Best PC Controllers for Gaming (2020)

Let’s face it doesn’t matter how hardcore of a PC gamer you are, some game genres are better played with a controller. While the keyboard and mouse dominate on FPS, sometimes you’re going to need a gamepad, and we have a list of best PC gaming controllers in terms of comfort and compatibility, Bluetooth & wired.

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Top Pick
DualShock 4 Wireless Controller for PlayStation 4 - Magma Red
Microsoft Xbox One Elite Wireless Controller Version 1
Razer Wolverine Ultimate: 6 Remappable Multi-Function Buttons and Triggers - Intrchangeable Thumbsticker and D-Pad - Razer Chroma Lighting - Gaming Controller works with Xbox One and PC
Steam Controller
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PlayStation 4 Controller
MS Xbox Elite Controller
Razer Wildcat Controller
Steam Controller
Prime
Top Pick
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DualShock 4 Wireless Controller for PlayStation 4 - Magma Red
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PlayStation 4 Controller
Prime
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Microsoft Xbox One Elite Wireless Controller Version 1
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MS Xbox Elite Controller
Prime
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Razer Wolverine Ultimate: 6 Remappable Multi-Function Buttons and Triggers - Intrchangeable Thumbsticker and D-Pad - Razer Chroma Lighting - Gaming Controller works with Xbox One and PC
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Razer Wildcat Controller
Prime
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Steam Controller
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Steam Controller
Prime

Best PC Controller (Overall)

The DualShock trackpad is what’s sets it apart from similar controllers. Acting like a button itself, it’s more like a diving board as there’s a space between the end of the button and the body of the controller.

Pros:
  • ​Great look and feel
  • ​Built-in speaker
  • ​Highly sensitive motion sensors
Cons:
  • ​Share and option buttons are a little bit too far away
  • ​Track pad has some minimal deficiencies
  • ​Requires unofficial software for PC use

Compatibility: PC, Android, iOS, PlayStation

Since its release back in 2013 together with the PS4 console, there have been plenty of updates to the controller since then, with also plenty of potentially better designs from rival tech companies. Regardless, years down the line after its inception, it’s still just as appealing to the eye as it is to the hands.

With its notable ergonomic design, the game-play is definitely topnotch and intuitive, making you feel comfortable. Just like the rest of the design, the buttons have a buttery quality thus the response time is excellent ​crowning our top choice for a PC gamepad.

Trackpad

The DualShock trackpad is what’s sets it apart from similar controllers. Acting like a button itself, it’s more like a diving board as there’s a space between the end of the button and the body of the controller.

Recent updates to the track-pad have seen it has a handy redesign, which now has a light bar above it thus adding an extra dimension to your games as it glows different colors for different kinds of action, in addition to showing you when it needs charging up.

Motion and Sound

With the built-in speakers, the gameplay feels more immersive than before, although there isn’t much to expect in terms of best-in-class audio quality from a controller. However, it certainly adds to the gameplay and the audio you hear from your monitor.

Furthermore, there’s a 3.5mm stereo audio jack for your headphones if you feel like listening to all the important additional sound effects in private without interference.

With nothing new about the integration of both an accelerometer and a gyroscope, they both are highly sensitive thus ensuring a more accurate and enjoyable gameplay.

Related: If you own and iPhone, iPad or any iOS device, you should give our review of the best iPhone gaming controllers a read.

Related Top 5 Buying Guides

Alternative PC Controller

Quite possibly the best controller for PC gaming, if you’re not a fan of PlayStation controllers, grab this controller and get button mashing.

Pros:
  • The Elite is absolutely versatile as a result of the interchangeable sticks and four extra button
  • Incredibly comfortable
  • Hair triggers
Cons:
  • Navigation in the app is cumbersome
  • Not rechargeable
  • Paddles aren’t macro buttons

ControlPad Compatibility: PC, Android, iOS, Xbox

Regardless of the lavish and pro-only price suggests, the Microsoft Xbox Elite Wireless controller has an appealing look that every gamer can enjoy. Its rubberized grips coupled with a cool touch finish and stainless-steel components makes the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller one of the most comfortable controllers in the market.

The controller has paddles located on the back that when assigned the function of any face button, it helps control sensitivity levels. In addition, the control pad works on PCs running Windows 7 or higher, simply by plugging it in. The ease of use and ergonomic design make the Xbox Elite our top runner up for the best PC gaming controller. If you want a hassle free controller for PC gaming then grab the Xbox elite as it requires NO additional software setup – it just works in Windows.

Performance and Xbox Accessories App

Having the distance on the right trigger, one is to shoot non-automatic weapons faster, and crouching becomes quicker upon mapping it to one of the back. Paddles.

Racing games have more dynamic experiences while using the Elite controller, an example being Forza Horizon 2.

When it comes to the paddle buttons and stick sensitivity, one size doesn’t fit all and to that effect, Microsoft released an Xbox Accessories app that allows you to set up customized profiles on the controller. In addition, the app also allows you to assign functions to the paddles. On the downside, the app doesn’t allow you to set a string of buttons to the paddles

While the controller can save two profiles at a time, switching between them is pretty simple.

