Remember the days when we were using trackball mice? If you do, you probably also remember that a mousepad was a necessity for any satisfactory computer experience. But do you still need a mousepad for modern optical and laser mice?
It is safe to use a mouse without a mousepad. An optical mouse can be used on most solid surfaces, but that doesn’t mean that it should. A mousepad protects the mouse’s feet from damage, which can affect your mouse movement and can keep your desk surface from being worn down.
The rest of this article will explain a few topics related to this question in greater detail. The topics include why you still need a mouse, the benefits of using a mousepad, and a few mousepad alternatives.
Why You Still Need a Mousepad
Modern mice manufacturers always go on and on about their latest mouse being used on nearly any surface. At first glance, this seems to eliminate the need for a mousepad.
But then, you visit their website, and they are also selling a full line-up of mousepads.
This is because the mouse’s plastic gliding feet can wear out faster. What is more, the feet can stick dirt particles that can decrease the smoothness of its movement, particularly if the surface of the desk is rough or dirty. As a result, the mouse won’t move smoothly.
Since most mouse bottoms aren’t exceptionally soft, they can also erode the surface of your desk.
There are some real performance benefits as well. If you don’t use a mousepad, the optical sensors can pick up your desk’s small pits and bumps. This is true whether you’re gaming or doing actual work that requires precise mouse movements.
While modern mice are less vulnerable to surface imperfection, they can still wreak havoc on your latest project or gameplay. That’s why many gamers still favor using a mousepad for predictable performance especially if they have to make quick movements.
Other Benefits of Using a Mousepad
If you’re using a soft mousepad, the comfort element is also very important. Most people very much prefer resting their wrists on a cloth pad versus a hard desk surface. It’s also worth considering that mousepads are starting to incorporate some cool features.
For instance, they can have:
- Easy-access USB ports
- RGB lighting
- Wireless charging
The last one is convenient when using a wireless mouse because you don’t have to remember to plug it in.
So, let’s say you decided that you need a mousepad for your gaming or work, but you don’t have the money to buy one. Well, you can make a mousepad without any cost from whatever you have around the house.
There are some key things you need to look for when making a mousepad:
- You need a hard flat surface.
- You need the surface to track the mouse well.
I’m now going to tell you what household items meet these criteria for making a custom mousepad.
You can use wood planks, such as floorboard pieces, as a mousepad alternative because they’re hard and flat. You can use wood planks of any size, but if you want a bigger mousepad, you can take two planks and connect them using shelf brackets or other types of hardware.
Paper or Magazine
A white sheet of paper is very good for mouse tracking. The mouse slides along nicely and tracks very well. The only problem is that the paper can start getting curled if it’s been used as a mousepad for a long time.
You can avoid such marks by using, for example, a magazine instead.
Yet, while you can do quite a lot with a paper mousepad, you might need to adjust the mouse’s sensitivity. That’s necessary if you want your mouse to track faster, especially when you’re gaming.
Sometimes, your wood plank creates difficulties with the tracking, and the paper gets wrinkled. In such cases, you can cover any hard, flat surface with duct tape and use it as a mousepad. Duct tape allows you to be very precise in your performance.
The trick is to stick the tape across the surface as smooth as possible. This is important when you’re moving the mouse across, as it makes sure not to grab the tape at different points.
While you can use a wood plank or paper immediately, with duct tape, you’re also going to need scissors to cut the excess tape. Namely, you need to make sure not to leave a lot of tape hanging over the edges.
Otherwise, even if you fold the extra tape, the mousepad might still be sliding around.
Simply cut off your excess and make sure the tape is stuck on your new mousepad. Trace your mousepad with your scissors and cut everything off so that nothing folds over the edges.
Find the Mousepad that Works Best for You
Since mousepads matter, it’s also essential to find the right mousepad for your mouse. That can contribute to you reaching your full potential when it comes to accuracy and, of course, comfort.
There are two main types of mousepads:
- Hard or rigid mousepads.
- Soft or cloth mousepads.
The main advantage of hard pads is the speed, and they will help you be much better at tracking targets.
Contrarily, cloth pads offer much more control. This means that with a hard pad, you might not be able to stop as quickly and precisely as you’d like to. Besides, most hard pads are small, and they make a lot of noise, which is not the case with cloth pads. On the other hand, cloth pads lack the speed of hard pads.
So, ultimately, it’s all up to which one you’re used to or which one you decide is best for your needs.
While you probably don’t need a mousepad, you might find that it makes your computing experience smoother and more comfortable. And, of course, it’s an excuse to buy yet another cool gadget.