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Best PS4 controllers 2020: the best options for smarter gaming

Best PS4 controller
Image credit: Sony

Have your PS4 controller’s analog sticks have started to drift? Do you have to mash the power button to get it to register? Just sort yourself out with a new PS4 pad. 

You don’t need to buy a PS5 to give your game console setup a fresh feel.

The first thing to note is you shouldn’t buy Sony’s new DualSense pad, made for PS5. It doesn’t work on PS4, although it does on PS3, curiously enough. 

We have a lot of love for the classic DualShock 4 PS4 controller, and there’s a whole stack of designs should you find plain black too dull a look. However, there are plenty of alternatives. You’ll find some of them below. 

Companies like Nacon and SCUF make PS4 controllers with advanced customizable paddles and adjustable tension triggers. Some of these have a shape closer to an Xbox pad too, for those who prefer a chunkier feel. 

There are also dinky PS4 pads, handy for kids or those after a controller that’s easier to stash in a bag. Read on to find out about our favourites.

Best PS4 controller Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals

If you don't have a broken DualShock 4 at home, begging to be replaced, you might want to consider waiting for the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. Black Friday itself lands on 27 November in 2020, but the deals now start rolling in weeks before. 

Last year we saw first-party PlayStation DualShock 4 pads for $35, or £30 in the UK. That's a hot deal. You could get pads direct from Sony PlayStation for $40. There were also offers on Nacon controllers, which are among our third-party favourites below. 

"PlayStation Black Friday will return in 2020", reads the PlayStation website. But do shop around at other retailers. Last year they did their best to beat Sony, even if it was only by a dollar or two. The PlayStation 5 is the hot news of the moment, and we hope to see some bundle bargains, but that may mean we get an even better offer on the older pads. 

Bookmark our DualShock 4 deals page so you don't miss out. 

Best PS4 controllers

Sony DualShock 4 Wireless Controller (Image credit: Sony)

1. Sony DualShock 4 Wireless Controller

The original

Great look and feel
Built-in speaker
Highly sensitive motion sensors
At times feels a little too light
Track pad has deficiencies

The trusty DualShock 4 is always our first recommendation when we're asked about replacement PS4 controllers. 

The DualShock 4 is perfect for its purpose: sleek, small and wireless. Not to mention the built in speaker, varying light bar colors, touch pad and motion detection that enhance play. 

This need not be a cop-out option either. You don't have to make do with the plain old black style shipped with the console. Jazz things up a bit with a red, blue, gold or green camo DualShock 4. 

You can attach a gaming headset or headphones to the controller easily too (unlike the Xbox One pad). However, battery life can be a pain. The controller holds charge for around four to eight hours. Frequent top-ups are required so you might want to buy a charge dock, particularly as they use microUSB charging. 

Many of us have already moved onto USB-C for our phones, so there are fewer suitable cables lying about the house. Read more about Sony's official charging station in our best PS4 accessories round-up.

We find the DualShock 4 is a great PS4 controller for someone who just simply wants to get on with playing and isn’t fussed about the customization available in some of the third-party pads below.

Check out our full DualShock 4 controller review.

Nacon Revolution Unlimited Pro Controller (Image credit: Nacon)

Nacon Revolution Unlimited Pro Controller (Image credit: Nacon)

2. Nacon Revolution Unlimited Pro Controller

Customization for the serious gamer

Truly ergonomic
Plentiful customization options
High-quality build
Button mapping not obvious
Can't amend profiles on PS4

If you are a PS4 player, but prefer the design of the Xbox One controller, the Nacon Revolution Unlimited Pro Controller might be a better fit for you. Like the Vantage Controller, the Revolution Pro is built for gamers (more specifically esports) with a directional pad that can move eight ways - instead of four - alongside four shortcut buttons. 

However, it’s not quite as complicated to operate as the Vantage, nor is it as expensive.

If you want a PS4 controller with a few extra bells and whistles, but not an overwhelming amount, and prefer a chunkier controller that is a bit more resilient, the Nacon Revolution Unlimited Pro Controller could be for you. 

Check out our full Nacon Revolution Unlimited Pro Controller review.

SCUF Vantage Controller (Image credit: SCUF)

SCUF Vantage Controller (Image credit: SCUF)

3. SCUF Vantage Controller

A mostly advantageous (and expensive) modular PS4 controller

Feels great to hold
Modular elements work well
Audio touchpad adds convenience
Customizable aesthetics
Analog sticks can become stuck
Cross d-pad is too rigid
Dicey R1 and L1
Sax buttons can be difficult to press

If you want your PS4 controller to have a bit more bite, and are more specific about your controller’s performance, the SCUF Vantage Controller is a great option. 

