While there’s certainly a lot to be said for being able to play a game with a keyboard and mouse, there are some games that can actually benefit from the use of a controller. If you find yourself gaming regularly on your PC, then investing in a decent controller should be a priority.
We’re here to help you find the best PC gaming controllers around. We’ve picked ten of the best game controllers at prices ranging from less than $50 to over $200, and there should be something among these to suit your needs. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know when shopping for the best game controllers for PC.
TL;DR - 10 Best PC Controllers:
- DualShock 4 Wireless Controller
- Valve Steam Controller
- Logitech Gamepad F310
- Microsoft Xbox One Wireless Controller
- ASTRO Gaming C40 TR Controller
- Microsoft Elite Series 2 Controller
- Razer Wolverine Controller
- RegeMoudal Wireless Switch Pro Controller
- NACON Controller Esports Revolution Unlimited Pro
- SCUF Vantage 2 Customizable Controller
1. DualShock 4 Wireless Controller
Traditional PlayStation design packing a vast array of modern features
The DualShock 4 is a controller so perfectly made that it has more or less retained its core design for two decades. The grip and the positioning of the triggers on the Dualshock 4 are some of the best around. While the form factor may look the same as it did on the very first Playstation, it packs in some of the best and most modern features available.
The unique functions on the DualShock 4 are also pretty great. A speaker is built into the controller itself, and the plus-sized touchpad offers a whole new level of interaction with your favorite PC games. Then there's also the Share button, which allows you to easily upload your gameplay videos to your preferred social media platform straight from your controller.
2. Valve Steam Controller
The most optimized controller for Steam on the market
Valve's attempt to create a device that bridged the gap between consoles and PCs may not have particularly taken off, but they did bring us one great accessory from the equation: the Steam controller. While it clearly draws from the Xbox One controller in terms of design sensibilities, the components have been carefully positioned based on exhaustive metrics taken from gamers.
There's a lot of cool features on the Steam controller, too. Haptic feedback gives you a more visceral response to in-game events, while the dual-stage triggers provide you with significantly more precision when playing your favorite shooters. And despite all that, it costs barely more than a traditional Xbox One controller.
3. Logitech Gamepad F310
A very capable and widely customizable budget option
If you're in the market for a budget PC controller, it doesn't get much more budget than the Logitech F310. While it's not the prettiest or most ergonomically designed PC controller, it is a reliable workhorse that offers a decent amount of customization features and can stay with you for a long time to come.
The four action buttons here are fully configurable, and all of the other buttons, shoulders, and triggers you'd expect are built-in as well. Compatibility will never be an issue, as all you have to do is plug this Logitech controller in and download some drivers and it will run with any game.
4. Microsoft Xbox One Wireless Controller
All of the fundamentals without the fluff
For those that prefer a chunkier and heftier alternative to the Playstation DualShock, the Xbox's model has long been the standard choice. Unlike the DualShock, the Xbox One controller doesn't come with a whole host of modern features, but it does get the fundamentals right on the money.
This includes a wireless range that's over double that of earlier models of this game controller. The weight of this Xbox One controller feels particularly great for those with bigger hands. There's a textured grip that helps you hold firm even during the most strenuous gaming sessions, and since the controller is built by Microsoft, you know you can trust it to work seamlessly on Windows devices.
5. ASTRO Gaming C40 TR Controller
Some of the most robust features you can find
Astro has made a name for themselves as one of the best manufacturers of premium headphones for PC gamers, but their first foray into the development of PC controllers is also pretty successful. The Astro C40 TR is a premium controller built for use with the PS4, but it will work just as well on a PC.
While you'll spend a decent chunk of change on this PC controller, you get some of the most robust pro-level features you can find. These include inputs on the rear of the controller that can be mapped to any standard key and trigger stops so they can match your sensitivity. You can even swap between online profiles with a single tap of a switch. But the best part is the inclusion of swappable left and right sticks.
6. Microsoft Elite Series 2 Controller
The Xbox Elite controller series is more than just an excuse to sell an overpriced controller to devoted Xbox gamers. It's one of the best controllers on the market, and that stands for both Xbox and PC gaming. Just keep in mind that it carries a price tag of almost $200.
This is the best version of the Xbox Elite controller yet. It can work seamlessly as a game controller for PC games or Xbox One, and the paddles and sticks are fully interchangeable, so you can customize your controller on the fly to suit specific games and play styles.
7. Razer Wolverine Controller
The Razer Wolverine isn't as feature-rich and pro-focused of a PC controller as the Xbox Elite or the Astro C40 TR, but it comes with some features that well exceed what you'd expect for a controller that's half the price as those top-shelf controllers listed above. That includes a hair-trigger mode for easy firing with less effort and four remappable keys.
While Razer is known for producing somewhat flamboyant PC gaming accessories (and this PC gaming controller is no different), the Razer Wolverine rocks some great ergonomics that ensure it will feel good in your hand even during extended play sessions. And being a Razer PC controller, it of course comes with a wide range of RGB lighting options.
