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Which PS4 controller is best?

A full-immersion gaming experience with major PS4 titles like Uncharted and Final Fantasy means you need your head — and hands — in the game. That’s why investing in a quality PS4 controller can take it to the next level.

PS4 controllers, even those from third-party companies, generally build their designs around the DualShock 4. Some controllers experiment with different button placement and programmability, but regardless of the design, the focus is on performance and precision. Quality PS4 controllers can handle command execution with grace and minimize lag or latency issues.

Our top pick is the Sony DualShock 4 Wireless Controller. Its comfortable design and responsiveness is loved by PlayStation loyalists.

What to know before you buy a PS4 controller

Core features

Both Sony and third-party PS4 controllers include the main controls: directional pad, home and command buttons, and L1/L2 and R1/R2 buttons. Sony’s signature controller, the DualShock4, comes with a unique share button and a touchpad, which aren’t found on all third-party controllers.

Ergonomic design

DualShock-inspired controllers from all manufacturers aim to be comfortable with easy-to-access buttons. With that said, some companies deviate from the traditional design and adopt new controller profiles that improve hand and wrist position during gameplay.


Even the simplest PS4 controllers can customize commands, but it’s often done in-game. Advanced controllers come with their own programmability, some of which can be navigated or managed through apps. Casual gamers might not need such features, which tend to drive the price up. Competitive gamers, on the other hand, prefer to customize controllers in any way that gives them an edge.

What to look for in a quality PS4 controller

Connectivity and compatibility

The majority of PS4 controllers are Bluetooth-enabled and pair easily with your system. While the DualShock4 is limited to use with the PS4, Bluetooth universal controllers can be used with Xbox, PC and Mac. These are worth considering if you’re a multi-platform gamer who enjoys a specific hand-wrist position with a controller.


PS4 controllers come in more than just black; they’re available in a variety of colors and designs. There are even transparent controllers with internal LED lights.

Certain colors cost more than others, especially if they’re limited edition or collectible. Controllers that are released to coordinate with a game’s theme — like camo to match Call of Duty — may cost more, especially closer to release dates.

Power source

Standard-issue wireless DualShock4 controllers feature an internal rechargeable battery that charges through a cord to the system. While you can play and charge at the same time, you won’t be able to sit very far away from your screen.

Some third-party controllers operate the same way, but others may require alkaline batteries instead. There are also corded PS4 controllers available, which are powered directly through their connection to the system.

How much you can expect to spend on a PS4 controller

Wired, third-party PS4 controllers typically cost less than $50, whereas Sony DualShock controllers are approximately $60. If you’re a real gamer or esports competitor, investing in a programmable, customizable controller can cost you $80-$250.

PS4 controller FAQ

What’s the lifespan of a PS4 controller?

A. A PS4 controller can last between six months and three years. Serious gamers or those who are heavy on controllers can go through them in less than a year, while casual gamers get far more use out of them.

What’s the fastest way to charge a PS4 controller?

A. It depends on your controller, but for the most part, wireless charging stations are the way to go, especially if you have more than one controller to charge. Some charging stations can charge as many as four controllers at once.

What’s the best PS4 controller to buy?

Top PS4 controller

Sony DualShock 4 Wireless Controller

Sony DualShock 4 Wireless Controller

What you need to know: Sony’s signature controller has an improved grip and a responsive touchpad.

What you’ll love: It has an impressive battery life and more responsive buttons, especially L1 and L2 as well as joysticks.

What you should consider: Ideal for the average gamer, it may not be as well-suited or sturdy enough for those playing fast-paced games that require major button pressing.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top PS4 controller for the money

Hori Fighting Commander

Hori Fighting Commander

What you need to know: This Sega Genesis-inspired controller earns high marks from die-hard fighting-game fans.

What you’ll love: Combos are easy to execute and buttons are well-placed for seamless transition between them.

What you should consider: Some buttons, like the D-pad, feel a bit stiff and there’s a bit of a learning curve with this style.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Astro Gaming C40 TR Controller

Astro Gaming C40 TR Controller

What you need to know: This is a premium controller geared toward esports gamers, with programmable settings.

What you’ll love: Compatible with PS4 and PC, it comes with a companion app to configure settings.

What you should consider: It is pricey and available in limited colors.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Sian Babish writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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