8 Best Controllers for PC Gaming in 2023

While a gaming mouse is excellent for competitive first-person shooters, its full potential decreases the farther you move away from the FPS genre.

Racing games and flight simulators, in particular, feel near unplayable with the conventional keyboard & mouse combo.

That’s where controllers come into play (no pun intended!).

Controller joysticks offer greater control and tactility than keyboards and provide a relaxed and comfortable gaming experience. 

However, choosing the best controller for PC gaming is easier said than done. There’s a seemingly endless supply of PC controllers in the market, and too many choices – good or bad – can be mentally exhausting!

Don’t sweat it, though. This blog gathers the best controllers for PC gaming in 2023!

But enough talk, let’s dive straight in.

TL;DR – The Best Gaming Controllers for PC in 2023

  • PowerA Fusion Pro 2: Our favorite PC gaming controller overall. It supports Xbox One, as well as Series S and X consoles. 
  • Logitech F310: The best value PC gaming controller currently available. The build quality feels underwhelming – understandable given the price tag – but it makes up for it with high-quality gaming performance. 
  • SteelSeries Stratus Duo: is the best wireless gaming controller for PC gamers. It supports all connectivity modes, including 2.4G wireless, Bluetooth, and wired.
  • Sony PlayStation DualSense Wireless: One of the best controllers available that can be easily connected to your PC. It also features native support for games released recently under Sony Studio’s umbrella. 
  • Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 Core: A fantastic Xbox controller for PC gaming that also supports a massive collection of PC games.
  • 8BitDo Sn30 Pro: A retro-futuristic controller that returns to the good old days of 90s console gaming. It’s essentially a Super Nintendo controller, with some added functionality such as Bluetooth and dual joysticks to keep it fresh. 
  • Razer Wolverine Ultimate: The best controller for PC gamers looking for a potent controller for competitive esports titles. It comes with six programmable keys and RGB!
  • Turtle Beach Recon: An excellent option for Steam users looking for a no-frills controller.

Is It Worth It to Buy a Controller for Your PC?

Absolutely! Controllers are a no-brainer for gamers who play video games in the living room or on a TV. They offer greater convenience and comfort than a keyboard and mouse combo, which requires you to sit on a chair. But, on the other hand, a controller allows you to game from the comfort of your couch or your recliner!

The Best PC Controllers for Every Type of Gamer

For this review, we consulted with various popular Subreddits, notably r/BuildaPC, r/PCMasterRace, r/PCGaming, and r/Gaming (to name a few), for users’ opinions on the best controllers available.

After conducting comprehensive research on Reddit and various PC gaming-centric forums—notably Tom’s Hardware, LTT Forums, PC Gamer Forum, and Steam Community—we shortlisted 26 controllers as the best candidates for PC gamers.

Our Testing Methodology

Once we finally got our hands on the controllers, we tested each using popular competitive eSports titles, notably Fortnite, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Forza Horizon 5, Microsoft Flight Simulator (2020), and the ever-popular Apex Legends.

Here, we monitored various aspects of each device, including user comfort, grip control, ease of use, wireless input latency, battery life (where applicable), and overall customizability via software.

After weeks of rigorous testing and closely monitoring every aspect of the controllers, we handpicked the eight best controllers for you – the readers.

PowerA Fusion Pro 2 – The Best Gaming Controller for PC Overall

Gamers looking for the best controller for PC gaming should consider purchasing a PowerA Fusion Pro 2. 

The PowerA Fusion Pro 2 is an Xbox-certified gaming controller resulting in a familiar button layout. At the front are the usual A, B, X, and Y face buttons. As expected, the D-Pad is located at the bottom left side of the controller, while the left joystick is located at the top left corner. 

Between the D-Pad and the right joystick is a three-way switch that lets users control the volume. Below is a 3.5mm headphone jack that you can use to connect your external headsets. Lastly, the standard start, back, and Xbox share buttons are in the middle.

The PowerA Fusion Pro 2 controller also has four programmable paddles at the bottom, which sets it apart from the standard Xbox controller. You can map any key to these paddles, which are also removable and offer a 3-way trigger lock.

Regarding compatibility, the Fusion Pro 2 controller supports Xbox Series X and Series S consoles out of the box and features native PC support. In addition, the controller is backward compatible with Xbox One consoles.

