Best PC Controller 2021: The Best Game Pads for PC Gaming
From poorly ported consoles video games to motion adventures and racing simulators, there are quite a lot of circumstances the place a gaming keyboard and gaming mouse aren’t essentially going to be the very best enter choices. It’s straightforward to swear by a keyboard and mouse the place twitchy response and pixel-perfect purpose are involved, however there’s an enormous area the place completely different gaming controllers can have an edge whereas enjoying on a gaming PC.
If you are enjoying a combating sport, you might get extra satisfaction out of the buttons on a controller, which you’ll be able to frantically mash. If you are flying via area in an intense dogfight, holding a thumbstick all the way down to carry out a collection of loops and turns generally is a lot simpler than hurriedly throwing your mouse round your desk in an try to maneuver easily. And, let’s not overlook that analog inputs have some benefits over the all-or-nothing, binary controls throughout mice and keyboards – simply strive slowing accelerating in a racing sport with a keyboard.
Beyond conventional gaming controllers, there’s additionally a bunch of specialised controllers, like joysticks and fight sticks, which might be made to excel in particular varieties of video games. We’ve rounded up the very best controllers in a wide range of classes, so when a sport can profit extra from a controller, you may let your keyboard and mouse take a well-earned break.
If you are shopping within the UK, click here to find out the place you may go to seek out the very best PC controllers.
TL;DR – These are the Best PC Controllers:
1. Xbox Core Controller
Best PC Controller
Microsoft wasn’t going to relaxation on its laurels with the Xbox One controller that already stood out as the very best PC controller. With the brand new Xbox Series X and Series S got here the brand new Xbox Core Controller (read our review). The new controller really leaves most of its predecessors designed unchanged. It’s acquired the identical face buttons, similar analog sticks, similar battery port, and similar pairing button. There’s nonetheless chatpad port and a 3.5mm audio jack for headsets on the entrance fringe of the contoller.
Microsoft has up to date the texture, although, including extra texture to the grips and triggers. There’s additionally a brand new D-Pad that is extra akin to the concave model discovered on the Xbox Elite controller, and it is pretty tactile. Microsoft has additionally added a share button between the Menu and View buttons. And, since this can be a machine that launched in 2020, there’s fortunately a contemporary USB-C port. Bluetooth connectivity additionally stays out there on this mannequin.
2. PowerA Enhanced Wired Controller
Best Budget PC Controller
For a controller that does not stray too removed from the form and really feel of Microsoft’s personal Xbox controller, the PowerA Enhanced (read our review) wired controller is a robust possibility that ditches wi-fi connectivity in an effort to hit a low worth level. Since utilizing an Xbox One or Xbox Core controller wirelessly with a PC requires a particular adapter anyway (or Bluetooth), many people most likely would go for a wired connection, and the PowerA Enhanced affords that up at about half the value (bonus: no batteries required).
The controller itself gives a good little bit of heft, aided alongside by two vibration motors. It’s acquired all of the buttons you want in your video games. It even takes a web page out of the Xbox Elite Controller’s e-book: On the underside of the PowerA Enhanced controller, you may discover two small buttons that may function shortcuts to face buttons. This will allow you to preserve your thumbs firmly in place on the analog sticks whereas nonetheless with the ability to activate skills mapped to the ABXY controls.
3. Logitech F310
Best Ultra Cheap PC Controller
If you are a religious keyboard and mouse gamer who solely imagines themselves very hardly ever utilizing a gamepad, the Logitech F310 is a superb possibility. It solely prices $15, but it surely consists of all the pieces you want together with twin joysticks, bumpers and triggers, 4 commonplace face buttons, and even an eight directional D-Pad.
Those quick, nubby grips do not make for excellent ergonomics, however that should not matter for those who’re solely selecting up a controller for brief bursts to drive autos in video games like Grand Theft Auto V or Battlefield V.
4. Sony DualSense Controller
Best Bluetooth PC Controller
Sony’s DualShock 4 controller was nice, and with Bluetooth connectivity, you did not have to do a bunch of additional work to get it linked to a PC wi-fi such as you did with the unique Xbox One controller. Now, the Sony DualSense Controller (read our review) delivers an improve. The new controller drastically adjustments the aesthetics of the unique, however nonetheless has an identical management scheme or those that want the symmetrical format for the analog sticks.
