The best PS4 controllers aren't limited to the DualShock 4. Sony's official pad is fantastic, but there's plenty of great third party options from a variety of brands worth considering, too.
There's certainly no 'one size fits all' option when it comes to PS4 controllers. While the included DualShock 4 will likely suit most players, other pads offer features that Sony's official one doesn't. Some are more compact, ideal for smaller hands or specific game types. Others are more premium feeling, offering several handy features you won't find on Sony's official pad.
Many third party PS4 controllers go big on aesthetics, with extra features like RGB lighting or creative color variants. Others still provide alternative ergonomic options, potentially making gaming more comfortable for you as a player. Some of the best PS4 controllers contain added features to upgrade your performance, like digital triggers for speedier reaction times in online multiplayer environments.
There's a wide range of PS4 controllers on offer, then, so it’s worth looking beyond Sony’s DualShock 4 if you need more. It's worth noting, though, that some third-party pads won't work on PS5. To help you out, we've created a list of the best PS4 controllers you can buy today, no matter your budget. From excellent cheaper pads to ones that pack ancillary features, we're sure there's a PS4 controller in this list for you.
Best PS4 controllers
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It shouldn't be a surprise that Sony's official DualShock 4 tops our list of the best PS4 controllers. The DualShock 4 is one of Sony's best controllers to date. It's sleeker and more ergonomic than its previous pads. And on top of that, excellent features like the touchpad, lighting and built-in speakers give the controller a lovely premium touch.
But this isn't just an easy, offhand recommendation. There's a huge variety of color options to consider when buying a DualShock 4. Spice things up a bit with a red, blue, gold or perhaps even a green camo DualShock 4. There's options to suit gamers of all kinds here.
You can also attach one of the best PC gaming headsets or headphones to the controller easily, too, thanks to the 3.5mm headphone jack on the controller. However, much like the succeeding DualSense Wireless Controller on PS5, battery life is comparatively lacking. You'll get anywhere from four to eight hours on a single charge.
Frequent top-ups are required, then, so you might a charging dock, particularly as they use microUSB charging. Alternatively, you may want a wired controller, eliminating the need to charge your pad entirely. Many have already moved onto USB-C for our phones, so there'll likely be fewer suitable cables lying about. 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 simply wants to get on with playing, someone who isn’t fussed about the customization available in some of the third-party pads below. And as a pad that's included with the console, it does its job remarkably well. It's also worth noting that while the DualShock 4 does work with PS5, it can only be used to play the best PS4 games on the console.
Read the full review: DualShock 4 controller
Love the DualShock 4, but wish it had a few more buttons to play with? You might want to check out the brilliant Scuf Impact. With the EMR Scuf Impact, you can remap these paddles with a little magnet that sticks on the back. It's a great choice if you're after a controller with a lot of customization options. Though only buy it if you're serious about this, as it's more expensive than the DualShock 4.
During our testing, we found it easy make the switch between the DualShock 4 and the Scuf Impact. The ergonomics are slightly different, sure, but the core features of the DualShock 4 are replicated with no odd-feeling or low-quality parts that stick out.
We reviewed the digital trigger version, which has ultra-fast triggers made for FPS games. They're a hit, but aren’t ideal for other types of game, particularly racers like Gran Turismo 7 where trigger sensitivity adds greatly to the experience. Like the DualShock 4, the Scuf Impact won't work with the best PS5 games, but will work with supporting PS4 games on Sony's latest hardware.
Read the full review: Scuf Impact
If you have a PS4 but like the design of the Xbox One gamepad, then the Nacon Revolution Unlimited Pro Controller is for you. Design-wise, Nacon usually doesn't mess around, and that continues to be the case with this truly ergonomic pad. You'll find a sleek black/gray finish, and a lot of options for button mapping and customization, too.
Developed by Nacon, a company that specializes in gaming accessories with eSports in mind, the Unlimited Pro is compatible with PlayStation 4 consoles as well as PCs. And the best part? The Revolution Unlimited Pro is officially licensed by Sony.
That's a trusted seal of approval that should give wary buyers peace of mind. If you want a PS4 controller with a few extra bells and whistles that doesn't overwhelm, and prefer a more resilient gamepad, then we can't recommend Nacon Revolution Unlimited Pro Controller enough.
Read the full review: Nacon Revolution Unlimited Pro Controller
The Razer Raiju Ultimate Wireless PS4 Controller is one of the smartest PS4 pads around, and is well suited for seasoned gamers looking for a more involving controller. It allows advanced customization via the Razer mobile app, which includes remapping, adjusting sensitivity, and creating your own bespoke RGB light show.