8. RegeMoudal Wireless Switch Pro Controller
Want something on the cheap without having to bear cheap results? RegeMoudal may not be a household name, but they've created a seriously solid budget-priced gaming controller that can connect wirelessly to your PC over Bluetooth. The high level of compatibility means it will work with your Nintendo Switch and Xbox 360 in addition to your Xbox One and PC.
There are some solid features here, too. The dual-motor vibration provides you with a seriously responsive reaction to your gaming experience, and the expansion trigger function lets you adjust sensitivity to suit your needs. There's even a gyro axis function for motion-controlled games.
9. NACON Controller Esports Revolution Unlimited Pro
This NACON controller is to the PS4 what the Xbox Elite is to the Xbox One (and Xbox 360) - a highly customizable and highly expensive pro-level controller built for a specific console but also capable of offering pretty seamless performance with a gaming PC.
The feel here is great, definitely in line with the quality of Sony's trademark DualShock controllers, and it builds on the fundamentals in strong ways. The stick heads are fully interchangeable to suit a wide variety of different genres, and audio and chat are available in both wireless and wired modes. There are even smart LED indicators to let you know about the state of the controller at any time.
10. SCUF Vantage 2 Customizable Controller
If you were to give it just a brief glance, you might think the SCUF Vantage II is a standard DualShock controller. It sports a similar design and a similarly superb level of functionality, but the slightly bulkier build quality has a little more resemblance to the design of the Xbox One wireless controller.
It takes the best features of the DualShock - like the touch-sensitive screen and a textured and non-slip design - while also bringing some of the best features to the table as well. These include a fully unique paddle design to improve your competitive performance as well as interchangeable parts so you can construct any Frankenstein game controllers you want.
PC Controller Buyer’s Guide
Are you looking for the best PC gaming controller? You’ve come to the right place. We’ll break down all of the important features and specs with none of the fluff so that you can shop smarter and find a controller that can keep up with even the best PC games.
Microsoft and Sony have really pioneered controller design with those of their respective consoles, and most controllers you’re going to find today can be judged as to where they fall between these two on the spectrum. Whether you like the weightier feel of the Xbox One Elite controller, the more ergonomic feel of the Sony Dualshock 4, or something in between, the best controller is going to come down to what feels right for you.
You’ll want to get a controller that feels good under your fingers, but also keep in mind the texture of the controllers you’re looking for. Textured surfaces can provide you with a better sense of grip, and you won’t realize how important that is until you’re hours deep into a sweat-inducing gaming session.
Wireless or Wired
When shopping for a mouse and keyboard, some gamers are going to want to weigh up whether or not the latency of a wireless controller is going to be worth the convenience of not having to wrangle with a cord, but the issue of input lag is a largely overstated issue with modern wireless controller technology.
The difference in response time on a wireless controller can be measured in milliseconds, and even the most serious pro gamers probably won’t notice a difference. The main inconvenience of a wireless controller is the fact that you’ll occasionally need to change out or charge the batteries.
If you really want to get serious with your gaming experience, the best PC gaming controllers (and, unsurprisingly, the most expensive) tend to come with interchangeable parts. These commonly include the ability to swap out stick heads of different heads or sizes, triggers, or the entire button plates. If you like playing games in a variety of different genres, these controllers can be some of the best. The wide variety of customization options means that you can customize your tech on the fly to ensure you have the perfect input for any game.
Trigger stops and trigger locks are a specialized feature most commonly used by pro gamers, but they can be valuable to anyone who wants to get peak performance, especially in first-person shooter games like Call of Duty or Overwatch. These allow you to adjust the length of the trigger itself so that it responds to lower input, which can make all the difference in the world when you come around a corner and need to quick-fire against an opponent.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Controller is Best for PC Gaming?
In terms of raw performance, we think there are two great options. The Astro Gaming C40 TR and the Microsoft Xbox One Elite Series controllers are both highly customizable, and they both sport pretty great ergonomic designs that feel great even during longer play sessions.
Which Controllers are Compatible with PC?
Most PC gaming controllers that make use of Bluetooth or USB cables are going to work just fine with your PC, but you may want to check just to make sure. There are some PC controllers that are explicitly designed for use with a specific console, so it’s good to know whether you can access all the included features.
What is the Best Controller for Steam?
If you want the best PC controller for use with your favorite Steam games, then you should go right to the source. The Valve Steam controller is built from scratch to work explicitly with the Steam platform, and it includes all of the core features you’d hope for in a controller for PC.
We’ve outlined a ton of great PC controller options above, but that’s just scratching the surface of what you’ll find. As 2021 continues on, we can expect to see plenty of other great controllers being released. Luckily, the tips we provide above can help you evaluate new models as they come to market. If you have an opinion you’d like to express on any of the controllers we’ve featured above, please feel free to share in the comments section.If you liked our article on pc controllers, please share and comment below what your favorite product is.