The 10 Best PS4 Controllers
This wiki has been updated 26 times since it was first published in December of 2016. Controllers are the lifeblood of the PS4 experience. Whether you need to replace a broken one or are aiming to improve your performance with an advanced model, it's worth looking into the various modded and specialized options available from aftermarket manufacturers. You'll be able to enjoy your PlayStation in the way that best suits your style with one of these choices. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
January 06, 2021:
The Wordene Modz Blue Out dropped off the list because of availability concerns, which drove the price up to where it just wasn't worth it. It was replaced by the Nacon Revolution Pro 3, which isn't exactly cheap, but offers virtually all the features of the standard Sony DualShock 4 and has the offset construction that made Xbox controllers so popular.
In fact, the Pro 3 is very similar in build quality to the Nacon Revolution Unlimited, but it's significantly more affordable. Unsurprisingly, the OEM controller is still the best bet for most players, but if you're looking for something specific, any of these options come highly recommended by actual gamers.
June 14, 2019:
The uninitiated gamer may not even realize how many controller options there are beyond Sony's DualShock 4. While it is still the all-around best choice for many people, once you start to invest your time, money, and effort into bettering your skill and having more fun, a high-end controller can only help. On the other hand, maybe you just broke your DualShock after you lost the tenth match in a row and rage-quit, or you want to assert dominance over friends and siblings, but you've only got one controller. If the latter is the case, the Lilyhood is a good choice, because it doesn't cost very much and it works just fine. Alternately, if you're trying to remind your kid brother who's boss, check out the Hori Mini, which was specifically designed with younger people in mind. The Hori Commander is a good choice if you play fighting games and you're used to doing so with your thumbs. The Qanda Drone is a decent step toward arcade-style play, but it's not ideal for competitive play, as it works well but just isn't the most precise.
Those in the market for an upgrade from the OEM controller should start by looking at the Wordene. It's built from an actual DualShock 4, but it has an advanced chipset inside that lets you affect your button-mashing with a huge list of mods. It you want professional performance out of the box, it's hard to top the Nacon, though it's meant for dedicated gamers, as it's pretty expensive. The Razer Panthera Evo is both compact and well-made for a fight stick, and should help you coax the special combos out of Ryu with minimal difficulty.
Finally, the Aim Controller simulates your character's gun when used with the PSVR system, and while it's only supported on some titles, that list is constantly growing. Then there's the Strike Pack, which isn't a controller in itself, but will turn your DualShock 4 into a modded beast, so you can get the functionality of a high-end aftermarket option without having to buy an entire new device.
AimControllers Custom AimControllers is one of a few companies that have made a name for themselves among hardcore gamers for their built-to-order modded controllers. They come in a number of visual styles with advanced features like remappable paddles and short-throw digital triggers, which can significantly increase your reaction speed and enable you to pull off combos and kills that were previously impossible. aimcontrollers.com
Scuf Playstation Known as one of the premier aftermarket controller manufacturers for all consoles, Scuf's PS4 controllers come in a variety of configurations and promise accuracy, precision, and durability. They're notably more expensive than many others, but they essentially guarantee years of gaming satisfaction. scufgaming.com
Why Bother With A Different PS4 Controller?
And if there’s anything we can say for sure about the gaming community, it’s that it’s diverse.
In the past couple of decades, it’s become less and less stigmatic to refer to yourself as a gamer. If anything, it’s become a kind of badge of honor in modern times to know your way around a console. In some arenas, it’s actually considered a sport that could earn you a handsome living. For most of us, it’s a pleasant pastime that we use to distract ourselves from the rigors of everyday life the same way we might go to the movies or put on a favorite record.
But gaming is also a social event. Few things have brought some of my closest friends and I closer together than making a run for the Stanley Cup on whatever the hottest NHL franchise game was. And games like Mortal Kombat, Super Smash Bros., and others have become gathering points and centerpieces for rambunctious and memorable parties with pals. Given how visible your controllers are liable to be in your gaming space, it makes sense to want to spruce things up a bit.
