Many gamers switch from consoles to PC for better graphics or online multiplayer base.
However, many still prefer the good old joysticks over a mouse and a keyboard.
Therefore, I have prepared this detailed guide to tell you about the best pc gaming controllers that are available in the market in 2021.
Top 10 Best PC Gaming Controllers 2021
One might prefer a controller with diagonally placed thumbsticks, whereas the other might prefer horizontally placed thumbsticks.
Sony, Microsoft, Razer, among many others, make gaming controllers for these preferences and compatible with computers.
So without any further ado, let’s get right into it.
1.DualShock 4 Wireless – Comfortable, Durable & Long-Lasting
- Dual analog sticks with bigger buttons and triggers.
- Clickable touchpad with multi touch functionality.
- Built-in speaker with 3.5mm headphone jack.
- Rechargeable battery with 6-7 hours in a single charge.
- Gyroscope within the controller.
Sony has had its name in the world of gadgets for a long time now. The PlayStation is a master tier gaming console with millions of players worldwide. The DualShock 4 controller comes with it. It has a comfortable grip and weighs just around 210 grams. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about getting tired of holding it in your hands for longer hours.
The controller also comes with vibration motors and a gyroscope. Not only does it makes the gaming experience more lively, but it also opens doors for countless more possibilities. Imagine aiming in First Person Shooters with the help of the gyroscope! The vibration makes the game feel more immersive than ever.
The DualShock 4 controller has Bluetooth connectivity to help you wirelessly connect with the computer. However, you would need third-party apps and drivers for it to work correctly. Also, there is a touchpad in the middle that works as a physical button too. It has multi-touch capabilities and is extremely responsive.
If you had to consider the negative aspects of this controller, to be honest, there isn’t much. The only major downside is that you need to connect the controller with a wire for the speakers to work. Moreover, there are no official drivers available for it.
Other than these couple of drawbacks, for just under $50, the Sony DualShock 4 Controller is a complete package. It is comfortable, durable, and has a rechargeable battery that lasts around 6 to 7 hours.
- Fantastic D-PAD.
- Touchpad and lightbar.
- Steam compatible.
- No official drivers.
- Speakers work with a wired connection.
2.Nintendo Switch Pro Controller – Old School & Comfortable
- Features motion controls.
- Comes with a USB-C to USB-A cable and a rechargeable battery.
- Built-in Nintendo exclusive amiibo functionality.
- It has a haptic feedback functionality called the HD rumble.
If you are an old school player, there is no way you don’t know about Nintendo. It has been a part of our childhood, giving us extraordinary games such as The Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda. Now, with the increasing popularity of controllers, Nintendo has stepped up the game by introducing one of their own. The Nintendo Switch Pro Controller is one of the most comfortable controllers you can get right now. The looks are similar to the Xbox One controller, with two analog sticks diagonal to each other.
It is relatively easy to use this controller with the PC with a wired connection. However, if you want to go wireless, you would have to install some third-party drivers. It is lightweight and compact for a more comfortable gaming experience. Also, you do not have to worry about changing batteries every other week. It comes with a charging cable and a rechargeable battery and lasts approximately 40 hours. It is way more than any other gaming controller in the market.
Moreover, it has other Nintendo’s exclusive features, such as HD Rumble and Amiibo. It also supports motion control to provide a broader scope of games to play.
Despite all this, there are often some connectivity issues, especially when connecting it wirelessly with the computer. It often disconnects, or the vibration functionality stops to work correctly. Moreover, it comes at a hefty price tag of around $60. It does not have any official drivers for PC as well, and Steam also recognizes it as the Xbox One controller. Also, although the battery lasts for around 40 hours, it takes about 7-8 hours to hours to fully charge.
Other than these setbacks, the Nintendo Switch Pro gives an excellent old school feeling to the user. It is a bit costly, but if you want the comfort and the exclusive Nintendo features, it is worth the investment.
- Extremely long battery life.
- Exclusive Nintendo features.
- Ideal for twitch movements.
- No official drivers and Steam recognizes it as an Xbox Controller.
3.Logitech Gamepad F710 – Plug-and-Play PC Gaming Controller
- 2.4 GHz wireless connectivity.
- Controls are fully customizable.
- Built-in dual vibration motors for feedback.
- Broad compatibility with multiple operating systems.
