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Best Game Controllers 2024: Hit the next level with these tested picks

Looking to take your gaming experience to the next level? Well, having the best game controller to suit your needs is going to be integral so you be comfortable and perform well.

The problem is, there are a lot of controllers out there, and finding which one will be best for you is a little fiddly. Well, to help you out, our team of experts has tested a vast range of controllers from across different platforms and price ranges and assembled this list of the very best.

We’ve taken into account their key features – the way they look, feel and perform are vital, as well as compatibility if they can be used with more than one platform, and used them as our main controllers for at least a week to get some real-world results.

If you can’t find a controller you like at the moment, then it’s worth bookmarking this page as we’ll be updating it frequently as more excellent candidates make their way into the Trusted Labs. While these controllers can be used with either a console or PC, if you want a more traditional experience with the latter, then opting for the best gaming mouse and best gaming keyboard may be a better bet.

Best games controller at a glance

How we test

Learn more about how we test games controllers

We use every controller we test for at least a week. During that time, we’ll check it for ease of use and put it through its paces by playing a variety of different genres and on whichever platforms the controllers are stated to work on.

If there’s any additional software, we’ll also be sure to test its functions and ease of use. We”ll also test out the controller’s battery life if it’s a wireless option.

Xbox Elite Controller 2

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


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

For the Xbox and PC fans in the audience, the Xbox Elite Controller 2 is a great choice.

Its design picks up where the original Elite Controller left off, with a handful of changes involving small alterations to the controller’s colour scheme, attachments, and button layout. For instance, the strip of plastic nearest the home button is now consistently black as opposed to being a blend of black and silver, while the button layout has been changed ever so slightly so there’s just one profile switch to allow you to flick between different options. As for the attachments, the Elite Controller 2 offers six thumbsticks which now omit the pair of tall options and instead provide just one. What’s more, there’s only a pair of D-Pads to pick from, and the paddles on offer add even more functionality and inputs if you need them.

The Elite Controller 2 also comes with triggers that feature adjustable actuation points, like some properly premium gaming keyboards, to allow you to adjust the point at which an input is recognised and therefore decrease/increase the distance needed before it’s inputted. For FPS games where speed is everything, you’ll be able to fire faster with a shorter travel distance. We also found charging the controller to be a breeze, mainly thanks to the option to use the bundled charging dock the Elite 2 comes with, which also enables you to leave it in the case while it recuperates. The fact there’s also 40 hours of battery life is also simply stunning.

During testing, the Elite Controller 2 proved excellent in virtually every scenario, whether we were playing Forza Horizon 4 or Halo: The Master Chief Collection. Especially in the former, the controller’s revamped vibration motors shined with a level of feedback we hadn’t previously experienced in a controller. Every input felt sharp and precise, while the rubberised grip on the back of the controller also meant it was especially comfortable during extended play sessions. Its Bluetooth connectivity also allowed for more flexibility, given that it meant we could use the Elite 2 with not only Xbox and PC, but also phones and tablets, too – handy if you want to use this controller with Xbox Cloud Gaming on the go.

Reviewer: Jade King
Full review: Xbox Elite Controller 2

DualSense Edge

Best PS5 controller
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  • More personalisation options than ever
  • Replaceable stick modules
  • Function buttons on the front and rear
  • Comes with a sturdy carrying case


  • Extremely expensive
  • Poor battery compared to the DualSense

The DualSense Edge is a fantastic controller developed for the PS5 that also works with PC, and is the most customisable controller Sony has ever released.

It looks almost identical to the vanilla DualSense, only a tad heavier and with a slightly edgier aesthetic (pun intended). Our reviewer really liked the PS branding on the touchpad and the sleek plastic used around the analogue sticks, as it gives the controller a more premium look compared to its matte sibling. The trigger buttons are rubberised for a more precise grip and come with three options in terms of sensitivity, with the short-range option being best for FPS gameplay and the long-range option being better suited for gradual movements, like braking in Gran Turismo 7.

The DualSense Edge is extremely customisable; users have the chance to remap every single button on the controller, aside from the centre-stage PS button. This amount of personalisation means that the possibilities are almost endless, since you can also create four specific profiles that can be accessed by simply clicking the new function button at the bottom of the controller. We thought that these profiles were best used for specific gaming genres, such as FPS, open-world and racing games. Sony included an extra profiles page too, meaning that you can create as many of these set-ups as you want and store them until you need them most.

The Edge features the same haptic feedback as the standard DualSense, and we found that it was equally as responsive. We could feel the Leviathan Axe leave Kratos’ hands in God of War Ragnarök and the purrs of our cat protagonist in Stray, with our reviewer claiming that this feature helps to add a whole new level of immersion to every supported game. The two new back buttons can be equipped with either a dome or lever-style button and allow for precise and accurate control, ideal for games like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.

