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The Best Controllers For Steam Deck (2024)

Steam Deck handheld players are a great pick for on-the-go gaming but if you ever prefer to hook up your Steam Deck to a monitor, the best Steam Deck controller could take your gameplay experience to the next level. In this list, we rank and review the eight best controllers for Steam Deck at a number of different price points and with a number of different features — and yes, we included the controller made for Steam Deck just to keep your options open. 

As Steam fans are well aware, nothing compares to the game selection available on the platform, and these controllers have everything you might need. Let’s get started.

8 Best Controllers for Steam Deck

From affordable models to high-end options, here are the eight best controllers for the Steam Deck.

1. PlayStation DualSense Wireless Controller

PlayStation DualSense Wireless Controller

The Best Steam Deck Controller Overall

Key Features:

  • Built-in microphone and speaker
  • Record/broadcast with create button
  • Built-in battery
  • Successful Steam Deck connection and mapping
  • Price: 💰💰💰

The first controller in our list of the best controllers for Steam Deck is the DualSense Wireless Controller for PlayStation. Now with full native Steam support, what stood out most about the DualSense Wireless, with firmware, you’ll have control over everything, no third-party applications required. From there, everything connects, as input, instructions, and in-game menus all update – pretty convenient. Otherwise, customization is top-notch, feedback tells us, including the touch pad, lighting, and mic button. 

According to reports, it all pairs without issue, connects almost instantly once turned on, and overall, works flawlessly. All that comes with a number of other features like a built-in microphone and speaker, record and broadcast button, and an assortment of nice colors options. In light of all that, we felt confident calling the PlayStation DualSense Wireless Controller the best Steam Deck controller out there, or for any other gaming platforms, for that matter. You’ll pay a bit more for it, but it’s worth the money, reports tell us. 

  • Seamless Dualsense connection with Steam Deck
  • Full native Steam support
  • Pairs with Steam flawlessly, reconnects instantly
  • Too big and heavy, some say
  • Few more color options might be nice
  • Bit pricey for what it is

2. Steam Controller

Valve steam controller for PC

The Best Controller for Steam Deck Runner-Up

Key Features:

  • 1:1 absolute position input
  • Frequency-of-use button and zone positioning
  • Fully-customizable control schemes
  • Play any game, any way you want
  • Price: 💰💰💰💰💰

Since we’re talking Steam Deck, why not use the controller designed specifically for the platform? Based on our research there’s a lot to recommend about the official Steam Controller, and a few things to be aware of before making you choice. First of all, there’s everything you’d expect from the best controller out there: HD haptic feedback, back grip buttons, and completely customizable control schemes. 

The frequency-of-use button and zone positioning are also popular features. That said, the Steam controller is larger than most other controllers, which some players have a hard time getting used to. It will let you play any Steam game on your TV, and it’s as customizable as any other high-end controller. The overall layout of the controller was not to everyone’s liking, though, which bumped the peripheral a bit further down in our list.

  • Well suited for big hands
  • 3 default configuration templates
  • Superior ergonomics
  • Button resistance could be better
  • Not your average controller – takes some getting used to
  • Batteries included not rechargeable

3. DualShock 4 Wireless Controller

DualShock 4 Wireless Controller

The Best Wireless Controller Value for Steam Deck

Key Features:

  • Highly sensitive built-in accelerometer 
  • Built-in speaker and headphone jack
  • Improved feel, shape, and sensitivity
  • Good choice for Steam games on laptop
  • Price: 💰💰

If a wire-free controller is a priority, the DualShock 4 Wireless is up next in our list. This is a well-reviewed wireless controller with stable Bluetooth connectivity, we learned. It also connects right up to Steam Deck, no issues reported.  Meanwhile, it also pairs well with Steam Link for couch-based PC gaming, feedback tells us. It’s also compatible with a broad range of other gaming platforms, your choice – set up unique profiles for all your different gaming experiences.

Among many things making this a great pick for Steam Deck games, there’s a sensitive built-in accelerometer and speaker, and a headphone jack. The overall feel, shape, and sensitivity on this peripheral have also been recently updated. The gyroscope is reportedly sensitive, responding well to shifts in tilt and rotation. Some called the DualShock 4 an improvement over the actual Steam Controller for Steam Deck games. There are also a few nice colors to choose from. 

  • Connects easily to Steam Link
  • Steam-specific customizations
  • Good value
  • No charger included (USB-A charger compatible)
  • So-so on PC via Bluetooth dongle, some say
  • Jitter issue reported

4. PowerA Enhanced Wired Xbox Controller

PowerA Enhanced Wired Xbox Controller

The Best Budget Wired Controller for Steam Deck

Key Features:

  • Good color choices
  • Share button for screen shots/clips
  • 10-feet USB cable included
  • Programmable back buttons for Steam games
  • Price: 💰

For a stable, wired gaming experience on Steam Deck we recommend the Enhanced Wired Xbox controller from PowerA. One Steam user said it worked very well. Meanwhile, everything felt smooth and for the affordable price, it was a very well made peripheral, they said. There’s a 10-foot USB cable included that feedback tells us is more than long enough for most purposes. Also related to the cord, there’s a special little slot we found which holds the cable rigid for about a half-an-inch from the port, cutting down on stress and tension and potentially extending the life of the controller and cord. 

