The Best PC Gaming Controller for 2023

Enjoy a fun gaming experience with these PC-friendly gaming controllers.

The Best PC Gaming Controller for 2022

There’s no doubt that there’s something special about smashing the buttons on a well-designed gaming controller. Although you might be familiar with the typical keyboard-and-mouse combo, certain games just aren’t as satisfying without a controller in your hands.

Furthermore, the experience just isn’t the same! With a keyboard and mouse, you’re tethered to a desk and restricted in terms of how much you can move around. Plus, the continual hunching isn’t exactly good for your posture.

On the other hand, gaming controllers — especially the wireless variety — allow you to enjoy more freedom of movement. You can veer from side to side while drifting on a virtual race course, or sit back and kick your feet up.

That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the best PC gaming controllers on the market so you can enjoy premium gaming on your personal computer.

How We Picked

  • Type of Buttons and Triggers

    Buttons and triggers are what make up a controller. They must be responsive, mappable, and durable to create a smooth and immersive experience. Therefore, we selected controllers with excellent triggers and controls

  • Comfort

    We don’t want you to experience finger cramps and discomfort while tackling your online opponents. Neither do we want the controllers to slip out of your hands because of poor design. That’s why we chose gaming controllers with ergonomic designs and excellent grips

  • Design/Style

    The right controller can be a game-changer for your desk setup. Literally. That’s why we chose controllers that are visually appealing and well-designed. Best of all, they come in a wide range of colors, so you can find one that’s perfect for you!

  • Price

    You don’t need to spend a fortune to find the perfect gaming controller. We’ve selected top-notch gaming controllers available at reasonable prices

Our Top Picks

Best Pick

Microsoft Xbox Wireless Controller

Microsoft Xbox Wireless Controller

Top-of-the-range gaming controller.

Top-of-the-line and pocket-friendly, it doesn’t get much better than the Xbox Wireless Controller.

Buy Now

With sculpted surfaces and refined geometry, the Microsoft Xbox Wireless Controller is the gold standard when it comes to PC gaming controllers. The modernized, wireless design and textured grip provide comfort during gameplay. It is also compatible with multiple devices and operating systems, including the Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Windows PC, and Android.

Additionally, it comes fitted with a unique share button that allows you to capture and share content such as screenshots and recordings.

Runner Up

Playstation DualSense Wireless Controller

Playstation DualSense Wireless Controller

DualSense’s adaptive triggers and haptic motors create an immersive experience.

This gaming controller is an improvement on the successful DualShock 4.

Buy Now for $61.17

The Sony DualSense is an improved version of the Sony DualShock 4, with dual actuators that provide a more immersive experience using haptic feedback. Its adaptive triggers have also taken a step up, offering just the right amount of resistance akin to the tension one might feel when stretching a bow taut.

These dynamic controls make in-game actions feel much more real. This controller also features a built-in microphone and a headset jack, allowing you to chat with friends online.

Most Cost-Effective

PowerA Enhanced Wired Controller for Xbox Series X|S

PowerA Enhanced Wired Controller for Xbox Series X|S

Wired but not tethered, this controller combines excellence and cost-effectiveness.

Cost-effective and attractive, the controller comes in over 20 unique color combinations and patterns.

Buy Now for $25.99

Officially licensed by Xbox, the PowerA comes with a ton of handy little features that make gaming a fun adventure. Its layout features mappable gaming buttons, dual rumble motors, a stereo headset jack for in-game audio, a share button for capturing special moments, and a volume dial with a one-touch chat mute.

Another noteworthy feature of this controller is that it comes in a wide variety of color combinations; a whopping 26 in number! So no matter what your preferences are, you’re bound to find a color that suits your taste. With its detachable 10-foot cable, mobility isn’t an issue at all.

Everything We Recommend

Best Pick

Microsoft Xbox Wireless Controller

Microsoft Xbox Wireless Controller

Top-of-the-range gaming controller.

Buy Now

Runner Up

Playstation DualSense Wireless Controller

Playstation DualSense Wireless Controller

DualSense’s adaptive triggers and haptic motors create an immersive experience.

$61.17

Buy Now

Most Cost-Effective

PowerA Enhanced Wired Controller for Xbox Series X|S

PowerA Enhanced Wired Controller for Xbox Series X|S

Wired but not tethered, this controller combines excellence and cost-effectiveness.

