Best PC game controller 2022

Introduction

Looking to buy the best PC game controller possible so you can play PC games from the comfort of your sofa?

Here to help you find the right pad for your specific needs, we’ve created this guide detailing the best game controllers we’ve reviewed for PC players.

Every pad on this list has been thoroughly tested by our team of experts to gauge the most important things you need to look out for. These include build quality, connection stability/latency, usability and of course if they’re comfy to hold for prolonged periods.

There are a multitude of game pads on the market, from experience, we can promise you that not all game controllers are created equal. Trust us when we say that certain controllers can make a real difference during competitive matches, with bespoke extra inputs making it quick and easy to create a control scheme specific to your play style.

And if you’re not a fan of controllers, then it’s also worth checking out our Best Gaming Keyboard and Best Gaming Mouse lists.

How we test

Find out more about how we test PC games controllers

Every PC controller we test is used by the reviewer as their main game pad for at least a week. During that time we’ll test it on a variety of different types of games ranging from FPS shooters to aRPGs and racing games.

We’ll test both wired and wireless connectivity to ensure there’s no latency or issues that may impede your gaming experience. In these instances we’ll also check the pad’s battery life, measuring how much playtime they offer before needing to be charged.

Where applicable, we’ll also test how customizable they are and how easy their custom controls are to program. From there we check their ergonomics and build quality to gauge if they’ll survive the odd accidental drop or rage throw.

Xbox Elite Controller 2

The best PC controller for hardcore gamers

Pros

  • Xbox Elite Controller 2
  • Attachments provide endless amounts of customization
  • Comfortable to play for extended play sessions
  • Fantastic battery life
  • Works on a number of platforms and devices

Cons

  • Small parts of the device lack a premium feel
  • D-pad still isn’t the best in the business

If you want the best PC game controller on the market and don’t mind paying a bit extra, then the Xbox Elite Controller 2 is the one to get. It’s the second generation of Microsoft’s official eSports game pad, succeeding the Xbox One Elite we tested many moons ago. During testing we found it offers the best mix of features and value for money currently available.

Wireless performance is excellent, especially if your PC has the Xbox Wireless functionality built in, which most pre-builds from Alienware and the like now do. If you don’t, then you can buy optional wireless dongle separately at most tech stores, giving you a rock-solid wireless connection. Based on our experience, we’d thoroughly recommend the dongle if your PC doesn’t support Xbox Wireless as the connection is much more reliable than Bluetooth.

The rubberised pads let you get a solid grip, and we can confirm build quality is excellent. eSports players will also enjoy the added programmable controls, which include paddle inputs at the back and trigger controls that let you set the rear triggers to one of three actuation points. This can offer a real competitive advantage in reaction-based games, with the fastest setting genuinely saving our lives in Elden Ring on more than one occasion during testing.

The 40-hour battery life we ​​encountered reviewing the pad and ease of its USB-C charging port made the Xbox Elite Controller 2 an easy recommendation. The only slight downside is that its higher-than-average price means it isn’t the best option for kids, or more casual gamers.

Reviewer: Jade King
Full review: Xbox Elite 2 Controller Review

Scuf Instinct Pro Controller

The best built PC games controller

Pros

  • Incredibly comfortable
  • Highly customizable
  • Sturdy build quality
  • Fun to use

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Heavier than a normal controller

If you want an eSports controller that can take a lot of punishment and still deliver excellent performance then the Scuf Instinct Pro is the best PC game controller options we’ve tested that’s still on the market. It’s compatible with the Xbox Wireless standard, which in our testing is far more reliable than Bluetooth.

Off the bat, it offers all the functionality you’d expect from a pro controller. There are programmable back paddles, a choice of domed or concave thumb sticks at three different heights, and lockable triggers. For more adventurous gamers you can also change its face plate to match your personal style. We personally thought the purple one our review unit came with was a little gaudy, but the option will be welcome to people who favor things like RGB lighting.

Performance is excellent with the pad feeling every bit as comfortable to hold as its Xbox rival. But what really set it apart was its build quality, helping to justify the fact it’s more expensive than the official Elite 2

During testing, the Scuf proved to be one of the toughest game pads we’ve ever tested. Accidentally sending it flying down a flight of hardwood stairs when taking it down to the living room, the pad suffered no noticeable damage whatsoever. As a result, we’d recommend it wholeheartedly to any PC gamer prone to rage throws on the market for a rugged, eSports-ready pad that’ll last.

Reviewer: Reece Bithrey
Full review: Scuf Instinct Pro Controller Review

PS5 DualSense controller

The best option if you already have a PS5

Pros

  • A bold departure from previous designs that really pays off
  • Solid and weighty build quality gives off a premium feel
  • Haptic feedback and improved vibration motors are feel truly next-gen
  • Improved battery life compared to the DualShock 4

Cons

  • White color scheme leads to scuffs and marks

If you already own a PS5, alongside a gaming PC, then the latest generation DualSense is one of the best PC game controller option. During testing, we found the Bluetooth connection isn’t quite as stable as what you get using the Xbox pad’s proprietary connection standard, but we only experienced noticeable dropouts and latency in incredibly busy areas.

The controller is wonderfully well built and PlayStation owners and people with small hands will appreciate the Dualshock’s slightly smaller form factor over the Xbox’s.

Build quality is excellent, with our only qualm being that the white version does have a tendency to pick up scratches and blemishes, especially if it’s dropped. Battery life is also reliable with it offering a total time of 13 hours and 11 minutes gameplay before needing a charge.

The only reason we recommend the Xbox controllers over it is that most PC games are better optimized for Xbox controllers, although you can still benefit from a streamlined experience with the DualSense.

Reviewer: Jade King
Full review: PS5 DualSense Review

FAQs

Do you need a dongle to connect a gamepad to a PC?

This depends on which controller and PC you use. To connect to a PC wirelessly both the controller and PC will need to support either Bluetooth or Xbox Wireless. If the PC doesn’t support these then you will likely need a USB dongle to connect the controller wirelessly.

Some gamepads also come bundled with proprietary 2.4GHz wireless dongles in a bid to offer better wireless performance than standard Bluetooth.

Do PC controllers work with games consoles?

This depends on the controller in question. The latest gen DualSense works with the PS5 and Xbox controllers obviously work with Xbox consoles. For third-party support from the likes of Razer, Scuf and Astro you need to check the specific controllers’ spec sheet.

Specs

You can see a breakdown of each gamepads specs in the table below.

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UK RRP

USA RRP

Manufacturer

Weight

ASIN

Release Date

First Reviewed Date

Ports

Connectivity

Switch Type

Number of Macro Keys

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