While there’s something 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, an investment in a decent controller should be a priority.
We’re here to help you find the best. We’ve picked ten of the best game controllers at prices ranging from over $200 to less than $50, and there should be something here to suit your needs. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know when shopping for the best game controllers for PC.
Quick Look: 10 Best PC Controllers
- DualShock 4 Wireless Controller
- ASTRO Gaming C40 TR Controller
- Logitech Gamepad F310
- Microsoft Xbox One Wireless Controller
- Valve Steam 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
The DualShock 4 is a controller so perfectly made that it's 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. But 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.
And the unique functions in the DualShock 4 are also pretty great. A speaker is built in, and the plus sized touchpad provides a whole new level of interaction with your favorite PC games. Then there's the Share button which allows you to easily upload your game play videos to your favored social media platform straight from your DualShock 4.
2. ASTRO Gaming C40 TR Controller
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 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.
And while you'll spend a decent chunk of change on this PC controller, you get some of the most robust pro level features available. They includes inputs on the rear of this PC 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.
3. Logitech Gamepad F310
Do you need a budget PC controller? It doesn't get more budget than the Logitech F310. But 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 completely configurable, and all of the other buttons, shoulders, and triggers you'd expect are built in as well. And compatibility will never be an issue. 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
For those that prefer a chunkier and heftier alternative to the Playstation DualShock, the XBox's model has long been the game controller of 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.
That includes a wireless range that's over double that of earlier versions of this game controller. And for those with bigger hands, the weight of this XBox One controller feels great. There's a textured grip that helps you hold firm even during the most strenuous gaming sessions, and since the XBox One Controller is built by Microsoft, you know you can trust it to work seamlessly on Windows devices.
5. Valve Steam Controller
Valve's attempt to create a device that bridged the gap between consoles and PCs may have not really taken off, but they did bring us one great accessory out of the equation: the Steam controller. While it clearly draws from the XBox One controller in terms of design sensibilities, the exact positioning of the components have been carefully positioned based off of exhaustive metrics taken from gamers.
And 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.
6. Microsoft Elite Series 2 Controller
The XBox Elite controller series is more than just an excuse to sell an overpriced XBox controller to devoted XBox gamers. It's one of the best controllers on the market, and that stands for both PC and XBox gaming. Just keep in mind that it wears a price tag of almost $200.
And this is the best version of the XBox Elite controller yet. It can work seamlessly with as a game controller for PC games or XBox One, and the paddles and sticks are fully interchangeable, so you can customize a controller on the fly that suits specifics games and play styles.
7. Razer Wolverine Controller
The Razer Wolverine isn't as feature rich and pro focused a PC controller as the Xbox Elite controller 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.
And 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 ensures it will feel good in your hand even during extended play sessions. And being a Razer PC controller, of course it comes with a wide range of RGB lighting options.
8. RegeMoudal Wireless Switch Pro Controller
Want something on the cheap without having to get cheap results? RegeMoudal may not be a brand name, but they've created a seriously solid budget priced gaming controller that can connect wirelessly to your PC over Bluetooth. And the high level of compatibility means it will work with your Nintendo Switch and Xbox 360 in addition to your XBox One and PC.
And there are some solid features here too. The dual motor vibration provides you with a seriously responsive reaction to your gaming experiences, and the expansion trigger function lets you adjust sensitivity to suit your needs. There's even a gyro axis function for motion control games.
9. NACON Controller Esports Revolution Unlimited Pro
This NACON controller is to the PS4 what the Xbox Elite is forthe XBox One (and XBox 360) - a highly customizable and highly expensive pro level controller that's 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, but it builds on those fundamentals in strong ways. The stick heads are fully interchangeable to suit a wide variety of different genres, and audio and chat is 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 just glance at it, you might not recognize that the SCUF Vantage II isn't a DualShock. 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 - but it also brings some of the best features to the table as well. That includes 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 the best PC games.
Microsoft and Sony have really pioneered the design on controllers with the designs for their respective consoles, and most controllers you’re going to find today can be judged as 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 right feel 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 your 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 whether or not the lag 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 on a wireless controller can be measured in milliseconds, and even the most serious pro gamers probably won’t make a difference. The main inconvenience of a wireless controller is the fact that you’ll occasionally need to change out or charge the batteries.
Do you really want to get serious with your gaming experience? The best PC gaming controllers (and, not coincidentally, 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 and have the perfect input for any game.
Trigger stops and trigger locks are a specialized feature that are most commonly used by pro gamers, but they can be valuable to anyone who wants to get peak performance, especially with first person shooter games like Call of Duty or Overwatch. These allow you to adjust the length of the trigger itself so that it triggers with less input and 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 features.
What is the Best Controller for Steam?
If you want the best PC controller for use with your favorite Steam games, go right to the source. The Valve Steam controller is built from scratch to work explicitly with the Steam platform, and it includes all the core features you’d hope for in a controller for PC.
So you’re looking for the best PC gaming controller. We’ve outlined a ton of great options above, but that’s just scratching the surface of what you’ll find. And as 2020 continues on, we can expect to see plenty of other great controllers released. Luckily, the tips we provide above can help you evaluate new models as they come to market. And if you have an opinion you’d like to share on any of the controllers we’ve featured above, please share in the comments section.