Why do You Need a Trackball Mouse

Why do You Need a Trackball Mouse

The vast majority of computer users get by with a standard mouse, but a select few love trackballs. There are good reasons for that love! If you’re wondering if you need a trackball mouse, here’s why a trackball mouse is a perfect tool for you.

Comfort and Ergonomics

In recent years, the conversation about healthy ergonomics in the workplace has grown. More workers are aware of the risks and health problems associated with long periods of sitting daily. It is extremely unhealthy and many companies have gone to great lengths to help modern office workers reduce the risks of desk work. While standing will help your health, more ergonomic input devices can protect you from RSI or repetitive strain injuries. These injuries are caused by repeatedly straining your body in the same way, over and over again. These injuries can cause numbness, tingling, and pain, and they won’t go away until you stop the stressor.

Trackball mice can be a boon for workers suffering from RSI in the wrist or carpal tunnel. The benefit comes from the stable position of the trackball. While you move your wrist and arm to manipulate a traditional mouse, you only need to move your fingers to use a trackball. If you use a wrist rest with your trackball, your wrist will be at a healthier angle. This relieves you of the strain associated with mouse scrolling. Because your hand stays in one place, your arm and wrist won’t be strained by the constant back-and-forth movement of a mouse.


My computer mouse is easily the most failure-prone device I own. A mouse is one of the few components in your computer that still requires moving parts, and those kinds of parts wear out and fail over time. Cheap mice fail faster, but even high-quality mice are subject to wear and tear. Some of this is due to entropy and the planned lifetime of things like the click sensor. But the life of your mouse can be shortened by constant and aggressive movement. I’ve seen many people hit their mouse in frustration, or accidentally track it from the edge of their desk. Because the trackballs are stationary, potential stress from aggressive moments or falls is avoided. As long as the buttons are kept in good condition, a trackball can outlast a high-quality office chair. A well-cared-for mouse can last just as long, but it seems less common.


You may need a little time to get comfortable with a trackball. But once you get used to it (perhaps a week or so), your cursor accuracy can increase significantly. This is especially true for small, precise movements, which trackballs are often more sensitive to. Trackballs also make it easy to “move” the cursor from one edge of the workspace to the other, requiring only a twist of the fingers. The only caveat is gaming: accuracy in FPS games benefits from involving your body more, allowing you to develop unconscious muscle memory and “snap” your crosshairs to the right spot on the screen. That’s certainly not impossible with a trackball, but it might be more difficult.

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Desk Space

If you want to make the most of limited desktop space, a wireless trackball frees up a chunk of the desktop that was previously devoted to mouse movement. Even if your mouse doesn’t require a mousepad, you still need room to slide it. Since the trackballs stay in one place, you can reclaim desktop space for whatever you want.


All laptops on the market today have a trackpad for cursor movement. Some trackpads are big and responsive, while others are miserable and frustrating. And even the best ones are limiting – try using Photoshop’s lasso accurately with a trackpad. Travel mice are useful, but they require room to maneuver. Trackballs are perfect for precise work on the go. You can replace your trackpad with a better pointing device without requiring an additional tray table for your mouse. A small trackball is an exceptional travel companion.


If you’re ready to explore the world of trackballs, the Kensington Orbit and Logitech’s M570 are great budget options. After a week, you’ll probably never want to change again!

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