You have set up your home office to your exact liking, and you are almost ready to start working. All you need now is to choose a mouse pad that will see you through even the most difficult tasks. However, a little research shows that not all mousepads are alike! Choosing the perfect size for your mouse pad means diving a little deeper into the specific use you would like to get out of it than you may have originally thought. So how big should your mouse pad be?
How big a mouse pad should be will depend on the type of computer use required throughout the day and how much space is needed around the desk area. The length of time the mouse pad will be used, and the amount of dexterity needed to accomplish a set goal are other factors to consider as well.
Read on to discover the questions you should ask before choosing a mouse pad size, as well as the different facets of a mouse pad and how they could factor into the size of the mouse pad you ultimately purchase.
How Big Should a Mouse Pad Be?
The beauty of computer accessories like the mouse pad is that there is such a diversity in your choices. From the standard 7.9”x9.8” square mouse pad to the extended game mousepads that can be 12 inches long or more, there is a mouse pad for every need.
This brief list highlights the typical size differences between mouse pads and can be used as a rough estimate in determining the amount of space each size option will take up on your desk:
- Small – 7.9” x 9.8” (as seen in the standard size above)
- Medium – 9.5” x 8”
- Large – 11” x 13”
- Extended – 31.5” x 15.7”
Because there is such a large variety of mouse pads and sizes, you will need to consider a few factors to determine which size is best for you.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Mouse Pad Size
Examining the different kinds of mouse pad styles and sizes available can be overwhelming on their own. However, understanding the different work and lifestyle habits you have can help narrow down some of your options. These four questions shed light on the way you use your workspace and will help you make the right mouse pad size selection.
How Do You Use Your Computer?
Keep in mind that the size of the mouse pad you need could depend heavily on the kind of uses you expect to get out of your computer. Using your computer primarily for work might require a larger mouse pad that offers you greater movement and dexterity than using your computer to stream movies and listen to music.
Think about the kind of tasks you do on your computer for a moment. Do you create presentations or host zoom meetings on your computer? Perhaps you are an intense gamer that needs lots of space to move quickly and efficiently during each campaign or dungeon raid.
Or maybe you just require a simple mouse pad, enough that your mouse pad can click what it needs to click so you can pay your bills online.
Choosing the right size for your mouse pad can mean the difference between effortlessly completing each of your many tasks in record time and becoming frustrated with a lack of space or accuracy in using your mouse.
What Type of Mousepad Do You Need?
To know the size of the mouse pad you need, you also need to know about the styles of mouse pads you can choose from. There are three different types of mousepads available on the market:
Each of them might come with different sizing options depending on your particular need. Check out the table below for a breakdown of the types of mouse pads available and their sizes:
|Mouse Type||Use||Size Options|
|Ergonomic||Created to make for the most comfortable mouse use experience and minimize strain on the hand and wrist using the mouse.||Small, Medium, Large|
Wrist Cushion Height: 0.5” – 1.2”
|Textured||Great for those who have unique preferences for the kind of friction or tracking felt during computer use.|
Ranges from hard and smooth to soft and ridged.
|Small, Medium, Large|
|Gaming||Used specifically for activities such as those that require lots of space, extremely accurate mouse tracking, and freedom of movement.||Small, Medium, Large, Extended|
The ergonomic mouse pad is built for comfort—especially wrist comfort—and prolonged use of a mouse. This kind of mouse pad is often seen in offices, often used by receptionists and those who do a lot of typing throughout their day.
Ergonomic mouse pads often come with a cushioned rest for your wrist, which takes a good deal of the weight of movement off your hand and forearm and allows for a more relaxed computer experience.
When considering the size of ergonomic mousepads, you should also factor in the height of the wrist cushion on the pad.
The textured mouse pad is best suited for those looking for greater traction between the mouse pad and the mouse. Rougher surfaces like wood, those mousepads with stitched edges, and even mousepads made using a nonslip gel fall into this category.
This kind of mouse pad is especially useful if you use a mouse with a tracking ball, rather than the more modern optical laser, to maintain its connection with your place on the screen.
Textured mousepads also can come as either hard or soft surfaces, with the former being easier to clean but less movement and comfort friendly. Compared to its hard-surfaced counterparts, soft surface mouse pads generally cause greater friction between the mouse pad and the mouse.
The gaming mouse pads often come in the greatest variety of shapes and sizes to best accommodate the specific needs of the gamers that use them.
They are generally smoother and less prone to creating friction to allow the greatest freedom of movement to their users.
How Much Desk Space Is Available?
All of the detailed thought that goes into the size of your mouse pad will be for naught if you do not have the desk space required to fit the mouse pad. Consider your style of working, the level of clutter you tolerate on your work or desk space, and the amount of space you are willing to allocate for your mouse pad alone.
Remember, nothing else but your mouse will go into this space, so it bears some importance: you may want that extended gaming pad, but if you do not have space for it, it might be better to consider a mousepad that uses your space more efficiently.
Are There Any Health Concerns to Consider?
The minute movements that we make while using our computers can often go unnoticed until a lot of use during the day causes soreness in our wrists and fingers. Besides the general wear and tear of our daily life, there might also be the question of any current conditions you have that might factor into the size of the mouse pad you purchase.
Living with arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, or any condition that might cause tremors, for example, might make a larger, softer mousepad a more ideal option than one which offers less room for error in task execution.
When all of these questions have been factored in, ultimately, the choice in mouse pad size comes down to what makes the most sense for you. If you find a standard size, marble-carved mouse pad to be the most luxurious and comfortable to use, then that is what you should use.
If you want to splurge on an ultra-comfortable, large ergonomic mousepad that you can use for hours at home or work, then that is what makes the most sense. Only you can know the particular quirks of your mouse pad usage, so make sure to factor in your unique aesthetic and style to suit your needs.
Hamid Tahir is a Mechatronics Engineer and founder of WFH Overload. He is currently working from home and is dedicated to the continuous improvement of his home office setup. Hamid has extensive experience setting up workspaces and dealing with the related tech. He hopes to share his knowledge to help you create the most productive and comfortable work from home setup. Read More