The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Best PC Controller
No matter what gaming genre you enjoy, a suitable controller can make a huge difference in your enjoyment. However, many factors must be considered when choosing the best PC controller.
The first consideration is comfort. You want a controller that feels comfortable for long gaming sessions. The buttons should feel responsive, and the sticks should be easy to grip.
Gaming controllers offer a convenient and comfortable alternative to mice and keyboards for many types of games. They make it easy to get lost in platformers or racing titles such as Stray, and they can even give you a sporting chance at keeping up with other players online in shooters that require quick reactions. And most importantly, they help you avoid hunching over your desk, which can ruin your posture while you play.
Choosing the best controller for PC often comes down to your comfort and preferences. However, with a wide selection of models from each prominent console manufacturer, finding one to suit your style is easier than ever.
For example, the latest revision of the Xbox Wireless Controller makes our top pick thanks to intelligent refinements and a great overall feel. It’s lightweight, ergonomic, and feels good in the hand; it has a sensible button layout, works with wired and Bluetooth connections (including a 3.5 mm audio jack), and is relatively inexpensive. Steam also supports it, so it’s a snap to set up and use without third-party drivers.
Of course, some of the controller’s most advanced features – such as those haptic feedback rumble motors – aren’t enabled for PC games without software configuration. If that’s a deal-breaker, you may want to look elsewhere.
PC gaming is famed for its versatility, and while some people swear by a mouse and keyboard, a good gamepad can still be a lifesaver when it comes to playing specific titles. Whether you’re trying to slay skeletons in Dark Souls or race around the track in Forza Horizon, there’s no question that a suitable controller can make the experience far more comfortable than hunching over your keyboard and ruining your posture for hours on end.
As such, when picking out a new gamepad, looking for one that will work with most of your games without too much trouble is essential. Suppose you’re planning on using a controller with multiple different computers. In that case, choose an option that supports wired and wireless play and any additional peripherals you may have, such as a pair of Xbox-style earbuds.
This department’s Standard Xbox One Wireless Controller is a solid choice, thanks to its near-universal support for wired and wireless play over USB and Bluetooth. It’s also worth checking out some of the more premium options on the market, which lets you easily swap out various parts like extra paddles and programmable buttons, as well as offer a host of other customizable features.
Most modern PC game controllers offer wired, USB, or Bluetooth connectivity to suit your gaming needs. Some of these pads also include 3.5 mm audio jacks, allowing you to use them with your favorite headphones. Others come with a dock that doubles as a charging station, making them even more convenient.
A few of the best gamepads on the market feature a range of extra features that can give you an edge in competitive gaming. These can include gyro aiming, a second analog stick for precision control, and customizable triggers and thumbsticks. Some of these pads are available as standalone accessories, while others can be found in bundles with a headset or a console.
The Xbox Wireless Controller is an excellent option for most gamers, as it offers a reasonable price tag and reliable connection to your PC. Its USB and Bluetooth support work well, and most games are optimized for it, displaying button prompts in suitable locations onscreen.
This pad has a unique look that sets it apart from the DualShock 4, but it’s an excellent choice for PC gaming. It works well with most games, but it’s worth noting that some titles aren’t optimized for their advanced features, such as gyro aiming and adaptive triggers.
A suitable PC controller will make your gaming setup a lot more comfortable. You won’t have to hunch over your keyboard and mouse, which can ruin your posture over time. Instead, you’ll be able to sink into your gaming chair and get lost in a session of Cult of the Lamb or Stray.
The best gaming PC controllers will also offer many customization options, like extra paddles and programmable buttons. Many of today’s top controllers come with conclusive software that lets you tweak every element of your pad’s work, such as adjusting the dead zones on the analog sticks.
A high-end Elite Series 2 is the best pro-style controller available for PC, though it can be pricey. It offers many features, including swappable components (such as D-pads and sticks), a customizable button layout, and four programmable back buttons.
It also has a handful of extra features, like clicky and satisfying mechanical switches for face buttons, optional hair triggers, and two additional programmable rear paddles. It’s also compatible with PlayStation games, making it an excellent pick for fans of the console lineup.