Eight best Mice for CAD software users

Recently I asked many CAD software users regarding their opinion of the best mouse for CAD software and which one they themselves use or prefer to use and I got some really thoughtful responses.

Although I am not an expert when it comes to technical aspects of a mouse but on the basis of specifications, reviews, responses from CAD users and my own opinion I am listing eight best CAD mouse here in no particular order.

Overview:

I have noticed that large mouse which fits properly in your hand is comfortable to work with. Dedicated keys for Pan, Zoom, and other functions is an added advantage but too many dedicated keys generally becomes an overkill unless you really like a programmable mouse with lots of dedicated keys.

Resolution or sensitivity is another parameter on which quality of a mouse can be judged but so far all mice offer an acceptable value of resolution or DPI and I believe that this parameter can be ignored when considering a good mouse.

Moreover, you can also change the sensitivity of any standard mouse using Mouse Pointers settings of the control panel. To change this setting simply go to Control panel then Mouse option and select Pointer Options tab from Mouse pointers window. From this tab change the pointer speed slider to fast and you can see a visible change in mouse sensitivity or precision.

Lets now have a look at some mice which are used by many CAD professionals and which came as a good recommendation from them.

3D connexion space pilot pro:

This device is best suitable for 3D cad users who need to navigate in 3D space frequently. The device offers six degrees of freedom which is great for navigating in 3D space and for positioning cameras. It also comes with wrist rest pad which can be comforting for most CAD users.

The pre-configured quick view keys offer additional advantage which can facilitate quick view changes. This device also comes with programmable keys that can be customized according to your need.

This device was suggested by Emmanuel Garcia, Adjunct Professor at LA Trade Tech College. He loves to work with a multi-button mouse and this mouse offers exactly that, dedicated and programmable keys for an easy workflow.

3D connexion space navigator:

Once again this device is suitable for 3D modeling users who want intuitive 3D navigation with better and precise camera control. Just like space pilot pro this device also offers navigation in six degrees of freedom with fewer features compared to Space Pilot Pro.

This device can be best used with CAD mouse, the task of precise navigation can be controlled with this space navigator whereas other tasks can be done with CAD mouse or standard 3 button mouse.

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This device was suggested by Paul Munford from CADsetterout.com. He prefers this mouse with Autodesk Inventor although, for AutoCAD he prefers a simple 3 button optical mouse but for specialized needs related to fluidic navigation in 3D space he prefers space navigator.

This is what Paul says about the device “For Autodesk Inventor work I supplement with a Connexion 3D space navigator mouse. It’s ideal for manipulating a 3D CAD model on screen. It saves hours spent fiddling with the view controls and makes 3D modeling a far more intuitive experience.”

3D connexion CAD mouse:

This mouse can be designated as an all-purpose CAD mouse which is ergonomically designed to give you the comfortable grip and better navigation control. This mouse also comes with a dedicated middle mouse button which is an alternative to pressing mouse wheel. There are also dedicated zoom keys near your thumb and you can also use the standard mouse wheel for zooming in and out of your geometry.

Logitech M70 wireless trackball:

This is once again a new type of mouse with a thumb controlled trackball, the main advantage of this mouse is its trackball which allows you to keep your hand stable while using this mouse. You can simply control mouse movements without any wrist movement and the trackball precision can also be controlled to give you better accuracy over navigation. It also has programmable buttons which can be used for assigning dedicated common tasks.

Kensington Expert Wireless Trackball Mouse:

This mouse is also similar to the Logitech M70 wireless trackball but in this case, you have less wrist comfort when compared with the Logitech thumb trackball mouse. This mouse also promises great precision tracking due to the large size of its trackball.

One of the biggest advantages that this mouse has is its ambidextrous design which can be used by both left handed and right handed person. The mouse can be connected to your workstation with a standard USB Nano receiver or with Bluetooth.

