Types of Ergonomic Mouse

Written by Jin May Soo

Overview

  • Different types of Ergonomic Mouse in the market

  • Pros versus the cons of each mouse

  • Best selling ergonomic mouse for each category

 


Why invest in an ergonomic mouse? Amongst the many upgrades to achieve the ideal ergonomic workplace, the mouse is often the smallest and easiest to overlook. But did you know an ergonomic mouse can save you a possible lifetime of discomfort

In light of the Repetitive Strain Injury and Mouse Arm Syndrome that affects most office workers, many tech companies have developed a wide range of ergonomic mice with varied designs and distinctive benefits for mousing comfort. There are so many options in the market right now that choosing the right mouse can be a bit overwhelming especially if you are new to ergonomic mice. 

However, bringing home the perfect mouse does not have to be a dreadful process! Today, we are going to dive a little deeper into the types of ergonomic mice and bring you up to speed with all the information you need to know before buying one.


Ergonomic Horizontal Mouse


The ergonomic horizontal mouse is a terribly difficult mouse to differentiate as most of them look like their ancestors. It is also the most popular and preferred mouse by far, mainly due to the familiarity of the design. Besides its ergonomically contoured dome shape to fit the palm for comfort, these ergonomic mice will feel and perform similar to your standard mouse. 

Pros vs. Cons


With almost no adjustment period, it is hence arguably still the best option in terms of productivity. However, those who are already dealing with pain or discomfort in the hands and wrists brought about by long hours of mousing work will not at all find any improvement or relief in their pain.

The choice to use or not to use the ergonomic horizontal mouse then boils down to the criteria that one prioritizes more on - health or productivity? 

Don’t be mistaken, we are not saying the ergonomic horizontal mouse is not worthy of your attention. The ergonomic horizontal mouse is nevertheless a step up in terms of comfort thus, boosting productivity and is more preferable in comparison to standard mice. 

Summary

Benefits

Drawbacks

  • Boost comfort & productivity 

  • Does not relieve existing pain

  • Almost no adjustment period



Top Picks

Our Winner


The Runner Up



Ergonomic Vertical Mouse


Don’t let these spaceship-looking vertical mice scare you off. They may look quite different from the ordinary mouse but they are one of the coolest looking ergonomic mice out there!

This revolutionary vertical mouse invented by Jack Lo in 1994 when he was dissatisfied with the discomfort he experienced while using the traditional mouse, is basically the horizontal mouse rotated at 45 to 90 degrees. 

Its buttons are located at its side, where they are accessible with the same finger motions that you would make using the traditional mouse. It is inspired by the “handshake” position that keeps your arm at its natural, vertical state; hence, its name.  

Pros vs. Cons


Getting your forearms to navigate the mouse, rather than twisting your wrists to grip and move the mouse, removes the discomfort that you faced while using the conventional mouse. Even so, the ergonomic vertical mouse still comes in second to its horizontal sibling as it requires a significant adjustment period. 

According to PCMag, the shape of the ergonomic vertical mouse moves your hand higher up the mouse’s body and therefore, further away from the mouse sensor. This alters the correlation between how you move your hand and how the cursor responds in return. As a result, your accuracy and productivity will be crippled to a certain extent. 

This may go away with time once muscle memory is built with practice, but the process requires dedication and lots of patience. Furthermore, such optimization of the mouse makes the vertical mouse left or right-hand specific, which makes the switch of tired hands out of the question. 

Summary

Benefits

Drawbacks

  • Keeps arm at its natural, relaxed state

  • Requires a significant adjustment period

  • Removes discomfort faced with a regular mouse

  • Impeded accuracy and productivity 


  • Not ambidextrous


Top Picks

Our Winner

Logitech Mouse - MX Vertical Advanced Ergo Mouse

The Runner Up

Anker Mouse - 2.4G Wireless Vertical Ergonomic Mouse



Trackball Mouse



Trackball mice come in types of designs. The thumb-operated trackball mouse looks like their horizontal mouse siblings with a sphere ball at the side. Whereas the sphere ball for the finger-operated trackball mouse is in the middle. Its left and right buttons are often positioned close by or surrounding the ball itself.

