Posted in: Mice

Thumb or Finger Trackball Mouse: Which Better?

Last Updated on November 18, 2022

In this post we will compare Thumb or Finger Trackball Mouse in detail. What are the differences between these two types of trackaball and which one is more appropriate for you.

There is no denying the use of treckball using the thumb has a better level of ergonomics. But does this apply to everyone? How about a trackball operated with a finger other than your thumb?

This is one of the important things that you should pay attention to about finding the best way for your hand when using the trackball efficiently. There are 2 different ways to use the trackball, namely using the thumb and finger.

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Both ways of using this trackball depend on the conditions you apply it. Whether you use the trackball to play games, or for other creative activities. There may be several types of trackball that will suit you according to the size of your hand. How you use the trackball with your thumb and finger depends on the design and size of the trackball itself, so let’s see which is the difference between the two.

Thumb Trackball
Thumb Trackball

What’s the Difference Between a Thumb and Finger Trackball?

After deciding to use a trackball, the next question is: do you want to use a trackball that can be moved by many fingers, or one that is moved by thumb?

Thumb trackball usually has a shape similar to a mouse in general. Because the shape is more familiar, the adjustment period to be able to use the thumb trackball will be shorter.

Logitech MX Ergo

Based on the information I read on the internet, using a thumb trackball can cause De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis. A condition that causes pain when moving the thumb. Of course, everyone’s circumstances can be different, as many people on the forums said they didn’t experience this problem despite using the thumb trackball for a long time.

While finger trackballs usually have a more flexible design to be used in many ways, and can be used by left-handed people. We can use almost all of our fingers to move the trackball, or we can use our palms if we wish. More varied.

Finger Trackball
Finger Trackball

Another difference is in the size of the trackball. Thumb trackballs tend to be smaller in size than finger trackballs.

The size of the trackball has an effect on how often we have to rotate the trackball to move the cursor. A large trackball size will be better for those of you who use high-resolution screens or multi-monitor setups.

Why Kensington Expert Wireless?

I decided to buy Kensington Expert Wireless for several reasons:

  • Finger-operated trackball. I decided to avoid the risk of sore thumb.
  • Large trackball size. I use dual monitors, so it would be better if you use a trackball with a diameter of 55mm.
  • Bluetooth. I want to reduce the number of cables available, but my laptop only has one USB-A port. So I’m looking for a wireless trackball that supports bluetooth, not one that only uses a wireless receiver dongle.
  • Four buttons that can be customized easily and flexibly.

Disadvantages of Kensington Expert Wireless

  • Its large size makes this Kensington Expert not easy to carry around.
  • Scroll ring which in my opinion is not very smooth. Fortunately there is a way to be able to scroll using the trackball. I’ll tell you how in the Tips & Trick section.
  • There is no silent version. Before this I was used to using the Logitech M590 silent mouse.
  • The trackball should be cleaned regularly. Need more maintenance than a regular mouse.

Under the trackball, there is a fairly large cavity. Inside there are several bearings to support the trackball, and there is also a laser to read the movement of the trackball itself.

This cavity will definitely get dust, because it must be cleaned regularly. The trackball support bearings should also be cleaned regularly to keep the trackball rolling smoothly.

Finger Trackball Tips & Tricks Using The Kensington Expert Wireless

Raising angle

If needed, we can elevate the angle of the trackball a little by propping up one side.

With this we can use the trackball with a more upright hand position. Like combining the best things from a trackball and a vertical mouse.

Use track scroll

The scroll ring in Kensington Expert is actually OK, but in my opinion the quality should be even better. Moreover, the price of this trackball is not cheap. I was expecting more on this side.

Luckily Kensington Expert has 4 programmable buttons. So we can have one additional option for scrolling.

First of all, we have to install the KensingtonWorks application.

As can be seen from the screenshot above, I changed the function on the top left button to Track Scroll (Navigation > Track Scroll).

Click the Track Scroll button once to scroll using the trackball, and click the Track Scroll button again to turn off the function.

