The best controllers for Call of Duty in July: our picks across PlayStation, Xbox, PC and mobile

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Best Controllers for Call of Duty

(Image credit: Future, Activision, Dashiell Wood)

The list in brief
1. Best overall
2. Best budget
3. Best premium
4. Best Xbox
5. Best PC
6. Best PlayStation
7. Best mobile
FAQs
How we choose

If you’re going to be diving into Modern Warfare 3, or even an older Call of Duty title like Vanguard or Cold War, then looking into one of the best controllers for Call of Duty can make all the difference. You'll find many of these gamepads in our best PC controllers guide, as well as our lists of the best Xbox controllers and best PS5 controllers, so you can rest assured all have been thoroughly and expertly tested.

There are loads of controllers on the market, each with their own unique features and quirks. Although this means you have plenty of options to choose from, it can make the experience of trying to buy one of the best a tad overwhelming - especially if you're shopping with a specific game or series in mind. 

That’s why we’ve assembled this list of our top picks for the best controllers for Call of Duty taking into account a range of budgets and requirements. In addition to breaking down the pros and cons of every model featured, we have reams of expert buying advice from yours truly and the rest of the TechRadar Gaming hardware team to help you make the most informed controller purchase possible.

The Quick List

The best controllers for Call of Duty in 2024

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The best overall controller for Call of Duty

Best Controllers for Call of Duty

(Image credit: Microsoft)
The best controller for Call of Duty overall

Specifications

Connectivity: Wired, Bluetooth
Features: Textured grip, 3.5mm stereo headset, replaceable battery
Compatibility: Xbox, PC

Reasons to buy

+
Good triggers
+
Reliable build
+
Great price

Reasons to avoid

-
Lacks premium features
Buy it if

You game on Xbox or PC: Compatible with every model from the Xbox One onwards, this is a great choice for Xbox gamers. PC players also benefit from support out of the box.

You don't want to break the bank: It's not the cheapest entry on this list but the Xbox Wireless Controller still offers fantastic value. This is a good option if you want to spend less.

Don't buy it if

You want premium features: Lots of Call of Duty players take full advantage of more premium features like rear paddles or interchangeable thumbsticks. Unfortunately, you won't find these features here.

The Xbox Wireless Controller is our top pick for the best controller for Call of Duty. This reliable gamepad certainly isn’t the most exciting choice on this list, but it ticks all the right boxes when it comes to price and performance.

The triggers lack some of the more premium features found on other entries on this list, but are very responsive out of the box making them perfect for reliably taking shots in sweaty lobbies. Compatibility is also a strong suit, working perfectly with the Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, and PC. Although a relatively recent design, this controller also works with older systems like the Xbox One; a life saver if you’re playing the last-generation version of the game.

The only real downside here is the lack of compatibility with Sony consoles. For obvious reasons, you’re not going to be able to use the Xbox Wireless Controller on PlayStation. If you’re interested in more premium offerings, or want something to work on your PS4 or PS5, consider some of the following options on this list.

The best budget controller for Call of Duty

Best Controllers for Call of Duty

(Image credit: PDP)

2. PDP REMATCH Wired Controller

The best budget controller for Call of Duty

Specifications

Connectivity: USB-C
Features: Built-in audio controls, programmable back buttons
Compatibility: Xbox, PC

Reasons to buy

+
Back paddles
+
Great price
+
Range of designs

Reasons to avoid

-
Wired only
-
No PlayStation compatibility
Buy it if

You want a wired controller: You're very unlikely to find quality wireless controllers in this price range. If you want to save money, be prepared to deal with the cable.

You're on a tight budget: The PDP REMATCH Wired Controller is much cheaper than its alternatives and still boasts some surprisingly nifty features like the volume control.

Don't buy it if

You don't game on PC or Xbox: This is another controller that is only compatible with PC and Xbox. If you play on PlayStation, or ever mobile, there are much better recommendations on this list.

