There’s nothing better than fully submerging ourselves into the games we love. However, what if we don’t have the proper gear to attain the optimal experience? When it comes to gaming equipment in general, we’ve seen in many of our guides that you can essentially upgrade your entire setup if you wanted to. Today however we wanted to focus on what you’ll essentially be using to dictate the entire game in front of you with your hands — controllers. Whether you’re on Xbox One, PS4, PC, Mac, a smart device with iOS or Android, we found the best controllers for gaming to give you an upgrade to the backbone of our entire setup as a whole, giving us something we all need regardless of our favorite game or system — control.
How to pick the best controller for gaming
Since we have 10 of the best gaming controllers below, we want to steer you in the right direction based on your own needs. Firstly, what system do you use for gaming? The best controllers for gaming come in many different shapes, sizes, and of course, system compatibility. We’ve seen some gaming controllers that span across multiple consoles, with others just one to keep it simple. We’ll list which models are compatible with what systems to help you out here. If you are indeed a multiple system gamer, you can try to find a controller that’s more versatile than others to use it for more than one console or computer (quite a few below span across multiple systems) — otherwise, you may have to buy a few (they’re not too expensive compared to other popular gaming gear).
Next up, we’d like to ask: wired or wireless? A classic debate by not only gamers but electronics users in general, whether or not you want to sacrifice the pros and cons of a wireless controller or keeping it simple with a wired model will be up to you. With wired controllers, you won’t have to worry about charging the battery before game play (and of course, risk it dying on you in the middle of a heated battle or game). With wireless gaming controllers however, and just like wireless gaming keyboards or a wireless gaming mouse, you have the obvious convenience of more versatility and freedom without being limited to a wire, but you’ll have to stay on top of keeping it charged (look into the battery capacity in terms of hour usage — some go all the way up to 40 hours). We’ve also heard complaints by some about game latency with wireless gaming gear since it’ll take a little longer to transfer movements and button data to your system — we haven’t noticed this in an obvious way, especially nowadays with the advancement of Bluetooth. The only time we say definitely do not go wireless is if we’re gaming competitively and can’t risk even a millisecond of delay. Others however with more leisure-gaming needs can sacrifice the slight lag. It’s up to you in the end.
Lastly, which extra controller features stand out to you? We’re of course attaining our upgrade with the best gaming controllers not only when it comes to build and ergonomics to give us a more comfortable and perhaps easier-to-move experience, but shortcuts and extra buttons if needed. We’ve some emulate the original controller of a gaming system with all features and buttons but really just give us an upgrade in build and comfort. Others however include a few other extras you may find worth the money. These include extra programmable buttons, mounts for smart devices, additional inputs, Bluetooth function, web-surfing compatibility, voice search, and more.
The top 10 best gaming controllers
SteelSeries Stratus XL
Compatibility: PC Gaming
To kick off our list, we have the highly-rated Stratus XL, which offers a wireless PC game play experience that enables us to not feel limited by those wires or stationed in one specific environment while enjoying our game. This one comes with not only a sturdy and proven SteelSeries build but a few high-tech upgrades and features that make it one of our favorite picks as the best controller for gaming out there right now. You have the standard movement keys available, middle select and start, an extra ‘o’ start button in the middle, as well as X, Y, B, and A action buttons. One of the more impressive features however is the controller’s clickable joysticks as well as its buttons being pressure-sensitive as opposed to the standard static pressing, bringing an obvious upgrade from the original controller feel and giving you that real life feel. Built for durability, this solid, compact controller has an ergonomic design that is comfortable in your hands and is a solution that will allow you to play as long as you’re able to go for. The SteelSeries Stratus XL alleviates any chances of discomfort as this controller enables you to not only have a comfortable feel, but also the ability to have 40 hours plus of wireless access. When it comes to wireless gaming controllers there isn’t much more that others can offer if you’re able to sacrifice a little latency as well as keeping up with charging (that 40 hours is quite long).
