Wired or wireless: which mouse is right for you?

The debate of wired vs. wireless mice has been raging for years and won't likely go anywhere soon. What's the big deal? Just pick one and run, right? It's a bit more complicated that just tail or no tail. Let's have a look at the benefits and downsides of wired and wireless mice so that you can make up your mind once and for all and be rid of the internal struggle.

Wired mice

Wired mice might seem like a thing of the (recent) past, but many people continue to swear by the cable. Why?

Better precision and response for gaming and graphic design

Although some of the wireless mice being made these days do cut down the difference of precision to an almost indeterminable level, many professional gamers and graphic designers will continue to swear by wired mice because of reduced input lag. In industries where milliseconds and micrometers make a difference, it's good to know you're getting the most precise mouse possible.

No interference

Listening to music through a set of Bluetooth headphones while typing on a Bluetooth keyboard while pointing with a Bluetooth mouse could lead to hiccups. Bluetooth is pretty good about avoiding interference these days, but with the ever expanding menagerie of wireless-equipped devices in our lives, it's all but inevitable. If your mouse is wired, you don't have to worry about those annoying freezes that sometime result from too much air traffic.

No worry about battery life

This one is important. With a wired mouse there's no worrying about need a spare cable to plug in and recharge or a stash of replacement batteris. There's also no worry about decreased performance as your batteries wheeze their way to an untimely death. Out and about trying to put the finishing touches on a project? If only you had ten more minutes of battery life!

No dongle

You know that tiny dongle that doesn't take up much room at all in your laptop bag? It also fits easily between couch cushions, beneath coffee-shop lounge chairs, and in that bowl of assorted junk you keep on top of the fridge. Where did I put that dongle?! Prepare yourselves… frustration is coming.

Wireless mice

Wireless mice have their top benefit right in their name: no wires! They're no longer a new and exciting thing, but plenty of people still swear by them — here's why:

Better mobility

The ability to use a mouse while on the go (e.g. in an airport or at a coffee shop) without getting tangled in a cord is no doubt an attractive option. You can sit in a comfortable chair and use the mouse on the leg of your pants. You can lay back and use the mouse on your stomach or chest. You get the idea. If you're one with a home entertainment setup, a wireless mouse is almost a necessity. No one wants to get off the couch to switch the channel (or AVI file).

Less resistance

While this relates to better mobility, it is a bit different. Desktops can become quite cluttered — if you're a gamer you might be able to relate to the feeling when you attempt to whip around to shoot and your mouse cable gets caught on the edge of those player manuals and energy drink cans. You can only watch from the corner of your (avatar's) eye as you get mowed down. No one wants to clean; why not invest in a wireless gaming mouse instead?

No real price difference

Wired mice used to be a lot cheaper than wireless mice, but thanks to the ever-marching advancement of technology, you can pick up a decent wireless mouse for the same price (or cheaper) than a wired mouse. This isn't exactly a fantastic reason for picking up a wireless mouse, but at least if you don't like it you won't curse yourself for spending the big bucks when you could have just picked up a wired mouse for around the same price.

Does the debate rage on?

Choosing a wireless or wired mouse is ultimately up to you. Oftentimes you'll just use whatever is close at hand in order to get the job done.

Did the reasons listed above help sway you one way or the other? We'd love to know your opinion on mice, and your preference when it comes to wired and wireless. Let us know in the comments section below!

Cale Hunt
Senior Editor, Laptop Reviews

Cale Hunt is formerly a Senior Editor at Windows Central. He focuses mainly on laptop reviews, news, and accessory coverage. He's been reviewing laptops and accessories full-time since 2016, with hundreds of reviews published for Windows Central. He is an avid PC gamer and multi-platform user, and spends most of his time either tinkering with or writing about tech.

