Best Ergonomic Mouse
The Logitech MX Vertical is a favorite, taking the top spot overall. This mouse is a great option to alleviate wrist pain or for those who want to hold a more natural and relaxed wrist position while clicking and scrolling. It has a wide body to support your palm and uses a natural handshake design, so your wrist isn't resting on the mouse pad. We like that this mouse is rechargeable and, according to the manufacturer, only needs to be plugged in every four months. If the battery dies unexpectedly, the charging cable can be plugged into your computer, converting it to a wired mouse. Also, if you use multiple computers with Bluetooth connectivity, it's easy to swap between as many as three with the press of a button on the bottom of the mouse.
While this is a great mouse, it may not be for everyone. It is a little bulky and cumbersome to move around — especially if you have smaller hands. We don't like that it lacks an indicator to let you know which CPI setting is selected. Additionally, if the computer you're using has a Bluetooth connection and you don't need to use the included dongle, there isn't a place to store it. Despite these minor shortcomings, we think the Logitech MX Vertical is a terrific mouse for most people.
If you are trying to limit your wrist movement, don't have much desk space, or are open to the possibility of trying a novel product, look no further than the Logitech MX Ergo. It is a comfortable and well-designed ergonomic trackball mouse with at least as many features as a traditional mouse. This gem is rechargeable and can quickly switch between 2 computers with the press of a button. Although trackball mice can take some getting used to, the Logitech MX Ergo makes it a little bit easier with its precision button. Activating this precision button will slow down the cursor, giving you more control for fine movements. You can also easily adjust the mouse between the angles of 0° and 20° to find the most comfortable resting position.
There are a few drawbacks with this trackball mouse. You need a separate tool to remove the trackball to clean it. Like its Logitech siblings, this model also lacks storage space for the dongle. The angle adjustment plate uses a pretty strong magnet to stay attached, but you could still end up losing it. Without the angle adjustment plate, the mouse becomes unstable and can wobble around, making it uncomfortable to handle. Even with these minor inconveniences, we think the Logitech MX Ergo is a superb trackball mouse for anyone willing to give it a chance.
The Anker 2.4 G Vertical is your best bet for an ergo mouse on a budget. This lightweight vertical-style model has an auto-shutoff feature to preserve battery life. After around 8 minutes of non-use, it shuts itself off completely and can be "woken-up" with a click of the mouse button. We are pleased that when changing CPI settings, a flashing LED indicates the current setting. Additionally, Anker's onboard storage is a must for laptop users who are constantly on the move.
On the downside, batteries are not included, so you'll need to have two AAA batteries to get started. Of course, these batteries will need to be replaced from time to time, a hidden cost that's not shared with rechargeable models. That said, we were able to get over six months of use out of a pair of AAA batteries before they needed replacing. Also, this mouse doesn't have Bluetooth and instead uses a dongle to connect to a computer. Overall, these critiques are minor in light of its competitive price. We recommend the Anker 2.4 G Vertical to anyone who wants to try out a vertical ergonomic mouse but doesn't want to make a huge investment.
The Logitech M570 Wireless Trackball is a great option for budget-conscious shoppers. The trackball rolls freely in its socket, making it easy to zip the cursor around on your monitor. The mouse is kept securely in place with grippy rubber feet that allow you to spin the trackball with abandon. It also includes onboard dongle storage — we are big fans of this feature if you can't tell. Moreover, the dongle is low profile, which reduces the risk of damage if it's left plugged into a laptop during transport. Conveniently, the unit features a battery indicator to notify you when its single AA battery (included) is getting low.
There is a bit of a learning curve when it comes to trackball mice. Specifically, tasks like selecting text or closing windows can be challenging while getting used to the mechanism. The M570 lacks a precision button that could make these common tasks a little easier. All mice need to be cleaned periodically, but it's more important with the trackball variety because dust collects in the socket and increases the rolling resistance. Yet, despite the adjustment period and added maintenance, the Logitech M570 remains a solid trackball mouse at a price that's hard to beat.
