The best PS4 controller sometimes means splurging on a DualShock 4. Other worthy options exist that offer additional bells and whistles for a premium price.
Just be careful when buying third-party pads that aren’t Sony-licensed, particularly those that use a chip designed to increase reaction times in FPS games. These are known as “chipped” or “modded” controllers and carry the risk of a ban from Sony.
You must get a PS4 controller separately unless you got one from the box when you bought your console. While the original Sony DualShock 4 is an excellent choice, third-party manufacturers offer cheaper alternatives with a similar design and feature set. However, these cheap controllers may not be as good for playing competitive games requiring high skill and precision.
Another consideration when choosing a PS4 controller is whether to play it wirelessly or corded. Many players prefer the traditional wired option because it reduces latency and offers a more stable connection. Some wired controllers also come with a 10-foot USB receiver that gives gamers more freedom to a game while sitting on the couch or chair. For those constantly on the move and wanting to stay mobile, a PS4 controller charging station allows gamers to plug in two controllers at once and recharge them while they play.
Knowing what you’ll use it for is the most important factor in choosing a PS4 controller. Casual gamers can get away with a standard DualShock 4, but high-level players of all genres will need something more tailored to their gaming style. Suppose you want to maximize a controller’s capabilities. In that case, paying more for a model with extra features like programmable buttons and various settings for adjusting button input, stick sensitivity, and a dead zone is worth paying more.
Whether it’s the feel of the controller in your hands or how it responds to button presses, the design of a PS4 gamepad can have a huge impact on how you play games.
For a simpler option, Sony’s own DualShock 4 offers excellent value. The latest model is sleeker and more ergonomic than previous versions, and the built-in rumble feature helps to add a sense of immersion.
Another great Sony option is the Nacon asymmetric wireless controller, which offers a familiar look and feel with one important difference. The Asymmetric controller’s analog sticks are offset, which can help players with dexterity issues find greater comfort during gaming sessions.
While it’s not the most powerful PS4 controller, the DualShock 4 has proven to be a reliable gamepad for years. Its price, wide availability of colors, and familiar design make it a solid choice for gamers looking to get the most out of their games. Its battery life is also surprisingly good—a single charge can last up to four hours of gameplay.
The Razer Infinity 4PS Pro controller is another smart option for seasoned players, offering advanced customization through the app, including remapping, adjusting sensitivity, and creating your own RGB light show. It’s also the most popular choice among esports pros and content creators.
Other high-end options include the asymmetric wireless controller. It’s a comfortable controller that mimics the Xbox One design, with offset analog sticks to address dexterity issues for some players.
As the launch of PS5 approaches, more and more PS4 gamepads are hitting the market. However, it’s important to remember that most PS5 games won’t work with legacy controllers. While they still work for backward compatibility, investing in a new controller to avoid future frustrations is a good idea. With some research, finding the best PS4 controller for your gaming setup is a breeze. Just be sure to consider your budget and style before making a purchase.
The number and type of buttons on a controller can make a huge difference to how well you play. Most modern games have tutorials or controller layout sections to help you determine what each button does. Still, if you want the ability to customize your controls, you’ll need to find a controller with programmable buttons.
One of the best controllers for this is the back button attachment, which plugs into the DualShock 4’s accessory port and adds two programmable buttons to the device’s rear. It’s easy enough to use: flip the controller over and press and hold the screen to enter programming mode. From there, you can select sixteen possible button bindings (including every button on the console except Share and the PS button) to assign to each back paddle.
If you’re unhappy with the default configuration, you can also remap individual buttons by pressing and holding them while selecting a binding. It can be useful if you’ve got a game that doesn’t work well with the default configuration, as you can change it to something more suitable.
It might be a hardware issue if you’ve done all this and your controller still isn’t working properly. If so, try smacking the controller against your leg or a table to see if you can free up any stuck buttons.