Design

The Microsoft Xbox Elite Wireless controller is heavier and more comfortable than the standard Xbox One pad. The rubberized grip and the amazing matte finish ensures comfort.

On the face of the controller, there are three magnetic interchangeable parts, the d-pad, and the two thumb-sticks. The concave rubber pads are the standard sticks which are familiar with the Xbox One, while the other options include convex PS3-style sticks or extra-long, arcade-style pieces.

The d-pad comes in two types: a standard cross or the new 360-degree design, with the former being more comfortable than the latter, though the latter comes in handy too.

The six other face buttons – share, menu, A, B, XY – aren’t any different than their standard controller counterpart with the exception of their color: they’re all jet black.

Spinning the controller around, you’ll find the four aforementioned paddles, named P1, P2, P3, and P4.

If you aren’t comfortable with the paddles, you can either detach them from the controller or simply disable them by pressing the sync button located at the top of the controller twice, as such, Microsoft has definitely changed the game.

In addition, the lock mechanisms for the triggers that allow you to halve the press of the left and right trigger buttons are also present here

The last feature worth mentioning is that it comes alongside with a USB cable to connect it to your PC and two AA batteries.

Looking for the best PC controller games? Give our review of the best games of PC to play with a controller a read and get button mashing!

Best Razer Controller

The Razer wildcat Xbox One and PC controller is built for those with e-sports aspirations.

Pros:
  • Lightweight
  • Built-in audio controls
  • Easy to program / Useful and intuitive extra buttons
Cons:
  • Handgrips not built to perfection
  • Swapping out triggers requires a tool / Limiting the D-pad
  • Expensive

Compatibility: PC, Android, iOS, PlayStation

The Razer wildcat Xbox One and PC controller is built for those with e-sports aspirations. Inclusive of four re-mappable extra buttons and built-in audio controls and optional grips designed to keep you glued all the time, the razer wildcat is definitely geared towards professional gaming. Coming with a ton of useful features for competitive players, this premium pad is a gem worth having, despite a few design drawbacks which keep it from being truly ready for the big leagues.

Design and Comfort

The Razer Wildcat puts a clear focus on function over form. Save for its colored face buttons, the Wildcat sports a simple, all-black design that’s complemented slightly by Razer’s snakelike logo on the bottom right.

Once you attach its sporty-looking neon-green rubber grips, the Wildcat becomes comfier and easier to hold through their implementation feels cheap. The grips attach to the gamepad via an adhesive material.

With the Wildcat’s design nowhere near as cozy or cohesive as Microsoft’s Xbox One Elite Wireless Controller, which is coated entirely in a soft-touch material with rigid grips built into the back, the Wildcat however feels nicer with lesser weight advantage over the elite. Razer’s 9.2-ounce pad is notably lighter than the 12.3-ounce Elite and just a bit heavier than the default 8-ounce Xbox One controller. Some players might prefer the Elite’s heft, but the Wildcat is less likely to give you hand fatigue after hours of play.

Controls and Customization

The Wildcat sports four extra inputs that you can program in whatever way you like in addition to its standard array of thumbsticks.

While the M1 and M2 buttons provide two extra bumpers for your pointer fingers, the removable M3 and M4 keys serve as extra triggers in the rear.

By simply holding down the remap button at the bottom of the Wildcat and holding down the M key you want to program and then tapping whichever button you want it to mimic, mapping the extra buttons is definitely a cinch. The pad will then rumble to confirm your selection, and the M button will start performing its new function instantly. You can create up to two custom button configurations using the pad’s profile switch button, and you can remap the controls at any time — even in the middle of a heated Halo match.

While it’s easy to remap the Wildcat’s buttons on the fly, physically customizing them takes a bit more work. The removable M3 and M4 triggers have to be unscrewed via a tool that comes with the controller. This ensures that the triggers won’t fall out while you’re playing, but it also makes them difficult to swap out in between rounds. But compared to the magnetic, easily removable rear paddles on the Elite controller, the Wildcat’s screwed-in triggers seem like a mild inconvenience.

The Wildcat’s face buttons feel snappier and more mechanical than the Elite’s, making it easy to mash them repeatedly when you need to get out of a tight spot.

One of the Wildcat’s most distinctive features is the Quick Control Panel, located just above its headset jack. In addition to button-remapping and profile-switching buttons, the panel features audio controls for muting your headset’s mic and adjusting the game/chat volume balance.

Gaming performance

While it may take time to get used to the Wildcat, its lightweight design and extra controls proved their worth in the heat of battle. The premium pad seems tailored primarily to shooter players. The extra triggers and bumpers make it possible to do things like run, jump and change weapons without ever taking your thumbs off the sticks, which is crucial for players seeking complete control over both combat and movement.

