The greatest PC controllers enable a brand-new gaming experience that deviates from the traditional mouse and keyboard combination. When it comes to MMOs, strategy games, and shooters, there is no disputing the power and performance of a good mouse and keyboard. A fantastic controller, though, may add something unique to a wide range of other genres.
Launch Steam in Big Picture mode to experience analog acceleration in Dirt 5, the thud of each blow in Mortal Kombat 11, complete control over every dogfight in Elite Dangerous, and total immersion when you fire your contracts in Hitman 3. The optimal way to play a game will always be up for debate, but there’s no denying that using the correct controller can at the very least give you a fresh perspective on it.
Which computer controllers are the best?
According to us, the greatest PC controller won’t likely surprise most users. The Xbox Wireless Controller has been setting the standard for years and is still one of the best gamepads available today. Microsoft’s most recent update also features USB-C connectivity, textured grips, and a significantly enhanced D-pad, a long-awaited addition that will undoubtedly delight fighting game fans everywhere. The Xbox Wireless Controller receives good grades for performance, comfort, and build quality across the board. There is a good reason why this controller consistently ranks at the top of lists comparable to these.
Do you prefer playing the newest retro-inspired indies or imitating the classics? If so, the 8BitDo SN30 Pro is the best friend for your playthroughs that are filled with memories. The SN30 Pro incorporates all of the familiar current gamepad features while faithfully recreating the look and feel of the original SNES controller. The controller from 8BitDo includes two analog thumbsticks, a D-pad with high ratings, responsive face buttons, shoulder and trigger buttons, and more. It’s an excellent controller all around because of the way that retro style and modern technology have been combined.
The greatest time to buy one of these cockpit controllers is right now because there are so many high-quality games that are compatible with HOTAS (hand on throttle and stick). Although certain HOTAS accessories can cost up to $800, not every joystick needs a bank loan to be purchased. With a price around $100, the Thrustmaster T-Flight HOTAS X is a bargain in many ways, but it by no means sacrifices performance. Use Thrustmaster’s 5-axis, 12-button flight stick to create an authentic cockpit experience while living out your ace pilot aspirations.
1. Wireless Xbox Controller
The Xbox Wireless Controller has a distinguished history and has been a constant on PC controller shortlists for the better part of a decade as a result of several successful versions. Microsoft has never had to reinvent the wheel, and as a result, its first-party accessory is so well-honed and refined that ranking anything else higher on our list would seem unfair.
The most recent version incorporates long-needed improvements to the controller’s D-pad and Bluetooth Low Energy support, which lowers total battery usage. The latter of which enhances both performance and accessibility while bringing the gamepad closer to Microsoft’s high-end Elite Controller. Microsoft chose to replace the Micro-USB connector with a considerably quicker USB-C connection, so it is also gone.
To complete one of the best gaming peripherals, these new features were added to the Xbox Wireless Controller’s tactile switches, responsive impulse triggers, strong construction, cozy form, and ergonomic layout.
2. T-Flight HOTAS X
Thrustmaster is renowned for producing some of the most spectacular racing wheels and joysticks in gaming. One of those joysticks is the T-Flight HOTAS X, and when used with the correct games, it’s a delight. Fortunately, a number of games that support joysticks, like Elite Dangerous, Star Citizen, War Thunder, Star Wars: Squadrons, and Microsoft Flight Simulator, are causing something of a brief joystick renaissance.
The availability of such games facilitates choosing to purchase a specialized joystick, as doing so can be challenging if you just have one game in mind. With a $72 price tag, Thrustmaster’s T-Flight HOTAS X is thankfully much more of a value purchase. This flying stick is packed with quality, so don’t be fooled by the low price.
Every button on the 5-axis joystick is positioned ideal for ease of use, making it an ergonomic dream device. The throttle control is also quite nicely made, providing a lot of comfort and simple access to the functions. Also, it is detachable, enabling a variety of layouts and sitting configurations. There are a total of 12 buttons, each of which may be customized to your preferences. This is more than enough to accommodate the great majority of popular games. This HOTAS controller will make you gasp if you consider yourself a frequent Top Gun.
3. 8BitDo SN30 Pro
There are numerous ways to play older vintage games on a PC. Even if you’re not a fan of the classics, a ton of games are released every year that prominently include old-school graphics and gameplay. So why not use a controller with a retro design? Although they might seem gimmicky, the retro-inspired controllers made by 8BitDo are among the greatest third-party gamepads out there. The SN30 Pro gamepad from 8BitDo is no exception.
The SN30 Pro’s appearance, layout, and shape are mostly modeled after the vintage SNES controllers of yesteryear. To optimize the use of the gamepad, 8BitDo takes things a step further by including a plethora of contemporary controller components. The SN30 Pro includes two analog thumbsticks, rumble and motion controls, bumpers, triggers, an internal rechargeable battery, USB-C charging, turbo features, home and screenshot buttons, Bluetooth wireless, and more in addition to the well regarded D-pad and snappy face buttons.
The SNES gamepad on which it is based may not be historically accurate, but these additions go a long way toward ensuring that you won’t have to put the controller aside the moment you become sick of playing Shovel Knight. The retro gimmick is not a restriction that restricts what is offered, but rather an enhancement to a fantastic underlying gadget.
It’s a bit pricey, and the controller almost completely disappears when you remove Amazon’s Luna cloud gaming platform from the equation. Yet, it still has a great design and a playable in-game performance. Performance is most important, regardless of how much identity it has or doesn’t have.