A cheaper alternative to the Xbox Wireless Controller, the PDP Rematch Wired Controller is the perfect choice if you’re working on a tight budget. Despite the low price tag, you’re still getting plenty of desirable features making this the best budget controller for Call of Duty. This includes handy mappable back paddles (ideal for quick use of throwables) and the ability to remap buttons or alter the responsiveness of your triggers via the accompanying PDP control app for Xbox and PC.

The 3.5mm headphone jack and built-in audio controls are also a fantastic inclusion, allowing you to mute your microphone or change the game volume (via the up and down inputs on the D-Pad) without sacrificing valuable seconds to look away from the screen in the middle of a match. There are also a good selection of color options available and I’m personally particularly fond of the ‘Cherry Blossom’ design which features an adorable graphic with glow in the dark sakura leaves. 

The biggest concession here is the fact that the controller is wired only. Connected to your system by an 8ft USB-C cable, it’s not going to be a huge issue for many setups but could prove troublesome if you play particularly far away from your gaming TV or monitor or simply just prefer a wireless option. Like the Xbox Wireless Controller, the PDP Rematch Wired Controller can also be used on PC but is a bad choice if you play Call of Duty on PlayStation where it isn’t compatible.

The best premium controller for Call of Duty

Best Controllers for Call of Duty

(Image credit: SCUF)

3. SCUF Reflex FPS

The best premium controller for Call of Duty

Specifications

Connectivity: USB-C, wireless (Bluetooth)
Feature: interchangeable thumbsticks, remappable paddles, lightweight design, instant triggers
Compatibility: PlayStation, PC

Reasons to buy

+
Designed specifically for FPS games
+
Used for Call of Duty pros
+
Lots of premiums features

Reasons to avoid

-
Very expensive
-
No Xbox compatibility
Buy it if

You want the very best for FPS games: This is the only controller on this list that has been made specifically for playing FPS games. If you want the very best, this is it.

You play on PS5 or PC: The SCUF Reflex FPS is compatible with PS5 or PC. If you play on those platforms, this is a top choice.

Don't buy it if

You want something cheaper: This is one of the most expensive controllers on this list as you're paying a huge premium for something that has been designed specifically for FPS games.

As the name would suggest, this variant of the SCUF Reflex controller has been specifically tuned for FPS games making it comfortably the best premium controller for playing Call of Duty. In addition to a super light 280g weight, reducing fatigue over long play sessions, the SCUF Reflex FPS boasts instant triggers that, in theory, should help you land accurate shots faster.

It also features four back paddles, all fully remappable, which reduce the need to take your thumbs off the control sticks to perform actions like jumps or slides. Unlike other versions of this controller, the vibration features have been removed entirely. This might be a deal-breaker if you’re solely intending to play the single-player campaign, where vibration adds to the immersion, but is actually a huge help in online play. No vibration means that your controller isn’t shaking while you fire, helping increase your accuracy for those tricky shots.

You can also change the thumbsticks, with a handful of alternate options included in the package, and set up specific profiles to switch through with the click of a button. This could be a game changer if you’re somebody who likes to alternate between different Call of Duty games, letting you tweak a specific setup to use in, for example, the faster-paced matches of Cold War or the more methodical firefights of Modern Warfare 3. Compatible with PS5 and PC, consider something else if you’re an Xbox gamer.

The best Xbox controller for Call of Duty

Best Controllers for Call of Duty

(Image credit: Microsoft)
The best Xbox controller for Call of Duty

Specifications

Connectivity: Wired, Wireless (via adapter)
Features: Interchangeable components, haptic rumble, 3.5mm headset, extensive customization
Compatibility: Xbox, PC

Reasons to buy

+
Premium materials
+
Tons of features
+
Adjustable triggers

Reasons to avoid

-
Very expensive
Buy it if

You want premium features: With customizable triggers, alternate joysticks, fantastic materials and even an included carry case and dock - this is one high-end controller.

You want comfortable sessions: The original Xbox Wireless Controller was very ergonomic but, thanks to the improved materials, the Xbox Elite Series 2 feels even better in the hands.

