Credit: Socially Keeda
For the PC gamer with a wide range of preferences, the best PC controller is a valuable piece of kit. Simply said, many games, like Shovel Knight and Forza Horizon, are best played with a gamepad rather than a gaming mouse and keyboard. The best PC controllers also allow you to recline back from your workstation and have a relaxing gaming experience.
It’s also true that when transferred from console to PC using a mouse and keyboard, some games end up having a massively complex control mechanism. This is true even for games regarded as PC classics. When using the best PC controller, The Witcher 3 for example, offers a lot more easy control mechanisms.
Best PC Controller for 2021
Finally, while the mouse and keyboard arrangement is fantastic for a lot of activities, especially shooters, the best PC controller should have a place in your armory. That’s why we put today’s best console controllers and PC pads to the test to see which ones are worth your money.
1. Microsoft Xbox Elite Wireless PC Controller
Dimensions: 17.78 x 17.78 x 7.62 cm | Batteries: 2 AA batteries required | Wired: No | Weight: 463.8 grams
- There are several features and options for customization
- Excellent software
- Extremely pricey
The Xbox Elite Wireless Controller is a premium version of the Xbox One controller that lives up to its name. It comes with a slew of improvements over the regular Xbox controller, including an adjustable component arrangement and paddle buttons on the back. You may also use the trigger governor to make the trigger pulls more sensitive. However, at more than twice the price, this is a device geared directly at those of us who genuinely want to take advantage of keyboard customization options.
The Elite controller comes with some pretty remarkable software that allows you to modify and fine-tune almost every element of gameplay. You may create a variety of profiles here, and the controller can hold up to two of them at a time, allowing you to switch between them with a flick of a switch. If you’re searching for the most feature-packed PC controller, this is your best choice, assuming you’re prepared to spend the money.
2. Sony DualShock 4 Controller
Dimensions: 20 x 17.7 x 7.7 cm | Batteries: 1 Lithium ion batteries required | Wired: No | Weight: 400 grams
- D-pad that is both comfortable and excellent
- Amazing Motion control
- Visible shoulder buttons
The DualShock 4 is Sony’s greatest controller to date, and we’re lucky that it’s compatible with Steam’s entire game library. The DualShock 4 is really pleasant to hold, with tactile analog sticks that provide just enough resistance and possibly the finest directional pad ever. It also has motion technology, which allows you to drive in racing games or aim in shooters by moving the controller around.
However, there are a few problems. The exposed shoulder buttons, in particular, make it easy to unintentionally knock them against the tabletop. After a long period of usage, the rubber on the analog sticks begins to wear away. Nonetheless, Sony’s controller is one of the best alternatives for PC gaming using a controller.
3. PowerA Enhanced Wired PC Controller
Credit: Wish Electronics
Dimensions: 13.79 x 10.31 x 6.70 cm | Batteries: 2 AA batteries required. | Wired: Yes | Weight: 331 grams
- Good responsive controller
- High-quality construction
- Advanced Gaming Buttons are practical and simple to set up
- It is Wired Controller
- The direction pad and menu buttons on the Xbox One controller are somewhat smaller
The PowerA Enhanced wired controller, which sacrifices wireless connectivity to achieve a low price point, is a solid choice for a controller that doesn’t stray too far from the form and feel of Microsoft’s own Xbox controller. Because utilizing an Xbox One or Xbox Core controller wirelessly with a PC necessitates the purchase of a specific adapter, many of us would rather have a cable connection, which the PowerA Enhanced provides for approximately half the price.
The controller, which is helped by two vibration motors, has a fair amount of weight. It has all of the buttons you’ll require for your games. It also borrows a trick from the Xbox Elite Controller: two small buttons on the underside of the PowerA Enhanced controller may be used as face button shortcuts. This allows you to keep your thumbs firmly planted on the analog sticks while yet using the ABXY controls to activate abilities.
4. Nintendo Switch Pro
Dimensions: 13.46 x 16 x 6.6 cm | Batteries: 1 Lithium ion batteries required | Wired: No | Weight: 362.8 grams
- Battery life of 40 hours
- Feels heavy
- Easy to connect
The news that this controller’s battery life was so outstanding stuck out to us the most throughout our testing. We’ve grown accustomed to gamepads like the DualShock 4 lasting between 4 and 8 hours with moderate use, so the news is that the Nintendo Switch Pro controller can last up to 40 hours – after a six-hour full charge – is quite remarkable.
