When putting together a gaming setup, a mouse pad is often just an afterthought – and that’s a shame because a gaming mouse pad that doesn’t suit your play style can hurt your aim.

Some mousing surfaces are hard with very little resistance, making movements feel like they’ve been speeded up while others are soft, making it easier for beginners to slow the mouse and switch between targets.

But using the wrong pad type for your style might hinder your aim more than it could help it.

Do Gaming Mouse Pads Improve Aim?

A gamer using a gaming mouse pad

Yes, choosing a gaming mouse pad that suits your play style will improve your aim.

The fabrics used to make these mouse pads have high thread counts which allow your hand to glide the mouse smoothly along the surface.

They are designed for gaming and their surfaces are non-reflective, have a consistent texture, and provide more precise hand movements when used with an optical mouse.

Good gaming mouse pads like the best ones from Odin, Corsair, Razer, and SteelSeries also offer an ideal amount of surface tension and are less prone to wrinkles, blemishes, and other imperfections that can affect aim.

The right amount of surface tension when trying to aim precisely with a mouse is incredibly important and must suit your experience and play style.

Your mouse should be able to run smoothly over the surface of the pad, offering just enough friction to allow you to maintain complete control over your hand movements.

If you are a low to medium sensitivity player, you could end up having a nightmare with a hard, super-fast pad surface, while a slower soft mouse pad would probably improve your aim.

If you are going to take gaming seriously and try to compete on a semi-pro or pro level, a great mouse pad will give you that MS edge that could make all the difference when the competition is fierce.

How Do Gaming Mouse Pads Improve Aim?

A gaming mouse pad can improve your aim and help to build muscle memory by providing the right amount of friction and consistency of movement for your play style.

They Provide The Right Amount Of Friction

Today’s laser gaming mice are far more accurate and reliable than the “old-school” gaming mice that were less precise at tracking.

But while the optical laser itself isn’t going to get “gummed up” by friction the way that roller balls would have, the other physical components of the mouse that come in contact with your desk might.

Too much or too little friction is going to slow down your response time or cause you to overshoot your targets.

The sensitivity of a gaming mouse laser is very high and moving it across a surface that’s not tailor-made will cause it to jump around.

Gaming mouse pads have a very high thread count allowing for extremely precise hand movements and a smoother glide.

And in the world of competitive shooters and other online games even just a fraction of a second can make a world of difference.

Combine that with the fact that friction wears gaming mouse hardware down faster and it’s not hard to see why so many invest in quality mouse pads these days.

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They Provide Better Consistency Of Movement To Build Muscle Memory

Building muscle memory is essential if you want to improve your aim.

You build muscle memory through the repetition of movements.

But not only do you have to practice the same hand movements over and over again, but those movements also need to feel the same every time you perform them.

A good gaming mouse pad provides a consistent surface texture allowing the precision and consistency needed so you can build strong muscle memory.

Sure, optical laser technology can bounce off of pretty much any surface imaginable and allow your mouse to function.

But when it has a consistent, even surface to work with (like a specialized gaming mouse pad, for example) movements are a lot easier to control and a lot more reliable.

A good mousing surface will improve performance just by offering a stable, consistent, reliable surface to make your movements in-game as precise as possible.

Superior Tracking

Another big piece of the puzzle that makes these mouse pads so attractive is their ability to improve overall tracking.

Gaming pads are made to be larger and larger pads do a better job of this by giving your mouse plenty of room to run (so to speak).

Combine that with dialed-in sensitivity levels and DPI settings and you are going to be able to aim much more consistently.

When you reliably know that your mouse is going to track from one spot on your pad to the next without overrunning or skipping a beat you’ll be a lot more confident in your online environment.

Gamers benefit big time from quality mousepads (especially thick, oversized mousepads made from high-quality materials).

Is A Gaming Mouse Pad Worth It?

A gaming mouse pad is worth it if you want to improve your aim and overall game.

Upgrading to this type of mouse pad is a reasonably small investment that has the potential to significantly improve your aim.

Good mouse pads will not move around on your desk and tend to be softer, so when you’re gaming for long hours, that added comfort will allow your wrist to keep going.

There are so many mouse surfaces available now that it doesn’t matter how fast or slow your play style is, there will be a surface out there to perfectly enhance your hand movements.

There are even mouse pads made of hybrid textures that can combine the best features of both cloth and hard surfaces.

Does The Size Of My Gaming Mouse Pad Matter?

The size of your mouse pad will be one of the most important things to consider when it comes to choosing the right one for your setup.

Gaming mousepads come in many different sizes.

