When you need an alternative to keyboard + mouse.
Even though PC gamers (correctly) worship at the altar of the mouse and keyboard, for certain driving, flying, and 3rd person games it is acceptable to use a controller. And of course controllers are also always a safe pick for Comfy Couch Gaming(tm) when a gaming PC is plugged into your TV. What’s more, unlike on consoles, PC controllers don’t have to conform to a particular style or design, so choosing the right controller depends on what you’re using it for. Some are loaded with customizable buttons, while others stick to a simpler design, and like any PC accessory there are a lot of options in general. If you’re on the lookout for a new PC gaming controller, here are five solid choices to get you started.
TL;DR: These are the best PC gaming controllers:
- Xbox One Controller
- Xbox Elite Controller
- Steam Controller
- ZD W 2.4Ghz Wireless Controller
- SteelSeries Stratus XL Controller
Best PC Controller Around – Xbox One Controller
Before we get into any of the alternatives, we of course need to mention that Microsoft’s standard Xbox One controller is fully PC compatible, and is always an excellent choice. You can plug it in and use it with a USB cable, or use it wirelessly. You need to have the Xbox wireless adapter, but other than that, it’s a snap.
Best Premium PC Controller – Xbox Elite
The Xbox Elite controller is far and away the best home console controller ever built, and you can enjoy its high quality build and host of customization options on your PC, as well. It works exactly the same as the regular Xbox One controller, only it’s much, much better. It’s also much, much more expensive. But it could be the last PC controller you ever buy. You can use it wired or wirelessly (with the adapter, of course).
Best PC Gaming Controller for Hardcore PC Gamers – Steam Controller
The Steam Controller is certainly unique, and was built with extra functionality to give you more control over how you play PC games. All the controls are customizable, and it features dual trackpads, haptic feedback, and you can even share your mappings with the Steam community or browse for one that may work for you. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea obviously, but it can be an awesome controller for sure.
Best Basic PC Gaming Controller – ZD W 2.4GHz
If you need a solid, basic controller then the ZD W is worth a look. It has a bit of flair with a light-up blue light and it supports vibration function for games that want to jolt you with a little energy. The ZD W features a comfortable design and crosshair arrows atop the joysticks to keep your thumbs from slipping.
Good Brand Name PC Gaming Controller – SteelSeries Stratus
SteelSeries is PC peripheral maker with a big line-up of PC products, including mice, headsets, keyboards and more. It makes perfect sense for it to also bring out a PC controller. Since it’s wireless, it also works with Android, so you can toss it in your bag for smartphone or tablet gaming on the go.