computer mouse on desktop with ipad

5 Best Mouses for Graphic Design – Maximize Control & Ergonomics for Any System

Designers know that a high-quality mouse can improve productivity and ease the strain on the wrist, forearm, and fingers. Those that don’t would quickly find out, as they tend to opt for cheap generic mouses that simply aren’t made for long hours of use.

While there’s nothing wrong with opting for a budget-friendly mouse, there are some features that are certainly optimal and worth seeking out. Control and ergonomics are everything to a graphic designer that knows what he’s doing.

Unlike other areas such as game design and gaming, a constellation of buttons is not as important as the freedom of movement and super responsive optical sensor or high-end laser tracking. Check out the following five mouses for graphic design and find out what you’ve been missing.

1. Anker Vertical Ergonomic Optical Mouse

If you’ve never used a vertical mouse before, you should know that it comes with a learning curve. Instead of the traditional up-and-over hand positioning, you have to get used to working with your hand in a handshake position.

It may not come easy but it is worth the time investment. This type of mouses, like this Anker model, is designed to eliminate wrist movement and strain. If you’re worried about carpal tunnel syndrome or maybe if you already have it, you can use this mouse to resume your activities without discomfort.

The main buttons are on the side, which is another thing to get accustomed to besides the arm motion and hand grip. Nevertheless, the mouse weighs just 3.46 ounces, which makes it almost seamless to use.

In terms of durability, there’s not much to speak of. The mouse feels sturdy but it is still very light. It may feel a bit slippery at first so you may not want to jump into any big projects with it from the start.

Productivity

Another thing that’s important to graphic designers will be the power consumption. With a good pair of AA batteries, you should get a good 3 months of use out of the device. There is also a power saving feature that kicks in after the mouse is idle for 8 minutes.

The mouse uses a USB receiver to establish a 2.4G connection. It’s not amazing but it still has an effective range of motion of 3ft, which should be enough for most work desks and drawing styles.

Overall, a vertical mouse is probably best for those who care more about ergonomics and not features. The three DPI settings are good enough for most graphic design purposes, as long as you also have a good flat surface to work with.

Features

  • Ratcheting scroll wheel
  • Browser back and forward buttons
  • Auto shut-off feature after 8 minutes of inactivity
  • DPI switching between 800, 1200, and 1600 DPI
  • 5 buttons
  • Ergonomic angled design

Pros

  • Ergonomic vertical mouse
  • Affordable
  • Browser buttons
  • Three DPI settings up to 1600
  • Runs on battery

Cons

  • Limited customization
  • Slippery bottom

https://www.amazon.com/Anker-Wireless-Vertical-Ergonomic-Optical/dp/B00BIFNTMC

2. Apple Magic Mouse 2

The Apple Magic Mouse is as sleek as you would expect of an Apple gadget. But looks alone aren’t enough to satisfy regular Mac users, let alone a working graphic designer. Here’s what the mouse offers.

The big upgrade from the old version (I had that too) is that you can recharge the batteries using a lightning cable. I used to have to change the two AA in my first generation mouse almost every other week.

The bread and butter of this mouse is the multi-touch technology, already made popular by the MacBook and MacBook Pro. It allows the device to detect and interpret one or two-finger gestures, which allows for a nice fluid motion when navigating various applications.

The mouse is wireless and has a good effective range. It can connect via Bluetooth or a USB dongle, which is a very nice thing to see as it makes it compatible with new and older Mac systems.

Once you get the hang of it, the Apple Magic Mouse makes it easy to navigate through something like InDesign pages. The laser tracking is very good, as both the original model and the Magic Mouse 2 have the same responsiveness.

Gestures

Scroll

This is done by moving a finger vertically or horizontally on the surface. You can also use a circular motion to move a window or tool in a circle.

Screen Zoom

This is a two-part action as it requires the use of a modifier key while performing the scrolling gesture vertically.

Secondary Click

Tapping left or right performs a secondary mouse click. You can set the preferred primary and secondary click actions from the mouse’s software.

Swipe

You can do this by performing a horizontal scroll with two fingers. This can be used for actions such as forward and back in browsers, but you can also set it to other actions according to the application.

