What is the Best PS4 Controller? We Review

The PS4 official controller, the Dualshock, has definitely come of age ever since it was unveiled decades ago with the original PS1. And it’s definitely one of the most balanced, functional, and ergonomic native controllers out of any console.

There are, however, plenty of third party controllers that improve upon and elevate the Dualshock 4. They can help you perform better, react faster, or just play comfortably for longer stretches.

So, if you are wondering what is the best ps4 controller, today, we’ll look at some of the best third-party PS4 controllers to help you take your gaming experience to the next level.

The Best PS4 Controllers 2020

ProductWired/WirelessOur Rating
Razer Raiju UltimateBoth4.7
Scuf Vantage 2Wired5.0
Sony Dualshock 4Wireless4.5
Nacon Revolution Unlimited ProBoth4.8
Hori Mini GamepadWired4.6
Hori Fighting CommanderWired4.8
Hori Real Arcade Pro 4Wired4.8
No products found.Wireless4.4
Victrix Arcade Fight StickWired4.8

Razer Raiju Ultimate

  • Weight: 13.1 ounces
  • Dimensions: 8.5 x 8.11 x 3.07 inches
  • Wired/Wireless: Both
  • Analog Stick Layout: Interchangeable

The Razer Raiju Ultimate is the PS4 controller for the most serious of gamers. The key feature of this model is the deep customization you can do with it, using the proprietary mobile app.

There are lots to tweak with this controller, that goes beyond the basics of just remapping the buttons and adjusting the sensitivity. You can easily switch between a symmetrical and asymmetrical layout, thanks to the interchangeable analog sticks. You can either use the D-Pad or analog stick in either case.

You can even customize the color of the controller’s light with the full RGB spectrum, giving you plenty of choices indeed.

Feel-wise, the Raiju is substantially heavier than the Dualshock 4 and is a good option for those who find the original a little too light.

It also has four additional buttons – two at the top and two at the back. You can map any buttons to suit your game style. It also has a hair-trigger mode, allowing for quick firing for FPS games.  All the buttons have excellent tactile feedback, and a satisfying click feel to them.

The controller does support both wired and wireless modes. The wireless mode is on par with that of the Dualshock 4, making it a great alternative. The only drawback, though, is that you can’t use the microphone when the controller is in wireless mode.

Overall, the Razer Raiju Ultimate is one of the better editions of their Raiju line. It has improved on several complaints from the past, chief of which are the button delays and drifting with the analog stick.

If you’re gearing for competitive play and want to fine-tune your controller as much as possible, the Raiju Razer Ultimate is a good choice.

Pros

  • Four customizable buttons
  • Interchangeable D-Pad and analog stick layouts
  • Tactile buttons
  • Good weight

Cons

  • The mic is not supported during wireless mode

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0

Scuf Vantage 2

  • Weight: 2.29 lbs
  • Dimensions: 8 x 6 x 4 inches
  • Wired/Wireless: Wired
  • Analog Stick Layout: Asymmetrical

The Scuf Vantage 2 is one of the more modular controllers for your PS4. It’s for you if you love tinkering as it allows plenty of customization to help zero in on your style of play. Personally, the Vantage 2 is the best third party ps4 controller of choice for FPS games.

The fundamental concept of the Vantage 2 is the removable magnetic faceplate. This gives you access to the buttons, keypads, and sticks of the controller, allowing you to swap them as you please.

And there are lots of stock parts with the Vantage 2. You can switch the keypads, for example, to a more rounded multi-directional variant. You can also vary the height of the analog stick, and change the head from convex to concave. 

Then there’s our favorite feature for FPS – adjustable hair triggers. This allows you to adjust how sensitive the shoulder buttons are, making you fire faster. That split second boost can spell a lot of difference! It’s features like this that make the Scuf Vantage 2 our number one pick as the best PS4 controller for Call of Duty (and many other First-Person Shooters).

There are also four back paddles and two side action buttons you can use to map anything from the reload to the crouch button. It’s great for keeping your fingers on the analog sticks at all times. The paddles are also removable, so you can detach the ones you don’t need to prevent accidental pressing.

