We examine the best ergonomic mouse for health minded online ESL teachers
Best Ergonomic Mouse for Online ESL Teachers
Finding the best ergonomic mouse can significantly help to alleviate one of the major downsides and health concerns of working online, repetitive strain injuries. Moving a mouse, typing on keyboards, and all of that TPR that online ESL companies expect you to perform can really do a number on your hands and wrists. Let’s take a look at what an ergonomic mouse can do to help as well as what you should be looking for in the best ergonomic mouse before you buy.
Why should I care about the best ergonomic mouse?
I’ll be completely honest here. I’ve never seen the importance or need for ergonomic hardware. For over five years I’ve been a writer and have never had many problems with my joints or pains from repetitive strain. However, at the end of 2016, I began working as an online ESL teacher to help supplement the money I was making writing.
I went from spending 2 to 3 hours a day behind a computer working on articles and typing (along with general computer usage) to spending over 6 hours a day typing, teaching, and performing other tasks on a computer. As I work 7 days a week this time has added up over that year and a half to what has become a minor repetitive strain injury.
My pointer and middle finger on my right hand hurt throughout the day and my right wrist hurts from poor positioning when using the mouse pad on the computer I use for online ESL teaching. A major hindrance for me as it affects many things I do throughout the day. Writing articles (such as this one) hurts. Doing push-ups and other exercises that require the use of the wrist such as kettlebell exercises hurts.
All of this, I found out later after looking around and talking to other people I’ve known who have had similar issues, could have entirely been prevented by using a proper ergonomic keyboard (discussed in a previous article), and a good ergonomic mouse.
As an online ESL teacher, you make hundreds and maybe even thousands of movements on your mouse each day. This is a repetitive movement that, if done with poor positioning, can easily cause you injury. Once an injury occurs it’s going to stay that way until you do something to change the situation. So you can’t just keep teaching using your old mouse and expect anything to change.
If you are one of the lucky many who haven’t yet had a repetitive strain injury from your use of a non-ergonomic computer mouse then making the switch now can save you from having to experience a pretty painful injury that can affect your everyday activities. If you have already experienced a repetitive strain injury, then making the switch now can help to alleviate the pain you are experiencing and potentially help you to prevent another in the future.
What should I look for in an ergonomic mouse?
The most important thing to remember here is cheap doesn’t always mean good. Don’t let price be the first thing you think about when purchasing the best ergonomic mouse for you. You want something that is actually going to relieve strain from your fingers and wrist so if you purchase something that is cheap but doesn’t actually do its intended purpose then it will be useless and may even cause more problems if it puts your hand into an even worse position.
Instead, the very first thing you want to do is to think about your specific needs. Do you have large hands? You probably want to avoid an ergonomic mouse that is super small, for example. Buying something that isn’t suited to your specific needs is a sure way to add more discomfort, or at the very least annoyance, to your teaching experience.
You are ideally looking for something that completely changes the angle and positioning of your fingers and wrist. Many teachers now prefer to use laptop computers which come with a touchpad. The main problem these touchpads is that they don’t promote any sort of optimal wrist placement. Instead, most people simply rest their wrist on the laptop and use their pointer or middle fingers or a combination of both. This puts the majority of the strain on the tendons in the fingers and over time can lead to injury.
The best ergonomic mouse will change this up completely so that instead of putting the strain on your wrist and fingers it is more evenly distributed throughout your hand and relies more on your muscles instead to take the burden.
What is the best ergonomic mouse for me?
- The Microsoft Sculpt Edge changes the position of your wrist so that it is no longer resting on the desk or table and is instead lifted. This forces you to use the muscles in your arms and hand more than just using your wrist which alleviates much of the problems usually associated with computer mice.
- Users with both large and small hands have noted that the mouse is very comfortable and a great fit and size. If you have larger hands and have used an ergonomic mouse before yet had problems with your fingers being too long to comfortably click the buttons, this could be a good ergonomic mouse for you. If you are worried about the mouse being too big then rest assured other uses with small hands have mentioned this was not the case.
- The battery life is rated for up to 12 months so you can rest assured you won’t have any issues suddenly while you are teaching a class.
- The Blue Track technology that Microsoft uses in the Sculpt Edge ergonomic mouse does not work on clear glass or mirrored surfaces which may be an issue for some teachers. Be aware of this potential problem if your workstation is one of these.
