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Best PC Game Controller 2024: Great keyboard and mouse alternatives

Some gamers may cry sacrilege at the idea of a PC controller but, for those who love a bit of gaming while laid back on the sofa, it’s essential. Here are the best you can get right now.

There is a wide range of controllers available to PC gamers from simple, portable models to elaborate peripherals made for those who play at a professional level.

To find the very best options on the market, the team here at Trusted Reviews has tested a handful of controllers around today. The very best have made it onto this list, earning their place for build quality, connectivity, usability, comfort and any intriguing additional features onboard.

The large selection of gamer controllers on the market means that there’s plenty of room for mishaps and excellence. Those who have used both types will know that these peripherals can make a huge difference when it comes down to getting those last few wins as a game runs down to the wire.

You may fancy a PC gaming controller for certain occasions but, if you still like the idea of keeping a great keyboard and mouse combo around, we’ve tested a range of those too. Check out the Best Gaming Keyboard and Best Gaming Mouse after you’ve found your ideal PC controller.

Best PC game controllers at a glance

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 customisable they are and how easy their custom controls are to programme. 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
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Pros

  • 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

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 gamepad, 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 an 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 the 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
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Pros

  • Incredibly comfortable
  • Highly customisable
  • 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 option 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 welcomed by people who favour 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 gamepads 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

DualSense Edge

The best option if you already have a PS5
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Pros

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

Cons

  • Extremely expensive
  • Poor battery compared to the DualSense

If you can look past its comparatively high price point, the DualSense Edge is an excellent buy for any hardcore gamers who regularly jump between a PS5 and a PC.

Feeling a tad like Sony’s answer to the Xbox Elite controller, the DualSense Edge offers a ton of customisation to match a person’s preferred playstyle, but it’s built upon the incredible foundations set out by the standard DualSense controller.

On top of the DualSense’s outstanding haptic feedback, which offers a far more comprehensive level of vibration that better mimics the action and more subtle moments happening onscreen, the Edge has ports for swappable buttons on the back. These rear-facing buttons can be customised to correspond with whichever action you please, such as quick weapon swapping.

It’s also possible to detach the analogue sticks from the controller and swap them out with more rounded variants, the likes of which hark back to the classic PS2 controller.

The DualSense Edge also comes with a travel case and a long USB-A to USB-C cable which makes it easy to charge on the go and to take it with you from one location to another. When taking the action to the PS5, you can even set dead zones to make your aiming more precise – a true game-changer for first-person shooters.

The only issue with the DualSense Edge, given its price point, is that it can only really be recommended to gamers who plan on making the most of all the features it has to offer. Casual gamers will get on just fine with the standard DualSense controller, particularly as you can buy several of them for the same price as the Edge.

Reviewer: Gemma Ryles
Full review: DualSense Edge Review

Thrustmaster eSwap X 2 Pro

Best modular PC controller
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Pros

  • Comfortable to hold
  • Modular customisation is quick and easy
  • Plug and play

Cons

  • Wired connectivity feels dated
  • Not as supportive as other controllers

If there’s anyone out there looking to recreate the flexibility that a keyboard and mouse can offer but in controller form then the Thrustmaster eSwap X 2 Pro is your best bet. Compared to the other options featured on this list, the X 2 Pro has customisation at the centre of its design.

For starters, the X 2 Pro offers gamers the ability to swap out and swap in thumbsticks and D-Pads where they see fit. For instance, using the controller’s magnetic system you can simply take out the D-Pad and swap it with the left thumbstick, creating a layout that feels far more akin to what you’ll find on a PS5 DualSense controller.

While you have a few options to work with in the box, you can purchase additional mods with different designs that can add some unique flair to your controller, making it more your own in the process.

There are also a handful of remappable back buttons which certainly come in handy for fast paced action games like God of War, where you need to swap between different weapons quickly without contorting your hands into an uncomfortable shape.

As a final cherry on top, you can even lock the actuation of the triggers, giving you the chance to dish out some damage quickly without needing to press down all the way. This can change the tide of events in first-person shooters, with our reviewer noting that it made a big difference when playing Call of Duty.

For all its modular prowess however, there is one area where the eSwap X 2 Pro feels incredibly dated and that’s in its insistence on using a wired connection. Much like previous offerings in the eSwap series, there are no wireless capabilities to be found on the X 2 Pro, and while the plug-in-and-play nature of it all does allow you to get set up quickly, it should have been an option and not the default, particularly given that there are tons of wireless controllers that are far cheaper.

Reviewer: Reece Bithrey
Full review: Thrustmaster eSwap X 2 Pro Review

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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 gamepad’s specs in the table below.

UK RRP
USA RRP
EU RRP
CA RRP
AUD RRP
Manufacturer
Size (Dimensions)
Weight
ASIN
Release Date
First Reviewed Date
Ports
Connectivity
Switch Type
Number of Macro Keys
Cable Length
Platforms

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