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The best mouse for photo and video editing in 2021: boost control & comfort

The best mouse for video editing and best mouse for photo editing
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Choosing the best mouse for you can be a tricky business. There's no shortage of options out there, from budget mice that'll get the job done, right up to exotic highly-sculpted offerings bristling with buttons and ultra-high pointer tracking precision. But if you're big on photo and video editing, it makes sense to invest in the best mouse you can afford - after all, you'll be using it every time you fire up your computer, and often for lengthy amounts of time.

With this in mind, we'd recommend prioritizing ergonomics first. A mouse that fits well in the hand and promotes good wrist and arm posture could well make the difference between years of comfortable image editing versus the onset of aches and pains caused by a more basic mouse without an ergonomic design.

• See also Best drawing tablets for photo editing

Secondly, you'll want plenty of control. The more buttons there is on a mouse, the more you can assign frequently used commands and shortcuts to specific mouse controls, thereby avoiding the need to waste precious time navigating through menus or executing keyboard shortcuts.

These days even entry-level mice are often wireless and offer very reliable pointer tracking. You also needn't worry about replacing batteries every five minutes, as most wireless mice can last many months and even years on one or two AA batteries.

• See also Best keyboard for video editing

Pointer precision is also worth considering, but it needn't be a deal-breaker. Measured in dpi (dots-per-inch), it's of paramount concern for gamers needing pixel-perfect precision when sniping enemies, but generally even a modest mouse from a reputable brand will easily have good enough pointer precision for image editing.

Whether you use the best student laptops or the best desktop computer for photo editing, here's our roundup of top contenders for the best mouse for video editing (or best mouse for photo editing)...

• See also Luminar AI review

Best mouse for photo and video editing in 2021

(Image credit: Logitech)

1. Logitech MX Master 3

Simply the best mouse for photo editing

Specifications
Buttons: 7
Sensor precision: 4000dpi
Connection: Wireless (Bluetooth & 2.4GHz)
Ergonomic: Right-handed
Features: Easy switch to connect to different devices, USB-C quick charging, gesture button
Reasons to buy
+Super high quality+Packed with features and controls+Very ergonomic
Reasons to avoid
-Right-handed use only-Pricey

The MX Master is the flagship of Logitech's office mouse range, and it's easy to see why. The sculpted highly ergonomic shape fits beautifully in the hand (the right hand only - sorry lefties!) with an extended thumb rest for added comfort. Controls are also extensive and very versatile, with twin thumb buttons placed directly beneath a secondary thumb-operated scroll wheel. The primary scroll wheel uses Logitech's clever MagSpeed Electromagnetic scrolling to provide precision when rotated slowly, or hyper-fast scrolling when flicked at speed. The wheel's milled steel construction and silent operation further enhance this mouse's premium feel. Preset shortcuts for the supplementary mouse buttons are available for Photoshop, Premiere, and other popular programs, plus there's even gesture control. A 4000DPI laser sensor gives supreme pointer precision, while wireless battery life is up to 70 days. All-in-all, this is simply the best mouse you can buy for image and video editing.

How to edit videos: video editing tips

(Image credit: Apple)

2. Apple Magic Mouse 2

The best mouse for MacBooks

Specifications
Buttons: 1
Sensor precision: 1300dpi
Connection: Wireless (Bluetooth)
Ergonomic: Right or left-handed
Features: Gesture control, slim profile, rechargeable
Reasons to buy
+Multi-touch gesture control+Bluetooth & rechargeable+Very travel-friendly
Reasons to avoid
-Awful ergonomics-Only one physical button

Okay, so having banged on about how good ergonomics are a must for a photo/video editing mouse, here's the complete opposite: Apple's Magic Mouse 2. It's low, sleek shape makes zero attempt to be comfortable in the hand, but on the up side, it will slide into a laptop bag much more easily than a chunkier rodent, and it's suitable for right or left-handed use. What's more, most travel-friendly laptop mice are usually so small that they're far from comfortable. Where the Magic Mouse 2 scores highly is its features. It's smooth top surface acts like a second trackpad for your MacBook, as it's able to recognize multi-touch gestures for horizontal or vertical scrolling and other Mac OS gesture shortcuts. Factor the wireless Bluetooth connectivity and built in Li-ion rechargeable battery and the Magic Mouse 2 is a joy to use on the go.

