People who have had the PS4 for casual gaming might be itching to try a competitive side of it after a while. It is natural for people to compete in sports, Esports shouldn’t be any different. But to get that edge on others, you might need some gearing up. So we decided to review the best PS4 controllers for players to take on the world.
PS4 has been out for quite a while now, even the PS5 is about to be released now. You might be planning on upgrading to the PS5 once it releases. But you should not be worried, some of the controllers on our list will be compatible with the new console as well.
The PS5 will release soon, making customized controllers for it will take some time. That is why with a firmware upgrade, most customized controllers in the market will work on the PS5 too.
When the PS4 was launched, Sony showed off its controller which captivated the audience. It was the design, the functionality, and the ergonomics of the controller that gave it a standing ovation. Of course, another reason was that Sony had also made the PS4 much more affordable than its predecessor.
PS3 was a success to some, a failure to most, but it was a really good console. Though there were many problems with the console initially, later on, it became a really popular console. The reason behind it was price cuts and some memorable exclusives.
The PS3 controller was not bad, but the PS4 controller was leaps and bounds ahead of it. There was so much potential in the controller itself, that people just love it. Many brands took it upon themselves to use that potential by launching customized controllers.
Some have pedals, recalibrating triggers, SAX buttons, and even customized light bar. Others changed the layout of the controller to make it similar to the Xbox controller’s scheme. But overall we are very impressed by its potential.
Before diving into the list of the best PS4 controllers, here is a little buyer’s guide.
PS4 Controller Buyer’s Guide
There are a few things you must make sure of before picking up a PS4 controller. It is always a good idea to pick up the controller in your hands before buying it. You might find out a thing or two about what you want. Also, there are a few things that apply to all controllers regardless of the brand.
While the PS4 controller itself has great ergonomics, there is always room for improvement. The improvements are mostly based on personal taste and opinion though. Some people find the PS4 controller a tad bit smaller for their hands. Others find it perfect and very comfortable to use.
If you are someone who has bigger hands, maybe a bigger controller would work for you. If you are someone who has smaller hands, chances are some controllers that offer a backpedal might be difficult for you to control.
So picking up a controller will help you understand what you want from your PS4 controller. At least, that is the case when you are considering ergonomics of the controller.
Some controllers offer rubberized grips for a better hold over the controller. Some controllers offer a customized color scheme of your choice. But these are small scale customizations we are talking about, there is a lot more to it than that.
We have controllers with swappable modules for added customization. Something like the Astro C40 (although, the Astro is a huge flop for having a lot of issues) or the eSwap Pro Controller by Thrustmaster.
Some controllers offer different textured skins, visuals, and grips. Some will go beyond that and change the experience completely. So always understand what you want from your controller in terms of customization.
Not all controllers are made equally, some have a shorter battery life than the others. Always make sure that your PS4 controller has a good battery life so that you do not have to stop playing when you don’t want to because of low battery.
A lot of PS4 supported controllers come with their software for adjustability. There are a few that do not have that option. With software support, you can calibrate your analog sticks. This allows you to adjust sensitivity and make sure there are no dead zones on them.
The software can also help in mapping keys to different ones. But some controllers offer that without the software as well. Not all controllers require software support, but it helps a lot in the customization of controls.
The Best PS4 Controllers Reviewed
The Scuff series of controllers was a huge success after they introduced backpedals on the back of the controller. These backpedal could be remapped and were pretty much a great addition. The AimControllers PS4 Custom Wireless Controller also came up with a similar controller as well.
But people soon started experiencing problems with both the controllers. The controllers were just not up to par with the quality of the original controller. Although both of them used the original controller’s architecture to design theirs.
Scuff Games soon came out with more controllers like the Scuff Impact. But they also shared a similar fate to the original Vantage controller. People had started to become a bit skeptical of controllers with similar designs.
But then AimControllers PS4 Custom Wireless Controller came out with another controller. This time instead of two backpedals on the back, it had 4 of them, and there was no option to reduce the number of backpedals in the back.
But the reason behind it is that you can remove a set of backpedals if you wanted to. But the minimum is 2 backpedals on the controller. The design is similar to what the PS4 controller is like but has huge modification potential.
If you visit the original site, it allows you to put on a textured pattern on the back. It also allows you to change the color of the front, you can even use one of their customized designs for that.
But that is not all, you even have the option to put on customizable text or your logo on the light bar, the right grip front, and the left grip front. You can use different logos or texts in each of the areas if you want to.
That is not all you can do though, there is just so much more customization available which you can explore on your own. Design your controller that suits your personality, so that when you compete, you can show it off.
If you max out the customizations on the controller, it can cost you around $350, but otherwise, the typical controller costs less. But we would suggest you get the remappable backpedals option, which will increase the price but will be worth it later on.
This way you can remap the backpedals to the keys you want whenever you like on the go with easy steps. So far the controller has been fantastic and the feedback has been great.
If you want to play without the backpedals, you can just take them off. Do not worry about accidentally pressing the buttons of the backpedals. Because that is not likely to happen with the nature of the buttons.
So without the reprogrammable backpedals, the wires, and accessories, the controller costs around $140. This is a pretty reasonable price but you end up sacrificing a lot of the customizations offered by the company website.
If you have a little money to throw around, maybe you can build your controller to own your enemies in games.
While the C40 from Astro became notorious for drifting and dead zone issues in their controller’s module, the Thrustmaster does not seem to be suffering from the same issues.
People often become skeptical of things that have made things harder for them in the past. The Astro C40, an excellent controller, in the beginning, started to get issues in their controllers after a few months of use.