Support for the DualSense controller on PC may additionally end up even higher than it did for the DualShock 4. There have already been moves by Steam to support the controller, and it is attainable the touchpad, superior haptics, and adaptive triggers might additionally obtain help on PC sooner or later. With extra PlayStation-exclusive video games ending up not so unique due to PC ports, full DualSense performance on PC might make for the easiest way to play these video games on PC.
5. Xbox Elite Series 2 Controller
Best High-End PC Controller
If you are after an Xbox controller that does not maintain again, then you definitely’ll need the Xbox Elite Series 2 controller (read our review). This mannequin upgrades from the unique Elite controller by including wi-fi charging utilizing a docking base with pogo pins. The charger can match conveniently within the controller’s carrying case, the place it could even be plugged in.
The Xbox Elite Series 2 controller additionally will get upgraded with help for Bluetooth connections, making it simpler than ever to pair along with your PC and even smartphones. It additionally has made the transfer away from Micro USB to incorporate a USB-C connection as an alternative. Beyond that, it nonetheless has swappable analog sticks, a number of D-Pads, and tunable triggers to ship a gaming expertise you may tailor to your individual wants.
6. Razer Wolverine V2
Best Wired PC Controller
If you need critical efficiency in your PC gaming, the Razer Wolverine V2 (read our review) is the controller you may wish to choose up. It has a premium design with rubber facet grips that can preserve your palms firmly in place even within the fiercest fight. The controller is bigger than the brand new Xbox Core controller, giving it a particular place for bigger handed players as nicely. And, with a wired connection, it should guarantee minimal enter lag.
The Razer Wolverine V2 affords extremely succesful buttons, because it makes use of Razer’s “mecha-tactile” buttons, which actuate rapidly and have a clicky really feel – not one of the mushiness of typical controllers. You can remap the controls to your liking, and there are additional shoulder buttons to present you much more management. Razer additionally consists of set off locks for any video games that require speedy set off presses.
7. MetalSeries Stratus Duo
Ready to Go Out of the Box
The MetalSeries Stratus Duo (read our review) would possibly appear to be a controller made particularly for cellular and VR headsets, but it surely’s additionally a stable possibility for gaming PCs. For $60 this wi-fi gamepad comes with its personal 2.4GHz dongle included and it even has a built-in battery that is rated for 20 hours of gameplay.
WIndows 10 additionally routinely acknowledges the Stratus Duo as an Xbox controller, which suggests you need not remap any buttons. The solely factor this controller lacks is rumble, however for those who do not thoughts the lacking haptic suggestions, the MetalSeries Stratus Duo is a superb controller you should utilize with plenty of different gadgets.
8. 8Bitdo Pro 2
Best PC Controller for Retro Games
Retro seems to be however trendy performance make the 8BitDo Pro 2 (read our review) an superior possibility for enjoying traditional video games on PC (and new video games as nicely). The face of the 8BitDo Pro 2 gives you the sense you’re enjoying on a traditional SNES controller, however you’ll have a much-improved expertise due to a contemporary ergonomic design, high quality buttons, and deal extra.
The 8BitDo Pro 2 controller helps a variety of platforms and might connect with your PC over Bluetooth for 20 hours of wi-fi play, or you may go together with a wired USB-C connection. You’ll discover commonplace Nintendo-style controls, however you may remap the buttons to match in-game controls. Meanwhile, you’ll get PlayStation-style symmetrical analog sticks. The 8BitDo Pro 2 even helps movement controls. Then there’s the customization, which lets you do any obligatory button remapping, swap stick habits and axes, and even regulate the set off actuation depth. Plus, there are two again paddles to allow you to preserve your thumbs on the analog sticks.
9. Switch Pro Controller
Let’s a Go with Nintendo’s Controller
The Switch Pro Controller (read our review) is among the greatest controllers ever made, and now you may convey that greatness to the PC. Like the DualShock 4, getting this controller to work the PC is simple with a wired connection, however going wi-fi requires a couple of hoops to leap via.
Good information is as soon as you’ve got acquired it paired correctly over Bluetooth, Steam will routinely acknowledge it as an Xbox One controller with all of the button mapping completed for you. However, for those who’re enjoying video games outdoors of Steam, you are going to want 8BitDo Wireless USB Adapter to make the Switch Pro Controller act like an Xbox One gamepad.
