The finest PC controller is one thing each PC gamer ought to embody of their setup. And whereas the most effective gaming mouse, when mixed with the most effective gaming keyboard will maintain you going for essentially the most half, so many genres name for probably the greatest game controllers for PC. 

Games with sure management schemes are simply higher suited to a controller, equivalent to Elden Ring with it is half-assed mouse and keyboard controls. Driving video games are the large one, as most keyboards do not provide strain delicate keyswitches, so an analog stick is your finest guess for correct motion. Some video games which were ported from console to PC find yourself with a monumentally complicated management techniques, so be part of the most effective gamepad membership is the way in which to go for these. And when you may begrudge the actual fact, generally a controller is just the most effective instrument for the job.

This is true even for video games held to be PC classics. The Witcher 3, for instance, really has a much more simple management system when performed with the most effective PC controller. 

Just assume, with the most effective PC controller in hand you may sit again, chill out, and get into a calming gaming session, quite than hunching over the keyboard and ruining your posture. We’ve examined a great deal of at this time’s prime console controllers and PC controllers to seek out out which of them are price dishonest in your trusty keyboard and mouse with. 

Best PC controller

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Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 on a grey background.

(Image credit score: Microsoft)
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Two Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 pads on a grey background.

(Image credit score: Microsoft)
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Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 on a grey background.

(Image credit score: Microsoft)
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Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 on a grey background.

(Image credit score: Microsoft)
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Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 from behind with the triggers on show on a grey background

(Image credit score: Microsoft)

1. Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2

The finest wi-fi gaming controller

Weight: 0.76lbs (345g) (+/-15g) | Connectivity: USB Type-C, Bluetooth, 2.4GHz | Features: 3-step set off modes, replaceable thumbsticks, paddle switches | Battery: Internal Rechargable Battery (40 Hours)

 Lots of customization choices
 Detachable Charging Dock through USB-C 
 Bluetooth-enabled (lastly)  
Heavy in comparison with most controllers
Seriously costly

If you utilize the Microsoft Elite Series 2 controller for greater than ten minutes, you will perceive why now we have it on the primary spot. Everything concerning the Series 2 screams luxurious. The near-endless customization choices provide you with an unparalleled stage of management (pun supposed) over your gameplay. Being capable of tweak all features of the controller, like d-pads, shift paddles, and joystick stress, is an absolute godsend.

The most important modifications within the Series 2 over the Series 1 (which we additionally cherished) embody a neat little carrying case that doubles as a transportable USB Type-C powered  charging station for the controller’s new rechargeable battery, which has round 40 hours of juice. Finally, with mission Xcloud and Apple Arcade bringing some nice video games to cell units, you may simply pair the Series 2 controller through Bluetooth.

It comes with a bunch of customized bits: 6 thumbsticks, 2 d-pads (cross-shaped and faceted) 4 rear pedals and one instrument for adjustable thumbstick stress.

The Series 1’s shocking lack of Bluetooth is one thing that drew main criticism, however because of the Series 2 adopting Bluetooth, you now have a market-leading PC controller and one thing that’ll pair with a telephone to play the Apple Arcade choices or fiddle Project xCloud beta. It makes the controller that rather more versatile, which is important given the excessive value of admission.

The returning hair-trigger locks are nonetheless amongst considered one of my favourite issues concerning the Elite. For those that haven’t used them, they management how far you want to pull the set off, so there’s no wasted effort or time in aggressive shooters, where milliseconds matter. The 4 extra again paddles are a neat function too and might make for some fascinating controller layouts. Never need to take your thumbs off of the thumbsticks? Simply assign the face buttons to the again paddles and also you’re good to go. In reality, the acute flexibility of the Series 2 has the extra profit of creating the controller extremely accessible, that means that extra individuals can use it to play PC video games.

Some individuals may discover the extra hefty controller a bit jarring at first because it’s heavier than the usual Xbox One controller by just a few ounces. And whereas it is good to swap out the usual d-pad, each the cross and faceted different d-pads take some getting used to particularly in preventing video games like Dragonball FighterZ or Mortal Kombat 11.

Spending $160 for a controller is a tricky promote for most individuals, that is close to 4 occasions the value of an Xbox One controller, however when you’re a severe gamer who values efficiency and excessive ranges of customization, the Series 2 is a no brainer and value each penny. 

