Trackball mice were one of the earliest peripherals designed to make using a computer easier and more efficient. Since then, technology has advanced by leaps and bounds, but there's a reason why these mice remain a popular choice. Unlike other mice, they stay put on your desk, so you move the cursor on-screen by moving the trackball rather than the whole mouse, which can help reduce stress on your wrist and arm joints.
When shopping for a trackball mouse, you'll want to find a mouse comfortable enough for your grip type and hand size. You'll also want to consider what kind of features you'd like. For productivity tasks, for instance, you'll want a good scroll wheel for navigating documents, spreadsheets, or timelines, while for gaming, you'll need to make sure your mouse has low click latency and a high polling rate.
We've tested over 250 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 an ergonomic, right-handed shape that's well-suited for all hand sizes using a palm grip. There are left- and right-click buttons and a conventional scroll wheel on the right side, and a large trackball on the left. There's also a metal plate attachment that tilts the mouse 20º to the right, so your hand posture is somewhere between a handshake and a more traditional palm-down position.
Like other products in Logitech's MX lineup, it feels very well-built and sturdy, but the materials and finish don't feel quite as premium as those of the Logitech MX Master 3, for example. You can connect this mouse wirelessly using its USB receiver or via Bluetooth, and it has a rechargeable battery for power. Logitech advertises a battery life of up to four months. You can pair two devices simultaneously and switch between them using the dedicated device switching button behind the scroll wheel.
Unfortunately, while the scroll wheel has L/R tilt buttons for horizontal scrolling, it doesn't unlock for a quicker free-scrolling mode, which is disappointing if you frequently deal with long documents or web pages. Also, while it has robust companion software to program buttons and adjust CPI settings, there's no option to increase the polling rate, which isn't high enough to produce smooth cursor movements for gaming. Altogether, this is a very ergonomic and customizable option for everyday browsing or productivity work.
There's a dedicated community of gamers who prefer using trackball mice for different genres, but up until recently, trackball mice specifically designed for gaming have been few and far between. The best we've tested is the GameBall Mouse. Most importantly, it has good click latency, and unlike nearly all other trackball mice, it has a polling rate of 1000Hz, which is the current standard among gaming mice.
It has a true ambidextrous design that's comfortable in hand for all hand sizes using a palm grip whether you're right- or left-handed, and there's a sloping palm rest that's long enough to accommodate your entire palm. There are three buttons on either side and a tactile scroll ring around the trackball. The left side of the scroll ring controls horizontal scrolling, and the right side controls vertical scrolling. Note that this is also a wired mouse, and while this isn't super important as the mouse stays put during use, it makes it a more cumbersome option to use on the go or away from your home setup.
Unfortunately, while it has a maximum polling rate of 1000Hz, it only has five CPI presets, and it lacks dedicated software for programming buttons or adjusting sensor options. Additionally, while the click latency is the lowest we've tested among trackball mice, it isn't as low as premium conventional gaming mice. We don't recommend it for fast-paced, reaction-based titles like competitive FPS games. This mouse is still your best bet if you're a gamer who prefers trackball designs.
Good quality trackball mice tend to be somewhat more expensive than conventional mice, but if you're looking for the best bang for your buck, we recommend the Logitech ERGO M575. Visually, this mouse closely resembles the newer and more premium Logitech MX ERGO. It doesn't have an included tilt plate and has fewer programmable buttons than the MX ERGO, but it performs very similarly and is generally much more affordable.
This mouse connects wirelessly with a USB receiver or via Bluetooth, and it uses a single AA battery for power. Logitech advertises that this mouse will last up to 24 months on a single battery. It also has a very accurate sensor and customization software that lets you create profiles, remap buttons, and adjust CPI settings.
Unfortunately, the scroll wheel lacks both L/R tilt buttons and a free-scrolling mode, and there's no support for multiple device pairing. Additionally, while this mouse has good click latency when connected with its USB receiver, it has a very low, fixed polling rate, so it isn't a good option for gaming. Despite this, it's a great everyday choice for light productivity at a more affordable price point than some of the more premium models on this list.
If you're looking for a trackball you can carry with you when you're on the go, we recommend the Kensington Orbit Wireless Trackball with Scroll Ring. It has a true ambidextrous design with a center-mounted trackball, a ring-style scroll wheel, and two main buttons that serve as left- and right-click buttons on either side. There's also an included palm that you can detach, making it much more compact.
While this mouse isn't exactly as easy to stow away as a more conventional travel mouse, its relatively small, streamlined shape makes it a much more portable option than competing trackball models. You can connect this mouse wirelessly with its USB receiver or via Bluetooth. It uses two AA batteries for power, and there's a storage space for the USB receiver when it's not in use, so you don't accidentally lose it in transit.
Unfortunately, this mouse doesn't support multi-device pairing, and the somewhat unconventional ring-style scroll wheel may take a little getting used to if you aren't already familiar with them. Also, like most trackball options, this mouse has a very low, fixed polling rate and poor click latency, so you're better off looking to other models if you're planning on grabbing this to game on the go. Overall, this is an affordable wireless travel option for anyone looking for a no-fuss trackball for the road.
May 17, 2022: We've updated the text for clarity and confirmed all picks are in-stock and represent the current best picks for their respective categories. We've made no changes to our recommendations at this time.
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.