TeckNet M002 Nano Wireless Mouse:

This mouse can be called as a close competitor of 3D connexion CAD mouse. This manufacturer promises a smooth navigation from this mouse even on smooth and reflective surfaces like glass and polished metal or wood. The mouse has an ergonomic design for easy and comfortable grip and it comes with dedicated zoom keys near the thumb. It can also be used wirelessly with the Nano receiver directly on your workstation without any software installation.

Razer DeathAdder Chroma:

This one is another impressive special purpose mouse which is marketed as gaming mouse by the manufacturers. This mouse features a very ergonomic design and rubber side grips. This mouse also boasts a resolution of 10000 DPI which is the highest resolution among the mouse compared here. The mouse also has five programmable keys which are again good for enhancing your productivity manifolds.

This mouse is also one of the favorites of Melinda Heavrin, CAD manager at Norton healthcare and a regular AUGI contributor. This is what Melinda says about the mouse “I am currently looking to get a Razer.  Several CAD users I know are using the Razer DeathAdder and they absolutely love it.  That’s why I’m leaning towards getting it.”

Standard 3 button mouse:

Although we now have many options to choose from when it comes to CAD mouse still I see many CAD users using the old school 3 button mouse.

Best mouse for CAD software

Most of the CAD veterans whom I asked about their preferred choice of CAD mouse said they are happy with a simple 3 button optical mouse mostly Logitech.

Brian Myers, BIM Manager at Alberici Constructors and Lynda.com Revit course author said he has a preference for the large and quiet mouse but he is not specially aligned towards any specific brand or product model.

Sam Lucido, CAD Services Manager at Haley and Aldrich and also a regular AUGI world magazine contributor prefers a standard 3 button wireless Logitech mouse, he also prefers to keep a backup mouse always with him whenever he is traveling.

Michael E. Beall owner of CAD Trainer Guy, LLC and Edwin Prakoso Senior Application Engineer and owner of CAD-notes.com both have a preference for a simple and comfortable 3 button mouse with scroll wheel, preferably Logitech.

Ellen Finkelstein, Author of AutoCAD Bible book and Microsoft MVP (most valued professional) has shared her preferred mouse for CAD users in this article which is based on recommendations of her subscribers and blog users.

Your opinion matters:

Although I have compiled a list here based on responses I got from CAD software users but your response is of utmost importance. I would love to know which mouse is your preferred choice for CAD-related tasks and don’t forget to let us know why you love it.

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About the Author:

I am a mechanical engineer and I have worked with Design, Manufacturing and Training industries but now SourceCAD is my full-time work and I use it to train students all over the world. I also train corporate clients and help them develop the skill set of their workforce.

I am Autodesk AutoCAD Certified Professional and an Autodesk expert elite member. I am a regular contributor of AUGI World magazine and apart from SourceCAD I also develop AutoCAD video courses for Pluralsight and other E-Learning businesses.

30 Comments

  1. G.G.Khan November 14, 2017 at 12:14 pm - Reply

    Hi, Jaiprakash
    I’m Design engineer working with CAD software’s 12 hours a day. (AutoCAD, Microstation, Promis*e etc. ) I mostly work with 2D software’s. end of the day I’m feeling pain in my right hand. So I want to shift some of my right hand moments to left hand means looking for a 2 piece mouse can be operated with 2 hands. or a programmable keypad for left hand.

    I bought 3D Connexion CAD mouse but its for my right hand only.
    please Suggest.

  2. Anonyme September 20, 2017 at 7:46 am - Reply

    “but too many dedicated keys generally becomes an overkill unless you really like a programmable mouse with lots of dedicated keys.” Perhaps I’m one of them who love many programmable keys.

    I’m using Autocad everyday and my favorite mouse is Logitech G502. This mouse moves smoothly, accurately, and most important, its 11 progarmmable buttons often help me avoid searching keys in keyboard. With its built-in scripting system I now has registered over 20 cad commands frequently used on my G502, which are accessible via one-click or two keys combo. Not to mention some re-position of keys improves the operating experience a lot, i.e. set the pan function to the thumb button (or “DPI-Shift” key by Logitech) feels much better than pressing on the wheel.