Read the total Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 overview.

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PowerA Spectra Infinity Enhanced controller pictured from various angles with lighting enabled.

(Image credit score: PowerA)
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PowerA Spectra Infinity Enhanced controller pictured from various angles with lighting enabled.

(Image credit score: PowerA)
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PowerA Spectra Infinity Enhanced controller pictured from various angles with lighting enabled.

(Image credit score: PowerA)
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PowerA Spectra Infinity Enhanced controller pictured from various angles with lighting enabled.

(Image credit score: PowerA)
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PowerA Spectra Infinity Enhanced controller pictured from various angles with lighting enabled.

(Image credit score: PowerA)

2. PowerA Spectra Infinity Enhanced

Best funds PC controller

Weight: 0.99lbs (447g) | Connectivity: micro USB | Features: LED edge-lighting, 3-way set off locks | Battery: N/A

Great button really feel 
Matches Xbox Series X|S controller
Good value 
Improved lighting over earlier mannequin
No wi-fi assist
Trigger locks are sub-par

PowerA’s Spectra Infinity Enhanced wired controller is a step up over the Spectra Enhanced we used to price on this guide. The newest model has extra similarities to the Xbox Series X|S controller, not too shocking for the reason that Spectra is an official Xbox license product, although it has notably extra vivid lights. It’s a fairly swanky controller these days, contemplating its funds value.

I in contrast the Spectra and an official Xbox One controller whereas taking part in all the same old suspects like Call of Duty: Warzone and Mortal Kombat 11, and located that the joysticks are virtually the identical quantity of stress and even the face buttons had comparable really feel once you pressed down on them. 

The button structure is almost equivalent to an Xbox One controller, even right down to the identical texturized rubber on the joysticks, and the 2 further programmable buttons at the back of the controller are properly positioned right across the grip. They’re reachable through your ring-fingers, so that you don’t have to alter your grip when taking part in. The 3-way set off locks are nice for aggressive shooters, however though it is a good function, they didn’t really feel all that completely different no matter where you set the lock, in contrast to the Series 2. 

The Spectra would have scored larger, however the lack of any wi-fi connectivity is a giant let down within the days of untethered gaming. Instead, it comes with a 10ft snap-lock removable micro-USB cable that is a bit overkill for enjoying at a desk, however nice when you’re utilizing it in the lounge.

It’s a disgrace it is not wi-fi, however that candy edge lighting and further programmable buttons could be an honest compromise for $40, particularly when you’d quite not take care of batteries however want a controller to present your little brother.

Read the total PowerA Spectra Enhanced (non-Infinity) overview.

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Xbox Wireless Controller pictured on a grey background.

(Image credit score: Xbox)
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Xbox Wireless Controller pictured on a grey background.

(Image credit score: Xbox)

3. Xbox Wireless Controller

The most dependable game pad

Weight: 0.62lbs (281g) | Connectivity: Xbox Wireless; Bluetooth | Features: Hybrid D-pad, Textured Grip, Share button | Battery: 2x AA

Officially supported by most video games
Share Button
Not rechargeable

The authentic Xbox One Wireless Controller was a staple for PC gaming. With the Xbox Series S/X launch, we had been all curious to see how Xbox improved on an already killer gamepad. 

This controller retains loads of what we cherished concerning the authentic. Keeping it very snug total design with texturized rubber grips makes you are feeling extraordinarily nice in your palms. Much like the unique, it boasts a vastly superior d-pad that you simply will not dread utilizing in preventing video games and platformers, taking cues from the Xbox One Elite Series controllers. You may need observed a brand new button within the heart of the controller; a much-requested Share button now enables you to seize screenshots and gameplay footage with out diving an excessive amount of into the menus.

We capitalize Wireless for a cause, not as a result of the phrase is a correct noun per sé, however as a result of the Xbox Wireless controller of late leverages Microsoft’s wi-fi protocol it calls “Xbox Wireless.” Though the identify may gain advantage from some inventive workshopping, you may take solace in the truth that, after 2016, the Xbox Wireless controller graces us with a much-needed serving to of Bluetooth compatibility. And now it is virtually commonplace fare for console transplants deterred by the educational curve mouse and keyboard gaming presents. 

