Top Pick for
PC controller for most people
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Finder's team checked out more than 30 of the most popular controllers currently on the market to find the best options for your PC gaming needs. After carefully looking into each gamepad, we made these top picks for the categories below based on product features and customer reviews from around the web.
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A tried and tested option, Microsoft's run-of-the-mill Xbox Wireless Controller features a familiar design and unmatched compatibility for games across Windows. With a rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars from almost 50,000 reviews on Google, this controller was recently updated for the launch of the next-generation Xbox Series X and Series S consoles and is the best PC controller you can buy today.
Being a standard controller, the Xbox Wireless Controller has none of the bells and whistles that you might find on higher-end controllers such as customisable paddles or RGB lighting. But that's not to say the controller isn't packing everything you need for a good gaming session. With a responsive set of buttons and triggers, rumble feedback, and an overall well-rounded and ergonomic design, the gamepad is the perfect pick for extended gaming sessions.
Alongside Microsoft's Xbox Wireless connectivity protocol for seamless pairing with Xbox consoles, the Xbox Wireless Controller supports Bluetooth, so you can easily connect your controller with any Bluetooth-equipped device. If your PC doesn't have Bluetooth, you can pick up a USB adapter to add Xbox Wireless functionality to your PC for about $30.
When Microsoft refreshed its controllers for the launch of the next-generation Xbox consoles, it switched to using USB-C, meaning those who switch out the standard AA batteries for a rechargeable set won't have to worry about keeping a MicroUSB cable on standby. You'll also be able to connect your controller to your PC through the gamepad's USB-C port if you prefer that over Bluetooth.
Some consumers criticised the inconvenience and waste of the Xbox Wireless Controller requiring AA batteries for power by default. Others said the lack of an included cable in the box was disappointing. For PC gamers, the unmatched compatibility of Microsoft's controllers in-game makes for the most seamless experience.
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Featuring a very 2000s style, Logitech's older F310 Wired Gamepad still performs admirably to this day. With its lower price point and stellar game compatibility, plus an impressive 4.4 out of 5 stars rating on Google, it's the best PC controller for those on a budget.
Logitech designed the F310 with compatibility in mind, with the controller supporting the two most-common inputs: XInput and DirectInput. While DirectInput is rarely used today, the ability to switch between both input types means gamers wanting to play classic titles can do just that without worry.
The design of the F310 won't be for everyone, especially those looking for a modern aesthetic. For some, the controller's rounded design might even be nostalgic, with the design feeling reminiscent of early PlayStation controllers.
The F310 sports all of the features you need from a controller, including an Xbox-style Y/B/A/X button layout. There are none of the bells and whistles you might find on the latest controllers, though. Features such as rumble feedback and wireless connectivity aren't here, but when you can find the F310 for less than $40 at some retailers, it's hard to complain at that price.
Some customers complained of mushy buttons that could distract from your gaming experience, particularly if you're more into that tactile and clicky feel of buttons. Others mentioned it could be uncomfortable for anyone with larger hands.
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Released as the next-generation controller companion for the PS5, Sony's DualSense Wireless Controller is a marked improvement over the previous-generation DualShock 4. Sporting a 4.8 out of 5 stars rating from more than 2,000 reviews on Google, the gamepad is the best PlayStation controller for PC.
While the DualSense Wireless Controller wasn't designed with PC gaming in mind, that doesn't stop you from using the fancy new tech on your rig. You can connect the controller to your PC through a USB-C to USB-A cable (or USB-C to USB-C), or you can wirelessly pair the controller using Bluetooth.
One area that could be problematic for some is game support. As the DualSense Wireless Controller doesn't use Microsoft's newer input technology, it doesn't have out-of-the-box compatibility with Windows. You'll need a third-party app or game marketplace, like Steam, to make proper use of the controller.
Having released recently, some may be worried about the availability of the PS5 accessory given how popular the console is. However, plenty of major retailers here in Australia have stock at or below the retail price of $109.
Many users praised the DualSense controller as the best controller Sony has ever made, and say that it's a significant upgrade over its last-gen DualShock counterpart. Some customers using the gamepad on PC have mentioned that it feels no different to the DualShock 4. Due to the lack of native support for the DualSense Wireless Controller on Windows, those new features don't work outside of the PlayStation ecosystem at this stage.
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Nintendo's Switch Pro Controller is a seriously popular accessory for the equally-popular handheld game console, and luckily, it's also compatible for use on PC. With a staggering rating of 4.8 of 5 stars from more than 14,000 reviews on Google, the gamepad is the best Nintendo controller for PC.
Much like Sony's DualSense Wireless Controller, you can connect your Switch Pro Controller to your PC through a USB-C cable or Bluetooth, if your computer supports it. You'll also run into the same compatibility issues, with the Pro Controller not being fully recognised by Windows out of the box. Thankfully, Steam will recognise the Pro Controller and allow you to use it like any other wireless remote once it's configured. This only works when games are launched through Steam, though. If you're not planning on using Valve's digital marketplace for your games, you should probably look elsewhere for your controller needs.