    I’m not saying that the more buttons, the better. I’ve tried some models with more buttons like G600 from the same manufacturer, which has 20 buttons but they are two crowed and too easy to mis-touch. Competences from other brands hardly have a similar scripting system which can vastly broaden button functions.

    In all, with this mouse (and assistance from other softwares, like AutoHotkey, etc) I now operate much faster and more comfortable in Autocad, and I’m rather satisfied.

  3. Jeremy July 20, 2017 at 11:37 pm - Reply

    I’ve been using a Performance MX for years now too, Love it. The rotated hand position is great for preventing a sore wrist (not as good as my old Logitech that died after 9 years service but…). It’s also wired and wireless for on the go or when the work space gets crowded.

    • Jaiprakash Pandey July 21, 2017 at 12:04 am - Reply

      Thanks for your inputs Jeremy

  4. Jason June 22, 2017 at 7:41 am - Reply

    I’ve been a Cad user for almost 20 years. My preferred mouse is a Logitech dual optical mouseman. It was a $50 mouse purchased around 2001-02 and is unfortunately starting to die on me. That is what has brought me to this article as I am looking for a suitable replacement. I have used two different Logitech wireless mouses since and I have not been a fan of either one.

  5. Rodrigo Salas May 2, 2017 at 2:02 am - Reply

    Hi

    I have the space navigator for notebook, I draw in autodesk inventor, and this mouse is the best buy I ever made… with six axes is very useful for design 3D.

    Greetings

    • Jaiprakash Pandey May 4, 2017 at 7:00 pm - Reply

      Thanks for your feedback Rodrigo

  6. Nate Racine March 3, 2017 at 1:25 am - Reply

    Hello

    I have the used the Logitech Performance MX mouse for a few years now and it works great. It should probably be in your list.

  7. Anonymus February 24, 2017 at 6:45 am - Reply

    http://product-images.www8-hp.com/digmedialib/prodimg/lowres/c03113123.png

    I find the mouse above very suitable for CAD. But I cannot find it at any reseller. I didn-t know his name either.

  8. Trevor Low February 16, 2017 at 4:22 am - Reply

    Just a clarification here. The 3D connection devices are not a replacement for the mouse. They are a tool for your left hand when using 3D software. Basically it runs your view (rotates / manipulates the 3d object), while you are free to work with your cad tools as usual with the mouse. I can tell you that as a Solidworks user, I can’t imagine not using a 3d mouse device for view control.

    Think of it like peeling an apple, where your mouse is the peeler (using a CAD tool), and the 3D control is like your left hand manipulating the apple. It is an absolutely incredible time saver.

    Now think about peeling an apple without your left hand. Grab peeler, peel, drop peeler, rotate apple, grab peeler, peel… repeat… That’s life without the 3d mouse.

    • Jaiprakash Pandey February 16, 2017 at 2:48 pm - Reply

      Yes Trevor, it is totally understood that 3D connection navigation devices are not an alternative for a mouse rather they are supplementary devices. That’s why I referred it as a “device” and not as a mouse.

  9. Robin Capper January 20, 2017 at 3:48 am - Reply

    I’ve settled on the Microsoft Sculpture set. The mouse looks oddly spherical but I find really comfortable. What I really like is the separation of the number input which I put on the left and use for number entry. It saves that stretch to enter on the usual r/h or top line numbers.

    https://www.microsoft.com/accessories/en-nz/products/keyboards/sculpt-ergonomic-desktop/l5v-00027

    • Jaiprakash Pandey January 20, 2017 at 1:21 pm - Reply

      It looks great! Thanks Robin for your inputs.

    • Stephen Rothermel February 1, 2017 at 12:24 am - Reply

      I’ll second the Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Mouse! I have tried many advanced controllers and gaming mice, but with over 30 years of CAD work I need the most comfortable mouse possible for my injured (R.S.I) wrist and this is the only mouse I can use over 10 hours. Only complaint is a tired index finger using the center, scroll-wheel button.