$25.99

Buy Now

Who This Is For

This list is for anyone looking to level up their gaming experience. Whether you’re a professional gamer or a casual player, you’re bound to find a product that suits your unique needs.

Mouse + keyboard vs. gaming controller
Many gamers swear by the classic mouse and keyboard combo, while others are just as enthusiastic about playing with gamepads. However, there are pros and cons to both sides of the divide.

First off, when it comes to buttons, it’s obvious that keyboards have a larger selection to choose from. With 104 keys, mapping game functions across those keys provide players with a larger variety of inputs. You can create shortcuts as well as add extra inputs and macros.

The second point to consider is the aim. When playing first-person shooter games, aiming and shooting at a target is much easier with a mouse because of the simple point-and-click function. This makes moving in a game much faster than when playing with a controller.

When talking about comfort, controllers obviously take the cake. With a keyboard and mouse, you can’t lie back and kick your feet because of the physical restriction caused by the cables.

Also, the portability of controllers can’t be compared to a keyboard-and-mouse combo. Not to mention ergonomics and the bonus of having all buttons and controls within reach.

In addition, controllers have more pressure-sensitive buttons. For instance, a lot of controllers are now built with intuitive motion and adaptive triggers that give you an almost-physical connection to the game.

Thanks to haptic feedback, you can fire a bow with precision or increase the speed of a virtual runner. This level of pressure sensitivity isn’t as developed as with the keyboard-and-mouse combo.

Taking all of this into consideration, there is no best option between controllers and the keyboard and mouse. Which one works best should depend on the type of game being played and the player’s preferences.

As both have their highlights and downsides, we can say for sure that there’s no victor in this battle.

Is it necessary? Can’t I just use a keyboard?
Certain games are designed with controllers in mind, while others require a keyboard and mouse to be played efficiently. Games that need a keyboard and mouse combo include first-person player games, shooting games, point-and-click games, strategy games, and role-playing games (RPGs).

On the other hand, controllers work best with racing games, sports (football, basketball, etc.) games, combat games, action games, and third-person player games. Therefore, a controller is only necessary when playing certain types of games.

However, there’s no rule against having a controller in addition to your keyboard and mouse. This allows you to have options when playing different kinds of games!

Is it worth splurging on?
With our top picks, you don’t have to worry about splurging at all! We chose controllers that are pocket-friendly so you can choose whichever one suits your budget.

Wired vs wireless
Making a choice between whether to use a wired controller or a wireless one is pretty simple when you consider a few points.

First, if you’re a competitive or professional gamer, you’re likely to be more concerned about accuracy and speed to give you a better chance at winning. Thus, it’s important to choose a gamepad with very little latency, and this is where wired controllers win out. Latency is the amount of time it takes a console or PC to respond to input from a controller.

Furthermore, there’s no chance that the controller will run out of battery mid-play. For gamers who play for hours at a time, this is an important factor to consider. Also, there’s no chance of other devices interfering with your Bluetooth signal because the wire is connected directly to your PC.

However, the above factors are becoming less of an issue with recent upgrades to wireless controllers. Many of them are now fitted with long-lasting batteries that can last for hours without running out.

Input lag has also been minimized to create faster and more accurate responses. In addition, wireless controllers give you more freedom of movement. You can sit as far away from your PC or console as you want without worrying about the restriction of a wire.

All in all, we can’t say which option is the best. It’s important to examine your circumstances and unique preferences before making a choice. Besides, who says you can’t have both?

Why You Should Trust Us

We know that it’s not easy to find a gaming controller that’s perfect in every way. And that’s because such controllers don’t really exist! When selecting our top picks, we paid attention to both the highlights as well as the possible downsides of each controller.

This is to ensure that when buying a controller, you’re not blindsided by any potential flaws later on. Therefore, you can rest assured that we’ve paid attention to past customer reviews to bring you top-of-the-line products.

How We Picked

There are countless PC gaming controllers available on the market, and finding the right one is no small feat. Thankfully, you don’t have to. While conducting our research, we paid close attention to reviews from previous customers as well as the opinions of professional product reviewers.

While selecting our top picks, we paid attention to buttons and triggers, especially their level of accuracy and responsiveness.

With regard to style, all our top picks are visually appealing and brilliantly designed. Each comes in a wide variety of colors, patterns, and silhouettes.