- Mac users have complained about the windows button which is on the side of the mouse. On a Windows computer, this button allows users to access the start screen with one click. However, the button is not set up as a mouse button so it can only be used on Windows computers. When paired with a Mac computer the button instead registers as the CTRL button being clicked.
- The mouse is not Bluetooth so you will be forced to use up a USB port for the wireless dongle. If you are already strapped for USB ports this may not be the best option for you.
- The Jelly Comb MV009 is available for both right and left-handed users. Many other ergonomic mice, including some on this list, are only made for right-handed users. So, this is a great option if you are left-handed and have been struggling to find the right ergonomic mouse.
- The angle of the mouse forces your hand into a handshake type of position which is more natural than the average computer mouse or touchpad. This changes the muscles that you are using and where the tension is focused.
- This is the cheapest ergonomic computer mouse on our list so if you are extremely price conscious then this can be a great option for you without having to sacrifice quality.
- The forward and back buttons which have been added for browsing on the web do not work with Mac computers. These may register as different buttons on a Mac computer and may cause some issues if clicked by accident. This isn’t the best choice if you are one of the many Mac users out there.
- Some users with smaller hands have complained that this mouse was a bit too small for them. If you are worried about the mouse being too large it may be worth thinking about other options.
- Many users have complained that the vertical design of the mouse can be hard to get used to and that it took a few weeks to become comfortable.
- Perhaps one of the greatest pros of the MX Master 2S is Logitech’s cross-computer control. This allows users to control multiple different devices and transfer files between devices with ease.
- The rechargeable battery can go for up to 70 days on a single charge. This is in contrast to other mice on this list which need one or two triple-A batteries. This can be a major plus if you don’t want to have to replace batteries.
- The Logitech MX Master 2S utilizes Bluetooth as opposed to a wireless dongle like other mice on this list which means you will be able to keep your USB ports free and clear. The mouse also works on all surfaces unlike other ergonomic computer mice so you don’t have to worry about it failing to track if you have a glass desktop or mirrored surface.
- Some Mac users have reported significant issues connecting the MX Master 2S with a Mac computer. If you are a Mac user you will want to look into whether or not this device is fully compatible with your exact model computer.
- Many users have reported significant troubles with the horizontal scroll feature which is an extra feature of the mouse. While this won’t ruin the experience of using the mouse and in no way hinders the ergonomic benefits of the mouse it may put off some users.
- Some users have had issues connecting certain computers to the mouse using the cross-computer control feature. This may be dependent on the specific computer but can be an annoyance if this is a feature you are interested in using.
- Like the Jelly Comb vertical, the Logitech MX Vertical changes the way you use the mouse so that your hand is in a more natural handshake position. This relieves the strain from your wrist and fingers and can significantly decrease the risk of a repetitive strain injury.
- The rechargeable battery can go for 3 months on a single charge. Fast charge technology incorporated into the mouse also allows you to charge the mouse for only a minute and get 3 hours of use. This can come in handy if you are about to go into a class and need a quick charge to get you through.
- The mouse can be used via Bluetooth or through wireless dongle so if you are having trouble connecting via Bluetooth you can easily use the dongle or vice versa.
- Logitech MX Vertical is made for right-handed users. As of now, there is no version for users who are left-handed so if this is you then you may want to check out the Jelly Comb MV009 discussed above.
- This is the most expensive mouse on our list. If you are extremely cost conscious then you may want to look at an alternative such as the Microsoft Sculpt Edge talked about above.
- Some users have complained that this mouse is a bit too big for them to be comfortable. If you have smaller hands than this may not be the best option for you.
What are some final tips for finding the best ergonomic mouse?
The most important thing for you to remember is that you are going to have to find what works for you. What one reviewer says and finds comfortable may not be what you find comfortable. You need to think about your hand size, how you want to connect whether Bluetooth or dongle or wired, and what kinds of features you want your ergonomic mouse to have. Also, you will need to think about whether you want to use a vertical mouse or a more traditional positioned mouse. I ended up ordering the Microsoft Sculpt Edge to try to alleviate my wrist and finger pain as this will be the first ergonomic mouse I’ve used after over ten years of predominantly using touchpads. However, if you are a left-handed user or if you are worried about using your mouse with a Mac computer there may better options on this list for you.