Some genres of PC games might be best played with a keyboard and mouse, but that’s not the case for all of them. Fortunately, there are a host of excellent controllers that let you enjoy your favorite games as if you were playing on a console, flight sim or arcade cabinet. Besides the more specialized options, some of the best gaming controllers for Steam and PC are the very same console controllers you’re used to. It’s possible to use PS4, PS5 and Xbox controllers on PC, for instance.
There are, however, some fantastic gamepads that are PC exclusives or developed by third parties that often make PC gaming with a controller a unique experience that can’t be had anywhere else. Let’s take a look at 10 of the very best gaming controllers for PCs in 2022.
- Best Wireless Gaming Controller For PC: Xbox Wireless Controller
- Best Customizable Gaming Controller for PC: Xbox Elite Wireless Series 2
- Best Budget Gaming Controller for PC: PowerA Spectra Enhanced Wired
- Best Accessible Gaming Controller for PC: Xbox Adaptive Controller
- Best Gaming Controller for PlayStation Ports: Sony DualSense Wireless
- Best Wired Gaming Controller for PC: Razer Wolverine V2
- Best Small Gaming Controller for PC: Nacon Rig Pro Compact
- Best MMO Gaming Controller for PC: Razer Tartarus
- Best Arcade Fight Stick Controller for PC: Qanba Drone
- Best HOTAS Controller for PC: Thrustmaster T.16000M
Best Wireless Gaming Controller For PC
This Xbox Wireless Controller Is A True Classic
Microsoft Xbox Wireless Controller + Wireless Adapter for Windows
An iteration on an ever evolving classic, Microsoft’s Xbox controller is the best wireless gaming controller for PC that’s offered at a reasonable price. There are some higher quality options—ones with more customization, and ones better suited to specific genres of games—but for a great all-purpose PC gaming controller, nothing beats this Xbox Wireless Controller.
This controller enjoys a classic dual thumbstick and four face button design, with textured grips on the back, button customization options, and textured grips on the thumbsticks to ensure that your digits stay right where you need them during play.
Although the controllersupports Bluetooth for immediate connection to supporting PCs and laptops, this model comes with a Wireless Adapter for Windows, so you can enjoy a more responsive gaming experience via the controller’s wireless signal. With support for up to eight controllers using one adapter, you can easily couch co-op with friends who are each using their own Xbox Wireless controller.
Best Customizable Gaming Controller for PC
Take Your Gaming To An Elite Level
Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2
A premium controller in its design and price tag, Microsoft’s own Xbox Elite Series 2 controller is a sight to behold. Its look is understated—with none of the colorful face button designs of its more affordable Xbox controller cousins—and it offers a number of unique features, making it worth paying extra for if you’re a serious gamer.
This controller is deeply customizable, letting you easily swap out the thumbsticks and paddles with your own favorites. You also get the option to configure the analog stick tension and trigger travel distance to make them as responsive as you want. Plus, you’ll experience overall lighter design than the original Elite controller, which makes it more comfortable to hold in your hands for extended gaming sessions.
Best Budget Gaming Controller for PC
Get This Wired Controller For Less Than $30
PowerA Spectra Enhanced Wired Controller
The best PC gaming controllers can be expensive, but they don’t have to be. The PowerA Spectra Enhanced Switch controller works just fine on Steam games and offers a comfortable feel, as well as responsive buttons, sticks and triggers—all at an affordable price.
Yes, it’s a wired-controller. Unfortunately, you aren’t going to get a capable wireless controller this inexpensively. However, with a 10-foot braided cable, you won’t to have to sit right in front of your PC to use it. This controller also features LED backlighting, which even the higher-end premium controllers rarely offer. It comes in a range of attractive colors and skins, so you can truly make this controller your own.
Best Accessible Gaming Controller for PC
Microsoft Makes A Truly Customizable Controller For Everyone
Microsoft Xbox Adaptive Controller
One of the most innovative and exciting controllers to come out in recent years, the Xbox Adaptive Controller is a gaming controller for absolutely everyone—regardless of their mobility or ability. Although it includes a pair of large buttons and has a D-Pad built in, the Adaptive Controller is more of a hub for other inputs. It allows you to plug in a range of buttons, switches and assistive devices, and then map them to specific buttons and commands. You can play just about any type of game with this controller.
Designed in partnership with several leading charities, including AbleGamers and Special Effect, the Xbox Adaptive Controller works with Windows PCs, supports Xbox wireless and Bluetooth connectivity, and can be mounted on any flat or tripod surface for better ease of access.
The controller includes 19 3.5mm ports, as well as a pair of USB 2.0 ports and a headphone jack. All buttons and inputs are entirely remappable using the customization software. To get a more in-depth overview of what this controller offers and who can benefit from using it, check out Microsoft’s website for this device.
