Optical Vs. Laser Mouse – Which One Is Better For Gaming

Using the right mouse will help you to avoid straining your wrists, especially if you enjoy long hours of hardcore gaming.

Optical Vs. Laser Mouse – Which One Is Better For Gaming

The days of the original mechanical trackball computer mouse are long gone.

Nowadays, gamers must choose between optical & laser mouse technology.

Using the right mouse will help you to avoid straining your wrists, especially if you enjoy long hours of hardcore gaming.

Choosing the right mouse for you will ultimately be determined by which of these two design options can adequately meet your needs.

So, the question on your mind right now should be: What are the differences between a laser-based mouse, and one with an optical sensor?

Let’s take a closer look!

Also read: Headphones Or Headsets- Which Is Better For Gaming?

How Optical and Laser Mouse Work

Guess what? Both mice are optical.

The laser and optical mice are basically cameras that feature a CMOS sensor that constantly takes pictures of the surface beneath and converts them into data for monitoring the real-time location of the peripheral unit.

It determines the speed and extent of movement by capturing thousands of digital photos per second.

One major difference is the way they illuminate surfaces.

For instance, the optical mouse utilizes a LED light whereas its laser counterpart operates just as the name implies – with a laser.

Sensitivity Levels

A mouse’s degree of sensitivity is calculated in DPI (Dots per Inch).

The DPI used to be a big deal in the past when the DPI difference between laser and optical mice was more important.

These days, however, even a low-budget gaming mouse could have up to a thousand DPIs or more.

Yet another reason for the DPI ratings not being relevant anymore is the recent technological advancements made with the CMOS sensor components which have now become so advanced that even a regular three-digit DPI mouse can achieve excellent precision.


Here is yet another important mouse feature to consider.

The mouse must be able to accurately analyze the surface underneath, and we have reached the point where the differences between both mice options start becoming more obvious.

Lasers are accurate. Almost too accurate. Unlike their LED counterpart, which can’t penetrate the surface underneath; a laser, on the other hand, can.

This characteristic makes it easier for a laser mouse to analyze data in greater detail.

This could also turn out to be a kind of double-edged sword since it can result in laser mice over-analyzing surfaces while moving slowly and also leading to unnecessary jitter.

Still, a laser mouse will work on just about any surface, while its optical kin cannot.

An optical mouse, on the other hand, makes use of light for illumination; therefore, if you wish for accurate results, it must not be placed on a reflective surface.

If you place it on top of an overly glossy surface or something that is likely to reflect light, you will end up getting inaccurate results and an unusable performance.



The price difference is another aspect that was much more relevant in previous years.

Optical mice used to be the low-budget gaming solution while laser mice were for high-end CPUs.

Today, the price gap no longer exists.

You can quickly get both the laser and optical mice for prices ranging between a few dollars to several hundred.

The more expensive mice are likely to be somewhat more advanced and equipped with extra buttons, lighting, and aesthetic design.

Bear in mind that a higher price tag does not necessarily translate to better performance.

If you wish to get the best all-around experience, we recommend that you opt for those within the 30-90 USD price range.

Anything below that price and you risk ending up with an inferior-quality mouse with poor performance and design.

And anything costlier might just be a marketing device.

Which Mouse is Better for Gaming?

After all, ’s been said and done, we have to recommend the optical mouse as the preferred choice for gaming.

It has better reliability and responsiveness than its laser rival, which is an essential gaming element.

The only downside with the optical mouse is the fact that you will require a mouse pad for ensuring that your optical gadget works optimally, even though this is hardly an issue unless you like moving around a lot.

This leads us to yet another noteworthy, advantage of laser mice: they can operate on nearly all surfaces – glass included.

This characteristic effectively makes them an improved portable component, even though they sometimes tend to over-analyze mouse gestures, especially the slower ones, hence they are not very ideal for gaming.

Furthermore, a laser mouse is best suited for when you’re in the living room, a hotel room, lounging on your couch, at a board meeting, etc.

Its performance may be irregular due to the uneven surface underneath, but the laser mouse undoubtedly offers more surface options.

A Laser-based mouse is most useful for when there’s no furniture and you have to turn your leg into a tracking surface, or situations where there are only glossy surfaces around you – which the LED-based mouse cannot tolerate.

As a result, most high-end mouse make use of versatile laser technology.

READ ALSO: PC Gaming Vs. Console Gaming – Which One Is Better

In Summary

Even though the integrated technology in laser and optical mice differs, the average user might not observe a huge difference between the two devices.

Price was a major factor when it came down to choosing between the optical or laser mouse, but the price difference has since lessened. Other factors that may influence your choice include specific situations or software that requires certain features.