Scrolling using a trackball feels smoother and more satisfying than using a scroll ring. I still use the scroll ring for scrolling in general, but if I’m scrolling on Twitter/Instagram/Reddit, for example, it’s better to use Track Scroll.

Use with non-dominant hand

My main purpose in buying this trackball was to reduce the pain in my right wrist. The Kensington Expert Wireless was my first trackball, and it happens to be a neutral design for both right and left handed use.

While I was browsing the /r/Trackballs sub-reddit, one comment suggested trying the trackball with your non-dominant hand.

Try learning to use it with your weaker hand, you might surprise yourself.

Easiest way in my opinion is doing tasks that don’t require much precision / speed (e.g. web browsing), and on a system with an alternative way of moving the cursor (like a laptop’s touchpad) so you can take over with the dominant hand for tricky little buttons.

But in a matter of weeks you’ll probably have basic proficiency with both hands, which is good to reduce strain.

/r/Trackballs sub-redd

I was so curious to try. It is calculated to practice the hand position that has been used less frequently, as well as to rest my aching right wrist.

Right now I’m using a trackball with my left hand. Turns out it’s not as difficult as I thought, I just needed to swap the left-click and right-click buttons in the KensingtonWorks app.

After my right wrist heals, I plan to use this trackball alternately with my right and left every month to reduce the risk of wrist pain.

It’s a different feeling to use a trackball, especially if we’ve been used to using a mouse for a dozen years.

I feel that the mouse is still superior in terms of speed and precision, so I don’t think this trackball is suitable for gaming (although some are planning to release a gaming trackball). Luckily I don’t play a lot of games on the computer anymore.

Since using this trackball, I feel that the pain in my right wrist has decreased. It’s not completely gone, but I have high hopes that this pain will get better soon because I started using this trackball with my left hand.

If you are also experiencing the same pain, maybe this can be an option.

Some things to consider before buying a trackball mouse

Design and Ergonomics

Design and dimensions are the main differences in the trackball that uses the thumb and the trackball that uses the fingers. In addition, the shape and number of buttons are also different.

Thumb-operated trackballs have the trackball positioned on the side, either left or right depending on which trackball you buy for right or left hands.

For ergonomics, this depends on the user and the shape of the hand. There are users who are more comfortable using their thumbs and there are also those who are more comfortable using their fingers.

The size of the thumb trackball is usually similar to a regular ergonomic mouse which can help your hands be supported naturally in a fairly ergonomic position. It also provides the same grip as an ergonomic gaming mouse.

While the finger-operated trackball has the trackball position usually at the top and right in the middle. In trackball size, finger trackball has a larger ball.

Trackball design like this can provide more usage options. Can use 2 or 3 of your fingers. In size, the finger operated trackbal is larger than a regular mouse.

With the trackball positioned in the middle, you have the option to use both of your hands. Left and right can be used on this type of trackball mouse.

Trackball Size

Thumb-operated trackballs with the trackball on the side are usually smaller in size than finger-operated top-center trackballs.

Generally, the thumb has a wider range of motion compared to other fingers, this will greatly facilitate operation with the thumb feeling easier and more flexible. While the size of the trackball is larger and in the middle, you can use 2 to 3 fingers, when one feels a little tense.

Finger-operated trackballs tend to be larger in size than thumb-operated trackballs. Using a trackball whose position is in the middle of the top will take advantage of the movement of your arm to move your fingers.

With a wider surface and larger ball diameter, it will increase accuracy when using a trackball that is in the center of the top.

Are You Right Handed or Left Handed

The finger-operated, center trackball can be operated with both left and right hands. While the thumb-operated trackball is on the side. You have to buy the trackball on the left if you are right handed, and the trackball on the right, if you are left handed.

But on the market, more are available for the right hand. So for those of you who use the left hand, we recommend that you buy the finger trackball only, because it is more flexible.

Accessibility and Ease of Use

For accessibility we prefer a finger trackball over a thumb trackball. This is because the trackball finger can be used with both of your hands in turns. Yes, you just need to get used to it.

