The most effective PC gaming controller

By Kimber Streams

This submit was accomplished in partnership with The Wirecutter, a purchaser’s information to one of the best know-how. Learn the complete article right here.

After placing in 15 hours of analysis and testing—along with lots of of hours gaming on controllers in years previous—and enlisting the assistance of an skilled panel of players, we discovered that the Sony DualShock four Wi-fi Controller (sure, the one which comes with the PlayStation four) is the perfect gaming controller to make use of together with your pc. In reality, we concluded that each one the most effective PC controllers are console controllers. However a gaming controller is a extremely private object, and your preferences might differ based mostly in your hand measurement, gaming fashion, and working system. For those who already personal a controller that you simply love, you in all probability need not purchase a brand new one.

Who ought to get this

Not each PC recreation is greatest performed with a keyboard and mouse. In case you’d relatively sit again and play a few of your video games with a controller as an alternative, it is best to contemplate certainly one of our picks. However for those who already personal an Xbox 360, an Xbox One, or a PlayStation four, and also you’re proud of the controller that got here with it, you in all probability need not purchase a unique one.

How we picked

The best PC gaming controller

All of the gaming controllers we examined for this information. Photograph: Kimber Streams

An incredible controller have to be snug to carry for lengthy durations of time, have a very good grip to stop your arms from sliding off even when they get sweaty, and it should be an inexpensive weight. Though individuals have particular person preferences, a controller’s buttons and triggers all have to be responsive and correct: They should do what you inform them to do, once you inform them to do it. However consolation and ergonomics aren’t every little thing; a controller additionally must play good together with your pc.

We checked out 22 controllers from main producers similar to Logitech, Mad Catz, Microsoft, Nvidia, Razer, Sony, SteelSeries, and Valve, plus a number of different controllers from lesser-recognized producers which might be common on Amazon. We dominated out these with poor consumer critiques and others that value far more than controllers with comparable options. That left us with eleven controllers to check with the assistance of 5 individuals with various hand sizes and luxury preferences.

Our decide

The best PC gaming controller

The Sony DualShock four is probably the most snug controller for many palms. Photograph: Kevin Purdy

The Sony DualShock four Wi-fi Controller is probably the most snug controller for common-measurement arms. All of its analog sticks, buttons, and triggers are straightforward to succeed in and work properly, which is not the case for a number of different fashions, together with the Xbox One controller and Steam Controller. The DualShock four works over Bluetooth or with a Micro-USB cable (not included; you will get a nice Micro-USB for a few greenback). Plus, its touchpad can simulate a mouse cursor, a function no different good controller has.

Presently priced lower than $50, the DualShock four can work each wired and wirelessly—in contrast to the Xbox One controller, which wants a dongle to work wirelessly on a PC, making it costlier than the DualShock four. However the DualShock four requires a little bit of effort (and software program like DS4Windows) to arrange on Home windows, it will not work for many video games on OS X, and it’s kind of small for giant arms.

Runner-up with a neater setup

The best PC gaming controller

When you’ve got giant palms (in contrast to me), the Xbox One controller could be extra snug than the DualShock four. Photograph: Kevin Purdy

If you’d like a controller that is simpler to arrange on Home windows and also will work on OS X, or when you’ve got giant arms, or in case you merely choose Xbox-type controllers, you need to get the Xbox One controller bundled with a wi-fi adapter. The Xbox One’s biggest benefit over the DualShock four is ease of setup. In Home windows, the drivers mechanically set up if you plug within the controller. On OS X, the method is about as difficult as establishing the DualShock four on Home windows—you simply want the 360Controller software program.

This controller lacks a touchpad, although, and the shoulder buttons are awkwardly positioned. Many individuals want the DualShock four’s triggers and analog sticks, too. The Xbox One controller additionally prices extra to make use of wirelessly. In the event you do not want wi-fi and need to avoid wasting cash, purchase it bundled with a Micro-USB cable as an alternative.

Cheap and properly-liked

The best PC gaming controller

The Xbox 360 controller’s physique is narrower than the Xbox One controller’s, so it is simpler for small and medium-measurement palms to grip. Photograph: Kevin Purdy

In the event you do not need to spend greater than $35 on a controller, it is best to get the wired Xbox 360 Controller for Home windows, the go-to controller for PC players for a few years. The Xbox 360 controller is a bit smaller and lighter than the Xbox One controller, and its extra compact measurement makes the buttons and analog sticks somewhat simpler to succeed in for individuals with smaller palms and shorter thumbs.

All of the buttons (together with the shoulder bumpers) are properly-positioned and straightforward for palms of all sizes to succeed in, however this controller is not with out its flaws. It will possibly’t work wirelessly—Microsoft sells a wi-fi model, however that controller plus the required adapter value about the identical because the wi-fi Xbox One controller and adapter. And the D-pad is horrendous.

Fancy however expensive

The best PC gaming controller

The Elite is about the identical measurement because the Xbox One controller, however its gentle floor and textured grip make it extra snug to carry. Photograph: Kevin Purdy

In case you play a number of video games in your PC that require a controller and you do not thoughts spending $one hundred fifty for a unbelievable one, the Xbox Elite is the best choice obtainable. The Elite is an improve over our different picks in nearly each approach, with higher, customizable controls, 4 further paddles on the again, and simpler setup than the DualShock four. Each single member of our testing panel liked it—and I purchased one myself—however for most individuals it is not value 3 times the worth of the DualShock four.

Concerning the Steam Controller

The best PC gaming controller

The Steam Controller feels hole and low cost, and it is giant and awkward to carry. Photograph: Kevin Purdy

The Steam Controller is the one controller that bridges the hole between video games with controller help and video games higher performed on a mouse and keyboard. It has touchpads instead of a D-pad and proper analog stick; these elements supply haptic suggestions that you would be able to configure to imitate the motion and feeling of both a mouse or an analog stick. Its twin-stage triggers and again buttons are designed to provide you extra management and customization than conventional console controllers present.

Regardless of this, the Steam Controller is not an ideal controller. Its plasticky physique feels low cost and hole; it has a clumsy, giant form, with troublesome-to-attain buttons and controls; and since it is so totally different from normal gaming controllers, it requires a considerable studying curve. Till Valve releases higher hardware, we will not advocate it for most individuals.

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