Updated December 2021
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Buying guide for Best PS4 controllers

The PlayStation 4 features a gigantic library of video games that delivers unforgettable experiences, like hacking apart vile monsters as Kratos and web-slinging through New York City with Spider-Man. And while many players are happy with adventuring alongside the default DualShock 4 controller included with their PlayStation 4, there are plenty of other excellent controllers out there that might be a better fit for your personal PS4 gaming preferences.

The number of features built into the DualShock 4 controller is certainly impressive, but you might be surprised to learn about the myriad gameplay-improving options that many third-party controllers provide for hardcore PS4 players. After putting a handful of PS4 controllers to the test, we know exactly what specs, features, and options you need to compare and contrast to find the best PS4 controller for you.

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Connecting a PS4 controller to a PC is as easy as plugging the other end of its micro USB charging cable into your computer.

Key considerations

Core features

Sony’s DualShock 4 wireless controller is the official controller of the PlayStation 4, and this latest evolution of the iconic PlayStation controller sports a few special features that might not be present on other third-party models. Some of these unique features include a dedicated Share button for uploading gameplay videos and screenshots, a built-in speaker, 3.5 mm audio jack, motion controls, light bar, and touchpad.

Note that buying a controller that doesn’t incorporate one or more of these key features could hinder your ability to fully enjoy certain PlayStation 4 games.

Design and comfort

Veteran PlayStation fans might be used to DualShock-shaped controllers, but there are plenty of other PS4 controller designs out there that are worth a try. It doesn’t matter whether third-party controllers emulate an Xbox One or a retro-gaming-style controller, each of these ergonomic devices incorporates all of the essential PS4 controller inputs into its design. Don’t be afraid to get your hands on a controller of a different shape – you just might like it!

Controller configuration

If you’re aiming for the top of the online leaderboards and have the heart of an esports champion, a PS4 controller that specializes in customizability might be the device for you. It’s true that these devices are generally more expensive than the average controller, and most players won’t feel the need to adjust their controller, but dedicated shooting, fighting, and racing game enthusiasts will appreciate the ability to fine-tune the sensitivity of their triggers, the response curve of each stick, and the ability to flip a switch to instantly jump between preset control types from game to game.

Note that many of these esports-focused PS4 controllers are also compatible with PC and Mac.

PS4 controller features

Experience-enhancing DualShock-inspired controller features like touchpads and light bars aside, each PlayStation controller includes all of the essential buttons and functions necessary into its design, allowing you to play all your favorite PlayStation 4 games, so there aren’t many bonus features to help one PS4 controller stand out from the crowd. On the other hand, there are a few key features for discerning PlayStation 4 owners to consider when buying a new controller.

Connectivity and compatibility

Some players would rather play with a wired controller, while others opt for a wireless Bluetooth device with a rechargeable internal battery. Most PS4 controllers are adaptable devices that utilize both connectivity options. Some PS4 controllers are compatible with PC and Mac platforms, so if you enjoy multi-platform gaming, one of these might be the right choice for you.

Hues to choose

Believe it or not, there are plenty of PS4 controller color options other than black! If you’re having a hard time deciding between a few controllers, check to see if each model is available in other exciting colors. Seeing an already interesting PS4 controller in exotic colors like berry blue, crystal, copper, green camouflage, or gold might help you to select a favorite! Please note that some PS4 controller colors are rarer than others, and these uncommon designs can easily double the price of the controller.

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Did you know?
The DualShock 4 controller’s touchpad was made to function like a smartphone’s touchscreen. Depending on the game, you might have to swipe, pinch, scroll, drag, or click using the touchpad.

PS4 controller prices

The biggest factor determining the price of a PS4 controller is the number of features built into the device. You can expect to pay from about $40 to $170 for a new PS4 controller.

While you will want to buy a controller that features most if not all of the features packed into Sony’s DualShock 4 controller if you feel like you won’t take advantage of options marketed toward hardcore players, like button remapping or adjusting trigger sensitivity, don’t be afraid to save money by buying a cheaper model.


  • Get a grip. Controller grips are a great PS4 controller accessory for anyone who ends up with sweaty palms after a tense online shootout. A good controller grip wicks moisture from your hands, gives you a better grasp, and helps keep your palms cool as you play.

  • See the light. A light bar is a handy and versatile PS4 controller feature that can display your in-game status or visually identify different players by their light bar color, and you might be surprised to see how creative game developers can get with it!

  • Get moving. If you’re a fan of PlayStation VR, a PS4 controller that supports motion controls should probably be at the top of your “must-have” feature list.

  • Share it. Anyone who enjoys sharing their gaming experiences directly to their Twitter, YouTube, Twitch, and Facebook accounts should be on the lookout for a PS4 controller with a dedicated Share button.

  • Try VR. Although PlayStation 3 DualShock controllers are not compatible with the PS4 console, PlayStation Move motion controllers are compatible with both video game systems. It’s a good idea to keep your PlayStation Move controllers handy if you ever make the leap to PlayStation VR!
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While PS4 players can’t use voice chat with or send messages to PS3 players, you can keep tabs across consoles by sending text messages.


Q. Can I send all audio output to my PS4 controller’s headphone jack?

A. Absolutely! Simply hold the PlayStation button until the Adjust Devices menu option appears, and from there, select Output to Headphones, and toggle the selection from Chat Audio to All Audio.

Q. Can I charge my PS4 controller when I’m not playing?

A. Yes, and that’s great news when you consider that the average battery life of a fully charged DualShock 4 controller is about seven or eight hours. Simply connect your controller to the PS4 using its USB charge cable and leave the console in standby mode, and the device will charge automatically. Note that it only takes two hours to fully charge a DualShock 4 controller.

Q. How do I sync a new controller to my PS4?

A. That’s an easy one: Simply connect your controller to a USB port on the front of your PlayStation 4, and the console will handle the rest. Once you sync a new controller for the first time, it will automatically wirelessly connect to your PS4 console whenever you turn it on. The PS4 will connect up to four wireless controllers at once for local multiplayer.

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