With its removable palm rest, the J-Tech Digital V628 Vertical brings something new to the table. This feature enhances versatility and gives you the option to use the mouse more like a vertical mouse. Though this isn't technically a joystick mouse, it did at times feel like one during testing. This model also has innovative forward and back buttons, with more than enough space to accommodate all of our fingers. Instead of the traditional right/ left configuration, the J-Tech's buttons are above and below your thumb to provide unencumbered access. While the LED strip around the edge isn't necessary, it does add a little flair to a workstation. To toggle this feature on or off, look for a switch on the bottom opposite the CPI button.
As with most gadgets, this mouse has a few drawbacks. The buttons are on the large side and a little overly sensitive. Occasionally, we inadvertently pressed the right mouse button when moving the cursor across the screen. Additionally, it is difficult to avoid depressing the right mouse button with our ring finger when using the scroll wheel. We opted for more of a fingertip grip style with our pisiform support by the palm rest. If you're having a tough time deciding between a vertical mouse and a joystick mouse, we think the J-Tech Digital V628 Vertical should be right up your alley.
The Jelly Comb Ergonomic Mouse is designed with the small-handed in mind. It features a shorter length and a more slender body than the typical vertical mouse. The CPI selector is in an accessible spot but is out of the way enough that you are unlikely to press it accidentally while the mouse is in use. Finally, this model includes dongle storage located under the battery cover — a feature we appreciate.
While the Jelly Comb's clicks are almost silent, its browsing buttons and scroll wheel are not. It also lacks a CPI indicator to let you know which selection is currently active. We are pleased that the thumb rests on a nice ledge, but the browsing buttons are located at the top of the mouse. This distance from thumb to browsing buttons seems a bit too far to reach comfortably, even for those with larger thumbs. Finally, the packaging does not include a battery, so you'll need to have one on-hand to get started. Despite these shortcomings, the Jelly Comb is a reasonably priced unit for small-handed shoppers looking for a vertical mouse.
The iClever Vertical is another great inexpensive model. This mouse utilizes a unique design with a palm rest to reduce tendon pressure and has a satisfying, slightly rubberized finish. We appreciate the internal storage for the dongle, which makes it easy to take on the go. The CPI selector is within reach and will blink a series of lights to indicate its current setting. Our officemates seemed to appreciate the near-silent mouse clicks, especially when we were practicing our online games.
Some of our larger handed testers think this mouse is too small, with some noting that it was difficult to fit all of their fingers on it. While the normal mouse clicks are almost silent, the scroll wheel clicks and the browsing buttons are relatively loud. If you want to start using the iClever Vertical right away, you need to have a AA battery handy. If you have a small to medium-sized hand and are looking for something new to try at a reasonable price, then give this model a chance.
The Microsoft Sculpt may look like your standard mouse, but it's far from it. Its large curved body is designed to support your palm as it naturally rests, and its slight tilt eases wrist discomfort. We appreciate the four-way scroll feature for perusing large spreadsheets. Moreover, when we were out and about, it was never a problem if we forgot our mouse pad — this model tracked well on just about every surface we placed it on. Additionally, the thumb ledge is large enough that you can completely relax your hand without it sliding off.
This mouse offers some nice features, but it lacks in a few important areas as well. For example, we like the browsing back button but are frustrated that a forward button does not accompany it. Occasionally we would over click, requiring us to navigate to the forward button on-screen, which was annoying. Additionally, the dongle is a bit too large to safely leave in a laptop during travel. Thankfully there is a storage slot for the dongle on the mouse. As a final concern, we read many reports of click registering issues arising after prolonged use, though we did not experience these ourselves. Despite these imperfections, it remains a good choice if you are searching for a model to reduce hand cramps and want a couple of nifty features.
Have you tried every other ergonomic mouse type and still can't find one that works for you? The 3M Wireless Ergonomic Mouse has you covered. It features a joystick grip that your fingers naturally wrap around and a platform for your hand to rest on. It may look like a joystick, but it doesn't function that way. You move it around like you would a standard mouse, but without the pain. We could easily navigate our 34" widescreen monitors with tracking sensitivity set just a few ticks above default. The 3M Joystick is wireless and uses two included AAA batteries.
