Is a Wired or Wireless Mouse Better for Gaming?

Closeup of a professional esports gamer using a wired mouse.
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You’ll see professional gamers use both wired and wireless gaming mice, so how do you know which you should use? Let’s take a look at the key differences between the two to determine which is better for gaming.

Wired Mice Offer a Stable Connection

For gamers, having stability is key. This is especially true for those who play first-person shooters or any other game that requires constant mouse movement. Your mouse losing connection for just a second may be the difference between winning or losing a battle or match.

A wired mouse will be more stable than a wireless one, as it’s connected directly to your computer. There’s no chance of interference from other devices, and you will never have to worry about your mouse losing connection unless it’s damaged. As wireless mice continue to improve, this may be becoming less of a concern, but for now, it’s still a factor to consider.

Wireless Mice (Usually) Have More Latency

Latency, which is also called input lag, is the time it takes for your mouse’s input to be registered on your computer screen. This includes movement, scrolling, clicking, and macro execution (if your mouse has them).

When it comes to gaming, especially timing-based games, even a small amount of latency can be detrimental. Using first-person shooters as an example, it’s imperative that your gun fires immediately when you press the left mouse button. Even a quarter of a second of input lag may cause you to lose to your opponent.

Similar to wired keyboards, wired mice have less latency than wireless mice. This is because there’s no need for the signal to be transmitted from the mouse to the receiver. The direct connection to your computer is what allows wired mice to be exceptionally responsive.

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In contrast, wireless mice need to send their signal through the air, which can introduce some input lag. Of course, this isn’t always the case as there are plenty of responsive wireless gaming mice with unnoticeable input lag.

Mouse Management

An upside-down Apple mouse with the charging cable attached.
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Without a doubt, wired mice are easier to manage as you don’t have to worry about battery life. Simply plug it into your computer and you’re good to go. Yes, you will have to deal with a cable, but it shouldn’t be too much to handle with some cable management.

Wireless mice, on the other hand, rely on battery life to operate. The battery life usually lasts pretty long–a couple of days or even a week or more without needing a recharge. But the fact is that you still have to remember to charge the device. If you forget to, you should still be able to use it as long as it’s charging. But now, you’ve transformed your wireless mouse into a wired one.

Hopefully, your mouse has a way of notifying you when the batteries are low so that you can recharge (or replace) them at night or before you start a game. You don’t want to risk the batteries dying in the middle of a match.

You may also find that over the years, your wireless mouse’s built-in battery life will slowly decrease. If it becomes a nuisance, you may be forced to get a new mouse or remember to charge it more frequently. However, that means leaving it plugged in like a wired mouse. You also have to ensure that you never lose the receiver. Without it, you won’t be able to use your mouse unless you get a replacement receiver that’s compatible.

Which Is Better for Gaming?

In our opinion, gamers will benefit more from using a wired mouse. For starters, they’re cheaper than their wireless counterparts as they don’t require extra parts such as batteries or a receiver. You can find adequate wired gaming mice for as low as $30, whereas decent wireless gaming mice may start at $50.

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Wired mice offer a constant and stable connection with nearly zero input lag, which is beneficial or crucial for most games. There’s nothing to manage besides a single cable. Although the cable may not be aesthetically pleasing, with good cable management, it shouldn’t be too much of an eyesore.

Wireless mice are pretty expensive, and they’re not always reliable. A single break in the connection can be a disaster in time-based games. Lower-end options usually have more input lag than wired mice, and they require more effort to manage. The only real benefit is that there’s no wire to get in your way. However, good cable management can easily solve that problem.