10 Best Controllers for PC You Can Find in 2018

Best controllers for PC
Are you a PC gamer looking for the best way to fully enjoy the latest console-focused titles? For certain games and simulators, the use of a mouse and keyboard is dissatisfying compared to the comfortable and controlled feel of a controller or gamepad. There’s a lot of functional, unique and dependable options to choose from; use this guide to find the best controller for PC users based on how much you’re looking to spend and your desires for features and connectivity.

How to Choose the Best Controller for PC

Wired or Wireless

The age-old question when it comes to gaming peripherals: should I go wired or wireless? For gamepads and controllers, there are almost always options for both. Many wireless controllers come with batteries and can be used via Bluetooth or WiFi connectivity, allowing the user to have more maneuverability. With wired controllers, you’re dealing with more cords, but also a solid, more reliable connection that can be useful if you tend to play games for hours at a time. Ideally, you’ll want to find a controller that is rechargeable or has the ability to be quickly plugged in to avoid being disconnected from the action in a game.

Buttons and Features

Traditional console-style gamepads come with two analog sticks, ABXY buttons, a D-Pad, left and right bumpers, left and right triggers, a start button, a select button and a home button. Many of the best controllers for PC, Xbox and PlayStation may also come with additional triggers, integrated speakers and interactive touchpads that make PC gaming with a controller much more practical. The best PC controllers may also have options for customizing button commands and layout profiles if you’re looking for a more personalized or versatile controller. To get the most out of your PC controller, find one with vibration feedback for more immersive in-game experiences.

Design and Comfort

The look, feel and construction of a controller can play a huge role in its overall quality and usability. For the best controller for PC that’s comfortable to use for extended periods of time without developing hand fatigue, look for ergonomic controllers with smooth grips and a balanced weight. The best controller for PC will also have responsive buttons and sturdy analog sticks and bumpers that are able to withstand heavy use.

Ultimately, the controller you choose should come down to the types of games you play and your personal preference. (For example, FPS gamers should look for controllers with hyper-responsive triggers. MMO or strategy gamers may require controllers with touchpads and programmability for easier navigation.)

10 Best PC Controllers in 2018

Steam Controller

The Best Controller for Steam

steam controller
The Steam Controller is a controller for PC games designed specifically so you can finally play all those games that have been sitting in your Steam collection. If you use Steam for PC gaming, this affordable ergonomic controller is a precise and customizable choice (as long as you’re willing to get used to its unique design).

Specs

  • Platforms: Windows/Linux/Mac/SteamOS
  • Wired or Wireless: Wireless
  • Special Features: Dual trackpads and dual-stage triggers
Pros:

  • Unique duel trackpad and trigger design allows greater genre diversity
  • Versatile (can be configured for non-Steam games)
  • Customizable mappings and programmable buttons
Cons:

  • Only one analog stick on the front
  • May take some time to master
  • Build quality is lacking

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Razer Wildcat

Great Controller for eSports

razer wildcat
The Razer Wildcat is an Xbox and PC controller complete with customizable control layouts and tactile buttons. With its removable triggers and response-optimized construction, you can stay quick and sharp even during long-winded gaming events.

Specs

  • Platforms: Xbox One and PC with Windows
  • Wired or Wireless: Wired
  • Special Features: 4 extra programmable buttons, quick control panel and textured grips
Pros:

  • Comes with 4 additional programmable buttons
  • Comfortable enough for tournament play
  • Optional triggers for rapid-fire in shooter games
Cons:

  • Extra buttons may not be necessary depending on your preferred games
  • Wires hard to replace
  • Grips are not high quality

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PlayStation DualShock 4

Top-notch Controller from Sony

playstation dualshock 4
The PlayStation DualShock 4 is a wireless controller for PlayStation 4 and PC that you can play wirelessly through Bluetooth. You can also use the DualShock 4’s multi-touch pad for a more interactive and controlled gaming experience.

Specs

  • Platforms: PC and PlayStation 4
  • Wired or Wireless: Wireless
  • Special Features: Clickable touch pad, built-in speaker and stereo headset jack and SHARE button
Pros:

  • Includes SHARE button for uploading gameplay content
  • Features a light bar and touchpad
  • Comes with built-in speaker
Cons:

  • Poor battery charge
  • May have function and connectivity issues

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Microsoft Xbox 360 Wired Controller

Very Comfortable PC Controller

microsoft xbox 360 wired controller
The Microsoft Xbox 360 wired controller has that familiar, simplistic design that many gamers have used and loved for years. This classic controller has a firm and smooth feel; although it’s designed for the Xbox 360, you can easily use it on a Windows platform.

Specs

  • Platforms: PC and Xbox 360
  • Wired or Wireless: Wired
  • Special Features: Vibration feedback and USB port connectivity
Pros:

  • Compact and ergonomic for comfortable gaming
  • Flexible cord
  • Engaging vibration feedback
Cons:

  • Cables will take up space
  • Analog sticks can become squeaky
  • Cord may have connectivity issues after a while

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Thrustmaster GPX LightBack

The Best Controller Thrustmaster Have to Offer

thrustmaster gpx lightback
The Thrustmaster GPX LightBack is a gamepad designed for Xbox 360 and PC platforms. If you’re looking for something fairly affordable with interactive backlighting, this unique controller might be a good option.

