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What are the Different Types of Computer Mouse Pads?

By Carol Francois
Updated May 16, 2024
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There are three main types of computer mouse pads: ergonomic, textured, and gaming. Computer mouse pads are used to prevent the build-up of dust, dirt, and oil inside the computer mouse, reduce wear on the desk surface and to reduce wrist injury. Although the mouse pad was originally developed for a mouse designed to incorporate a physical ball, they have expanded to meet other needs of computer users.

Ergonomic mouse pads are specifically designed to reduce pressure on the wrist tendons through careful placement of supportive padding. There are several different designs, but all ensure that the wrist is parallel to the table surface when using the mouse. Holding the wrist and hand in this position reduces the strain on the carpal tendons located in the wrist. This can help prevent carpal tunnel syndrome, a repetitive strain injury associated with incorrect wrist position in long-term computer users.

Textured mouse pads are very common, and have decreased in price every year due to their widespread use. In the 1980's, vinyl board cover was very popular due to the tackiness of the surface. Fabric became the new trend with the introduction of a rubberized silicon surface to the steel roller ball.

The fabric layer provides a lint-free surface for the mouse to move on, and a small amount of cushion for the user. There is a wide range of materials that have been used to make computer mouse pads. The most common fabric type is actually a low density rubber composite, such as butadiene rubber, with fabric glued to the top. Mouse pads can also be made from plastic, silicone rubber, leather, cork, wood, stone, and steel.

The introduction of optical mice removed the rubberized ball, and allowed the mouse to receives the movement signal from the optical sensor installed in the base of the mouse. This change in design improved the accuracy of the mouse, while decreasing costs. Optical mice do not work well on glass or highly polished wood, as these surfaces are highly reflective. The use of a computer mouse pad resolves this issue and protects the surface from wear over time.

Gaming mouse pads are designed for extended use and provide a larger than normal working space, improved sensitivity and better ergonomics. This type of computer mouse pad is often made of plastic and are designed for endurance. The surface of computer mouse pads often have graphical images or pictures to allow users to create a customized look to suit their personal style and décor.

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Discussion Comments

By MrPolitic99 — On Oct 19, 2010

I think the best mousepad I ever saw it used was one word custom imprint an image or photograph onto the surface. It was an option that I saw a local photo lab that allowed for us bring in an image they would then scan the image and heat transfer it onto the mousepad surface.

This was very popular with families as well as work professionals that want to see pictures of your loved ones right on the desk underneath her. At the same time you have to wonder about the psychology of this as would you really want to rest your hand on your family all day long.

By JoseJames — On Oct 19, 2010

I think the best computer mouse I've ever used is one that did not require the use of a mouse. And this was before the days when optical mice come to the market.

These types of ball mice were inverted and had a palm grip of types where someone could rest their hands use their thumb and forefinger to control a ball and clicker buttons. This meant that there was no movement of the device over a surface and therefore you can rest it on the desk and not on a mousepad.

By jeancastle00 — On Oct 19, 2010

I still prefer to use a mouse pad when using my computer at my home. The only requirement that I have for the type of mouse pad I like to use, is that is not the type capable of holding germs. Mousepads with foam or porous surfaces of cloth and other materials that are capable of holding dirt, our simple infestation points for disease and germs.

The best way to keep a mousepad clean is by using a soapy warm cloth and wiping away the grease that is collected and dirt and debris. Because the use of computers has increased so much in our daily life is important to keep your work area around your computer the sanitary fashion.

By ronburg44 — On Oct 19, 2010

With the use of laser optics inside of A computer mouse, the need for mouse pad has been greatly.

Because the optics of a laser mouse works so well and are very accurate most services react well and are excellent for using a computer mouse on top of. There are a few services that were less than optimally and some that you do not work at all. So desks with extreme woodgrain coming through the finish can affect the quality of your optical mouse performance.

It is truly because of the optical mouse invention that we will see the demise of that oh so famous computer mousepad.

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