Productivity

Unlike the original, the Apple Magic Mouse 2 has a built-in rechargeable battery, and perhaps better overall durability. However, the charging port is under the mouse, so you can’ use the Magic Mouse 2 while it’s charging.

There is probably no need to upgrade if you already have the original Apple Magic Mouse. But if you’re looking to buy one right now, the Magic Mouse 2 is your only choice. Due to supply and demand, merchants are selling refurbished Magic Mouse for more than the Magic Mouse 2.

Both the original Apple Magic Mouse and Magic Mouse 2 work on both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Although lacking in buttons and having a very different approach, the Magic Mouse is highly customizable via its software.

In that sense, it resembles PC mouses in terms of versatility and maybe even outclasses some of them. This is why any Magic Mouse is a strong tool for graphic designers that work on Macs.

Features

  • Gestures
  • Bluetooth connection
  • Wi-Fi connection
  • Wireless

Pros

  • Multiple connectivity options
  • Perfect for a Mac user
  • Highly responsive
  • Less buggy in practice than a PC mouse
  • No need to download drivers (on Mac)
  • Long-lasting rechargeable battery (no more AA batteries)

Cons

  • Steep learning curve
  • Can’t be used when recharging
  • Not as good for Windows users

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B016QO5YNG

3. Logitech MX Master

This is not the cheapest mouse available to graphic designers, but it is one of the best. The mouse is very responsive due to its Darkfield Laser tracking technology. It also features adaptive scrolling which lets you control the scaling speed of various tools without having to make changes in the software or use a physical switch.

The scooped left side is an ergonomic feature that helps ease the strain on the wrist while working. It’s where you’d place your thumb, right off the thumbwheel. This allows you to use your entire hand to perform more actions and potentially transition between drawing and editing tools easier.

One thing worth noting is that the Logitech MX Master is not for everyone. While its performance is unquestionable, its size makes it situational. The mouse will be uncomfortable to use if you have small hands.

Productivity

So, how exactly does the MX Master work? – Smoother than most. The ability to connect it to up to three devices at the same time allows you to work on multiple projects without having to change seats or change gadgets and waste precious time.

The extra weight makes it feel a lot more stable and easier to control. It’s just that the thumbwheel is a bit harder to press and takes some getting used to. When it comes to battery life, this is where things get interesting.

The MX Master doesn’t have amazing battery life. You can count on it to last about a month or so on six hours of use every day. However, this won’t stifle your productivity. The MX Master takes around one minute to charge for two hours of use. By the time you’re done with your coffee break, it will be good to go again at maximum capacity.

And, since you’re probably wondering about switching sensitivities, know that you can set it anywhere from 400 to 1600 DPI in increments of 200 DPI. It’s a level of adjustability that you just don’t see outside of very expensive PC gaming mouses.

On a last note, the mouse performs well on almost any surface, including glass if it’s at least 4mm thick. The Darkfield laser tracking makes this possible.

Features

  • Thumbwheel
  • Speed adaptive scroll wheel
  • Dual connectivity
  • Rechargeable battery
  • Pairs with three PCs
  • 5 buttons
  • Darkfield Laser Tracking technology

Pros

  • Adaptive scrolling
  • Ergonomic design
  • Highly responsive
  • Accurate response
  • Very customizable

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Potentially too big for some people

https://www.amazon.com/Logitech-Wireless-Cross-Computer-Control-Graphite/dp/B071YZJ1G1

4. Microsoft Bluetooth Mobile Mouse 3600

The compact Microsoft Mobile 3600 may just be what you need if you’re always working on the road. Not all graphic designers are tied to desks. If you’re doing fieldwork, this tiny device is worth considering.

The asking price is surprisingly low for a Microsoft product, especially for the impeccable responsiveness. Microsoft’s BlueTrack technology combines laser and optical tracking to ensure fluidity on almost any surface.

The 4-directional wheel is always something you will need at one point or another as a graphic artist. What makes it even more interesting is the ambidextrous design. It’s not the most ergonomic mouse because of this, but it allows you to exert maximum control over your actions with both hands.

The mouse doesn’t come with too many buttons, which may or may not be desirable. However, most mouses are situational anyway, and this one is simply ideal for working on projects on the road and in small work areas.