If that’s not enough customization, you can also make use of interchangeable thumbsticks, the built-in quick control panel, and Hair Trigger Mode. If you harness the controller's capabilities, you’ll find your gameplay experience all that much smoother across a wide range of genres.
Much like the other pro controllers on this list, the Raiju Ultimate is a bit chunkier than the DualShock 4, making it more suitable for those who prefer the larger style of the Xbox One controller. The Raiju Ultimate is a fantastic PS4 controller, but it’s not cheap. As such, we can only recommend a buy if you're planning on making use of those advanced features. Or if you just really like RGB lighting.
Read the full review: Razer Raiju Ultimate
The Hori Mini Wired Gamepad is a good fit for smaller hands. Whether you find regular PS4 gamepads too big or want an option for your kids, this controller will do the trick nicely.
The Hori Mini Wired has a pleasingly retro look and feel. The wired pad has a 10ft cable and it’s roughly 40 percent smaller than the DualShock 4. The grip is minimal as a result, but makes it great for portability. It's also well suited to simple arcade titles.
Because this PS4 pad is so small, you're lacking a light bar, stereo headset jack, speaker, dual motors, and a motion sensor. Think of it as a streamlined alternative to the DualShock 4. As such, a few games won't work with this controller, but more arcade-like titles or fighting games could benefit from its use.
Nacon's at it again with the Asymmetric Wireless Controller. A comfortable gamepad that brings the Xbox One controller experience to PS4 (and PC) players. It's robust and well-made, with a chunkier design than the DualShock 4, which makes it more comfortable to hold across longer gaming sessions.
Its name clues you in on the USP: the Nacon Asymmetric Wireless Controller has offset analog sticks, just like the Xbox One pad. We found this to be a better choice for those who have dexterity issues, or those who simply prefer the offset design as opposed to Sony's tradition of applying symmetrical sticks to its official pads.
However, there's a few performance issues to take into account. We noticed some grating lag during testing, and there's no motion sensing features. The light bar and speaker are missing, too, important feature for some games. It's a good choice if you want a second pad to use for some specific dual-stick titles, but it likely won't replace your DualShock 4 unless you greatly prefer the asymmetry of its analog sticks.
Read the full review: Nacon Asymmetric Wireless Controller
Will a PS4 controller work on PS5?
You can use the DualShock 4 PS4 controller on PS5. However, there are some drawbacks. For one, you can only use a PS4 controller on PS5 to play PS4 games. You won't be able to play PS5 games using a PS4 controller.
That's because most PS5 games make extensive use of the DualSense's haptic feedback and adaptive triggers, which allow for a greater level of immersion and gameplay depth.
Some games, like Returnal for example, use features like adaptive triggers to change how you can use certain weapons. That functionality is missing with PS4 controllers, meaning that the game can't be played optimally by using one.
What should I look for when buying a PS4 controller?
There are a lot of options to consider when you're looking for a new PS4 gamepad.
The first is budget. You can expect to pay $49.99 / £49.99 for the DualShock 4 controller from Sony (although it's sometimes discounted in sales). Pro gamepads can exceed that price and cost more than $200 / £200 but budget options can be snapped up for as low as $20 / £20.
You often get what you pay for here. The more expensive the gamepad is, the more responsive it's likely to be with additional features. Then again, you don't need to spend more than around $80 / £80 unless you want finer controls, customization options and other high-end add-ons.
Also, consider whether you'd prefer a wired or wireless PS4 gamepad. The DualShock 4 pad is wireless thanks to a Bluetooth connection. But there are wired alternatives. The downside of a wired controller is you're tied to your console. The upside is you might notice slightly faster response times.
Other considerations, like weight and color, are down to personal preference. If you have small hands or need a controller your kids might play, the lighter the better.
Will a third-party controller work on PS4?
Most of the PS4 controllers you can buy will work with your PS4 – at least right now. The danger is if Sony updates the PS4 and some controllers that aren't officially licensed by Sony, they might become obsolete.
The only officially licensed PS4 controllers – other than the DualShock 4, of course – are the Razer Raiju Pro Gaming Controller, Nacon Revolution Pro Controller, HORI Wired Mini gamepads and Nacon Wired Compact Controllers.
However, brands not officially licensed, like Scuf or other top gaming companies, should always stay up to date too. It's the cheaper options that might be risky. It's worth double checking on product pages and reviews before you buy.