The best PC controller for gaming 2021


As any PC gamer knows, a keyboard and mouse setup is the purest way to enjoy titles on the platform. However, as nearly perfect as it is for many different types of games – especially FPS and RTS – there are a few obvious downsides that come with relying solely on all-digital control rather than an analog method. This is where one of the best PC controllers for gaming can help.

For starters, genres such as show fighters (Devil May Cry, Bayonetta, Ninja Gaiden, Nier: Automata) and racing games (Forza Horizon, Project Cars, Assetto Corsa, TrackMania) are two types that are heavily hampered by the lack of a full range of motion because when you break it down you can really only move in four directions set with the W, A, S, D keys after all.

If you’re worried about limiting yourself to Xbox-branded controllers on PC, don’t worry, as other brands – such as PlayStation and Nintendo, as well as third-party-made pads – are now all compatible with your platform. via Steam’s Big Picture Mode.

That’s not to say we don’t like our traditional peripherals here. If you’re a staunch supporter of things as nature intended, we’ve also got roundups of the best gaming keyboards and the best gaming mouse. Whether you’re looking for something extra to complete your gaming setup or you recently converted consoles and can’t commit to it yet, these are the best PC controllers to buy in 2021.

best pc controller: xbox blue x series controller

(Image credit: Microsoft)

1. Xbox Wireless Controller

The best PC controller for most people

Wireless: Yes | Powered by: AA batteries | Battery Life: Depends on your AA / batteries

Works both wired and wireless

Native compatibility

Improved feeling in the hand

Very similar to the Xbox One gamepad

Still using batteries

It should come as no surprise that the latest Xbox Gamepad review tops our list for its performance and comfortable feel. Add to that the fact that it works natively on PC – just plug it in or connect it via Bluetooth – and it’s ready to go with no more hassle.

New additions this time around, though definitely minor, are the inclusions of USB-C charging – much faster than Micro-USB (if you’re using at least a rechargeable pack) – as well as the “hybrid D-pad. “which takes its clues from another much more expensive Xbox model to which we will come back later. There is also a share button – as found on the DualShock 4 – which does exactly the same; create and share photos and video clips for upload to social networks; something that offers limited functionality for PC use.

There’s a reason not much changed in eight years – when the Xbox One controller launched – and that’s because it was already nearly perfect. If you want to go back even further, this is only really iterative since the Xbox 360 gamepad in 2005 – because everything works extremely well.

Read more: Our impressions of the Xbox Series X controller

best pc controller: Dualsense controller

(Image credit: Sony)

2. PlayStation DualSense

The best Xbox alternative PC controller

Wireless: Yes | Powered by: Internal lithium-ion pack | Battery Life: 4-8 hours

Incredible build quality

Satisfying buttons and triggers

Upgrade on Dualshock 4

Low battery life

Sony’s newest controller sees the biggest deviation from the DualShock brand, well – ever. For starters, it’s not only the first PlayStation controller to drop the moniker, but it departs from both design and ergonomics almost roughly – a change that has been made for the better in our opinion.

As mentioned above, getting this controller to work on your PC has never been easier. No more need to run third-party drivers like the very popular DS4Windows. Instead, start Big Picture, configure the controller with the PlayStation preset, and you’re away.

The biggest downside to the PC Dualsense is that these awesome haptic feedback motors aren’t set up to perform to their full potential on the platform – if this omission is a snap for you – you might want to turn your attention to a different entry on our list.

Vibration aside, one thing is for sure. This is a very well designed and comfortable controller which is a great alternative for an Xbox gamepad.

Read more: DualSense PS5 controller review

best pc controller: Switch Pro

(Image credit: Nintendo)

3. Nintendo Switch Pro controller

The PC controller with great autonomy

Wireless: Yes | Powered by: Internal lithium-ion pack | Battery Life: About 40 hours

40 hour battery life

Feeling heavy

Simple connection

Expensive for what it is

What stood out to us the most during our testing was how good the battery life of this controller was. We’re used to the average lifespan of gamepads – such as the DualShock 4 – which only last between 4 and 8 hours with moderate use, so the fact that the Switch Pro controller can last up to 40 hours. – after six hours full charge – is frankly amazing.

If you’ve had hands-on experience with the ill-fated Wii U pro controller, then the appearance should be somewhat familiar to you. We found the weight and sturdiness of this gamepad to be comfortable enough for long periods of time. It should be noted that this is a bit heavier than the current generation offerings from Sony and Microsoft, but it quickly dissipated.

Read more: Nintendo Switch Pro controller review

best pc controller: Razer Wolverine V2

(Image credit: Razer)

4. Razer Wolverine V2

The best affordable Esports PC controller

Wireless : No | Powered by: USB | Battery Life: N / A

Clickable buttons

Feeling of robustness

Responsive comments

The thread does not come off

If you’re looking for a solid E-sports gamepad – but didn’t want to spend more than $ 150 – then you should find that the V2 proves its metal from the offset.

Tweaking and tinkering is really the name of the game with this modular controller; in particular for its “mecha” touch buttons – which were clickable satisfactorily in our tests – and the adjustable sensitivity of the two analog sticks.

However, it is wired, which may not be suitable for those looking to sit at a decent distance. If you play a lot of fighting games with a pad – like I do – you should feel right at home with the options available to you.

With just a swipe of the standard Xbox Gamepad’s MSRP, it’s worth taking a second look if these features appeal to you.

Read more: best razer controller

best pc controller: Xbox Elite 2

(Image credit: Microsoft)

5. Xbox Elite 2 controller

The best high-end PC controller

Wireless: Yes | Powered by: Internal lithium-ion pack | Battery Life: 30-40 hours

Unparalleled customization

Incredible build quality

Corded or wireless use

Extremely expensive

This is where things start to get serious – with a price tag that is no less. I’ll start off by saying that this gamepad is, basically, a mega-loaded edition of the standard Xbox Series X controller.

The box contains aftermarket controller heads, a classic cross-design D-pad, and tools to tailor the feel of the controller to your liking – with physical adjustments to almost any part of the controller. Also of note is the extended 40-hour battery life – similar to the Switch Pro controller – a good 8-hour increase over the life of the Xbox Series X gamepad between charges.

I’ll also be cheeky to say that the Elite 2 justifies its asking price with its premium design and suite of features, but as the most expensive item on our list, it won’t be to everyone’s liking. – or budget – and that’s understandable, too.

Read more: Xbox Elite 2 controller review

best pc controller: Nacon Revolution Unlimited Pro

(Image credit: Nacon)

6. Nacon Unlimited Revolution Pro

A premium option for PlayStation fans

Wireless : Yes | Powered by: Internal lithium-ion pack | Battery Life: 6-7 hours

Lots of editable options

The extra weight feels good

Easy to use for PC and console

Expensive in the USA

Battery life is not exceptional

If you’re looking for a modular controller – such as the Elite 2 – but rather prefer the symmetrical design of the PlayStation controller, then the NUPC is just as good.

This controller has been my choice since I got my hands on it earlier this year; effectively replacing both my DualShock 4 (on console) and my Xbox Wireless Gamepad when playing on PC.

That’s because it’s not only comfortable to use, with excellent weight and feel, but also the swappable analog heads, grip weights, and metal washers restricting travel for the sticks. There are also four different switches on the back for changing profiles, as well as a dedicated switch for console or PC – which works just fine.

Read more: Nacon Revolution Pro Unlimited controller review

Looking for other ways to improve your gaming setup? It might be time to move on to one of the best gaming desks or best gaming chairs. If you’re a PC that’s just getting started, take a look at our guides on the best gaming laptops and best gaming pc.


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