When you imagine a computer mouse, you probably think of the traditional flat mouse with two buttons and a scroll wheel. I’m willing to bet that as soon as I said “computer mouse,” the picture in your mind was as clear as if you were holding it.
I want you to throw that image out of your mind right now because we’re going to look at some mice that don’t fit that mold. What they do fit, though, is your hand, because these mice are all about ergonomics! If you spend hours a day working with a computer mouse, these will help you fight off those repetitive strain injuries and keep your hands and wrists healthy for years to come.
These mice look quite a bit different than wrist-killing horizontal mice. Don’t let that scare you off. They still move around like an ordinary mouse, but their shape is unique.
- Puts your arm into a more natural position than a normal mouse.
- Extra buttons are easily accessible thanks to different thumb position.
- Looks cool and different.
- Lets you use the stronger muscles in your hand to move the mouse.
- Requires an adjustment period.
- Different size constraints than a traditional mouse.
- May confuse others who use your computer.
- There are only a few models out there, not many high-performance gaming options.
Vertical Mice Options
- Anker Vertical Ergonomic Optical Mouse (Wired: $16.99/£9.99, Wireless: $19.99/£14.99) — In the budget vertical mouse space, this is the one to get. At $16.99 for the wired version and $19.99 for the wireless version, it’s very reasonably priced. It’s a bit smaller than some of the other options out there, which makes it less than optimal for those with large hands. If your hands are average or below average, though, it’ll work well.
- J-Tech Ergonomic Vertical Mouse (Wired: $19.99/£16.99, Wireless: $22.99/£18.99) — With the J-Tech mouse you get a bit of extra support and grip. It has a removable palm rest that adds a bit to the comfort but takes away from mobility when it’s attached. Like the Anker, it’s available in both wired and wireless models, depending on your needs.
There are quite a few more expensive models out there, but the issue with them is that they just don’t add enough to justify the cost. With more traditional mice, you get greater performance and speed, but with these, the differences tend to be a bit more superfluous. Based on the reviews, you’ll get the comfort and ergonomics you need from the two models above, and they won’t set you back too much. It makes it easy to take the risk and try out this new style without too much risk.
Based on the reviews, you’ll get the comfort and ergonomics you need from the two models above, and they won’t set you back too much. It makes it easy to take the risk and try out this new style without too much risk.
A trackball mouse allows your hand to rest in a more natural position on the mouse, and they require a bit less effort, as you don’t need to move it around. For wrist issues, these can be a huge help.
- Places your hand and wrist in a more natural position.
- Allows you to cover an infinite range as the mouse itself isn’t moving.
- Can be used on uneven surfaces where you can’t smoothly move a mouse.
- Available in both finger and thumb options depending on preferences.
- Requires a good bit of adjustment if you’re used to a traditional mouse.
- Hard to use for gaming.
- Larger than traditional mice, which could be problematic for users with small hands.
- Far fewer options to choose from.
When it comes to keeping your hands and wrists in tip-top shape, a trackball is a great way to go — but it comes with some pretty severe limitations. The most problematic is the sharp learning curve. In my experience, I just couldn’t get comfortable with one even after weeks of use. Your experience may differ, but it’s something to keep in mind.
Trackball Mice Options
- Logitech M570 ($33.99/£59.99) — As in seemingly every category, a Logitech model makes the cut. It has all the essential features and a reasonable price tag. A quick look at the Amazon reviews, and you’ll see quite a few buyers talking about improvement to their wrist and hand pain after making the switch.
- Kensington Orbit ($30.59/£24.99) — This Kensington mouse opts for a trackball in the middle instead of on the side. It uses a ring instead of a traditional wheel for scrolling, and while it looks quite different, if the reviews are any indication, it’s a solid mouse that helps deal with pain.
Tweaked Traditional Mice
- Aside from minor shape differences, it looks and feels like a regular mouse.
- Should have almost no learning curve.
- Many models to choose from.
- Easy for others using your PC to use.
- Not as ergonomic as trackballs and vertical mice.
- Good ones tend to be somewhat costly.
Tweaked Traditional Mice Options
- Logitech MX Master Wireless Mouse ($59.99/£47.99) — When it comes to ergonomic mice, this is the king. Just type ergonomic mouse into Google, and you’ll see this one near the top of every list. It has a bit of tilt to the design, but not as extreme as the vertical mice above. It has an absurd amount of features, and it’s not crazy expensive. If you want a mouse that straddles the line between traditional and ergonomic, this is the best choice.
- Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Mouse ($34.31/£36.49) — The mouse, while small, is taller than your standard mouse. It’s also angled to place less stress on your wrist. As a bonus, it’s cheap!
Obviously, with these mice, you’ll have almost no adjustment period. Other than minor shape differences, these feel and perform like the one you’re using now. The issue there comes from the fact that you might spend the money and find that there’s no improvement in your pain. Still, the two models we outline above aren’t too expensive, so they could be worth a shot before you jump to one of the more unconventional mice.
Stop Suffering Now!
Repetitive strain injury is a genuine threat to anyone who uses a computer all the time. It doesn’t matter if you think you’re tougher than average — the human body just isn’t made to sit in one position for hours on end. Changing your mouse can be a great way to take some of that strain off and stop the pain.
Of course, we’re not doctors, and you should see yours if you’re experiencing acute pain. A mouse might help, but your doctor can tell you if you’re just dealing with a bit of soreness or a serious injury that might require surgery!
Do you use an ergonomic mouse? What style and model do you prefer? Share with us in the comments!
Image Credits: Chompoo Suriyo/Shutterstock