A keyboard and mouse may be the preferred method of input for PC gamers, but some games just don't suit it. For others, a good controller is what you need, especially when it comes to driving or more relaxed gameplay sessions. While a keyboard and mouse may be more accurate in quick-action firefights, a gamepad lets you take a backstep onto the couch (or move back your gaming chair). Here's our roundup of the best controllers for PC gaming if you want another option other than keyboard and mouse.
The Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 is the best gamepad you can buy, especially for PC. It has everything you need to get up and running in no time at all, including Bluetooth! You can even make it your own with plenty of customization options. It's truly spectacular.
Best unofficial controller
SCUF has been designing high-end controllers for decades, and the SCUF Instinct Pro is the latest from the established gamepad maker. While not quite as good as the official Xbox controller from Microsoft, this gamepad has plenty going for it (and costs a little less).
Best wired controller
You may be familiar with the Razer branding, and the company's Razer Wolverine V2 Chroma is a fantastic wired controller. As expected with Razer gear, you've got some premium features and high build quality, but it's the sensitivity clutch aspect that feels almost too good to be true.
Best retro controller
8Bitdo specializes in more retro controllers for PC, console, and mobile gaming. The 8Bitdo Pro 2 is the company's best gamepad, inspired by the famous SNES controller design. It has programmable buttons, excellent ergonomics, a killer look and feel, and great cross-platform support.
Choosing the best controller for PC gaming
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For Windows PC gaming with a controller, it's hard not to recommend something from the Xbox One family. There are plenty of official and third-party options out there, but you simply cannot beat the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 if you're looking for the very best you can get.
Still, there are some solid alternatives out there, especially if you want to save some money on the gamepad. We're big fans of the 8Bitdo Pro 2 for the more retro look, but the Razer Wolverine V2 Chroma is a fantastic controller if you want to remain tethered to your PC.
We've also rounded up the best Xbox One controllers, which will all mostly work just fine with a PC.
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Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.