As for connectivity, the controller is wired only and doesn’t have Bluetooth or 2.4G wireless connectivity. But on the upside, it utilizes a standard USB-C cable allowing you to swap cables easily.

Most impressive is the performance – intuitive controls across all popular titles, easy to set up, and super convenient thanks to the programmable paddles.

Overall, the PowerA Fusion Pro 2 wired controller ranks as the best-wired controller for PC that money can buy.

PowerA FUSION Pro 2 Wired Controller
  • Mappable Pro Pack: Level-up your game with four programmable buttons you can quickly customize mid-game .New Share button for Xbox Series X|S empowers you to capture screenshots, or share short video clips
  • Totally immersive gaming: Feel the power of dual rumble motors and magnetic impulse triggers for added feedback
  • Three-way trigger locks: Adjust for shorter trigger throws and faster action, or dial-in your trigger range to your preferred depth

Logitech F310 – The Best Budget Gaming Controller for PC

Logitech’s F310 gaming controller enters this list as the best budget controller for PC gaming.

In the aesthetics department, this controller mimics the PlayStation DualShock controller design with left and right joysticks located side-by-side. So if you’re familiar with PlayStation controllers, this option offers much-needed nostalgia. 

Aside from the dual joysticks, the standard face buttons, and the D-Pad, the controller also has Back, Start, and Mode buttons at the front. Better yet, the F310 gaming controller supports remappable controls, which you can reassign via Logitech Gaming Software.

Unfortunately, the build quality isn’t the F310’s strongest suit. It gives off a plasticky vibe and appears to be cheaply built. Fortunately, the joysticks feel pleasant to use, the buttons are good and clicky, and the trigger buttons feel on par with more premium options. 

Regarding connectivity, the Logitech F310 controller is wired and doesn’t offer wireless functionality. But that’s to be expected from a super budget-friendly controller. The cable, while undetachable, is 1.8 meters long – more than enough for most users. 

As for compatibility, the controller is only supported by PCs and Android TVs and doesn’t support any generation of Xbox or PlayStation consoles. As a result, this controller is exclusive to PC, so people who own multiple gaming platforms should look for other alternatives. 

Despite the budget-oriented price tag, the F310 performed surprisingly well. Our testers were impressed by this budget-friendly controller’s gaming chops, and although not up to par with other entries on this list, you can’t argue with the rock-bottom price tag.

SteelSeries Stratus Duo – The Best Wireless Controller for PC

PC gamers looking for a competitive esports-centric wireless gaming controller will find the SteelSeries Stratus Duo right up their alley.

At first glance, the Stratus Duo looks a bit odd. Its body shape mimics the design aesthetic of the Xbox controller. But unlike the Xbox controller, its left thumb stick is located beside the right thumb stick, just like Sony’s DualShock 4 controller, for example!

And although the controller closely resembles the DualSense controller’s button layout, there are four extra buttons at the top, two on each side of the Micro-USB port. The power switch button, battery level indicator button, Bluetooth pairing button, and wireless mode switch are from left to right.

The SteelSeries Stratus Duo covers all the connectivity bases. For example, the controller supports 2.4G wireless and Bluetooth. You can also use the controller with a Micro-USB cable that charges the internal battery. 

The SteelSeries Stratus Duo feels like a tank in terms of build quality. The controller is carefully crafted with premium material without flexes or creaks.

The SteelSeries Stratus Duo quickly secured the top wireless controller position in our testing. Each participant loved the premium design, low-latency wireless connectivity, and minimal input lag. Esports players looking for a potent wireless controller don’t need to look any further!

SteelSeries Stratus Duo Wireless Gaming Controller
  • Fortnite Ready on Android – A true console experience on Android mobile with software free setup. Just pair and play
  • 2.4 GHz Wireless – Lag free gaming on Windows and over 5,000 controller enabled titles on steam
  • Bluetooth Wireless: Easily pair with Oculus Go, Gear VR, Android mobile devices, and more

PlayStation DualSense Wireless Controller – The Best PS Controller for PC Gaming

PC gamers who also own a Sony PlayStation 5 console and want to use a single controller for both gaming platforms can use the Sony DualSense Wireless Controller to kill two birds with one stone!