Don't buy it if

❌ You're shopping on a budget: If you want to save money, we would recommend buying the basic Xbox Wireless Controller instead. You get the same great ergonomic design for a much more affordable price.

This more premium variant of the Xbox Wireless Controller is undoubtedly the best controller for Call of Duty if you’re shopping for a controller to play on Xbox. It also works well on PC, making a solid option for PC players too. The Xbox Elite Series 2 boasts superb materials that make it extremely comfortable to use over extended sessions. 

The adjustable triggers are also perfect for Call of Duty, giving you the option to significantly reduce the travel time for the ability to make shots quicker. It features four magnetic back paddles, which can be removed when you’re playing other games making this one of the more versatile controllers on this list.

You can save multiple profiles and adjust the feeling thumbsticks with an included adjustment tool. The optional tall thumbstick, espoused by some players as the secret to more accurate aim with sniper rifles, is a decent inclusion but, in my personal testing, I found it a little too fiddly for sustained use.

The best PC controller for Call of Duty

Best Controllers for Call of Duty

(Image credit: PDP)
The best PC controller for Call of Duty

Specifications

Connectivity: USB-C, Wireless (Bluetooth)
Features: Modular design, rear paddles
Compatibility: PlayStation, PC (Xbox version also available)

Reasons to buy

+
Modular design
+
Back paddles
+
Alternate joysticks

Reasons to avoid

-
High price tag
Buy it if

You want a modular design: The PDP Victrix Pro BFG Wireless Controller is without a doubt one of the best modular controllers on the market. Choose this if you want to swap parts easily.

You play on PC: This controller is particularly excellent when used with a PC thanks to the handy Victrix Control Hub App.

Don't buy it if

You won't use the features: The modular design makes this controller considerably more expensive than many alternatives. It is well worth the money, but only if you intend to use those features to their fullest.

A highly customizable controller designed for competitive play, the PDP Victrix Pro BFG Wireless Controller presents the best value when you’re playing on PC where its versatile modular design allows you to customize the layout to your liking.

The ability to remove, rotate, and swap modules for features like the joystick and D-pad means that you can choose to mirror the layout of a DualSense controller or the Xbox Wireless Controller, giving you a level of customization that you simply won’t find anywhere else. As a PC player, it’s likely that you won’t know for sure which of the two major console’s layouts you prefer before buying - making this an easy way to avoid buyer’s remorse.

In addition to changing the modules, you can also swap out the joysticks including an optional tall joystick like you would find on the Xbox Elite Series 2. Back paddles are also included, alongside the option to switch between three saved profiles on the fly. The stopping points of the triggers can be tuned, again reducing the time it takes to fire your weapon. While playing on PC, you can also take full advantage of the handy Victrix Control Hub App, which offers even more configuration options. Thanks to this, it's our pick for the best controller for Call of Duty on PC.

The best PlayStation controller for Call of Duty

Best Controllers for Call of Duty

(Image credit: Sony)
The best PlayStation controller for Call of Duty

Specifications

Connectivity: USB-C, Wireless (Bluetooth)
Features: Back paddles, interchangeable joysticks, adaptive triggers, haptic feedback
Compatibility: PlayStation, PC

Reasons to buy

+
Premium materials
+
Good features
+
Adaptive triggers and haptic feedback

Reasons to avoid

-
Poor battery life
-
High price tag

It’s easy to recommend Sony’s premium DualSense Edge Wireless Controller to those on PlayStation trying to get their hands on the best controller for Call of Duty. There’s a good variety of customization options available too, including rear paddle buttons, swappable thumbsticks and, of course, the ability to save profiles. Like the Xbox Elite Series 2, you can also alternate between different trigger lock settings which is a fantastic feature for FPS players.

This is one of the few controllers that makes full use of the PS5’s innovative features like haptic feedback and adaptive triggers. While the added motion may be a hindrance during multiplayer sessions, it is undeniably hugely important for making the most of the campaign. Thankfully, these features can be disabled before you jump into an online match. You’re also getting a handy carrying case and function buttons that can control the volume of your headset without having to fiddle around in menus.

