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The best budget gaming mouse: Affordable pro gameplay

What is the best budget gaming mouse? The Razer DeathAdder Essential takes our number one spot! We analyzed and tested the connectivity, sensor, configuration, and max DPI of each mouse among brands like MSi, Logitech, and Razer.
taylor-clemons
Written by Taylor Clemons, Staff Writer on

A cheap gaming mouse doesn't mean you have to sacrifice quality or convenience in order to stick to a budget. Brands like Razer, MSI, and Corsair offer plenty of budget-friendly options to suit just about any genre, grip, and play style you can imagine. Like their premium counterparts, many cheap gaming mice have programmable buttons, customizable DPI levels, and RGB lighting to add a bit of flair to your setup. You will have to compromise on some things though; budget-friendly mice aren't as likely to have on-board memory for storing custom button configurations and will have limited RGB lighting to help keep costs reasonable. They will also have lower max DPI sensitivities than the top-tier models, though they will still give you great performance across multiple genres. 

I've curated a list of the best cheap gaming mice available, and I've broken down their features to help you find the best one that fits your budget as well as your gaming style.

Also: Best gaming mouse 2022: Click, click, BOOM

Razer DeathAdder Essential
Razer

Connectivity: USB | Buttons: 5 | Weight: 96 grams | Sensor: Optical | RGB: No | Programmable: Yes | Configuration: Right-handed | Max DPI: 6,400

This is a stripped back version of the DeathAdder V2. It features the same ergonomic, right-handed design, 5-button layout, and mechanical switches as its cousin, but the optical sensor isn't as sensitive. It has a max DPI of 6,400, which is still great for shooters and other genres, but it won't feel as twitchy if you have a fast and frenetic play style. With the Razer Synapse 3 app, you can program custom button configurations to suit your favorite games, though it does lack the on-board memory of the V2. So if you play a lot of different games that require special layouts, you'll have to program them manually every time.

Pros

  • Ergonomic design
  • Programmable buttons
  • Customizable DPI

Cons

  • No on-board memory
  • No RGB customization
MSI Clutch GM20 Elite
MSI

Connectivity: USB | Buttons: 5 | Weight: 92-109 grams | Sensor: Optical | RGB: Yes | Programmable: Yes | Configuration: Right-handed | Max DPI: 6,400

The MSI Clutch GM20 Elite has a premium-quality build for a budget-friendly price. The optical sensor has a max DPI of 6,400 for accuracy and speed while each of the 5 buttons uses an OMRON switch rated for over 20million clicks for durability. It also allows for tunable weight, with 3 and 5g weights to adjust the mouse from 92 to 109 grams. Even with all weights inserted, the mouse is still lightweight enough to be comfortable to use during marathon sessions. And with MSI Mystic Light, you can program the RGB bar with 9 lighting patterns and millions of colors to either show off your personal style or sync to other RGB components in your setup.

Pros

  • Adjustable weight
  • RGB lighting
  • OMRON switches

Cons

  • No thumb DPI paddle
  • No on-board memory
Logitech G600
Logitech

Connectivity: USB | Buttons: 20 | Weight: 133 grams | Sensor: Laser | RGB: Yes | Programmable: Yes | Configuration: Right-handed | Max DPI: 8,200

Veteran MMO players know that the key to success in raids and quests lies in keeping your spells, weapons, and items close-at-hand. The Logitech G600 has a 12-button thumb pad that you can program with custom configurations so you can easily switch between hurling fireballs and healing teammates. The laser sensor has a max DPI of 8,200, so you can get in precision shots with your elf archer or easily select enemies for chain lightning spells. You can store up to 3 profiles in the on-board memory for quick-switching games. This mouse is compatible with Windows, Mac, and ChromeOS, so no matter what you game on, you won't have to worry about connectivity issues.

Pros

  • 20 buttons
  • On-board memory
  • Windows, Mac, and ChromeOS compatibility

Cons

  • On the heavier side
  • Limited RGB lighting
Corsair Harpoon RGB wireless
Corsair

Connectivity: USB dongle/USB cable/Bluetooth | Buttons:  6 | Weight: 99 grams| Sensor: Optical | RGB: Yes | Programmable: Yes | Configuration: Right-handed | Max DPI: 10,000

While wireless gaming mice can be fairly expensive, the wireless Corsair Harpoon is an exceptionally affordable option with a price tag of around $50. It has an integrated, rechargeable battery that can give you up to 60 hours of play time, as long as you turn off all the fancy RGB lighting. And if you want to play while you charge, or prefer a more reliable connection, you can hook up the USB cable for power. Each of the 6 buttons is able to be programmed for a custom layout and features OMRON switches rated for 50million clicks. The optical sensor has a max DPI of 10,000, so you can get a super twitchy or pixel-perfect feel to suit almost any game. The Corsair logo also serves as an understated RGB lighting system that you can customize with the iCUE app or sync with your other Corsair peripherals and components.