However, they don’t compromise on comfort and ergonomics. In addition, we paid attention to pricing, as our top picks are reasonably priced. As for durability, you don’t have to worry about these controllers suddenly giving out on you, and if for any reason, they do malfunction, they come with manufacturer warranties.

Seeing as some gamers enjoy playing across multiple devices, we also chose based on compatibility. We picked controllers that are compatible with multiple operating systems, including Windows, macOS, Android, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S.

Our Picks For You

Best Pick - Microsoft Xbox Wireless Controller

Best Pick

Microsoft Xbox Wireless Controller

Microsoft Xbox Wireless Controller

Top-of-the-range gaming controller.

Top-of-the-line and pocket-friendly, it doesn’t get much better than the Xbox Wireless Controller.

Buy Now

Who It’s For:

This gaming controller is for those who play on multiple devices, such as Windows PCs, Apple TV, and Xbox. It’s also a great option for those shopping on a budget.

Why It’s Great:

Although the Microsoft Xbox Wireless Controller comes at a mid-range price, it packs top-of-the-range features. Its sophisticated layout features a hybrid D-pad and a textured grip on the bumpers, triggers, and back case.

You don’t have to worry about compatibility as this controller can be paired with Windows 10 PCs, Xbox Series X, Xbox One, and Android. It also comes with an accessories app for remapping buttons and customizing controller profiles.

This controller even comes with a free Xbox wireless adapter, allowing you to connect up to 8 Xbox wireless controllers to your PC at once. With the 3.5mm audio jack, you can easily plug in any supported headset to fully immerse yourself in your game and minimize outside noise.

Potential Flaws:

A few customers report receiving packages without any wireless adapters. In addition, the product packaging has been reported to appear flimsy and rough.

Other Features:

Rated an average of 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon, this controller is a classic that has stood the test of time. Not only is it affordable for a controller with its specs, but it also comes in an attractive and well-sculpted design.

Another interesting feature is the connectivity options, which allow you to connect to your devices via Bluetooth or the included wireless adapter. Additionally, customers report very low latency, so you don’t have to worry about input lag during your gameplay.

Product Specifications:

Colors: Black, White, Blue, Red, Volt
Connectivity: Bluetooth, Xbox Wireless
Compatibility: Windows PCs, Xbox Series X, Xbox One, Android
Product Dimensions: 7 x 3 x 7 inches
Weight: 9.6 ounces
Batteries: 2 AA batteries
Model Number: 1VA-00001

Runner Up - Playstation DualSense Wireless Controller

Runner Up

Playstation DualSense Wireless Controller

Playstation DualSense Wireless Controller

DualSense’s adaptive triggers and haptic motors create an immersive experience.

This gaming controller is an improvement on the successful DualShock 4.

Buy Now for $61.17

Who It’s For:

The Sony DualSense is for all gamers, as it’s suitable for both PC and console games.

Why It’s Great:

The Sony DualSense distinguishes itself by replacing the traditional rumble motors with dual actuators that give physically-responsive feedback. In addition, it possesses adaptive triggers that create varying levels of tension and force, giving you an almost-physical connection to your in-game actions.

For instance, stretching a bow or pressing the brakes can feel much more real as a result of these improvements. With its built-in gyroscope and accelerometer, you can experience intuitive motion control.

Like many other controllers, it comes with a built-in microphone and headset jack to allow you to communicate with other players online. Interestingly, it also has a mute button for those moments when you prefer to be quiet.

Potential Flaws:

The DualSense is not compatible with the PS4 console or PSVR games played on the PS5 console. Certain customers also report that the rumble from the controller is noisy.

Other Features:

The DualSense is one controller that has very few negative reports from customers. Its performance and durability make it worth every penny. It also comes with a new "Create" button feature that allows you to capture and share content easily.

Another interesting feature of this controller is the built-in battery, which can be recharged via a USB-C cable.

Product Specifications:

Colors: Black & White, Midnight Black, Cosmic Red, Starlight Blue, Nova Pink, Galactic Purple, Gray Camouflage
Connectivity: Bluetooth, USB-C cable
Compatibility: Mac, Apple TV, iPad, iPhone, Windows
Product Dimensions: 7.44 x 2.76 x 7.56 inches
Weight: 15.17 ounces
Batteries: 1 Lithium Polymer battery required
Model Number: 9399506

Most Cost-Effective - PowerA Enhanced Wired Controller for Xbox Series X|S

Most Cost-Effective

PowerA Enhanced Wired Controller for Xbox Series X|S

PowerA Enhanced Wired Controller for Xbox Series X|S

Wired but not tethered, this controller combines excellence and cost-effectiveness.