While this mouse keeps your wrist and hand in a very ergonomic position, it does have its drawbacks. This model doesn't have a scroll wheel, so you can't utilize "control + scroll wheel" shortcuts, and it uses a large, outdated dongle that isn't suitable for someone on the go — especially since there is no storage for it on the mouse. We experienced some connection issues during testing that caused our cursor to stutter across the screen, but it didn't happen very often. We also observed a loss of efficiency. Common tasks took an average of 25% longer to complete and required more concentration. That being said, we highly recommend the 3M Joystick for users that value comfort and pain reduction over being able to move quickly and efficiently with their pointer.
Why You Should Trust Us
At the forefront of our ergonomic mice testing is Austin Palmer. With more than two decades spent gaming and working with vast spreadsheets and word documents, Austin has used more than his fair share of mice and experienced a great deal of wrist pain along the way. He has been an ergonomics practitioner and advocate since he was first diagnosed with repetitive strain injury (RSI) in his wrists in 2009.
We spent many hours using and comparing these mice side-by-side, including trying accuracy games, surfing the web, trying our artistic hand at Microsoft Paint, fiddling with our massive spreadsheets, and even playing some low-key PC games. This testing gave us deep insight into how comfortable each mouse is and which tasks they're best suited for.
Analysis and Test Results
To determine which ergonomic mouse came out on top, we divided our assessment into three metrics: comfort, browsing, and surfaces.
To assess comfort, we examined mouse angle, mouse finish, and grip. We enlisted testers, friends, and family members in order to gather good aggregate data on this subjective metric. The mechanisms that trigger wrist pain and the support that relieves it varies from person to person. The angle of these mice can vary quite a bit from model to model. These mice use these angles to relieve pressure on your wrist where the transverse carpal ligaments run. An angle that's too steep may put discomfort elsewhere on your wrist, while an angle too shallow won't reduce the ligament agitation. However, we would strongly recommend consulting with a doctor or other medical professional before buying an ergonomic mouse if you have severe wrist pain or past injuries.
All of the mice tested are comfortable in their own ways, but our first "ahhhhh" moment was when we got our hands on the 3M Joystick. This model keeps your arm in a relaxed handshake position with the weight of your hand on the side of your palm (the pinkie finger's metacarpal). Your fingers naturally wrap around the "joystick" with your thumb resting comfortably on top. Though the 3M Joystick does take quite a bit of time to get used to, most testers reported a complete lack of pain when using this mouse.
The 3M Joystick is followed closely by the Logitech MX Vertical, Logitech MX Ergo, and the Anker 2.4G Vertical. The MX Vertical and Anker Vertical are vertical-style mice that use a slanted design to attempt to relieve pressure on the wrist. The MX Vertical is better suited for larger hands. This model uses a 57° angle, similar to a handshake, with a large ledge for your thumb and a broad palm grip with a rubberized finish that isn't quite as grippy as the Anker. The Anker 2.4G Vertical takes a slightly different approach. Instead of a broad palm rest geared towards the middle of your palm, the Anker has more of a "knuckle" rest, which is quite pleasing. The rubbery finish helps keep your hand in place while being smooth and comfortable. The downside is that there isn't much of a thumb ledge to rest on, but your hand's relaxed grip keeps it in place. Our testers with medium-sized hands like this mouse.
As a trackball mouse, the Logitech MX Ergo takes yet another approach. Traditional trackball mice closely resemble a regular mouse's grip style, which puts pressure on your wrist. The MX Ergo combats this similarly to a vertical mouse — by adding up to 20° of optional tilt. The mouse is large enough for your hand to completely rest on it, making even the less natural 0° position pretty comfortable. If you have extra-large hands, this model might not work for you. Like most of the mice in the review, there is a nice rubberized finish with an added bit of texture for a slightly better grip.
Following closely behind this trio are the J-Tech Digital Vertical and the Jelly Comb. The J-Tech is somewhat of an unusual shape even for a vertical mouse and feels most suited to someone with medium to large hands. It's a cross between a vertical mouse and a joystick mouse when used with the removable palm rest. Your hand feels as though it slumps down into position on the slick surface, which is a little odd at first. However, we grew more comfortable with it over time, settling on the fingertip grip as our preferred way to hold this mouse. For us, the removable palm rest is a must. The mouse buttons feel a little awkward as is, and, without the palm rest, it's difficult to grip the mouse while keeping your fingers in a good position for clicking.
