Every little bit of performance measure adds up while gaming. Polling rate, measured in Hertz (Hz), measures how fast your mouse reports its position to your computer. For instance, a polling rate of 125Hz means that the mouse reports its position 125 times per second, or eight milliseconds.

How do I check my polling rate?

There are a few ways to check polling rate. You can either download software, like Mouse Rate Checker. If you’re looking for a quicker method, some websites tell you this information directly through the browser with just a few mouse swipes.

  • 125 Hz: Communicates its position to your computer 125 times every second, or eight milliseconds
  • 500 Hz: Communicates its position to your computer 500 times per second or every two milliseconds
  • 1,000 Hz: Communicates its position to your computer 1,000 times every second or every four milliseconds

Typically, the higher the polling rate means a decrease in lag when you move your mouse and when the movement shows up on the screen. Not to be confused with DPI, most mice are set to 125Hz right out of the box. From there, 500Hz and 1000Hz are standard increases.

What polling rate is best?

As mentioned, the polling rate of a mouse sends a refresh on the mouse’s location and how much data the sensor is picking up. If you’re using a 500Hz polling rate, it sends an update to your computer every two milliseconds. At 1,000Hz, it sends the update every one millisecond. So, 1000Hz must be better because it’s the fastest, right? Not necessarily.

There’s a point of diminishing returns. It’s similar to jumping from a 240Hz monitor to a 360Hz monitor. A substantial number increase, but you’re getting to a point where your eyes probably won’t notice much of a difference — for most people. A similar kind of phenomenon goes on with the polling rate.

Image via Razer

Speaking of monitor refresh rate, if your mouse is at 1000Hz and you’re playing on a 60Hz monitor, you might run into some issues, like input lag. This is because your monitor might not accurately display what your mouse is doing with a 60Hz monitor, affecting hand-eye coordination. Other system specifications affect the overall feel, like in-game frame rate, the game you’re playing, individual preference, to even the shape of the mouse.

There’s a slew of factors that come into play, so everyone’s experience with polling rate can play out differently. So, although 1,000Hz is faster, 500Hz might hit that sweet spot for many. Some also prefer 500Hz to 1000Hz because the higher polling rate makes their mouse feel more “sensitive”.

It’s recommended to play around with each polling rate value and determine what works best for you and the system you’re playing on.

How do I change my polling rate?

Most mouse manufacturers feature the option to alter polling rate directly within their software, like Razer Synapse, the Logitech G Hub and many others. If you have a Razer mouse, simply download and launch Razer Synapse, and navigate to Mouse > Performance > Polling Rate. From there, choose between 125, 500, or 1,000Hz.

A shot of the USB polling rate option in Pulsar’s wireless software. Image via Alex Walker / Dot Esports
Image via Devon Ledohowski

If your manufacturer doesn’t have this option, there are other ways to go about changing the polling rate. Keep in mind, trying alternative methods comes at your own risk. The reason is, if your mouse manufacturer doesn’t have the option to change the polling rate, you’ll have to do some digging around online to find a workaround, which might include downloading software from alternative websites.

Polling rate is one of many performance measures that have an impact on in-game performance. Changing the polling rate of your mouse can yield immediate benefits for some, while others might not notice much of a difference. All performance factors have an impact on in-game feel and play, which is important to understand when altering one factor out of many potential factors. Individual preference, type of game, and FPS can all have an impact on the extent of how much the polling rate alters performance. Regardless, altering the polling rate can easily be worth it.