Are you thinking of picking up a PS4 or replacing your old PS4 with a 4K-ready PS4 Pro? Don’t forget to pick up an extra controller or two for those couch co-op and local multiplayer experiences the platform has to offer.
We’ve found six of the best PS4 controllers for a variety of budgets and play styles. Whether you need something eSports-ready, a budget pad you can throw in a drawer, or something a little bit different to give your fingers a workout, you’ll find it here.
Sony only make one official PlayStation 4 controller, and this is it. The DualShock 4 is by no means cheap, but it still falls well below what some manufacturers are charging for their “professional” pads. Since all PS4 owners get a DualShock 4 with their console, you should already know what to expect from this well-made controller.
This is the revised DualShock 4, which was introduced at around the same time as the PS4 Pro and PS4 Slim. It features slightly more resilient thumb pads and the ability to see the DualShock LED through the front of the touch pad.
Sony’s official controller is available in a range of colors, including magma red (pictured above), camouflage blue and green, a Gran Turismo branded silver, and the original jet black to match your console. Sony’s DualShock 4 is battery powered, and includes a small charge cable in the box.
Like most of the pads features here, you can use the DualShock 4 as a PC or Mac controller too.
2. Razer Raiju
At the top-end of the spectrum is the Razer Raiju, one of a handful of officially licensed PlayStation 4 controllers. Being officially licensed, it’s unlikely to run into any issues from future firmware updates should Sony decide to make changes to the PS4’s operating system.
The Razer Raiju is an ergonomically designed wired controller built with eSports in mind. It features four additional programmable buttons—two bumpers near R2 and L2, and two removable triggers on the underside of the controller.
You can map any of these to a face button or direction, which is handy for melee attacks that force you to adjust your grip when clicking in R3. The directional pad is made up of four separate buttons, which will please some players, but be warned: it’s not ideal for fighting games.
The pad is much larger than a standard DualShock 4, which means it might be better suited to those with larger hands. The face also includes volume controls, a microphone mute button, and a button to switch between controller profiles. Finally, Razer throw in a 3-meter-long detachable USB cable, and a carrying case.
The NACON Revolution Pro V2 is another licensed PS4 controller. As you can see from the button layout above, it looks more like an Xbox controller than a DualShock 4. If you prefer Microsoft’s asymmetrical thumb stick placement, the Revolution Pro is a solid choice.
Just like the Razer, the NACON was developed with eSports in mind. Unlike the Razer, the NACON is quite a bit cheaper. On the back of the controller you’ll find four buttons that can be programmed in real-time, plus an oversized adjustable right thumbstick on the front.
The Revolution Pro also includes a proper eight-way directional pad, perfect for rolling moves in fighting games. The triggers and shoulder buttons are better positioned than Sony’s own pad, and NACON includes a high quality detachable braided cable with a screw plug. You can even change the feel of the controller using the included weights for a truly customizable experience.
If Sony’s dual stick placement has been putting you off, grab the Revolution Pro and work your way through the best PlayStation 4 exclusives.
At the opposite end of the scale you have the cheap pads, like this Lilyhood wired controller. It costs about half the price of an official DualShock 4, and it’s a suitable budget option for occasional multiplayer fun. It’s the sort of controller you might want to keep in a drawer, just in case someone drops by.
If you’re looking for a controller to use full-time, perhaps while playing an epic game like Red Dead Redemption 2 (using our essential Red Dead Redemption 2 tips while you’re at it), this isn’t the one for you. If you want something with great Amazon reviews that provides value for money and little else, you’re in the right place.
The Lilyhood really is as basic as it gets. It’s a wired controller with a 2.1-meter-long cable, which means low latency and no batteries to charge. It includes motion controls via a three-axis gyroscope and accelerometer, so it should work with any PS4 games you throw at it.
Be aware that this pad doesn’t include a 3.5mm jack for headphone and microphone input, nor does it include the built-in speaker featured on the DualShock 4.
And now for something completely different. The HORI Mini PS4 controller is a pad that’s 40 percent smaller than the DualShock 4. You might want to give this one a miss unless you have especially small hands, or you’re specifically looking for something to help emulate that NES-era hand cramp.
Despite its tiny size, the pad is officially licensed by Sony. It’s a wired controller with a 3-meter-long cable, providing all essential PS4 controls. It’s been built for younger gamers, hence the size, so it’s perfect for playing local games with your children.
Unfortunately the HORI Mini doesn’t include all DualShock 4 functions. The capacitive touch pad on the front of the controller is absent (though the touchpad button still works) and there’s no 3.5mm jack for headphones and microphones. There’s no light bar, no motion controls, no rumble, and no speaker either.
The upshot is that it’s cheap, comparable with low-end third party controllers.
6. SCUF IMPACT
SCUF create highly customizable controllers for PS4, PC, and Xbox One. The Impact is a controller that’s been designed around the four additional paddles on the back of the controller. According to SCUF, hand-placement has been optimized to better make use of these paddles.
The paddles can be remapped on the fly. They’re designed to allow players to keep their thumbs on the dual sticks while still being able to use face buttons. If you don’t like them, they can easily be removed (though you might want to opt for a different controller altogether if that’s the case).
SCUF has also made a name for itself with its dizzying array of customization options. This includes thumbsticks you can switch out for differing heights, as well as a ridiculous number of colors and designer prints to choose from.
You can even build your own controller, with your choice of features and colors.
This isn’t really a controller at all, but an adapter that adds paddles to your standard Sony DualShock 4. In addition to the programmable paddles, which can be customized on the fly, the adapter also allows you to use hundreds of “mod” combinations.
These allow you to do things like rapid fire, burst fire, double jump, and quickscope with ease. The adapter connects directly to your controller, and features a 3-meter-long wired connection to your console.
Best of all you can grab the Collective Minds paddle adapter and an original DualShock 4 for less than the price of most decent third-party controllers.
A Better Controller for Your PS4
Choosing the right controller can give you an advantage over the opposition, but won’t necessarily make you a better player. You have to learn to use paddles and extra triggers, and the best setup depends on the game you’re playing at the time.
Are you thinking of buying a PS4 Pro this year? Prepare now and learn how to transfer data from your old PS4 to your new PS4.
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