Best PC controller 2023

Looking for the perfect gamepad? Here are the best PC controller contenders, including options by Razer, Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo, and Thrustmaster

Best PC controller: Microsoft Xbox Elite sitting on woodgrain desk

There’s nothing quite like grasping the best PC controller in your palms. Whether it’s playing Elden Ring or driving in GTA Online with precision, sometimes gamepads are actually better than their clicky mechanical counterparts.

Picking up the best PC controller will help add versatility to your set-up. Sure, you’ll want to obtain the best gaming mouse and a keyboard to match if you’re into competitive shooters, but a gamepad is a must if you want to dive into the best platform games and third-person adventures.

Thankfully, there are tons of pads out there that’ll play nice with your rig. Whether you prefer the freedom of wireless or the comfort of corded accuracy, hooking up a gamepad should be a breeze. Of course, you don’t have to stick with regular gamepads, as the best PC steering wheel options will help turn your gaming chair into a driver’s seat.

Here are the best PC controllers in 2022:

A white Xbox wireless controller against a white background

1. Microsoft Xbox Wireless controller

The best PC controller is the Microsoft Xbox Wireless.
Expect to pay $59.99 USD/ £59.99 GBP.

Microsoft Wireless Controller specs
Connection Wireless/micro USB
Power 2x AA batteries
Buttons 18
Layout Xbox

Pros

  • Hybrid D-pad
  • Bluetooth support/plug-and-play
  • Textured Triggers

Cons

  • Requires AA batteries/play and charge kit
  • Not customisable

The Xbox Wireless Controller is Microsoft’s latest attempt to perfect the default gamepad that ships with the Xbox Series X and Series S. While it might not look all that different from its predecessors, aside from dropping the console-specific branding from its name, there’s been plenty of changes four iterations on from the original Xbox One edition that makes this the go-to gamepad for gaming PCs. Plus, it looks great sitting next to you on the best gaming desk.

The textured grip on the rear has been extended to cover the triggers for extra grip and precision, and there’s now a hybrid domed D-pad which we’ve previously only seen on the high-end Xbox Elite controller.

Additionally, the pad’s iconic shape has been tweaked compared to the original Xbox One pad, meaning it fits a wider range of hand shapes and sizes. However, the slight changes may hinder compatibility with attachments, so keep that in mind

As it’s Microsoft, there’s native compatibility with Windows 10 so there’s no fiddling around with drivers – all you need is a Bluetooth or USB-C connection to plug and play.

A Thrustmaster Eswap X Pro with modular blue buttons

2. Thrustmaster Eswap Pro X

The best thumbstick controller is the Thrustmaster Eswap Pro X.
Expect to pay $149.99 USD/ £149.99 GBP.

Thrustmaster Eswap Pro X
Connection Wired
Power USB
Buttons 22
Layout Xbox

Pros

  • Modular analogue sticks
  • Microswitch buttons
  • Thrustmapper software

Cons

  • Expensive
  • No wireless option

Thrustmaster’s Eswap Pro X is a premium gamepad through and through, but its modular design makes it one of the most versatile devices on this list. It’s also a great option for players who prefer PlayStation’s parallel controller layout, as you can easily swap around the d-pad and thumbstick.

Not only are these magnetic modules high quality, but if they do ever wear down,  you’ll be able to replace them without becoming a gamepad surgeon. You could even balance substance and style by adding different colours using one of Thrustmaster’s optional kits.

The Eswap Pro X also comes with an impressive 22-button layout, four of which reside on the back of the bad. If you’re a fan of all things clicky, you’ll be pleased to know that the d-pad and face buttons use microswitches, which make all the difference compared to rubber dome membranes.

As for compatibility, the Eswap Pro X’s PC drivers come with Thrustmapper, a configuration suite that allows you to remap the pad and fine-tune sensitivity. In other words, if you’re looking for a thumbstick experience that comes close to the accuracy of a gaming mouse, this gamepad could be what you’re looking for.

A white PlayStation Dualsense controller against a white background

3. PlayStation 5 Dualsense

The best PC controller for immersion is the PlayStation 5 Dualsense.
Expect to pay $69 USD/ £54.99 GBP.

PlayStation 5 Dualsense specs
Connection Wireless/Wired
Power Li-ion
Buttons 18
Layout PlayStation

Pros

  • Unique Dualsense features
  • High-quality feel

Cons

  • Pricey
  • Limited support on PC

Sony’s successor to the Dualshock 4 is a newcomer to the gamepad fold, but it’s already a promising PC controller. It’ll enhance physical immersion in big hits like Call of Duty: Cold War, Far Cry 6, Metro Exodus, and Deathloop, all of which boast adaptive trigger support.

The Dualsense is also just an excellent gamepad, and it elevates everything that made its predecessor great. Its thumbsticks are still superbly comfortable, and it’s still comfortable to use after hours of use. While the PlayStation 5 console itself is still largely out of stock, perhaps picking up its pad to use on PC is the next best thing.

Sony is slowly branching out on the PC, but support for the platform is lacking. Official Dualsense drivers aren’t a thing yet, and you’ll have to stick with specific games to benefit from the pad’s immersive features.

