Wired vs. Wireless Mice

Choose the best mouse for your needs

Wireless mice and wired mice are familiar input devices for users. We explored the advantages and disadvantages of both so you can make the best computer mouse decision for your needs.

Wired vs. Wireless mice

Overall Findings

Wireless Mice
  • Not as fast as wired.

  • Susceptible to interference.

  • More expensive than wired.

  • Need batteries.

  • More convenient.

  • More versatile.

Wired Mice
  • Faster than wireless.

  • Not susceptible to interference.

  • Less expensive than wireless.

  • Don't need batteries.

  • Preferred by gamers.

  • Don't travel well.

When deciding whether to buy a wired or wireless mouse, consider what you'll do with your computer as well as your personal preferences. If you're a gamer, for example, you may prefer a wired gaming mouse with dedicated gaming features. If you want speed and accuracy, you may prefer a wired mouse. If you value convenience, versatility, and aesthetics, you may prefer a wireless mouse. If you travel and swap devices, opt for a cordless mouse.

Both types of computer mice usually support the same features, but some core differences set these devices apart.

Speed and Reliability: Wired Mice Have the Edge

Wireless Mice
  • A bit slower than wired mice.

  • Could be affected by interference.

  • Gamers or precision users may notice a lag.

Wired Mice
  • Generally faster than wireless mice.

  • Interference isn't an issue.

  • Gamers and precision users may prefer consistency.

Wireless devices are, by default, slower than wired devices since these devices transmit information wirelessly. This lag is especially important for gamers. A gamer might choose a wired gaming mouse over a cordless mouse because wired devices don't present as many delays as wireless ones. That's important when precision is key.

Plus, nearby interference can make wireless mouse movements choppy or disable the mouse until it's corrected. However, interference with wireless mice isn't a problem for most people as long as there aren't obstructions between the mouse and its receiver.

Price: The Differences Are Not as Dramatic These Days

Wireless Mice
  • More expensive.

  • The price gap has narrowed somewhat.

  • A variation in prices.

Wired Mice
  • Less expensive.

  • The price gap has narrowed somewhat.

  • A variation in prices.

In years past, wireless mice were more expensive than wired mice. However, the price gap has narrowed as the price of wireless mice has plummetted. Still, if the cost is a consideration, wired mice are generally less expensive than wireless mice.

Convenience: Wireless Mice Win This One

Wireless Mice
  • No cables.

  • Ideal for traveling.

  • Use it away from the receiving device.

  • Use it with other devices, such as a tablet.

  • Needs batteries.

  • The receiver can be lost.

Wired Mice
  • Tethered to the computer.

  • Only works if you're in reach.

  • Can only use it with any device that has a USB port.

  • Don't need batteries; the computer is the power source.

  • Don't need a receiver.

A wireless mouse is more convenient than a wired mouse. With a small and portable wireless mouse, there are no cables that get tangled up in your bag or drag things around your desk. This makes wireless mice good for traveling.

As with all wireless devices, you can use a wireless mouse away from the receiving device, even from across the room. A wired mouse is tethered to the computer and only works if you're within reach.

If you use a TV as a monitor, use a wireless mouse and control it from the couch. If your tablet doesn't have a USB port, use a wireless mouse as an input device. If your computer sits too far from the keyboard and mouse area, such as under a desk and against the wall, a cordless mouse is an ideal solution.

Wired mice don't need batteries because the computer is the power source. Some wireless mouse manufacturers circumvent this issue by using a docking station. Still, that takes up desk space.

Some people might turn down a wireless mouse in favor of a wired one because they don't want to lose the receiver and be left with a non-working mouse. However, some wireless mice have placeholders on the device to hold the receiver and prevent it from being lost.

Versatility and Aesthetics: Wireless Wins

Wireless Mice
  • The receiver can be lost.

  • Can pair several devices to the same USB receiver in some models.

  • Unplug and move between computers easily.

  • Appeal to the minimalist's aesthetic.

Wired Mice
  • Don't need a receiver.

  • Not easy to unplug and unravel to move.

  • Wires can look messy and become tangled.

Proponents of wireless mice cite their versatility. For example, mice with the Logitech unifying technology have a receiver that can be paired with multiple devices. This means you need to purchase Logitech devices for all your peripheral needs. Still, it's something to consider if you're tired of swapping receivers.

Move a wireless mouse between computers easily if you need to use the same mouse on your laptop and your desktop. Wired mice aren't as easy to unplug and unravel to move.

While this shouldn't be your only reason to get a wireless mouse, a wireless keyboard and mouse combo on a minimalist desk looks better than having wires and cords everywhere.

Final Verdict

If you're looking for a mouse to travel with you and you value versatility and convenience, choose a wireless mouse. If you want an inexpensive, fast, and reliable mouse, and you don't intend to move it around, a wired mouse might be the best choice.

Choosing a wired or wireless mouse is the first step. There are many subsets of mice to choose from, such as optical and laser mice, gaming mice, and travel mice.

  • How do I connect a wireless mouse?

    To connect a wireless mouse in Windows, go to Settings > Devices > Bluetooth & other devices > Add Bluetooth or other device. On a Mac, put your wireless mouse into pairing mode, then go to Apple icon > System Preferences > Bluetooth.

  • Why is my mouse not working?

    If your mouse won't work, it could be due to irreparable hardware damage, loss of power or connection, interference between the mouse and the work surface, outdated software, or operating system glitches or misconfigurations.

  • How do I connect a wired mouse to my iPhone or iPad?

    You can use a mouse with your iPad or iPhone by connecting it to your device's charging port via a USB-C cable. If the mouse doesn't support USB-C, you'll need an adapter.

  • Can I turn a wired mouse into a wireless mouse?

    Technically, yes. However, the cost of installing a separate battery and Bluetooth adapter may exceed the cost of buying a new wireless mouse.

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