Difference between optical mouse and laser mouse

Difference between optical mouse and laser mouse

Also related: Best Mouses for Graphic Design

Difference between optical mouse and laser mouse

The difference between optical mouse and laser mouse stems from their cost, light sources, accuracy and surfaces on which they can be used. It’s a little misleading to call it “optical mouse”. According to Merriam-Webster, optics is defined as: “a science that deals with light and the processes involved in it, and other phenomena closely related to it.”

The fact is, all mice, whether mechanical, optical, or laser, make use of light to work. Consequently, they all rely on light to work. However, the methods by which they do so are slightly different. Also related: Best Silent Mouse

HERE is a comparison table for the difference between optical mouse and laser mouse

Comparison Table Between Optical Mouse and Laser Mouse

Parameters of ComparisonOptical MouseLaser Mouse
Light sourceA blue or red LED is used as a light source in optical mice, so the eye can see the light.


A laser mouse provides light using a laser beam. Humans cannot see infrared laser light.
SensitivityThere are 800 dots per inch on an optical mouse, which means its sensitivity is lower than a laser mouse.


It is more sensitive than an optical mouse due to its DPI (Dots Per Inch) of 3000.
Operation surfaceEven though optical mice can be used on any surface, shiny or reflective surfaces hampered their performance. Therefore, most optical mice require a mouse pad to work properly.


Any surface, glossy or not, can be used with a laser mouse.
ButtonsIn addition to two buttons, there is a scroll wheel on the optical mouse.


Along with two regular buttons, there is an extra button on the laser mouse. Users can manually program the additional buttons.
CostIn comparison to laser mice, optical mice are inexpensive.


As a laser mouse has more features, it costs more than an optical mouse.

What is Optical Mouse?

Instead of using traditional mouse components like a transducer and ball, an optical mouse uses a LED, an optical sensor, and DSP (digital signal processing). This type of mouse senses alterations in light reflection to track movement. Microscopical images of the surface are taken at a rate of over 1000 images per second by the mouse. When the mouse moves, the image changes.

There are two buttons and a scroll wheel on the optical mouse. Even though an optical mouse works on any surface, its performance is affected by glossy surfaces or reflective surfaces. It is usually necessary to use an optical mouse on a mouse pad.

There are several advantages to using an optical mouse instead of a traditional mouse. Optical mice do not need to be cleaned often because they do not have a ball. There are no moving parts on the optical mouse, so it requires no cleaning. Optical mice are also more accurate and smoother than traditional mice because of the technology used in their digital processing.

Both businesses and households use optical mice. There are many uses for the optical mouse, which is primarily a plug-and-play device that doesn’t require any additional software to be installed. Despite competition and advances in technology, optical mice are now more affordable than traditional mice.

Read more on  Best  mouse for large hands

What is a Laser Mouse?

The laser mouse is a mouse that tracks motions by using a laser beam as the light source. Humans can’t see infrared laser light. The technology was first introduced to the market by Logitech in 2014. During the use of the mouse, a laser beam is emitted that moves with a user’s hand and triggers an optical system.

You can use a laser mouse on either a glossy or non-glossy surface. Some tissues, however, pose a problem for the laser mouse. There is an additional button on the laser mouse along with the two regular buttons. Users can program these extra buttons manually. Laser mice cost more than optical mice since they have additional features.

It is more sensitive than an optical mouse because the DPI (Dots Per Inch) of laser light is 3000. Computer artists and gamers tend to prefer laser mice because of their precise performance. It is possible that a PC’s system memory could be overloaded, causing the cursor to lag. sometimes the mouse does not work.

As laser mice have improved tracking capabilities, they are becoming more popular. Furthermore, a ball mouse does not experience problems like gumming up, which would result in signal distortion. Moreover, laser mice lack moving parts, making them considerably less likely to be damaged.

Main Differences Between Optical Mouse and Laser Mouse

Optical mice use blue or red LEDs as lights that can be viewed by humans. However, a laser mouse uses an actual laser beam to create light. Infrared laser light cannot be seen with the naked eye.

Compared to a laser mouse, the optical mouse has a lower DPI (Dots Per Inch) of 800. Contrary to what one might think, a laser mouse has a DPI (Dots Per Inch) of three thousand, so it can be more sensitive.

Any surface can be used with optical mice, but a glossy or reflective surface hindered their performance. The mouse pad is necessary to use most optical mice. Any surface can be used with a laser mouse, no matter how glossy or non-glossy it is.