DualSense needs no introduction; it’s the next evolutionary stage of older DualShock controllers. It supports cutting-edge features like haptic feedback, gyro aiming, and force feedback to enhance the gaming experience.

Despite the cutting-edge features, users familiar with the older DualShock controllers will feel at home with the DualSense, as Sony hasn’t changed the button layout. After all, why fix something that’s not broken?

For PC gaming, the Sony DualSense Wireless Controller can be used either via Bluetooth or wired. Sadly, there’s no 2.4G wireless connectivity, as the controller doesn’t come with a wireless dongle. 

You only need to install Windows 10 or Windows 11 OS to connect the controller to the PC. Then, connect the controller via USB cable or Bluetooth, and the OS will detect the device automatically – it’s that simple. 

While most games don’t support DualSense’s premium features, such as haptic feedback or gyro aiming, you can still use it as a standard controller. Also, specific titles, such as Spiderman (Remastered) and Horizon Zero Dawn (to name a few), will give you complete control over Sony DualSense’s features.

And, of course, you can also use the same controller with your PlayStation 5 console, which is more convenient than buying separate controllers each.

Sony PlayStation Dualsense Wireless Controller
  • Haptic feedback - feel physically responsive feedback to your in-game actions with dual actuators which replace traditional rumble motors.
  • Adaptive triggers - experience varying levels of force and tension as you interact with your in-game Gear and environments.
  • Built-in microphone and headset jack - chat with friends online using the built-in microphone or by connecting a headset to the 3.5mm jack.

Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 Core – The Best Xbox Controller for PC Gaming

Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 Core is our top pick for PC gamers who own a PC and an Xbox One or Xbox Series S or X console. 

Like the DualSense, the Xbox Elite Series 2 Core needs little introduction. This controller enjoys a cult following in some gaming circles, and for good reasons.

The Xbox Elite Series 2 Core adheres to the same design aesthetic of an original Xbox controller. However, Microsoft has upgraded its functionality while maintaining the overall look, design, and feel.

As is expected from an Xbox Elite branded controller, the Series 2 Core is very well put together; the controller supports textured grips, the analog sticks feel perfect, the shoulder buttons are tactile, and the whole device feels like an extension of the user’s hand.

The Xbox Elite Controller is by no means cheap. But given the impressive load out, we believe it’s worth every penny.

Regarding PC support, the Elite Series 2 Core supports almost all modern and even semi-modern gaming titles. In most cases, you’ve to connect the controller via the wire or Bluetooth, and you’re good to go.

To conclude, this high-caliber controller isn’t cheap, but it’s a small price to pay for excellence!

Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 Core
  • Experience the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 featuring adjustable-tension thumbsticks, wrap-around rubberized grip, and shorter hair trigger locks.
  • Enjoy limitless customization with interchangeable components and exclusive button mapping options in the Xbox Accessories app.*
  • Save up to 3 custom profiles on the controller and switch between them on the fly.

8BitDo Sn30 Pro – The Best PC Controller for Retro Gaming

Modern controllers are advanced and sophisticated but don’t feel right when paired with old-school, retro, 2D side-scrollers and fighting games such as Street Fighter, Donkey Kong, Legend of Zelda, etc. 

New controllers are centered toward dual joysticks, while retro games only require the D-pad and a few face buttons. Consequently, the joysticks and side grips get in the way of the user’s palms and thumbs, ruining the gaming experience.

Fortunately, 8BitDo’s Sn30 Pro controller answers the call. It closely mimics the original Super Nintendo controller design and has a few modern tricks up its sleeve!

For starters, the Sn30 Pro has small dual joysticks at the bottom (unlike a PlayStation DualShock controller). These sticks are positioned closely together and in the bottom center so they don’t get in the way. 

Regarding connectivity, the Sn30 Pro controller supports Bluetooth and comes with an internal rechargeable battery. In addition, users can plug the controller with the wire for a more ‘authentic’ retro gaming experience

To test this unique controller, we deviated from our usual testing methodology. Although we did run it with Fortnite and Call of Duty, our primary focus was on the retro gaming chops.

We’re happy to report that this contender exceeded expectations. So if you want a trip down memory lane without compromising on controller quality, buy an 8BitDo Sn30 Pro!