The overall shape of the Vantage 2 is also stockier than the Dualshock 4, making it an excellent option for those with bigger hands and fingers. You can also remove the controller’s vibration modules to make it lighter and to help reduce hand fatigue during extra-long sessions.

So if you’re looking for an edge in competitive FPS play, the Scuf Vantage 2 is our top pick. It might take a bit of practice to maximize it (especially the four back paddles), but the performance gains you get with it is worth the effort to master it.

Pros

  • Removable faceplate
  • Allows adjustment of almost every button and pad
  • Six additional buttons
  • Heftier and more ergonomic

Cons

  • The four back paddles can be hard to access, especially the two inner ones

Rating: 5.0 / 5.0

Sony Dualshock 4

  • Weight: 12 ounces
  • Dimensions: 6.34 x 2.24 x 3.94 inches
  • Wired/Wireless: Wireless
  • Analog Stick Layout: Symmetrical
  • Extra Buttons: none

When it comes to PS4 controllers, the original Dualshock 4 is still up there among the top. It’s the best for general purpose play, and it works exceptionally well for anything from fighting games to third-person adventures.

Sony did a stellar job with this native controller. The overall feel is excellent, and it fits well with most player’s hands. Most players (mostly Westerners) complained that the previous Dualshock 3 was a PS4 controller for small hands, making it unsuitable for many gamers.

The Dualshock 4 is now more substantial and larger, although some would still complain that it’s still lighter for their tastes.

The buttons are responsive, and the motion sensor works really well, too. Many people also like the textured grip of the analog sticks, which makes fine-tuned movements easy to do with your thumb.

The built-in headphone jack and the speaker is great, too. Audio streaming is nearly flawless, making communication during multiplayer sessions smooth in real-time. And of course, you can use the Home button to boot up the console (which is our preferred method).

Overall, if you’re a casual player looking for the next replacement for your PS4 and don’t want the bells and whistles, the Dualshock 4 is still your safest bet.

Pros

  • Good grip
  • Responsive buttons and triggers
  • Exclusive use of the Home button to turn the console on/off

Cons

  • Short battery life

Rating: 4.5 / 5.0

Nacon Revolution Unlimited Pro

  • Weight: 1.9 lbs
  • Dimensions: 3.74 x 8.07 x 7.87 inches
  • Wired/Wireless: Both
  • Analog Stick Layout: Asymmetrical

The Nacon Revolution Unlimited Pro is the other big guy when it comes to pro-level PS4 controllers. The only other licensed Sony controller apart from the Raiju Razer, this unit offers a slew of customization options on its own.

For those that are very discriminating with their controller’s weight, the Revolution Unlimited Pro offers one of the best solutions to date – customizable weights. You can add and remove weights that slot into the grip at the back. Speaking of the grip, it is super ergonomic, and I find it a joy to hold when compared to the original Dualshock 4.

One thing you’ll notice is that the Revolution Unlimited Pro is stockier and chunkier than most controllers. Surprisingly, it makes this controller easier to handle and hold.

The analog stick can be heavily customized, too. You can adjust the height using interchangeable shafts, as well as the joystick head. You can pick between concave and convex, to suit your playing style. The D-Pad is also great for pro fighting games, featuring 8 directions instead of 4.

This controller uses an asymmetrical layout similar to the Xbox One, which can frustrate some users. It’s also a bummer that this layout isn’t interchangeable.

You can use both wired and wireless play with this with the flick of a switch at the back of the button. The controller does come with an extra-long cable, so you can still get comfy even if you go wired.

Overall, the Nacon Revolution Unlimited Pro is a fantastic pro controller that’s more comfortable to hold than most. It offers plenty of customization options that can give you an edge in competitions.

Pros

  • Adjustable weights
  • Comfortable and ergonomic grip
  • Fully adjustable analog sticks
  • 8 direction keypad

Cons

Rating: 4.8 / 5.0

Hori Mini Gamepad

  • Weight: 8 ounces
  • Dimensions: 2.8 x 11.5 x 5.91 inches
  • Wired/Wireless: Wired
  • Analog Stick Layout: Symmetrical

If you have little ones sharing the PS4 with you, then the Dualshock 4 might not be the best controller for them. Instead, get this Hori Mini Gamepad.