As for ease of use, the trackball thumb is indeed easier, because it has a design, dimensions, and sizes that are familiar with ordinary ergonomic mice.

Then for the size of the ball, of course the trackball with a larger ball size is easier to use. finger trackballs are fast enough to find comfort, and finger trackballs tend to be more accurate because they have a wider surface than thumb trackballs.

Which is better side mounted ball or top mounted ball?

To Play Games

For playing games, we think the side mounted ball is better. because the side mounted ball generally has a size and design similar to that of an ergonomic gaming mouse in general.

For Productivity

Top Mounted ball is better to use for your productivity. The large ball design that has a wider surface can maximize the movement of your pointer. Top Mounted Ball trackballs generally have more programmable buttons.

In addition, the trackball top monted ball is more flexible to use. You can use your hands alternately.

For Other Uses Like Internet Browsing While Typing one Microsoft Office

Thumb trackball and finger trackball can be used for just about anything. But all back to the preferences of each user. Thumb trackball which has a design like a regular ergonomic mouse, seems to be better used for all needs, because the position of your hand will feel very natural and familiar with using a regular ergonomic mouse.

For Wider and Accurate Accessibility

Trackball finger seems better for this. You can use the trackball longer and farther because it has a larger diameter. Due to its wide diameter it gives you a wider touch surface and more room to move.

The number of buttons that are pinned are also more and larger than the thumb trackball. For those who are lazy to move a regular mouse, a finger trackball can be the right choice for work.

Budget Trackballs for Gaming

We recommend some trackballs that have the ability to play games on an affordable budget for you to consider.


This trackball has a larger ball diameter, you also get 8 function keys which can be programmed via the Elecom app. This trackball is priced at $60. Very suitable for playing games.

2. Logitech Ergo M575 New Version Wireless Trackball Mouse

One of the easiest trackballs from logitech to operate with a thumb. This trackball is very precise and accurate. For ergonomics, this is one of the best trackballs available today. This trackball is quite comfortable for playing games. The price is also quite affordable, you can buy it through this link.


For $36 you get a thumb trackball that feels very similar to the Logitech M575. I can safely say this is an inexpensive version of the Logitech M575 trackball. You get 6 programmable buttons which can be programmed via Elecom software.

4. Kensington Pro Fit Ergo Vertical Wireless Trackball (K75326WW)

The Kensington Profit Ergo Vertical Wireless Trackball (K75326WW) is a thumb trackball that offers excellent ergonomics and comfort. The size of the ball is just right for everyone’s thumb. If you have never used a trackball at all, you will quickly adapt to this trackball. You can buy this trackball at a fairly affordable price.


The M-XPT1MRXBK from Elecom is a very popular trackball. This trackball is often used to play games. This trackball has sizes and dimensions that are familiar with ergonomic gaming mice. The grip on this trackball is excellent for all hand sizes. You can buy this trackball through our special link at a fairly cheap price.

Budget Trackballs for Productivty and Casual use

1. ELECOM Wired/Wireless M-DPT1MRXBK

Having a large trackball design and a soft surface can make your accuracy better. This trackball is embedded with 8 programmable buttons. Perfect for everyday use and for work. You can buy this trackball via our special link.

2. Kensington Orbit Trackball Mouse with Scroll Ring

This is the finger trackball at the best price right now. This brand is also very well known for their finger trackball products which have smooth characteristics and extensive tracking. The large, blue spherical diameter of the ball is their hallmark. You can buy this trackball through our special link.

Thumb or Finger Trackball Mouse: Which Better for You?

We’ve outlined many of the factors you should consider when using a trackball. Now the choice is what you use the trackball for. If you use a trackball to play games, then the thumb trackball is the most correct choice. If you use the trackball for work and normal use, we recommend that you use the finger trackball.

With finger trackball you can be more relaxed, your left and right hands can swap tasks. While using a side mounted trackball you have to determine your hand which is most comfortable to use, left or right. The most important thing is that your process adapts to a trackball, because both types of trackballs have their advantages and disadvantages.

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