Best Gaming Controller for PlayStation Ports
A Sony Controller Can Also Be Used With Your PC
Sony PlayStation Dualsense Wireless Controller
Sony has been bringing some of the most iconic and beloved PlayStation titles to the PC in recent years, which makes owning a high-end PlayStation controller a great idea. This controller gives you a natural way to experience the most popular PlayStation games. Although the PlayStation 4 DualShock controllers are still great, the PlayStation 5’s DualSense wireless controllers are at the cutting edge of Sony’s gamepad development.
Keep in mind, you can’t use all of its features just yet on a PC—since Sony has yet to release a compatible and official driver—but you can enjoy the advanced ergonomics and high-end functionality of the DualSense controller when playing your favorite games.
Connect this controller to your PC using Bluetooth (with a generic Bluetooth adapter) or use any USB-C cable, and the controller will begin working immediately with many games. The best way to enjoy it, however, is through its Steam implementation, which gives you the option of remapping the controls based on the games you play.
If you want to play something outside your Steam library, simply add it to Steam, and you should be able to enjoy that game using Steam’s button remapping options and additional DualSense support.
Best Wired Gaming Controller for PC
Check Out This Wired Controller From Razer
Razer Wolverine V2 Wired Gaming Controller
Priced like a high-end wireless controller, the Razer Wolverine V2 has an uphill battle to prove its worth, but if you want the ultimate PC gaming controller with the lowest latency, deep customization and high-end ergonomics (and don’t mind its wire tether), look no further than this Razer gamepad.
Gorgeous, sleek, and with fantastic build quality, the Wolverine V2 oozes sophistication in its look and feel. It offers thick, rubberized grips and additional negative space in the centre to make this standard-size controller feel bigger.
The “L-shaped” grips make for a more comfortable hold, even helping to encourage you to pull your shoulders back during play. There are also additional buttons on the rear for added functionality in a wide array of games. Plus, you get the option of stopping the triggers short to make them more responsive.
Best Small Gaming Controller for PC
This Controller Works Great For People With Small Hands
If you’ve got smaller hands or want a controller for your children, the standard PC gaming controllers can be a little daunting. Enter this Pro Compact controller, which can easily compete with the best controllers out there, but in a reduced footprint that makes it an excellent fit for those with smaller hands to play with.
It’s thinner and shorter, and though the buttons and sticks are the same size, they’re closer together, so you don’t have to reach as far to get to them. The 3.5mm audio connector has full support for Dolby Atmos, and you can tweak what any and all the inputs do.
If you’re an experienced gamer, be aware of the unique placement of the Start and Share buttons, which can be pressed accidentally if you’re not careful. Also, keep in mind this is a wired controller.
Best MMO Gaming Controller for PC
Combine A Mouse And Keyboard With A Controller
Razer Tartarus v2 Gaming Keypad
For MMO gaming, a keyboard and mouse are still the best way to play. This combo offers all the buttons and keys you need to access all of your abilities and macros within a PC game. However, if you want to create something customizable that your keyboard and mouse won’t let you do, simply buy this gaming keypad.
The Razer Tartarus is the latest take on a classic design, offering a number of customizable keys alongside a scroll wheel, a directional thumbpad, and a comfortable wrist rest. All of the switches use Razer’s mecha-membrane, half-mechanical design, so they’re durable and responsive. Plus, there’s RGB backlighting behind every key. Everything is fully programmable with macros and custom mapping through Razer’s back-end software and the lighting can be tweaked and synced with other compatible Chroma devices.
Best Arcade Fight Stick Controller for PC
Take Your Fighting Action To An Arcade Level Of Fun
Qanba N2-PS4-01 Drone Joystick Controller
Arcade fight sticks come in all shapes, sizes and designs. You can easily spend a small fortune on a really high-end one, but you don’t really have to. Since you don’t necessarily want a cheaply made fight stick either, the Qanba drone is a great mid-range option that offers superior quality. It has a gorgeous design, with comfortable and responsive inputs. It’s also weighty enough to remain stationary on your desk no matter how hard you use it.
Best HOTAS Controller for PC
This Mid-Priced HOTAS Controller Is Extremely Impressive
Thrustmaster T16000M FCS Hotas Joystick and Throttle
If you really get into your flight sims, it’s easy to spend well over $1,000 on higher end sticks, throttles, pedals and related gear. The Thrustmaster T16000M doesn’t have the same level of customization and immersion as some of the absolute best HOTAS controllers out there, but it takes a major step above the budget segment.
This controller nicely combines accurate tracking and smooth operation with a comfortable design that can help anyone improve the feel of their flight sim experience.
The joystick includes 16 action buttons, while the throttle features another eight. All can be customized to the game you’re playing, with back-end software letting you setup unique profiles for different games. Thus, you can always have the right controls under your finger tips.
Leveraging the same “3D Hall Effect” magnetic sensors as much more expensive joysticks and throttles, this HOTAS offers precise tracking of all your movements and helps to prevent drift over time.