While most games can be played with a keyboard and mouse, some titles are much easier to play with buttons and analog sticks.
For example, the controls for first-person shooter games like Call of Duty and Counter-Strike are better suited for a controller. Open-world RPGs like The Witcher 3 and The Elder Scrolls are also much easier to explore with an analog stick.
Reviews of Best Controllers for PC Gaming
Today, we’ll be listing some of the best controllers for PC gaming.
Xbox One Wireless Controller
The Xbox One Wireless Controller is an all-around good accessory to have. If the game is Windows supported, then it’ll automatically have controller support for an Xbox one.
As such, you won’t have to do any extra button mapping to swap around the commands. If your PC itself is running on Windows, you don’t need to install any additional software to use the controller either. It’s plug-and-play.
The Xbox One controller’s only downside is in its size. It should be no problem if your hands are big, but those with smaller palms might find it uncomfortable to reach for the L/R buttons.
Sony DualShock 4
Of course, the only other controller that can match the Xbox One in terms of controls is the DualShock 4. It isn’t made by Microsoft, so you’ll need a driver like DS4Windows to use it on your PC. But compared to its console rival, this controller is better fitted for every hand size.
And while its battery isn’t as good as the Xbox One controller’s, it’s analog sticks are still the most accurate, and it has a gamepad that could prove integral to some games like Gran Turismo Sport, Dark Souls III, and Until Dawn.
Plus, the DualShock 4 is equipped with a gyroscope—a component used for measuring orientation. In the DualShock 4, it’s what senses the direction you’re holding the controller in.
There are a couple of games that use the gyroscope to add another level of immersion. For instance, you can turn the flashlight on and off in Tearaway Unfolded by tilting the controller upward. And you can experience this on your PC with the DualShock 4.
Microsoft Elite Series 2
If you have a ton of money to spare, then you won’t find a better controller than the Microsoft Elite Series 2. It’s easy on the hands and has a near-endless number of customization options. You can tweak not just the buttons, but the shift paddle, joystick tension, and other aspects.
However, the Microsoft Elite Series 2 truly shines because of its impressive battery life. When planning out electronic circuit design for controllers, manufacturers place emphasis on battery life, which needs controlled impedance.
The right PCB stackup impedance calculation could influence the sheet capacitance between the ground and power planes, adjusting how much power is used by the components. The Microsoft Elite Series 2 is built with a more resistant impedance, so it drains its battery very slowly. This allows it to last for more than 40 hours.
Of course, if you just want a budget controller that will give you the best features for its price, simply default to the PowerA Spectra. In terms of design and features, it’s the closest thing you could get to an Xbox One controller.
Again, it doesn’t have the built-in integrations needed for it to be used as a plug-and-play controller on Windows. However, it does boast one feature not present in the Xbox One controller: a three-way trigger lock. This makes it a great controller for competitive shooter games.
There’s no one good controller on the market. It all depends on the kind of games that you play, the controller builds that you’re more comfortable holding and other factors. Do your own research and see which controller meets your needs.
Every great gaming experience not only needs a good controller but an excellent display as well. To that end, check out our article on the best 240Hz monitors for professional gamers.