Best mouse for CAD

Choosing the best mouse for CAD is an important task for designers. The mouse is the main input device which, as a CAD drafter, you will be spending approximately 8 hours a day holding.

Here’s a run down of what you should consider while choosing the best mouse for CAD work in my opinion.

CAD mouse

Wireless or USB mouse

I myself personally prefer a USB mouse, I would steer away from wireless mouse to save myself from some headache related to battery replacement. But depending on your work station, you can consider going with wireless mouse, which in some case is the best option (You don't want to waste time every now and then pulling/fixing the mouse cord).

Scrollwheel

You need to have a mouse having an easy-to-click scrollwheel. The wheel, as you may know, is incredibly helpful for panning and zooming. You want to have a mouse having a scrollwheel that is able to easily differentiate a click from a scroll.

Brand

Logitech And Microsoft mice are pretty OK. If you are not too picky and aRe just looking to get something that will allow you to get day to day tasks done, you can opt to a basic mouse made by one of these brands.

Ergonomic

Ergonomically, the best mouse is the one that feels good in your hand. Your mouse should have a nice comfortable grip. While many advocate for a large mouse, I will go ahead and say that the best mouse is the one that fit best in your hand. (you surely want to stay a way from small mouse)

The mouse resolution DPI

The higher the mouse DPI, the better. You need your mouse to have a high precision and fast reaction. (The Dots Per Inch is a measurement of how sensitive a mouse is. The higher a mouse’s DPI, the farther the cursor on your screen will move when you move the mouse). Highest DPI mice are mostly used for gaming, but having your mouse DPI relatively good will be necessary for your CAD work.

Thumb buttons (extra buttons)

Thumb buttons are also helpful. They can be programmed. You can set one of the thumb buttons of your mouse to press ENTER and another to press ESC. Or even further, you can programmed these buttons to toggle ortho/Dynamic UCS and more.

Mouse sensitivity

You may want to adjust the mouse sensitivity in Windows to make your mouse go faster or slower according to your need and work flow.

Going the extra mile

You can go on the “upper end” and opt for a gaming mouse for your CAD work. Gaming mice have keys with great response time, and high DPI with extra buttons that can be programmed according to your need. To get such a mouse, you will have to spend a little bit more. But it's worth every penny.

Final Thoughts

The best mouse for CAD comes from personal preferences but remember to keep it simple if your are not yet sure what to go for. A a three-button wheel mouse is in most cases the best choice.

Some of my best picks for a Pro CAD Mouse

MouseDetailsPrice
3Dconnexion 3D Mouse
Advanced 6 degrees-of-freedom optical sensor. You can simultaneously pan, zoom and rotate 3D models. Includes 2 programmable function keys. This is ideal for 3D designers, CAD engineers, and architects,$$
3Dconnexion SpaceMouse Pro
The mouse has 6-Degrees-of-Freedom. Includes 2.4GHz wireless technology for up to 20 meters of usage. The battery has a 2-month long life.$$$

Some of my best picks for a general CAD mouse

MouseDetailsPrice
Mionix NAOS 3200
Truly ergonomic design with support for all five fingers. Completely Plug'n Play and software needed only for configuration. The 7 buttons can be assigned to any key, mouse command, or macro. Choose from 3 DPI steps and switch between them.$$
Logitech M570
Sculpted shape supports your hand and stays in one place. You can move the cursor without moving your arm around. Connect up to six compatible wireless devices with one tiny receiver that stays inserted in your laptop. Use for up to 18 months without changing the included AA battery.$$
Razer Naga
12 button thumb grid has been outfitted with mechanical switches to give you tactile and audible feedback. Features an all-new one-size-fits-all ergonomic form factor to ensure your hand fits snugly for maximum comfort. The scroll wheel on the Razer Naga now goes left and right, as well as up, down and in for more buttons for your use.
$$
Corsair V. M95
Includes a 8200 DPI laser sensor for precise tracking and highly accurate mouse control. Included features are 15 programmable buttons and selectable response time. You can choose response time between 1000Hz, 500Hz, 250Hz, or 125Hz (1ms, 2ms, 4ms or 8ms). An added bonus is a high-mass scroll wheel made of solid metal with a rubberized scroll wheel for precise tactile feedback.$$
Logitech M510 Mouse
Contoured shape with soft rubber grips provide all-day comfort. Back/forward, side-to-side scrolling, and zooming buttons let you do more and at the same time faster. This requires Logitech SetPoint software to be installed.$$

