What is the Best Mouse Pad Material?

Small mouse pad is more portable
Small mouse pad is more portable (Source: Unsplash)

Have you wondered why some mousepads may feel softer when pressed while others feel more tactile and hard to touch?

Although not rocket science, it takes some understanding of the correct materials to prepare the right mousepad for your mouse and wrist.

The best mousepad material would depend on users. Gamers benefit from a hard mousepad (plastic, aluminum, or glass) that provides seamless, frictionless scrolling. In contrast, a soft mousepad (lycra, rubber, or cork) ensures a cushioned surface for additional support.

A mouse pad has more benefits than drawbacks
A mouse pad has more benefits than drawbacks (Source: Pixabay)

When choosing a mousepad, you should equally look into quality, feel (hard or soft), tactile response, and durability.

It sits right under your wrist all day — so the material should feel easy to slide on your wrist for a while.

Read on to find out the best materials for a mousepad and how you can choose the best one for yourself.

Does Mouse Pad Material Matter?

Many users go for prices or feel when choosing the mousepad to look into the material.

The material is the essential factor in looking for a mousepad because one made from quality material will last long without wearing it out.

Did you know the first mouse pad was created in 1968 simply as an insert to support the mouse pad?

In 1979, Armando Fernandez created a rubber mouse pad that would not slide off a desk.

Early mouse pad design
The early mouse pad was designed to accommodate rollerball mice (Source: Pixabay)

Similarly, today’s mousepads are made from different materials to support other purposes.

Moreover, some materials in mousepads are more appropriate for particular work such as gaming or internet surfing and cater to the mouse’s response (high or low latency).

Gaming mousepads are designed explicitly with micro-texture that assists the optical sensors of gaming mice in moving quickly.

However, the ultimate answer should be the comfort and precision of the mousepad.

laser mouse design
Laser mouse design (Source: ResearchGate.net)

An inappropriate material on a mousepad may exhibit many problems to the user, such as mouse sinking, pad sliding off the desk, and wrist pain.

No matter what type of mousepad you choose, it should feel comfortable and make your activity more efficient.

It becomes essential to complete significant assignments at work using only the mouse or when gaming for more extended hours!

Talking about the feel, some mousepads feel hard while others feel soft because they are made from different materials.

Read our article about whether your wrist and arm should touch the mousepad

Type of Mouse Pads

When discussing mousepad type according to the material, you would find two choices: hard and soft mousepads.

As the name suggests, a hard mousepad boasts a surface that feels hard to touch, while a soft mousepad may feel cushiony.

Hard Mouse PadSoft Mouse Pad
They are made out of steel, leather, or glass materials.There are made out of layers of fabric, rubber, Neoprene that feel softer.
They are completely flat.They are slightly raised at the center because of cushioning.
They are easier to clean.They require thorough cleaning or washing.
They do not heat up easily with the rising user's body heat.They heat up easily with the rising user's body heat.
They are more appropriate for gaming.They are appropriate for work and casual surfing.

Read on to find out how using either one may help your work.

1. Hard Mouse Pad

Hard mousepads boast hard materials like aluminum, plastic, hard resin surface, wood, stainless steel, and glass.

Instead of a padded fabric cover, they use a plain plastic cover or nothing that makes them hard to touch.

They are mainly used for better accuracy, precision, and less friction required for precise mouse scrolling. Gamers requiring tactile and accurate responses with their mouse will benefit from it.

Steelseries hard mouse pad
Steelseries hard mousepad (Source: Amazon)

However, stopping suddenly requires skill and control because of the lack of friction. Moreover, you cannot easily roll it to store and carry it around like the soft mousepad.

It is also recommended for optical or laser mice users who need precision and speed. Plus, the mouse would not sink into it and reduce wrist fatigue common with soft mousepads.

However, keep in mind they are less effective in absorbing warmth, so they will feel cold when touched.

Similarly, hard mousepads are thinner than soft mousepads. A hard mouse pad thickness would barely measure 3mm.

2. Soft Mouse Pad

Soft mousepads are usually made from neoprene, rubber material, polyurethane, or microfiber, bonded with fabric surfaces to create a cushion-like material.

Cheaper soft mousepads have a padded rubber backing and fabric cover.

The soft material provides support, especially when using a mouse for a prolonged duration. However, it will lack the smoothness and precision of a hard mouse pad.

Soft mouse pad is usually thicker
A soft mouse pad is usually thicker, 3-5mm (Source: Wikimedia)

A soft mousepad exerts more friction when dragging a mouse. Moreover, the mouse will drag under the weight of your palm, creating more drag-effect.

It may help gamers who like supporting their wrist when scrolling. However, the soft surface is not great for the frictionless experience required for quicker scrolling in gaming.

Overall, the cozy, nonslip surface is inexpensive, comfortable, and effective in most cases, including using laser mice or rollerball mice.

A soft mousepad thickness would measure up to 5mm. And, it is usually easy to clean using soap and water or rubbing alcohol.

What is the Best Mouse Pad Material?

Choosing a suitable mousepad material can be confusing because they all look similar. Give a closer look at the product info to know better. If you cannot tell, look into how the material would feel.

Here are some common materials used for hard and soft mousepads.