(Image credit: Logitech)

3. Logitech G604

A gaming mouse that's also great for editing

Specifications
Buttons: 15
Sensor precision: 16000dpi
Connection: Wireless (Lightspeed & Bluetooth)
Ergonomic: Right-handed
Features: Dual mode hyper-fast scroll wheel, onboard memory, mechanical Button tensioning system
Reasons to buy
+Loaded with buttons+Extreme wireless and tracking performance+Built to last
Reasons to avoid
-Some specs overkill for non-gamers-Expensive

Logitech's G-series mice are designed for gaming, but where most gaming mice look frankly ridiculous, the G604 has much more subtle styling that makes it just as suitable for creatives as gamers. The advantage with picking a gaming mouse over a conventional rodent is they're built to withstand serious abuse, plus, in the case of the G604, you get more buttons than on a 1980's Hi-fi. There are 15 in total, with 6 operated by the thumb alone. That gives you scope to assign loads of Photoshop or Final Cut shortcuts to each button, so assuming you can then remember which does what, you can seriously speed up your workflow. The G604's 16,000 dpi tracking sensor is way more precise than you'd ever need for image editing, and the same goes for the 'Lightspeed' wireless connection with its 1ms response time. In this mode you get up to 240 hours of non-stop use, but Logitech also incorporates Bluetooth connectivity in the G604 for reduced power consumption, and in this mode you can expect up to 5.5 months of standard use.

(Image credit: Microsoft)

4. Microsoft Ergonomic Mouse

The best wired mouse; a great design that won't break the bank

Specifications
Buttons: 5
Sensor precision: 1000dpi
Connection: Wired, USB 2.0 Type-A
Ergonomic: Right-handed
Features: Ergonomic shape, metal scroll wheel
Reasons to buy
+Ergonomic shape+Reasonably priced
Reasons to avoid
-Not wireless

Image and video editing are time-consuming activities that rely heavily on mouse usage, so it makes a great deal of sense to ensure your new mouse is as ergonomic as possible to help prevent aches and pains. Thankfully, you don't need to spend big money to get such a basic requirement as comfort, as the Microsoft Ergonomic Mouse is exactly that: ergonomic. Sure, the design isn't quite as radical as you get with some premium mice, but then this is way less expensive. There's still a generous thumb rest though, above which is cited two thumb buttons for convenient shortcut accessibility. A metal scroll wheel adds a touch of class, while the 1000dpi tracking sensor is plenty precise enough for all but hardcore gaming. Drawbacks? This is a wired mouse, so it's best paired with a desktop computer where you're less likely to miss wireless freedom.

(Image credit: Logitech)

5. Logitech M185 Wireless Mouse

Best budget wireless mouse. And it's suitable for lefties

Specifications
Buttons: 3
Sensor precision: 1000dpi
Connection: Wireless (2.4GHz)
Ergonomic: Neutral
Features: Compact, ambidextrous design
Reasons to buy
+Low price+Wireless with long battery life+Compact, ambidextrous design
Reasons to avoid
-Only 3 buttons-Not particularly ergonomic

Image editing using a basic laptop trackpad isn't much fun, but if you're on a tight budget and just want a simple mouse to give you greater control, the M185 is unbeatable. It's also very travel-friendly at just 99 x 60 x 39mm, and is neutrally sculpted to fit in either hand. What's more, you don't even need to be burdened with a cable connection, as the M185 uses a 2.4GHz wireless link with a 10-metre range. The system is so power-efficient that a single AA battery is enough to run the mouse for around 12 months, and the USB wireless receiver is so small you barely notice it. The only downside to this mouse is its lack of thumb-operated buttons, limiting your options for defining custom mouse shortcuts in image editing software.

(Image credit: Anker)

6. Anker AK-UBA 2.4G Wireless Vertical Ergonomic Optical Mouse

A well priced, ultra-ergonomic option for extended editing sessions

Specifications
Buttons: 5
Sensor precision: 1600dpi
Connection: Wireless (2.4GHz)
Ergonomic: Right-handed
Features: Vertical design
Reasons to buy
+Extra-ergonomic design+Very well priced+Wireless
Reasons to avoid
-Vertical stance takes time to get used to-Questionable long-term reliability

Few people realize that resting your hand palm-down on a conventional mouse isn't all that ergonomic. It's actually preferable to have you hand rotated round to a handshake position, as it would be if you let it rest by your side. It's exactly this position that the strange looking Anker AK-UBA Vertical Ergonomic Optical Mouse encourages. Apart from this ultra-ergonomic stance, the mouse is pretty straight-forward, with a typical complement of thumb-operated shortcut buttons and a decent- in not spectacular - 1600dpi max tracking resolution. A 2.4GHz wireless link keeps things cable-free, and the mouse is powered by two AAA batteries. But best of all, you can have all this for a fraction of the cost of what a similar vertical mouse like Logitech's MX Vertical would set you back.

