Once upon a time, the gaming world was dominated by consoles. Nowadays, the PC is a major player, and it continues to gain steam as more and more fans flock to it. But what happens when you’re a PC gamer who loves the classic controller experience? Or if you just got a new game that you think would play better with buttons and a joystick? That’s where the best controllers for PC gaming come in. Join us as we check out the top 10 options on the market.

Zoom Out: 10 Best Controllers for PC Gaming — Comparison Table

This table starts with our top pick overall and encompasses a variety of options for all budgets. For a closer look at each model, head to our Zoom In section below.

ImageControllerConnectivityPowerCost
Razer Wolverine UltimateUSB CableWired
SteelSeries Stratus DuoBluetoothLi-ion Battery
Logitech F310USB CableWired
GameSir T4 Pro2.4GHz WirelessLi-ion Battery
Microsoft Elite Series 2BluetoothLi-ion Battery
PlayStation DualSenseBluetoothLi-ion Battery
8Bitdo SF30 Pro ControllerBluetoothLi-ion Battery
Logitech F7102.4GHz WirelessAA Batteries
PowerA SpectraUSB CableWired
ASTRO Gaming C40 Tr2.4GHz WirelessLi-ion Battery

Zoom In: A Closer Look at the 10 Best Controllers for PC Gaming

Next, let’s check out the detailed specs of each model. We’ll start with the least expensive controller and work our way up.

1. Razer Wolverine Ultimate

Razer Wolverine Ultimate

The best PC gaming controller overall

Manufacturer: Razer | Connectivity: USB Cable | Power Source: Wired | Specifications: 4.2 x 2.6 x 6.1 inches / 13.6 ounces | Price: 💰💰💰💰

We like to think of the Wolverine Ultimate as Razer’s answer to the original Xbox Elite Controller (except better). It features a classy black design complemented by stunning Razer Chroma Lighting, which you can customize through Razer Synapse available on Xbox and PC.

The “extras” on this controller include six programmable buttons, interchangeable D-pads, extra thumbsticks, and a quick control panel. What’s this control panel do, exactly? It lets users toggle between profiles and adjust mic mute, game volume, and key assignments — on the fly! Talk about a serious competitive advantage.

Unfortunately, all these features come at a cost, as this controller runs right around $150. But that’s a small price to pay for eSports athletes seeking the latest and greatest gear.

  • USERS LIKE
  • Built-in trigger stops
  • Mechanical buttons and tactile triggers
  • Extra M1 and M2 buttons (near analog sticks) are super convenient
  • USERS DISLIKE
  • No wireless option
  • On the pricier side, around $150
  • Must use app to switch button profiles

2. SteelSeries Stratus Duo

SteelSeries Stratus Duo

The best controller for Steam

Manufacturer: SteelSeries | Connectivity: Bluetooth | Power Source: Rechargeable lithium-ion battery (20+ hours per charge) | Specifications: 4.3 x 2.5 x 5.5 inches / 17 ounces | Price: 💰💰

If you’re seeking a sleek gaming controller that works on Windows 10 and Steam, the SteelSeries Stratus Duo is your best bet. This controller taps into Microsoft’s DirectX technology to integrate with all your controller-enabled games, including over 5,000 Steam titles.

As for actual performance? The SteelSeries Stratus Duo features an ergonomic grip, precision hardware, and 20 hours of nonstop battery life. Moreover, the D-pad and two analog sticks provide that classic gaming experience with an iconic shape that feels second nature. Overall, the Stratus Duo is an excellent choice by a top name in the industry.

  • USERS LIKE
  • Excellent grip-ability, with textured plastic
  • Plug-and-play via Bluetooth or USB dongle
  • Mimics the beloved Xbox 360 controller layout 
  • USERS DISLIKE
  • No haptic feedback
  • Some reports of lost connections
  • May require firmware updates for some users

3. Logitech F310

Logitech F310

The best budget PC gaming controller

Manufacturer: Logitech | Connectivity: USB Cable | Power Source: Wired | Specifications: 6.8 x 3 x 8 inches / 10.4 ounces | Price: 💰

Logitech has been a leader in the PC hardware industry for decades. Their sleek designs, outstanding performance, and affordable pricing structure make them a top choice for all your computing needs — including PC gaming. In fact, Logitech offers many PC gaming controllers! But our favorite budget option has to be the Logitech F310.

This ultra-affordable controller resembles a mix between an Xbox controller and a PS5 DualSense. All 10 buttons on the F310 can be customized to fit your play style, as can the 8-way D-Pad. You can even save profiles/control schemes with the click of a button. The major downside to the F310? It doesn’t incorporate vibrational feedback, so you shouldn’t expect full-on immersion in today’s triple-A titles.

