Mouse pads are one of the most important accessories for your computer. The mouse pad offers a suitable surface for your mouse which lets you get a precise movement with the mouse. Also, the sensors of an optical mouse work best when it is being used with a suitable mouse pad rather than anything else.
Another function of the mouse pad is to offer a comfortable surface for your wrist and palms when you are using the computer. Currently, there are more than thousands of options available for a mouse pad. Not a lot of people pay much attention to the mouse pad when building a new computer.
But, you need to consider the fact that the performance of your mouse is heavily dependent upon the mouse pad and it can be severely degraded because of a low-quality mouse pad. If you wish to know more about mouse pads in general, you are at the right place.
Today, we are going to discuss the mouse pad in detail and cover various other factors such as the manufacturing process, types, and lifespan of a mouse pad in our guide. If you also want to know more about these factors, kindly check our guide present here.
- What Are Mouse Pads Made of?
- Types of Mouse Pads
- How is a Mouse Pad Made?
- How Long Does A Mouse Pad Last?
What Are Mouse Pads Made of?
The first thing we are going to discuss is the material used for mouse pads. As you may already know, the material used for the mouse pad results in the texture available after the production. Thus, a high-quality material offers a much better texture as well as resistance against wear and tear.
This ultimately increases the price range of the said mouse pad, along with its expected lifespan. Apart from offering a smooth surface and rugged build quality, the mouse pad also needs to be attractive as it is more or less a part of the display accessories of your computer.
This is why there are a lot of materials that are used to manufacture a mouse pad. The materials are selected based on the above-mentioned factors and some definitely offer additional advantages or limitations over others. Some of the most commonly used materials for a mouse pad are rubber, fabric, microfiber, and vynex.
However, there are also some premium quality mouse pads that are made up of leather, and even wood. Such mouse pads are designed to serve special purpose applications and are certainly not an ideal choice for regular usage. But, you can definitely find some options that are worth buying as a collective accessory amongst these premium mouse pads.
Types of Mouse Pads
Unlike the categories based on the material used for the mousepad, there are generally only 2 types of mouse pads that differentiate various options available in the market. The main classification of the mouse pads is soft and hard mouse pads. Both of these mouse pads differ a lot from each other because of the differences in material, manufacturing process, and lifespan.
If you wish to find the perfect mouse pad for your application, make sure you check the major differences between soft and hard mouse pads mentioned here. You can thoroughly understand both types of mouse pads right here and decide which one is right for your application before buying.
1. Soft Mouse Pads
As the name suggests, the soft mouse pads have a soft and smooth surface available on top that offers a comfortable area to rest your arm and wrist. Most soft mouse pads also feature pads that offer even more comfort to your wrist and make it suitable for long working sessions.
As you may have guessed, soft mouse pads are mostly beneficial for those who use the computer for productive applications. If you are working on your computer for extended working sessions, it is recommended to use a soft mouse pad to avoid strain and fatigue on your hands. Soft mouse pads are also light in weight, which makes them ideal for carrying with your laptop.
Although, soft mouse pads are also very small as they are designed for portable usage. Therefore, you will not be able to use your mouse with a low sensitivity on a soft mouse pad. Also, soft mouse pads are not as reliable in comparison because the padded area gets deformed over time and the smoothness also loses based on your usage.
2. Hard Mouse Pads
Hard mouse pads are completely opposite of what you have seen so far on soft mouse pads. While hard mouse pads are also suitable for long working sessions, they are more focused on gamers and other similar users. One of the most important reasons to prefer a hard mouse pad is its size. Some hard mouse pads are so large that you can fit a mouse as well as your keyboard on the pad and still have plenty of space left for mouse movement.
The hard mouse pads feature a premium contact surface which results in low friction, making it highly beneficial for a gaming mouse. It allows you to generate swift movements on the mouse pad without a lot of resistance. Some hard mouse pads also feature RGB lights which might be desirable for a lot of users.
The wrist rest is sort of problematic for a hard mouse pad. If the brand is not offering a wrist rest with the mouse pad, you will have to get a large one from the market after comparing its size and compatibility. Also, hard mouse pads are difficult to carry as you will need to keep them rolled up in a box to avoid permanent deformation and scratches to the surface.
How is a Mouse Pad Made?
Up until now, you have probably decided which type of mouse pad is perfect for your application. But before you actually buy the mouse pad, let us discuss how a mouse is manufactured. This will give you an idea about the reliability and strength of a mouse pad and which brand you should prefer while buying one.
As the mouse pad is a simple accessory, the manufacturing process for a mouse pad is similarly straightforward. It includes a handful of steps that we will be explaining below. You can also check the official website of the manufacturing brand of the mouse pad to get an idea about their manufacturing procedure.