Compatibility: Xbox One
Up next, we’ll go to a more specific-console model here for those Xbox One lovers. The Razer Wildcat offers a controller with added multi-function buttons that allow you to have an ideal playing experience. This is a controller that is meant to be used for not only leisure but also tournament play, and is developed based on various feedback given by some of the best gamers out there. Weighted with a great light-weight for its size, this is a very comfortable controller that allows you to grip it with optimal comfort and less pain during binge playing through out those weekend nights. Alleviate any stress you might have in regards to feeling fatigue in your play as the Razer Wildcat is offered significantly upgraded from other Xbox controllers in its class. The differentiating factor is the button layout, sleek green and black signature Razer aesthetics, as well as as the full customization offers you the ability to create your own dedicated buttons to specific functions. The Razer Wildcat reviews speak for themselves, and this is a huge favorite of ours as the best controller for gaming because it offers optimal control of your experience for those Xbox One junkies.
Sony Dualshock 4
Compatibility: PlayStation 4
Up next for those PlayStation heads, we have one of our favorite wireless solutions out there to really step up that PS4 experience. Coming in multiple color choices to match that personality of yours, it connects wirelessly via Bluetooth, provides vibration feedback during those intense or suitable moments, has a light-weight construction for comfort, and an additional six-axis sensor and touch pad at the middle of your hands for additional control over your skills. Of course, you’ll have to stay on top of keeping charged when you aren’t using it, but all you have to do is plug-it into your PS4 system once you’re finished for the day. Lastly, we love the fact that this one has a 3.5 mm audio jack in the controller itself so you can plug-in some headphones and keep it private (something we do quite frequently). The Sony DualShock 4 is an amazing solution as the best gaming controller and one of everybody’s favorite out there for PS4 heads. It’s not too expensive, either.
Logitech Gamepad F310
Compatibility: PC Gaming
If you are looking to bring your PS4 and Xbox experience to your PC or Android TV and the previous PC gaming controller wasn’t your thing plus you wanted to keep it wired, look no further than the F310. Here we have a very budget-friendly and extensive native-style controller that allows you to enjoy your computer gaming experience in a more relaxed position. Set up your PC gaming with this easy to use USB-based controller that allows you to enjoy all of your favorite games with its two most common input standards (Xinput and DirectInput). Requiring software installation (which isn’t a big deal at all) if you are looking to use DirectInput mode however, this is still a versatile controller that is one of the best gaming controllers in the market for PC gamers looking to save some cash and grab a simple solution. You can also play your games on your own TV by pairing the F310 with the Big Picture and Navigate Steam if you wish, which additionally also allows you to surf the web and browse accordingly. Whether you love playing games to kill time or enjoy long-playing sessions, the Logitech F310 is a comfortable wired controller that will certainly upgrade the experience of gaming on your PC.
Valve Steam Controller
If you’re a Steam-only type of person and find yourself sticking to Valve games (we’ve been Counter-Strike junkies for more than a decade), this gaming controller allows you to play any and all Steam games without the use of the traditional keyboard and mouse combo. The controller enables the user to have a unique experience as it is equipped with dual track pads, dual-stage triggers, as well as fully customizable controller schemes. Enjoy your gaming experience with the controllers various input requirements, as you can now play your game at a higher level regardless of your preferred genre. The Steam Controller also offers an improved resolution as well as the versatility of its inputs, and that is something you might not be so sure to find in other game pads that are compatible with Steam, considering it’s made by the literal creators of the platform. Equipped to deliver a higher precision game play, this high-tech controller focuses specifically on low-latency and streamlined control in it’s wireless performance. So use the Valve Steam Controller to enjoy your gaming experience anywhere in the room that suits your comfort. This is certainly one of the best gaming controllers if Steam is your thing and you play games that aren’t ideal with the typical keyboard and mouse arsenal.
