There is nothing better than to completely immerse ourselves in the games that we love. But what if we do not have the right equipment to achieve the optimal experience? When it comes to gaming equipment in general, we have seen in many of our manuals that you can essentially upgrade your entire installation if you wanted to. Today, however, we wanted to focus on what you essentially use to dictate the entire game for you with your hands, the Best Gaming Controllers.
Whether you’re on Xbox One, PS4, PC or Mac, a smart device with iOS or Android, we have found The Best controllers for gaming to give you an upgrade to the backbone of our entire installation as a whole, so we have something that we are all regardless of our favorite game or system control.
List of the best gaming controllers
Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2
The best wireless gaming controller
If you use the Microsoft Elite Series 2 controller for more than ten minutes, you’ll understand why we ranked it number one. Everything about the Series 2 exudes luxury. The almost endless customization options give you an unparalleled level of control (pun intended) over your gameplay. Being able to tweak all aspects of the controller, such as d-pads, shift paddles, and joystick tension, is an absolute godsend.
The most significant changes in the Series 2 over the Series 1 (which we also loved) include a neat little carrying case that also doubles as a charging station for the controller’s new rechargeable battery with 40 hours of power. Finally, with Project Xcloud and Apple Arcade bringing some great games to mobile devices, you can easily pair the Series 2 controller via Bluetooth.
Spending $160 for a controller is a hard sell for most people, which is almost four times the price of an Xbox One controller, but if you’re a serious gamer who values performance and extreme levels of customization, the Series 2 is a no brainer and worth every penny. Overall, this is one of the best gaming controllers right now.
Sony DualSense Wireless Controller
The most impressive game pad around
The PlayStation 5 DualSense has a “you have to touch it to believe it” quality thanks to its new haptic motors and “adaptive” triggers, which can offer resistance under your finger. For example, firing a bow can really feel like firing a bow. The rumble is also easily the best and most nuanced we’ve ever felt in a controller. It really is as good as people say. The bad news: the most advanced features of the DualSense don’t work in PC games yet, because games have to be programmed to take advantage of them.
But Steam already offers full support for the controller, so at least it’s a breeze to connect and use it like any other pad. It’s slightly less comfortable than the Xbox Series X controller, and not as easy to use in non-Steam games, but if you prefer Sony’s analog stick layout or like gyro aiming, this is the controller to have. Overall, this is one of the best gaming controllers right now.
Xbox Wireless Controller
The most reliable game pad
The original wireless controller for the Xbox One was staple of PC gaming. With the release of the Xbox Series S/X, we were all curious to see how Xbox could improve an already great gamepad. This controller retains much of what we loved about the original. The very comfortable design with textured rubber grips makes it extremely comfortable to hold. Like the original, this controller has a superior D-pad that you can use in fighting games and platform games based on the Xbox One’s Elite Series controllers.
You may have noticed a new button in the middle of the controller; the much-requested Share button now lets you take screenshots and gameplay footage without having to delve too deeply into the menus. We use Wireless with a capital letter for a reason, not because the word is necessarily a noun, but because the Xbox Wireless controller uses Microsoft’s wireless protocol that it calls “Xbox Wireless.”
While the name could benefit from some creative work, you can take comfort in the fact that, post-2016, the Xbox Wireless controller graces us with a much-needed helping of Bluetooth compatibility. And now it’s practically standard fare for console transplants put off by the learning curve mouse and keyboard gaming presents. Overall, this is one of the best gaming controllers right now.
Sony DualShock 4
The motion controller
The DualShock 4 is Sony’s best controller to date, and lucky for us it’s compatible with Steam’s entire library of games. The DualShock 4 is very comfortable in the hand, has tactile analog sticks with just enough resistance, and perhaps the best directional controller ever. It also features motion technology that is compatible with a surprising number of games, so you can steer in racing games or aim in shooters by moving the controller.
There are a few problems, however. The exposed shoulder buttons make it easy to accidentally bump them against your desk. The rubber on the analog sticks also tends to chafe after prolonged use. Still, Sony’s controller is among the best options for PC gaming with a controller. Overall, this is one of the best gaming controllers right now.
Best budget PC controller
PowerA’s Spectra Enhanced wired controller is the closest thing to an Xbox One controller without actually being an Xbox One controller, at least in design. This is a budget controller that doesn’t feel or play like a budget controller. The edge lighting gives the Spectra some personality, and the 3-way trigger locks are great for competitive shooters. The Spectra would have scored higher, but the lack of any wireless connectivity is a major setback in the days of untethered gaming. Overall, this is one of the best gaming controllers right now.
