If you’re looking for trackball mice, you will find two main differences: some people are comfortable using their Thumb to move the trackball, and others are comfortable using their fingers. At the same time, thumb trackballs like to be more ergonomic and easy to hold for some of those used to a traditional mouse.

A finger-operated trackball will provide more options and accessibility. Whether you want to play games, become more productive, or be online all day, there could be a good trackball. With various designs, let’s take a closer look at what else separates Thumb and finger-controlled trackballs. In this article, we will compare the Thumb vs. finger trackball mouse.

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

NameThumb TrackballFinger Trackball
By operatedRoll trackball with ThumbRoll trackball with Fingers
SizeSmall Trackball SizeLarger Trackball Size
DesignErgonomic DesignTypically Ambidextrous Design
LayoutButtons in More Traditional LayoutTypically Ambidextrous Design
Best ForMore Familiar for GamingMore Options for Productivity
AccessibilityLower AccessibilityHigher Accessibility

Design and Ergonomics of a thumb vs finger trackball mouse

Thumb vs finger trackball mouse compared

Design is the main difference between Thumb vs. finger trackball mouse. The main differences are trackball position, shape, and number of buttons. A thumb-operated trackball mouse has the aside-attached ball and is conventionally more ergonomic, designed to fit naturally in the shape of either the right or left hand. The curved shape fits your hand’s shape and helps your hand to rest in a more natural and less rotation position. They are often the same size as a traditional ergonomic mouse.

They even help with the same “grip styles” as a traditional or gaming mouse. If you have a large hand, you can still hold one of these in your palm naturally. A finger-operated trackball comes with a Top-attached trackball design. They tend to be ambidextrous (can be used by both left and right-handed) and more prominent in overall size, you will also experience ergonomic options.

The Top-attached trackball helps you operate one or two fingers to move the trackball and click buttons. This helps for more buttons and greater productivity and functionality in a mouse. Having a trackball in the centre also means more ball control options. One-handed, two-handed, and more creative options are all possible.

The Trackball Size

Thumb-operated trackballs like to be smaller in diameter because your Thumb has a much smaller range of motion than your fingers and wrists. This makes them easier to control than a larger top-mount trackball, but it will be less precise. Side-attached trackballs could naturally strain your Thumb and its joints more than finger-operated balls.

Top-attached trackballs come in different sizes, Mostly much bigger than thumb-operated balls. This also means you may have to use two fingers or added wrist/forearm motion to gain the same cursor movement. They are more precise as it has more surface area but may also need more labour to control. Top-attached trackballs could naturally strain your fingers and wrist more than thumb-operated balls.

Right-handed vs Left Handed

Side-attached trackballs are made for use with a thumb, and therefore have to be designed to fit either a right hand or a left hand, but not both. This also means that there are, unfortunately, a greater number of right-handed designs. If you’re a lefty, your options here are limited.

Top-attached trackballs are made to be finger-operated but come in both ergonomic and ambidextrous designs. It doesn’t matter whether you are a righty, lefty, or need something with greater accessibility because ambidextrous trackballs can be used in a variety of ways than simply with your thumb.

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Accessibility and Ease of Use

So far, we have discussed right hands vs. left hands trackball mouse and Thumb vs. finger trackball mouse. What if we don’t have the luxury of those? What if we need an option that doesn’t require “dexterity”?

That is where trackballs come in. You are not expected to grasp or hold anything to move the cursor like a traditional mouse with a trackball. The ball needs to be rolled somehow. Buttons need to be clicked. With many “finger-operated” top-mount trackballs, the buttons are large and oriented in a convenient manner. The designs can accommodate a broader range of use-cases. While “thumb” or “finger-operated” is the more common terminology, perhaps a more accurate and appropriate description would be “Top-attached” and “side-attached” trackball.

Which Style is Better?

For Gaming: Side Attached

A side-attached trackball will be the preferred option for most cases; This is especially true if you are more comfortable using a gaming mouse with a traditional button layout. Side-attached trackballs tend to be more ergonomic to hold and allow you to use your index and ring fingers to control right-click, left-click, scroll, and sometimes even DPI adjustment.

This means you won’t have to take time learning a new mouse layout, on top of learning how to use a trackball. A side-attached trackball will also be ideal for smaller hands in most cases. The more miniature trackball means a minor gesture can move your cursor a greater distance than a giant ball. A larger ball may have greater precision. With a majority of Top-attached trackballs, you may have to adapt your hand gestures to a larger trackball and a button arrangement that can be hard to get used to when all you want to do is game.

For Productivity: Top Attached

Top-attached trackballs are typically better for productivity simply because they are ambidextrous and tend to have more programmable buttons for added functionality. You can use it with a full-size keyboard or southpaw keyboard on either side or even in a stacked configuration like you might use a laptop’s trackpad.

For Casual Use: Preference

This is entirely up to personal preference and needs for casual use. While a side-attached trackball gives you a more natural angle on your wrists for RSI prevention, a Top-attached trackball can give you more ease of use by having a universal design and more buttons to customize. Interested in how position and placement affect your health and comfort, check out this guide on the best keyboard and mouse positions.

For Increased Accessibility: Top Attach

The Top-attached trackball is the undisputed winner for accessibility. For those who can’t use a regular mouse as a pointing device, the Top-attached trackball presents an option to use a mouse that is both affordable and widely available. The large diameter trackball and Top-attached position make it incredibly easy to use with various options and solutions.

With the globe located centrally on a large housing, the buttons are typically arranged around the trackball to make them more convenient to reach and use. The buttons’ functions are also often customizable and programmable so that you can create your easy-to-use layout. If a regular mouse wasn’t an option for you, perhaps a trackball can point you in the right direction.

Budget Trackballs to Consider

If you’re new to trackballs, you might want to try one without breaking the bank. Here are two great budget options you can consider:

Logitech M570 Wireless Trackball Mouse

The Logitech M570 Wireless Trackball Mouse prioritizes comfort and ergonomics above all else. This mouse is one of the best thumb-operated trackball mice on the market. The feature of this mouse will make your work smooth and hassle-free. It is designed and developed as per your preference. The price of this fantastic trackball mouse is affordable and reasonable.

Find it for a great price on Amazon.

Kensington Orbit Scroll Ring Optical Trackball

The Kensington Orbit Scroll Ring Optical Trackball is one of the Best Finger Operated trackball mice on the market. This Trackball Mouse is an ambidextrous design trackball mouse and can be used by both left-handed and right-handed users. It comes with a unique touch scroll ring that makes this mouse reliable and different from others.

You just have to slide your finger around the ball and find out the fantastic cursor speed. This Orbit Wireless Trackball Mouse has an optical tracking feature that provides superb cursor control with excellent precision. The price is also low if you compare it with another trackball mouse with this feature. The price looks a bit high for us. But still, this mouse is pretty much affordable.

Find it for a great price on Amazon.


With options like trackball position, trackball size, ergonomics, and accessible design, trackballs give you the freedom to choose what fits your needs the best. Whether you want to be working hard or hardly working, there is a trackball that will help you reach your goals. Thumb? Finger? Neither? Any way you roll, you can’t go wrong with a trackball mouse. Side mount? Top Mount? Any way you go, we hope this helped you decide what your favourite position is.

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