Still, we recommend the Logitech F310 because it’s a fantastic all-around choice, and it’s less than half the price of any other option on this list. Without a doubt, the best cheap PC gaming controller around.

  • USERS LIKE
  • Plug-and-play w/ Windows 10
  • Responsive buttons and thumbsticks
  • Extremely budget-friendly w/o sacrificing performance
  • USERS DISLIKE
  • Lacks vibrational feedback
  • Trigger buttons are a bit small
  • D-pad can be finicky — requires lots of force before engaging

4. GameSir T4 Pro

GameSir T4 Pro

The best multi-platform gaming controller

Manufacturer: GameSir | Connectivity: 2.4GHz Wireless | Power Source: Rechargeable lithium-ion battery (30+ hours per charge) | Specifications: 4.2 x 2.4 x 5.9 inches / 14.1 ounces | Price: 💰💰

The GameSir T4 Pro Game Controller is a multi-platform controller that works beautifully on Windows, Switch, iOS, and Android. Due to its affordable price and exceptional quality, it’s a great entry-level option that’s popular with the casual crowd.

We recommend the T4 Pro because of its ergonomic design, LED accents and buttons, and — of course — Bluetooth functionality. The T4 Pro is totally wireless and features built-in rechargeable batteries for up to 20 hours of continuous play. And that’s with the dual-motor vibration feedback system, and configurable keys turned on, to boot!

  • USERS LIKE
  • Dual vibration feedback
  • Sturdy buttons and sticks
  • Long-lasting battery w/ USB Type-C charging
  • USERS DISLIKE
  • Slight center deadzone
  • Buttons could feel more tactile
  • Lightweight design (some gamers prefer something more substantial)

5. Microsoft Elite Series 2

Microsoft Elite Series 2

The best PC games Xbox controller

Manufacturer: Microsoft | Connectivity: Bluetooth | Power Source: Rechargeable lithium-ion battery (up to 40 hours per charge) | Specifications: 4 x 2.4 x 6 inches / 12.2 ounces | Price: 💰💰💰💰💰

This expensive controller got a lot of people talking when it first released.

A controller for $150? Who’s going to buy it? Has Microsoft lost their marbles?

Despite the widespread confusion, the Xbox Elite Series 2 quickly found a market among competitive gamers and hardware enthusiasts. It has been a great success so far for Microsoft and continues to sell well.

That’s largely because the build quality is noticeably better than the stock Xbox Series X|S controller (as it should be for the price). And it boasts a ton of premium features, including interchangeable paddles, interchangeable D-pads, rubberized diamond grips, hair-trigger locks, and plenty of customization options within the complimentary app.

With the MES2, you can even save custom profiles to the controller’s on-board storage and switch between them on the fly at the click of a button! Now that’s pro gaming in the palm of your hands.

  • USERS LIKE
  • Suitable for PC and Xbox
  • Tons of customization options
  • Excellent built quality w/ a fantastic 40 hours of battery life
  • USERS DISLIKE
  • Difficult to find in stock
  • Wickedly expensive at over $200
  • Complaints that some of the buttons feel loose

6. PlayStation DualSense

PlayStation DualSense

The best PlayStation controller for PC

Manufacturer: Sony | Connectivity: Bluetooth | Power Source: Rechargeable lithium-ion battery (up to 12 hours per charge) | Specifications: 4.2 x 2.6 x 6.3 inches / 9.9 ounces | Price: 💰💰💰

The PS5 is finally out, and with it comes the new-and-improved PlayStation DualSense Controller!

Sony really outdid themselves with this one. The DualSense features the latest cutting-edge technology to take your gameplay to the next level. This includes haptic feedback, where the controller physically responds to in-game actions, adaptive triggers that adjust tactility depending on your situation, and so much more! Plus, it retains the classic PlayStation controller design that gamers know and love.

While the DualSense is designed for the PlayStation, it also works on Windows 10. Unfortunately, it currently requires some workarounds via third-party drivers. The good news? If you plan to sync with your Steam library, Valve’s gaming platform will recognize the DualSense as a generic controller, allowing you to play to your heart’s content. Just keep in mind the 12-hour battery life, and prepare to game the night away.

One of the best PC video game controllers on the market.

  • USERS LIKE
  • Works perfectly with Steam
  • Haptic feedback and adaptive triggers
  • Unbelievably ergonomic w/ tactile buttons, grippy texture, and durable components
  • USERS DISLIKE
  • Strange design
  • No official Windows support
  • Very expensive at $70 a pop

7. 8Bitdo SF30 Pro Controller

8Bitdo SF30 Pro Controller

The best PC controller for retro gaming

Manufacturer: 8Bitdo | Connectivity: Bluetooth | Power Source: Rechargeable lithium-ion battery (up to 20 hours per charge) | Specifications: 3.8 x 2 x 6.2 inches / 4.8 ounces | Price: 💰💰

Do you miss the good ‘ol days, back when Nintendo reigned supreme, and the SNES was the hottest console around? 8BitDo combines the classic SNES controller design with modern technology to provide an incredible gaming experience whether you prefer the oldies or today’s Triple-A titles!

