Best PC Gaming Controllers in 2023

Best PC Gaming Controllers in 2023




PC gaming has evolved tremendously over the past decade. High-end gaming PCs can now deliver stunning graphics and buttery smooth performance that rivals or even surpasses dedicated gaming consoles. However, many PC games are still best played using a controller rather than mouse and keyboard. This allows PC gamers to get the precision and responsiveness of mouse aiming along with the familiarity and comfort of a pc gaming controller.

There are many great pc gaming controller options available in 2023. Which one is right for you depends on your budget, preferred platform, and gaming needs. This article will highlight the top pc gaming controllers across various categories to help you find your perfect match.

Top PC Gaming Controllers

Xbox Wireless Controller

The Xbox Wireless Controller is one of the best overall pc gaming controllers you can buy. Here are some key features:

  • Seamless compatibility with Windows PCs via Xbox Wireless or Bluetooth
  • Ergonomic and comfortable design perfect for long gaming sessions
  • Impulse triggers and textured grips for greater accuracy and control
  • Button mapping via Xbox Accessories app on Windows

With its familiar layout and premium feel, the Xbox Wireless Controller is a great pick for Xbox and PC gamers alike. It works wired or wirelessly on Windows 10 and 11 PCs with no extra accessories or dongles required.

Sony DualShock 4

Sony’s DualShock 4 controller has been the gold standard for PlayStation gaming, and it also works great as a pc gaming controller. Key features include:

  • Motion controls and touchpad for more gameplay options
  • Can connect via Bluetooth or wired USB
  • Bright LED light bar for added immersion
  • Highly ergonomic design and responsive controls

While not as seamless on PC as the Xbox controller, the DualShock 4 is highly capable and comfortable for all gaming genres. It’s an excellent choice for those coming from PlayStation consoles or who prefer the parallel thumbstick layout.

Steam Controller

Valve’s unique Steam Controller was designed specifically for PC gaming in the living room. It offers:

  • Dual high-resolution trackpads instead of thumbsticks
  • Fully customizable controls for each game
  • Advanced haptic feedback for immersion
  • Touchscreen display for additional inputs

The trackpads give unprecedented pointing precision for games like first-person shooters. The Steam Controller takes some learning but offers unmatched flexibility and personalization through Steam. It’s ideal for PC-centric gamers.

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8BitDo Pro 2

The 8BitDo Pro 2 delivers superb performance and customization options in a retro-inspired design. Key features:

  • Bluetooth connectivity with multi-platform support
  • Swappable control sticks and D-pad for different play styles
  • Pro-level customization via 8BitDo’s Ultimate Software
  • Turbo functionality and sensitive trigger buttons
  • Excellent ergonomic shape with grips

Modeled after the classic Super Nintendo controller, the 8BitDo Pro 2 is a great all-purpose controller for any retro or modern game on Windows, Switch, mobile, and more. Its customizability makes it stand out.

Logitech F310

If you’re looking for a simple, affordable pc gaming controller, the Logitech F310 is tried and true. It offers:

  • Broad PC compatibility, plug-and-play with most games
  • Familiar PlayStation-style button layout
  • Wired USB connectivity for minimal latency
  • 10 ft cable length for gaming from a distance
  • Budget price but good performance for casual gaming

While it lacks premium features and wireless support, the Logitech F310 nails the basics and is widely supported. It’s a great entry-level choice.

Selecting the Right PC Gaming Controller

There are a few key factors to consider when selecting a pc gaming controller:

  • Intended use: Think about which genres and titles you primarily play. Complex simulation and racing games favor specialty controllers with steering wheels, throttles, and pedals. But most popular action, shooter, and adventure games play great with a standard gamepad.
  • Connectivity: Most PC gamers will want the freedom of wireless connectivity. Look for controllers with Bluetooth, Xbox Wireless, or a USB wireless receiver. Wired USB works too but limits your range of motion.
  • Ergonomics and feel: Comfort during extended gaming is a must. Seek out textured grips, contoured curves, and responsive buttons. Weight, size, stick placement, and overall build quality make a big difference.
  • Customization: PC offers unparalleled options for remapping controls and programming macros to suit your play style. Some controllers make this easier than others.
  • Budget: Prices range from $20 to $150+ for specialty designs. More affordable options get the job done for casual gaming while premium controllers offer unmatched performance and features.

Considering these factors will help narrow down the ideal pc gaming controller for your specific setup and preferences. Prioritize the elements most important for your gaming needs.

Best PC Gaming Controllers By Type

Here are top recommendations for specific controller types and uses:

Best Overall

Xbox Wireless Controller – The complete package for mainstream PC gaming

Best for PlayStation Gamers

Sony DualShock 4 – Familiar and capable for Sony loyalists

Best for Competitive Gaming

Razer Wolverine V2 Chroma – Highly responsive with extra paddles and customization for intense gaming

Best Retro

8BitDo Pro 2 – Super Nintendo-inspired design with modern features

Best Budget

Logitech F310 – Simple, affordable option that gets the job done

Best for Racing Games

Logitech G920 – Feature-packed steering wheel and pedal set with force feedback

Best for Flight Sims

Thrustmaster T.16000M FCS HOTAS – Precise flight stick and throttle set packed with controls

Key Features to Look For

When researching specific pc gaming controller models, keep an eye out for these helpful features:

  • Textured grips – Provides better grip and comfort over long sessions
  • Custom profiles – Remap controls and create macros for each game
  • Haptic feedback – Vibrating rumble motors for immersive feedback
  • Audio jack – Plug in headphones for in-game audio without cables to PC
  • Trigger locks – Adjustable hair triggers for faster button actuation
  • Wide compatbility – Support for multiple platforms beyond just PC
  • Wireless – Preferably Bluetooth so no dongle required

Prioritize the functions that will most benefit your gaming setup and habits. Avoid overspending on superfluous features you won’t use.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are wireless PC controllers better?

Wireless versatility makes them preferable for many gamers, but wired controllers have the edge in consistent, lag-free response times crucial for competitive gaming. Wireless is fine for most single-player and casual gaming.

What PC games work best with controllers?

Controllers excel in third-person action games, platformers, fighting games, sports games, and racing games where analog sticks and triggers provide intuitive control. They work for FPS too but mouse and keyboard provides better camera control.

Can you use PS4 controllers on PC?

Yes, newer DualShock 4 and DualSense controllers can connect to PCs via Bluetooth or USB cable. Steam and other services allow extensive customization. Note that rumble and motion features may not fully work depending on your PC.

Do I need an adapter for Xbox controllers?

No adapter needed. Xbox Wireless Controllers connect directly and seamlessly to Windows 10/11 PCs via Xbox Wireless. For older PCs, Bluetooth or the Xbox Wireless Adapter provides connectivity.

How do I get my controller to work with all games?

Windows, Steam, and other gaming services have built-in support for most controllers. For troubleshooting any compatibility issues, try manually remapping buttons in the controller or game settings.

The Right PC Controller for You

Choosing your next pc gaming controller comes down to your budget, platform allegiance, game genres, and feature needs. Whether you value customization, ergonomics, wireless freedom, or cross-platform flexibility, there’s a tailored PC controller out there for you. Testing out different form factors at electronics stores can help determine preferences too. With so many outstanding and varied options now available, PC gamers have no shortage of ways to level up their setup.



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