The very best PC controller in 2021

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The best PC controller

Seize among the finest PC controllers and recreation from the consolation of your sofa.
(Picture credit score: Future)

The very best PC controller is a crucial software within the PC gamer’s toolkit. Merely put, there are lots of video games—from Shovel Knight to Forza Horizon—which might be higher performed with a gamepad than a gaming mouse and gaming keyboard. The very best PC controllers additionally offer you extra freedom to lean again from the desk and chill out into a calming gaming session.

It is also true that some video games find yourself with a monumentally complicated management system when mapped from console to PC if you find yourself utilizing a mouse and keyboard. And that is true even for video games held to be PC classics. The Witcher 3, for instance, truly has a much more easy management system when performed with the very best PC controller.

Ultimately then, whereas the mouse and keyboard setup is nice for lots of issues, particularly shooters, there completely must be a spot for the very best PC controller in your arsenal. Listed here are the very best choices round:

Greatest PC controller

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Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2

(Picture credit score: Microsoft)

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Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2

(Picture credit score: Microsoft)

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Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2

(Picture credit score: Microsoft)

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Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2

(Picture credit score: Microsoft)

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Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2

(Picture credit score: Microsoft)

1. Xbox Elite Wi-fi Controller Collection 2

The very best wi-fi gaming controller

Specs

Weight: 0.76 lbs (345 g) (+/-15 g)

Connectivity: USB Kind-C, Bluetooth, 2.4 GHz

Battery: Inside Rechargable Battery (40 Hours)

Causes to purchase

+ Plenty of customization choices+ Removable Charging Dock by way of USB-C + Bluetooth-enabled (lastly)  

Causes to keep away from

Heavy in comparison with most controllersSignificantly costly

Should you use the Microsoft Elite Collection 2 controller for greater than ten minutes, you may perceive why we now have it on the primary spot. All the pieces in regards to the Collection 2 screams luxurious. The near-endless customization choices offer you an unparalleled degree of management (pun meant) over your gameplay. With the ability to tweak, all elements of the controller, like d-pads, shift paddles, and joystick pressure, is an absolute godsend.

Probably the most important modifications within the Collection 2 over the Collection 1 (which we additionally liked) embrace a neat little carrying case that doubles as a charging station for the controller’s new rechargeable battery with 40 hours of juice. Lastly, with undertaking Xcloud and Apple Arcade bringing some nice video games to cell gadgets, you’ll be able to simply pair the Collection 2 controller by way of Bluetooth. 

Spending $160 for a controller is a troublesome promote for most individuals, that is close to 4 instances the worth of an Xbox One controller, however in the event you’re a critical gamer who values efficiency and excessive ranges of customization, the Collection 2 is a no brainer and price each penny. 

Learn the total Xbox Elite Wi-fi Controller Collection 2 assessment.

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Xbox Wireless Controller

(Picture credit score: Xbox)

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Xbox Wireless Controller

(Picture credit score: Xbox)

2. Xbox Wi-fi Controller

Probably the most dependable recreation pad

Specs

Weight: 0.62 lbs (281 g)

Connectivity: Xbox Wi-fi; Bluetooth

Battery: 2x AA

Options: Hybrid D-pad, Textured Grip, Share button

Causes to purchase

+Inexpensive+Snug+Formally supported by most video games+Share Button

Causes to keep away from

Not rechargeable

The unique Xbox One Wi-fi Controller was a staple for PC gaming. With the Xbox Collection S/X launch, we had been all curious to see how Xbox improved on an already killer gamepad. 

This controller retains lots of what we liked in regards to the authentic. Conserving it very snug general design with texturized rubber grips makes you’re feeling extraordinarily nice in your arms. Very similar to the unique,  it boasts a vastly superior D-pad that you simply will not dread utilizing in preventing video games and platformers taking cues from the Xbox One Elite Collection controllers. You may need seen a brand new button within the heart of the controller; a much-requested Share button now permits you to seize screenshots and gameplay footage with out diving an excessive amount of into the menus.