The 8BitDo SF30 is a wireless gaming controller designed for Windows, macOS, Switch, and Android devices. Connect it to your device via Bluetooth, and get ready for immersive gameplay that features rumble feedback and genuine motion control. Oh, and don’t worry about battery life. With a Li-ion battery that boasts 20 hours of playtime per charge, there’s plenty of time for all-night game jams.

Although it’s not designed for today’s fast-paced competitive games, you’ll love it for more casual titles. With a feedback score of 4.7/5, the consensus is in, and so is the 8BitDo!

  • USERS LIKE
  • Great build quality
  • Comes with Turbo Mode
  • Classic SNES controller look and feel
  • USERS DISLIKE
  • No iOS compatibility
  • Not ideal for competitive titles
  • Firmware may require update out of the box

8. Logitech F710

Logitech F710

The best controller for Windows

Manufacturer: Logitech | Connectivity: 2.4GHz Wireless | Power Source: AA batteries (20+ hours per charge) | Specifications: 6.6 x 3.1 x 7.9 inches / 14.1 ounces | Price: 40

Another great product from Logitech is the F710. This model is similar to the F310, but it’s wireless, offers vibration feedback, and is a bit more durable/sturdy. We recommend the F710 because it’s got all the great features you need, it’s reliable, and it’s still more affordable than the Dualshock 4 and other premium options.

One thing to note is that the F710 is a bit on the smaller side. While it fits well in most gamer’s hands, players with larger hands may want to look elsewhere. 

  • USERS LIKE
  • Tactile buttons
  • Simple setup via wireless USB dongle
  • Vibration feedback w/ multiple settings
  • USERS DISLIKE
  • Over 10 years old
  • Occasional input lag
  • Some users report having to jump through hoops to sync with Windows 10

9. PowerA Spectra

PowerA Spectra

The best LED PC gaming controller

Manufacturer: PowerA | Connectivity: USB Cable | Power Source: Wired | Specifications: 6.6 x 3 x 6.7 inches / 15.8 ounces | Price: 💰💰

If you love the look and feel of the Xbox controller but want some additional flair (seven different color presets, anyone?), the PowerA Spectra is the best PC gaming controller for you!

Officially licensed by Microsoft, the PowerA Spectra works with all Xbox and PC products out of the box, making it the best controller for Windows 10. It also boasts an array of features suited for the modern gamer, including mappable buttons, 3-way trigger locks, rumble motors, and precision analog thumbsticks! And for the audiophiles out there, it’s easy to get your fix via the 3.5mm stereo jack located just under the D-pad.

Unfortunately, the PowerA only comes in a wired variant. But the 9.8-foot cable is extremely long and detachable, offering plenty of ways to play and set up your gaming space. 

  • USERS LIKE
  • Ergonomic design and grippable matte finish
  • Affordable price compared to first-party options
  • Looks great and features seven vivid LED presets
  • USERS DISLIKE
  • Some drifting issues after months of use
  • Uses an outdated MicroUSB connection
  • Bumpers extend a bit further than official Xbox controllers

10. ASTRO Gaming C40 Tr

ASTRO Gaming C40 Tr

The best wireless controller for PC gaming

Manufacturer: ASTRO Gaming | Connectivity: 2.4GHz Wireless | Power Source: Rechargeable lithium-ion battery (12+ hours per charge) | Specifications: 4.3 x 2.1 x 6.6 inches / 10.9 ounces | Price: 💰💰💰💰💰

If you’ve got pockets deeper than the Grand Canyon and eSports dreams that reach well beyond the cosmos, the ASTRO Gaming C40 Tr is the only controller for you.

No, really — this luxury controller is out of this world. That’s because you can customize every single aspect of your playing experience, thanks to replaceable and swappable components like D-pads and analog sticks. You can also set customize any number of button profiles via ASTRO’s state-of-the-art application. Swap through them on the fly, and adapt your gaming to the situation at hand!

Rounding out the ASTRO is a set of mappable rear buttons, trigger stops, and seamless wired or wireless connectivity. If you’re looking for a professional controller with a PlayStation-inspired design (and one that connects to Windows, to boot), this is it. One of the best controllers for PC gaming on the market.

