There is an ongoing dispute between console and PC players. They argue what’s better and why you should play on the device they are trying to defend. We won’t go this route as we believe both consoles and computers have their place in the gaming community.
However, it is indisputable fact that some games are much more enjoyable when played on a controller – this is why you might want to get one yourself, even if you mainly spend your time playing your favorite titles on the computer.
Game controllers come in a variety of shapes and colors. They can be wired or wireless. They may have additional programmable buttons, some may have better grip than others, and some may have extra features, like adjustable height for triggers. We’ll cover some of the possibilities to make it easier for you to choose the right controller.
Best Gamepad – Wired or Wireless?
One of the most important questions you need to answer before purchasing a new gamepad is if you want it to be wired or wireless. They both have pros and cons you need to consider before making a final decision. If you spend a lot of time playing, then wired one will probably be a better choice. This is because the wireless controller needs to be charged regularly. If you are playing a lot or you want to share the pad with siblings or parents, it may turn out that you don’t have enough time to fully charge the controller. But if the need to charge the pad does not discourage you, then you will surely enjoy the amount of freedom the wireless gamepad gives. You can comfortably lay down on your sofa and play your favorite titles from a much greater distance, while not being restricted by the cable length. Lack of cable also means no annoying cable entanglement. Alternatively, you can look for a controller that can be used both as a wired and wireless device.
If you decide to pick a wireless gamepad, you need to remember that they usually work via Bluetooth. This means you need to have a Bluetooth adapter connected to your PC. If you don’t have one yet, you can purchase it on our marketplace – check out Sandberg Nano Bluetooth 4.0 Dongle, for example, a tiny simple adapter which supports Bluetooth 4.0 connection on up to 25 meters distance.
Buttons Layout and Additional Buttons
Most gamepads available on the market resemble one of two popular controllers, either from PlayStation or from Xbox. The main difference between the two is the position of the left analog stick which is placed on one controller where the directional pad is on the other. It will be hard to choose if you didn’t hold either one in your hands, so you may consider paying a visit to your local retail store to compare the two.
It’s also worth mentioning that some controllers can have additional buttons, sometimes even programmable ones. While it’s certainly not a must-have, it can be a convenient quality of life addition in some scenarios – you can use these buttons to quickly mute the game or access other buttons in an alternative way.
Ease of Use
When purchasing a new gamepad you would expect it to work out of the box so you can simply connect the device and start playing instantly. However, it’s not always the case, especially when you decide to buy a cheaper controller from unknown brands. Sometimes additional configuration may be needed, and in extreme cases, you may also need a third party software to map the buttons. You can save yourself much trouble by getting a more expensive gamepad – these are usually automatically detected and pre-configured by any modern game that supports gamepads.
With all this being said, let’s take a look at some possible options. The following are some of the best controllers for PC gaming you can currently get.
Xbox One Bluetooth Wireless Microsoft Controller
|Battery life:||30-40 h|
This is one of the most obvious and reliable choices. The original Xbox One controller performs surprisingly well, no matter the game you play.
It is highly responsive, durable, and compatible with most modern titles, allowing to use the gamepad out of the box, especially if you are running Windows operating system – Microsoft puts a lot of effort to ensure its products work well when paired together. It’s also considered to be one of the most comfortable gamepads available, second only to the PlayStation DualShock, based on personal preferences.
Sony DualShock Controller V2
|Battery life:||6-10 h|
If you are already used to the button layout from PlayStation gamepads, then there’s hardly a better choice than the V2 version of the original DualShock controller.
It is robust, functional and besides the standard buttons, it features a touchpad with a light bar which can be synchronized with the game you are currently playing. For example, it can glow green when your life in CS: GO is full, then turn yellow after being hit, and finally turn red after becoming critically injured. It’s also worth mentioning that DualShock utilizes built-in gyroscope, which can be used as an alternative way of control in certain games.
Nintendo Switch Pro Controller
|Battery life:||40 h|
A good alternative to the Xbox One gamepad may be the Nintendo Switch Pro controller which uses a very similar button layout.
This ergonomic controller has handles profiled in a way that helps to maintain a solid grip even when your hands become sweaty after a long session of gaming. Buttons are easy to reach with your thumbs and are highly responsive, which will come in handy when playing more dynamic and action-packed titles. Nintendo Switch Pro controller is wireless – its battery allows to use it for up to 40 hours straight.
Razer Wolverine Ultimate Gaming Controller
This is an ultimate solution for your gaming needs, but it comes for a comparatively ultimate price.
This gamepad has probably everything you could ever want from such a device – additional programmable buttons on the back, customizable d-pad and analog sticks, adjustable height for triggers so you can activate them quicker, and of course, highly customizable RGB lighting. It also comes with some less obvious features, like the agility control which acts similarly to the DPI switch in computer mice – you can use it to change the sensitivity of your analog sticks on the go.
Logitech Rumble Gamepad F310
This one could serve as a more affordable alternative to a DualShock controller.
It is a wired controller, meaning it’s not necessary to charge it before use, and the cable is long enough to allow using the device in small and medium-sized rooms without issues. It’s lightweight and should be comfortable to use even during longer periods of playing. It’s worth noting controller’s size and shorter but thicker handles, which may better fit larger hands.
Wireless Gamepad Genesis PV65
If you are looking for a solid yet inexpensive wireless gamepad, then Genesis PV65 is worth considering.
It is a simple controller which has only one purpose – to give you a more comfortable way of playing fighting or soccer games on your PC, and it does its job quite well. It has a rubberized casing which not only allows for a better grip but is also nice and soft in touch. Similarly to other controllers it has vibration feedback which increases the immersion while playing games.
PXN 9607 Switch Gamepad
|Battery life:||20 h|
This could be a good choice if you need an affordable gamepad with ergonomic layout known from Xbox controllers.
It is designed to work with both Nintendo Switch console and PC wirelessly, meaning no need to worry about the cable-related mess. As such it features a gyroscope, a nice and rarely seen addition in this price range. The gamepad is well-balanced and sits comfortably in hand. The built-in battery allows using the controller continuously for up to 20 hours.
PDP Wired Controller
PDP Wired Controller is a 3rd party controller designed for Xbox One but can be also used seamlessly with PC.
The cable length does not negatively impact your freedom of movement, as the cable is long enough to easily support even medium-sized rooms. It’s worth noting the presence of 3.5 mm headset jack with audio controls located directly on the gamepad – this way you can conveniently start chatting with your teammates in whatever online games you play.
Wireless Controller For Xbox 360
The last position on the list is a standard universal controller compatible with both Xbox 360 and PC.
It connects wirelessly via Bluetooth and can work from up to 9 meters away, allowing you to freely move around the room while holding the gamepad in your hands. The controller has a standard Xbox button layout and its design resembles the original Xbox 360 gamepad, but this one is more affordable. It also comes in many different colors to choose from.
There are many PC gaming controllers available and at first, it may be hard to decide which one you should buy. The deciding factor in a lot of situations is your budget – the more you are ready to spend, the better product you will get.
If you have enough money, then you can’t go wrong with Razer Wolverine Ultimate controller, but it doesn’t mean you can’t get something of great value and spend significantly less. This is the case with original Xbox One controller or DualShock V2 from Sony. But if it’s still too much, then you can dive lower and get a Genesis PV65 – you won’t be disappointed.