Step 1: Prepping the Material
The very first step in manufacturing a mouse pad is the selection of the material. As we mentioned earlier, various kinds of materials are used to make mouse pads that serve different purposes. Once the material that is to be used for making the mouse pad is selected, it is prepared for the process.
The preparation of said material primarily includes cleaning and drying the material sheet before production. After that, the material is divided into a number of equally sized sheets based on the size of the mouse pad which is being produced. Multiple sizes of sheets are made with the same material to produce mouse pads of different sizes.
Step 2: Measuring the Material
The mouse pads have a specific area that decides their functionality and price range. As you may already know, compact mouse pads are cheaper whereas larger mouse pads are expensive. Before the manufacturing process starts, the mouse pad material is precisely measured for a given set of mouse pads.
The measurement is generally performed in inches and the area is represented in square inches units. You can find the same dimensions mentioned alongside the mouse pad when you are buying it. The size of the mouse pad varies for every brand as well as the model of the mouse pad made by the brand. To provide a versatile set of selection, a lot of brands offer different sizes even for the same model.
Step 3: Cutting the Material
The actual manufacturing process of a mouse pad begins from this stage. Once the mouse pad material sheet is marked with precise measurements, the next step is to cut the material within these dimensions.
The cutting process is either done manually or via dedicated cutting machinery. In mass production projects, brands also use automated cutting machines for accurate, precise, and fast cutting action. The shape of the mouse pad is also finalized in the cutting process. Based on the dimension, the mouse pad can be square, rectangular, or even free-shaped if it is a soft mouse pad.
Step 4: Adding Rubber to the Bottom
After cutting the mouse pad material into pieces of equivalent areas, the next step is to create a base for the mouse pad. The material that is used for the top surface of the mouse pad is generally less than a millimeter in thickness. Hence, it cannot be used directly used as a mouse pad for obvious reasons. To counter that, a rubber base is then attached to it.
The base is generally made out of rubber because it allows folding and unfolding of the mouse pad without permanent deformation. Also, it offers a grippy surface on the bottom which helps to keep the mouse pad stationary on the desk.
Rubber also adds enough volume to the mouse pad to make it durable and prevent wear and tear from both sides. To fix the mouse pad material on the rubber base, super glue is used. Generally, the glue does not let the mouse pad separate from the rubber base until the mouse pad is physically damaged.
Step 5: Printing with a Design
Up until the previous step, the manufacturing process of a mouse pad is pretty much complete. Now, the brand further enhances the quality of the mouse pad by printing various designs and artwork on the mouse pad. It generally includes the logo of the brand and the theme of a game or software if the brand is collaborating with one for the project.
A lot of brands also offer stitching throughout the periphery of the mouse pad. While it makes the edges comparatively unpleasant for longer working or gaming sessions, it further enhances the durability of the mouse pad and reduces the chances of wear and tear. If the mouse pad is a hard mouse pad, then the material used for the pad has the printing done beforehand to save time at this stage.
Step 6: Checking for Quality Control
Now, the mouse pad is almost ready to ship. But before that, there are quality checks for the mouse pad. The batches are only shipped after they have passed the quality tests. The quality tests include testing of tensile strength, fatigue resistance, water resistance, and other important aspects of the mouse pad.
Once the quality tests are carried out, the results are calibrated according to the number of mouse pads designed in the batch. Based on that, an approximate lifespan is calculated for the mouse pad which is generally pretty accurate. Based on the said lifespan, the manufacturers offer a warranty period which is basically an assurance for the reliability and lifespan of the mouse pad.
Step 7: The Mouse Pad is Ready for Work
After the quality tests have been conducted thoroughly for every batch, the manufacturing process finalizes. The final stage of the process is shipping and transportation of the product to various regions. The mouse pads are transferred to retailers which further deals with the customers to deliver the mouse pads.
How Long Does A Mouse Pad Last?
It is quite difficult to suggest a certain common lifespan for all mouse pads available in the market right now. This is because the lifespan of a mouse pad is dependent on many factors such as your usage, the quality of the mouse pad, the price range, and many external factors such as environmental conditions. Generally, hard mouse pads last significantly longer than soft ones due to better quality materials and production quality.
In any case, you can expect a lifespan equivalent to the warranty period provided by the manufacturer. Apart from that, the lifespan extends to about 1 to 2 years for mid-range mouse pads and up to 5 to 6 years for a premium-grade mouse pad. If you take proper care of your mouse pad and maintain it regularly by washing it and keeping it away from harsh sunlight, you can expect an even longer lifespan from your mouse pad.
Today, we discussed mouse pads in detail and covered many factors such as types of mouse pads, materials used for mouse pads, expected lifespan, and even the manufacturing process. This information will definitely come in handy while you are buying a new mouse pad for yourself or as a gift for a fellow gamer.
Having this information also prevents you from falling prey to false advertising products in the market and picking up the one which is genuinely reliable and will offer you a long-lasting performance.