Years ago, third-party gaming controllers were dirt cheap and notorious for poor craftsmanship—especially the eggshell-plastic MadCatz knockoffs. Every household had one. It was reserved for kid siblings and houseguests you maybe didn’t like that much. Those kinds of controllers gave third-party gamepads a bad name—one that persists to this day.
In recent years though, companies like Scuf and Astro have donned their armor and unfurled their banners on a quest to rebuild the reputation of “off-brand” gamepads, one controller at a time. We’ve tried a bunch of them in the past couple of years, and these are our favorites. Here are the best gaming controllers, official and unofficial, for the Nintendo Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox (One and Series X/S), and PC.
Be sure to read our guides to the Best Gaming Headsets, Best Gaming Mouse, and Best Gaming Laptops for more recommendations.
Updated February 2022: We’ve adjusted pricing throughout this guide, added the Scuf Reflex and Scuf Instinct, and removed the Hori V. Kai arcade controller.
Special offer for Gear readers: Get a 1-year subscription to WIRED for $5 ($25 off). This includes unlimited access to WIRED.com and our print magazine (if you’d like). Subscriptions help fund the work we do every day.
If you buy something using links in our stories, we may earn a commission. This helps support our journalism. Learn more. Please also consider subscribing to WIRED