  • The problem with most mice is that they don't take into consideration those of us with very large hands. I was actually developing carpal tunnel due to mice. Thankfully, roughly 20 years ago, I came across Kensington's "Expert Mouse," which has a large trackball. I've been using them ever since!
  • That's basically what I use for work. The logitech M570, and when it dies, I'll buy another one. It's also good for keeping people away from your desk because they don't like trackballs lol.
  • I bought the MSFT Desktop Entertainment 8000 rechargeable Mouse and Keyboard, back in 2007 When Vista came out.
    This is by far the best Keyboard and Mouse set, I bought another set last year off of Amazon paid more then what it’s Worth because the Original Mouse’s whell was getting sticky.
    I love how you can Recharge the Keyboard and Mouse together on the same Charging dock, the Keyboard just slides under the front and Mouse sits on top.
    The mouse takes 2 AA and a ½ hour to Charge, and will last up to 3 days depending on how much I use it, and the Keyboard takes 4 AA and 4 HR’s to charge, and last’s a month or more depending on how much I use it.
    There’s plenty of the 7000 series but they’re not rechargeable like the 8000 is.
    I just Changed my old set and opened the new set a few months ago, couldn’t stand the sticky wheel anymore.
    I build and repair Computers out of my house, In my shop I was using an old wired MSFT mouse with the red light on the bottom back end of the mouse, but the wire has a break in it and it's not working right.
    So when I swapped the old set for the new I’m using t5he old on one of my Benches, on the 2nd bench I have a rechargeable MSFT mouse, and a Logitech Keyboard that someone gave me and still works.
    I’m a Keyboard & Mouse guy Myself, but has an Acer 27” touchscreen for my Desktop.
    I can’t stand the touchpads on a Laptop I prefer using a mouse instead, so much more movement of the pointer.
    But I love a Touchscreen as well a Keyboard & Mouse.
  • They are definitely possible to find. The Zowie EC1-A is for larger hands, or the Cyborg R.A.T. mice (I had the RAT 9) is fully adjustable to make the mouse wider and/or longer with different grips or rests for your fingers.
  • I gotta say we all like cutting the cord but it comes with baggage. I have always had disconnection issues albeit not often with Bluetooth mouse. With USB dongle wireless my mouse without warning went dead (needed batteries replaced). For an experienced user this is not too much off a big deal as long as you have a wired mouse handy to get you going again but for the average user they would not know what to do. I use to use a USB wireless keyboard for typing reports and the unreliability of the connection led me to get wired and never go back.
  • My wireless mouse (razer mamba) allows me to plug in a cable if I forgot to put it on the charging dock overnight (the cable comes out of the charging dock and into the mouse). My previous mouse (rat 9) had 2 batteries, so you'd just do a quick swap as needed.
  • Wireless for my laptop (mobility), wired if I will ever buy myself a decent pc
  • Have a look at wireless gaming mice... They often have a wired option
  • Personally, I use a Logitech G605 gaming mouse. Although I dont use it for gaming but rather design and development, I love that I can drop the dpi setting with a click of a button for super minute movements. It also has 11 programmable buttons which can be made specific to every app you have. So for visual studio, u have some buttons comment and uncomment lines, jump to the front and end of a line, and copy/paste. In Photoshop, I have it do other things. For those productivity gains, I recommend it to anyone. Plus its ergonomic AF :)
  • Also forgot to mention that you can get it for around $65 on amazon and that it uses two AA batteries, but has an economic mode which should make the battery last a year. You can also operate the mouse with just 1 battery if you prefer a slightly lighter mouse!
  • On a desktop, I use a wired mouse because I can afford the USB slots, plus its a better experience. When I'm on my surface however, I use a Bluetooth mouse because I don't want to waste the only USB slot. On a regular laptop, I can maybe lose a USB slot, but I mostly just stay with my bluetooth mouse.
  • Logitech MX Master for the win. Pairs with up to three devices, on of which can be a USB receiver if your machine doesn't have Bluetooth.
  • Wired for gaming, but I go wireless everywhere else. I haven't had much of any trouble with BT in recent times
  • Depending on the game, I can get away with using a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse. The only issue I've run into recently was Bluetooth disconnecting while I was playing Halo SPV3. Even then, everything was working again in a couple seconds.
  • The weight of batteries make a mouse too sluggish and I end up working slowly.  A lightweight wired wheel mouse is an extension of my hand.for graphic work and everyday work.  Trackballs and trackpads are unnatural to me, and therefore harder to control seamlessly.