Using the Dualsense wirelessly on PC also comes with an additional cord-cutting caveat. For whatever reason, haptic feedback won’t work on the pad over Bluetooth, meaning you’ll have to tether it to your rig using a USB-C cable.

That said, if you’re a fan of parallel sticks, or just Sony shenanigans in general, the Dualsense is a killer pad with impressive capabilities. It’s pricey, but when you consider what it offers, it’s potentially a wise investment.

Nintendo Switch Pro controller on white backdrop

 

4. Nintendo Switch Pro controller

The best alternative PC controller is the Nintendo Switch Pro.
Expect to pay $69.99 USD/ £49.99 GBP.

Nintendo Switch Pro specs
Connection Bluetooth/USB-C
Power Li-ion
Buttons 18
Layout Nintendo

The Nintendo Switch Pro has been made specifically for the diminutive console, but has been given its own Steam profile and can be connected to your gaming PC with either a wireless Bluetooth connection or, if you want to get configured in Steam, via a USB-C cable.

There’s something charming about the Switch Pro Controller’s build quality, particularly in terms of its plastics. In the hands, it almost feels like a gamepad from the early 2000s, something that differentiates it from other premium pads on the market.

Its chonky approach to buttons and triggers takes a while to get used to, especially if you’re used to Microsoft controllers. However, once you’ve spent some time with the Nintendo pad, you’ll want to keep it near your PC setup.

Nintendo pioneered the d-pad back in 1985, so it’s no surprise that the Switch Pro controller upholds its gamepad legacy. While the pad lacks fancy features like analogue triggers, its tactile buttons and comfortable feel make it a winner when it comes to precision-based platformers. It’s also got a whopping 40-hour battery life via Bluetooth, making it one of the best wireless options on the market.

A Microsoft Elite Series 2 PC controller lies on the desk

5. Microsoft Xbox One Elite Series 2

The best high-end controller for PC is the Xbox One Elite Series 2.
Expect to pay $179.99 USD/ £159.99 GBP.

Microsoft Xbox One Elite Series 2 specs
Connection Wireless/micro USB
Power Li-ion
Buttons 21
Layout Xbox

Pros

  • All the paddles
  • Built-in battery
  • High build quality

Cons

  • Premium price point
  • Black aesthetic isn’t as exciting

Spending well over $100 on a joypad might seem pretty crazy, but the Elite Series 2 is one seriously beautiful controller. Almost everything about it has been designed to just scream ‘QUALITY!’ in your face. It’s an evolution over the previous version rather than a revolution, but it’s got everything we loved about the original Elite, plus everything the competition has added to their high-end pads to try and compete.

Just like the Eswap Pro X, the Elite Series 2 is equipped with customizable buttons that’ll help you perfectly dial in your palm experience. It’s not quite as hot-swappable as Thurstmaster’s approach, but it offers a different array of options, like changeable stick heights and paddle-style triggers.

It’s a small thing, but the fact Microsoft includes a hardcase with the Elite Series 2 speaks volumes. Not only does it give you somewhere to keep your bits and bobs, it’ll protect the pad and help it serve your gaming needs long into the future.

If you’re not into additional accessories, you could opt for the Series 2 Core, a cheaper package that only includes the pad and an adjustment tool.

Read the PCGamesN Microsoft Xbox One Elite Series 2 review for our full verdict and score.

Nacon Revolution Unlimited PC controller

6. Nacon Revolution Unlimited

The best hybrid PC controller is the Nacon Revolution Unlimited.
Expect to pay $78 USD/ £79.99 GBP.

Nacon Revolution Unlimited specs
Connection Wired/wireless
Power Li-Polymer 1300mAh
Buttons 21
Layout Xbox

Pros

  • Great build quality
  • Asymmetrical layout
  • Excellent thumbsticks

Cons

  • D-pad isn’t the best
  • Software is finicky

Many companies have tried to match the quality of Microsoft’s Xbox One Elite controller, but very few have managed to nail its mix of serious build quality and ultra customisation. But Nacon’s pad succeeds in both and also manages to mix both the excellent PlayStation thumbsticks and touchpad with the Xbox asymmetrical layout.

The only issue is the software. It refuses to connect unless you’re wired in and some of its wordless iconry is borderline impenetrable. But there are a whole host of customisation options buried in there if you really want to go deep.

Read the PCGamesN Nacon Revolution Unlimited review for our full verdict and score.

Razer Wolverine Tournament Edition against a white background

7. Razer Wolverine Tournament Edition Chroma

The best RGB PC controller is the Razer Wolverine Tournament Edition Chroma.
Expect to pay $89 USD/ £95 GBP.

Razer Wolverine Tournament Edition Chroma specs
Connection Wired
Power USB
Buttons 20
Layout Xbox

Pros

  • Clicky as heck
  • RGB!
  • Plenty of added functionality

Cons

  • Not the best D-pad
  • Expensive

The Razer Wolverine Tournament Edition Chroma is probably the flashiest gamepad on this list. Signature Chroma RGB lighting helps the controller stand out from the crowd, and it’ll look great both at LAN and on your desk

The Wolverine Tournament Edition Chroma is undeniably a looker, but it balances both style and substance. Microswitches help the pad’s buttons feel responsive and satisfying, while adjustable hair triggers will help you land shots in the best FPS games.