Logitech is another well-known company for manufacturing premium computer peripherals, and the Logitech Gamepad F710 is no exception to it. This gaming controller has contoured rubber grips along with a smooth curvy design for the maximum level of comfort.
The best thing about this controller is the fact is that it has official drivers. It is a plug-and-play controller. All you need to do is plug in the nano USB receiver to the PC and get into the game right after it. There is no input lag nor any other connectivity issues. It is an entirely wireless experience with virtually no delays.
Moreover, it has a sleek and compact design and is ideal if you are looking for a less expensive alternative to the DualShock 4 controller. It has a similar but smaller design and has built-in vibration motors as well. The analogs and the D-PAD are soft and smooth as well. It has complete Steam support too!
Like every other controller, the Logitech Gamepad f710 has some shortcomings too. The greatest among them is the fact that it does not have a rechargeable battery. You need to get 2 AA batteries if the old ones die. It can be a problem, especially when the battery dies, and you do not have spare available at that moment. Also, if you have bigger hands, this controller can be uncomfortable due to its small size. It is better that you take into account its dimensions before getting it.
Overall, for around $35, the Logitech Gamepad F710 is a worthy competitor. It comes with a 3-year manufacturer’s warranty and is fully compatible with PC games. If you are on a budget and need an experience closest to the DualShock 4, you must give this a try.
- Great value on money.
- Excellent wireless connectivity.
- 3-year warranty.
- The size might be too small for some players.
- No rechargeable batteries.
4.Logitech Gamepad F310 – Affordable & Versatile
- Convenient plug-and-play USB connection.
- Customizable with the help of Profiler software.
- Features ten programmable buttons.
- The D-PAD is 8-way programmable.
The Logitech Gamepad F310 is the ancestor of Logitech F710. This is the controller that puts Logitech on the map against other PC joysticks. It is highly durable and has a console-like layout, so the experience is familiar. If you are a beginner with a tight budget, this controller gives you everything for just around $20. It costs half the price of other controllers, but it is good enough for basic usage.
The ten buttons on the controller are programmable so that they suit your needs. Similarly, the D-PAD is an 8-way programmable to give you the most convenient gaming experience. This gaming controller is also compatible with Sony TV if you decide to play on the big screen. The easy plug-and-play feature means that all you need to do is plug in the USB wire attached to the controller with the PC and you are good to go. It is also compatible with a variety of new and old games.
However, for such a low price, there are a lot of things you will be missing out on. Firstly, you can not use this controller wirelessly. It is an entirely wired connection. Moreover, the quality of the buttons and the D-PAD is not as good as the others. Therefore, its longevity is questionable. Also, there are no vibration motors in this controller, and the size overall is a bit small for gamers with bigger hands.
In a nutshell, it is still a good option for gamers who are not sure if they want to spend around $50 on a gaming controller or not. It gives an idea about controllers for just approximately $20.
- Very affordable.
- Easy to connect and play.
- Questionable longevity.
- It has a wired connection only.
- Low-quality buttons.
5.ZD-V+ – Durable & Responsive Buttons
- Supports PC, PS3, and Android.
- Convenient plug-and-play with a USB connection.
- Features multi-mode and vibration feedback.
- It identifies devices automatically without the need of any drivers.
The ZD-V+ is another suitable gaming controller for beginners or those with a low budget. It has a layout and design similar to a PS3 controller and is very comfortable to hold. Unlike the Logitech Gamepad F310, this gaming controller does have built-in vibration motors for feedback.
The ZD-V+ gives a convenient option to the players to switch the functions D-PAD with the left analog stick. Not only does it allows the user to have more control over the game, but it also enables more easiness. The analog sticks have a non-slip texture for optimum grip, and the separated design of the D-PAD gives precision required in the battleground.
The vibration feedback works very well, even at such a low price tag. It is highly responsive, and the vibration is good enough to enhance the overall gaming experience.
However, this controller has a wired connection only, similar to all the other budget gaming controllers. The build quality is just average, and you need updated drivers for it to work properly.
Other than these little flaws, this is an excellent choice as it costs just around $20. It has all the fundamental features and does not break your bank.
- It is an Inexpensive gaming controller with all basic features.
- Wide compatibility.
- Not as durable as other gaming controllers.
- It is not wireless.
6.Microsoft Xbox One Controller – Fits Perfectly Like a Glove
- Works across every gaming platform by Microsoft.
