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Best CADmouse vs Drafting mouse

Finding the best CAD mouse surged from an unexpected desire. Some of us at HTPD spend hours and hours 2D and 3D modeling and for a long time, we never stopped for a moment to evaluate the part the mouse was playing in the overall workflow and whether this could be improved or not.

Today, I went around the office, asking opinions about what the best mouse for CAD work would be if one were to be curious about the question.

One thing we had to agree on beforehand was the features which my colleagues and I thought were important to look at while searching the best drafting mouse.

What makes the best CAD mouse?

Number of buttons

I have spent a long time using 3 buttons simple Microsoft mouse, a cheap one but it did deliver. It was a little small and light compared to the Logitech M705 mouse I am using at the moment, one the reason I currently still miss it.

The least requirement for a CAD mouse are

  • right click

  • left click

  • scroll wheel

Just to emphasize on the fact that you would not be able to efficiently use any CAD software if your mouse does not have a wheel.

Extra buttons

Extra buttons are a really good way to customize some of the commands of the software such that you are able to activate a commonly use command from your mouse. A good shortcut indeed!

You can find mice with as much as 20 programmable buttons (Logitech G600), but personally, I prefer no more than 2 extra buttons and that will do it. I do a little of 2D design. I like setting one the button to activate the line command while using AutoCAD. This is very important to me! But having 20 customized buttons will simply be a nightmare to even remember what each of them was set to do.

If extra buttons are something you think will make your life easier while designing, you can go for mice like:

  • Logitech G600 (20 buttons)

  • Razer Naga MMO (12 buttons)

  • SteelSeries rival 500 MMO (15 buttons)

The shape of the mouse

Nowadays, we have a plethora of mouse shape on the market, and it is really hard to have an opinion about each of the shape if you have not really had your hand on them. One of my colleagues has a Microsoft flat mouse which he likes bringing along everywhere he goes, and I most say, that mouse looks really sexy but would make a really poor job if you were to use it for CAD work, fortunately, he is on the marketing team.

In terms of shapes, here are few common shapes

  • Normal shape: (This is how the conventional mouse was primarily designed to be. these types come in 3 main type of grips, the fingertip grip, claw grip and palm grip). I like using mice in a claw grip manner or fingertip grip manner depending on the size of the mouse. I can stand using a mouse in a palm grip manner. This makes me scared of big mice.

  • Flat shape: We have seen this with the Microsoft flat mouse. But believe me, this type of mouse will afflict fatigue to your hand and finger a lot faster than any other mouse.

  • Trackball mouse: I call these type of mouse the lazy man mouse. The Logitech M570 is one of the most popular trackball mice. This mouse is not meant to be moved around your desk. It sits in a fixed position and you will have to use the trackball to move the cursor on your screen. If you have carpal tunnel syndrome, you might want to give this type of mouse a shot.

  • HandShoe: HandShoe coming from the word Handshoe in German that means hand gloves really is shaped in a way your hand perfectly rest on the mouse. It is a simple 3 button mouse that was built to reduce fatigue while working with a computer mouse for long period of time. This will help carpal tunnel syndrome patients as well.

  • The Vertical mouse: The vertical mouse is one of the revolutionary non-conventional mice. You hold it as a joystick. They say this position is more natural for your hand than the position where your palm is facing the ground. An example of this mouse is the Evoluent VerticalMouse.

The mouse resolution

The mouse resolution is given in DPI (Dot Per Inch). This measure states how fast a mouse is responding to your moves. Any decent laser or optical mouse will do it. It is also to be remembered that you can adjust your mouse sensitivity on windows computer,

3D mouse

There are mice that are solely dedicated to 3D works. But those mice can't be used alone. These are secondary mice that will help CAD drafter that into 3D easily navigate in 3D. If you are interested in checking the 3D mice, you should check the following 3D mice:

  • 3dconnexion spacenavigator (cheapest in this category),

  • 3dconnexion spacemouse wireless

  • 3dconnexion spacepilot pro

Have you heard about the CADmouse by 3Dconnexion?

Few year ago, a german company going by the name 3Dconnexion released a mouse called the CADmouse. A mouse dedicated to CAD work. The CADmouse features:

  • 3 main buttons (the ordinary left and right click and a middle click called the dedicated middle mouse button)

  • 2 thumb buttons

  • A scroll wheel

  • A small button on top of the wheel allowing you to configure it to trigger your favorite command

Here is what I find amazing about the CADmouse.

The thumb buttons

The front thumb button is called the Quickzoom button as it allows to zoom with a single click on the button. To do that with the scroll wheel, you will have to spend something scrolling and adjusting the position of the pointer to help the CAD software zoom the needed area of your project.

I love this button for it helps zoom quick and with no hassle.

The back thumb button helps reverse the effect of the effect of the front thumb button. But unfortunately, this button makes no sense to me since scrolling to zoom out with practically have the same effect.

The dedicated middle click

This is one of the cool things about this mouse. You simply have to click on the middle button to pan. But this takes sometimes to get used to. The scroll wheel has forever been the way did this.

The gesture button

The gesture button is that button on top of the wheel. It helps access your favorite commands. You can program up to four commands to sit on this. And each time you will press it, you will select which of the four command you intend to activate.

Now come my legendary Logitech M705

Here, I am speaking only for me. I have been using this Logitech M705 for a while now and it does a good job. It has a rubberized groove on the right part of the mouse giving a nice feeling to my thumb every time I hold it. I have two nicely placed two thumb buttons, a two gear wheel (There is a button helping me to set the wheel to fast scroll or restricted scroll). No dedicated middle button though. But it is wireless, which I love most.

I would have opted for the CADmouse if there were a wireless version of it. But I guess we still have to wait for it.

Best mouse for AutoCAD

If you are more into AutoCAD, accessing command quick can enhance your work flow. I will try a mouse with multiple buttons to see how it feels and more importantly tried a mouse that afflict the less fatigue possible to my hand.

Best mouse for Solidworks

Maybe I am a little bias here, but I will suggest to go all in the Logitech M705. Nevertheless, let me know what your opinions are about this. Do you have a better mouse for Solidworks?

Final word

All in all, My favorite here are a simple 3 buttons mouse for casual CAD users and a CADmouse or a Logitech M705 for CAD drafter and if you are serious into 3D work and would like to give those 3D mice a try, you will want to check the 3dconnexion spacenavigator.

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