Best PC Gamepad
While many people prefer to use a mouse and keyboard when playing a wide range of PC games, there are certain titles that just lend themselves to using a gamepad instead. Most gamers swear by a mouse and keyboard for optimal precision in a first-person shooter, but for fighting games and platformers a gamepad can be easier to use and far more intuitive. Most gamepads can work with gaming consoles, but PC support is going to be the primary focus on this list.
These PC gamepads are easy to use and great for a wide range of PC games thanks to their inclusion of least one thumb stick, a D-pad, and eight or more buttons. This has become a pretty standard setup that aligns with the controllers found on current-generation gaming consoles. All of these controllers feature programmable mapping options that let you set up your preferred controls, though you typically need to install software or a utility to do so. Lastly, these picks have great secondary features which give you a more immersive gameplay experience like vibration and feedback.
Razer Wildcat Gaming Controller for Xbox One
Xbox One Elite Wireless Controller
Logitech F710 Wireless Gamepad
Thrustmaster VG Thrustmaster SCORE-A Wireless Gamepad
Razer is well known for its gaming mice, but this Xbox One compatible controller offers you another great option for PC gaming. It has the standard four face buttons, two thumbsticks, and a D-pad. You also get a bumper and trigger on each shoulder which is similar to the basic design of most current generation controllers. It includes four additional buttons at the bottom offering audio controls include volume adjustments and a mute button.
The real highlight of this controller is a pair of removable triggers which can be placed on its backside. These can be set with optional trigger stops for rapid fire use and there’s two more buttons above them for additional controls or to switch the other buttons between pre-mapped functions. This is a wired model although the cable is detachable and has a quick-release function to prevent tripping or other entanglement issues. While Razer might have designed this to work on the Xbox One gaming console, in the process they made an incredible PC gamepad that offers a great gameplay experience.
Although this is designed as an official Xbox One controller, it works perfectly as a PC gamepad and is one of the best controllers on the market. Offering incredible controls and customization, it includes two sensitive analog sticks which can be clicked down to be pressed as buttons, along with a D-pad and four face buttons. Two shoulder buttons and two triggers are standard, and it includes vibrate functionality for game feedback.
Where this model really shines is in terms of its customization options. It includes four paddles that can be attached to the backside of the controller for additional inputs, different styles of thumbsticks you can choose from, and two different D-pads that you can swap out. It has a USB cable you can use to connect it to your PC, but it will require a wireless adapter to utilize its wireless capabilities. If you prefer paddle inputs to trigger buttons, then this might be a better choice for you than the Razer Wildcat, but ultimately the two controllers are equally impressive.
If you're looking for a controller designed to work with a PC, but with a console aesthetic, then this a great choice. It is clearly inspired and influenced by various console controllers, but has a look and feel all its own. Two analog sticks ensure great control, with four primary face buttons you can easily map within different games, plus it has dual vibration for immersive gameplay. The D-pad on this model is especially nice because it has four individual switches rather than a single switch sensitive to four directions.
This controller offers additional buttons for menu controls and one that lets you turn vibration on and off on the controller. Two shoulder buttons and two triggers round out a full set of buttons, which makes this comparable to any console controller on the market. The wireless design is excellent and includes a USB receiver although Logitech also offers a wired version called the F310 if you prefer a physical connection while gaming. The layout of the thumbsticks on this gamepad is similar to a Playstation controller, making this a great option if you’re used to a Playstation console.
There is a lot to like about the Steam Controller as a PC gamepad, but the real selling point of this controller is the two trackpads, one located on each side of the controller’s face. The left trackpad can emulate the input and functionality of a D-pad, but both of them work together to create an experience similar to using a mouse for precise input and controls. These pads can take some getting used to for a new player, but ultimately offer excellent control and functionality. The triggers on the shoulders are dual-stage, offering two levels of input for various functions, and the entire controller has gyroscopic and accelerometer sensors, which offer motion controls and tilt sensitivity.
Granted, this controller is great overall but it does suffer from a few issues often found in first-generation controllers. Unlike most other gamepads, this one only has a single thumbstick, which works well but presents some challenges to anyone used to console controllers with two sticks. It’s also a bit large and can be uncomfortable to use, especially for people with small hands. However, since this is a first-generation model, it may become more streamlined and easier to use with future iterations.
There are a lot of great features with this gamepad, but they’re not ideal for every situation. This one is compatible with both PC and Android games, so it’s a great option to use for playing games on a tablet or similar system. It uses Bluetooth wireless technology but no receiver is included with this gamepad. However, if you plan on using a controller with a computer or other device(s) with Bluetooth connectivity, you should be good to go.
The ergonomic design is comfortable to hold for those long gaming sessions and it offers a solid number of buttons, a D-pad, and two thumb sticks. There are also presets for button mapping so you can easily play a wide range of both PC and Android games. This model lacks any kind of physical customization, with no triggers or bumpers that can be attached or removed, but is otherwise a solid choice for gamers.