An ergonomic mouse will keep you working comfortably for hours on end. On the other hand, a poorly designed mouse will cause pain in short order. Using a mouse is tougher on your wrist than a keyboard. Thus, you should make an ergonomic mouse your top priority. It also never hurts to have a mouse that improves your productivity while working.
For these reasons, I recommend the RollerMouse Red Plus (click here to check current price on Amazon). Contour Design created this mouse. It has several features that I have found extremely helpful over the past few years. I explain these features, along with a few minor drawbacks, below.
RollerMouse Red Plus – Features and Benefits
The RollerMouse Red Plus looks and feels like the “Mouse of the Future”. It looks nothing like a traditional mouse – perhaps because it is so far superior. This might sound like high praise, but once you try it, you won’t believe the difference. Check out the picture below to see the various buttons and their locations. I explain the buttons in detail below.
The “Button Bay” is a cluster of all the buttons on the RollerMouse Red Plus. This button bay is located just below the roller bar, which acts as the cursor control for the mouse. A description of each of the buttons, and the roller bar, follows.
How many times do you double-click in a day? The RollerMouse Red Plus can save you half of those clicks, courtesy of the Double-Click button. This button is located conveniently in the middle of the mouse, towards the bottom of the button bay. You can use it with either the right or left hand. I love that it allows me to open folders and files with one button. It also prevents that annoying “move-the-desktop-icon-instead-of-starting-the-program” problem that computer users are so familiar with. I cannot overstate this enough: you don’t know how awesome a double-click button is, until you have one.
Left and Right Click Buttons
These buttons are pretty self-explanatory. You can find these two buttons at the lower left and right of the button bay. This mouse has an advantage over a traditional mouse. You can left click or right click with either hand, or alternate during the day. You can do this without moving the physical mouse from your left to your right. The RollerMouse Red Plus is always directly in front of you, just below your keyboard. Using these buttons eliminates the strain from having your wrist in the “traditional mouse” position all day long.
Any good mouse has a scroll wheel, and the RollerMouse Red Plus is no exception. The scroll wheel is located in the center of the button bay. I find it extremely easy (and comfortable) to scroll with this wheel with either the right or left hand. You can also hold down the scroll wheel like a button. Then, you can move the roller bar up and down to scroll faster. This is helpful when you want to browse a bit and then scroll quickly to skip a mass of text.
Copy and Paste Buttons
I find it annoying when I have to constantly use the “Ctrl-C” (copy) and “Ctrl-V” (paste) shortcuts. With the RollerMouse Red Plus, you can copy and paste without moving your hands from the mouse. This also eliminates the need to use the keyboard for copy and paste. These buttons are located opposite each other, on the top left and right of the button bay. This makes it intuitive and easy to copy and paste: copy with the left, paste with the right. Sometimes, you are only able to use one hand, for whatever reason. For example, you might be holding a phone or a baby, or suffering a hand injury. In any case, these two simple buttons transform copy and paste from a chore into a joy.
Scroll Speed (Cursor or Mouse Sensitivity)
I know that you can adjust cursor speed within the operating system on your computer. However, that can be annoying. I can never remember how to do it, and I have to look it up. With the RollerMouse Red Plus, you can adjust the sensitivity on the mouse itself. There is a button located in the middle of the mouse, at the top of the button bay. This button allows you to change the cursor speed. There are five lights, which light up blue to indicate speed. One light means very low sensitivity (speed), and five lights means very high sensitivity (speed).
The first time you press this button, the lights go on, to indicate your current speed. (I keep mine at two). Each time you press the button while the lights are on, one more light comes on, to increase the speed. If you press the button when all lights are on, it goes back to one light. This feature helps you to begin working with the mouse quickly.
The roller bar is located above the button bay, and the top of the RollerMouse Red Plus. You can move this roller left and right to move the cursor left and right on the screen. This is very intuitive and similar to a traditional mouse, but much friendlier on your hands and wrists. You can roll the roller bar (push forward and pull back) to scroll up and down on the screen. As I will discuss below, there is a slight learning curve. However, the pain you save yourself is worth 2 days (at most) of learning a new device.
You can also press down on the roller bar to “click”, instead of using the left click button. I honestly don’t find myself doing this at all, but the feature is there if you like.
Look and Feel
The RollerMouse Red is very comfortable to use. Certainly the buttons mentioned above are helpful. However, don’t forget the hand and wrist rests. The padding is stiff enough to offer support, but not rock hard like a table. The device has a sleek look. Yes, it is larger than a normal mouse. However, it need not be at your left or right side. Instead, it can be right in front of you. This means it can go on your desk directly below your keyboard. It fits perfectly below a keyboard, and this is the setup I have for myself:
RollerMouse Red Plus – Drawbacks
In the interest of fairness, I will disclose a few drawbacks of the RollerMouse Red Plus. These are very minor, but I think it would be misleading to avoid mentioning them.
The price of the RollerMouse Red Plus is $265.00 as of this writing (June 15, 2018). The price is high, but for the value, I think it is a steal. I really believe that this is one area where you get what you pay for. I bought mine back in 2014, and here it is still working great in 2018. If it stopped working tomorrow, I would have paid $265 for 4 years of use, or $66.25 per year. That comes out to about $5.52 per month. This is worth the price to avoid the wrist pain that I experience with a traditional mouse.
If you save yourself from a day’s lost income by buying this mouse, then it will pay for itself. The reality is that this mouse will probably pay for itself many times over. In addition, if you are a 1099 contractor, then you can deduct the cost of this mouse. That might reduce the out-of-pocket cost by 30% or more, depending on your state. For me: 10% or more federal income tax, 15.3% self-employment tax, 5.1% Massachusetts income tax.
As a business owner, you might buy one for yourself and find out that you love it (I certainly do). Then, you can buy one for each employee, and then deduct the expense, while improving morale and productivity. This is one way to show your office workers that you care about their safety and productivity.
It takes a little time (very little) to grow accustomed to this mouse. First, you will need to make sure that you have it adjusted to the proper cursor speed. Once you have done that and practiced for a day or two, you should be fine. If you buy this mouse, try it, and become frustrated after 5 minutes, don’t give up! There is an awful lot of light at the end of a very short learning curve tunnel.
Like any mouse (or keyboard, or other hardware device), you should clean the RollerMouse Red Plus occasionally. Thus, cleaning is not a negative per se. The only caution I would offer is that this mouse is probably easier to break than a typical mouse. So, you need to be careful when taking it apart to clean. There is a page on Contour’s website detailing how to clean the mouse, including removing the roller tube. They suggest using a Q-tip and rubbing alcohol for the ends. They also suggest using compressed air for the inside of the roller tube.
After about 4 years of fairly heavy use, I needed to clean the mouse out. I took it apart as detailed in the link above. Then, I used compressed air to clean, and swabbed with a Q-tip and rubbing alcohol. Then I put it back together, and it is good as new, and very clean.
Conclusion – RollerMouse Red Plus
The RollerMouse Red Plus is my favorite, out of all the “ergonomic mouse solutions” I have tried. The design is incredibly forward-thinking, and I don’t know of anything else like it. If you can afford Netflix, then you can afford the RollerMouse Red Plus. (My Netflix costs $10.99 per month, and the RollerMouse Red Plus costs $5.50 per month over 4 years). This mouse has a great many benefits and very few minor drawbacks. It is likely to be the best investment in yourself that you will make in a long time.
If you are interested in learning more about the other tools I use, check out my resource page.