Specs

  • Platforms: PC and Xbox 360
  • Wired or Wireless: Wired
  • Special Features: Light feedback and vibration feedback
Pros:

  • Vibration feedback with two frequencies
  • Backlighting and speed gauges
  • Comfortable grips
Cons:

  • Stiff D-Pad
  • Resistant triggers (may not be ideal for FPS)
  • May be a challenge to install drivers

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Microsoft Xbox Elite Wireless Controller

The Best Wireless Controller for PC and Xbox

microsoft xbox elite wireless controller
The Microsoft Xbox Elite Wireless Controller is an advanced, feature-rich controller that can be used on PC, Xbox One and Xbox One S. If you’re looking to spend more for customization and accurate performance, the Elite is a high-end choice.

Specs

  • Platforms: PC, Xbox One and Xbox One S
  • Wired or Wireless: Wireless
  • Special Features: Interchangeable paddles, carrying case and extra analog sticks
Pros:

  • Interchangeable paddles
  • Comes with different analog sticks so you can choose based on your gaming style
  • Customize sensitivities, trigger values and more with the downloadable app
Cons:

  • Very expensive
  • Contains small parts; easy to lose/fall out
  • Poor quality bumpers

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Nvidia Shield Controller

Great Wireless Controller with Wi-Fi Capabilities

nvidia shield controller
The Nvidia Shield Controller is a high-performance controller that can be used for PC and Android gaming. This wireless controller might be a great choice if you’re looking for something sleek and functional with a long-lasting battery.

Specs

  • Platforms: PC and NVIDIA devices
  • Wired or Wireless: Wireless
  • Special Features: Wi-Fi Direct, integrated microphone and rechargeable battery
Pros:

  • Runs with Wi-Fi Direct technology
  • Comes with built-in microphone for voice commands
  • Long battery life
Cons:

  • Not suitable for crowded Wi-Fi environments
  • Clunky design
  • Fairly expensive

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Logitech F310

The Best PC Controller Under $20

logitech f310
The Logitech F310 is an “old-school” Xbox-style gamepad that you can use for PC gaming if you’re looking for a cheap yet decent controller. The controls on this gamepad are easy to customize so you can choose your preferred commands for more efficient PC gaming.

Specs

  • Platforms: PC
  • Wired or Wireless: Wired
  • Special Features: Profiler software and programmable buttons
Pros:

  • Several programmable buttons
  • Works with a variety of old and new games
  • Plug-and-play with USB connection
Cons:

  • Cables with take up space (no wireless option)
  • Not ideal for very heavy duty use
  • Not very ergonomic, may be uncomfortable to use

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SteelSeries Nimbus

The Best Controller for Mac Users

steelseries nimbus
The SteelSeries Nimbus is a wireless Bluetooth gamepad that’s compatible with a huge array of Apple products, including Mac computers. If you’re an Apple user in search of a wireless gaming controller with an LED display, you might consider the affordable SteelSeries Nimbus.

Specs

  • Compatibility: Apple TV, iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac
  • Wired or Wireless: Wireless
  • Extra Features: Bluetooth 4.1 and rechargeable battery
Pros:

  • Wireless with Bluetooth 4.1
  • Comes with rechargeable Lithium ion battery
  • You can get the Nimbus Companion App for instant access to controller-enabled games
Cons:

  • Analog sticks lack resistance/click functionality
  • May not be compatible with certain games
  • Lacking in programmability

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Razer Wolverine Ultimate Chroma

Fully Customizable Controller From Razer

razer wolverine ultimate chroma
The Razer Wolverine Ultimate Chroma is a great example of a powerful yet sturdy PC-compatible controller. Synapse compatible, the Razer Wolverine is able to connect to PC and Xbox One. This dual platform capacity allows for a seamlessly transferable experience between the two, depending on the game you’re playing. The intuitive feel of this controller and its completely customizable base definitely make it an appealing choice for any gamer, no matter their expertise level.

Specs

  • Platforms: Xbox One, PC
  • Wired or Wireless: Wired
  • Extra Features: Interchangeable Analog Sticks & Dpad
Pros:

  • Rubberized textured grip
  • Completely customizable
  • Sturdy
Cons:

  • Wired only

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Enjoy Comfortable and Precise Gaming with the Best PC Controller for Your Needs

When it comes to buying the best controller for PC gaming, there’s no shortage of options when it comes to price and design. While there’s plenty of high-tech controllers available that you can use for a multitude of games, that doesn’t mean you also have to spend an arm and a leg. Whether you prefer the classic feel of a wired console controller or you’re looking for a multifunctional wireless gamepad for more versatility, your options are plentiful; it’s just a matter of assessing your gaming style, budget and personal tastes.

If you’re willing to pay more for a controller with lots of features such as lighting, extra programmable buttons and interactive touchpads, you might consider the Steam Controller, the Razer Wildcat, the Xbox One Elite or the NVIDIA SHIELD. For something more comfortable and basic, the Microsoft Xbox 360 Wired Controller and the Logitech Gamepad F310 are popular and affordable choices. If you want wireless but you also want to save, the SteelSeries Nimbus and the DualShock 4 are both good options under $50.

Even if you already have the best gaming keyboard, joystick, racing wheel and gaming mouse, no gaming PC setup is complete without a convenient and functional controller or gamepad. Don’t get left behind in the virtual dust of the rapidly evolving gamer tech world – find the best controller for PC gaming that works for you and your playstyle!

One Response

  1. George March 1, 2018

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