This Hori gamepad is 40% smaller than the Dualshock 4, making it fit better with the smaller hands of kids. It’s lighter, too. While it’s wired, it does have an extra-long 10 ft cable, so there’s not much risk of pulling the console from over-enthusiastic children.

The Mini Gamepad is also toned down not just in size, but also with functionality. This pad has no light bars, headphone jack, motion sensors, or even gaming speakers: just the D-pad, analog sticks, buttons, and a modified (smaller) touchpad.

The Share and Options buttons also feature a rounded shape and are much easier to press, ironically. Everything else works as with the Dualshock 4.

While the Mini Gamepad will work with most games, it won’t work with every PS4 title. It’s a safe bet (and we’ve noticed this as well), though, that it will work well with kid-safe PS4 games. In short, don’t expect this to work well in a horror game (not that little kids should play them, anyway).

Overall, the Hori Mini Gamepad is the perfect toned-down PS4 controller for kids. Let them use this to protect your more “serious” PS4 controllers from abuse.

Pros

  • Smaller form factor better fits kids’ hands
  • Everything is easily pressable for a kid
  • Extra-long cable
  • Cheaper than a Dualshock 4

Cons

  • Toned down functions

Rating: 4.6 / 5.0

Hori Fighting Commander

  • Weight: 1.5 lbs
  • Dimensions: 2.01 x 5 x 2.99 inches
  • Wired/Wireless: Wired
  • Analog Stick Layout: No Analog Sticks

The Hori Fighting Commander is a specialized controller build specifically for 2D fighting games and platformers. You’ll notice it right away because it lacks the iconic analog sticks that are so crucial for 3D games.

The Fighting Commander takes on the classic button layout of retro consoles. Aside from the traditional D-pad, it also features a six-button layout, moving the R1 and R2 buttons up front.

If you’ve played fighting games before, you know this is a big deal. The six-button layout is an arcade classic. It allows you to perform the full length of your moves by just using only the front buttons. Some games, for instance, assign light punches to the square button and strong punches to the R1 buttons. Having to switch between front and shoulder buttons can be confusing and might throw you off your game.

The D-pad is also noticeably sturdier and firmer than the Dualshock 4 when you press it. While it can wear your hand out more, it makes inputting commands much easier. A lot of fighting game players like it, and it’s hands down one of the better pads you’ll encounter.

Overall, if you’re even a bit interested in fighting games, get the Hori Fighting Commander. It’s an excellent specialized controller to own, especially if you love the retro layout of older consoles.

Pros

  • Six button arcade-style layout
  • Firm and responsive D-pad
  • Turbo button

Cons

  • Relatively light

Rating: 4.8 / 5.0

Hori Real Arcade Pro 4

  • Weight: 6.29 lbs
  • Dimensions: 10.98 x 5.51 x 19.02 inches
  • Wired/Wireless: Wired
  • Analog Stick Layout: No Analog Sticks

The Hori Real Arcade Pro 4 is the award-winning tournament-grade arcade stick for the PS4. For the serious pro fighter, this is a fantastic controller to have.

The Real Arcade Pro 4 uses HAYABUSA joystick and buttons, which is what most arcades in Japan use. The joystick offers a lot of precision and freedom when executing moves. Tilting the joystick is smooth, and responsiveness is lightning quick.

The buttons aren’t a pushover, either. The beveled edges are comfortable to use even when you’re mashing on them mercilessly during intense play. Overall, it is the most durable ps4 controller on the list as we have seen 3-year old Hori joysticks still working fine.

Real Arcade Pro 4 also features a side panel, where you can customize the buttons and the joystick. You can also adjust the settings for the Turbo button.

The control panel itself is substantial and hefty. The space below the buttons offers a natural resting place for your wrists to help reduce fatigue during prolonged tournaments or practice sessions.

So if you’re looking to bring the arcade-style of play home, the Hori Real Arcade Pro 4 is your best bet. While it does take a bit of practice for the gamepad user, it’s almost guaranteed to improve your performance once you get the hang of it.

Pros

  • Full eight-button layout
  • Responsive HAYABUSA joysticks
  • Ample space to rest your wrists
  • Long cable

Cons

  • Uses a gated stick that might not be for everyone

Rating: 4.8 / 5.0

No products found.

