Comfortable gaming controllers are a must-have. We can whittle away hours at our PCs and consoles shooting pixels or crashing cars with zero consequence, as a comfortable controller will stop your hands from cramping up and keep you gaming way into the night.
Many players will prefer the minimalism of a controller, appreciating its ergonomic layout and simplicity. You may also be limited on space for a wheel and set of pedals or just want something which offers you more versatility as a controller, if you play a variety of games.
As the industry progresses, this minimalism doesn’t have to mean featureless. Many controllers offer custom button mapping, tension and sensitivity government, and even modular triggers and levers. Also, thanks to its inclusion in console gaming, there are many controller options available with gyroscopic control, allowing precise and “twitchy” gameplay.
Controllers also open gaming to those with a disability who may not be able to use a pedal and steering wheel layout. Companies are seeing further options here and adaptive controllers are also readily available and configurable to an individual’s needs.
Whatever your reason for wanting to game with a controller, we’ve rounded up the best to enable you to enjoy your gaming experience to the maximum.
The Best Gaming Controllers
You were lucky enough for someone to pick your name out of a hat and get yourself a PS5, huh? Luck you. Guess you’ll need something to control it with then? Lucky for you the DualSense controllers aren’t as difficult to get your hands on as a PS5.
The DualSense looks slick and futuristic and comes packed with features you can’t find anywhere else. These new features include a three-dimensional rumble (great for feeling the build-up of understeer and going over rumble strips). This gives you haptic feedback in a variety of places on the controller based on what’s going on in your game. The same goes for the custom-tensioned trigger buttons. Games can alter how hard it is to pull the triggers, how it feels, and the feedback the controller gives you.
Though a controller comes included with the PS5, an additional DualSense will have you gaming with friends, or with a controller in reserve for when the admittedly short battery drains down.
From inception to now, the Xbox controller has been kept fairly the same on the outside. It’s comfortable, robust and - one thing you’ll love to hear - affordable. The D-pad, triggers and button layout are familiar to almost all gamers, and the offset analogue sticks are well-placed for comfort. The controller can be connected to the PC via a wired or wireless connection, and will also accept a stereo headset via the onboard 3.5mm audio jack.
For those looking to maximise the controller's potential, you'll be glad to hear that it will also work with Microsoft's xCloud service on smartphones.
Building on the strong foundation laid by the Xbox Wireless Controller, the Xbox Elite introduces several exciting and impressive features. Physically, the controller benefits from additional and customisable rear paddle triggers, trigger locks, adjustable-tension thumbsticks, and the choice between traditional and faceted D-pad controls.
In terms of software, fine-tuning and two onboard customised profiles are available, allowing controls to be mapped to suit personal preference. If money is of no consideration, the Elite is certainly the very best gaming controller available for Xbox and PC.
The Adaptive Controller (which really requires the adaptive Logitech add-on below) is an amazing bit of kit. It opens up gaming to those with disabilities access to the best gaming on both Xbox and PC alike.
The controller allows the user to arrange external triggers and controllers, which are sold separately, to best suit their individual preferences and requirements. The controller can also be remapped to create multiple controller profiles.
The Logitech Adaptive Gaming Kit provides the external triggers and controller buttons needed to fully access the capability of Microsoft's Xbox Adaptive Controller. Logitech's kit is comprehensive, offering 12 buttons and triggers, including light touch buttons, variable triggers, and small and large buttons.
The kit also comes with two hook-and-loop gaming boards to keep peripherals locked in place once arranged.
Not exactly the most stylish of controls, the Logitech's F710 controller is packed with features. The form of the controller is very comfortable, and the analogue sticks are well gripped. The dual vibration motors provide good feedback, and the d-pad is one of the best we've seen, featuring four individual switches under each button for great responsiveness.
Wireless connection is accomplished via the provided 2.4GHz nano-receiver, which plugs straight into a free USB port. It works well with Steam’s Big Picture interface and working well with Steam is good for us as we can navigate to certain racing games and makes it easier to access games such as rFactor and iRacing.
For verdicts, scoops, news and analysis from the team , delivered direct to your inbox, subscribe to the CAR newsletter