Best mouse for programmers

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Bennett Hoffman
80 contributors
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After considering 34 Mice for programmers, the Slant community recommends Logitech Performance MX for overall best mouse, Zowie EC1-A for best "essentials-only" mouse and Evoluent VerticalMouse 4 for best ergonomics pick. These recommendations are the result of hundreds of contributions from the Slant community.
93
Slant Score

Best overall mouse

Logitech Performance MX

With its ergonomic form, excellent build quality, customizability and precise movement on any surface, the Logitech Performance MX is the best mouse for both everyday use and professional work.

Available on Amazon
Available on Amazon
Wired/Wireless
Wireless
Weight
147 g
Dimensions
128mm x 83mm x 47mm
Shape
Right-handed
Sensor
DarkField
Ergonomics
Performance
Build quality

Feels really comfortable

It feels just right and comfortable as a palm grip mouse which suits people with medium or large hands. The thumb grip feels natural to hold and the button layout is unobtrusive yet accessible.

Can be used on any surface

This mouse works on any surface—even polished marble and glass—with glitch-free precision. This is due to the “Darkfield laser tracking”, which is more precise than sensors found on traditional laser mice, but not as precise as an optical mouse on a mousepad.

Customizable, versatile and easy to use

The Logitech MX Performance has seven buttons, four of which are programmable thumb buttons that you can customize as either hot keys or perform application-specific actions. Programmers can make use of the customizable scroll wheel, which lets you switch between free-rolling (for quick scrolls through extended code lines) or notched scrolling (for line by line examining.) The button layout is designed to be easy to reach, but not easy to accidentally mispress.

Heavier than a typical mouse

At 147 g, compared to a typical weight of about 100 g, the mouse make take some getting used to. More often than not, heavier mice can also tire your wrists after extended use without rest.

Other things to note

The mouse can be charged, even while in use, through a powered USB port or the included charging adapter. Typically, the battery lasts around a month under regular use. A built-in battery indicator lets you know when it’s time to recharge. The included Unifying receiver can be used for up to six devices at once. Unfortunately, its asymmetrical design means it is not a good choice for left-handed users.

JamesF
Invalid date

Easily the most comfortable mouse I've ever owned, fits my large hands nicely. It works on every surface I've tried it on, I love this thing. Only issue is the battery life isn't great.

91
Slant Score

Best “essentials-only” mouse for programmers.

Zowie EC1-A

The Zowie EC1-A is the perfect choice if you’re looking for a mouse with good ergonomics, solid build quality and exceptional accuracy, without paying for unnecessary extra features. Despite its simplicity, it’s favored by many gamers due to its incredible accuracy.

Available on Amazon
Available on Amazon
Wired/Wireless
Wired
Weight
97 g
Dimensions
128mm x 69mm x 43mm
Shape
Right-handed
Sensor
Avago 3310
Ergonomics
Performance
Build quality

The most ergonomic no-frills mouse

The mouse is ergonomically designed to suit most hands using common grips, like palm, claw or fingertip. The left and right mouse buttons have small indents where the fingers can rest in place. The left side is also indented so the thumb can grip the mouse comfortably. The side buttons are easily accessible and aren’t prone to accidental presses. At 97 grams, it’s light enough that it won’t tire your wrists even after extended use.

Outstanding precision

The EC1-A uses a highly accurate optical sensor with no hardware acceleration or jitter. The sensor itself is one of the best in the market, but for best results it is advisable to use a mousepad.

Well built and solid feel

The mouse is made of durable and high-quality plastic with a rubber textured coating. Buttons can be reached easily and the scroll wheel operates with ease and with noticeable clicks. All of this combined gives the mouse a really solid feel.

Simplicity at its best

This mouse only includes the essentials, and does it well. It’s intended for users who have no plans on using advanced controls, fancy LED strips or customizable software. Everything you want to change, like DPI, lift-off distance and polling rate, can be done from the mouse itself by pressing buttons on it. The wheel does change colour regarding which DPI preset you use.

Other things to note

There is a smaller version of this mouse, the EC2-A, with the exact same technical and design characteristics available for those who might not prefer a large mouse. There are only 4 DPI modes (400, 800, 1600, 3200) which can be switched using a button on the back of the mouse.

exeen
January 11, 2017

Really precise and reactive mouse, great looking too. Nothing flashy to it, just a well designed mouse that does exactly what it's supposed to do. Side buttons are kinda mushy (lots of travel) which took a bit of getting used to. Otherwise it's been awesome for programming and gaming.

