To compile this list of best CAD mouse I asked CAD software users (including AutoCAD and Fusion 360 users) their opinion of CAD mouse and which one they personally use for their software. I also asked them to list the features they liked most in their preferred mouse.
I got some thoughtful responses and this article is based on those responses along with a few input from me as well. So, before we move into our list of ten best CAD mouse let’s see which mouse features were mentioned the most by our user group.
The prominent features
Unsurpisingly, a large mouse with an ergonomic shape which fits properly in hand and is comfortable to work with is the most sought feature. Rubber grip near thumb and on the sides of mouse which make it less slippery and comfortable to hold was also recommended by some users.
Dedicated keys for Pan, Zoom, and other functions is an added advantage but too many dedicated keys generally become an overkill unless you really like a programmable mouse with lots of dedicated keys. Though not many users preferred programmable dedicated keys but a small group of CAD users liked to have mouse with dedicated keys.
Resolution or sensitivity is another parameter which was highlighted by some users but for regular mice where some serious precision with mouse movement is not required you can safely overlook this paramter. You might however what to take into account resolution when your work required precise movement of the mouse.
Wired or wireless is another feature that might influence your choice. In my opinion, this hardly matters as both have their pros and cons like a wired mouse won’t need batteries that need replacement or recharge but it will make your desk look more occupied with an extra cable which some people (including me) may find annoying or at least will feel like an eye soar!
If you are a heavy CAD user and don’t mind few metres of extra wire on your desk you can go with a wired mouse as it is generally cheap and it can last for years without needing any battery replacement or recharge.
So, now you know the main features recommend by CAD users, let’s look into the list of best CAD mice and what makes them the best in their segment.
Dedicated CAD mouse
When it comes to CAD mouse 3Dconnexion products top our list. I recently switched from Logitech MK850 to 3Dconnexion SpaceMouse Wireless Kit and I am embracing this change.
With this mouse 3D navigation with parts or assemblies is very natural as if you are holding the part in your hand and moving it in 3D space, its control is very intuitive too. I use it mainly with Fusion 360 now and I have tested it with Solidworks as well and it works great in both the software.
In my opinion, once you get a “hang” of 3Dconnexion mouse you are less likely to ever use the standard mouse.
So, here are the details of all these 3Dconnexion mice and what other CAD users say about them.
This mouse can be designated as an all-purpose CAD mouse which in my opinion is the best ergonomic mouse out there and it is 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.
3DConnexion SpaceMouse Pro
This is a secondary mouse which should be used along with 3D connexion CAD mouse or any other standard mouse.
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.
The four Function keys on SpaceMouse Pro are assigned automatically to frequently used functions as per your software and you can also program them as per your needs.
The keyboard hotkeys like Enter, Shift, Ctrl and Alt are available on the SpaceMouse directly and it can be used to minimize hand movement while working with your software.
It also comes with View hotkeys and a comfortable wrist pad which is great for advanced users who sepend hours on their CAD softwrae.
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.
Once again a secondary “mouse” which is suitable for 3D modeling users who want intuitive 3D navigation with precise camera control.
Just like SpaceMouse Pro this device also offers navigation in six degrees of freedom and should be used along with CAD mouse or any other standard mouse.
The dedicated buttons on the side of SpaceMouse offer a radial menu that opens up in the CAD software and it can be used to perform basic functions like Extrude, Revolve and Fillet.
You can also program these buttons and assign your own commands in the radial buttons or create your own radial button from scratch.
This device can be best used with 3D connexion CAD mouse or any other standard mouse. The task of precise navigation can be controlled with the SpaceMouse whereas other tasks can be done with CAD mouse or standard 3 button mouse.
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.”
Standard mice for CAD software
So, now you know about dedicated CAD mice its time to look at other alternatives which are also great for use in 2D as well as 3D drafting and modelling software. So, here is the list with set of features that make them a good choice for CAD Softwares.
Logitech MX Master 2S
This Logitech mouse is new in the MX master series of mouse offering a high precision of 4000 DPI and according to Logitech, it works even on smooth surfaces like glass. The ergonomic design is quite comfortable on hands and its seven dedicated buttons including the button for fast scrolling and horizontal scrolling add to the comfort.
This mouse comes with a rechargeable inbuilt battery that lasts quite long on a single charge and it can be charged again by using the micro USB cable. The most remarkable feature of this mouse is its three computer support, so basically you can connect this mouse with up to three computers using Bluetooth or USB receiver and share information (like copy paste) between the connected devices.
Logitech wireless trackball M570
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.
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. The mouse is also very inexpensive and its price is similar to the price of a simple 3 button wireless mouse.
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.”
This mouse is added to the list after getting many positive feedbacks from the SourceCAD users. It was obviously the most mentioned mouse and an obvious best choice in the highly programmable category of the mice which you can use with your CAD software.
This mouse boasts 20 programmable buttons and a customizable resolution supporting a max of 8200 DPI. A mouse which is ergonomic and built to last and certainly a great choice for people who like programmable mice.
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.
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.
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.
Which mouse you use?
Although this list is made with responses from a small group of CAD software veteran users I would really like to include you in this discussion and want to know which mouse you use with your CAD software and what you love about it, let me know in the comments below.