Gaming on PC is great because you get the best of all worlds — you can use almost any gaming peripheral you can think of, including a controller. Thanks to the numerous multi-platform games available today, odds are you’ll encounter a PC game better suited for this input method. For example, it’s not much fun playing Mortal Kombat 11 or Dark Souls III on your keyboard, is it? That’s why it’s always best to keep PC game controllers handy.
The good news is that there’s a wide choice of controllers to pick from. Whether you want a budget-friendly or high-end controller, there’s something for everyone. Here are the best PC game controllers you can buy right now.
The best PC game controllers:
Editor’s note: We will update our list of the best PC game controllers as new controllers launch.
1. Xbox Wireless Controller
By most accounts, Microsoft hit a home run with the Xbox 360 Wireless Controller. It makes sense, then, for the company to keep the design generally intact for the newer Xbox One Wireless Controller, and make a few tweaks where it counts.
For starters, the Xbox Wireless Controller features Bluetooth connectivity as of 2016. Using Microsoft’s Xbox Wireless protocol, it can quickly and easily connect to your PC. Older versions of the controller can still connect to your computer without cables, but you’ll need the Xbox Wireless Adapter.
Overall, the Xbox Wireless Controller an excellent choice. The size isn’t too small or too large, the triggers are great, and even the D-Pad gets some shine if you’re into retro games. If we had to make one small complaint, it would be that the face buttons are a bit on the mushy side.
The Xbox One Wireless Controller is an affordable and reliable choice. If you want a higher-end version with even more perks, your best choice is the far more expensive but excellent Elite 2 Controller.
2. DualShock 4 Wireless Controller
Released alongside the Sony PlayStation 4 in 2013, the DualShock 4 wireless controller took people by surprise. Not just because it’s a good controller, but because of how much of an improvement it was over the PlayStation 3’s DualShock 3.
This time around, there are proper trigger buttons. The analog sticks also impress, as does the comfortable button layout with two analog sticks parallel to each other. The controller is also slim and ergonomic — a huge point in its favor compared to the bulkier competition.
The PS4 controller features a rechargeable battery too — something its Xbox Wireless rival doesn’t have out of the box. Even with this battery, however, the DualShock 4 doesn’t last as long as other wireless controllers. Also, getting the DualShock 4 to properly work with your PC isn’t a simple as turning on Bluetooth. Make sure to download DS4Windows, connect the DualShock 4 to your PC, and run the program. It will allow you to button map and more.
However, if you are only playing Steam games, you likely won’t need to install additional software to make use of the PS4 DualShock controller. It’s one of the best PC game controllers regardless.
3. Xbox 360 Controller for Windows
If you are not bothered by cables and want something cheap and easy to use, look no further than the Xbox 360 Controller for Windows.
Although it has been around for quite some time now, the Xbox 360 wired controller is a solid choice for those that want a no-hassle, plug-and-play experience. It works seamlessly on any Windows PC without the need to install additional software. Better yet, the wired version is actually lighter than its wireless counterpart because there is no battery pack on the back of the controller.
The button layout is the standard Xbox fare, which any Xbox or PC gamer should be familiar with. The thumbsticks and 8-directional D-pad are well-placed and responsive. In supported games, the controller also offers vibration feedback. You will even find a headphone jack, which allows you to plug in your headset directly into the Xbox 360 controller.
Nevertheless, we do have to mention that the Xbox 360 controller is not terribly ergonomic. Gamers that have small hands might find it bulky and hard to hold for extended periods of time. If that doesn’t bother you, however, the Xbox 360 controller for Windows is one of the best PC game controllers you can buy.
4. Logitech Gamepad F310
The Logitech Gamepad F310 is one of the cheapest entries on our list. Thanks to the controller’s ultra-affordable price tag, you can buy 10 F310s for the price of one Astro C40 TR. That doesn’t mean there aren’t some bells and whistles, however.
Because of its plug-and-play nature, the F310 works with many PC titles. For those that don’t, you can use Logitech’s Profiler software to customize the buttons and overall controls. You can even mimic keyboard and mouse commands. This makes the Logitech peripheral the most versatile controller at this price point.
Its buttons are quite responsive too, although their layout will appeal more to retro gamers and those coming from PlayStation. The small size and ergonomic shape of the Logitech Gamepad F310, however, make it ideal for those that have smaller hands. It’s the best budget PC game controller you can buy.
5. SteelSeries Stratus Duo
Continuing into the affordable territory, we have the SteelSeries Stratus Duo. The latest in the gaming company’s line of PC-compatible controllers, the Stratus Duo features the physical design of the Xbox Wireless Controller and the analog stick layout of the DualShock 4.