We capitalize Wi-fi for a purpose, not as a result of the phrase is a correct noun per sé, however as a result of the Xbox Wi-fi controller of late leverages Microsoft’s wi-fi protocol it calls “Xbox Wi-fi.” Although the title may benefit from some artistic workshopping, you’ll be able to take solace in the truth that, after 2016, the Xbox Wi-fi controller graces us with a much-needed serving to of Bluetooth compatibility. And now it is virtually normal fare for console transplants deterred by the educational curve mouse and keyboard gaming presents. 

Sony Dualsense controller pictured front on

(Picture credit score: SONY)

3. Sony DualSense Wi-fi Controller

Probably the most spectacular recreation pad round

Specs

Weight: 0.46 lbs (210 g)

Connectivity: USB Kind-C, Bluetooth

Battery: Rechargeable

Options: Touchpad, haptic triggers

Causes to purchase

+Tremendous correct thumbsticks+Adaptive Triggers+Haptic Rumble

Causes to keep away from

Function assist restricted on PCBattery life is not superb

The PlayStation 5 DualSense has a “it’s important to contact it to imagine it” high quality due to its new haptic motors and “Adaptive” triggers, which may provide resistance below your finger. Firing a bow can truly really feel like firing a bow, for instance. The rumble can be simply the very best and most nuanced we have ever felt in a controller. It truly is nearly as good as individuals say.

The dangerous information: the DualSense’s most superior options do not work in PC video games but, since video games will should be programmed to benefit from them. However Steam already gives full assist for the controller, so it is at the least a breeze to plug in and use like some other pad. It is a hair much less snug than the Xbox Collection X controller, and never as easy to make use of in non-Steam video games, however in the event you desire Sony’s analog stick structure or love gyro aiming, that is the one to get.

And perhaps sometime we’ll see PC video games benefit from these new triggers and haptics, too.

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Astro C40 TR

(Picture credit score: Astro)

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Astro C40 TR

(Picture credit score: Astro)

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Astro C40 TR

(Picture credit score: Astro)

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Astro C40 TR

(Picture credit score: Astro)

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Astro C40 TR

(Picture credit score: Astro)

4. Astro C40 TR

Primed for PS4, appropriate with PC

Specs

Weight: 0.68 lbs (320g)

Connectivity: 2.4GHz wi-fi, USB wired

Twine size: 6ft (1.8m)

Causes to purchase

+Remappable, interchangeable buttons+Promising serviceability

Causes to keep away from

Software program may be annoyingCannot exchange the face buttons

Positioned as a premium different to the DualShock 4, you might say that the Astro C40 TR is to the PS4 what the Xbox Elite wi-fi controller is to the Xbox One. A 3rd occasion might make it, however the Astro C40 TR delivers a premium controller expertise in that acquainted DualShock type issue. 

What makes the C40 TR distinctive is the flexibility to not solely swap elements, however transfer them round. The modular design will allow you to swap out the left thumbstick for the D-pad and rock an asymmetrical Xbox One-esque controller in the event you like. Otherwise you is usually a full anarchist and put two thumbsticks on the left, with the D-pad on the best. (The face buttons cannot be swapped to a unique place.)

For PC avid gamers, the Astro C40 TR has its personal Home windows software program. With it, you’ll be able to remap buttons, create and edit profiles, and modify stick and set off sensitivity, amongst different issues. Of these different issues, the truth that it has an audio equalizer for the headphone jack on backside is probably the weirdest, most spectacular facet of the entire controller. Just like the Elite and its contemporaries, It prices lots, however after utilizing it ourselves, we do not wish to return.

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PowerA Spectra

(Picture credit score: POWERA)

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PowerA Spectra

(Picture credit score: POWERA)

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PowerA Spectra

(Picture credit score: POWERA)

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PowerA Spectra

(Picture credit score: POWERA)

5. PowerA Spectra

Greatest price range PC controller

Specs

Weight: 0.99 lbs (447 g)

Connectivity: micro USB

Options: LED edge-lighting, 3-way set off locks

Causes to purchase

+Nice Button Really feel +Almost similar design to an Xbox One Controller+Good Worth +Cool lighting

Causes to keep away from

No wi-fi assistSet off locks are sub-par

PowerA’s Spectra Enhanced wired controller is the closest factor to an Xbox One controller with out it truly being an Xbox One controller, at the least by way of design. This can be a price range controller that does not really feel or play like a price range controller. 