88
Slant Score

Most ergonomic mouse

Evoluent VerticalMouse 4

Ergonomics-wise, the Evoluent 4 Vertical Mouse is the best you can buy as it utilizes a patented “handshake grip” which puts your hand in a more ergonomic position that doesn’t twist your forearm, thus reducing pressure, strain and unnatural movement for your hand.

Available on Amazon
Available on Amazon
Wired/Wireless
Wireless / BT/ Wired
Weight
135 g
Dimensions
105mm x 84mm x 76mm
Shape
Right-handed / left-handed availible
Sensor
Avago 3080
Ergonomics
Performance
Build quality

Unique, natural-feeling vertical design

The VerticalMouse 4’s design allows for a neutral hand posture, meaning your hand is in a vertical position as if you were shaking someone’s hand. The buttons are vertically aligned as well, with two buttons on the thumb side, and three buttons and a scroll wheel on the opposite side. At first, the new grip and layout might seem strange and may take some getting used to, but you will feel considerably less pressure on your wrist and forearm.

Made from quality plastic and rubber material

The mouse is made of quality hard plastic. The back portion of the mouse is made of a soft rubberized material that helps add grip. Although the scroll wheel feels tight and responsive, the buttons feel cheap and mushy to press compared to other mice in its price range.

Included software further eases work

The included Mouse Manager software allows you to assign different functions to the buttons such as hotkeys, Windows commands or media control. You can reduce the amount of clicking you have to do by assigning a double-click button, or set the mouse to double-click automatically after a short pause. Static strain can also be reduced by pressing and holding a button momentarily to simulate continuous pressing.

Other things to note

This mouse can be bought in six different versions: a left-handed one, two smaller ones (wired and wireless), and three standard right-handed versions. There are dedicated buttons for changing DPI settings and small indicators specify the selected mode.

mak8877
January 11, 2017

Bought this mouse after a year of dealing with pain in my wrist and index finger. There was a huge difference even on the first day over using my other mouse. Comes in a few different sizes too. The style of mouse took me a couple of weeks to get used to it but it was completely worth it. I've been pain free for a couple of months and recommend this mouse to everyone.

What others are saying

Here are some of the best reviews from around the web on Mice for programmers.

How they compare

When picking the best Mouse for programmers for you, the Slant community thinks you should consider the following criteria: Ergonomics, Performance, and Build quality.
Ergonomics
Programmers, as with any profession that requires heavy computer use, have increased risk of RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury) related symptoms such as pain in the arm or palm, tightness, tingling or irritation. As such, it’s important that the mouse is easy to grip, comfortable and doesn’t tire hands and fingers after extended use.
Evoluent VerticalMouse 4
    • This mouse is designed for a handshake-like grip. This places the arm in a more natural position—less stress and tension are put on the wrist and palm compared to an ordinary mouse. It also prevents wrist extension and finger tension.

    • There are several variants of this mouse available: the standard sized right-handed, a smaller right-handed one and a left-handed version.

    • It weighs 135 grams, but due to the different grip actually feels lighter to use than a standard mouse of similar weight.

    • All the buttons are easy to reach and can be set to mimic double clicks with one click, or set it to auto-click after hovering over an area for a short period.

    Logitech Performance MX
      • It is a palm grip mouse, best suited for large and medium hands, and feels comfortable to hold. The grooved thumb slot gives it a firm grip.

      • Despite weighing 147 g, it isn’t fatiguing to use even after using for an extended period.

      • The Logitech MX Performance is designed for right-hand use.

      • All the buttons are easy to reach and programmable, although the thumb button might be a bit hard to push.

    Zowie EC1-A
      • It is designed for right-handed use with a simple, curved form that feels nice in your hands.

      • Due to its simple design, it can be used with a palm, claw or fingertip grip.

      • Weighing only 97 grams, it won’t put strain on your wrists after extended use.

      • All buttons are easily accessible, and the side buttons are unobtrusive.

      • If this model is too large, Zowie offers a smaller version called the EC2-A which, apart from size, has the exact same specifications as the EC1-A.