A scroll wheel and two buttons are on the optical mouse. A laser mouse, however, has an additional button in addition to the two regular buttons. A user can program the additional button to perform specific tasks.

As compared to laser mice, optical mice are cheaper. Laser mice cost more than optical mice because they have additional features.

Optical And Laser Mouse: 4 Important Factors

The following four factors will help you determine whether you should choose an optical or laser mouse.

1. Precision and Resolution

In fact, optical mice have a pretty low resolution compared to laser mice. The average dpi range for optical mice is 1,200, while the average for laser mice is 3,000.

Fans of graphic editors, games, especially 3D shooting games, and graphic designers. When playing or designing, speed is crucial for positioning accuracy. In gaming, speed is determined by the speed of the cursor movement. In designing, speed is determined by the speed of the camera rotation.

Such purposes require the mouse to have a higher DPI resolution between 1000 and 2400. Therefore, it is best to purchase a computer mouse with a higher DPI, either an optical or laser mouse.

It is the person who is directly responsible for the smoothness and perfection of the cursor hovering if they don’t understand what it is. You can point your mouse more accurately in PC games if you have a higher resolution. If not, you won’t hit any targets.

Gamers and graphic designers, in particular, may benefit from this. A mouse with higher sensitivity and resolution would be ideal for them. Regardless of this, one has to have the suitable setting on their mouse for games like the Warzone.

2. Speed and Response Time

A laser mouse with 1600 dpi or higher is ideal for online streamers or gamers with large 4K screens.

Response times of the mouse are also crucial, especially for gamers. It does not matter what kind of mouse you have. The response time for common models is 10 ms, while the response time for gaming models is 1 ms.

While laser mice provide a good level of speed, optical counterparts perform at a slight disadvantage. Fundamentally, the speed is determined by the sensor resolution, the size, and the monitor resolution. When the sensor resolution is the same, for example, the display speeds will be different for FHD and 4K monitors.

An optical mouse in this case is inferior to a quality laser mouse. An optical mouse, for example, will require 4-5 cm to move the cursor from one corner to the next, while a laser mouse takes 2-3 cm. You may move the cursor in any direction when you move the last mentioned.

However, do not forget! In comparison with optical mice, the laser sensor is significantly more sensitive. Despite this, they are capable of going deeper, which is also their greatest limitation.

The laser sensor in the laser mouse (which emits infrared light, which is invisible to the human eye) reads information much better than the optical one because it contains a semiconductor laser. A mouse’s sensitivity is a significant factor in how fast and accurate it hovers.

Read more on Best computer mouse for mac

3. Design and Backlit

Laser mice differ slightly from optical mice in their design pattern. Laser mice have extra buttons, backlit, and RGB lighting.

LED optical mice have been noted for their shine (usually red, less often blue, or green) by numerous users. A red light emanates from the optical mouse even when the PC is off, and this LED light can be unpleasant to the eye, particularly during the night or in a dark room.

Intriguingly, laser mice are not illuminated on their bottom side (any the more accurately), as described above, they emit an invisible beam of infrared light. Because laser mice emit no light, they do not harm our eyes.

The grips of some models have ergonomic touch designs, extra buttons, and an RGB. That is why they are recommended as the best mouse for Carpal Tunnel.  Some users prefer it when a rainbow of colors shimmers across their mouse. Manufacturers of laser and optical mice both develop such features, which is a good thing.

4. Price

The market offers both optical and laser mice, though the latter is slightly more expensive in general. These mice are particularly designed for designing, editing, and gaming. There are usually both high-end and mid-range laser mice.

The disadvantage of an optical mouse is that it will not work on surfaces that reflect light, such as mirrors. In case either of those two surfaces will be used with your mouse, you can get a laser mouse. A rubber base with a perfect grip would be the ideal material for the optical mouse pad in this scenario

Final thoughts in the difference between optical mouse and laser mouse

In comparison to traditional ball mice, optical mice and laser mice are becoming more popular as they have several advanced features. In both cases, tracking is based on light. These mice differ in several ways, however.

A laser mouse uses lasers to illuminate the surface, while an optical mouse is illuminated by a LED. Alternatively, laser mice use a laser diode and have a higher DPI. Laser mice are relatively expensive compared to optical mice, but they work on numerous surfaces and work perfectly on mouse pads and non-glossy surfaces. The difference between optical mouse and laser mouse is not as big as the difference between an actual mouse and trackpad for they are all mouse.



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