  • USERS LIKE
  • Exceptional non-slip grip
  • Wired or wireless operation
  • Customizable exterior (sticks + D-pad) and custom button profiles
  • USERS DISLIKE
  • Occasional stick drift
  • Lackluster battery life
  • Sharp plastic edges around triggers

PC Gaming Controller Guide Part I: General Thoughts on PC Gaming Controllers

Boy Using the Best PC Gaming Controller
Image Credit: Canva Photos

Don’t be a traitor to the Master PC Gaming Race! Stay true and stick with a keyboard and mouse! Kidding, kidding. There are some instances where it can be nice to have a controller. Certainly, some games like Super Meat Boy or those found within the fighter genre aren’t much fun to play with a keyboard. If you love variety in your gaming, it makes sense to have a controller near at hand.

That said, we do have a word of warning. For real-time strategy and first-person shooter games, we highly recommend sticking with WASDing on your keyboard and clickity-clicking on a mouse. In virtually all these types of games, they will outperform controllers. Imagine climbing the ladder of Starcraft 2 with a controller? Good luck and may the PC Gods have mercy on your poor soul.

The general consensus is that first-party controllers such as the Xbox Elite and Sony DualSense also make for the best PC gaming controller. The logical conclusion is that Microsoft and Sony pour a ton of R&D dollars into developing their controllers. Some 3rd party controllers aren’t bad, but it’s hard to make the case that they offer superior performance.

PC Gaming Controller Guide Part II: Should I Use a Controller?

Gaming controllers for PC are not a necessity since you can just use your keyboard and mouse. However, for certain types of games, one small change you can make to improve your gameplay is to buy a quality PC gaming controller. Plus, it can be refreshing to switch to from time-to-time. Many gamers enjoy PC games but prefer the feel of a console controller over that of a keyboard and mouse set up — and with a PC controller, you can have the best of both worlds!

xbox-one-controller

Controllers can also help improve your gameplay in certain game genres, such as racing games and platformers. Think about it. It’s much easier and more organic to use a handheld PC controller than a keyboard when it comes to driving games. And if you’re someone who enjoys both PC and console games, using a controller on your PC will feel more familiar and comfortable, while keeping your skills sharp on both platforms.

Another huge benefit of using a controller is the comfort it offers. Gaming controllers for PC are designed explicitly for prolonged gaming, whereas keyboards are designed for typing, web browsing, and casual gaming. The ergonomic design of quality controllers means all the buttons you need are right there where they should be — within reach and at a comfortable distance from each other. You won’t ever need to contort your hands to reach the keys you need, and you won’t suffer from the wrist pain that is so common with a classic WASD keyboard setup.

One major but often overlooked benefit is portability. If you’re a serious gamer, you know the importance of having your own setup. Especially when playing competitive online games, it’s vital to have a keyboard/mouse setup that you’re familiar with. This isn’t an issue at home, but what about at a friends house, while traveling, or at a competition? It’s a huge hassle to pack up and move your entire PC setup, keyboard and mouse included. But it’s quite easy to bring a PC controller with you when you’re on-the-go.

These days, there are more and more console games being ported over to PC. This gives cross-platform gamers one more reason to use a quality PC controller. Factor in platforms like Google Stadia, and it’s definitely a smart investment.

PC Gaming Controller Guide Part III: How to Choose the Best Controller for You

PC Game Controller
Image Credit: Lalesh Aldarwish / Pexels

There are hundreds of PC gaming controllers on the market, and it can be hard to select the right one. To make it easier, we’ve outlined the main considerations involved in finding the perfect fit.

1. Cross-platform or PC-only? If you are both a PC gamer and a console gamer, it’s a no-brainer to get a controller with cross-platform compatibility. Controllers for the Xbox One, Series S/X, and PlayStation 4/5 can all be used for PC gaming. They are all great choices, and allow you to keep practicing your skills for both PC and console games, no matter what device you’re using.

2. Wired or wireless? Which is better — wired vs. wireless? While wireless is more convenient, there is also the potential for lag. Both the Xbox Series X and PS5 controllers will connect to your PC using Bluetooth, although some users report difficulties with certain operating systems. Many PC-dedicated controllers have Wireless capabilities, but many top-rated options, such as the Logitech F310, are wired. If you must have a wireless controller, that will help you eliminate many options right off the bat.

3. Size, weight, etc? Especially if you’re a daily gamer, it’s important to have a controller that feels good in your hands. Not too heavy, not too light, properly designed, durable, etc. Unfortunately, it can be hard to know for sure until you buy one because the best deals on these controllers are found online. Our advice is to buy from merchants who have good return policies. That way, if you receive the controller and are not happy with it, you can return it and try a different option. All the controllers we recommend in this article are well-reviewed and comfortable for most gamers.

4. What controller should I buy? Even with the tips listed above, it can be difficult to choose the right controller for you and your gaming style. To help point you in the right direction, we’ve put together a list of the best PC gaming controllers. Keep in mind that these aren’t necessary in order from best to worst — they are all great options! See the Zoom In section above the find the perfect fit.

HighGroundGaming_highGroundView_br

Related Reading