      • The coating is slightly rubberized which improves traction, but can be an issue if you like to re-grip the mouse a lot.
    Ergonomics Specs
    Logitech Performance MX
    Zowie EC1-A
    Evoluent VerticalMouse 4
    Weight
    147 g
    97 g
    135 g
    Logitech Performance MX
    147 g
    Zowie EC1-A
    97 g
    Evoluent VerticalMouse 4
    135 g
    Dimensions
    128mm x 83mm x 47mm
    128mm x 69mm x 43mm
    105mm x 84mm x 76mm
    Logitech Performance MX
    128mm x 83mm x 47mm
    Zowie EC1-A
    128mm x 69mm x 43mm
    Evoluent VerticalMouse 4
    105mm x 84mm x 76mm
    Shape
    Whether the shape of the mouse is designed for right-handed, left-handed, or either use.
    Right-handed
    Right-handed
    Right-handed / left-handed availible
    Logitech Performance MX
    Right-handed
    Zowie EC1-A
    Right-handed
    Evoluent VerticalMouse 4
    Right-handed / left-handed availible
    Performance
    Mice performance is mostly measured by how quickly and accurately it translates the user’s mouse movement into inputs the computer can perform. There should be no jitter, lag or random movement. To aid versatility, the mouse should also perform well on different surfaces.
    Logitech Performance MX
      • Logitech uses a DarkField laser sensor with 1500 DPI and without any jitter or hardware acceleration.

      • The sensor allows the mouse to work on virtually any surface, even glass.

      • The wheel can be set to free scrolling (for scrolling through long documents or codes) or to notched scrolling that clicks in each step (for precise scrolling through lines.)

      Zowie EC1-A
        • The Zowie EC1-A uses a highly precise 3200 DPI Avago 3310 optical sensor which has no jitter or noticeable lag.
        • Since this mouse uses an optical sensor, it will perform best on non-reflective surfaces like a mousepad, but not on reflective or transparent surfaces like glass or polished metal.
      Evoluent VerticalMouse 4
        • Evoluent uses a high-precision 2600 DPI optical sensor.
        • Since this mouse uses an optical sensor, it will perform best on non-reflective surfaces like a mousepad, but not on reflective or transparent surfaces like glass or polished metal.
      Performance Specs
      Logitech Performance MX
      Zowie EC1-A
      Evoluent VerticalMouse 4
      Sensor
      Name of the sensor used in the device.
      DarkField
      Avago 3310
      Avago 3080
      Logitech Performance MX
      DarkField
      Zowie EC1-A
      Avago 3310
      Evoluent VerticalMouse 4
      Avago 3080
      Sensor type
      The best gaming mice use optical sensors because their tracking on cloth mousepads is more reliable than that of laser sensors.
      Laser
      Optical
      Optical
      Logitech Performance MX
      Laser
      Zowie EC1-A
      Optical
      Evoluent VerticalMouse 4
      Optical
      Angle-snapping (prediction)
      Angle-snapping (also known as prediction) is a feature that tries to even out straight movements. Movements that are almost in a straight line will be made to be exactly in a straight line at the expense of accurately representing your movements. Most gamers prefer this feature to be turned off to preserve the accuracy of their movement.
      Yes
      No
      Yes
      Logitech Performance MX
      Yes
      Zowie EC1-A
      No
      Evoluent VerticalMouse 4
      Yes
      Hardware acceleration
      Acceleration changes the sensitivity depending on speed and distance traveled at the expense of accurately representing your movements. Most gamers prefer this feature to be turned off to preserve the accuracy of their movement.
      No
      No
      Yes
      Logitech Performance MX
      No
      Zowie EC1-A
      No
      Evoluent VerticalMouse 4
      Yes
      Poll rate
      The rate at which the sensor information is sent to the operating system. Generally speaking, the higher the better. Currently the best gaming mice have a 1000 Hz polling rate, which equates to an update every 1 ms.
      125Hz
      1000Hz
      125Hz
      Logitech Performance MX
      125Hz
      Zowie EC1-A
      1000Hz
      Evoluent VerticalMouse 4
      125Hz
      Maximum perfect tracking speed
      The maximum movement speed (described in inches per second) at which the mouse can track accurately. While the higher the better, realistically no gamer will reach speeds above 200 IPS in any gaming situation.
      215 IPS
      Logitech Performance MX
      Zowie EC1-A
      215 IPS
      Evoluent VerticalMouse 4
      Lift-off Distance
      Lift-off distance describes how high the mouse needs to be lifted from the surface for the sensor to stop tracking. In most cases, the less you need to lift the mouse for it to stop tracking, the better.
      3 mm
      Customizable
      Logitech Performance MX
      3 mm
      Zowie EC1-A
      Customizable
      Evoluent VerticalMouse 4
      CPI
      CPI (or counts per inch) describes how much the cursor moves per inch of mouse movement.
      400/600/800/100/1200/1400/1600
      400 / 800 / 1600 / 3200
      800/1300/1800/2600
      Logitech Performance MX
      400/600/800/100/1200/1400/1600
      Zowie EC1-A
      400 / 800 / 1600 / 3200
      Evoluent VerticalMouse 4
      800/1300/1800/2600
      Build quality
      Components that the mouse uses should feel solid, be functional and last for a long time. Button clicks should be responsive and without unnecessary rattle.
      Logitech Performance MX
        • The Performance MX is made out of soft matte plastic that does not attract fingerprints and a rubbery material where the thumb rest is. There is a metal looking plastic accent as well, but is unfortunately prone to scratches.

