SCUF Instinct Pro controller
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We find the best controller for PC
While most people who game on PC will no doubt be using a keyboard and mouse, there are always a couple of games that just play better with a controller. If you haven’t yet picked up a controller for your PC and are wondering which is the best option, you’re in luck.
Today, we’ll be looking at five of the best controllers for PC you can pick up today. Each of these will have different designs, button layouts, and even some extra features along the way. It can be difficult wading through all the marketing speak while looking for a new controller which is why we’ve chosen to create this handy guide.
This guide will act as the perfect place to get started if you are looking for a new controller to use on your gaming PC. Keep reading to find out all you need to know about the best controller options currently available right now.
We’ve grabbed a couple of the well-known options out there today as well as some which are geared toward different types of gamers. One of the big choices that will determine which controller suits you best is if you are more used to a standard Xbox or PlayStation thumbstick layout – we’ve made sure to add options for both.
It doesn’t really matter what type of product you are looking for, we know it can be tricky to find the perfect option for yourself.
It often takes hours and hours of research and watching reviews, and even then it’s still a tough task to decide what you want to spend your money on. We do all this so you don’t have to, by taking the time to have an in-depth look at each of the products we recommend and even testing them ourselves if possible.
If you aren’t very tech-savvy and want to avoid purchasing the wrong thing, look no further. Whether or not this controller is for yourself or even a gift for a loved one, reading this guide will help you make the right choice.
We look at the best options out there and go through them individually. We make sure to choose a wide variety that is suitable for different gamers and different budgets.
To help us choose a list of products to recommend to our users we have to do some thorough research and testing beforehand. It wouldn’t be right of us to go about recommending any old product for the sake of it.
We look at a number of things to make sure that these products can live up to the title of being the ‘best’ in their area. In the case of controllers, some of the things we look at include the cost of the controller, the build quality, the styling, and any great gaming features.
This allows us to have the peace of mind that the guides are both accurate and informative. This, in turn, allows you to come to a decision on which purchase is right for you so you can walk away with some great value for your money.
Some of these controllers cost upwards of $200. This means that it’s a significant investment, and with any big purchase like a new gaming headset, keyboard, or mouse, you should spare a few minutes to think about what you need and what you don’t. Let’s have a look at some of these variables below.
For most of us, we don’t have a bottomless wallet we can use to make our purchases. So, this makes it especially important to think carefully when setting a budget for your controller.
It’s a good idea to have a list of essential features you want your controller to have and then start shopping from there. Then, anything extra will simply be a nice bonus and you can weigh up if the addition of a custom faceplate is worth the extra money.
Although you can pick up some of these controllers for a standard price of $40-50, if you start to move into the region of specialized controllers with additional buttons and flashy designs, you can expect to pay a premium.
If you want a controller with a couple of extra features such as customizable paddles or unique designs, you will be looking in the range of $120-180 for the privilege.
Another important thing to consider is how hard these controllers are to set up. While some controllers such as the Xbox One controller will simply work out of the box, you may have to do a bit of tinkering when it comes to more specialized controllers.
This can involve installing additional software and even changing settings and key binds manually. If you are purchasing this controller for somebody who isn’t very tech-savvy, this might be something you want to be aware of.
Even though features like these are a major selling point of these controllers, you’ll have to decide if you want the extra layer of setup before you play a game for the first time.
Each of these controllers will have a very different feel to them. You’ll want to consider which is the best type of controller for you before you make your purchase. If you are used to playing on Xbox, you might want one with a similar thumbstick layout – the same goes if you are used to playing on PlayStation.
Some of these controllers will be different shapes, and weights and even have extra buttons. You’ll want to keep in mind how heavy and easy to hold these controllers are if you know you’ll be playing for long periods of time.
You’ll also be able to find controllers that have different designs and faceplates. While these will add nothing to the process of using the controller, they will surely make them stand out!
While some of these controllers will feel like a 1:1 replacement for the controller you are used to using on your console, some of these options will have extra buttons, triggers, and programmable paddles that you can customize. This is something that you’ll seriously want to look into if you’re going to be primarily gaming on PC as you’ll likely need to map additional buttons.
You’ll also want to make sure that the software these controllers come with is easy to use and can achieve what you want. If you want to completely remap your controller’s buttons and triggers for a number of different games you own, it’s worth checking out if this is possible to avoid disappointment.
Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PC
Standard Xbox layout +4 programmable paddles
Bluetooth, USB Type-C
USB-C, extension port, 3.5mm stereo headset jack
Up to 12m/45 feet
The SCUF Instinct Pro controller tops our list for a few reasons. Of course, it has the bog-standard paddles, great battery life, and grippy texture on the grips, but that’s only half the story.
Our favorite feature of the SCUF controller is the magnetic removable faceplate and included thumbstick of varying lengths. THese combine to allow rapid switching up of the configuration. This means you can avoid excessive downtime as you optimize the controller for alternative playstyles or different games altogether.
