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The best Bluetooth gaming controllers for Android, PC, and more!

Looking to take your gaming to the next level?
By
April 21, 2022
Google Stadia playing on controller

Some games play better on a controller, whether you’re a PC gamer or a mobile gamer. A mouse and keyboard might be more accurate but are cumbersome to use with limited space or on a sofa. Bluetooth controllers hit that sweet spot between the two. But not all Bluetooth controllers are created equal. Some are designed specifically for Android devices, while others work across all platforms. To help you make the decision, we’ve put together a list of the best Bluetooth controllers for Android and PC gaming.

More accessories: The best phone accessories you can get

Buying the best Bluetooth controller

ps5 vs xbox series x controllers
Oliver Cragg / Android Authority

Bluetooth controllers have more or less become the standard when it comes to gaming controllers. You get a solid combination of reliable connectivity and power consumption, combined with lower-than-ever latency. While buying the best Bluetooth controller for yourself, we recommend you decide according to the device you will be using it with.

If you want to use it with a PC, a regular controller like the Xbox Core controller or the Sony DualSense would be just fine. You get all the features you need, and these have come to become the standard controllers in the market. Especially the Xbox controller, which has a design that is co-opted by many other controller manufacturers.

On the other hand, if you want to get a Bluetooth controller for your Android phone, you may want to consider portability and battery life as the priority. There are some interesting form factors for mobile-focused Bluetooth controllers, so you can pick according to your preference.

The charging mechanism on these controllers is also another factor to consider. Some controllers have an internal battery and charge via USB or a dock. Others use standard AA batteries. The best solution for the latter would be to get rechargeable AA cells.

Also see: What’s the best controller for PC users?

The best Bluetooth game controllers

Editor’s note: We will regularly update this list of the best Bluetooth game controllers as new devices launch.


8Bitdo Pro 2

8Bitdo Pro 2

8Bitdo has been making cross-compatible Bluetooth controllers for years, and the Pro 2 is no different. Compatible with Switch, mobile devices, Steam, Raspberry Pi, MacOS, and PC, this controller might become your go-to everywhere you play.

The 8Bitdo Pro 2 has a full button set including R3 and L3 buttons and has companion software for firmware updates and button customizations. The wireless controller even has a couple of extra buttons in the back of the handles, which are entirely programmable. It also features USB-C recharging and a 1,000mAh battery for extended play sessions.

Check out: 15 best retro games for Android!

8Bitdo’s design is tried and true. It feels great in your hands with side grips, excellent control sticks, and responsive triggers. The D-pad is made to feel like a retro D-pad, such as on an NES controller, so it’s ideal for retro games or fighting games.


Xbox Core

Xbox Series S controller against the console
Ryan-Thomas Shaw / Android Authority

With the previous iteration discontinued, the Xbox Core controller is what you get with the Xbox Series X and Series S. The great news is that this will work on other platforms as well.

At first glance, it’s reminiscent of the previous controller, but the small changes have the potential to make a huge difference. For starters, the D-Pad is rounded and more agile. It should offer a better response than the simple four-direction pad it replaces.

See also: Xbox Series X vs. S

Microsoft also revamped the bumpers and triggers, adding a stippled texture for a better grip in the heart of the action. It retains the same 3.5mm headphone jack, and the controller features an all-new share button. After all, gaming is more connected than ever, so you have to show off your highlights.

Those looking for a more advanced experience should also look at the Xbox Elite Series 2 controller. It comes with customizable accessories, programmable handle buttons in the back, longer battery life, and a premium design.


Sony DualSense

PlayStation 5 DualSense Controller Propped Up
C. Scott Brown / Android Authority

The Core Bluetooth game controller is a look at the future of Xbox, but Sony’s DualSense controller is what you’ll pair with the new PlayStation 5. It keeps some of the same design cues as Sony’s past controllers, but the new DualSense looks more like a spaceship than anything else.

See also: The PS5 is good, but the DualSense controller is what’s really blowing my mind

One of the most significant changes accompanying the new generation is the white controller. Most previous DualShock options have been black right from the box, but the DualSense is designed to match the PS5 itself. As for other significant changes, the DualShock is rocking an adaptive trigger setup, which means that you’ll feel different responses as you interact with different parts of your environment.

Sony’s DualSense also keeps a 3.5mm headphone jack and a built-in microphone to chat with your friends. A create button is present to help you share your content and go live on your favorite streaming platforms. For better or worse, you won’t be able to replace AA batteries and keep playing — the controller charges exclusively via USB-C.


DualShock 4 PS4 controller

staff picks oliver cragg hero pixel 4 xl shield tv ps4 controller
Oliver Cragg / Android Authority

If you’re not planning to pick up a PS5, you might not need to jump into a DualSense controller right away. Instead, you could probably stick with a trusty DualShock 4 controller and choose from more than a dozen colors.

A simple glance at the DualShock 4, and you know it’s a PlayStation controller. It sports the same look and feels that you’re used to, packed with a headphone jack, touch panel, and more. If you’re a mobile or PC gamer, it makes perfect sense to pick up the DualShock 4. Of course, it may not be as smooth of a transition if you’re coming from an Xbox background.

Sony refined its fourth-generation DualShock controllers with sensitive triggers and even better stick controls. The built-in light bar is another unique feature, though it doesn’t do much outside of setting the ambiance for your gaming sessions. Some colors are harder to get than others these days, so get the DualShock 4 while you can.