Built with gamers in mind, this fully customizable PS4 controller boasts enhanced grip, remappable paddles on the back, side action buttons and an audio touch bar. 

Those rear paddles are similar to those of the Xbox Elite Controller. You program them using a switch on the bottom, and flick them with an extended index finger. It's a different way to play, but offers something the DualShock 4 does not.

Essentially the Vantage controller is built so you can play more comfortably for longer. But unless you know how to optimize its abilities, maybe it's best to stick to a more straightforward PS4 controller. 

Especially because the Vantage Controller is much more expensive than your average DualShock 4.

Check out our full SCUF Vantage Controller review.

Razer Raiju Ultimate Wireless PS4 Controller (Image credit: Razer)

Razer Raiju Ultimate Wireless PS4 Controller (Image credit: Razer)

4. Razer Raiju Ultimate Wireless PS4 Controller

Go ultimate

Incredibly sturdy and durable
Responsive mechanical buttons
Reliable wired connectivity
Chroma lighting integration
Annoying latency
D-pad options feel cheap
Limited availability

The Razer Raiju Ultimate Wireless PS4 Controller is more suited to seasoned gamers and pros, allowing advanced customization via the Razer mobile app - that includes remapping and adjusting sensitivity. 

This is one of the smartest PS4 gamepads around.

If that’s not enough customization for you, you can also make use of interchangeable thumbsticks, the built-in quick control panel, and Hair Trigger Mode - allowing you to be more trigger-happy than ever before.

Much like the other pro controllers on this list, the Raiju Ultimate is chunkier than the DualShock making it more suitable for those who prefer the Xbox One controller style. 

When it launched the controller had an issue with latency when used wireless. This was improved, if not entirely fixed, with a firmware update.

The Raiju Ultimate is a fantastic PS4 controller, but it’s not exactly cheap. Make sure you will make use of advanced customizations before investing - but if you harness the controller's capabilities then you’ll find your gameplay experience all that much smoother.

Check out our full Razer Raiju Ultimate review.

Best PS4 controllers

Mini Wired Gamepad (Image credit: Sony)

5. Mini Wired Gamepad

It's not exactly a DualShock – but it's cheaper

40% smaller than the DualShock 4
Great for kids
Limited amount of games it is compatible with

Looking for a PS4 controller for a young person in your house? The Hori Mini Wired Gamepad is a good fit for smaller hands. 

The Mini Wired looks like a retro controller. It is plug-n-play with 10ft cable (no pulling the console off the stand) and it’s 40% smaller than the DualShock 4.  The grip is minimal as a result, but that's a good fit if you want a small pad to stash in a bag.

However, there is no light bar, stereo headset jack, speaker, dual motors, or motion sensor - it’s a much more streamlined alternative to the DualShock 4. And that means a few games won't work with it.

According to Sony, the Mini Wired Gamepad is compatible with “most” PS4 games. We’re reading that as the less complicated ones, so don’t fire up Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and expect the controller to be able to hack it - not that children should be playing it anyway.

The Mini Wired Gamepad is $30 (around £23/AU$38) from Sony affiliated retailers.

Best PS4 Controllers

(Image credit: Nacon)

6. Nacon Asymmetric Wireless Controller

For those who prefer the Xbox One controller

Suited to those who prefer Xbox controllers
Works on PS4 and PC
Comfortable and well built
USB Bluetooth receiver needed for wireless
No motion sensor or built-in speaker
Slight delay

The Nacon Asymmetric Wireless Controller is a comfortable controller that brings the Xbox One gamepad experience to PS4 (and PC) players. It's robust and well-made, with a chunkier design than the DualShock 4. 

Its name tells you the main selling point: the Nacon Asymmetric Wireless Controller has offset analogue sticks, like an Xbox One controller.

It may be a better choice for those who have dexterity issues or simply prefer a bigger controller due to its bigger buttons and triggers. 

However, there are a few performance issues to take into account. We noticed some grating lag at review, and there are no motion sensors inside. The light bar and speaker are missing too, features important for some games. It's a good choice if you want a second pad to use for some specific dual-stick titles. 

Check out our full Nacon Asymmetric Wireless Controller review.