Best gaming laptop computer | Best gaming monitor |Best gaming headset | Best wi-fi gaming headset| Best laptop audio system | Best seize card

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Sony PS5 controller

(Image credit score: Sony)
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Sony DualSense controller

(Image credit score: Sony)
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4. Sony DualSense Wireless Controller

The most spectacular game pad round

Weight: 0.46lbs (210g) | Connectivity: USB Type-C, Bluetooth | Features: Touchpad, haptic triggers | Battery: Li-Ion (6-12 hours)

Super correct thumbsticks
Adaptive Triggers
Haptic Rumble
Feature assist restricted on PC
Battery life is not wonderful

The PlayStation 5 DualSense has a “you have to touch it to believe it” high quality because of its new haptic motors and “Adaptive” triggers, which might provide resistance beneath your finger. Firing a bow can really really feel like firing a bow, for instance. The rumble can also be simply the most effective and most nuanced we have ever felt in a controller. It actually is pretty much as good as individuals say.

The dangerous information: the DualSense’s most superior options do not work in PC video games but, since video games will have to be programmed to benefit from them. But Steam already provides full assist for the controller, so it is no less than a breeze to plug in and use like another pad. It’s a hair much less snug than the Xbox Series X controller, and never as easy to make use of in non-Steam video games, however when you desire Sony’s analog stick structure or love gyro aiming, that is the one to get.

And possibly sometime we’ll see PC video games benefit from these new triggers and haptics, too.

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Scuf Instinct Pro controller in front of a System 76 Launch keyboard

(Image credit score: Future)
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Scuf Instinct Pro controller and Xbox Series X controller on a stone step

(Image credit score: Future)
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Scuf Instinct Pro controller rear of the pad

(Image credit score: Future)
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Scuf Instinct Pro controller under the faceplate

(Image credit score: Future)

5. Scuf Instinct Pro

The finest alt-pad exterior of Microsoft and Sony

Weight: 0.62lbs (280g) | Connectivity: USB Type-C, Xbox Wireless, Bluetooth | Features: Changeable thumbsticks, detachable faceplates, paddle switches | Battery: 2x AA

Great customisation choices
Feels reassuringly stable within the hand
Responsive and correct
Customisation actually prices
AA batteries, not rechargeable
It’s simply not the Elite…

Scuf would not fiddle with its controllers, providing among the finest premium pads exterior of Sony and Microsoft. And the Instinct Pro is the best possible Microsoft-focused pad controller do you have to want to eschew the 2 huge bois of the console world. But when the Elite Series 2 exists on the earth, how does anybody else compete within the fanatic controller area

There are extra customisation choices on provide with the Instinct Pro than with just about another pad you may identify. Scuf is providing an enormous number of completely different beauty and bodily customisation choices from the preliminary retailer web page. The faceplate choices, and the rings across the thumbsticks, are the obvious, however you additionally get to select your selection of precise thumbsticks when it comes to size and topper (convex or concave).

There are additionally choices to alter the D-pad, button facades, in addition to the styling of each the bumpers and the triggers. Interestingly, there’s additionally the choice to take away the rumble motors from contained in the controller which is one thing you will typically discover the professionals find yourself eradicating from their match controllers, to chop down on the inherent distraction of hand-wobble.

Though that may positively affect the value—with my very own decisions I managed to bump the fee as much as simply shy of $250. But did create a gloriously pink pad with out the distraction of rumble packs.

Scuf has no less than acknowledged there’s little level attempting to one-up Microsoft in the case of the general design of the Instinct Pro, as a result of it appears bodily equivalent to a typical Xbox Series X/S controller. Obviously other than the faceplate, rings, and mute button on the entrance.

The thumbsticks are reassuringly stable and responsive throughout gaming a session. Hammering the sticks with fast switches of route in a twitch game have not had an affect on the pad, they usually nonetheless really feel clean and correct once you’re in one thing much less fast-paced. The triggers have a lovely motion, too, possibly not fairly so deep because the Elite, however nonetheless simply as correct.

The remainder of the button-feel is powerful and reassuringly clicky too, although I might say the hair-trigger mode feels a bit too shallow for my tastes. But I can see where some people may desire it, so I’m not going to depend that as something greater than private selection, not a damaging.

