad among CS:GO professional players is this one, the Zowie G-SR. The large 47x39cm (18×15″) size provides enough space for gaming at any sensitivity level, while the slightly rough surface is ideal for maximising control, allowing you to stop your mouse on a dime once you see an enemy’s head poke out of cover. That means you’ll need to push your mouse a little harder to glide, but in games where accuracy is everything, this mousepad is certainly worth it. If you’d prefer a smaller option, the 34x30cm (13×12″) Zowie P-SR is also available at a lower price.

Best hard mouse pad
Corsair MM600

If you prefer a hard metal mouse pad, the Corsair MM600 is a nice choice. Rubber corner guards prevent accidental movement, while the 3mm aluminium core provides a flat surface no matter what it’s placed on. The MM600’s special feature is its dual-side design; one side is smooth and the other rough so you can choose between speed and control. We liked the rougher side for high-DPI gameplay. The MM600 is large enough for most people too, at 35x27cm (14×11″).

Best desk pad for gaming
Glorious Extended

Glorious are well known for their cheap but well-made gaming mouse pads, with the Extended offering more than enough space for your keyboard, mouse and other peripherals at 28x91cm (11×36″). If you need a larger size, you can pick up the taller XXL Extended at 46x91cm (18×36″) or the ridiculous 3XL Extended which is 61x122cm (24×48″). No matter which size you choose, you get stitched edges for long-term use and a durable, machine-washable design. Glorious get bonus points for offering a “stealth” option, which omits the logo, and a white colourway.

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