Productivity

Because it’s small and not loaded with buttons and functions, the average battery life is through the roof. Even with extended use every day, you can get up to 12 months of use between battery changes.

This is not something you come across every day. The three buttons, one of which is the scroll wheel, allow you to perform basic and advanced functions. Despite its limited customization, the 3600 does things faster and more reliably than a generic mouse.

The BlueTrack and Bluetooth 4.0 technologies allow you to use the mouse with a PC, laptop, or tablet anytime, anywhere. The Bluetooth connection is particularly reliable, almost comparable to that of a wired connection.

Features

  • BlueTrack technology
  • Three buttons and one scroll wheel
  • 4-direction scroll wheel navigation
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Ambidextrous design
  • Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity

Pros

  • Great battery life
  • Highly responsive on almost any surface
  • Easy to carry
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Maximum 1000 DPI
  • Not compatible with Windows 7 and older

https://www.amazon.com/Microsoft-Bluetooth-Mobile-Mouse-PN7-00001/dp/B015HWLB2G/

5. Razer Deathadder Chroma

The Deathadder Chroma might look familiar if you’re also a PC gaming enthusiast. This gaming mouse is equipped with an optical sensor that has a top resolution of 10,000 DPI. The tracking speed and accuracy are through the roof with this mouse.

But what makes a gaming mouse like the Deathadder Chrome one of the best mouses for graphic design? – The all-critical control, of course! As for the ergonomics, that’s more debatable.

Although labeled as ergonomic, there are more comfortable mouses available for graphic designers and artists. There are better ones on this list alone.

However, if you’re too young to worry about carpal tunnel syndrome or if you simply don’t work too many hours continuously in a day, then the level of control should be of more value.

The z-axis tracking is more than impressive given the fact that the Deathadder Chroma maintains top responsiveness on glass surfaces as thin as 1mm.

The color customization is cool but not really that important, unless you think it’s possible for you to feel more relaxed or less distracted when the mouse flashes a certain color combination.

Productivity

The mouse is not as customizable as other gaming mouses. That’s because the goal of the Deathadder Chroma is to offer reliability and control. It’s not an MMORPG-ready mouse that comes with a keyboard side panel.

Having too many buttons to press won’t always increase your productivity. And if you’re working fast to meet a client deadline, there’s always a chance you can mess up a project by pressing unwanted buttons.

Another thing that may be appealing only to some graphic designers is the wired connection. The responsiveness of modern wireless mouses have improved by leaps and bounds, but theoretically, you can only minimize the lag to match the level of a wired mouse under ideal circumstances.

For this reason and more, some people prefer a wired connection – short of cutting the wire, your mouse won’t have to rely on batteries, it’s the best connection, and so on and so forth.

Features

  • Textured hard plastic grip
  • Rubber sides
  • 10,000 DPI optical sensor
  • RGB lighting
  • Wired connection
  • Highly customizable Razer software

Pros

  • Decent ergonomics
  • Good pricing
  • Fancy design
  • 10,000 DPI sensor
  • Good grip

Cons

  • Moody drivers
  • Not a lot of improvement over the previous model

https://www.amazon.com/Razer-DeathAdder-Chroma-Multi-Color-Comfortable/dp/B00MYTSDU4/

Final Word

Unless everything you do revolves around digital paintings, you’ll need more in your arsenal than just a tablet with a stylus. Using a mouse can be very comfortable and, in some situations, a must in order to tackle complex projects and work fast.

However, before making any big decision, it’s important to understand that mouses aren’t always compatible with multiple systems. You will need to get one that either works with a PC or a MAC.

Although the selection for MAC-compatible graphic design mouses is not impressive, you only need to find one that works and it just so happens that you can find it on this list. PC mouses are a lot more versatile in the sense that they are highly configurable. But the driver software is not always compatible, and therefore the sensitivity settings and button assignments might be off.

There is a lot to consider when buying a mouse. But the fact remains that ergonomics and control are the most important aspects of a mouse for graphic design. As you can see from this list, some are more balanced than others, but they each have a few strong suits to cater to the unique requirements of the artist.

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Staff Writer DLC

Daily Logo Challenge staff writers focus on creating in-depth guides focusing on mastery of design and development. Let us know what you think in the comments section above.