Thanks to the numerous multi-platform games available today, odds are you’ll encounter a PC game better suited for other input methods. For example, it’s not much fun playing Mortal Kombat 11 on your keyboard, is it? That’s why it’s always best to keep PC game controllers handy.
Not only do certain PC games play better with a controller, but having beefy PC specs means your games will look great. Even better, 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.
Best PC game controllers
Editor’s note: We will update our list of the best PC game controllers as new controllers launch.
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 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, the Xbox Wireless Controller easily and quickly connects to your PC. Older versions of the controller can still connect to your PC without cables, but you’ll need the Xbox Wireless Adapter.
Overall, the Xbox Wireless Controller an excellent controller. The size isn’t too small or large, the triggers are excellent, and even the D-Pad gets some shine if you’re into retro games. If we had one small complaint, the face buttons are a bit on the mushy side.
The Xbox Wireless Controller is available for $39.99. Prices differ if you get a non-black version of the controller. If you want Microsoft’s higher-end version of the controller, check out the new Elite Series 2 Controller. It’s significantly more expensive, but it provides an even better experience, making it the true best PC game controller money can buy.
DualShock 4 Wireless Controller
Released alongside the Sony PlayStation 4 in 2013, the DualShock 4 wireless controller took people by surprise. Not because it’s a good controller, but because of how much of an improvement it is 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. There’s also a rechargeable battery, something the Xbox Wireless Controller doesn’t have out of the box.
Even with a rechargeable battery, 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. Through DS4Windows, you can do some button mapping and more.
The DualShock 4 is available for $43.95. Prices vary based on the color you choose.
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, as well.
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 8Bitdo Ultimate Software, which lets you remap the buttons, set macros, and adjust the sensitivity of the analog sticks and triggers.
The 8Bitdo SN30 Pro Plus is available for $49.99. There’s also a cheaper bluetooth model that’s around $30 which offers a more traditional SNES experience (no joysticks), perfect for retro games and emulators.
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.
The Astro C40 TR is available for $199.99.
Razer Wolverine Ultimate
For the most part, the Razer Wolverine Ultimate looks 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.
Also read: The best Razer laptops you can buy right now
It’s the customization that will keep you around. You can swap analog sticks to those that are shorter or taller, or adjust the D-Pad, bumpers, and triggers. You can also download the Razer Synapse app for PC and remap the buttons and triggers, change the analog stick sensitivity, and even adjust the vibration intensity.
The Razer Wolverine Ultimate is available for $139.99.
SteelSeries Stratus Duo
Jumping back into affordable territory, we have the SteelSeries Stratus Duo. The latest in the 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 in 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. Finally, the controller also works with Android devices.
The SteelSeries Stratus Duo is available for $59.99.
7. Nintendo Switch Pro Controller.
No, we’re not crazy: the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller is a one of the best PC game controllers.
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 controller 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. Those are nitpicks for what is an excellent controller.
The Nintendo Switch Pro Controller normally sells for $79.99, but you can often find it for less.
Logitech Gamepad F310
The last entry on our list is also the cheapest: the Logitech Gamepad F310. Thanks to the controller’s $19.99 price tag, you can buy 10 F310s for the price of one Astro C40 TR. Don’t be fooled by the price, however, as it’s still one of the best and most compatible PC game controllers.
Because of its plug-and-play nature, the F310 works with many PC titles. For those that don’t work, you can use Logitech’s Profiler software to customize the buttons and overall controls. You can even mimic keyboard and mouse commands.
The Logitech Gamepad F310 is extremely affordable at just $19.99.