The Jelly Comb is our top choice for those with smaller hands who find typical ergonomic mice to be unwieldy. It's tiny compared to the J-Tech, and it sits at an angle between a standard mouse and the Logitech MX Vertical, closer to the latter. This model also has a small thumb ledge to keep your thumb from dragging on your mouse pad. We don't recommend this mouse to someone with large hands unless you prefer a fingertip style grip.
We didn't find our next set of mice as comfortable as the rest, but in the right hand, one of these could be magic. This group consists of the Logitech M570 Wireless Trackball, Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Mouse, and the iClever Vertical. The iClever feels natural to grip. It has a nice rubberized finish with molded grooves to reduce sweating. However, our main complaint is that it feels too cramped. Our fingers were never very comfortable, always feeling a bit claustrophobic. Most testers like the built-in palm rest, but it is a little small for large hands. A person with small to medium hands might enjoy this mouse.
The Logitech M570 has a comfortable grip and a smooth finish, but we don't like the pressure it puts on our wrists. It has an awkward angle that can apply pressure on the pisiform or the other carpals, and sometimes both. A medium-sized or smaller hand might be able to avoid this issue. We had a similar issue with the Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Mouse. It has a traditional mouse style with a slight angle that puts our wrist in an uncomfortable position, but it supports our palm wonderfully. Our hands tended to get sweaty and slide around on the glossy plastic finish. The majority of our testers didn't fully appreciate this mouse, but it was the number one choice for one tester. Their hand size is between small and medium.
Next, we focused on browsing. We assessed how these mice handled surfing the web and scanning word documents and spreadsheets. Our focus was on how precisely they execute basic tasks like selecting text and closing windows and dialogue boxes. The Logitech MX Vertical, Anker 2.4 G Vertical, and the Jelly Comb handle these tasks similar to a standard mouse. The 3M Joystick, iClever Vertical, and the J-Tech Digital all have palm rests, which we found makes typical computer tasks trickier since these mice don't allow you to pivot off your wrist as it rests on the mouse.
Browsing buttons or remappable buttons are a must-have if you spend a lot of time surfing the web. The repeated wrist movements to get to the top left of the window can be the difference between uncomfortable and pleasant web browsing. Given this reality, it's a good thing that most of the products in our test group have a forward and back button. Specifically, this majority consists of the Logitech MX Vertical, Anker 2.4G Vertical, Jelly Comb, J-Tech Digital, iClever Vertical, Logitech MX Ergo, and the Logitech M570. However, they do not all perform in the same manner.
These models allow you to quickly flip between pages with your thumb, or, in the case of our trackball mice, your index finger. The Microsoft Sculpt is only equipped with a back button, though it does have a "Windows button" that allows you to access the Start menu quickly. Unfortunately, the 3M Joystick doesn't have any such buttons to make web browsing easier. Finally, the Jelly Comb's buttons are noticeably farther away than most of the other mice, making them more difficult to press and likely less beneficial to tendon health.
Another key element to minimize wrist movement is how far you have to move the mouse to perform computer-based tasks. For example, it can get annoying and agonizing to repeatedly have to pick up and place down your mouse to move the pointer across the screen or twist your wrist to one side or the other. Adjustable CPI (counts per inch) was developed to solve this problem. Also referred to as DPI (dots per inch), this is essentially a measure of mouse sensitivity.
CPI is the ratio of mouse movement to on-screen cursor movement. Most computers have software settings that allow you to adjust this ratio through a dropdown menu. A number of the mice in this review, however, allow you to move between CPI presets with the click of a button. The Anker 2.4G Vertical, J-Tech Digital, Jelly Comb, and iClever have 3 CPI settings that toggle between 600/800, 1000/1200, and 1600. The Anker and iClever averaged about 100 CPI lower than the manufacturer claims. The Logitech MX Vertical has two settings, and the Microsoft Sculpt and 3M Joystick don't have any such settings. The trackball mice are a different story since you don't need to pick up and move the mouse to navigate the screen.