Cost-effective and attractive, the controller comes in over 20 unique color combinations and patterns.

Buy Now for $25.99

Who It’s For:

The PowerA Enhanced Wired Controller is for casual gamers who don’t want to spend too much money on a gamepad.

Why It’s Great:

The PowerA is a light, pocket-friendly controller. Designed with a gorgeous silhouette and superior ergonomics, this controller is brilliantly engineered for gaming. It features dual rumble motors, precision-tuned analog sticks, and anti-friction rings.

For in-game audio, simply plug a headset into the 3.5mm stereo jack. The volume dial contains a handy one-touch mic mute. Easily share screenshots and recordings with a dedicated share button.

Potential Flaws:

Unfortunately, the buttons on this controller have been reported to make loud clicking noises. Also, plugging a headset into the jack creates static noise. Customers are also likely to experience stick drift with this controller.

Other Features:

The long cable allows you to move as far as 10 feet away from your console or PC. This cable is also detachable, making storage an easy process. Another bonus is that it possesses two programmable buttons at the back, which can be programmed to do whatever you want.

For a controller at its price, the PowerA Enhanced controller does a fairly good job. Although it may seem lightweight at first, it has won the hearts of many, with an average of 4.4 out of 5 stars on Best Buy.

Product Specifications:

Colors: Black, Blue, Green, Metallic Blue, Mist, Metallic Ice, Pink, Purple Hex, Red, Royal Purple, Sapphire Fade, etc.
Connectivity: Wired
Compatibility: Windows, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S
Product Dimensions: 6.14 x 4.21 x 2.56 inches
Weight: 7.2 ounces
Batteries: N/A
Model Number: 1518809-01

Almost Made The Cut - Microsoft Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2

Almost Made The Cut

Microsoft Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2

Microsoft Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2

This high-end controller is packed with a ton of customizable features.

The Series 2 is well worth its price with a slew of options and adjustable features.

Buy Now

Who It’s For:

The Microsoft Xbox Elite Wireless Series 2 is specially designed for competitive gamers.

Why It’s Great:

The Xbox Elite Wireless Series 2 is king when it comes to customization. The Xbox accessories app gives users the ability to customize and map buttons. From the D-pads to the shift paddles and joystick, you can tweak various controls to suit their preferences.

Furthermore, Xbox has made it possible to swap components, such as thumbstick toppers, paddles, and D-pads. With the shorter hair trigger locks, you can fire faster, as well as enhance your aim with its adjustable-tension thumbsticks. You don’t have to worry about this controller slipping out of your hand thanks to the wrap-around rubberized grip.

It also comes with a rechargeable battery and a unique carrying case that doubles as a portable charging station. This controller also lets you save up to three custom profiles, in addition to the default profile.

Potential Flaws:

Unfortunately, this controller is heavier than the average, weighing over 2.89 pounds. It is also quite expensive compared to other controllers. As a result, this controller couldn’t make it into our top three.

Other Features:

Although the price of this controller is a bit on the high side, considering its high-end features, it’s a good buy. We love the fact that it gives gamers a wide variety of options to choose from. Customers love it as well, rating it an average of 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon.

Product Specifications:

Colors: Black
Connectivity: Bluetooth, Xbox Wireless adapter, USB-C cable
Compatibility: Windows, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S
Product Dimensions: 1 x 2 x 2 inches
Weight: 46.24 ounces
Batteries: 1 rechargeable battery (included)
Model Number: FST-00001

Care and Maintenance

You can keep your PC gaming controller clean by paying attention to a few simple steps. First, avoid spraying or spilling any liquids on the controller.

It’s important to keep drinks and oily foods away from the controller, especially the battery compartment, to avoid causing damage.

To clean, wipe down your controller with alcohol wipes or a slightly damp cloth moistened with a bit of soap and water. Avoid using bleach. To minimize the amount of dirt that builds up on your controller in the first place, make sure to keep your desk as clean and clutter-free as possible.

When not in use, simply store your controller on a desk or on a flat surface where it’s not likely to be squashed. For wireless controllers, roll up the cord neatly to avoid tangling.