8Bitdo Sn30 Pro Bluetooth Controller
  • Compatible with Switch, PC, macOS, Android, Steam Deck & Raspberry Pi.
  • Fully featured Controller- clickable joysticks, rumble vibration, motion controls, wireless Bluetooth, rechargeable battery, home and screenshot Buttons and a USB-C connector!
  • SN30 Pro is compatible with Steam Deck now

Razer Wolverine Ultimate – The Best Controller for PC FPS Gaming

For esports players looking for a hardcore gaming controller for competitive matches, it doesn’t get much better than the Razer Wolverine Ultimate Edition gaming controller. 

Every aspect of Razer Wolverine Ultimate is customizable. For starters, the controller has six customizable buttons and paddles. Also, there are four paddles located at the bottom and two additional triggers on the controller’s shoulder. 

The thumbsticks and D-pad are user replaceable, and you can swap them easily (because they’re magnetic). Additionally, this device also has an RGB strip at the top that you can customize from the Razer Synapse App. 

True to the Razer spirit, the Wolverine Ultimate controller is durable, features an ergonomic design, and has rubberized grips. The buttons also have a nice, clicky feel, and the triggers feel good to the touch. 

In testing, we were impressed by the Wolverine Ultimate’s gaming prowess. We pushed it to its limits by testing it for hours on end, playing competitive titles such as Call of Duty: Warzone, Fortnite, and Apex Legends, and the controller didn’t miss a beat. 

The only downside is that the device isn’t wireless. But, then again, wires have lower input latencies than 2.4G wireless and Bluetooth, and we are talking about the apex gaming controller, so that might be an advance for hardcore gamers.

All in all, the Razer Wolverine Ultimate is by far the best gaming controller for PC Warzone and Fortnite players.

Razer Wolverine Ultimate
  • With interchangeable thumbsticks and two interchangeable D Pads, swap between optimized thumbstick heights and shapes, and quickly change between a tilting or individual D Pad button layout
  • The Razer Wolverine Ultimate comes loaded with a slew of extra buttons for advanced gaming 2 remappable Multi Function bumpers, 4 Multi Function triggers and a Quick Control Panel
  • With the remapping function both on the fly or with Razer Synapse for Xbox , you can master next level techniques like moving and aiming with both thumb sticks

Turtle Beach Recon – Best Controller for PC Gaming on Steam

Wondering what controller you should use for Steam? Or whether a decent one exists at all?

Enter the Turtle Beach Recon.

At first glance, Turtle Beach Recon looks like a standard Xbox controller. However, it’s packing some additional features which PC gamers will appreciate. 

For starters, this controller puts a heavy emphasis on audio. At the top of the device you’ll find four buttons for audio equalizer presets, game and chat volume mix, and the microphone’s audio level monitoring. 

The controller also has a ‘Super Hearing’ mode that optimizes the audio spectrum for an immersive gaming experience. 

While the Turtle Beach Recon lacks the paddles found on other controllers, it includes two buttons at the bottom, each on the palm grip. And as is expected from a Turtle Beach product, you can program each to your liking. 

The Turtle Beach Recon seamlessly connects with Steam, all you have to do is plug the controller into a vacant USB port, and Steam will detect it instantly – no tweaking or modifications are necessary. 

Overall, a great controller for people who exclusively use Steam for gaming.

Turtle Beach Recon Controller
  • TURTLE BEACH AUDIO ADVANTAGE - Easy access audio controls only available from Turtle Beach including EQ presets, game & chat volume mix, Mic Monitoring and more
  • SUPERHUMAN HEARING - From quiet footsteps, to enemy weapon reloads, Superhuman Hearing setting gives you the ultimate audio advantage
  • RESPONSIVE CONTROLS - Play in confidence with textured triggers and bumpers, an accurate 8-way D-pad, and smooth thumbstick movement

Comparing the Top Controllers for PC Gaming

ControllerConnectivityCompatibilityRating
PowerA Fusion Pro 2WiredXbox One, Xbox Series S/X, PC9.5/10
Logitech F310WiredChromebook, Android, PC8.0/10
SteelSeries Stratus DuoWireless (BT + 2.4G), WiredChromebook, Android, PC, VR9.5/10
Sony DualSenseWireless (Bluetooth), WiredPlayStation 5, PC8.5/10
Xbox Elite Wireless ControllerWireless (Bluetooth), WiredXbox One, Series S/X, PC9.0/10
8BitDo Sn30 ProWireless (Bluetooth), WiredSwitch, Mac OS, Android, Raspberry Pi, PC8.5/10
Razer Wolverine UltimateWiredXbox One, Xbox Series S/X, PC9.0/10
Turtle Beach ReconWiredXbox One, Xbox Series S/X, PC9.0/10

Do Pro Players Play With Controllers?