- Ergonomic design with a comfortable grip.
- Wired controller and provides a reliable connection.
- It has a redesigned 8-way D-PAD.
Microsoft is another leading company in the gaming industry with its famous Xbox series. One thing that has been consistent for all the Xbox consoles is the controller that comes with them. Although the features have increased over time, the shape remains similar. It is known for the comfortable grip and the iconic placement of the analog sticks. This Xbox-One Controller follows a similar look to the Xbox-360’s controller.
The major key point for this controller is the fact that it adjusts in the Microsoft ecosystem perfectly. It is fully compatible with most of PC games if not all. Moreover, it has an official driver available for your convenience. The 9-inch wired connection means that you do not have to worry about any connectivity issues nor any input lag. If you have an Xbox-One, you can use this controller wirelessly with it too.
The redesigned 8-way D-PAD provides the precision needed during intense gaming sessions. The ergonomic design makes it comfortable to hold for long hours of gaming. It is as easy to hold for an adult as it is for a kid and weighs just 348 grams.
On the other hand, this gaming controller still requires 2 AA batteries to run. Moreover, there is no wireless connectivity with the PC as there is with Xbox-One. There is no headphone jack either, although it costs too much.
Ultimately, as far as the comfort level is concerned, this controller does wonders. It costs just over $50 but is well worth the price due to its convenience on Windows PC. If you are coming from an Xbox, this is the one to choose.
- It fits perfectly in the Microsoft ecosystem.
- It has a robust build quality with excellent vibration motors.
- 9-inch wired connection with PC.
- It uses 2 AA batteries.
7.GameSir PC Game Controller T4 – Best Value For Money
- Features an attractive translucent cover.
- Rechargeable battery with about 5 hours of gameplay.
- 2.4GHz wireless connectivity up to 10 meters.
- Configurable buttons and dual vibration motors.
GameSir is a Chinese company that makes quality computer components. The GameSir gaming controller T4 is another premium product that provides the best experience for a comparatively lower price. It has a sturdy built quality with a translucent cover which allows you to see the insides. The LED lightings under the buttons make it more attractive and a flashy addition to the gaming battle station.
This controller has silicone covered analog sticks and D-Pad to make the grip more firm. The turbo feature allows the user to adjust the vibrating motors according to their preference. You can increase or decrease the vibration intensity with the help of the dedicated turbo button and the D-PAD.
Apart from all these features, the configurable M1-M4 buttons on the back are what attracts most gamers. You can configure those buttons and choose the keys you want to combine. These buttons can then give you an edge over other players in the battleground as you would have more control over the game.
The ergonomic design makes it comfortable to hold, and the anti-skid grips keep it firm and steady in the hands. The 2.4 GHz wireless connectivity ensures that there are minimal connectivity issues and interference while playing games. Moreover, you can connect two controllers to the same computer with the help of their wireless receivers.
Contrastingly, the plastic body feels a bit cheap and makes it longevity questionable.
In a nutshell, this gaming controller has the best value for its cost. For just under $30, you get the best gaming experience with all the necessary features. If you can compromise on the build quality, there is no better choice than the GameSir Gaming Controller T4.
- Excellent value on money.
- Flashy design.
- It has four configurable buttons on the back.
- Average build quality.
8.Razer Wolverine Ultimate – Exceptionally Premium Build Quality
- Features two interchangeable D-PADS and thumbsticks.
- Total of 6 additional configurable buttons.
- Iconic Razer Chroma Lighting.
- Interchangeable parts and optimised ergonomics.
If you are a big fan of gaming, there is no way you are not aware of Razer. Razer has been making the best of the best products with exceptional features and characteristics. Their products have a class of their own but are very costly as well. The Razer Wolverine Ultimate is for those who do not want to compromise on anything at all.
The optimized ergonomics provide the user with the comfort required for intense gaming sessions. The build quality is exceptionally premium, and the iconic Razer Chroma Lighting makes it a lovely addition to any gaming setup. It features interchangeable parts to meet your needs and give you the easiness and control you deserve. You can change the D-PAD and the thumbsticks on the controller and choose the ones that are more suitable for you.
Out of all the other gaming controllers, this is the most customizable one. It has six additional configurable buttons that you can remap to suit your requirements. Among these six buttons, there are two bumpers and four additional triggers behind the controller. Moreover, you also get a Quick Control Panel with it so you can have access to some basic features right on your controller. Just like other premium gaming controllers, you get seamless connectivity due to the wired connection and a headphone jack as well.
