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Unless you’re still using the finger touchpad on your laptop (who does that?), you probably have a mouse to complete your computer setup. Whether you’re a gamer, a graphic designer, an everyday computer user, or someone who just occasionally uses a computer for email, a mouse is likely an essential part of that process. From the minute you start your machine, you will use a mouse to direct your computer to do just about everything you need.
So how long does a computer mouse last? The simple answer is – it depends on a number of factors. The main factor affecting the lifespan of a mouse is how often it is used. A mouse that is used every day for long hours will break down far faster than one that is used less frequently. If you’re a person who spends all day at their computer, working, gaming, or otherwise, you’ll probably want to invest in a good mouse that will give you all the features you need, and last you a good, long time.
Another factor contributing to the lifespan of a mouse is the care it receives. If you take good care of your mouse, cleaning it regularly and making sure it doesn’t become full of dust, it will last longer than a mouse that is used for months on end without any maintenance and cleaning. And of course, the quality of the mouse you buy will also play a role – don’t expect a cheap, generic mouse to last anywhere near as long as a high-quality one will.
How Long Does a Generic Computer Mouse Last?
A generic mouse is a cheap, mass-produced device, usually with a brand name you have never heard of. In fact, many obscure brands simply buy these cheap devices in large quantities from wholesale marketplaces and slap their own logo on them. In this way, rather than spending money on production, these companies can buy each mouse for about $2 and resell them at $7 to $12 or more on Amazon or other e-commerce stores.
If you buy a cheap, generic mouse, you will receive a one-year warranty with it, so you can be fairly sure the device will last at least that long.
At best, if you take good care of the mouse, you might get 2 to 3 years out of it, but it is highly unlikely to last any longer than that unless it is very seldom used and very well cared for.
How Long Does an Expensive Computer Mouse Last?
If you’re looking for a higher quality, more expensive mouse that will last longer and serve your needs better, you should be looking at well-known brands, such as Logitech, Microsoft, Razer, Roccat, and similar. The list is extensive, and these are just a few good brands.
Related: 12 Best Computer Mouse Brands for Gaming and Productivity
These mice tend to be made with higher quality components and batteries, ensuring a longer lifespan and better tracking, increasing your productivity or gaming enjoyment.
A good mouse could cost you anywhere between $30 and $100 or more, depending on features, build quality, and brand. Some are geared towards work, with programmable buttons to help streamline your day, while others are geared towards gaming with extra features designed to make the gaming experience all the more enjoyable.
Although these mice also usually come with only a one-year warranty, you can expect to get a far better lifespan out of them, usually between 3 and 5 years of heavy daily use, and possibly longer if well cared for and used less often.
Signs of a Failing Mouse
So how do you tell when your computer mouse needs to be replaced? There are a number of signs that your mouse might be failing, but not all of them are definitive. In some cases, your mouse might just need a good clean, and in others, the fault may even be with your computer.
If you are a daily user, and you have become accustomed to how your mouse works when it starts to deteriorate, you will certainly notice the problem very quickly.
1. Cursor Freezes
This could be a sign that your mouse is seeing its last days, but there are a number of other things that could also cause this symptom, including:
- An overheated or overloaded computer – check that you are not asking too much of your machine, and are only expecting what it is capable of. Close any software apps that you are not using, and if the problem persists, restart the computer.
- A loose or damaged cable or port – check the mouse wire coming from your computer, or in the case of a wireless mouse, check that the dongle is securely plugged in. Also, check that the USB port on your computer is not damaged or dirty.
- A low battery on a wireless mouse – if your mouse is wireless, try replacing or charging the battery before replacing the whole mouse.
If none of the above options have solved your problem, it might be time to replace your mouse.
2. Laggy Cursor
If you spend a lot of time using your mouse, either working long days or gaming for hours, you will quickly notice if the movement of your mouse’s cursor becomes laggy. It causes great frustration, no matter what you are doing, as it lowers your productivity and reaction time.
However, before you decide to throw your mouse in the trash, consider when last you gave it a good clean – perhaps it just needs some TLC and a little less dust.
Also, have a look at the surface you are expecting the laser to track on. A mouse will not track well on wood, white surfaces, or rough textures.
3. Jerky Mouse Movements
Random and inexplicable movements of the cursor on your screen can only be explained by one of two things – either the mouse is sitting on a surface with a rough texture, like wood, and the laser is struggling to find a good place to focus (this is easily fixed by getting a good mouse pad), or the mouse is on its way out and needs to be replaced.
First, try moving the mouse onto a different surface and see if the problem goes away, and if not, head out and get yourself a new mouse.
4. Mouse Stops Working
If your mouse suddenly stops working or starts turning on and off at random intervals with the laser light going on and off with it, you could be facing something as simple as a flat battery or a glitch, or it could be time to replace your mouse.
In the case of a wireless mouse, start by replacing the battery, and for a wired mouse, unplug it and plug it back in. Restarting your computer may also help. If none of these solutions do the trick, it’s most likely time for a new mouse.
5. Buttons Don’t Work Well
Even the most entry-level mouse comes with at least two buttons and a scroll wheel in the middle. If your mouse is higher-end, or if it is intended for a specific purpose, such as gaming or graphic design, it may have extra programmable buttons on the sides and top.
If any of these buttons stop working, then chances are your mouse has had it. It is very little you can do about mouse buttons that stop working, as a mouse is not easily taken apart for cleaning, and is even more difficult to put back together. You could give it a try, but you’ll likely end up replacing the mouse anyway.