Optical vs. Laser Mouse for Gaming – Best Choice for 2020?

What is Difference between Optical and Laser Mouse?

An optical mouse is best for gaming. Where it’s more accurate but requires a better surface area to work at its greatest. However, a laser mouse is more versatile but lacks in consistency and accuracy.

Now, because of so much technological advancement, there is a major revolution in the field of the gaming mice. There are currently two different types of gaming mice available. One is known as an optical gaming mouse, and the other is known as a laser gaming mouse.

There are not much differences between these two type of mice, except a few important ones, and we are here to look out at both types in complete detail. So that you can have enough knowledge about what kind of mice is the best fps mouse suitable for gaming.

How does the Optical and Laser Mouse Work?

Optical vs. Laser Mouse for Gaming

Well, without further ado, let’s start the main topic.

How does an Optical Mouse Work

All mice are basically optical because they use cameras to keep track of the movement. Don’t worry these cameras can’t take any pictures. Instead, they take images of the surface you are placing them on. The mouse uses these images to convert them into data for tracking the peripheral location of the surface. In other words, you have a low-resolution camera just below the palm of your hand which is also called a CMOS sensor.

All mice are technically optical because they take images from the surface which is basically a visual phenomenon. However, the optical models of some mice rely on infrared, or red LED which is responsible for projecting light to the surface. The LED is usually mounted behind the camera lens which then focuses the light into beam respectively. The beam is then bounced off from the surface area through the lens, called an imaging lens, which is responsible for magnifying the reflected light into the CMOS sensor.

Now the work of the CMOS sensor starts. The CMOS sensor has an ability to collect the light, so it collects the light and converts it into the electrical signals. This analog data is converted into 1’s and 0’s, and in this way, about 10000 images are captured every second. These images are used to locate the precise location of the mouse, and the data is then sent to PC for controlling the cursor movement.

How does a Laser Mouse work

Now the main thing in a laser mouse is its invisible beam. A laser mouse replaces the typical red/infrared LED with an infrared laser which is more accurate and provides a more comfortable movement. Now you must be thinking that what if a laser impacts my eyesight? It won’t do so because the laser present in laser mice are not very strong and on the other hand, they are infrared which means they are out of our visible spectrum so it won’t be an issue for you.

Laser mice were believed to be superior to the optical mice because of the speed and smooth movement. But with the passage of time, optical mice have also advanced sufficiently when it comes to a higher degree of accuracy. Laser model mouse is only said to be superior in terms of sensitivity, which is an excellent factor if you are looking for very high DPI.

optical gaming mouse

Difference Between an Optical Mouse and a Laser Mouse

So, what is the essential difference between an optical mouse and a laser mouse? Let’s check it out here.

Laser Can Go Deeper

Both optical and laser mouse can equally track irregularities from the surface which they are tracking, but laser mice have an edge when it comes to tracking every single detail. Laser mouse can go much more deep as compared to an optical mouse and hence it can track much more information without requiring any specific surface material. This provides more information to the CMOS sensor and as a result, the laser mouse is able to pick every little detail from the surface.


If we place a laser mouse on a glass table, it is able to track the small irregularities of the surface and can provide a good movement. On the other hand, if you place an optical mouse on a glass table, it won’t be able to track any type of movement, and hence it cannot work correctly. Even if you place a glass surface above any solid surface, the optical mouse will fail in tracking any movement. Remove the glass surface, and the optical mouse will start working like intended.


Well, from this example, it is clear that an optical mouse is a big failure on a glass table. This is the main difference between an LED and a laser. An LED is able to track the upper surface easily, but a laser can go deep down providing you the due movement even on a glass surface. So, if you want to use a mouse on a glass surface, a laser one will be a better option as compared to the optical mouse.

The Mouse Sensitivity Compared to its Accuracy

Sensitivity counts when you are a competitive gamer, and you want to test your accuracy skills. Where sensitivity is measured in DPI (Dots per Inch).

Mouse Sensitivity

The DPI stat was much more important back in the days when there was a considerable gap between an optical and a laser mouse. However, as the year passes by, optical mice have evolved to enhance their optical resolution, and now a simple, inexpensive gaming mouse can have thousands of DPI.

Laser Mice are more sensitive to that of optical mice because of the higher DPI ranges. Their DPI mainly ranges from 200 to 12000 which is quite exceptional. Most professional FPS gamers hover around 400 – 1200 DPI. So, they can provide more sensitivity as compared to that of optical mice which are not able to provide it effectively.

Mouse Accuracy

Another critical aspect to consider is how accurate an optical and laser mouse is. The difference between a laser and optical mouse becomes prominent when it comes to analyzing the tracking of the surfaces which they are placed on.

LED light is weak as compared to laser light. Laser light is accurate, and so is the laser mouse. You have often head a proverb that “excess of everything is bad”. This is precisely the situation with a laser mouse. Apart from being way too accurate, laser mouse can also track unwanted and irregular surfaces which can lead to jitter. The laser mouse often over-analyze the surface and results in jittering respectively.

Well, apart from this drawback, the too much accuracy is helpful for laser mouse in working on almost any surface. You don’t have to worry about the surface on which you are using a laser mouse. It can be glass, or it can be any reflective or transparent surface. Laser mouse doesn’t care as the laser has an ability to go deep down and track every bit of detail from the surface.

That is not the case with an optical mouse. In order to take good work from an optical mouse, you must use it on a non-reflective surface. That being said, you cannot use an optical mouse on a shiny or reflective surface because it is not able to track minor irregularities, unlike the laser mouse. To get the best out from an optical mouse, we will recommend you to use it on a mouse pad.

From a Gaming Point Of View

Although laser mouse proves to be more accurate and sensitive as compared to the optical mouse, in gaming, we have to look at different aspects.

And from these aspects, our option would be to go for an optical mouse. The optical mouse is much more responsive when they are placed on a non-reflective surface such as a mouse pad, and hence they can improve the accuracy of the movements of the cursor while gaming.

The laser mouse has got an edge when it comes to the surface area, which you will be using to move the mouse. Laser mouse can work on any type of surface, and you won’t necessarily need a mouse pad for it, unlike the optical mouse. But they’re over analyzing the surface, and too much accuracy can be a severe issue for ideal gaming, as laser mice can cause jittering.

So, it is better to use an optical mouse with a non-reflective surface rather than using a laser mouse for gaming purposes.


So, this was a short comparison between an optical and a laser mouse, and we hope that you have got enough knowledge of both types of mice. Both models have its own significances, and the difference only matters when it comes to the type of work you are using it for.

But we are here for comparing the mice of a gaming point of view, so an optical mouse is the winner in this regard.

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