But the best actual performance benefit comes from the triggers. They have two distinct modes of operation, so you can change their characteristics on the fly to better optimize them for different games. Mode one is the regular old full-travel Xbox trigger feeling we all know and love. Mode two significantly reduces the travel distance, making them click like a mouse. This can be a huge benefit for FPS games as you don’t have to wait for the triggers to return back to the original position before actuating them again for nearly as long.
If you haven’t tried this sort of trigger, and want to improve your performance in-game, we highly recommend it, and this is one of the reasons the SCUF INstinct Pro tops our list as the best controller for PC.
Read our hands-on with the SCUF Instinct Pro Wireless performance controller as we get into more detail there.
Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PC
Standard Xbox layout +4 programmable paddle
Xbox Wireless, USB Type-C, 3.5mm stereo headset jack
First on our list is possibly our favorite gaming controller for PC. Offering almost an endless level of customizability, the Xbox Elite Wireless controller allows you to change bindings, the D-pads, and even paddles on the fly. You’ll also be able to set the tension on your thumbstick as well as change them out if you don’t like the style.
This is a very well-built controller too and you’d hope so considering its price! Retailing at around $180, you’ll want this controller to last you for many years to come. We don’t think there’s any danger of that not happening though. To help keep it safe you’ll receive a carrying case which is perfect if you’ll be bringing this controller with you on your travels. This also houses the set of four paddles, two D-pads, and six thumbsticks, as well as a tool to adjust them. The case also acts as a charging dock with its very own USB-C cable.
The rugged black and grey design may not be as eye-catching as some of the other controllers on the list but we love the simplicity of it, especially when paired with the ‘faceted D-pad’.
This controller can be used both wirelessly and wired if needed. With a battery that lasts around 40 hours, you won’t find yourself searching for the charger that often.
Up to 11 hours dependant on lighting
While this doesn’t look like the most comfortable controller you could hold, it does look the most durable. Weighing in at a hefty 352 grams, this is likely to do more damage to the floor you drop it on than the controller itself. The blocky design may turn a lot of gamers away from this controller but it looks like Razer has tried to improve the design a little bit with the integrated Chroma lighting.
Aimed toward the esports market, the Razer Raiju has a set of traditional DualShock style thumbsticks as well as a set of paddles on the back. You’ll be able to change out the thumbsticks, D-pad, and quick control panel to make this controller as comfortable for you as possible. There are also four multi-functional buttons on the controller that can be programmed to do whatever you want.
If you want a controller that simply feels great to use every time you pick it up, it will be hard to go back to using a standard controller after gaming with the Razer Raiju Ultimate. The buttons are tactile and clicky and feel like they could last forever. The settings row on the bottom of the controller has also had a bit of a redesign turning them into a great feature that you’ll find yourself using more than you’d think.
You can use the profile button to switch your keymaps in real-time, a button to control the Chroma lighting, and there’s even a lock button that disables a large section of inputs to stop you from pressing the wrong thing during the heat of the action
Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PC
Standard Xbox layout +3 programmable paddles
Micro USB, 3.5mm stereo headset jack
We had to include the PowerA controller here for its reasonable price and fantastic visual design. No, it isn’t wireless and has no paddles or switchable trigger response, but it significantly undercuts the price of every other controller on this page by such a considerable margin.
This makes it far and away from the best value-for-money proposition on this list, so if you need a solid, reliable, and utilitarian controller right away, this is your best bet.
This is of course in addition to the absolutely gorgeous coloring of this thing. With the pastel colors smoothly fading from one to another across the faceplate, and a clean, white color on the underside, this is the prettiest controller we’ve seen here at WePC. In fact, it’s now got a permanent home on one of our videographer’s desks for those lunch-break gaming sessions.
Read our full PowerA Pink Lemonade enhanced Xbox controller review for more details.
Up to 15 hours (Depending on haptics)
We had to include a controller with a layout familiar to those of you who prefer the PlayStation controller layout, so we thought we’d go with the OG Sony DualSense Controller. Not only is it the most ergonomically-designed official controller Sony has produced, but it’s hiding some fun tricks up its two-tone sleeve.
First of which are the game-changing haptics. You get the normal vibrating motors, that have been improved since the PS4’s controller of course, but you also get something entirely new that hadn’t been done on a large scale until the release of the PS5: Haptic triggers.
These are an ingenious way of increasing immersion as the gamer you’re playing, and even the actions you’re performing in said game can inform the feeling of the triggers. This is due to Sony’s implementation of a voice-coil style actuator. This can dynamically change the resistance of the triggers, making them harder or easier to pull as the game sees fit.
Unfortunately, this isn’t supported as extensively on PC as it is on the PS5. But this list of games that support this great feature continues to grow, so it’s worth grabbing one of these as your favorite PC game could be next.
Eager for more peripheral pages? We’ve got you covered, fam. Have a look below.
That finishes up our list of the best controllers for PC today. We hope this guide helped you make up your mind if you were looking for a new controller and eased a bit of the stress of having to make comparisons.
We know our users are busy people, that’s why we’ve made sure to include this short roundup section that will help give you an idea of where each of these controllers excels. If you want more information on any of these, simply scroll up to the relevant review.
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