(Image credit: Contour Design)

7. Contour Unimouse Left Hand Wireless

The best left-handed mouse

Specifications
Buttons: 7
Sensor precision: 2400dpi
Connection: Wireless (2.4GHz)
Ergonomic: Right or left-handed
Features: Ergonomic left-handed shape, highly adjustable
Reasons to buy
+Ergonomic left-handed design+Wireless+Highly adjustable
Reasons to avoid
-Vertical orientation not for everyone

Often a 'left-handed' mouse just means a basic symmetrical shape that fits equally well in the left or right hand, with no asymmetrical protrusions. Fine, but that just means lefties lose out on the more sculpted, ergonomic shaping offered by more exotic right-handed mice.

This certainly isn't the case with Contour Design's Unimouse. While it's available in regular right-handed form, the Unimouse is also offered in a proper left-handed guise, retaining all the same ergonomic features as the right-hander, just mirrored. And this really is one seriously ergonomic offering. The mouse can tilt sideways between 35 and 70 degrees to pivot your wrist for optimal comfort, and then there's ATS: articulating thumb support. This enables the thumb rest to be tilted up, down, forwards, backwards, and even in and out relative to the rest of the mouse body. The idea is to minimise the amount of effort required to grip the mouse, and thereby reduce possible muscle strain. 6 programmable buttons ensure a decent level of settings control.

The Unimouse also nails the tech basics, with 2400dpi max pointer precision, 2.4GHz wireless connectivity, and a built-in rechargeable battery.

(Image credit: Logitech)

8. Logitech MX Ergo

The best trackball mouse for photo editing

Specifications
Buttons: 8
Sensor precision: 2048dpi
Connection: Wireless (Bluetooth & 2.4GHz)
Ergonomic: Right-handed
Features: Adjustable mouse angle, easy switch to connect to different devices
Reasons to buy
+Trackball design+Adjustable tilt angle+Built-in rechargeable Li-ion battery
Reasons to avoid
-Right-handers only-Pricey-Less advanced than MX Master 3

Trackball mice aren't for everyone, but they offer a level of pointer precision that some find unbeatable. Add the reduced muscular strain from not needing to move your wrist and lower arm, and trackballs can also be a blessing if you suffer from conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome. In fact, Logitech claims the MX Ergo can reduce muscle strain by as much as 20% when compared to using a regular mouse. Adding to the ergonomic feel is a hinged base plate that can tip the whole mouse over by any angle from 0 to 20 degrees so you can position your wrist at the perfect angle for maximum long-term comfort. The thumb-operated trackball uses a 380-dpi optical tracking sensor and is supplemented by 8 additional buttons that can be configured to operate numerous shortcuts. The built-in 500mAh Li-Po rechargeable battery is good for up to 4 months on a single charge, while the 2.4GHz wireless connection can be used over a range as long as 10 metres.

(Image credit: Logitech)

9. Logitech M330 Silent Plus

The best mouse for image editing on the go

Specifications
Buttons: 3
Sensor precision: 1000dpi
Connection: Wireless (2.4GHz)
Ergonomic: Right-handed
Features: Silent scroll wheel, quiet feet, 2-year battery life
Reasons to buy
+Silent click-feel scroll wheel+Compact+Wireless with long battery life
Reasons to avoid
-Not particularly ergonomic-Only 3 buttons

The main feature with this mouse is its silent scroll wheel, or rather, the fact that it's silent while still maintaining a click feel to its motion. Useful if you want to maintain a low profile on public transport. Maintaining the silent theme are special pads on the underside of the mouse for quieter mouse movement. The overall design is subtly sculpted for right-handers, and at 105.4 mm x 67.9 mm x 38.4 mm, this mouse is small enough for convenient travel while still being comfortable to hold. There's also no cable clutter, as the wireless connection is good for up to 10 metres range and you only need to change the single AA battery every two years. Factor the very reasonable price tag and the M330 Silent Plus is a good value option, especially if you need to work on the go.

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Ben Andrews

Ben is the Imaging labs manager, responsible for all of the testing on Digital Camera World and across the entire photography portfolio at Future. Whether he's in the lab testing the sharpness of new lenses, the resolution of the latest image sensor, the zoom range of monster bridge cameras or even the latest smartphones, Ben is our go-to guy for technical insight. He's also the team's man-at-arms when it comes to bags, filters and all manner of accessories – his lab is a bit like the Batcave of photography!