Razer Wolverine Ultimate
Clicky with a side of Chroma
Razor’s Wolverine Ultimate might be the best gamepad around today, except for one critical disqualifying factor: it can’t be connected wirelessly to a PC. The Xbox-style gamepad offers many of the same luxury features as the Xbox One Elite wireless controller, such as an interchangeable D-pad and customizable back paddles. It’s also almost as expensive, which begs the question: Why not just buy one of these?
Well, it’s not for everyone, but the Wolverine Ultimate has its fair share of unique, downright enticing features. For starters, the face buttons – the ones with the letters A, B, X and Y – click like mouse buttons. This seemingly minuscule detail makes a world of difference. It’s as if you’ve only used membrane keyboards your entire life and then switched to mechanical switches. So while the included 10-foot braided micro USB cable takes some getting used to, tactile button presses are a worthy trade-off.
Of course, no Razer product would be complete without a healthy dose of Chroma, the company’s three-headed green snake that uses RGB lighting. However, instead of integrating it into the existing Synapse 3 app for Windows, Razer decided to develop an app specifically for Xbox One. So if you plan to use this controller for your PC, you should note that you will need a separate app to configure it. Overall, this is one of the best gaming controllers right now.
The ultimate budget solution
If you’re looking for the best PC controller that isn’t expensive, Logitech’s F310 is the best. The design and functionality may be simple, but there’s something to be said for the non-frills nature of this inexpensive option. Just plug it in via USB and you’re good to go. Given the abundance of customization options and features of all the premium controllers out there, the F310 is oddly refreshing. It also has an admirable directional pad and a great button layout.
As to be expected, the price point comes with some quid pro quo. First, the controller is quite light, which unfortunately makes the experience of gaming with it a brittle one. And since it has no wireless functionality, the corded interface may not be ideal for some. It’s also a tad small and larger hands will likely have some difficulty with it. Still, given these limitations, the F310 is a great choice for an inexpensive alternative to a mouse and keyboard. Overall, this is one of the best gaming controllers right now.
SteelSeries Stratus Duo
Ready to go out of the box
The SteelSeries Stratus Duo (read our review) may seem like a controller made specifically for mobile and VR headsets, but it’s also a solid option for gaming PCs. For $60, this wireless gamepad comes with its own 2.4GHz dongle, and it even has a built-in battery good for 20 hours of gameplay. Windows 10 also automatically recognizes the Stratus Duo as an Xbox controller, which means you don’t have to reset any buttons.
The only thing this controller lacks is rumble, but if you don’t mind the lack of haptic feedback, the SteelSeries Stratus Duo is a great controller that you can use with a lot of other devices. Overall, this is one of the best gaming controllers right now.
8Bitdo Pro 2
The best PC controller for retro game
Retro looks but modern functionality make the 8BitDo Pro 2 (read our review) a great option for playing classic games on PC (as well as new games). The front of the 8BitDo Pro 2 makes you feel like you’re playing on a classic SNES controller, but you’ll have a much better experience thanks to a modern ergonomic design, quality buttons, and a whole lot more. The 8BitDo Pro 2 controller supports a wide range of platforms and can connect to your PC via Bluetooth for 20 hours of wireless play, or you can opt for a wired USB-C connection.
The controls are standard Nintendo-style, but you can also customize the buttons to match the in-game controls. Meanwhile, you get PlayStation-style symmetrical analog sticks. The 8BitDo Pro 2 even supports motion control. And then there’s the ability to customize the buttons, change the behavior and axes of the sticks, and even adjust the depth of the trigger controls. Plus, there are two back paddles so you can keep your thumbs on the analog sticks.
Best for PC and Xbox
The nice thing about PC gamepads is that they are usually compatible with the Xbox One and Xbox Series X. The Scuf Prestige is no exception. It’s a well-built controller, with a matte black finish and a grippy bottom. It feels premium, and it also has some features that set it apart from competitors. The paddles on the back are my favorite. There are four that can be assigned to 14 different controller functions.
The paddles themselves are like hair pullers that rest under your fingers, so you don’t have to adjust your grip at all to use them. They are useful for games like Destiny 2 and Overwatch, when you need to juggle class skills. Overall, this is one of the best gaming controllers right now.
So, these are the best gaming controllers that you can buy right now. To make this list useful for every reader, we have mentioned all types of gaming controllers, whether you need one of PS4, or for PC gaming, or for your Xbox One. Smartphone gamers will also find this list helpful as we have mentioned the controllers for smartphone gaming too. Let us know your thoughts on this list by mentioning them in the comments box below.