  10. Brian August 4, 2016 at 7:17 am - Reply

    I prefer the basic mouse for CAD

    • Jaiprakash Pandey January 17, 2017 at 3:15 am - Reply

      Thanks Brian for your input

  11. Jonathan August 3, 2016 at 1:45 am - Reply

    I love my Logitech M70’s, it’s great for large drawings and the precise movement you can get from your thumb over your whole hand is great, I use it in conjunction with a Logitech G510 keyboard set up with hotkeys for my most common commands. I run the same setup in the office and at home but I concede the trackball throws most people and they struggle at first after using mice for most of their lives.

    • Jaiprakash Pandey August 3, 2016 at 11:48 am - Reply

      Thanks Jonathan for your inputs

  12. Gert August 2, 2016 at 12:48 am - Reply

    I recently got myself a Red Dragon (cant remember the exact model name) 5 button gaming mouse and I love it.

    The feel of the mouse is what I love most of it, but the speed and sensitivity is something to get use to.

    Only the thumb buttons are programmable but I have not yet assigned any commands to them for I use my keyboard shortcuts.

    I have been working with a standard 3 buttom Microsoft optical wired mouse (always wired because getting stuck without batteries in the middle af a deadline is a pain) for almost 10years befor I got the new one and I have to say there is nothing wrong with the old fashion 3 button, infact I have seen some people draw some amazing stuff using the 3 button grandpa mouse.

    A mouse is an awesome investment but like my granddad told me, “it is not the tools but the user that makes an expert”.

    • Jaiprakash Pandey August 2, 2016 at 11:27 am - Reply

      Thanks Gert for your input.

  13. Austen July 29, 2016 at 6:22 pm - Reply

    ive been using a razer naga for the past…2 years at least (its the gaming mouse with a 12 button # pad on the side) I actually wouldnt reccomend it for CAD use, at least not for long periods. The middle mouse button and texture of the mouse leave my fingers feeling raw. The numerical keypad has been very helpful but I dont use it enough to compensate for the uncomfortable texture. Plus it has a high price tag, I think it was 100.00 my company bought one for me ( only reason I still use it :/ )

    • Jaiprakash Pandey August 3, 2016 at 11:47 am - Reply

      Thanks Austen for your inputs

  14. Anonymous July 28, 2016 at 7:33 am - Reply

    Chek out the e-blue or 3-blue mice for gaming. Ive purchased multiples of their products. Great form factor and you may easily adjust DPI. I have owned them for 5 years now and utilize AutoCAD every day. 3-blue is great and affordable!!

    • Jaiprakash Pandey August 3, 2016 at 11:47 am - Reply

      Thanks for your input

  15. David Cain July 27, 2016 at 6:15 pm - Reply

    I have been using the Logitech M70 wireless trackball for quite a few years for CAD as well as a 3DConnexion Space Navigator. I have been using a trackball setup since the “original” Logitech TrackMan Marble FX, Which I dearly miss. I find the control of the ball gives me the accuracy I need for my work. Don’t forget to clean your trackball at least every week if not daily to remove the oils and dirt buildup.

    • Jaiprakash Pandey August 3, 2016 at 11:47 am - Reply

      Thanks David for your inputs

  16. ERNEST UZOMAH July 27, 2016 at 12:49 pm - Reply

    Good day Jaiprakash,

    I am not an authority in CAD business. I have always used HP wireless mouse x4500; Model – MORFG8UL and it has lived up to expectation.

    Best Regards,

    Ernest.

    • Jaiprakash Pandey August 3, 2016 at 11:49 am - Reply

      Thanks Ernest for your inputs

  17. Anonymous July 27, 2016 at 6:52 am - Reply

    Bog standard 3 button mouse; however I’m lost if I don’t have my 3Dconnexion Spcemouse Pro for navigating in any 3D CAD space – NX, Inventor, Solidworks etc.

    • Jaiprakash Pandey August 3, 2016 at 11:49 am - Reply

      Thanks for your input

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