No products found.

  • Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Dimensions: 6.6 x 4.4 x 2.6 inches
  • Wired/Wireless: Wireless
  • Analog Stick Layout: Symmetrical

The ORDA is one of the best value PS4 controllers if you’re looking for a unit without all the bells and whistles of a big purchase. It’s not that far off from the Dualshock 4, price wise, making it a great budget option.

ORDA made a few adjustments here and there with this wireless controller. The analog sticks are noticeably harder and have more resistance than the Dualshock 4, and they’re better built, too. The grip is better, too, in my opinion, with its dimpled edges.

The front buttons have an excellent tactile feel to them, and they’re built nicely. They almost press like an arcade button, but smaller. The trigger buttons didn’t see any radical improvement from the Dualshock 4, so nothing to write home about.

What we do like, though, are the Share and Options buttons. They’re more prominent and more accessible to press than the Dualshock 4’s. Definitely an improvement there.

The battery life on the ORDA is also noticeably more extended than the Dualshock 4. We’ve tried playing with this for 12 hours straight, and it still wasn’t fully drained. 

It’s highly durable as well, as ours survived repeated drops and crashes due to some particularly intense gaming sessions!

Ergonomics wise, the ORDA controller fits perfectly with your hand and fits a variety of hand sizes. The grips also have rubber textures to help prevent slipping with sweaty hands.

The one drawback is that this unit is lighter than even the Dualshock 4. It also has a cheap plastic feel to it, although thankfully, the durability is there.

Overall, if you’re looking for a budget option that gives plenty of plusses, the ORDA wireless controller is a fantastic, can’t-go-wrong purchase.

Pros

  • Long battery life
  • Edgy design
  • Ergonomic and better-performing analog sticks
  • High precision D-pad

Cons

  • Light
  • Cheap plastic feel

Rating: 4.4 / 5.0

Victrix Arcade Fight Stick

  • Weight: 12.68 lbs
  • Dimensions: 22.05 x 15.75 x 7.87 inches
  • Wired/Wireless: Wired
  • Analog Stick Layout: No Analog Sticks

The Victrix Arcade Fight Stick is for serious, pro-level fighters who want to spare no expense with their gear. This is a premium fighting stick that plays like a dream and is built like a tank.

It features a solid, pure aluminum enclosure that gives it a lot of heft. It’s really gorgeous to look at. And it’s quite substantial. Slam on it, and it will still be in one piece. It uses durable Sanwa Denshi parts for incredible longevity.

The controller might be massive, but it’s quite comfortable to place on your lap, and it will remain in place quite securely. The unique shape and ergonomics of the Victrix has been thoughtfully designed to guarantee this.

The buttons and the joystick are an absolute joy to use. They give a satisfying click with every button press, and the resistance is just right. It gives excellent tactile feedback, in my opinion, and seemed to improve how I played the game.

The Victrix was made for tournament players who tour around, so much thought has been put into the portability of this controller. It has built-in shoulder straps for easy transport, and the stick itself is removable while in transit. It even has a handy cable organizer to keep that wire at bay.

It also has a variety of programmable pro buttons that you can use to add functionality during your practice sessions. You can, for instance, use it for one-press resets of your fighter. It also supports almost every modern fighting game, so that’s a plus.

The only significant drawback we can think of with the Victrix Arcade Fight Stick is the price. Nevertheless, if you’re a serious pro player who wants to invest in a fantastic piece of equipment to compliment your game, this is the fighting stick for you.

Pros

  • Gorgeous aluminum enclosure
  • Great feedback on the joystick and button pushes
  • Easy to transport around
  • Durable and ergonomic

Cons

  • Almost twice the price of decent fighting sticks

Rating: 4.8 / 5.0

Why Buy Another PS4 Controller?

You might be thinking that with the host of cheaper or better PS4 controllers out there, does it mean that the Dualshock 4 isn’t up to par?

Far from it, actually.

The Dualshock 4 is one of our favorite controllers to date, out of every console we have ever tried over the years. For one, the grip for most is perfect. It’s a drastic improvement over the smaller Dualshock 3. It falls effortlessly in your hand without you taking the extra energy to hold it.

