Use of a stylus is entirely a matter of personal preference and style. It is certainly not necessary and is grossly misleading to characterize it as "best," as if it's some kind of necessity.
I dare say my work qualifies as "professional" as anyone's but I personally have little to no use for a stylus in a vector drawing program. I find them awkward and tedious. If you use the very small handful of features which can take advantage of pressure-sensitivity, then obviously a stylus is advantageous for those features. That's more a matter of drawing style; certainly neither a matter of necessity nor of professionalism.
There is nothing Illustrator-specific regarding sideways scrolling. So if whatever mouse you chose provides for it by the wheel, then it will probably work in AI as it would in any other app. Just use whatever mouse you like. I like a small "notebook size" wireless optical mouse with decent resolution that works well on a desk surface without the need for a mousepad, and a model without a kazillion buttons that are too easy to inadvertently invoke. I typically buy the Microsoft branded "laptop" mouse with two buttons and a scroll wheel (not the 10-button ones), and use them for all my desktops and laptops. The scroll wheel scrolls horizontally when pressing Ctrl; zooms when pressing Alt. I use an even smaller mouse for my netbook, because it packs away well in the case.
But again, it's just personal preference.
I would love something that lets the wheel side scroll
Many mice do, regardless of price level.
In addition to what James said (I prefer a mouse with a tail for a three reasons), you may avoid/cure a mouse elbow and similar injuries if you:
- Always rest the edge of (the wrist and little finger of) the mousing hand on the table,
- Reverse the primary and secondary buttons (have the normal/left click to the right unless you are a left mouser).
A right mouser using the buttons normally will tend to rotate the hand so it becomes horizontal which is a strain in itself and (normally) leads to a hovering wrist which leads to even more strain (first bullet).
Even if the hand is rotated and the forefinger and long finger are used for left and right buttons, they will be spread a bit apart.
Especially if the forefinger is used for both buttons, as is natural if the edge of the wrift/little finger rests on the table, the spreading is greater and leads to strain (you may grasp the forearm just below the elbow and feel what goes on there when you rotate the forefinger away from the long finger).
Your reasons for preferring tail or no tail may be different from mine.
The only way to buy a mouse is to go to Office Depot or Best Buy or wherever you prefer and try the ones that they have. Most of them will side-scroll. Only some of them will feel right in your hand. Fwiw, I've had great luck with Microsoft's mice and currently I use a Logitech M510, but as I said, it's really up to the shape/size of your hand.
I disagree with the other posters a touch Waco tablet and stylus his great especially if you free hand drawing skills.
And the ability to pan and zoom with finger movements.
Just because some users don't relate doesn't mean it is not the right tool.
You should seriously check it outfit might really workout well for you.
Add some dimension to your performance.
It's very cool
Logitech G500 - best mouse I've had so far. Lots of extra buttons (if you need it) adjustable speed (on the mouse) and a button for unlocking the scroll wheel making scrolling superfast. Sideways scrolling and middle click on the wheel. It is perhaps a bit pricey but when you use it all day.... Link to Logitech
OMG! I gotta agree with Wade .... and the first poster in the thread.
A Wacom tablet is indispensable, whether for graphic work like AI or InDesign... for Photoshop I consider it an essential tool... and even for just navigating on your computer with every day programs like browsers or email. Fast and accurate... and I find much more so than a mouse.
I don't know how people do it, and especially in Photoshop. Forget about the benefits of pressure-sensativity, just do this: make a circle or freehand curved selection with a mouse. I'll bet that a Wacom user is already 3 circles/selections ahead of you.
A mouse for me after some 20 years of tablet use... is downright painful! The major benefit is that you do NOT get CTS from a pen.
Does your horizontal scrolling work continuously in Illustrator CS6 when you hold the tilt wheel? Mine isn't - just moves in small increments each time you tilt. Very annoying. Same mouse worked fine with AI CS5.
I'll put my two cents worth in on the Wacom tablet issue and say that if like me you learned to draw/design on a computer using a mouse and keyboard shortcuts and never really drew using pencil/pen and paper, using a tablet is horrible. You feel totally uncoordinated and the keyboard always seems so unaccessible.