  • I use wireless on my work notebook and a wired on my home desktop. I dont think a wireless is necessary on a desktop pc, only if you have to use the pc at a distance, in this case wires would be a pain. But for mobile, definitely, wireless is way more practical.
  • I don't need a portable computer, and a wired optical mouse is perfect for my desktop ! Plus a wired mouse is about 5 dollars while a good wireless mouse is about 15 !
  • At work I use the Microsoft Sculpt keyboard and mouse both of which are wireless. At home I have the Sculpt keyboard but prefer my Logitech G700s mouse to the one that comes with the Sculpt set. The G700s works in both wireless and wired mode so it provides the best of both worlds. For general desktop use I keep it unplugged, but plug it for gaming and charging.
  • I'm surprised this isn't a Why You Don't Need a Mouse article.
  • Wireless logitech G700. On a messy desk, when you work with x acto knives everyday, a wired mouse don't last more than 2 weeks. "Hey, why is my computer not responding ? OOoow... Shhhhit."
  • Or just get a Logitech MX Master mouse. Use its 2.5Ghz dongle, plug in a microUSB cable, or connect it with bluetooth.  All your bases are covered.
  • Much prefer the wired type, can't misplace it as it's attached to the computer via a wire.
  • Team Wired here. The only place where I use a wireless mouse is on the SP3 and I still don't like it but it would make no sense to use a wired mouse with it. Otherwise, wired all day everyday.
  • This seems like a matter of contextual common sense to me. Wired if you're sitting right at a computer desk (whether you're gaming or not) wireless if you're out and about, or using a living room rig. The only REAL point of tension that I can see is in the case of living room "on the couch and big screen" gaming PCs because then you're gonna have to make compromises one way or the other. That, unfortunately, is where I am, though. I have a gaming PC in the living room. In my situation, it has to be wireless KBM, but I need a better pair. I have a cheapie Logitech K520/M310 wireless USB with a unifying dongle. They're by no means unusable for gaming, but I can tell there's a bit of latency, and can also tell they're not super duper precise. The really big problem, though, is that I don't think the dongle is made for the distance they're sitting at though, because every now and then, they will just cut out. It's rare for the mouse, but a lot less rare for the keyboard. And, predictably, if I scoot closer to the computer, the frequency and duration of the cut out is significantly diminished, but sitting on a hardwood floor with no back support with my KBM on the coffee table does not comfortable gaming make.... .....so all that to say, I REALLY need some suggestions for a wireless gaming-grade KBM! I'm wide open to suggestions! :-) Thanks!
  • Why not both? My wireless mouse has a cable that plugs into the charging dock / receiver. I can place the dock anywhere I want to optimise reception, and if I run out of battery or just plan on gaming for a long time I can pop the cable out of the dock and into the mouse.
  • I'm a gamer, so I have a wired mouse!
  • I know when I got my first PC when I moved to Australia (FYI: I had many previously in Canada, I meant my first PC since moving) it came with a standard MS Keyboard and Mouse which were both Wireless. I always used Wired and wasn't too keen on trying the wireless setup. As a professional Graphic Designer and regular Gamer, I require precision, especially with Illustrator and Photoshop. It was a horrible experience with the connection between the mouse / keyboard not working sometimes, or having the mouse move along while masking something only to suddenly stop moving for half a second and the try and compensate and shoot off in another direction. There were a lot of undos. I went back to the shop and asked if I could swap with a wired setup and the guy looked at my funny and said he never heard anybody complain about such things before and that there isn't a difference between the two. He also said he didn't think anybody sold wired anymore. Seriously, this was 2011 and I know I had an accent but frig sakes, I didn't come off a banana boat from a 3rd world country. I built PCs and I've been a designer since the late 90's. I wasn't a frigging idiot. I left the shop and went somewhere else, bought a wired setup and still use both the keyboard and mouse. I left the wireless keyboard and mouse for my son to play with in his toy room. There is a difference. And I don't need to swap batteries. With the wireless set, there were times where if the keyboard or mouse were in my lap in front of the computer, they'd drop out and in often. If I put them back on the desk (a whole 30cm difference) they'd start to go normal again, but still not precise.
  • I much prefer wired ones. (but the size is still matter)
  • Another informative article :)
  • ..i have a wired mouse in my home desk and office desk fixed in a usb dock. I use wireless when on-the-go and having meetings on conference room. I think buying 2 mice won't hurt much :)