Logitech Wireless Gamepad F710
Compatibility: PC Gaming (Windows only)
Use Steam Big Picture and/or play on your high-definition television in the comfort of your own gaming environment with this one. The Gamepad’s F710 is a candidate as the best gaming controller that comes without wires and allows you to freely roam around the room by simply inserting the controller’s nano-receiver into its USB port for an even speedier 2.4 GHz data transmission. The controller’s dual vibration feedback motors are a big highlight, and these enable the user to truly feel like they are inside the game. You also have some custom controls with profiler software, a nice smooth and sturdy plastic build, and better yet, powered by Double A batteries (two of them) so you don’t have to worry about charging the controller — merely swap out the batteries instead (hopefully you don’t have this happen during an actual game play). Fully experience your gaming potential with this reasonably priced, high-tech gaming controller, because the Logitech F710 will truly let you experience gaming at a whole different level without fussing with wires or deal with charging upkeep. It’s one of the highest rated out there by users around the world.
Compatibility: Mobile and PC Gaming, Android Devices only
Designed for optimal precision and more control of your mobile games as opposed to a simple touch screen, the Razer Serval offers a state of the art controller that truly is the full package when it comes to the optimal features that you’re going to need in a great smart device controller. The Serval is designed as a Bluetooth controller that is best used with Android devices or Android TV but can also plug-in to your computer via USB and used that way as well. This gaming controller is designed with tactile Hyperesponse ABXY action buttons to fully exploit your potential, as well as analog sticks and Android navigation buttons for everything else you need. If you are a less experienced Android gamer, this controller could be used as a good starting controller as it simplifies your experience and offers optimized comfort as well. Now you are able to play your PC or Android games with a controller specifically designed for it, making the Razer Serval one of the best gaming controllers being sold for computers and mobile games on Android devices.
Compatibility: Apple TV, iPhone, iPads, and Mac
The SteelSeries Nimbus is a new and improved wireless gaming controller that offers up to 40 hours of Gameplay before needing to recharge. This is a controller that offers the ability to play hundreds of games on all mobile application devices, including the Apple TV, making it one of the best gaming controllers for apps. Simply charge her up and play at the convenience of whatever location you deem appropriate, as the Nimbus is the perfect traveling companion that will give you access to all top games on the market. What’s also nifty is you can begin to forget about researching the newest and most exciting games for mobile apps since the SteelSeries Nimbus does the dirty work for you with its offered top game charts all for free. The controller itself charges via a lightning connector, optimizing efficiency and allowing your controller to have the best charge possible. The SteelSeries Nimbus is one of the most efficient ways to play mobile games these days.
Amazon Fire TV Game Controller
Compatibility: Amazon Fire TV or Fire TV Stick
Compatible with Amazon Fire TV or the Fire TV stick, this gaming controller comes jam-packed with quite a few high-tech features as Amazon continues to dominate electronics with their own brand. Take your gaming experience to elevated levels, as the Amazon Fire game controller offers you the ability to have optimal precision with its ergonomic design, which will allow it to fit perfectly in your hands. Built for great responsiveness, this is a control that allows you to play your binge video game sessions without any fatigue. A big feature is the controllers instant voice search, which conveniently allows you to speak into the controller to help you find the games, shows, movies and music that you are searching for. The gaming industry is hyper competitive and therefore constantly innovating and evolving, and Amazon’s controller does not fall short and is certainly one of the best controllers for gaming in the Amazon Fire TV world. The Fire TV Gaming Controller controller offers the whole package as it is not only comfortable for your hands, but also comes with a stereo headphone jack to allow you to lose yourself in the sound of your movies, music and video games without distractions. Enjoy up to 90 hours of game play without your headphones.
Compatibility: Android smart devices
The GameSir G3 is our last pick to top off the list of the best controllers for gaming and is another unique option when it comes to Android smartphone and tablet gaming. The mobile application gaming industry has exploded and if you are involved in this particular gaming experience you should know by now that having the optimal controller is paramount if you aren’t in to fiddling with your touch-screen anymore. The G3’s 32-bit high-speed MCU chip enables a heightened sensitivity as well as a great response time. It’s wireless and lasts for about 18 hours and there are some lights attached to it that pair with your game (not always very accurate, and we’ve seen user reviews state that it’s hard to tone them down). There is a hard time refuting that the GameSir G3 is a great controller other than the lesser known brand name, otherwise it’s a solid choice for improving your gaming experience if you’re an Android head and are on a strict budget.