Next, we looked at how precisely each ergonomic mouse allowed us to click. Those mice without a palm rest operate just about the same as a standard mouse. We didn't notice any degradation of accuracy in copy/pasting or closing/minimizing windows until we started using mice with a palm rest. The palm rest's purpose is to take the wrist out of the equation by keeping it still. Your palm, usually the pisiform (a small bone in your wrist/palm opposite your thumb), sits on the palm rest, making it difficult to pivot away. We were intrigued by these palm rests until we started using the iClever and J-Tech with the removable palm rest. With these models, we started to notice a decline in our precision. For example, we highlighted a few rows too high and a few characters too far to the left or right, and we mis-clicked the small "x" to close windows. Our wrists did feel better using these mice, but even after some time with them, we couldn't achieve precision at the same level as the mice without palm rests. The 3M Joystick is by far the hardest to get used to. The same problems we experienced with the iClever and J-Tech were exacerbated with this model. Our wrists were comfortable, but common tasks remained slow and frustrating, even with significant practice.
Trackball mice are a different story. We think the Logitech MX Ergo has a leg up on the Logitech M570. Though the trackball wasn't quite as smooth or "loose" to move around, we were more accurate with it — especially when using the MX Ergo's precision button that slows the mouse pointer speed down. Not many of our testers had previous experience with trackball mice, but by the end of testing, most were nearly as efficient as they were with a standard mouse.
Finally, we looked at the scroll wheels. Each scroll wheel is fairly similar, but each mouse has its quirks — whether it has slightly more resistance like the Logitech M570, is smooth like the Logitech MX Vertical, or is relatively silent like the iClever Vertical. The mice that stood out to us are the Logitech MX Ergo, Microsoft Sculpt, and the 3M Joystick. The Logitech MX Ergo and Microsoft Sculpt stood out on a positive note with their 4-directional scrolling capabilities. These capabilities make traversing large spreadsheets much easier. Conversely, the 3M Joystick has no scroll wheel to navigate a webpage or word document. The 3M Joystick only offers the equivalent of clicking in the scroll wheel. This makes it difficult to navigate webpages because you have to concentrate intensely on making sure not to move the mouse too quickly up or down. Finally, we found that extended use scrolling with the J-Tech Digital started causing discomfort in our fingers.
Lastly, we looked at how these mice performed on different surface types and how they glide across a standard mouse pad. Trackball mice like the Logitech MX Ergo and Logitech M570 are the best for multi-surface use because they are stationary, and their performance isn't dependent on the surface on which they are placed. Trackball mice aside, most of the optical sensor mice functioned properly on normal surface types you might find while using a computer, such as hard mousepads, soft mousepads, desktops, and paper or magazines. None of these mice had any trouble tracking on our testing mouse pad and desk — which is semi-reflective — or lined notebook paper or magazine covers. Since these models all performed well on smooth desktops and the like, we explored more exotic surfaces such as a rustic style hardwood floor, reflective metal, and glass.
The Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Mouse has the best sensor of the lot. Case in point, it was able to carry out drawings in Paint on a glass table without any issues. You can limp along on a glass table with the Logitech MX Vertical and the iClever Vertical, but it will be a rough journey because the mouse sensor will register movements more sporadically. Except for the Anker 2.4G Vertical, all of the other mice performed more or less equally well on common desktop materials. The Anker 2.4 Vertical became quite fussy on all but the smoothest, least reflective surfaces.
Finishing off our surface metric was an analysis of each mouse's glide across a standard cloth mousepad. Excluding our trackball mice, we found the J-Tech Digital and the iClever Vertical to be the smoothest, followed by Jelly Comb and Anker 2.4G Vertical. Finally, the Logitech MX Vertical and Microsoft Sculpt provided the least smooth performance. We had a little trouble with the 3M Joystick; we couldn't decide if we had a lemon or not when it came to gliding. While it was by far the smoothest mouse we tested, whenever we moved the mouse towards us, it would catch on the mouse pad and make a noise similar to separating velcro. We were concerned the mouse pad would tear or start to fray. Accordingly, we recommend using this model on a hard mouse pad.
It can take some time to find the perfect mouse for you, but we think our top choices are the best for most people. We hope our assessment of ergonomic mice in this review is helpful as you select your next mouse, and we hope you'll soon be saying goodbye to computer wrist pain forever.
— Austin Palmer