One Steam Deck user said the vibration works as expected, the buttons and sticks all seem high quality, and it’s also lightweight, which some players prefer. Some do call the buttons a bit “clicky,” though. For Steam Deck gaming with no worries charging or battery life, the PowerA enhanced wired Xbox controller could be the best choice for you.

  • Beautiful design, works well
  • Similar to Xbox One controller
  • Fits big hands well
  • Prone to stick drift
  • A little lightweight, some say
  • Isolated Steam Link issue reported

5. 8BitDo Pro 2 Bluetooth Controller

8BitDo Pro 2 Bluetooth Controller

The Best Retro-Looking Controller for Steam Deck

Key Features:

  • 4-Way mode switching button
  • 20 hour rechargeable battery
  • 2 pro-level back buttons
  • Most comfortable controller ever, one report said
  • Price: 💰

When it comes to the best gaming controllers, many players swear by 8BitDo. For Steam Deck, we recommend the Pro 2 Bluetooth controller. With the Pro 2, feedback tells us Steam Deck players are pretty much good to go, with little to no configuration necessary. There are also now back buttons of the Pro 2, similar to the controller made for Steam. There’s also a gyro which allows players to utilize Steam game’s gyroscope function.

A single switch now lets you toggle between platforms, we found out. There were some reports of dropped Bluetooth connectivity, but nothing serious. It feels like a pro controller, and it’s comfortable to use, one report said. You can also map buttons however you want, which is nice. There are some extra paddles that might require Steam Big Picture remapping to become functional. Otherwise, it’s a well-made controller and a great deal for the price. 

  • Board compatibility beyond just Steam Deck
  • No hand cramping after long gaming session
  • Swappable battery
  • Steam Big Picture remapping may be necessary
  • Some Bluetooth connectivity issues reports
  • A little crowded with buttons

6. Xbox Elite Controller Series 2

Xbox Elite Controller Series 2

The Best Pro Steam Deck Controller

Key Features:

  • Adjustable-tension thumbsticks
  • Up to 3 custom profiles
  • 40 hour battery life
  • Easy Bluetooth connectivity
  • Price: 💰💰💰💰

If budget’s no issue, we recommend the Xbox Elite Controller Series 2 for the best Steam Deck controller under $200. For the price, the peripheral comes in a long list of color and design options. Those who’ve tried the Elite Controller Series 2 say it feels great, it’s easy to use, and easy to reprogram. We like the long battery life and and that three custom profiles are saveable. With a clamshell design, the controller is a bit heavy, but not too heavy, reports tell us. 

The swappable D-Pad and analog sticks are both popular, though, and overall the Bluetooth is easy to set up and once set up, remains stable. There’s otherwise a broad range of connectivity options Xbox wireless and Xbox Series X|S when not playing Steam games. It all comes with a carrying case, six thumbsticks, four paddles, charging dock, and thumbstick-adjustment tool — that’s a lot of value for the price.

  • Good battery life
  • Very responsive on Steam
  • Good choice for Steam Link
  • “A” and “B” button recognition issue reported 
  • Bit heavy
  • Sticky “X” button, one report said

7. Microsoft Xbox Core Controller

 Microsoft Xbox Core Controller

The Best Steam Deck Controller For Around $40

Key Features:

  • Hybrid D-pad
  • Capture share content with share button
  • Textured triggers, bumpers, and back-case
  • Lots of colors to choose from
  • Price: 💰💰

For somewhat smaller budgets, we recommend the Microsoft Xbox Core Controller as the best Steam Deck controller for around $40. There’s a share button to capture and share content, making the Xbox Core controller perhaps the best choice for Steam Deck play with friends. There’s a little configuration required to get it working with Steam Deck with “Expanded Xbox Configuration support” and “Xbox Extended Feature Support” on the Steam Deck. Once you do, it all works like a charm, though, feedback tell us. 

There’s a nice broad range of color and design options, with textured triggers, bumpers, and back case. It also offers the versatility of a wired power source of battery power for wireless play. Don’t miss the custom button mapping and overall, the buttons are very responsive with that satisfying “click” sound we all look for in the best game controllers. Battery life is nice and long, too, feedback says. 

  • Good Bluetooth connectivity
  • Precise weapon aiming
  • Easy to reprogram
  • Microsoft Accessories app upgrade may be required
  • Some face button mushiness reported
  • Isolated report of “A” and “B” button confusion

8. PDP Wired Game Controller

PDP Wired Game Controller

The Most Stylish 3rd Party Controller for Steam Deck

Key Features:

  • PDP Control Hub app remapping
  • Good choice for FPS games
  • Wired headset compatible
  • Great Steam gameplay reported
  • Price: 💰

And finally, last but not least we picked the PDP Wired Game Controller for the Best Steam Deck controller under $50. At an affordable price, PDP offers all you might need for the best Steam Deck experience, with very little configuration necessary. Available in a few nice color choices, there’s also a 3.5 MM headphone jack with the freedom of on-the-fly volume control straight from the D-pad. This is a great pick if FPS games are your preference, and for the price, everything is well made and durable. 

It’s on the light side, which many player prefer, but it works well straight out of the box, feedback tells us. The cord stays firmly in place once inserted. Remap everything quickly and conveniently with the PHP control hub app. In short, when we found out how well it all works with Steam Deck games, we had no problem including the controller on our list. 

  • Thumb sticks have nice dip and ring
  • Buttons analog triggers work great
  • Lighter than most Xbox controllers
  • Button positioning not for everyone
  • So-so d-pad
  • Sticky “A” button issue

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