Although they're often called 'trackball mice,' trackballs aren't technically mice. A conventional mouse has an optical sensor on the bottom that tracks your movements across a surface, while a trackball stays put on your desk, and you use your thumb or fingers to spin a ball while a sensor inside tracks the movement of that ball. Trackballs are a great option if you have limited desk space, and they can be a more ergonomic option because they don't rely on movements from your wrist or arm.
When shopping for the best trackball mouse for your needs, finding an option that will be comfortable for your hand size is important. You'll also want to consider what features are important for you. For productivity tasks, you'll want a good scroll wheel for navigating documents or timelines, while for gaming, you'll need to make sure your mouse has lower click latency and a high polling rate.
We've tested over 300 mice, and below are our top picks for the best trackball mice. For other recommendations, see our picks for the best ergonomic mice, the best wired mice, or the best wireless mice.
The best trackball we've tested is the Logitech MX ERGO. It has a comfortable right-handed shape and a thumb trackball design suitable for all hand sizes. While using it, your hand posture is between a handshake and a more traditional palm-down position. It also features a metal plate attachment that lets you choose between a 0-degree or 20-degree tilt position. You can connect this mouse wirelessly using its Logitech Unifying USB receiver or Bluetooth and pair up to two devices simultaneously.
The Logitech feels well-built and sturdy, and the materials and finish are high quality. Some users also report that the rubber coating is prone to wear out after extended use. The scroll wheel has tilt buttons for horizontal scrolling but doesn't unlock for a quicker free-scrolling mode like some high-end productivity mice.
While it has companion software to program buttons and adjust sensitivity settings, you can't increase the polling rate. It won't concern most people, but the polling rate isn't high enough to produce smooth cursor movements for gaming or if you use a 4k monitor. Alternatively, you can check out the Logitech ERGO M575, a similar model typically available for less. However, it doesn't include a tilt base, doesn't support multi-device connectivity, and feels cheaper overall.
At a mid-range price point, we recommend the ELECOM HUGE M-HT1DRBK. Note that this model sometimes goes on sale for short periods and may be closer in price to our budget pick, depending on when you're reading this. The ELECOM HUGE is a versatile finger-operated trackball with a right-handed shape. It has a conventional scroll wheel with left and right tilt buttons and a total of 10 programmable inputs.
The ELECOM has an integrated leatherette wristrest, which, true to its name, makes it fairly large and bulky. However, it's still a good fit for all but small-sized hands. It connects wirelessly with a USB receiver and uses a pair of AA batteries for power. You can use the companion software for remapping buttons and adjusting CPI settings.
However, only three sensitivity presets are available, and the highest setting is only 1200 CPI, which may not feel sensitive enough if you use a very high-resolution display. Unfortunately, this trackball doesn't have Bluetooth support like our best pick on this list, the Logitech MX ERGO. Also, like nearly all trackball mice, it has a very low fixed polling rate, making it unsuitable for gaming. It's an affordable option with plenty of customizable controls for productivity or everyday use.
We recommend the Kensington Orbit Wireless Trackball with Scroll Ring as a budget option. It has a truly ambidextrous design with a center-mounted, finger-operated trackball. It also has a ring-style scroll wheel and two main buttons that serve as left- and right-click buttons on either side. There's an included palm rest that you can detach, making it much more compact. Overall, it feels very well-built and connects wirelessly with its USB receiver. It uses two AA batteries for power.
Unfortunately, this mouse doesn't have as many programmable inputs as our mid-range recommendation, the ELECOM HUGE M-HT1DRBK. Additionally, if you aren't familiar with the somewhat unconventional ring-style scroll wheel, getting used to it may take a little. Also, like most trackball options, this mouse has a very low, fixed polling rate and a low maximum CPI setting, which means it isn't suitable for gaming or if you have a very high-resolution display. It's an affordable wireless option for anyone looking for a no-fuss trackball for work or everyday browsing.
For gamers, we recommend the GameBall Mouse. Unlike other trackball options, this mouse has a maximum polling rate of 1000Hz, the current standard among gaming mice. This higher polling rate produces much smoother, more consistent cursor movements in-game. It has a true ambidextrous shape that's comfortable whether you're right- or left-handed.
The GameBall features a sloping palm rest long enough to accommodate your entire palm. There are three buttons on either side and a tactile scroll ring around the trackball. It's a wired model, unlike the other options on this list. While this doesn't make a big difference since the mouse stays put during use, it does mean one more cable to manage on your desktop setup.
Unfortunately, in terms of performance, its click latency is high compared to most conventional gaming mice. While it's well-suited for various game genres, it isn't ideal for competitive FPS or other fast-paced, reaction-based games and may not feel as snappy and responsive as most conventional gaming mice. It also lacks dedicated software for programming buttons or adjusting sensor options. Note that the GameBall is only available directly from the manufacturer's website.
Jun 14, 2023: We've reviewed all our picks for this article and made some minor changes to the text for clarity. However, we haven't changed our recommendations, as all picks remain the best models for each category.
Feb 16, 2023: We've refreshed some of the text in several entries, but we haven't made any changes to our recommendations after verifying that all our picks remain in stock and are the best choices for their respective categories.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best trackball mice for most people. We factor in the price (a cheaper mouse wins over a pricier one if the difference isn't worth it), feedback from our visitors, and availability (no mice that are difficult to find or almost out of stock everywhere).
If you would like to do the work of choosing yourself, here is the list of all our mice reviews. Be careful not to get too caught up in the details. While no mouse is perfect for every use, most mice are great enough to please almost everyone, and the differences are often not noticeable unless you really look for them.