 

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  • Sviat A

    Yeah, 3DConnexion has created pretty good mice for 3D CAD environment.
    Here are the prices, because it seems that you did not provide such info;
    So you could choose from the official website:
    https://www.3dconnexion.eu/buy/shop/view/ListView.html
    some retailer:
    http://hardware.nl/3dconnexion
    or a famous retailer:
    http://www.amazon.com/3Dconnexion-3DX-700028-SpaceNavigator-3D-Mouse/dp/B000LB7G00

    Actually, you have included incorrect picture of the SpaceMouse Pro. The actual model in the picture is the SpacePilot Pro. It has a screen and more buttons. The SpaceMouse is simpler edition.

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  • Joris

    My colleague and I use a Wacom tablet as CAD input device, also a good alternative.

  • Daniel W

    Watch out for the M510. I used it for a long time and it’s been great but Logitech is updating their software to use “Options” instead of “SetPoint”. Setpoint gave you the option to have “Program specific” button settings. So in CAD I could make the forward side button “Delete” and back was to toggle OSNAPZ. Now, if I do that using Options it applies to any application. So, if I’m in windows explorer and I hit my “Delete” button I can easily delete folders accidentally.

    • Thank you for the valuable tip. Really good to know!

  • rufous

    Seeing the M510 on the list disqualifies this article from consideration. None of the Logitech wireless mice work worth a damn over the long run. I’ve got three of them and each one may work for a while but eventually the scrolling and/or zooming goes crazy.
    To really screw things up all you need to do is add a wireless Logitech headset. What a disaster.
    Main point, if this guy/gal thinks the M510 is a CAD mouse he doesn’t know what a CAD mouse is supposed to be.

    • Glenn Carroll

      BS. I’ve used the M510 for years, often with autocadd and photoshop 16+ hours a day. Really good economical mouse with laser tracker. Yes, while the scroll click will eventually run out after 2+ years of heavy use (as with all) — you can replace and get a new one for cheap. M510 is also easy to travel with, light weight, and having a nice cubby to store the receiver. Seeing you rag on the M510 disqualifies you as a balanced commentator. I’ve had more expensive mice — but no longer see a reason to. Consider spending the big bucks on a keyboard…

    • Jason

      Agreed with Glenn. The M510 is the predecessor to the M705 and the MX Performance, both of which are PHENOMENAL mice. In fact, I was so impressed with the MX from work, I bought one for the house.

      If the scrolling or zooming is going crazy, perhaps you should either stop buying the cheap mice or stop eating cheetos while playing DOTA.

  • Fernando Gazzola

    Nice tricks, one of the best compilation that I saw seaching for CAD mice and devices options for the last 2 weeks! Thanks for that!!

    I’m in doubt… I have 3 configurations in mind, remembering that those stuffs are overpriced in my country (eg. x3.5 comparing to USA):

    – Gaming mice (like Bloody ZL5 11, buttons, wired) + gaming keyboard (my Corsair Raptor w/ macros) = $
    – 3 button basic mice with high dpi (like Cougar 200M) + navigator small (used)= $$;
    – 3 button basic mice + SpaceMouse PRO (used good price! hehee) = $$$;

    $ = 50 dolares; / $$ = 150 dolares / $$$ = 235 dolares

    Take a look at this gaming mice (A4tech Bloody ZL5), it have some easy access 6 side/thumb buttons. The negative point is the software, confuse but powerful as I read in some reviews. Corsair V M95 looks awesome but it`s 4 times the value of ZL5 around here, should be my first option. I don`t have sure but some side buttons of Naga looks inaccessible, maybe with some training you can reach those.

    My biggest doubt is, could I program those side/thumb buttons to tilt, pan, zoom and rotate viewports in 3Dmax, Blender, Rhino and SolidWorks like the navigator mouse from 3d connection do?