The Scuf Instinct Pro requires AA batteries, like commonplace Xbox pads, in contrast to the Elite which homes a lithium ion battery. The capability to swap in a recent pair of batteries mid-tournament is doubtlessly a promoting level, and lithium ion batteries are supposed to have a finite shelf life. Though it is not one thing I’ve ever skilled with my Elite pad previously few years of use.

Either manner, it is a implausible controller that feels nice within the hand and is as responsive as you may want for. It’s simply painfully expensive with all my chosen greebles.

Read our full Scuf Instinct Pro overview.

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Razer Wolverine Ultimate controller pictured front-on.

(Image credit score: Razer)
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Razer Wolverine Ultimate triggers pictured from the rear.

(Image credit score: Razer)

6. Razer Wolverine Ultimate

Clicky with a facet of Chroma

Weight: 0.6lbs (272g) | Connectivity: USB wired | Features: 10ft (3m) twine | Battery: N/A

Swappable sticks and D-pad
Loud, satisfying face buttons
Expensive for a wired controller
Needs a separate app to configure

Razer’s Wolverine Ultimate may very properly be the most effective gamepad obtainable at this time, save for one essential disqualifying issue: it might’t connect with a PC wirelessly. The Xbox-style gamepad provides lots of the identical luxurious options because the Xbox One Elite Wireless Controller, like a swappable d-pad and customizable again paddles. It’s additionally almost the identical value, which begs the query: why not simply purchase a type of as an alternative? 

Well, it is not for everybody, however the Wolverine Ultimate does have its fair proportion of distinctive, downright attractive options. For starters, the face buttons—those labeled A, B, X, and Y—click on like mouse buttons. This seemingly minuscule element makes a world of distinction. It’s like utilizing nothing however membrane keyboards your entire life after which making a move to mechanical switches. So whereas the enclosed 10-foot braided micro USB cable takes some getting used to, tactile button presses are a worthy trade-off.

Of course, no Razer product could be full with out a wholesome dose of Chroma, the three-headed green snake firm’s signature model of RGB lighting. However, quite than integrating it into the present Synapse 3 app for Windows, Razer determined to develop an app particularly for Xbox One. So when you do plan on utilizing this controller to your PC, keep in mind you will want a separate app to configure it.

Best controller for PC FAQ

Can you utilize a console controller on PC?

The brief reply is sure. The barely longer reply is that you simply may have to carry out a bit fiddling the primary time you set it up—though after that it’s going to simply be a case of plugging it in. 

How to arrange your controller on PC:

  • PS5 controller on PC
  • PS4 controller on PC
  • PS3 controller on PC
  • Nintendo Switch Pro controller on PC
  • Xbox One controller on PC

Is PC gaming higher with a controller?

This may appear to be an completely offensive query to ask within the annals of PC Gamer, but it surely stays true that sure PC video games are much better performed with a controller than with the traditional keyboard and mouse combo.

Sports video games are the obvious, as anybody who has tried to play FIFA utilizing the unusual keyboard/mouse management scheme can attest to. But there are different titles, particularly these which had been primarily designed for consoles whose management schemes are so unwieldy away from a pad that taking part in them another manner is a ache.

You may play Witcher 2 with out a controller, for instance, but it surely really felt much better utilizing a pad on PC.

How will we check controllers?

Ignore those that appear to assume each game is finest with a mouse and keyboard. Assassins Creed Valhalla isn’t finest performed with a keyboard. Street Fighter 5 isn’t finest performed with a keyboard. True, we play most video games with a mouse and keyboard, however for PC players with ranging tastes, controller is a should.

Though I’ve accomplished some testing with first-person shooters, I’ve largely ignored the style. While it could be needed for console players, we’re virtually all the time going to make use of WASD for any type of shooter. With that in thoughts, the video games I used primarily for testing are those talked about beneath:

Katana Zero: A game that requires glorious d-pad management and responsive face buttons.

Street Fighter V: I’ve put loads of hours into Street Fighter V with each controllers and battle sticks, so I understand how it must really feel. If I am unable to crush an AI opponent as Ken, one thing is not right.

Forza Motorsport: I selected Forza primarily to check the analog sticks, which in line with my preferences, want three qualities: springy sufficient to rapidly snap again to heart, delicate and resistant adequate to make slight steering changes, and comfortably contoured. Hence, my thumbs aren’t bloody stumps on the finish of some hours.