Hard materialsSoft materials
AluminumLycra
PlasticLeather
Tempered GlassCork
ResinRubber

1. Aluminum

Aluminum is a primary choice for most hard mousepads because it is readily available and very effective in reducing friction.

It is usually constructed from three aluminum panels measuring 0.06″ thick. Hence, it is exceptionally lightweight, easy to move around, and offers a flat surface.

The aluminum also withstands constant wear and tear but is prone to breaking after continuous use and is slightly expensive.

Aluminum mouse pad
Aluminum mouse pad (Source: Amazon)

It is perfect for precise scrolling required for different kinds of gaming and editing works.

2. Plastic

A plastic mousepad boasts a smooth, transparent surface for more efficient mouse surfing. It is usually made from a sheet of non-slippery plastic joined together with a thin rubber material for anti-skid.

It is very lightweight, and the hard surface keeps the mouse from sliding across.

However, they are not machine-washable. Use rubbing alcohol or commercial cleaner to remove stains.

3. Tempered Glass

A glass mousepad is a very durable item that can withstand a lot of wear and tear.

It boasts tempered glass with better dynamic-static friction properties that offer a smoother mousing experience.

The glass is perfect is precision targeting required for gaming, and the anti-slip technology also helps keep the mouse in position.

Moreover, it looks way better than a plastic or aluminum mousepad. However, they are slightly expensive because few manufacturers produce these mousepads.

Tempered glass material
Tempered glass material (Source: Pexels)

4. Resin Hard Surface

Resin is a synthetic substance that becomes solid hard.

The mousepad made from resin includes thin resin pads stacked together to create a mousepad frame.

It has a low friction coefficient and offers a smooth, even surface for all types of mice. It comes in many different patterns and colors but is slightly more expensive than other hard surface mousepads.

Resin is a rugged surface ideal for gaming and works requiring precise targeting and quick scrolling.

5. Lycra Cloth

Lycra is a synthetic fiber that is both light and stretchable. You would mostly find it in spandex.

The mousepad designed with Lycra material is lightweight, friction-proof, and durable. Made from polyurethane, a polyester, it tends to be quite solid and elastic.

Moreover, it comes in a lot of different colors. Those used to hard mousepads may find it uncomfortable to use.

The soft material is perfect for improved handling; however, the scrolling speed would be slower.

Lycra material
Lycra material (Source: Unsplash)

6. Leather

Leather mousepads are rare and quite expensive because they are not easily found in the market.

Made from genuine leather obtained from animal skin, it tends to be exceptionally soft and pleasant to touch.

The delicate texture makes it a perfect choice for gamers because it provides comfort and cushion. You can find it in different styles; however, the color range is limited to a few similar shades.

A soft mousepad is more appropriate for support and precise handling.

7. Cork Mouse

Cork is a 100% natural and eco-friendly product made from a material obtained from the bark of a tree.

The cork mousepad provides a firm grip and précised scrolling without creating much friction.

Its anti-slip properties prevent the mouse pad from sliding on your table. The cork surface tends to feel sensitive to touch; however, it is prone to damage upon constant wear and tears because of the soft surface material.

Cork material
Raw cork material (Source: Unsplash)

8. Rubber

Rubber is one of the most common materials used for making mousepads because it is durable, light, soft, and cheaper.

Most soft mousepads on the market are made from rubber composite that is equally resilient and resistant to tear.

The rubber base creates a non-slip base that keeps your mouse pad in one place. However, the soft rubber layer can sink under the weight of a heavy mouse.

You can use it for various purposes, including gaming, work, and casual scrolling.

Best Mouse Pad Recommendations in 2022

Here are a few mousepad recommendations for you.

Mouse PadSpecificationImage
Vaydeer Aluminum mouse padIt is made from ultra-thin, aircraft-grade aluminum alloy.
Waterproof, accurate, best for gaming and work.
Bitpro LGM Hard Mouse Pad (Plastic)3-layer plastic mouse pad compatible with high DPI mouse for enhanced performance
SkyPAD Glass 2.0 XL Mouse PadMade from the treated glass surface and optimized for laser and visual gaming experience.
Extremely easy to clean and maintain.
Seihoo Mouse Pad (Resin)The resin hard surface mouse mat is made from polymer silicone that is waterproof, accurate, and easy to clean.
Gimars Elongate Smooth Mouse pad (Lycra)Made from durable Lycra material for comfort.
It tracks the mouse without dragging it off.
Full Grain Leather Mouse PadIt is made of Horween full-grain leather of vegetable tanning that lasts for years.
It shows natural leather nuances like scars, wrinkles, and moles.
Oncefirst Natural Cork Mouse PadWaterproof desk mat protector made from plant-based cork material.
Eco-friendly and biodegradable.
MROCO Mouse Pad (Rubber)It is made from a durable rubber base that provides non-slip properties.
Dense slip-resistant shading can effectively grip any flat, hard tabletop surface.

The Bottom Line

Each mousepad material has a unique feature that makes it useful for a specific work. For better accuracy, always choose a hard mouse because it helps in eliminating friction.

The hard mousepads are great for mice with the high DPI required for gaming and quick scrolling.

However, do not avoid the look, feel, and accessories like USB, wireless charging, and RGB color, making any mouse pad a complete device.

Related Article: What Size Mouse Pad Should I Get?

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