Some are wide and square, some are thin and rectangle and some are three or four times larger than others.

You need to measure out the space on your desk that your hand uses when you are gaming and your mouse pad is gonna need to be big enough to cover all of that space and more.

You won’t want your mouse to be running off the edge of the pad just as you’re about to lineup a match-winning headshot.

You might also want to position the pad so that it hangs over the bottom edge of your desk.

This way you’ll have a smooth surface running off the bottom of your desk and you won’t constantly feel the bottom edge of your pad running beneath your mouse.

Does The Surface Of My Gaming Mouse Pad Matter?

What the surface of your mouse pad is made of matters a great deal.

If you are a very fast player then cloth or soft surface might provide too much friction.

And if you’re a beginner or a low sensitivity player, might find a hard mouse pad far too fast.

Cloth Pads

Cloth mouse pads, like the SteelSeries QcK, are a favorite of pro gamers and have been used to win more competitions than any other mouse pad.

Cloth mouse pads usually have a medium glide that allows your hand to come to a stop fast while quickly and precisely switching between targets.

Hard Pads

Hard mousepads are for gamers who want to play with speed.

Because the surface of the pad is rigid and often rough and bumpy, less friction is offered by the material and the mouse feels a lot faster.

Unless you have outstanding control over the finer movements of your hands, hard mouse pads can make it difficult to stop on a target or to quickly and precisely switch between targets.

Is A Hard Or Cloth Mouse Pad Better For Aiming?

If you are an experienced high-sensitivity gamer and have insanely precise control over the micro-movements of your hands, then a hard mouse pad will probably improve your aim and overall game.

If you are just starting out or a low to medium sensitivity player who relies on a little more drag to be able to aim and switch between targets precisely, then a soft or cloth pad will be better for your aim.

Hard Gaming Mouse Pads

Hard pads have way less surface friction than cloth pads making them glide much more freely along the surface of the pad.

This will make you faster and more precise if you have an extreme level of control over the finer movements of your hands, wrists, and arms.

Hard pads are also a little more consistent because your mouse does not dig into the fabric as much.

This creates less unexpected friction and provides a more consistently smooth feel to your movements.

On cloth pads, friction can be a little unpredictable depending on the surface fabric and movement you’re carrying out.

Cloth Gaming Mouse Pads

First of all, cloth pads are not all slow.

Different soft pads can be made from very different texture types and weave patterns making some cloth pads almost as fast as hard pads.

However, cloth mousepads are usually more beginner-friendly and best suited to low or medium-sensitivity players.

They’re also cheaper and can usually be bought in larger sizes compared to hard pads.

If you’re going to be gaming for long hours, soft pads are usually a lot more comfortable on the forearm.

Cloth pads are also less prone to build-ups of moisture and won’t need to be wiped down every few minutes while you are gaming.

Does The Edge Of A Gaming Mouse Pad Matter?

The design of the edge of the gaming mouse pad you plan on buying is important and something that most first-time buyers completely fail to consider.

Think about it, your forearm is going to be resting over the edge of that pad for hours on end.

If it’s hard, bumpy, and digging into your arm a bit, it’s going to get uncomfortable fast and that’s not going to do your aim any favors.

You can buy mouse pads with edges you can’t feel, with small edges you can feel, and with thick stitching on the edges that may feel uncomfortable against your forearm as soon as you rest it there.

Head to your local computer store and try a few different edge types out before you commit to purchasing one.

A Mouse Pad Will Protect Your Mouse And Furniture

Lastly, the mouse pad’s surface will help to protect the underneath of your mouse where components like rubber feet will quickly start to wear.

Unless your table has several thick layers of lacquer on it, the constant movement of the mouse will also wear the paint off it.


While a mouse pad isn’t going to be the number one piece of equipment to invest in that will raise your overall game, they do make a difference and can definitely give you an edge on the competition.

Sure, the mouse a gamer chooses (and the computer that the mouse is connected to) has a bigger impact on your skill level.

But without a quality mouse pad, overall performance is going to suffer.

Depending on the pad surface you were working with before a gaming mouse pad upgrade, improvements to your aim may or may not be super noticeable.

You should feel the right amount of friction, allowing your mouse (and aim) to glide rather than jump and stutter towards a target.

This is huge in FPS games where subtle movements can change aim points completely.

Being able to quickly pivot, stop on a dime, and deliver hits on a target – and then pivot again – is made a lot easier with a quality mouse pad.

Combine all of that with superior tracking, improved longevity for the gaming mouse you’re using, and more reliability from the optical sensor (at any setting), and investing in a gaming pad becomes a bit of a no-brainer.