If you’ve used the ill-fated Wii U pro controller before, the appearance and feel should be familiar. We felt the weight and sturdiness of this gamepad to be sufficient for extended use. It’s worth noting that it’s a little heavier than Sony and Microsoft’s current-generation devices, but that was quickly forgotten.
5. Razer Wolverine V2 Controller
Dimensions: 10.6 x 15.5 x 6.6 cm | Batteries: 1 A batteries required. | Wired: Yes | Weight: 256 grams
- Buttons that you may click on
- Feeling of ruggedness
- The responsive feedback
- The wire does not detach
If you’ve been looking for a good E-sports gamepad but don’t want to pay more than $150, you’ll be happy to know that the Razer Wolverine V2 demonstrates its worth right away.
With this modular controller, tweaking and experimenting are the names of the game, especially with its mecha tactile buttons, which were satisfyingly clicky in our tests, and the customizable sensitivity of the two analog sticks.
It is, however, wired, which may not suit people who want to set a good distance away. When you play a lot of fighting games with a pad, then you should feel comfortable with the alternatives available.
If these features appeal to you, it’s worth a second look for a price that’s just a smidgeon more than the regular Xbox gamepad.
How do you choose the best PC gaming controller?
When buying one of the best PC gaming controllers, the most crucial factor to consider is the physical configuration. Get an Xbox One controller or a DualShock 4 if you want something that looks and feels like a classic console controller. The Logitech F310 is fine if you want something that looks and feels similar to the Logitech F310 but doesn’t mind dealing with a wired arrangement.
The Xbox One Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 or the Astro C40 TR, on the other hand, are the way to go if you want something more expensive. These controllers resemble normal console controllers in appearance, but they may be customized to a large extent. However, these features come at a cost – between $100 and $150 more than a basic controller, to be exact.
Aspects such as cost are also taken into account. In general, more costly controllers are more expensive, and wireless controllers are more expensive than their cable equivalents.
Is it better to play PC games using a controller?
Although this may appear to be an obscene question to pose in the pages of PC Gamer, indeed, many PC games are considerably better played with a gamepad than with a keyboard and mouse.
The most apparent is sports games, as anybody who has attempted to play FIFA with the odd keyboard/mouse control system will confirm. However, certain games, particularly those built for consoles, have control systems that are so cumbersome away from a pad that playing them any other way is a headache.
For example, you could play Witcher 2 without a controller, but it felt far better on a PC with a pad.
What makes the Difference Between a PC Controller and a Standard Gamepad?
A PC controller isn’t always recognizable from a conventional gamepad. It does, however, run on a pc. Some of the best PC controllers are merely ordinary gamepads, as we’ve documented in our list. On a PC, however, the factors that affect performance are different.
A lot of extra functions won’t be used on a PC because you’ll be engaging with games designed for it. When the PC version of a game detects things as on or off, rather than half on like a PS4 game can, the DualShock’s analog everything isn’t much good. The touchpad and gyro controls on that controller are the same. These factors, however, do not make this controller, or any other controller, any worse. It simply implies you have a piece of technology in your home that you aren’t going to utilize.
Another important feature is that it can connect to a pc and run correctly. Thankfully, this isn’t an issue any longer. The great majority of controllers can be easily linked to a PC via Bluetooth connection. Even the Switch’s extremely exclusive Joy-Cons function in this manner. You may download fan-made tools to rapidly sort things out if you’re looking for something a little more particular.
Is it possible to use a controller in place of a mouse and keyboard?
Instead of a mouse and keyboard, you may use a gamepad that you’ve connected in the great majority of competitive PC games. Because of the aim assist function in games like Fortnite, controllers are quickly becoming the most preferred option for top players to participate. However, this isn’t true for everyone. With a controller, you’ll have a harder time playing competitive games like PUBG. The extra paddles and functionality on the top PC controllers, on the other hand, should assist to close the skill gap.