My picks for the best looking controllers for PlayStation, Xbox and Nintendo Switch

Xbox Wireless Controller - Aqua Shift Edition against a starry backdrop
(Image credit: Microsoft)

The best-looking controllers are typically ones with especially eye-catching designs. They may turn heads with beautiful RGB lighting or a particularly cool form factor that helps them stand out from the crowd.

It’s often been said that style and substance sometimes don’t mix too well, but that isn’t necessarily the case with top controllers of today. Whether you’re shopping for the best Xbox controllers or best Nintendo Switch controllers, there are plenty that fit the bill of both form and function.

The following list includes the best-looking controllers that also offer a fantastic overall play experience. After all, what good are the aesthetics if the controller in question is unable to pull its weight when it comes to its hardware and actually playing games? Not only do we recommend these gamepads for their sharp aesthetics and styles, but also because they don’t sacrifice anything in terms of actual performance.

GameSir T4 Kaleid

GameSir T4 Kaleid

(Image credit: Future)

The GameSir T4 Kaleid brings back that translucent hardware aesthetic that was popular in the late 90s and early 2000s. The clear, plastic shell makes the underlying circuit board visible, which itself sports a smart gold-on-black look that helps the gamepad look extra slick.

Even better, plugging the wired controller in via USB-C activates two RGB strips on either side of the pad. By default, these lights slowly pulse through a wide spectrum of colors, but this can be further customized in its PC companion app.

We’re also very confident in calling the T4 Kaleid one of the best PC controllers in recent memory. Featuring drift-resistant Hall effect analog sticks and responsive, clicky buttons, the controller offers a relatively premium play experience at an astonishingly budget price point of $41.99 / £41.99.

Xbox Wireless Controller special editions

Xbox Wireless Controllers – Electric Volt and Daystrike Camo

(Image credit: Microsoft)

The official controller of the Xbox Series X|S console generation is a perfectly functional controller by itself, but Microsoft has gone ham in offering no shortage of limited edition gamepads that, more often than not, look absolutely stunning.

A particular favorite is the Forza Horizon 5 controller which features a yellow, translucent shell adorned with pink and blue splatter effects. We’re also huge fans of the Stellar Shift and Stormcloud Vapor variants that look entirely unique on the official gamepad market. The former features a dazzling blue-indigo shine while the latter is painted with an eye-catching, hazy blue pattern.

Xbox Wireless Controller special editions tend to vary in price, usually costing around $64.99 / £59.99 which is a bit pricier than the standard model. However, it’s not uncommon to see these gamepads go on sale, where you can sometimes find them dropping below the $50 / £50 mark or even further.

Nacon Revolution 5 Pro

Nacon Revolution 5 Pro

(Image credit: Future)

An initial glance at the Revolution 5 Pro shows a controller that appears to be rather understated in terms of its looks. Available in either matte black or white, Nacon’s premium PS5 controller comes to life when you hook it up to your console or PC, offering a sleek yet reserved lighting profile that complements its no-nonsense look.

This controller features a ring of lighting situated around its right analog stick. By default, it’s a brand-appropriate blue, but this can be changed in the controller’s dedicated app (available on PC and mobile) for colors across the spectrum and a selection of lighting patterns. This lighting does offer some function, too, as light strips next to the touchpad give you an idea of how much battery is remaining if you’re playing wirelessly.

The Revolution 5 Pro is a quality product, but certainly more on the premium side of this list. It’s available for $199.99 / £209.99; roughly the same as Sony’s official DualSense Edge. If that’s a bit much, we’d recommend waiting for any potential future sales, as it’s definitely a gamepad worth owning when it comes to both style and substance.

8BitDo NeoGeo Wireless Controller

8BitDo Neo Geo CD wireless controller

(Image credit: 8BitDo / SNK)

Time for something a bit more old-school now. If you owned a NeoGeo CD console back in the day (or have managed to get ahold of one recently!) you’ll know that its controller is superb. In 2023, manufacturer 8BitDo partnered with publisher SNK - creator of the NeoGeo console - to create a more up-to-date rendition of the iconic gamepad, and it’s absolutely brilliant.

The 8BitDo NeoGeo Wireless Controller retains the look and feel of that original pad, including its comfy, rounded design, large face buttons, and a wonderfully clicky thumbstick that’s perfect for fighting games. Plus, its added wireless connectivity means it can be hooked up to your PC or mobile via 2.4GHz or Bluetooth.

The best part? It’s a pretty affordable - if admittedly specialized - gamepad, coming in at just $34.99 / £29.99. Granted, its functionality is limited as it lacks a second analog stick, but it’s a fantastic choice for some of the best fighting games and recent arcade compilations. We’ve even compiled a list of the best games to play with the 8BitDo NeoGeo Wireless Controller if you’re tempted to purchase one.

Nitro Deck

Nitro Deck for Nintendo Switch adorned in Gamecube colors

(Image credit: CRKD)

Voted as the best gaming accessory at 2023’s TechRadar Choice Awards, we consider the Nitro Deck an essential purchase for Nintendo Switch players who primarily use the device in handheld mode. It offers functionality like reduced input delay (thanks to its USB-C port that connects directly to the Switch handheld) and Hall effect analog sticks which eliminate issues with stick drift found on the official Joy-Con controllers.

Beyond its functionality, the Nitro Deck also sports a gorgeous design, especially if you look at one of its many special editions such as the Gamecube-like Retro Purple, or the eye-catching Crystal Collection which features translucent colorways including Orange Zest and Crystal Pink.

Nitro Decks are a bit pricier than some other gamepads on this list but are well worth the investment in our books. You can pick up the standard versions for $59.99 / £59.99 apiece. The special editions, meanwhile, including those found in the Nostalgia and Crystal Collections, will run you $89.99 / £89.99 each.

After more accessories? Consider checking out our guides to the best PS5 accessories and best Nintendo Switch accessories for top recommendations on console hardware, no matter your platform of choice.

Rhys Wood
Hardware Editor

Rhys is TRG's Hardware Editor, and has been part of the TechRadar team for more than two years. Particularly passionate about high-quality third-party controllers and headsets, as well as the latest and greatest in fight sticks and VR, Rhys strives to provide easy-to-read, informative coverage on gaming hardware of all kinds. As for the games themselves, Rhys is especially keen on fighting and racing games, as well as soulslikes and RPGs.