If you're an avid Nintendo gamer, then this could be the perfect solution for your gaming needs across both your PC and Nintendo Switch console. It might even mean you don't have to rush out and buy another, separate remote to enjoy that familiar console-like experience on PC. If you don't have a Switch and aren't planning on getting one, it doesn't make sense to choose this more expensive controller with less native support over the Xbox Wireless Controller.
A surprising number of customers complained about the quality of the D-pad, saying it felt cheaper than the rest of the gamepad, and that it could lead to unintended inputs. Others said the controller was responsive and that it had stellar battery life.
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As the flagship controller in Microsoft's product line and ranked as Finder's best Xbox Series X controller, the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 is the best gamepad for serious gamers looking to enjoy a console-like experience on a PC.
Everything about your experience with the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 feels like a professional-level and premium experience, with an included carrying case that doubles as a charging dock, a stealthy all black and grey design, and internal rechargeable batteries.
The refreshed Xbox Elite Wireless Controller brings about all the benefits of the standard Xbox Wireless Controller, such as unrivalled connectivity and compatibility across Windows, but extends that with the addition of swappable components and staggering levels of customisation. The controller comes with a set of 6 interchangeable thumbsticks and an accompanying adjustment tool, two sets of D-pads and a set of 4 paddles. The controller is completely customisable in the Xbox Accessories app, available for both Xbox and PC.
For gamers hooked on the Xbox ecosystem, the Elite controller will easily pair to all versions of the Xbox One on top of the next-generation Xbox Series X and Series S consoles thanks to Xbox Wireless technology. You can connect the controller to your PC using the built-in Bluetooth functionality, but, Microsoft says you'll need to connect using an Xbox Wireless adapter for full customisability through the Xbox Accessories app.
In reviews, customers said that the controller felt well built. They also praised the vast customisation options of the Elite Wireless Series 2. Reviews also said you're able to notice the added weight. For some, that might be a sign of quality and durability. For others, it might make for a less comfortable gaming experience.
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Razer's latest iteration on its Wolverine line of Xbox controllers is more compact and less expensive than its predecessor. With several performance-oriented features and a Finder score of 4, it's the best wired controller for PC currently on the market.
The Razer Wolverine V2 boasts many features that make it a prime candidate for those looking to play more competitive titles. The controller has mechanical switches akin to that of premium gaming keyboards making for more responsive and precise button presses. There are also built-in trigger stops, which reduce how far you have to push down the triggers for them to activate. Alongside the competitive-centric features, you also get all the benefits of having an Xbox controller for the PC, such as vast game compatibility regardless of the client you're using.
While you get all the benefits of the Wolverine V2 being an Xbox controller, you are paying a significant premium for the Razer-branded product and slight performance improvements. At a retail price of $169.95, it's almost double that of the standard Xbox Wireless Controller. Unless you desperately want a more compact and better performing wired controller, you're probably going to be better served by the Xbox Wireless Controller.
The controller has quite a range of customisation, including the ability to lower the power of the rumble motors, making your controller vibrate less. You can also remap four of the remote's buttons.
Some customers said that the slightly smaller footprint of the Wolverine V2 was a plus, but knocked the controller's lack of an Xbox peripherals port, which would usually be at the bottom of Microsoft's own Xbox controllers.
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Microsoft's Xbox Adaptive Controller is an innovative device that ensures gamers with disabilities can enjoy their favourite games across the Xbox and PC ecosystems, making it far and away the best PC controller made with accessibility in mind.
The Adaptive Controller allows users to connect up to a staggering 19 3.5mm-equipped accessories and 2 USB 2.0-powered devices, allowing for previously-unseen customisability. With the flexibility to connect inputs of your choosing, and the ability to reprogram those two giant buttons, you're able to customise the controller to work in whatever way works best for you.
Amazingly, the Xbox Adaptive Controller works with every PC game that supports the Xbox Wireless Controller. So you don't have to miss out on playing your favourite titles just because you're using a different controller.
While Microsoft's initiatives to make gaming easier to access are admirable, the Xbox Adaptive Controller's cost could be prohibitively high for many. That's particularly true when you factor in the eye-wateringly high price of the external inputs, which are all sold separately on top of that steep $129.99 price tag. For example, Logitech's Adaptive Gaming Kit, which comes with several buttons and levers, will set you back another $159.95.
For those stuck using Windows 8 or earlier, you won't be able to use the Xbox Adaptive Controller to its full potential. All of its features only unlock on Windows 10. You also don't have much choice when it comes to where you buy the controller from, as the more niche product isn't available from any big-name seller outside Microsoft itself. Still, if you're looking for a PC gaming experience made with all gamers in mind, the Xbox Adaptive Controller is by far the best option available on the market.
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