Which mouse is best for office work? There are many differences in computer mice: cable, wireless, DPI resolution and other factors. How can you identify a good and ergonomic mouse? This brief article provides information on the most important criteria when buying a mouse.

Buying criteria for a mouse

Buying a new mouse for VDU work can be quite difficult. Nowadays, the purchase depends on a few factors. Ergonomic aspects are just as important as the question of whether to buy a mouse with wireless technology or one with a cable. The following sections explain the important criteria for a good mouse.

Ergonomics

ergonomische Mausform

A curved, ergonomic mouse with buttons on the side.

The ergonomic features of a mouse are becoming increasingly important. Like all equipment at the workplace, ergonomics is important to avoid overloading certain areas of the body. Thus, it significantly benefits health and the well-being of the user. This applies to a mouse for the PC just as it does to other equipment.

The more time spent at the computer, the more important this factor becomes when making a purchase.

Identifying a good, ergonomic mouse is therefore significant. How can such a mouse be recognised? Which devices make ergonomic work possible? When it comes to ergonomics, the most important factor is comforting the joints, ligaments, and tendons.

For this reason, a mouse should be comfortable to hold. It is also helpful if the shape is adapted in such a way that the posture and movement of the arm and hand are as natural as possible. Therefore, it is not recommended to bend limbs in an unnatural way when using a mouse.

The question of the preferred hand is also relevant to ergonomics: Are you left-handed or right-handed? In the past, computer mice were often square shaped so that they were suitable for either hand. Nowadays, there are many different shapes available on the market.

Therefore, when buying a mouse, it is important to make sure that the respective shape matches your own requirements. If the computer mouse has to be used by both left-handed and right-handed people, mice are available that meet both requirements.

Mouse size

In addition to ergonomic factors, the size of the computer mouse is also important for reasons of comfort. Basically, larger computer mice are more suitable for large hands and smaller mice are correspondingly suitable for smaller hands. Some mice are even adjustable in length nowadays. What does this mean for the size of the mice?

The average size for smaller computer mice is about 10 x 6 cm, while larger ones are about 13 x 7 cm. A mouse that fits your hand size is more comfortable to use. It also reduces the strain on the wrist. This can prevent overuse and other health problems.

Mouse shape

Input devices are now available in various designs. This results in having a choice for almost every taste and every work demand. The shape of the mouse is largely determined by the connection. Mice are available that can be connected to the PC via a cable.

At the same time, there are mice that connect via wireless technology or Bluetooth.

Today, almost all computer mice with a cable are equipped with a USB port. The advantage is easy usability. As a rule, modern PCs and notebooks offer the appropriate number of interfaces. Otherwise, additional adapters can be helpful.

In contrast, older generations tended to use PS/2 connections. These are no longer used today. If you still have such a mouse, you can connect it to modern computers with a suitable adapter if necessary. However, we recommend buying a USB mouse in general.

Type of mouse

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A relic of bygone times: mechanical ball mice are no longer used nowadays. Instead, mice with an optical system are used.

The type of connection of the mouse is only a small criterion for the purchase. Much more often, however, the type of mouse plays a role. While in the past it was mainly a mechanical “ball mouse” that was used, nowadays they are no longer in use.

The preferred input devices are optical mice. Such mice use light or laser diodes. They scan the surface optically and thus enable a high accuracy. For this reason, they are ideal for work on graphics and for gaming. However, these models are not suitable for mirror or glass which by the way should never be used as a work surface in general.

Trackballs are another option. They are considered to be particularly ergonomic and easy to use. Here, the fingers roll a ball and thus control the cursor. The biggest advantage is that the arm remains almost motionless.

Number of buttons

Conventional models use a scroll wheel for convenient scrolling within documents and websites. Next to it are three buttons. Such mice are suitable for most computer work. That is why they are found within most households and offices.

However, there are also mice available with significantly more buttons. These gaming mice usually have nine buttons or more. The assignment of the buttons can usually be customised on the computer.

DPI

“Dots per inch” is a measure of the mouse’s sensitivity. This means that those who prefer low DPI numbers generally have to move the mouse more. Higher DPI ensure smoother and faster movements. As a rule, these numbers are around 1000 DPI. A value of at least 1000 DPI is considered recommendable to be able to do most common tasks on the PC.

A mouse with 1000 DPI is therefore well suited for everyday office work or administrative tasks. Higher demands, on the other hand, arise in the gaming scene and graphics sector. In these fields, more DPI are definitely advisable. A value of over 2000 DPI is appropriate and generally recommended here.

Cable vs. wireless – pros and cons of the mouse

When buying a mouse, it is often not clear which would be more suitable: a wired computer mouse or a wireless one? Both options have their advantages and disadvantages. These are listed below.

Advantages and disadvantages of wired mice

The connection to the PC with a cable usually enables a much faster transmission. Speed and reliable transmission play an important role, especially in gaming. Those who depend on fast reactions therefore tend to benefit from a wired computer mouse.

Precision and reliability also matter when it comes to weight. A mouse with a cable is usually lighter than a wireless mouse. This again has a positive effect on the gaming experience. At the same time, this factor is relevant when working with graphics. Here, accuracy is often a decisive criterion. That’s where a wired mouse is preferred.

Last but not least, the wired mouse does not need batteries to function. This is often more eco-friendly. At the same time, however, the cable can be annoying on the desk.

Advantages and disadvantages of wireless mice

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A wireless mouse has several advantages – for example: it keeps your desk organised.

First and foremost, a wireless mouse is characterised by not having an annoying cable. It therefore prevents additional cable clutter on or under the desk. The advantage of a wireless mouse is that it makes the desk look neater, more organised, and tidier.

Another positive effect is that the mouse can also be used comfortably over longer distances via wireless technology. This allows more flexibility in general.

But the wireless mouse does not perform well in all regards either: it needs extra batteries or rechargeable batteries. Accordingly, a wireless mouse of this kind needs to be recharged regularly. Once the battery is empty, you can no longer use the mouse to work on your PC. This is a disadvantage, especially in the office or in everyday working life.

At the same time, it can be problematic due to ergonomic reasons (e.g., left-handed, and right-handed people, different hand sizes) as soon as several people want to use the wireless mouse. There are also technical aspects that play a role as e.g., baby phones or other wireless mice nearby could interfere with its function.

Conclusion – the purchase of a mouse

When buying a mouse, you need to take various aspects into account. Ergonomics and technical features are important criteria. Dots per inch (DPI) are particularly important for gaming or when working with graphics. In addition, comfortable handling, a suitable type of connection (cable or wireless) and the number of mouse buttons are important. Basically, wired mice offer just as many advantages and disadvantages as wireless mice. When choosing between wireless and cable, the individual requirements, and the question of what the mouse is needed for are therefore decisive.

The post "Mouse for office work – what to pay attention to before the purchase" written by:

Sophie Voigtländer

Expertin für Bürogestaltung und Ergonomie

Sophie joined deskonia at the beginning of 2021. Since then, she is mainly responsible for translating all kinds of texts into English.

She studied International Communication and Translation.

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