Pros vs. Cons



Invented to reduce arm movement, the trackball mice is navigated by rotating the sphere ball with your thumb or fingers while remaining motionless. It does not require the gripping motion that hurts the arm accompanied by other mice. 

The beauty of the trackball mice is the ability to move the mouse without actually moving at all. From the spot, that is. Its unique manoeuvring feature does not constrict its range of motion to the size of the surface and is great for constricted space.



Additionally, the ambidextrous design of the finger-operated trackball mouse comes with flexibility. Not only can you choose which hand to control the mouse, but you can also rotate the sphere ball with your fingers or palm.

The downside to these mice is most probably its precision. As the trackball’s mouse cursor is controlled very differently than other mice, proficiency at accuracy is one of the common obstacles faced by new users. 

Summary

Benefits

Drawbacks

  • Reduce arm movement and risk of Repetitive Strain Injury

  • Proficiency at accuracy is not easily achieved

  • Wide range of mouse navigation


  • Great for constricted space


  • Finger-operated trackball is ambidextrous



Top Picks

Our Winner

Logitech Mouse - M570 Wireless Trackball Mouse

The Runner Up

Kensington Mouse - Orbit Trackball Mouse With Scroll Ring


Pen Mouse



Not to be confused with the stylus used on the touchscreen, the pen mouse is just a regular mouse in the shape of a pen. It does not offer the same pixel-to-pixel precision, haptic feedback or pressure sensitivity as a stylus. 

There are two kinds of pen mouse styles in the market. The first one looks like a dip pen left in the ink bottle to which you grip like a pen and drag its whole body across the surface to navigate. While the second one looks like a big stationary blade with a laser pointer where you hover over the surface as you would with a stylus. 

Pros vs. Cons



The pen mouse keeps your wrist resting on its side during usage with little forearm pronation, mainly focusing on the fingers and arm muscles to navigate the mouse - similarly to how one writes or draws with a real pen. As the wrist is often at its natural angle, there is less pressure on the tendon compared to when manoeuvring the horizontal mouse. 

PCMag did raise a concern that curling your fingers around the pen mouse for long hours a day over a period of time may seem like a recipe for repetitive strain injury, especially in the thumb, forefinger and middle finger. 

That being said, the grip strength required to hold the pen mouse pales in comparison to that of a standard mouse. Moreover, as the pen mouse resembles the manipulation of a pen, one can alternate between gripping styles to prevent overexertion of the same muscles.



The problem with the pen mouse stems from its clumsy control due to its awkward button placements and thick, chunky body (for some designs). Additionally, there is a tricky learning curve accompanying the pen mouse. For instance, keeping the pen mouse steady while performing the left or right-click is a real struggle for many.

Perhaps a seasoned stylus user may be more adept at adapting to the pen mouse but it is likely you won’t be able to achieve the same level of productivity in comparison to a standard mouse in the short run. A point to consider if productivity is of concern.

On the bright side, the pen mouse is slim and light making portability a breeze! You can easily squeeze the pen mouse into any corner of your bag or simply toss it into your pencil box together with your other stationery.

Summary

Benefits

Drawbacks

  • Reduce wrists pronation and pressure on the tendon

  • Clumsy, awkward control

  • Alternate gripping styles to prevent overexertion of muscles

  • Tricky learning curve

  • Light and portable

  • Impeded productivity


Top Picks

Our Winner

Sadocom Mouse - Pen Mouse with Universal Adapter

The Runner Up

Penclic Mouse - Ambidextrous Mouse D3 Corded

Decisions, Decisions

So, there you have it. 

These are the different kinds of ergonomic mice available out there, it’s good and it’s bad together with their bestsellers. Hopefully, this will aid your decision making and ease your shopping experience now that you have an idea of the kind of ergonomic mouse you want and need.

We have also discussed the benefits and the drawbacks of going wired or wireless to which you may want to consider before buying a mouse. If you are looking for a keyboard to accompany your mouse but don’t know where to start, PCByte has got you covered with our guide on choosing the perfect keyboard