The standard controllers that come with your PS4 are fine. There’s nothing inherently wrong with them, save for the fact that they’re all the same. And if there’s anything we can say for sure about the gaming community, it’s that it’s diverse. Your controller can be an expression of who you are as a gamer, not just a means to input your commands to the game.
Using your own controller can give you a psychological advantage, as well. Having something that gives you an extra jolt of excitement when it comes time to get playing can provide personal boost, and breaking out a flashy controller and making sure the competition sees it (with their puny, stock controllers in hand), may dampen their spirits before the game even begins.
The other possible reason to get your hands on a custom controller is for some feature buttons and capabilities that stock controllers don’t offer. Some of these are merely aesthetic, but there can be real advantages here, as well. I recall that there was a third-party controller for Sega Genesis back in the 1990s that duplicated the three action buttons, but added a turbo feature that you could use to easily blow your friends out of the water.
Which PS4 Controller Is Right For You?
Whatever your eventual reasoning is behind the purchase of an additional controller, you’re going to be faced with a particular dilemma when you realize just how many of these things are out there. There’s a lot to choose from. We’ve narrowed that list down, to be sure, but even here you might find several options that speak to your sense of style or your approach to gameplay.
The first thing to contend with is the practicality of a given controller. After all, if you go purely for aesthetics, you might find one or more vital functions missing from your experience, or at least that it’ll take you an inordinate amount of time to transition from your old controller to your new one. The big divide here is between traditional PS4 controllers and more retro game pads.
If you happen to be a big proponent of a certain title or series, then using a controller that ties into that world might give you a significant psychological edge.
The traditional styles of controller will be the easiest to get used to, since the muscle memory you’ve developed in your hands will immediately work there. Less traditional layouts, like old-school arcade joysticks, for example, will take longer, as all your necessary functions have been ported to new locations.
For gamers who just want to dive in and have fun, more traditional setups are usually the way to go. If, on the other hand, you find yourself too good at a given game, and you want a challenge, a having to learn a joystick configuration might be just the handicap you need to make things more interesting.
Aesthetic considerations should take a backseat to practicality, but the odds are that you’ll see a controller you like and start there. There’s no shame it that, either. A lot of this comes down to personal preference, but there are some controllers that are thematically related to certain games, like first-person shooters, for example. If you happen to be a big proponent of a certain title or series, then using a controller that ties into that world might give you a significant psychological edge.
When all is said and done, though, you shouldn’t discount Sony. More often than not, the branded option will give you the best battery life and the most reliable connection with the least bugginess. If you’re in the market for another controller simply to expand the number of available players, or as a replacement for a controller that broke after you threw it through your television in a violent moment of nerd rage, then there’s neither shame nor folly in sticking with something simple and reliable.
A Brief History Of The Playstation
The first Playstation wasn’t originally the sole property of Sony. In fact, it was intended as a joint venture between Sony and Nintendo, and was to be called the Super Famicom. Fascinatingly, just one day after Sony unveiled a prototype at the Consumer Electronics Show in 1991, Nintendo announced that they were pulling out of the deal due to disputes over revenue sharing.
Upon its release in 1994, the Playstation immediately found success, competing on an even keel with the likes of the Sega Saturn and the Nintendo 64.
At the time, Sony didn’t have a dedicated arm for game console development, hence the partnership with Nintendo. But the company decided to forge ahead without Nintendo at their side, forming the Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. While the divorce from Nintendo set them back a bit, the company had its first official independent design, the Playstation project, greenlit in 1993.
Upon its release in 1994, the Playstation immediately found success, competing on an even keel with the likes of the Sega Saturn and the Nintendo 64. That success has followed the company into the modern era, and the Playstation is widely considered to be one of the top three gaming consoles on the market, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the likes of Microsoft’s Xbox series and the various consoles produced by Nintendo.