Pros

  • Good battery life
  • High max DPI
  • 6 programmable buttons
  • Bluetooth connectivity

Cons

  • No on-board memory
  • No tilt scroll wheel
Corsair M55 RGB PRO ambidextrous mouse
Corsair

Connectivity: USB | Buttons: 8 | Weight: 86 grams | Sensor: Optical | RGB: Yes | Programmable: Yes | Configuration: Ambidextrous | Max DPI: 12,400

Left-handed gamers don't have a lot of options when it comes to mice, and if they do manage to find a lefty mouse, it usually costs a fortune. The Corsair M55 mouse features an ambidextrous design that can be used in either hand, and costs just $40. It has 8 buttons, 6 of which are programmable after you choose either a left or right-handed configuration. And weighing in at just under 90 grams, it's one of the most lightweight gaming mice available, making it perfect for long nights grinding out levels. The optical sensor has a max DPI of 12,400, letting you get pixel-perfect aiming in your favorite shooters or super twitchy reactions in fast-paced platformers.

Pros

  • Left or right-handed configuration
  • Lightweight
  • High max DPI

Cons

  • No on-board memory
  • No tilt scroll wheel
Razer Basilisk Essential
Razer

Connectivity: USB | Buttons: 7 | Weight: 95 grams | Sensor: Optical | RGB: Yes | Programmable: Yes | Configuration: Right-handed | Max DPI: 6,400

This is another stripped-back version of one of Razer's premium mice, the Razer Basilisk V2. It has 7 programmable buttons, including a thumb paddle. The paddle is designed for multiple functions, including: a DPI throttle, push-to-talk, and long-press actions like healing or charging attacks. The buttons use Razer's proprietary switches which are rated for 20million clicks, ensuring long-lasting durability, even during intense play. The optical sensor has a max DPI of 6,400, which is great for most games, including shooters, though it won't be as twitchy as you may like. And while the 7 buttons are fully programmable in Razer Synapse 3, the mouse does lack any on-board memory for storing profiles. So if you change games or genres often, you'll have to manually program new layouts each time.

Pros

  • Multifunction thumb paddle
  • Programmable buttons
  • Comfortable design

Cons

  • No on-board memory

How did we choose these gaming mice?

Aside from making sure that each of these gaming mice would be affordable to most budget-conscious gamers, I looked at a number of factors including programing, button layouts, ergonomics, and connectivity. I tried to include a variety of gaming mice to suit different genres, play styles, and player abilities; and as a left-handed gamer myself, I am always on the lookout for good left-handed or ambidextrous mice.

What is the best budget gaming mouse?

The best budget gaming mouse is the Razer DeathAdder Essential, due to our testing of its game play usability, connectivity, and price.

Which gaming mouse is right for you?

Not only should your new gaming mouse fit your budget, it should also fit your play style and favorite genre of games. If you play MMOs like Final Fantasy XIV or World of Warcraft, you will want a specially designed mouse with tons of buttons to map spells, items, and weapons. If you play first-person shooters like Call of Duty or battle royale games like Apex Legends, you'll want a mouse with customizable DPI levels and button layouts to keep weapons and ammo handy; you may even want to spring for a mouse with a thumb paddle for DPI throttling to give you pixel-precision aiming or the ability to quickly push-to-talk to teammates in-game.

Do wireless mice have lag?

Whether your wireless mouse uses Bluetooth or 2.4GHz connectivity, there is going to be some level of lag between your button presses and on-screen reactions. But you also get a bit of lag from wired mice because your computer has to translate electrical signals into actions. However, both situations have negligible lag (as low as 1ms) that won't be noticeable even in the middle of heated matches. Unless you're hyper-picky about how fast your mouse clicks translate to popping off rounds or launching spells.

What is DPI?

It stands for "dots per linear inch." What this means is that the optical or laser sensor can detect a certain number of points (the dots) per inch of movement on the mousepad. The more dots per inch it can detect, the more accurate and speedy the cursor can move. High DPI sensors are great for twitchy shooters and action platformers where you need fast reactions to the environment and other players. Lower DPI sensors are great for RPGs and strategy games where precision isn't as important.

Wireless or wired gaming mouse -- which is best?

There are as many answers to this as there are gamers. Wired mice are great if you don't want to have to worry about either changing or charging batteries, since the USB cable provides a steady, reliable connection for both input and power. Wireless mice are for gamers who absolutely hate the feel of cable drag as they play and need something that isn't going to get tangled or caught on anything during critical moments. Wired mice also tend to be more affordable than wireless mice, so if you're working with a strict budget, you'll have to go with a more traditional mouse.

Are there alternative gaming mice to consider?

There are plenty of budget-friendly options out there for gaming mice. Here's a short list of runner-up picks that I thought were great:

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