Yes. Several famous esports pro players—notably Genburten, Knoqd, and Daltoosh—almost exclusively use gaming controllers during their matches.

How to Choose a Gaming Controller for Your PC

To pick the best controller for your particular playing style, you need to consider the following aspects:

Comfort

Your first and foremost priority should be comfort. Controllers come in various shapes and sizes, and choosing the right controller is crucial. A controller that’s too cramped for your hands may cause muscle cramps, fatigue, and even Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS), in extreme cases.

Compatibility

Your second priority should be compatibility. Make sure that the controller you’re about to buy supports the games you want to play. If you own both a PC and a console, then make sure that the controller supports both platforms.

Connectivity

Another critical aspect that’s often overlooked by gamers is connectivity. Controllers offer three types of connectivity: Bluetooth, 2.4G wireless, and wired. 

People who own a PC and a console may want to invest in a Bluetooth controller. Others would be better served with a 2.4G wireless controller. Lastly, those looking for the least input latency may consider a wired controller instead.

Features & Customizability

Last but not the least, you must consider the available features and customizability. For example, if you’re buying a wireless controller, ensure that its wireless range and battery life are adequate for your particular playing style. 

Those opting for a wired controller may want to double-check its cable length and whether or not it’s braided. Finally, pro gamers may prefer a degree of software customizability to make the most out of their controllers in a competitive setting.

Is Xbox or PS5 Controller Better for PC?

The Xbox controller is the best option for PC gamers, as it works with most games. On the other hand, most of the Sony DualSense controller’s unique features, such as adaptive triggers, haptic feedback, touchpad, and motion control, only work with PlayStation 5 consoles and lack PC support.

Frequently Asked Questions – Gaming Controllers for PC

Here are some answers to a few commonly asked questions.

Which Controller Works With All PC Games?

A vast majority of PC games support the Xbox controller. You have to connect the controller to your PC, and that’s it – you can start playing.

Is It Better to Play PC Games With Keyboard or Controller?

A controller is the best choice for driving, third-person, and 2D side-scrolling PC games. They’re also pretty much a necessity if you play on your couch, as a keyboard & mouse combo requires a proper computer desk.

Can a Controller Player Be Better Than a PC Player?

Unfortunately, the answer is no. Controllers are mainly designed for convenience, ease of use, and user comfort, which comes at a cost. Their joysticks can’t match the accuracy and precision of a gaming mouse.

Conclusion

You’ve reached the end of this blog all. All’s that left is the conclusion: 

PC gamers looking for the best controller money can buy should consider our best overall pick, the PowerA Fusion Pro 2 controller. It checks almost all the boxes and lacks major disadvantages, which is a rarity for most controllers currently available!

But if you want to purchase a wireless controller, then we’d recommend the SteelSeries Stratus Duo wireless controller.  

Stratus Duo is our favorite wireless controller pick. While lacking the panache of PowerA Fusion Pro 2, it makes up for it with good battery life and super low-latency wireless connectivity.

SteelSeries Stratus Duo Wireless Gaming Controller
  • Fortnite Ready on Android – A true console experience on Android mobile with software free setup. Just pair and play
  • 2.4 GHz Wireless – Lag free gaming on Windows and over 5,000 controller enabled titles on steam
  • Bluetooth Wireless: Easily pair with Oculus Go, Gear VR, Android mobile devices, and more
Andrew is arguably the geekiest member of our team. He has a knack for new gaming hardware and awesome gadgets. Although Overwatch is his current favorite, he thinks the Counter Strike Global Offensive is the best shooter of all times. He is constantly hunting for news about new hero releases and patches. Andrew believes that playing video games is not just a hobby but a way of life. He regards his job at RealGear as a way of helping fellow gamers make the most of their gameplay by writing reviews about the hardware he uses and the FPS/ RTS he plays.

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