Like the original DualSense controller, however, you’re going to have to contend with a less than ideal battery life here. A full charge lasts four to six hours at best, and drains even faster if you’re making full use of haptic feedback and the adaptive triggers. If you’re somebody who enjoys playing for long periods of time, consider using the controller wired or pick another PlayStation-compatible option from this list.

The best mobile controller for Call of Duty

Best Controllers for Call of Duty

(Image credit: Backbone)
The best mobile controller for Call of Duty

Specifications

Connectivity: USB-C / Lightning
Features: Tactile buttons, capture button
Compatibility: Android, iOS

Reasons to buy

+
Compatible with many phones
+
Excellent tactile buttons
+
Potentially gives you an advantage

Reasons to avoid

-
Only for mobile games

Despite being one of the most popular Call of Duty titles, many tend to overlook Call of Duty: Mobile. This portable spinoff boasts a fantastic selection of maps and weapons from across the series and gunplay that feels genuinely comparable to the console iterations. With Call of Duty: Warzone Mobile, a more modern version of the game, on the way, now is the perfect time to invest in the best mobile controller for Call of Duty. If you’re shopping for a mobile controller, we especially recommend the Backbone One as it is comfortably one of the best mobile controllers on the market.

The tactile buttons lend your mobile gaming a console-quality experience and the addition of joysticks can dramatically improve your performance in online matches. With both a USB-C and Lightning version, the Backbone One is compatible with a huge selection of popular mobile phones. 

If you're a PlayStation gamer, consider grabbing the officially licensed PlayStation Edition for a more familiar design. As with any peripheral, however, do make sure to double check official documentation to confirm hardware and software compatibility with your device before you buy.

The best controller for Call of Duty - FAQs

Do I need a controller for Call of Duty?

If you’re playing on a console like the Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, or PlayStation 5, then we recommend using one of the best controllers for Call of Duty. Although keyboard and mouse inputs are compatible with most consoles and even preferred by some players, the majority of setups are poorly suited to them. If you play in your living room, having to juggle your existing controller with a keyboard and mouse can be a hassle. For PC players, however, it simply comes down to personal preference as some prefer the feel of a controller.

What is the best controller for Call of Duty?

The best controller for Call of Duty largely comes down to your personal preferences and the systems on which you play. While we recommend the Xbox Wireless Controller as a top value choice for PC and Xbox players, it is not an option for PlayStation players. Some also might prefer more premium offerings like the SCUF Reflex FPS. Consider some of the entries on this list for recommendations for a wide range of platforms and budgets.

Do I need a controller for Call of Duty: Mobile?

While you don’t technically need a controller to play Call of Duty: Mobile, picking up a compatible mobile controller like the Backbone One can make a huge difference. Touch controls are adequate but they’re certainly not the best way to play. Consider a mobile controller if you want to perform better or want to achieve a more console quality experience.

How we choose the best controllers for Call of Duty

We handpick the best controllers for Call of Duty games using a wide range of criteria. First off, we made sure to include a variety of gamepads that support each console, as well as PC and mobile. This is because there typically isn't a one-size-fits-all multiplatform controller.

Beyond that, we like to examine any given controller's feature set. For a fast-paced shooter like Call of Duty, controllers need to be responsive and offer desirable features like good build quality, high battery life and snappy inputs. 

More Pro-like features such as Hall-sensing sticks and triggers, alongside customizable button profiles, mappable back buttons and trigger stops are all welcome features, too. These, especially, can grant you an edge in battle by providing much-needed shortcuts and input macros.

Dashiell Wood
Hardware Writer

Dash is a technology journalist who covers gaming hardware at TechRadar. Before joining the TechRadar team, he was writing gaming articles for some of the UK's biggest magazines including PLAY, Edge, PC Gamer, and SFX. Now, when he's not getting his greasy little mitts on the newest hardware or gaming gadget, he can be found listening to J-pop or feverishly devouring the latest Nintendo Switch otome.

With contributions from