Wireless technology is typically billed as being a newer, cooler, more convenient alternative to our traditional plugged-in devices - but when it comes to your workspace, is buying a wired or wireless mouse and keyboard best?
Wired vs wireless in the workplace
If you’re deciding how to set up your workstation, the equipment you choose is an important factor. As two very everyday items, keyboards and mice need particular consideration. So, are wireless mice better than wired? Are wireless keyboards good, or unreliable?
Let's take a look at some of the pros and cons of both options to help you decide.
Pros of wireless USB mice and keyboards
There many reasons to opt for a wireless mouse and keyboard. Here are some of the main benefits:
Freedom to move
Most wireless USB mice and keyboards can be used at a distance of up to 30ft (9m) of the transmitter, with lag and disturbance from obstacles normally only being an issue towards the upper end of this range. The freedom to move further away is one of the key benefits of wireless mice in particular, useful for navigating through presentations, or collaborating on-screen with colleagues.
Easier to travel with
With a wireless USB keyboard or mouse, you don't need to worry about coiling up your wires (only for them to unravel and tangle up in your laptop bag) when you're on the go. Instead, you can instantly resume work when you're on the train, or out in a cafe - without having to scrabble around for USB ports on the side of your laptop.
If you're a minimalist, you'll love the way wireless keyboards and mice look clean and modern on your desk. You'll enjoy a clear, neat space without any wires taking up valuable room, or getting caught up with your other belongings.
Even if you enjoy a busier workspace, the absence of wires and cables will help you organise your space better.
Contributes to good workstation ergonomics
The neater and clearer your desk is, the easier it will be to position your keyboard and mouse for comfortable alignment and posture. Make sure both your keyboard and mouse are as central to your body as possible - twisting or leaning to reach for them can contribute to aches, pains and injuries over time.
Cons of wireless USB mice and keyboards
Despite their many benefits, there are some potential disadvantages to using wireless mice and keyboards to be aware of:
Slower and susceptible to interference
Although rare, wireless and Bluetooth mice and keyboards can run into interference, or be slightly slower than their wired counterparts. While generally unnoticeable, this may be a no-no for gamers or anyone who requires absolute precision with their work.
Can run out of charge
Because they're not plugged into a power source, wireless mice and keyboards inevitably require recharging. Generally their battery life is impressively long, but that doesn't completely eliminate the risk of being caught out and about with a dead mouse or keyboard.
If your mouse or keyboard is battery operated, you will need to keep replacing the batteries, which could be costly in the long run.
Pros of wired mice and keyboards
If you're planning to take your mouse or keyboard out with you so you can work ergonomically on the go, you don't want to suddenly run out of battery. Eliminate the risk entirely by opting for wired technology, which means your accessories will run off your laptop’s power.
Because your wired mouse and keyboard are plugged directly into your laptop or computer, you don't have to worry about lag or interference.
If you're looking for a low-cost option, you can often find wired mice and keyboards for less than wireless versions.
Some employers question the security of wireless connections; to eliminate all risk, opt for wired and plug your devices directly into your laptop or computer.
Cons of wired mice and keyboards
Lastly, our comparison wouldn’t be complete without taking in the disadvantages of wired keyboards and mice:
Not as tidy
Having wires all over your desk can spoil the neat aesthetic and even cause you to have to lean or twist to reach various objects. If you do opt for wired, try to keep your wires untangled to avoid damage.
More hassle to carry around
Wires add bulk and weight - especially if you're trying to travel light. They can also get tangled up with other items in your bag, making it more of a hassle to retrieve in public places like trains and cafes.
Have to plug in
Having a wired mouse and keyboard means that, if you're on the go, you have to keep plugging and unplugging the USB connection whenever you stop and start work. While not exactly a deal-breaker, if you're after convenience then wireless is the way to go.
Which mouse and keyboard is right for you?
There’s a solid case for opting for both wired and wireless USB mice and keyboards. Ultimately, to settle the wired vs wireless keyboard and mouse debate you’ll need to consider your specific needs and preferences.
If you're on the go a lot or like to keep a minimalist workstation, wireless may be for you. If you're a gamer, a designer, or anyone else who needs precision and reliability, then opt for wired.