The main downside of the DualSense Edge is that its battery is not as expansive as the DualSense, with Sony claiming that all the new features drain its power much quicker. We managed to game for five hours on the PS5 and PC before it died. Thankfully, this issue is somewhat alleviated with the new braided USB-C charging cable, which was more than long enough to accommodate our setup. The new charging lock adaptor also means that there is no possibility of the charger disconnecting during more intensive gaming sessions, which we found massively handy.

While the price of the DualSense Edge may be too high for some, at £209.99/$199.99, it is a must-have for any professional gamers out there. The levels of customisation are unmatched and the new back buttons mean that you can create any number of set-ups that work for you.

Reviewer: Gemma Ryles
Full Review: DualSense Edge

Nacon Pro Compact Controller

Best budget controller
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  • Compact design
  • Decent build quality
  • Software customisation is cool


  • Lack of rubberised support
  • Shorter shoulder buttons

The Nacon Pro Compact Controller is our top pick for the best budget games controller.

At 203g, it is noticeably lighter than the standard Xbox Series X controller and this results in a controller that feels quite narrow in hand, at least in our view. It comes dressed with a black hard plastic construction, like other more affordable controllers, but with a textured back, this aids in making the Pro Compact a decently comfortable option. As this is a smaller controller, some of inputs feel a little more compact compared to the standard Xbox Series controller from Microsoft, such as the dinkier D-Pad, as well as smaller triggers and shoulder buttons.

Even if they were smaller, we felt their button presses felt satisfying with decent tactility. This is a wired controller, and its super-long 3-metre USB-A-ended cable will be particularly handy if you’re a fair distance away from your Xbox.

In testing, the Pro Compact felt good to use, with responsive buttons and triggers that, once you get used to them, don’t feel small. Its vibration is plentiful and responsive, although in our experience offered a load of volume to go with it, which felt a little jarring at first. To go with the responsive and satisfying inputs, the Pro Compact is also programmable with Nacon’s own software. Here you can remap buttons and change the trajectory and sensitivity of analogue sticks to suit which genre or game you’re playing. In testing, this particular function proved to be more than a marketing gimmick, offering a markedly different experience whether you’re indulging in a racing game or FPS title. The trigger inputs can also be adjusted so there can be a shorter degree of travel before input is registered – this is a feature usually present on more premium controllers, which just highlights how much bang for the buck the Pro Compact provides.

Reviewer: Reece Bithrey
Full review: Nacon Pro Compact Controller

Thrustmaster eSwap XR Pro

Best racing games controller
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  • Solid build quality
  • Wheel attachment offers precision
  • Excellent tactility


  • Expensive
  • Wired connection is a bit cumbersome

Racing fans will want to take note of the Thrustmaster eSwap XR Pro controller, which comes with a dedicated wheel attachment for racing games. The wheel module is designed for more precise car movement, potentially offering the benefit of quicker lap times for those who perfect it. We felt that it did exactly what it said on the tin, providing our reviewer with more accurate steering in Forza Horizon 5, allowing them to tackle acute corners without concern. 

Much like other pro controllers on this list, the eSwap XR Pro comes with swappable thumbsticks and D-Pad choices. Thrustmaster opted for a hot-swappable system where can you swap out and drop in new modules at will. These modules are held together with strong magnets, so you won’t have to worry about them going anywhere unless you intentionally seek to remove them. 

Beyond the swappable mechanics, the eSwap XR Pro comes with lockable triggers, a selection of remappable rear buttons as well as some tactile main ABXY buttons. These switches are all mechanical, with a similar feeling to the right and left buttons on a mouse, giving them a snappy and slick actuation. 

The eSwap XR Pro is wired, coming bundled with a three-metre-long braided cable. It can be hooked up to an Xbox or PC thanks to the USB-A connector, giving the controller a lot of versatility. 

Overall, this pro-grade controller may not be for everyone, but it’s the perfect pick for any racing game enthusiast. If you’re a part of the wider player base, then the Xbox Elite Series 2 and Scuf Instinct Pro may be the best option for you, but there is no mistaking the Thrustmaster eSwap XR as anything other than one of the best racing game controllers out there. 

Reviewer: Reece Bithrey
Full Review: Thrustmaster eSwap XR Pro

Nintendo Switch Pro Controller

Best Switch controller
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  • Great for twitch movements
  • Makes portable gaming feel like console gaming
  • Excellent D-Pad


  • Connectivity issues
  • Dated trigger buttons

Don’t worry Nintendo Switch fans, we haven’t forgotten about you – the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller is just for you.

It offers a more conventional controller as opposed to the rectangular Joy Cons that come with the Switch itself, and borrows some aspects of its design from the comfortable Xbox One Controller. There’s the same stick placement, which provides a degree of familiarity. However, when you pick the Pro Controller up, there are some notable differences. For instance, the triggers are the same size as the normal Joy Cons, and don’t offer much in the way of tactility. On a more positive note, the analogue sticks offered smooth rotation while the action buttons have a satisfying feel to them, and the return of a proper D-Pad on a Nintendo controller brought with it plenty of nostalgia.

