Though a new console is now on the market, the best PS4 controllers will still work with backwards-compatible PS4 games on the PS5, and there are some truly excellent gamepads to consider. PS4 controllers can also be an excellent option for playing PC games and can make a great phone controller as well, so there are still plenty of reasons to buy one in 2021--especially if you still can't get your hands on a PS5.
The first-party DualShock 4 still remains one of the best PS4 controller options for its affordable price, wide range of colors, and familiar, comfortable fit. It's proven to be one of the most popular and reliable controllers for experiencing all the best PS4 games--especially since all it takes is the push of a button to share incredible moments like a hilarious glitch or beating a Bloodborne boss without getting touched.
The DualShock 4 is a great pad, but when you look at what Microsoft has done with the best Xbox controllers, it can feel a little disappointing not having an official PS4 Elite controller on par with the Elite Series 2. Sony did release a back-button accessory last year that maps two of the DualShock 4's buttons and lets you keep your thumbs on the analog sticks when you want to crouch, jump, reload, or anything in between, but it doesn't bridge the gap entirely. However, there's no shortage of third-party PS4 controllers that offer unique features for enhancing your gaming experience, with excellent options available from Scuf, Razer, and more.
Here, we've rounded up the best PS4 controllers for 2021. Whether you're a PS4 player who hasn't upgraded to next gen, a PS5 owner who plays a lot of backwards-compatible PS4 games, or someone needing a new fight stick or racing game for PS4 titles, you've come to the right place. For more recommendations, see our guides to the best Switch controllers, best PS5 headsets, and where to buy a PS5 in 2021. We're also tracking the best PlayStation deals available right now.
- Improves on the classic DualShock form factor in almost every way
- Great D-pad
- Comfortable grips
- Excellent triggers
- Share button makes sharing in-game moments easy
- Short battery life
- Difficult to find in stock in 2021
The DualShock 4 is a fantastic gamepad that improves on the classic DualShock form factor in all the right ways. The grips on the official Sony controller feel great, the triggers are satisfying to pull, and the Share button makes it easy to save and share screenshots and videos of your best gaming moments. The one downside is that the battery life can feel a little short, requiring you to charge it daily with a micro USB cable if you're playing a game for long sessions. Despite that, the DualShock 4 works very well when it comes to playing every single game on the system. Unfortunately, it can be hard to find some DualShock 4 colors in stock at list price in 2021, as focus shifts to the first-party DualSense.
- Retains the DualShock 4 shape and button layout
- Textured grip makes pad even more comfortable to hold
- Customizable trigger system allows for very different experiences
- EMR key makes remapping back paddles easy
- Similar battery life to the DualShock 4
- Only two back paddles
The Scuf Infinity4PS Pro is perfect for anyone who likes the DualShock 4's shape and design but wants a little extra customization and utility on top of the form of the official controller. The Infinifty4PS Pro features textured grips, interchangeable thumbsticks, and programmable back paddles--the latter makes use of a magnetic "EMR" key that you simply place on the back of the controller and then press the buttons you wish to remap to the paddles. These delightful features are all par for the course for a Scuf controller, but it's the different types of customizable triggers that make the Infinity4PS Pro so special. The basic triggers are similar to the standard DualShock 4's, while the Trigger Control System offers trigger stops, adjustable hair triggers, and covers for the trigger buttons and extenders. These, of course, come at an increased cost, but these features are beloved by fans of shooters.
Scuf also offers digital tap triggers. These turn the shoulder buttons and triggers into buttons that resemble a PC gaming mouse, clicking just like one as you take aim and fire at the enemy. It feels incredible and is extremely useful when using single-fire weapons like marksman rifles or pistols, though it worked great for automatic weapons as well. These triggers are some of the best I've ever used, but they're specifically designed with shooters in mind and don't feature any analog input like the standard trigger system. This makes them hard to use for games that rely on gradual trigger presses, like Gran Turismo Sport and Trials Rising, so it's important to think about what type of games you play before purchasing this costly controller.
- Fantastic D-pad
- Incredible buttons bridge the gap between controller and fight stick
- Multiple switches add functionality for L3, R3, and both analog sticks
- Only suitable for very specific types of games
The Razer Raion is a fight pad, which means it's optimized for fighting games. It might be strange to buy a gaming controller without an analog stick, but if you're looking for an excellent way to play fighting games without dropping a huge sum of money on a full stick, then the Raion is an excellent option. This wired controller features a great, clicky D-pad and buttons that resemble a fight stick as opposed to a regular controller, with an extra button in each row of buttons. It's also pretty light, so it's comfortable holding it with one hand and tapping the buttons, piano-style. Thankfully, it also includes digital buttons for every DualShock 4 shoulder button and trigger if you prefer using those.