However, it is an extremely expensive gaming controller as it costs over $100. Also, there is no wireless connectivity, even at this price point.
Other than this, the Razer Wolverine Ultimate is the best in its class. If you spend that amount on this controller, you will get just about everything except for wireless connectivity. Some might argue that it is a good thing as there is no latency while playing!
- Highly customizable controller.
- Premium build quality.
- Dedicated Quick Control Panel.
- Very costly.
- It has a wired connection only.
9.Steam Controller – Infinite Customization
- Features multipurpose dual trackpads.
- Highly precise and responsive haptic feedback.
- Built-in accelerometer and gyroscope.
- Every button is reconfigurable.
Steam is one of the largest multiplayer platforms by Valve. It is almost impossible not to mention it when talking about PC gaming. With the increasing popularity of gaming controllers for PC gaming, Valve decided to add their own to the list as well. The Steam controller is a uniquely designed and futuristic-looking gaming controller that is similar to others by its shape but has unique functionality.
This controller was designed to support the games that were not programmed to support gaming controllers. Therefore, it gives a complete customizability option to the play to remap the buttons according to the demands. It makes it easier to play games that do not have native support.
The Steam Controller ditches one thumbstick for another trackpad. There are a total of two trackpads on the controller, and one of them works mainly as a D-PAD. The other one, however, is fully configurable. You can use it as a steering wheel, or to simply control the mouse. The possibilities with this controller are limitless.
The controller has excellent and precise haptic feedback, as opposed to the traditional vibration. Not only does it feel more lively, but it is more immersive as well. The gyroscope and the accelerometer take motion control to the next level. You can configure these as well to meet your needs.
On the negative side, this controller is expensive as it costs around $80. It needs 2 AA batteries to run, and the button layout is very unusual. Hence, it might take some time to get used to it. The precision of the trackpads is also not as good as that of a mouse and a gaming keyboard.
Nevertheless, it is still a great controller as it opens more doors for the players due to its features and customization. For about $80, it is an innovative controller with a unique design.
- Great motion control.
- Completely customizable.
- Precise haptic feedback.
- It uses two AA batteries.
- Unusual design.
- The trackpads are not very precise.
PC GAMING CONTROLLER
With hundreds of PC gaming controllers out there in the market, it can often be very hard to decide which one to buy.
Controllers come with different specifications, sizes, and features.
It is not important for the same controller to suit two different people.
To make things easier for you, I have made a list of all the key features that you need to consider when spending your hard-earned money on a gaming controller.
After all, a more suitable controller would ensure a better gaming experience.
PC-Dedicated or Cross-Platform
Now, this is a very crucial factor to consider before you spend your money on a gaming controller. Often times, people play on PC but still have a console at their disposal. There can be many reasons for it. Many game developers keep some games exclusive to a specific console only. For instance, Spiderman is a PlayStation only game, and HALO is an Xbox exclusive.
Therefore, those who do not want to miss out on exclusives, but want to enjoy the higher frame rates and the free online multiplayer on a PC should go for a cross-platform gaming controller. These include the Sony Dualshock 4 controller or the Xbox One controller according to what console you own.
Contrastingly, if gaming on a PC is all you do and have no interest whatsoever in a gaming console, you can go for a PC-dedicated gaming controller. These include the Steam controller and the GameSir PC controller.
Hence, you must consider it before buying a controller. It can be useful as you can use it for your console and the PC too. It will save you plenty of money and be very convenient as well.
How you connect the controller with the PC is another essential factor to consider. There are mainly two different ways to connect any component with the PC. You have the option to connect it using a wired connection or go for a wireless one. For controllers too, you have the chance to spend a bit more and get a wireless gamepad.
However, many people prefer a wired connection over a wireless one. It is arguable. However, if you are indecisive about it, here are some of the pros and cons of a wireless controller. These pros are the cons of a wired controller. The cons are the pros of a wired controller.
No cords or wires keep the desk clean.It allows you to move around while playing.Convenient.
Connectivity issues.The battery needs to be replaced/recharged.Expensive as compared to wired controllers.
These were a few of the pros and cons. In the end, it all comes to your personal preference. In a nutshell, it is definitely worth considering whether the extra dollars are actually worth it or not.