With that being said, there are a host of other controllers out there that serve a specialized function. Some are for the minority who don’t really like the Dualshock 4, whether it’s about the weight or the button layout. This is the case if, for example, you have extra-large or stubby hands.

But the simple fact is that the Dualshock 4 has been designed to be good for all types of games. It therefore can’t be great for a specific type of game.

The vast majority of third-party controllers are of the elite variety. They have extra advantages that can help refine a player’s performance, like optimized button layouts or adjustable weights. Some are specific to first-person shooters (FPS) and feature shorter shoulder (R2) buttons for faster reaction times. Others are for fighting games with an arcade-style layout.

So really, buying a new PS4 controller will depend on how you play. You should know this beforehand, so you have a higher chance of buying the perfect controller for you.

What to Look for in a PS4 Controller

If you have read the previous section and figured out what you need a new PS4 controller for, you’re halfway there. It’s now a matter of knowing what features to look for that best fits your expectations.

The best PS4 controllers are those that feel like an extension of your hand. It makes gameplay natural and can improve your reaction times and performance.

Here are some things you need to consider:

Wired vs. Wireless

The PS4 supports both wired and wireless controllers. It is actually one of the first things you need to consider when buying one.

Now, you might be wondering, why switch over to a wired controller? Dualshock 4’s wireless capability makes it convenient, and it works just fine.

Well, the big difference between a wired and a wireless controller is latency. This is the amount of time it takes for your button press to reach the PS4 and react accordingly. 

Wired controllers are faster than wireless controllers; in fact, it’s almost instantaneous. The speed boost might be small (just a fraction of a second), but it matters a lot when you’re playing competitively. It might mean you can block much more in fighting games or strafe to the side in FPS much faster.

For casual gamers, wireless controllers are recommended. It allows you to lay back on your couch and play at a more relaxed pace without being tethered to your PS4.

A good compromise is to get the newer Dualshock 4 controllers, which allow data transfer when you plug it into your PS4 console via the micro USB port. This gives you the flexibility of switching between wired and wireless modes.

Licensed Sony Controller or Unlicensed?

All PS4 controllers we cover here work fine with the console. There are, however, only a handful that are officially licensed by Sony – the Razer Raiju, Nacon Revolution Pro, Hori, and of course, the original Dualshock 4 are examples.

Buying an officially licensed controller has two benefits.

The main one is that the controller will always work, regardless of which firmware update the PS4 uses. In short, you get the security of the controller working forever with the PS4. Cheaper controllers might not get support beyond a specific update, making it potentially obsolete within a few years.

The other (although minor) pro is the ability to use the Home button (the one with the PS logo) to turn the PS4 on. This feature is even more restrictive – it’s only available with the Dualshock 4. So if you’re using any controller other than that, be aware that you’ll be losing this feature.

Weight

The weight of the PS4 controller matters more than you think. To see this first hand, try switching a controller you’ve been playing for months with one that’s lighter or heavier. It’ll feel off.

Weight is subjective, and some prefer a lighter controller, while others go for the opposite. The majority of players, however, prefer a heavier, more substantial model because it doesn’t feel cheap.

To cater to a player’s preference, some controllers feature adjustable weights. This is great for pro players who want to fine-tune their controllers for performance and handling as much as possible. Removable weights are usually placed in the grips for better balance.

Grip

The grip is an essential aspect of the PS4 controller, especially during intense competitive play. Your palms can get sweaty, and a weak grip will make the controller slip out of your fingers, damaging it and throwing you off your game.

The best PS4 controllers will feature rubber textures or other similar material on either side of the handle grips, making slipping off next to impossible.

You should also make sure that the controller is a perfect fit for your hand. Again, this is subjective and will significantly depend on your hand size. Sometimes, your sole reason for buying a controller is how well it fits when you hold it, which is a crucial consideration.

Adjustable Analog Sticks

Almost all modern PS4 games put emphasis on the analog sticks, which are used for movement, aiming, and camera adjustments in-game. Players of fighting games also use it to simulate the range of movement of an arcade joystick.

