Soft vs hard mousepads for gaming

When considering gaming gear, the mousepad is often overlooked, but the choice between a hard or soft mousepad can provide some benefit to you depending on your preference and the type of games you choose to play.

Hard mousepads offer less friction and a smooth level surface for your mouse to glide across — favouring quick and accurate movements.

Conversely, a soft mouse pad offers more friction, and therefore, provides a more forgiving surface for better control and precision — so which is better?

Below, we discuss the major differences between the two mousepads so that you can decide which one is better suited to your needs.

Hard mousepads

A hard mousepad, such as the Razer Acari Gaming Mousepad, is typically made of a hard synthetic surface or metal to provide a smooth and level surface.

A hard pad provides less friction and a smoother surface for your mouse to glide across its surface, making it a better option for high sense gamers that favour a claw grip or use a lot of wristy movements when gaming.

This is because the hard surface makes it easier to control micro-movements, therefore allowing larger movements in-game with small and speedy mouse movements on the pad.

However, hard pads are often more expensive and harder to find in larger sizes — the variety available online in South Africa is very slim.

If you’re a gamer that has sweaty hands, then you might experience skidding of the mouse as the hard surface is not porous and won’t absorb the moisture — if you experience this, you can use a small cloth to wipe off any moisture between rounds.


  • Smooth and level surface
  • Easy to clean
  • Durable
  • Favours quick movements


  • Expensive
  • Not very portable
  • Less comfortable for wrist due to hard surface

Soft mousepads

Soft mousepads are the most common pad amongst gamers and are typically made of synthetic cloth.

These pads’ spongy materials make them more comfortable to use for extended periods since you can rest your wrist and hand on them. They also offer much more surface friction ,which gives gamers more control over their mouse with precision.

Your movements will be slower on a soft pad, but it’ll be easier to make small movements with pinpoint accuracy, as they are more forgiving regarding micro-adjustments.

A soft pad is a good option for gamers who favour a palm grip and require forearm placement to make large movements across the mousepad — meaning this type of pad is good for low to medium sense gamers.

Casual gamers therefore should get a soft mousepad if they’re not too confident in their mouse adjustments and are worried about an overcorrection — which would be the case on a hard pad if they are not precise with their mouse movements.

Due to the flexibility of the material, soft pads are also easy to transport, as you can simply roll them up and put them in a carrier bag.

However, while a soft pad is cheaper and easier to find in large sizes – unlike its counterpart – it’s much harder to clean, as the gaps in the woven fibres collect a lot of dirt and dust.

They are also less durable, and the feel of the surface friction tends to change as the pad absorbs sweat and oil from your hands over time.


  • Cheaper
  • Portable
  • Comfortable
  • Easily available in a variety of sizes and designs
  • Forgiving regarding large mouse movements


  • Hard to clean
  • Less durable
  • Soft material may change surface level and friction over time

Read: 7 desk accessories you need to elevate your gaming setup  


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Soft vs hard mousepads for gaming

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