When it comes to selecting a gaming mouse too many just look at the sensor or the number of buttons. One of the most important aspects of a gaming mouse however is frequently ignored: its weight. But what is the optimal weight of a gaming mouse?
Implications of low and high weight in a gaming mouse
On inertia and gaming mice
According to Wikipedia «inertia is the resistance, of any physical object, to any change in its velocity.» At every change of direction you have to overcome the inertia of your mouse. You can feel the inertia working against you. Each time you stop your hand it feels like your mouse would like to keep on moving. And the higher the weight of your mouse, the more inertia you have to overcome and the more disconnected you feel from your mouse.
Your brain is very accustomed to moving just your hand without any added weight. The more weight you are holding in your hand while moving your hand, the more difficulties your brain will have computing the extra amount of force necessary to overcome the inertia. Therefore, the higher the weight of your mouse is, the more errors your brain will make when moving the mouse. More errors in movement result of course in lower precision and accuracy.
Put another way: the heavier your mouse, the more often you will miss your targets.
Light gaming mice are quicker
Another advantage of low weight is that accelerating and stopping the mouse will be quicker. Colin Chapman, the founder of Lotus Cars, put it well:
Adding power makes you faster on the straights; subtracting weight makes you faster everywhere.
Vice versa heavy mice will be slower to accelerate or stop due to their increased mass. Even if it is only by a fraction of a second. If you think about it: playing a game on a high level can be boiled down to the rapid succession of accelerating and stopping your mouse. And if each and every single acceleration and stopping of your mouse is quicker, that is a huge advantage. You effectively lower your input lag. Think of added mouse weight as built-in latency.
Heavy gaming mice have more friction
Some gamers prefer a heavy gaming mouse because of its higher friction. Higher friction could certainly help with better control over your mouse. However, if you prefer higher friction using a slower mousepad or slower mouse feet is strictly superior as you forgo the negative effects of higher inertia.
If you want high control over your aiming, nothing beats a very light mouse plus a slow mousepad and slow mouse feet.
Light gaming mice could be healthier
A light gaming mouse could be healthier for you. Considering the enormous training pensum of a progamer a light mouse will decrease the accumulated stress on the wrist. Therefore, light gaming mice could be critical in preventing carpal tunnel syndrome or similar health issues.
The optimal weight of a gaming mouse is zero grams
Very light gaming mice have huge advantages: you can accelerate and stop them more precisely and more accurately. Each and every one of your movements is quicker. Less weight also could be healthier. The optimal weight of a gaming mouse therefore is zero grams. When you need high friction for increased control use slow mousepads or slow mouse feet.
Todays gaming industry is plagued by unknowingness as to what a professional gaming mouse actually should be. Hence the giant monstrosities of plastic, brimming over with RGB LEDs, weight tuning systems and buttons left and right (and sometimes even on the bottom). It is really quite ironic: These mice try to be everything and in doing so fail at one of the most basic requirements for a gaming mouse: low weight.