Just like other PC gamepads on this list, Razer’s light show controller comes with a premium price tag attached. If you’re looking for tournament-grade quality and extra visual flair, you might want to invest in this pad. However, if less-than-stellar D-pads tend to upset you, we’d suggest looking elsewhere.

Best PC flightstick - Thrustmaster Warthog

8. Thrustmaster Warthog

The best flight stick is the Thrustmaster Warthog.
Expect to pay $549,99 USD/ £429.99 GBP.

Thrustmaster Warthog specs
HOTAS Yes
Programmable buttons 22
Hat switches 4x 8-way, 2x 4-way

Pros

  • Satisfying clicky switches
  • Chunky (it’s a good thing)
  • Fantastic throttle action

Cons

  • Super expensive
  • No stick twist support

Thrustmaster’s Warthog flight stick is a replica of the controllers in the classic A-10 Tankbuster, seemingly hewn from the same military-grade materials, and probably only slightly cheaper than a second-hand plane.

Yes, the Warthog is frighteningly expensive, but if you’re already looking to pick up one of the best PC flight sticks then you’ve probably got pretty niche tastes – and this is the best way to satisfy them.

The Warthog has been around for a while now, but it’s still the best joystick for PC. It’s pricey, but still manages to feel worth it when you’re hurtling through an asteroid belt, flipping on a pirate, and reducing their ship to tiny bits of melty scrap.

That said, we’re still keen to see what Logitech does with the Saitek brand in the future and whether it will offer some serious competition to the Warthog.

Best flight yoke: Turtle Beach VelocityOne pictured with a white background

9. Turtle Beach VelocityOne

The best flight yoke is the Turtle Beach VelocityOne.
Expect to pay $379.99 USD/ £299.99 GBP.

Turtle Beach VelocityOne
HOTAS Yes
Programmable buttons Ten
Hat switches 2x 4-way

Pros

  • Easy to set up
  • Authentic
  • Unlimited profiles

Cons

  • Temperamental menu controls
  • High price
  • Slightly cheaper feel

Turtle Beach built its Velocity One flight controller with Xbox in mind, but it still offers tremendous value for PC players. At this price, you’d expect a lot, and you do indeed get a lot for your money.

The Velocityone features an authentic 180-degree yoke handle rotation that pushes and pulls for ascending and descending respectively, ten programmable buttons, swappable lever handles, and a built-in display you can use to customise virtually everything about this device.

It’s designed specifically for Microsoft Flight Simulator and offers more functionality than most, but still works fine with plenty of other flight games like Star Wars Squadrons and Elite Dangerous.

Like most yokes, it’s quite a bit larger than a joystick and you will need to clear space on your gaming desk to piece it together, but it’s easy to set up, makes gaming feel like an event, and comes to life when the RGB lighting starts to shine.

Best PC steering wheel - Fanatec Clubsport

10. Fanatec Clubsport

The best PC racing wheel is the Fanatec Clubsport.
Expect to pay $799 USD/ £700 GBP.

Fanatec Clubsport specs
Rotation 900°
Buttons 17
Pedals 3
Adjustable pedals Yes

Pros

  • Incredible force feedback
  • Modular
  • Precision engineered

Cons

  • Costs as much as a gaming PC
  • Wheel and pedals are sold separately

So, yeah… the Fanatec Clubsport setup is the price of a powerful gaming PC, but it’s also the stuff of gaming peripheral dreams – and it’s all down to just how beautifully designed, created, and finished the Clubsport kit is. If you don’t go for one of the preconfigured bundles you’ll have to create your own, picking and choosing from a very long list of goodies.

The main wheelbase is the same across the board, but then you can fit different steering wheels, gearshifts, and pedals into the mix. And they’re all built out of solid lumps of metal and precision-engineered components. The Fanatec system has hands-down the best force feedback system we’ve ever used, even down to feedback from the pedals, too.

The Thrustmaster TMX racing wheel against a white background

11. Thrustmaster TMX

The best budget PC racing wheel is the Thrustmaster TMX.
Expect to pay $249 USD/ £132.99 GBP.

Thrustmaster TMX specs
Rotation 900°
Buttons 12
Pedals 2
Adjustable pedals Yes

Pros

  • Great value for money
  • Full 900-degree rotation
  • Solid build

Cons

  • Lower quality
  • Steering could be smoother

Most people aren’t going to blow a four-figure sum on a racing wheel – if you are then bully for you – and a perfect budget option that will still give you a pretty realistic driving experience is Thrustmaster’s TMX wheel.

You don’t really want to go for anything cheaper, as here you get force feedback and 900-degree wheel rotation, the same as a real car – compared to some budget wheels which may only have 180-degree rotation.

The TMX uses belt-driven technology as opposed to the inferior gear-driven tech for its force feedback, giving you a smoother, less notchy feel when going through the motions. The brake and throttle pedals are adjustable by angle to suit your seating position, and the brake pedal gets progressively harder as you stamp on it, for a little added realism.