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Extended Mousepad vs Normal: Which Is Better?

Mousepads come in a few different shapes and sizes, but most people end up choosing between two varieties: normal size and extended. What makes the extended size so popular? Are there reasons to choose it over a normal mouse pad?

An extended mousepad is better for gaming, multiple-monitor setups, and users who need extra space to work conveniently with a mouse. A normal or standard-size mousepad is ideal for most regular uses, especially if the mouse sensitivity is set to high. 

This article will explain the differences between these common mousepads in detail. Keep reading to learn which option works best for you. 

Benefits and Drawbacks of Extended and Normal Mousepads

No one mousepad works for every user. It isn’t really about finding the best mousepad, but about figuring out which size works best for the way you use your mouse.

The option you choose will mostly depend on the use case—for example, whether you’re using a desktop or laptop—and personal preference. 

I’ll get into why you should consider both options in a bit. But before that, here are some of the major pros and cons you should consider when picking the most suitable mousepad for your setup.

Extended Mousepad 

Pros

  • Protects wooden desk surfaces
  • Gives more room for mouse movements
  • Reduces wrist cramps during extended mouse use
  • Great for slippery or cold surfaces
  • Reduces keyboard vibrations
  • Better aesthetics 

Cons

  • Pricier than standard mousepads
  • Not practical with laptops
  • Requires larger table or desk surface
  • Covers large portions of desk surface

Normal Mousepad

Pros

  • Suitable for most mouse uses
  • Generally cheaper than larger options
  • Travel-friendly 

Cons

  • Not suitable for gaming
  • Inadequate protection for desk surfaces
  • Little support for precision mouse work or wide mouse movements

Although personal preference plays a huge role in your choice of mousepad size, it is important to pick something that enhances the use of your mouse.

In case you still can’t decide which mousepad you should pick, here are a few sections that should help you out.

What Is the Point of an Extended Mousepad?

If you are reading this article, I assume you already know what a mouse is, how to use it, and the purpose of a mousepad. 

The pad or mat improves the usability of the mouse compared to using the device directly on wooden or glass surfaces.

And if you’re like most people, a small rectangular squishy pad on a desk is what readily comes to mind when you picture a mousepad.

These days, though, it is not out of place to see many computer setups with bigger mousepads with a mouse and keyboard on top. Why these larger pads?

The point of an extended mousepad is primarily to give the user more room to move the mouse. Certain use cases, such as gaming at a low dot per inch (DPI) or precision drawing, requires moving the mouse across a wider space to enable the mouse pointer to cover a larger area on the computer screen.

Using a normal-size mousepad for these scenarios can be very frustrating. You will have to constantly shift the mouse pad around as you work with the mouse to cover all the corresponding areas on the screen. 

Of course, this is an inefficient way to work.

Investing in a high-quality extended mousepad is a more convenient and efficient way to make your mouse pointer cover a wider area on the screen.

Should You Get an Extended Mousepad?

You should get an extended mousepad if you want a full mouse and keyboard mat. Consider a bigger mousepad if your work involves setting your mouse sensitivity to low. The low sensitivity setting means you need wider room for broader mouse movements. 

Here are some other reasons to consider an extended mousepad.

  • Your desk has a hard, sharp edge. A bigger mouse mat can cover the edge of your desk and allow you to type and click more conveniently.
  • You want to protect your desk. Continuously dragging peripherals across the surface of your desk can leave scratches on your delicate glass or wooden table. An extended mousepad can prevent this from happening.
  • You have a large monitor or use multiple monitors at once. It is usually better to get a mouse mat that supports the entire area of your computer screen. This way, you won’t have to think about the mouse’s position on your desk when you move the pointer across the screen. A normal mousepad can’t provide enough space for the type of mouse movement you need for a multi-monitor setup. 
  • You need a mouse mat for gaming. Gaming mousepads don’t only provide better tracking and fuller control; they also provide a larger surface area where gamers can move the mouse all over their desks. 
  • You want a more comfortable experience while working. Sometimes, placing your arms on a cold glass surface in chilly weather conditions while you type or use your mouse can be uncomfortable. Also, extremely smooth surfaces can be slippery for a smaller mouse mat, making it necessary to constantly adjust the pad as you work. An extended mousepad takes care of these issues.
  • You want a better-looking workspace. Apart from practical uses, an extended mousepad provides a more appealing look than a normal mouse pad. If you are buying a larger mousepad purely for aesthetics, consider options with lighting. 

Any of the above reasons are good enough to make you get a bigger mat for your mouse, even if you use a wireless mouse

Besides serving as a softer and better surface for your computer peripherals, an extended mousepad can also reduce the vibrations coming from the keyboard as you type. 

Overall, you should consider an extended mousepad if you do precision mouse tasks on your desktop computer or use it for gaming.

That said, not everyone needs an extended mousepad. 