SteelSeries Stratus Duo

SteelSeries Stratus Duo

The SteelSeries Stratus Duo features a rechargeable battery rated for 20 hours of use. It’s also considerably less colorful, with a sleek all-black look. In addition to working over a Bluetooth connection, the Stratus Duo can connect via 2.4GHz wireless on Windows and Steam. If your desktop computer doesn’t have Bluetooth, this is perfect — plug in the USB wireless adapter that comes in the box.

Check out our full SteelSeries Stratus Duo review below for a more detailed look, but we found the device excellent for both mobile and PC gaming. The only significant complaints were a lack of USB-C charging, an oversight in this day and age, and a slightly mushy D-pad. The labeling on the buttons is also quite challenging to read due to the gray-on-black color scheme.

Read also: SteelSeries Stratus Duo review: The best premium mobile gaming controller

The Stratus Duo is best paired with a phone stand or SteelSeries SmartGrip when playing games on the phone. It’s significantly lighter than the Stratus XL at 245 grams, so it’s a more portable choice for gamers on the go.


PowerA Moga XP5-A Plus

PowerA Moga XP5 A Plus controller

The PowerA Moga XP5-A Plus mobile controller is unique in many ways. The ergonomic design doesn’t stray far from the beloved Xbox Core controller, known for its great comfort and handling. You also get programmable buttons in the handles. Not to mention full compatibility with both Android and PC.

Other great features include a phone clip, making it easy to put your smartphone and controller together for a mobile console feel. As if all that wasn’t enough, the controller also works as a 3,000mAh power bank, which means you can plug your smartphone into it to give it some juice while gaming. Pretty neat, right?


Razer Raiju Mobile Controller

Razer Raiju Mobile box contents

If you’re lusting after more of a premium Bluetooth controller for mobile gaming, this Razer one can’t be ignored. The Razer Raiju Mobile Controller brings all the bells and whistles you’d expect from a high-end Bluetooth controller, and then some. It’s made of premium materials and textured plastics that feel excellent in hand. This is one controller you won’t want to set down. Check out our full review below.

Read also: The Razer Raiju Mobile controller is amazing(ly) expensive

The layout and design of the controller are remarkably similar to that of the Xbox One, with the added feature of a built-in phone clamp. It has a rechargeable battery rated for 23 hours of game time, two USB-C cables for charging or setting up a wired connection with your phone, and a hair-trigger switch to get those shots off even faster.

It used to be a costly controller, but it’s aging, and its price has come down since 2018. Regardless, it continues to be one of the best mobile controllers, and the Razer name stands true to its promise of quality, even after three years. The good news is that you can find it at a discount at around the same price as other lower-end, newer controllers!


8Bitdo M30

8Bitdo M30 controller

If you’re looking for a Bluetooth game controller to use with Sega Genesis games, this is it. The controller is also compatible with Nintendo Switch, PC, macOS, and Android, but it’s designed with Sega’s classics in mind. You can play Sega’s classics with modern features like a USB-C port and turbo functionality mapping.

Also read: The best gaming phones you can buy

Its ergonomic design fits comfortably in your hands, letting you game for hours at a time without needing to take a break. Both the D-pad and the shoulder buttons feel good and are highly responsive. 8Bitdo’s M30 controller is a great, inexpensive retro controller.


8Bitdo Zero 2

Sometimes you don’t need the best-performing, most ergonomic, and expensive Bluetooth controllers out there. The 8Bitdo is none of those, but it might still be your best option if you’re looking for something ultra-portable you can throw on any pocket. The 8Bitdo Zero 2 is tiny!

We can’t deny its form factor gives it an amusing look. It’s also very light at 20 grams. The device is also compatible with Nintendo Switch, Windows, Android, macOS, etc. And while battery life isn’t amazing, eight hours is pretty good considering the unit is so tiny.


Google Stadia Controller

Google Stadia controller on table

Google has shut down its Stadia publishing studios. Still, the cloud gaming platform continues and is very much alive, featuring a vast collection of console-level titles, as well as indie games. You can use the Stadia controller to play these AAA titles on your smartphone, computer, Chromebook, and other supported devices.

More: Everything there is to know about Stadia

Playing outside of the Stadia platform with this controller is trickier, but you can do it. Native PC and Android games will require a wired connection to your smartphone or PC.

With all that in mind, we would only recommend the Stadia controller if you’re planning on using Stadia as a cloud gaming platform significantly. It had to be on this list because of its build quality and clean design, but it’s not exactly made to be used outside Stadia. In fact, it’s not even a Bluetooth controller (it uses Wi-Fi). The other controllers on this list are better suited for native Android and Windows games.


Other frequently asked questions

Q: Will any Bluetooth controller work with Android?
A: No, but a vast majority of Bluetooth controllers work with Android without any fuss.

Q: Are Bluetooth controllers better than wired controllers for gaming?
A: Bluetooth controllers are more or less on the same level as wired controllers now, especially with the latency figures. The major difference is the need to charge the controller, which is a trade-off for going wireless.

Q: Are Bluetooth gaming controllers worth it?
A: Yes, they are. Bluetooth controllers offer a solid value for money now, packing in tons of functionality at affordable price tags. Even if you choose to go premium, you get more features, often enough to justify the higher price tag.

Q: What are the best batteries for Bluetooth controllers?
A: Any rechargeable AA batteries with a higher capacity than the average work well with Bluetooth controllers. Our favorites are Panasonic Eneloop Pro and EBL 2800mAh AA batteries.

Q: Can you use Bluetooth controllers with a Windows PC?
A:  Yes, you can. Windows supports a ton of Bluetooth controllers, as long as your PC has Bluetooth built-in, or via a Bluetooth USB adapter.