The Wildcat’s trigger locks allow you to lower the travel on either trigger and to fire faster in shooting games. The feature requires just a quick flip of a switch and makes it extra easy for you to rapidly unload rounds from your magnum. One thing to keep in mind, though, is that you should activate the Wildcat’s hair-trigger mode (which heightens the triggers’ sensitivity) before using the locks. If you don’t, you’ll have to squeeze harder to register a shot, which isn’t something you want to worry about during competitive play.

The Wildcat ditches the standard, unified D-pad design in favor of four independent directional buttons. This layout makes sense for shooter players looking to pinpoint the right direction when changing grenades or calling in airstrikes, but it’s less-than-ideal for other genres, especially fighters.

Best Steam Controller

Hands down the best steam gaming controller, well built and reasonably priced. If you’re not invested in any of the console form factors, check out this controller.

Pros:
  • Highly configurable control mapping
  • Can be used to control mouse-keyboard games
  • Gyroscope and accelerometer make for superb motion control
Cons:
  • Niche utility and a big learning curve
  • Not as precise as keyboard and mouse
  • The design isn’t very comfortable

Compatibility: PC, MacOS, Steambox

When it first came out, the Steam Controller brimmed with potential. The atypical touchpad setup and customization options set the Steam controller on top. Precision on mouse and keyboard was also a guarantee courtesy of the touchpads’ tweakable sensitivity.

However, its distinguishing feature is the loadout system. The Steam Controller lets you customize what each button and axis do on a game-by-game basis. You can then share any control scheme you make with the Steam community.

Design

The Steam Controller’s design is more like a beast, not wildly wider or taller than the Xbox One or DualShock controllers. It is a lot fatter, with the handgrips curving into your palm rather than away from it, together with four face buttons which are smaller than those on the Xbox One controller.

The analog sticks on the Steam Controller are solid with enough stiffness for precise movements, with the rough-rubber top providing plenty of grips too. With two additional paddles tucked away beneath the controller, just where your little and ring fingers rest, it’s definitely great to have a couple of extra buttons that are easy to use.

Steam’s Big Picture Mode is a layer that takes over Windows and makes your PC all about gaming. Coupled with its own browser and YouTube app, its core is about getting you into a game with a minimum of fuss.

Performance

With the dual trackpads, the Steam controller trades the second analog stick and the D-pad for two highly responsive trackpads. These can serve almost any purpose, from simple mouse control to steering wheels, or anything else that a particular game may require.

All the best PC gaming controllers have vibration motors built into it, but Valve’s Steam controller takes vibration to a new level with its superb haptics. It offers precise, high-fidelity haptic feedback that enables maximum immersion.

The Steam controller is the best PC controller when it comes to motion control capabilities, as it sports both a gyroscope and an accelerometer. Thanks to this, users can utilize motion controls either for fine-tuning their aim in shooting games, using it as a steering wheel in racing games or just as a regular mouse pointer on the desktop.

Best Cheap PC Controller

The Xbox 360 Controller is currently available in only one color, and it plugs in via the PC’s USB port.

Pros:
  • Well supported in games
  • Cheap / well made
  • Wireless and wired options
Cons:
  • D-pad is not great
  • Not rechargeable, without buying extras
  • Older design

Compatibility: PC, Xbox

Carrying a retail price of for (check price), the Xbox 360 Controller is currently available in only one color, and it plugs in via the console’s USB port. The controller’s cable measures in at nine feet and has a breakaway component that keeps the console from falling if someone trips on the wire. The USB connection poses a problem; the system has only three USB ports, one of which is on the back of the console. In order to hook up four controllers (the maximum allowed by the system), at least one has to be wireless.

Design

The design encompasses left and right analog sticks and triggers, the control pad, and the face buttons that are in the same spots, constructed rather similarly. The start and back buttons have been moved to the center, flanking the new guide button, which allows access to your gamer card at any time.

Removed from the older controller are the black and white buttons and taking their place are the left and right bumpers, which make their home on the top of the controller in front of the triggers. The slight changes have resulted in a nearly perfect design; not only is the controller great for 360 games, but you may just prefer the new layout for the backward compatible Xbox One titles, as the bumpers are better located than the black and white buttons.

On the bottom of the controller is a headset input. You can plug in any headset with a 2.5mm jack (standard for cell phone headsets), but the input is form-fitted to accept the Xbox 360 Headset, which has built-in volume and mute buttons. Compared to the wireless controller, this model is slightly lighter and less bulky due to the absence of a battery pack at the back of the controller.

Performance

The performance of the Xbox 360 Controller on the console is phenomenal, with instantaneous response time. The controller syncs with the system much faster than the wireless controller, and the force feedback is a bit stronger.

On the PC, the controller performs more than admirably. Once you download the software from Microsoft, the controller will work with any controller-compatible game. As long as the game you’re playing allows you to customize button usage (most do), the controller ranks among the best available for the PC. Games specifically designed to work with the controller can also make use of the headset input and the force feedback.

All said and done, the Xbox 360 Controller is one of the best-designed and best-performing controllers on the market.

Editor & reviewer of gear from iOS control pad’s to high-end PC gaming hardware. He’s been gaming since the 1980s and mostly plays CS GO & Overwatch.