        • The mouse doesn’t squeak or rattle while being used.

        • The buttons feel firm and have a nice response, except for the scroll wheel button which has poor feedback and could be difficult to tell if it has been pressed properly.
      Zowie EC1-A
        • The cable is flexible and shouldn’t break easily.
        • Its plastic parts feel solid and high quality, but not everyone will prefer the rubbery coating.

        • The side buttons have some free movement, and requires pressing it quite a bit to actually register a click.

      Evoluent VerticalMouse 4
        • The plastic and rubber material used for the mouse feel solid and provides enough grip on the mouse to prevent slipping.

        • The scroll wheel is made out of rubber and offers very precise scrolling.

        • Button movement doesn’t feel as solid and firm as other premium mice, but they respond excellent.

        Build quality Specs
        Logitech Performance MX
        Zowie EC1-A
        Evoluent VerticalMouse 4
        LMB/RMB Switches
        Name of the switches used for left and right mouse buttons.
        Omron
        Huano
        Logitech Performance MX
        Omron
        Zowie EC1-A
        Huano
        Evoluent VerticalMouse 4
        LMB/RMB Switch Life
        How many clicks the left and right mouse buttons are rated for.
        5 million clicks
        8 million clicks
        Logitech Performance MX
        5 million clicks
        Zowie EC1-A
        8 million clicks
        Evoluent VerticalMouse 4
        Cable type
        N/A
        Rubber
        Rubber (Wired version)
        Logitech Performance MX
        N/A
        Zowie EC1-A
        Rubber
        Evoluent VerticalMouse 4
        Rubber (Wired version)
        Other Specs
        Specs
        Logitech Performance MX
        Zowie EC1-A
        Evoluent VerticalMouse 4
        Wired/Wireless
        Wireless
        Wired
        Wireless / BT/ Wired
        Logitech Performance MX
        Wireless
        Zowie EC1-A
        Wired
        Evoluent VerticalMouse 4
        Wireless / BT/ Wired
        Button count
        7 programmable
        5 non-programmable
        5 programmable
        Logitech Performance MX
        7 programmable
        Zowie EC1-A
        5 non-programmable
        Evoluent VerticalMouse 4
        5 programmable
        Scroll wheel type
        Switchable
        Notched
        Notched
        Logitech Performance MX
        Switchable
        Zowie EC1-A
        Notched
        Evoluent VerticalMouse 4
        Notched
        CPI on-the-fly switch
        Yes
        Yes
        Yes
        Logitech Performance MX
        Yes
        Zowie EC1-A
        Yes
        Evoluent VerticalMouse 4
        Yes
        Software compatibility
        Indicates what operating systems the software is available on.
        Logitech SetPoint
        None
        Mouse Manager
        Logitech Performance MX
        Logitech SetPoint
        Zowie EC1-A
        None
        Evoluent VerticalMouse 4
        Mouse Manager
        93
        Slant Score
        93
        Slant Score
        Best overall mouse
        Logitech Performance MX
        Available on Amazon
        91
        Slant Score
        91
        Slant Score
        Best “essentials-only” mouse for programmers.
        Zowie EC1-A
        Available on Amazon
        88
        Slant Score
        88
        Slant Score
        Most ergonomic mouse
        Evoluent VerticalMouse 4
        Available on Amazon
        Other products we considered
        Check some of the 34 other products our community recommends.
        Community Discussion
        Have a question about picking the the best Mouse for programmers? Ask Bochun Bai, Rob Zeuski and the 78 other Slant community enthusiasts that contributed to this guide.
        What are the differences between an optical and laser mouse?

        Optical mice use LEDs to illuminate the surface while a laser mouse use IR diodes. The difference is that optical mice are more precise, but they work really bad on glass or glossy surfaces and require a mousepad for the best performance, while the laser mouse works practically on any surface, but is not as precise.

        Stuart's avatar
        Stuart
        What is movement prediction?

        Movement prediction or angle snapping is a function that tries to even out straight mouse movements, for example, if you are drawing a straight line, the movement prediction feature will make it perfectly straight. Most gamers and those who need very precise mouse movement turn this feature off, because it decreases the mouse accuracy.

        Stuart's avatar
        Stuart
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