The best PS4 controllers

Take control of the action with the best PS4 gamepads

Sony PlayStation 4 Slim
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

The PlayStation 4 is the most popular console of the current generation, with its ease of use, social and sharing functions, and raw power making it a great choice for players of all types. Its controller, the DualShock 4, also represents a huge increase in quality from the PlayStation 3’s DualShock 3.

Buying a controller isn’t a one-size-fits-all choice, however, with a number of different options to help you get the most out of your games. Depending on the genre of games you play and the amount of time you’re willing to devote to games, the controller you should pick will vary. These are the best PlayStation 4 controllers you can buy.

DualShock 4

PlayStation 4 PS4 20th Anniversary controller

Included with the PlayStation 4 regardless of which bundle you choose to purchase, the DualShock 4 is one of the best controllers Sony has ever made. Its face buttons are large enough to accommodate nearly any hand size, its triggers are actual triggers, rather than the weirdly-shaped buttons of the DualShock 3, and its analog sticks have a more thumb-friendly shape. The DualShock 4 is more than just an updated DualShock 3, however, as it packs in a neat touchpad, has a great speaker for certain game noises, and has a share button to quickly capture your best moments.

Perhaps the only downsides to the DualShock 4 are its relatively short battery life and the analog sticks’ tendency to tear after heavy use, but the latter problem can easily be fixed with a pair of rubber tabs, and the controllers are inexpensive enough to buy replacements if the need arises.

Lilyhood wired controller

best ps4 controllers lilyhoodwired

If your PlayStation 4 is located in a relatively small space and you’re just a few feet away from it during play sessions, you may want to invest in a wired controller to save yourself time spent charging the DualShock 4’s battery. Lilyhood’s wired PlayStation 4 controller features a 6.5-foot cable, which should give you plenty of slack, and it includes the same motion control and touch support of the standard DualShock 4.

For the lower $26 price, you’ll miss out on the speaker and audio jack functions found in more expensive controllers, but Lilyhood’s wired controller is also compatible with PlayStation 3, PC, and Android, and it includes textured grips to ensure your hands don’t slip during particularly stressful or long playing sessions. The analog sticks include similar nubs around the outside, and their deeper indentation bears more of a resemblance to the Xbox One’s controller than the DualShock 4.

Hori Fighting Commander

best ps4 controllers horifightingcommanderps4

The PlayStation 4 is one of the best platforms ever when it comes to fighting games, with everything from Injustice 2 to Guilty Gear Xrd Rev 2 releasing on the system. If you’re a dedicated fighting game player, the DualShock 4 is a decent enough controller, but Hori’s Fighting Commander is the perfect option for players on a budget. The $40 controller features all the face buttons as well as the R1 and R2 buttons on the front of the controller in a similar configuration to the Sega Genesis, as well as additional shoulder buttons, a toggle switch for making the directional pad function as an analog stick, and a turbo button.

Just like with the Xbox One version of the Fighting Commander, the PlayStation 4 controller can also be used for PC games, and it’s compatible with the PlayStation 3, as well. Its small size means you can easily purchase more than one for when your friends come over to get their butts kicked in Dragon Ball FighterZ or Street Fighter V, and it includes a 10-foot cable for ease of use.

Hit Box

best ps4 controllers hitboxps4

Fighting games rely on precise inputs more than any other genre, and that often means that an analog stick and even a directional pad simply won’t cut it. For these cases, the Hit Box is the answer. The controller has a similar appearance to a fight-stick, but it only contains buttons on its top and sides. You can do all the same techniques possible with a traditional controller, but using your entire hand and your fingertips to pull off special attacks leads to fewer mistakes. Pulling off Ryu’s Hadoken move, for instance, can be a little trick on a gamepad, but it’s a piece of cake with the Hit Box.

Also compatible with PC, the Hit Box has been used in high-level fighting game events such as Evo, and it’s made out of a mix of plexiglass and metal to prevent damage when you’re on the go. As with the Fighting Commander, it’s a wired controller, but the nearly 10 feet of cable you’re given should be enough for all but the largest gaming setups.

Scuf Vantage

scuff vantage controller announced scuf explored 2

The PlayStation 4 doesn’t have its own “Elite” controller like the Xbox One, but Scuf took it upon itself to create an alternative with the Scuf Vantage. Designed as a sort of hybrid between the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One designs, it features asymmetrical analog sticks, providing a more comfortable resting position during long play sessions, and its directional pad has very distinct clicks that make it ideal for fighting and platforming games.

The kicker, however, is how insanely customizable the Scuf Vantage is. Pop off the magnetic faceplate and you can easily remove both analog sticks, the directional pad, and even the rumble motors, and you can replace individual components with parts more suited to your style. Want longer triggers? Just pop off the included trigger covers and swap them out in seconds.

The Scuf Vantage also comes with four paddles on the back as well as two extra buttons on either side, and they can all be programmed on the fly in case you need to make a quick change. This all comes at a price – you’ll be paying $200 or more for the Bluetooth-enabled model – but with a great battery life and even better build quality, it will definitely replace your DualShock 4.

Read our full Scuf Vantage review.

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