10. PowerA Spectra Enhanced
Best RGB Controller
PowerA could also be identified extra for its funds controllers, however that does not imply you need to write them off as low cost and low high quality. The PowerA Spectra Enhanced (read our review) has checked all the fitting bins for a PC controller. This is an Xbox-style controller, however in some methods it is even higher than the unique Xbox One controller that it manages to value lower than.
It has a stable design with a soft-touch end and affords RBG lighting round virtually all the primary entrance buttons in addition to alongside the sting. There’s no fussing round with pointless software program both, because the LEDs could be managed with a button on the again. Better nonetheless, the PowerA Spectra Enhanced affords a professional function within the type of two mappable buttons on the underside that give your center fingers one thing to do past holding the controller. This offers the controller a bonus over the usual Xbox One controller whereas it is value undercuts the Xbox Elite controllers.
The Spectra Enhanced has a wired connection, which ensures you may get the bottom latency and by no means have to fret about whether or not the batteries are charged. The braided cable is prolonged, has a sturdy reference to the controller, and has an inline launch to be sure you do not by chance pull your laptop computer or laptop off your desk or media middle.
11. Hori Fighting Stick Alpha
Best PC Fight Stick
If you play plenty of arcade or combating video games, you’ve got acquired case to select up a fight stick as an alternative of a regular controller. The fast actuation of battle stick buttons and the exact management over a joystick can provide the benefit you want in your combating video games. And, for PC, the Hori Fighting Stick Alpha is a standout possibility. This combating stick ought to provide no fuss working along with your PC because it has all the identical buttons as an Xbox controller. With a Key Lock mode, it is also able to take to tournaments with out the concern of by chance getting disqualified.
With the Hori Fighting Stick Alpha, you can too decrease the cables working between you and your PC. You can merely join a gaming headset with the battle stick, and you will even get controls to mute your mic and audio on the battle stick itself. Modders additionally get lots from this stick, because the case and faceplate are each simply opened to swap out parts or art work. Of course, for those who do not wish to mod, you may benefit from the high-quality Hori Hayabusa joystick and buttons that come inventory.
12. Thrustmaster TS-PC Racer
Best PC Racing Wheel
PC is just about the place to expertise simulation racing video games. Not solely does this platform permit you to join a number of shows and ultrawide shows for the last word immersive expertise, however PC can be the place for some very critical (and generally critically obscure) racing video games.
Of course, you are going to desire a racing wheel to finish your sim racing setup and look no additional than the Thrustmaster TS-PC Racer. It seems to be and seems like an actual wheel hooked up to an precise race automotive, particularly when this peripheral’s 40-watt brushless motor activates. Force suggestions on this racing wheel as you may really feel the pull of each flip and the shock of each bump with as much as 6nm of torque.
Where to Get the Best PC Controller in the UK
It is unsurprising that the Xbox controller tops the list here, but you’ve actually got a couple of options depending on whether your laptop or PC is Bluetooth enabled. If you’ve got Bluetooth to use, you won’t need the PC adapter USB, and can simply pick up an Xbox One controller, or perhaps a PlayStation DualShock 4 to keep away from the additional value. But, if you wish to contemplate all of your choices, listed here are the very best PC controllers out there within the UK. Don’t see the controllers below? Click here.
Why Would You Want a PC Controller
While enjoying PC video games with a controller would possibly appear to be sacrilege in opposition to all the pieces that’s proper within the church of keyboard and mouse, you should not care about what different folks take into consideration the best way you play PC video games.
After all, PC gaming is simply as a lot about enjoying video games that their very best high quality, expertise video games at ultrawide and super-wide facet ratios unobtainable on the consoles, or simply having the very best, silkiest body charge attainable.
How you get to play that have is as much as you, and for those who’re like us, generally you fairly simply sit again with a controller than continuously lean over your desk’s keyboard and mouse. This could be very true for those who occur to be enjoying video games on a big-screen gaming TV in your sofa. While there are lapboards to convey the true PC gaming expertise to your front room, controllers are nice for protecting issues informal and comfy.
Kevin Lee is IGN’s Hardware and Roundups Editor. Follow him on Twitter @baggingspam
Mark Knapp is a daily contributor to IGN and an irregular Tweeter on Twitter @Techn0Mark