The sting lighting provides the Spectra some character, and the 3-way set off locks are nice for aggressive shooters. The Spectra would have scored greater, however the lack of any wi-fi connectivity is a giant let down within the days of untethered gaming.

Learn the total PowerA Spectra assessment.

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Razer Wolverine Ultimate

(Picture credit score: Razer)

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Razer Wolverine Ultimate

(Picture credit score: Razer)

6. Razer Wolverine Final

Clicky with a aspect of Chroma

Specs

Weight: 0.6 lbs (272 g)

Connectivity: USB wired

Twine size: 10 ft (3m)

Causes to purchase

+Swappable sticks and D-pad+Loud, satisfying face buttons

Causes to keep away from

Costly for a wired controllerWants a separate app to configure

Razer’s Wolverine Final may very properly be the very best gamepad accessible immediately, save for one important disqualifying issue—it will possibly’t connect with a PC wirelessly. The Xbox-style gamepad gives most of the identical luxurious options because the Xbox One Elite Wi-fi Controller, like a swappable D-pad and customizable again paddles. It is also almost the identical worth, which begs the query: Why not simply purchase a kind of as an alternative? 

Effectively, it isn’t for everybody, however the Wolverine Final does have its fair proportion of distinctive, downright attractive options. For starters, the face buttons—those labeled A, B, X, and Y—click on like mouse buttons. This seemingly minuscule element makes a world of distinction. It is like utilizing nothing however membrane keyboards your complete life after which making a transfer to mechanical switches. So whereas the enclosed 10-foot braided micro USB cable takes some getting used to, tactile button presses are a worthy trade-off.

In fact, no Razer product can be full with out a wholesome dose of Chroma, the three-headed inexperienced snake firm’s signature model of RGB lighting. Nonetheless, fairly than integrating it into the prevailing Synapse 3 app for Home windows, Razer determined to develop an app particularly for Xbox One. So in the event you do plan on utilizing this controller to your PC, keep in mind you may want a separate app to configure it.

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Greatest controller for PC FAQ

Can you utilize a console controller on PC?

The brief reply is sure. The marginally longer reply is that you simply may must carry out slightly fiddling the primary time you set it up—though after that it’ll simply be a case of plugging it in. 

Listed here are guides for organising your new controller on PC:

How can we check controllers?

Ignore those that appear to assume each recreation is greatest with a mouse and keyboard. Assassins Creed Valhalla is just not greatest performed with a keyboard. Avenue Fighter 5 is just not greatest performed with a keyboard. True, we play most video games with a mouse and keyboard, however for PC avid gamers with ranging tastes, a great controller is a should. 

Although I’ve completed some testing with first-person shooters, I’ve largely ignored the style. Whereas it might be vital for console avid gamers, we’re nearly all the time going to make use of WASD for any form of shooter. With that in thoughts, the video games I used primarily for testing are those talked about under:

Katana Zero: A recreation that requires glorious d-pad management and responsive face buttons.

Avenue Fighter V: I’ve put lots of hours into Avenue Fighter V with each controllers and struggle sticks, so I understand how it must really feel. If I am unable to crush an AI opponent as Ken, one thing is not proper.

Forza Motorsport: I selected Forza primarily to check the analog sticks, which based on my preferences, want three qualities: springy sufficient to shortly snap again to heart, delicate and resistant enough to make slight steering changes, and comfortably contoured. Therefore, my thumbs aren’t bloody stumps on the finish of some hours.

Jorge Jimenez

Jorge is a {hardware} author from the enchanted lands of New Jersey. When he is not filling the workplace with the odor of Pop-Tarts, he is reviewing all types of gaming {hardware} from headsets to recreation pads. He is been overlaying video games and tech for almost ten years and has written for Dualshockers, WCCFtech, and Tom’s Information.