A normal or standard-size mouse mat is more than enough if you only need a mousepad for regular desktop use. 

It is also a better choice if you need to place your mouse on a mat when using your laptop.

Carrying a huge mousepad around is a waste of space and a hassle to set up.

Can You Use a Normal Mousepad for Gaming?

Gaming is one of the common reasons for considering an extended mousepad. That’s because the pad gives users a large surface to make all the mouse movements they need for a more precise gaming experience.

But is it feasible to use a normal pad for gaming?

You can use a normal mousepad for gaming if your mouse setting is at a moderate to high dot per inch (DPI) setting. You can even go off the edge of a smaller pad while playing FPS games without problems, provided the DPI setting is high.

It also depends on the kind of game you’re playing. While competitive games are often played at low sensitivity, slower-paced strategy games work just fine with high DPIs and a small mousepad.

That said, it is usually a good idea to invest in a wider pad so you can focus more on the game instead of worrying about your mouse position on the desk.

After all, it is better to have too much surface area than to run out of it.

Can You Use a Mouse Without a Mousepad?

You can use a mouse without a mousepad, but only if it comes with a laser sensor. However, using your mouse on a mousepad will give you better performance. Apart from making the mouse work better, a mousepad can prevent dirt from accumulating on its sensor.

Laser and optical mice are two of the most popular options available today. Both types use light to calculate and interpret distance. 

Laser mice are slower than optical models, but they can work on just about any surface. They use laser beams, which can bounce off any surface. 

That means you may not need a mousepad to use the device. However, I strongly suggest that you consider using one, and I’ll show you why in a bit. 

On the other hand, optical mice are more accurate, but they are picky about surfaces—especially if you use them on glass or any reflective surface.

That’s because optical mice use an infrared LED light that works better on non-glossy surfaces, including mousepads.

Why You Should Use a Mousepad

Here are some of the reasons you need a mousepad, regardless of the type of mouse you use.

Mousepads Can Improve Mouse Performance

Mouse mats provide smooth device movement, thanks to the materials on the surfaces. These materials enable consistent tracking, so the mouse has better tactile movement on the pad.

A mousepad is a must-have for gamers, especially for first-person shooters. 

No matter how smooth your desk may appear, it has some imperfections that can interrupt the movement of your mouse as you drag it across the table surface. 

Good-quality pads do not have these types of flaws. Instead, they have a consistent texture that allows your mouse to move smoothly.

A Mousepad Protects Your Mouse From Dirt

A mouse can lose its accuracy over time if it becomes dirty. Unfortunately, that’s what will happen if you don’t use a mousepad.

The device will pick up dust and dirt from the surface of your desk, and it will lose its efficiency after a while of direct use on the desk.

Fortunately, you can prevent this from happening if you simply use a mousepad. 

Instead of dealing with an inaccurate mouse, all you have to do is periodically clean the pad, which is extremely easy.

You Can Charge Your Wireless Mouse With Modern Mouse Pads

A wireless mouse comes with several advantages. First, you don’t have to worry about any cable getting in your way and interrupting the smoothness of the device. Second, the mouse is versatile and more portable. 

But there’s one major downside.

It uses a battery, meaning you have to charge it overnight or when not in use to keep it functional. 

You will end up using the wireless mouse like a wired device if you let it run out of battery before plugging it in. 

Fortunately, you can wirelessly charge your mouse using a modern mousepad with charging functionality—and you can do this while you work. 

That means you don’t have to temporarily turn your wireless device into a wired one while using it. Plus, there is no need to manually charge the device.

Mouse Pads Can Protect Your Desk Surface From Scratches

Continuously dragging a mouse over your desk will eventually affect its surface, especially if you have a low-quality desk.

You can prevent your desk from scuffs and scratches by using a mouse pad. Consider a desk-wide or extended mousepad if you want to cover a wider area on the desk. A large pad can also prevent possible scratches from the keyboard.

Here’s the thing, though: mousepads will eventually show scratches from continuous mouse drags and keyboard vibrations. 

Fortunately, it is cheaper to buy a new pad than to repair the surface of your desk.

Mouse Pads Keep Your Hands Comfortable While Working

Some people may experience stiffness in their hands or wrists after a long day of working on their computer. One likely reason for this is resting your hands against a hard edge for a long time.

The cushioned surface of a mousepad can eliminate this problem by keeping your hands comfortable while typing and clicking. Of course, you need an extended mousepad to fully enjoy this benefit.

Alternatively, you can choose normal mousepads with ergonomic features, such as cushioned bottoms.

Final Thoughts

In a nutshell, the type of mousepad you choose comes down to two factors: how you use your mouse and personal preference. 

An extended mousepad is not necessarily better than a normal one, and vice versa. You only need to think about your mouse’s primary use case.

A normal pad is okay if you only do regular mouse work a few hours per day or want something to use with your laptop. A desk-wide or extended version works better for gaming and other precision mouse tasks.

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