Pain-free with a Logitech MX Vertical Mouse

Sun, Jun 20, 2021 4-minute read

When I spend my days programming, I don't often use a mouse. I have a nice keyboard and use as many keyboard shortcuts as possible so that I rarely move my hands away from it. I'd been doing a lot of non-programming work lately, though, involving clicking around in a lot of spreadsheets and the like.

All that mousing and clicking had been killing my wrist. I'd been using an Apple Magic Mouse that I use to like, except that using its touchpad-style "buttons" required rotating my hand inward to place my hand flat upon it. As it happens, twisting my hand that way while clicking and scrolling is a recipe for pain. It had gotten bad enough that I was starting to weigh my medical options.

One day a friend happened to mention his new vertical mouse. A what? I hadn't heard of such a thing. However, it instantly made sense. The device is built like a regular mouse, although on its side at an angle that's close to the natural position my hand is in when I raise it to desk height. A little research narrowed the options to three main candidates:

  • The Anker 2.4G Wireless Vertical Ergonomic Optical Mouse has good ratings, but doesn't support Bluetooth and has buttons that aren't supported on my Mac. I know myself well enough to accept that I'd inevitably lose the little USB wireless adapter, and having buttons I couldn't use would drive me bonkers. The price is amazing, though.
  • Evoluent makes a whole range of vertical mice, and they're available in several sizes. For example, the Evoluent VerticalMouse D Medium is available in small and large, too. I was irked that it was almost impossible for me to find which version of their mouse was the newest (answer: they're in order 3, 4, C, then D… I think?). These were the most expensive commonly recommended vertical mice I found, and although they're said to be well made, a lot of reviewers disliked their slick metal finish. Worse, only one old version 4 model supports Bluetooth. I skipped the Evoluent mice, although they have a lot of happy reviews and I'm sure they're nice.
  • I ended up with the Logitech MX Vertical Wireless Mouse. Yay for Bluetooth! Yay for all buttons being fully supported on my Mac! Yay for not being the most expensive option I looked at, for once!

Setup was a breeze and the Logitech mouse configuration app worked fine on my Big Sur system — minus a warning that the mouse and any Logitech keyboards might be unavailable right after a reboot if they're connected via Bluetooth and FileVault drive encryption is enabled. If my mouse or keyboard wasn't compatible with drive encryption, I'd take it out in the backyard and burn it. Luckily, that wasn't the case for me. Instead, I was happy to find that the app supported binding a large set of gestures to various mouse buttons, including all of the ones I'd been using on my Magic Mouse. I expected to have to dig into Keyboard Maestro to configure it the way I was used to, and while I still might, I liked that I don't have to.

The mouse itself felt great in my hand. It's hefty enough to feel substantial and have some inertia as I move it around, yet light enough to be comfortable. The buttons are placed conveniently for my medium-sized hand, which is important because you lightly grip it instead of laying your hand on it like a regular mouse, so everything needs to be reachable when your hand is wrapped around it. The new hand position felt very odd at first but I grew accustomed to it after a couple of hours.

Most importantly, my wrist stopped hurting almost immediately. I was used to wincing when I picked up my old mouse and that pain completely stopped. Yes, completely. If I had known that a tiny change could end the constant aching, I would have tried this experiment long ago. Although the Logitech MX Vertical mouse is more expensive than most normal mice, I would happily pay 10 times its price not to hurt at work anymore. I'm thrilled that I didn't have to.

I love my new vertical mouse. After only a few days of using it, I doubt I'd go back to a traditional model.