With the Raion, you don't need to switch to a fully-featured controller for things like character customization within your favorite fighting games. It features a switch that lets you map the D-pad to the left and right analog sticks, making it possible to do everything you need on the PS4. Of course, the lack of real analog sticks and triggers makes it nigh impossible to play most games on the console, but if you're customizing a character or just viewing in-game models, then this switch makes it easy to do so--a separate switch also lets you turn the L1 and L2 buttons into L3 and R3.
It's not for every kind of a gamer, but if you're in the market for a fight pad, then it's hard to beat the Raion. It's comfortable and performed well in every fighting game I played, from NetherRealm fighters like Mortal Kombat 11 and Injustice 2 to Capcom's Street Fighter V and Bandai Namco's Tekken 7. At half the price of Razer's Panthera Evo fight stick, it's a very attractive controller for fighting game fans. Once you get used to it, you probably won't miss the lack of a thumbstick.
- Impressive build quality
- Modular nature lets you swap the left analog stick with D-pad
- Excellent ergonomics
- Programmable back paddles are very comfortable to use
- 2.4GHz wireless connection provides great low-latency experience...
- ...but it does require the use of a wireless adapter dongle
- Unable to power on PS4
- No battery life indicator on PS4
- Difficult to find in stock in 2021
Astro is well-known for its high-end gaming headsets and audio equipment, but the brand has recently ventured into professional-grade controllers with the C40 Tournament Edition. Not only is it ergonomically comfortable, but the C40 has a ton of customizable controller settings. The most important thing to note is that the left analog stick can be swapped to feel like an Xbox or PlayStation controller, letting it feel like a custom controller made just for you no matter your preference. The modded controller might make you doubt its build quality, but the C40 is unquestionably solid. You can't configure the sections to resemble the older Nintendo Pro controller setup (with both analog sticks near the top of the controller), but maybe that's a good thing.
Another key feature is the programmable paddles on the back of the controller. Of all the high-end gamepads with extra buttons, the C40 has the most sensible placement, and these buttons are intuitive from the get-go. The ease of use extends to the triggers and bumpers; their shape and low actuation resistance is a definite upgrade over the DualShock 4. The Astro C40 is quite pricey at $200 and currently difficult to find in stock, but it's all around the best if you're looking for something that's both tuned for competitive gaming and customization.
- Interchangeable D-pad and thumbsticks
- Satisfying, clicky buttons
- Curved triggers are comfortable to use and rest fingers on
- Extra shoulder buttons are placed perfectly on top of controller
- Easy remapping via Raiju app
- Able to swap between remapped configurations on the fly
- Square back paddles aren't as comfortable as other controllers
- Limited number of thumbsticks included
- Only available in Europe
The Raiju Ultimate features the same analog stick placement as the DualShock 4 and boasts interchangeable thumbsticks and D-Pad. It's also equipped with two remappable back paddles and an extra two shoulder buttons. The back paddles are larger and more square-like than Scuf's paddles--this makes them less comfortable, but they're still easy to use. The Raiju Ultimate's extra shoulder buttons, on the other hand, are particularly great. They click satisfyingly like a gaming mouse and are easy to press with your fingers resting on the triggers. Speaking of the triggers, they feel similar to the Xbox One's and feature trigger stops.
The face buttons also click like a mouse and are extremely pleasing to use in everything from shooters and fighting games to action-adventure titles like Marvel's Spider-Man and Yakuza 0. The D-pad feels pretty good to use, though it is less like a D-pad and more like four separate buttons. One of the modular D-pads is actually just four directional buttons, while the other is one solid piece of plastic that makes it easier to hit diagonals in fighting games. And lastly, the analog sticks move smoothly and feel accurate.
Satisfying is a great way to describe using Razer's Raiju Ultimate, and using the Raiju app for mobile devices makes remapping the extra buttons and creating new profiles extremely easy--you can even swap between profiles with a button on the controller. If you're looking for an Elite-style controller with the same stick placement as the DualShock 4, then Razer's Raiju Ultimate will work excellently in nearly every situation.