The problem with the Dualshock 4’s analog stick is that its height is fixed. Some players might have some difficulty in using it, especially those with smaller hands, as they need to strain their thumbs to move it around.

As a solution, some third party controllers feature adjustable analog sticks. You can make it higher or lower to make it more comfortable for you. From there, some let you adjust the sensitivity of the analog sticks if you feel it’s not enough for certain games.

Some controllers even let you replace the analog stick itself with a wide variety of shapes and textures. In addition to helping you find the perfect feel, you can also replace worn-out analog sticks without having to buy a new controller.

Button Layout

You’ll notice that some PS4 controllers eschew the usual symmetrical analog sticks of the Dualshock 4 and go with an asymmetrical layout similar to the Xbox One controller. Here, the location of the directional pads and left analog sticks are reversed.

Again, this is a matter of preference and convenience. The reason for this seemingly unusual layout is ergonomics. The position of the left analog stick (which is often used for movement) on the Xbox One layout is where your thumb naturally rests. The logic is that this will lessen strain and cramping since you don’t exert much effort to access them.

The thing is that a lot of players hate the Xbox One layout, and prefer the symmetrical analog sticks of the Dualshock 4 much more. 

If you can’t decide, though, you’ll be glad to know that there are controllers that allow you to switch the analog stick and directional pad between a thumbstick and a D-pad.

You’ll also encounter controllers with a six-button layout, where the R1 and R2 buttons are placed in front beside the triangle and circle buttons. There’s also no analog stick. This is a controller that gives you access to all the buttons with your thumbs without switching and is made specifically for fighting games.

Back Buttons

Most pro controllers will have additional buttons (or paddles in some) installed at the back of the controller, where your other fingers naturally rest. You can map any of the existing front buttons of the PS4 to these back buttons.

Why would you want to do this? It’s for easy access to individual buttons without having to move your fingers around. For fast-paced games like FPS, that split second your finger needs to travel to press the button matters a lot.

For example, you can map the square button (the default for reloading) to a back button. That way, you can quickly reload by tapping that back button, instead of having to remove your finger off the right analog stick to press the square button.

Back buttons are for enhancing performance for competitive play, as it can lessen your reaction time significantly during intense games. With that being said, however, not everyone needs it nor prefers it. It does take a learning curve to incorporate it into competitive play, so don’t expect it to instantly “click” the first time you use it.

You can also buy the official back button add-on to the original Dualshock 4. This is great if you prefer sticking to your original PS4 controller but want to try back buttons out.

Adjustable Sensitivity and Hair Triggers

The ability to adjust how sensitive your buttons are is one of the things pros look for when fine-tuning their controller’s performance. 

The perfect example of this is hair triggers, which are fantastic for first-person shooters. With it, you can reduce the distance the trigger buttons (R1/R2) travel before it “registers”. In effect, they make these buttons much more sensitive, firing at the slightest of touches. This can up your reaction time and make you fire faster, making the absolute difference between a kill or a death.

You can also adjust the sensitivity for some of the buttons and even the analog sticks. This allows you to really customize how the controllers feel to your liking.

Responsiveness

Responsiveness is how fast your controller reacts to the game and is a good measure of overall performance. A lot of people find that the Dualshock 4 is responsive enough for the vast majority of games. But if you find your multiplayer stats need work, you might see an improved performance if you switch to a more responsive controller.

Then there’s also the physical responsiveness of the controller. This is how the buttons, keypads, and analog sticks “respond” when you press them. Some are soft to the touch, while others have more resistance.

A lot of people also like the satisfying “click” some buttons make when pressed because it tells the player that he or she correctly pressed it.

Game-Specific Controllers

Some games require a different controller for the best performance. This will, undoubtedly, dictate what type you have to get.

Fighting games are a perfect example. Most pro players are divided here, and the vast majority prefer the classic feel and freedom of a traditional joystick. Others like to use the gamepad, and there are controllers out there that provide that exclusively.

Then there are the racing wheel controllers, which of course, go great with racing games. Controllers with hair triggers are ideal for FPS games.

A caveat is that you should check if the controller you’re eyeing up is compatible with the game that you want to play. 

Not quite had your fix? Why not check out the best PS4 keyboard and mouse options – yes, you can use those instead of a controller!