This created fear in the audience for swappable modules because they feared they would have to buy new modules after a while of use. But this does not seem to be the case with the Thrustmaster eSwap Pro controller.
Thrustmaster, which is famous for making the best racing wheels and flight sticks, proved its superiority. Their eSwap Pro Controller brings out their take on the swappable module controller.
The modules can be swapped mid-game if you feel like switching the layout. Not only that, but their site also offers more than just the typical analog and d-pad modules.
There is so much customization potential in the controller, thanks to the ability to swap the modules out with others. But so far there have not been many complaints like the ones with Astro C40, where the analog had drifting and dead zone issues.
The issues were so severe that soon the modules became useless and people had to order another one from their store. Not to mention the controller on itself was pretty expensive, on top of that you have to buy new modules every few months. This was not a very economical thing for anyone.
While swapping modules to fix a broken one does make it worth spending a lot of money on. But if the analog and d-pad are of poor quality and need replacement often, it does break away the appeal.
That is why Thrustmaster took it upon themselves to fix that problem with high-quality modules. So far tech reviewers have given positive points to the eSwap Pro Controller and we also feel that this controller is better.
Another feature other than the obvious one is replaceable triggers, bumpers, grips, and thumbsticks. Lastly, there are four buttons on the back which might be harder for people to press, but do present with more options for people.
Lastly, the best feature of all, the buttons provide tactile feedback. So no more pressing buttons by mistake, the travel and feedback allow for a better gameplay experience on the eSwap Pro Controller.
Scuff Vantage was one of the best PS4 controllers in the market which has backpedals for extra key mappings. But it had tremendous issues and thus was a flop, so the company worked on a better and improved model.
The Scuff Games company has released plenty of controllers, from the first Vantage to Impact. Each shared their own set of problems, so the company, after getting negative feedback for their first take on Vantage, released the Vantage 2.
The Vantage 2 promises to not have all the problems its predecessors had. People have had good reviews of the Scuff Vantage 2, but some people have had obvious complaints as well.
Let us talk about the controller itself, it is a premium controller that will cost you in the bracket of $290 on Amazon. The controller has 4 backpedals which can be individually removed, something the AimControllers PS4 Custom Wireless Controller can’t do.
There are also 2 removable side action buttons S1 and S2, which can be mapped to controls you want. You can also adjust the actuation of your triggers using a tool provided by Scuff. You can convert it into a hair-trigger from a normal one for added sensitivity.
There are also stoppers on the triggers as well, the triggers are also removable. There are just so many options for customizations that you will not feel tired of the endless combinations.
It has the feel of the genuine PS4 controller and also weighs about the same. It is on the expensive side though, so expensive that other alternatives feel more tempting compared to this.
But it adopts the layout of the Xbox controller, with the left analog and d-pad switching places from the original PlayStation Controller layout.
Another thing that you can do to lighten the weight of the controller is to remove the vibration modules. Of course, you will end up having a very plain controller, but if you feel like a lighter controller will give you an edge in the game, you can take it out easily.
Once you are done, you can put it back in and still have the vibration feature in the controller. Also, the thumbsticks can also be removed and changed with different ones.
The NACON Wired Compact Controller is one of the cheapest officially licensed PS4 controllers in the market. It is cheaper than the original one and has almost the same build like it.
So if you are $20-$30 short on the original PS4 controller, you can get this one. It is a wired PS4 controller by NACON, but it is not as good as the original PS4 controller.
It has the same layout as the original one as well, the shoulder buttons and triggers are a bit different from the original. They feel more like buttons than triggers, but they do have the tension that triggers have for sensitivity.
The controller is plugged in via wire, you can also plug in your headsets in the 3.5mm jack. The touchpad is fine, the texture on the thumbsticks does give it a good grip for better control though.
Overall there is not much to say about this controller other than that it is cheaper. It does wear down quite easily, but for the price tag, we wouldn’t expect a premium item after all. But it still has a good life span, compared to some premium products on the market.
Wired means no latency as well, so you do not have latency issues that some big-name brands have in their PS4 compatible controllers.
Dualshock 4 is the best version of the infamous Playstation Dualshock controller. It is the signature PS4 controller. This controller has a lot going for it. The Dualshock 4 has a nice groovy design that gives the controller a simple clean look. It also comes in a wide variety of colors; from jet black to white and everything in between.
Not only is the DS4 pretty to look at, it feels even better in the hands. The DS4 provides a strong comfortable grip that doesn’t tire the hands even for longer sessions. The buttons have a nice solid feel when pressed. The shoulder buttons and the triggers are a huge improvement from the Dualshock 3 and are the best they have ever been. The same goes for the analog sticks.
But the best thing about the DS4 is its D-pad. The DS4 D-pad is nothing short of absolute awesomeness. Even though it’s just 4 directional buttons, the new D-pad has improved the gaming experience as a whole. The new Share button makes sharing important gaming highlights and moments much easier.
The DS4 is a wireless controller and provides hours of comfortable and fun gaming experience. Though, It can be converted to a wired controller using a USB cable. The touchpad is a nice addition to the Dualshock and provides decent functionality for certain game titles as well.
It also has a microphone jack and in-built speakers. Besides that, the controller comes with motion sensors as well as rumble vibration. The only downside to the controller is its battery time as the DS4 needs to be charged daily. Surprisingly enough, even with all these features, the DS4 is lightweight and compact.
The Dualshock 4 is the perfect controller that complements the PS4 system. At just $60, the Dualshock 4 is one of the BEST Playstation controllers and is the true definition of “more bang for your buck”.