- Incredible buttons and joystick make for the best fighting game experience
- Very travel-friendly
- Extra buttons cover everything you'll possibly need in and out of fights
- Sturdy, aluminum body feels as premium as the price tag
- Easily opened for modding
The Victrix Pro FS arcade stick is expensive, but it lives up to its price tag. It's a premium fight stick with a base made entirely of aluminum, making it feel like an absolute tank. Thankfully, the stick is also extremely comfortable to place on your lap and use across Street Fighter V, Dragon Ball FighterZ, Tekken 7, Soulcalibur 6, or just about any other fighting game. The Sanwa Denshi parts feel solid, with a stick that's both accurate and satisfying in motion. It also feels sturdy, and unlike cheaper sticks, I wasn't worried it would break while I was in the middle of some particularly desperate matches.
The buttons are among the best I've used on a fight stick. There's a small, yet pleasing amount of throw between the beginning of the push to the end, with a satisfying click to accentuate each button press. The pleasing feel of the buttons made it much more enjoyable trying to learn new combos, and I found myself becoming more effective in Dragon Ball FighterZ as a result.
In addition to the crucial buttons every fight stick needs, the Pro FS features a row of buttons that are assigned to other functions. It features Options, Share, a button for changing the colored lighting, a button for audio, three programmable "Pro" buttons, and one that locks these buttons from being pressed accidentally during gameplay. The Pro buttons allow the player to program L3 and R3 to two of them, while the third is used for Training Mode--it resets the characters' positioning in various supported games. You can also switch the joystick between the D-pad to the left and right analog stick by holding the Victrix logo button and the joystick in a specific direction--it's not as easy as flipping a switch like what Razer's sticks and pads offer, but it's still a must-have feature. The stick is also very travel-friendly, featuring handles, a plastic organizer to wrap your cable around, and a removable joystick that you can easily store in the body of the stick.
The Pro FS is a premium stick at a premium price tag. If you're not a hardcore fighting game player, then this stick isn't for you. It costs as much as a console, which can deter some players, but if you're looking for the best fighting experience on PS4 and are serious about competitive play, then this excellent wired controller is for you.
- Plastic body feels sturdy and well-built
- Plastic joystick is surprisingly great
- Satisfying buttons
- Includes a switch that gives you control of the D-pad and both analog sticks
- Almost every button and function from the DualShock 4 is present here
- Cable is not removable
- Cable compartment feels a little cheap
If you're looking to save a little money but still want an excellent fight stick, then the Razer Panthera Evo is worth considering. The stick is entirely made of plastic, which can feel a little hollow. Thankfully, it's still solidly-built and feels comfortable. The buttons and stick are made by Sanwa, and both feel great. The plastic stick manages to hold up well; the buttons have a small throw and click satisfyingly as you knock out combos. The Xbox One's Razer Atrox is a great fight stick, but it's slightly outshined by the Panthera Evo when it comes to sheer playability.
The Panthera Evo is capable of controlling everything a regular DualShock 4 can. It features buttons for L3, R3, Options, and Share as well as muting your microphone and controlling your headset's volume. It also comes equipped with its own touchpad and a switch that flips the joystick between D-Pad and the left and right analog sticks. However, unlike its Xbox One counterpart, the Panthera Evo's cable is non-removable. You can wrap it up and store it in the stick's compartment, though I shudder to think what would happen if it broke off somehow. Having to replace the entire stick when only the cable breaks is a frustrating--and expensive--headache that other sticks avoid by making the cable removable.
That said, the Razer Panthera Evo is still an excellent fight stick for the money. It's very enjoyable to use for all types of fighting games, so if you're looking for one of the best mid-range sticks, then the Panthero Evo is a great one to go with.
- TrueForce technology heightens racing simulation with realistic tension
- Highly customizable with Logitech's G-Hub software
- Great value for the price
- Durable build
- TrueForce only compatible with select games
If you're looking to become a pro at the best PlayStation racing games, you'll likely want to invest in a good racing wheel and set of pedals. Logitech's G923 racing wheel is our pick for playing racing games on PlayStation. It features the company's TrueForce technology that delivers high-definition force feedback synchronized with your gameplay for heightened realism and responsiveness. At this time, TrueForce is only available for select games: Grid, Assetto Corsa Competizione, iRacing, Gran Turismo Sport, Showrunner, and Dirt Rally 2.0.
A programmable dual clutch gives you more traction with less smoke to get you off the starting line faster, and the accompanying set of pedals allows for pressure-sensitive braking. You can also customize your rig with G Hub software, letting you build multiple profiles, adjust your wheel's sensitivity, and much more.
With a durable build made of aluminum, steel, and leather, the Logitech G923 is made to hold up over time. Even better: It's directly compatible with PS5 games as well, so this is a wheel you can count on being able to use for years.
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