Style and Features
Let’s start off with style first. As you might already know that there are many different styles of controllers for you to choose from. The standard style and the most common one is the Dualshock 4 controller. You’ll find most of the controllers shaped that way. The second most popular style is the one that the Xbox controller has.
The significant difference between the two is the placement of the thumbsticks and the D-PAD. You need to see which style suits you better. Do you like the thumbstick to be on the top left of the controller or do you want it to be in the middle left just beside the right thumbstick? If you have been playing on an Xbox previously, it is ideal that you choose another similarly styled controller, so you get used to it without any problems. Likewise, if you have spent your youth playing on a PlayStation, you must choose a controller similar to the DualShock series to avoid any difficulties.
As far as the features are concerned, many controllers for PC have some extra specialties built-in. For example, the Razer Wolverine Ultimate has six additional configurable buttons along with the standard ones. It also has RGB lighting and a dedicated Quick Control Panel.
However, these are not necessary for playing games. Not having these would not prevent you from playing a game. But, these are still some features that might give you a better and more immersive overall gaming experience.
Other than this, you might also want to consider whether the controller provides any haptic/vibration feedback. Though very popular among gamers, many cheap controllers still do not have this vital feature.
Size and Weight
The last essential factor to consider is the size and weight of the controller. After all, it is the one thing that you will continuously hold for all the time you are playing games. It can cause strain in your arms, and you might even get tired very soon if the controller is a heavy one. You need to go for a gamepad that you can hold comfortably for hours of gaming.
On the other hand, the size of the controller matters a lot too. If it is too big, it might not fit in your hands, and you might not be able to play competitively. Contrastingly, if it is too small, your fingers would bump each other the entire time you play, causing irritation and the inability to play peacefully and with concentration.
Therefore, the size and the weight is something to consider as your comfort largely depends on these two. For your convenience, a good average controller weighs somewhere between 200-270 grams.
Although not an essential factor, but the price is worth considering when buying a controller. You need first to make up a budget and then look for the best controller that you can get within that budget. You also have to consider whether all the features that a controller offers make up for its price tag or not. This is, again, a matter of personal preference.
On average, a good controller would set you back somewhere between $50-$70. Anything more is what you will pay for the additional features. If you want to go for a cheaper one, you would have to give up some features and the overall quality of the controller. In my opinion, it is better to invest a bit in a controller as they last longer and have a great impact on your gaming experience.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I use a gaming controller with a PC?
Using a gaming controller with a PC is simple.
If you have a wireless controller, you can connect it using BlueTooth. If you have a wired connection, you can connect it physically with the PC and enjoy your game.
However, you might have to install drivers or third-party applications for the controllers to work correctly.Can I connect my Xbox or PS4 controller with a PC?
Yes. You can easily connect your PS4 DualShock controller or the Xbox One/360 controller with your PC.
However, you would need a third-party application to run the PS4 controller on the PC. Though, as Xbox is a gaming console by Microsoft, you can simply plug-and-play its controller with your PC.Are wired controllers better?
It is an arguable statement as it is a matter of your preference. However, here are some of the factors that make the wired controllers superior over the wireless ones.
– The batteries don’t need to be recharged every now and then.
– There are minimal chances of disconnecting while in the middle of a game.
– Wired controllers are easier to connect to a PC.
– There is virtually no lag.
– A controller with identical style and features but wired would be significantly cheaper than the wireless one.Is PC gaming better with a controller?
It depends on the type of game you are playing and whether you are coming from a console or not.
Many people argue that playing racing games with a controller is easier and more fun as compared to a keyboard and a mouse. Similarly, many prefer a mouse and a keyboard for playing a First Person Shooter.
Hence, you can not conclude if gaming with a controller would make the gaming experience better. It is arguable and depends on the player himself/herself.
If you are coming from a console, you will play much better with a controller than with a keyboard and a mouse.Are SCUF controllers worth the extra money?
SCUF controllers definitely give the players an edge over other players by giving more configurable controls on the same controller.
They can be used to make the gameplay much easier and accurate as well. However, many people do just as good with a normal controller. It all depends on your dedication and passion.
If you really want to spend twice the amount, you can go for one.
Now that you are familiar with the best pc gaming controllers 2021, make sure you get yourself the most suitable one among them.
These will make your gaming experience much immersive and fun.
Also, do keep in mind all the key factors before you spend all that money!