What the Stratus Duo lacks in customization, it makes up for with flexibility. You can connect the controller to your PC over Bluetooth or with the included USB wireless adapter. Also, the Stratus Duo is Steam-compatible out of the box.
However, what makes it so great is that it’s compatible with a variety of other devices including Android phones and VR headsets. This means it is ideal for the multiplatform gamer that wants an all-in-one solution. Its price tag is a bit higher than some other entries on our list, but the SteelSeries Stratus Duo is one of the best PC game controllers regardless.
6. Razer Wolverine Ultimate
For the most part, the Razer Wolverine Ultimate looks just like an Xbox Wireless Controller that frequently visits nightclubs. Razer’s trademark Chroma lighting is on full display around the Xbox button, with the D-Pad displaying a backlit green.
If you don’t care about the flashy lights, it’s the customization that will keep you around. You can swap analog sticks with shorter or taller ones, as well as swap the D-Pad, bumpers, and triggers. You can even download the Razer Synapse app for PC and remap the buttons and triggers, change the analog stick sensitivity, and adjust the vibration intensity.
Also read: The best Razer laptops you can buy right now
Nevertheless, the Razer Wolverine Ultimate is an overkill controller with a price to match. This makes it a more niche choice best suited for those that play the majority of their favorite titles with a controller.
7. Astro C40 TR
Primarily meant for the PlayStation 4, the Astro C40 TR also works great as a PC game controller. As with other higher-end controllers, the C40 TR lets you remap buttons, customize trigger and analog stick sensitivity, and save different profiles.
Customization options don’t end there. The controller features trigger stops for FPS titles, adjustable mic levels through software, a physical switch to change between wireless and wired modes, and replaceable analog stick and D-Pad modules.
However, the Astro C40 TR is the most expensive controller on our list. Its high price point makes it a pick best suited for hard-core gamers that enjoy playing competitive games with a controller. If you want a slim controller with unbeatable performance, however, the Astro C40 TR is one of the best PC game controllers you can buy.
8. Nintendo Switch Pro Controller
No, we’re not crazy: the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller is a great option for PC gaming.
If you’re playing with a wired connection, all you have to do is plug in the controller to your PC. No extra steps necessary. As for wireless play, things aren’t as straightforward. Sticking to Steam means the Pro Controller is recognized as an Xbox One controller. However, you’ll need the 8Bitdo Wireless USB Adapter if you intend to play games outside of Steam.
Regardless of how you use the Pro Controller, Nintendo’s peripheral is a good one. The heft is reassuring, the offset analog sticks are fantastic, and the D-Pad is great for retro titles. We wish the triggers had a bit more actuation, and the D-Pad could have more click to it. But those are nitpicks for what is an excellent controller.
9. 8Bitdo SN30 Pro Plus
The 8Bitdo SN30 Pro Plus looks like something from the SNES era, yet works just like a modern controller. That means a dual analog setup, face buttons, a direction pad, triggers, and four additional buttons for Start, Select, Home, and Capture. Yes, the button layout makes the SN30 Pro Plus a great controller for the Nintendo Switch.
However, it’s also a great PC game controller with a significant calling card: flexibility. In addition to the Switch, the SN30 Pro Plus works with Windows, Android, macOS, Steam, and even Raspberry Pi. The controller also supports the 8Bitdo Ultimate Software, which lets you remap the buttons, set macros, and adjust the sensitivity of the analog sticks and triggers.
Its slim form factor combined with its relatively affordable price tag seal the deal for us. The 8Bitdo SN30 Pro Plus is one of the best PC game controllers you can buy.
10. Retro-Bit SEGA Genesis controller
If you are feeling nostalgic, you can’t go wrong with the Retro-Bit SEGA Genesis controller.
This retro controller is officially licensed by SEGA and it’s an almost perfect replica of the Arcade Pad for the Genesis. Ideal for old-school fighting games like Mortal Combat, the Retro-Bit controller features the classic 6-button layout of its predecessor. It also sports a responsive D-pad and a start button. However, Retro-Bit hasn’t strayed too far from the original design. You won’t find any thumbsticks or shoulder triggers.
Yet, the Retro-Bit SEGA Genesis controller is quite versatile. It is a wired USB controller that is compatible with both Windows and Mac PCs and a variety of other devices. That includes the SEGA Genesis Mini console — a great addition for those that dislike the 3-button controllers included in the box. The Retro-Bit SEGA Genesis controller might not have the flashy features of other controllers on the list, but it’s a steal.
That was our list of the best PC game controllers. We’ll update this post with new models once they hit the market.