During testing, the Pro Controller offered a user experience that takes things up a gear compared to the standard Joy Cons. Our inputs felt a lot more precise and sharp, whether that be for drifting in Mario Kart or for better aiming in Splatoon. It’s worth noting at this juncture though the gains were less apparent in games that were designed to work especially well with Joy Cons such as ARMS. The vibrations offer decent feedback that sits between the HD rumble of the Joy Cons and the now antiquated feel of older controllers. With all this in mind though, our user experience was marred by persistent connectivity issues that came and went as they pleased, causing functions such as the controller’s vibrate function to not work as they should. A simple restart of the Switch solved the issue, but it’s just a pain that such issues were present anyway.

Reviewer: Thomas Deehan
Full review: Nintendo Switch Pro Controller

Scuf Instinct Pro Controller

Best customisable controller
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  • Incredibly comfortable
  • Highly customisable
  • Sturdy build quality
  • Fun to use


  • Expensive
  • Heavier than a normal controller

If it’s extensive customisation you want from a controller, the Scuf Instinct Pro Controller should be right up your alley.

We found it to offer the complete package when it comes to design, providing a generally comfortable experience, especially thanks to the rubberised back that felt great to hold. The real appeal of the Instinct Pro centres around how customisable it is, and it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to suggest that you can make it totally unique. Our sample was customised in a fetching purple and orange combination with a customised faceplate and orange buttons to match. You get a myriad of different features to customise, with regard to the faceplate, buttons, triggers, and thumbsticks. Having such a vast set of customisation aids in making the controller feel personable and unique, which not only makes it look good, but also makes it feel like it’s your own.

During testing, the Instinct Pro offered a fantastic experience overall, with a familiar button layout, responsive triggers and paddles and some especially strong vibrations with the rumbles inside.

The paddles unlock all manner of customisation and can be set to have up to 16 functions at the same time. In racing games for instance, they can be remapped to work as a paddle shift, which proved especially responsive. It’s with extra functionality like this where the Instinct Pro wins against a standard controller.

To go with its extensive button functionality, the Instinct Pro also offers two means of connectivity – Xbox Wireless and Bluetooth. Both of these felt responsive with no noticeable latency between my Xbox and the Instinct Pro. In addition, we also found the battery life here to be pretty good. While it isn’t able to match the 40 hours outputted by the Xbox Elite 2, the Instinct Pro still provides great endurance – it’s 30 hours in total – which should be enough to last for a few days’ worth of gaming.

Reviewer: Reece Bithrey
Full review: Scuf Instinct Pro Controller

Backbone One (2023)

Best mobile controller
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  • Excellent mobile gaming controls
  • Improved and updated hardware compatibility
  • Excellent all-encompassing UI


  • Still expensive
  • Can be fiddly to fit your phone
  • Not very different from the original

When it comes to replicating the console experience on your smartphone, the conversation starts and ends with the Backbone One (2023). While there are other options that made their way into our round-up for the best mobile controllers, the latest Backbone still comes out on top.

The brilliance of the Backbone One is in just how easy it makes the transition to mobile gaming for those who are used to consoles. The controller itself feels great in the hand as the face buttons and joysticks offer instant and satisfying feedback, and one you plug it into your phone, you’re pretty much ready to go.

Whether you’re looking to play an on-device title like Call of Duty Mobile, stream Xbox hits via Game Pass or even use your PS5’s Remote Play feature, the Backbone One can do it all. There’s even a dedicated 3.5mm headphone jack for those who prefer to have lossless wired audio whilst gaming, alongside a USB-C in port to keep your phone topped up during your sessions.

Previous iterations of the Backbone One have supported either Android or iPhone but this newer model supports all USB-C compatible phones including the iPhone 15 range, so if you have multiple people in your household who also enjoy a spot of mobile gaming, you can easily swap the controller from one phone to another.

As a final cherry on top, the orange ‘Backbone’ button on the pad takes you straight into the Backbone app which, much like a streaming UI like Fire TV, collates all of your compatible services into one place which is handy for getting straight back into the action.

As easy as it is to recommend the Backbone One, there’s no denying that for some budgets, the controller is priced a little too high. With an RRP of £99.99/$99.99, it’s no small investment, and with cheaper options available, the Backbone One is best saved for those who know they’ll get plenty of use out of it.

Reviewer: Jon Mundy
Full review: Backbone One (2023) review


Which joystick is better for PC?

In our view, the best games controller for PC is the Xbox Wireless Controller given how easy it is to connect to PC (as well as Xbox too), as well as how comfortable it is to use and with decent battery life.

Which controller has the best design?

This is arguably down to personal preference. For instance, the PS5 offers a sleek design with its two tone white and black frame, but if you’re used to an Xbox or Switch controller, you may well find that more comfortable.

Is a controller or keyboard better?

If you’re a hardened PC gamer, then you may well find that a keyboard suits you better than a controller. However, for true precision, a controller’s analogue stick and triggers may be better, but this is all down to personal preference.

Comparison specs

Size (Dimensions)
Release Date
First Reviewed Date
Switch Type
Number of Macro Keys
Cable Length

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