The mouse and keyboard are the main weapons of every PC gamer. However, that’s not to say that there aren’t times where a PC gamepad may be needed.
For example, racing gamers like Dirt Rally are generally much easier to play with a gamepad. The same goes for most RPG titles like The Witcher, Dark Souls, etc.
That being said, if you’re planning on getting a PC gamepad, you best make sure that it’s going to be endurable, compatible with your games, and with good build quality. No need to go on a searching spree – we already did that for you. So, let’s check out the best options that we came across.
Best PC Gamepad With Cross-Platform Compatibility: Gamesir G3s
I (the author) have personally been using this gamepad for about a year now and it’s definitely one of the best gamepads that I’ve ever tried. At least when it comes to PC.
Because, to be honest, while it’s one of the very few gamepads to offer cross-platform compatibility out there, it still kinda sucks at that. Getting it to work on a PS3 was a pain and it has quite a lot of input delay when using it wirelessly with a phone. No problems with wired connectivity, though.
Still, it offers a vastly better experience on PC and that’s what we care about here. First of all, after more than a year of heavy use, it still works like brand new with no signs of usage. Sure, the left stick is a tiny bit more sensitive. But, that’s about it.
Other than that, the GameSir G3s also offers XInput which is the same with Xbox controllers. This is very important because it gives you global compatibility with all games that support PC gamepads without you having to tweak and adjust anything. And you get all that with about 30 bucks. Pretty good deal, if you ask me.
You can use it both wired and wirelessly, as it comes with a removable cable and a wireless adapter. But, do keep in mind that there is a tiny bit of input delay when using it wirelessly. Nothing deal breaking if you’re playing an RPG like The Witcher or something. But, that tiny delay can make the difference between winning or losing in competitive games like Tekken or Dirt Rally. So, do keep that in mind.
Best Budget PC Gamepad: Xbox 360 Controller
Flashy LED lights and cross-platoform compatibility are great and everything. But, when it comes to raw performance and endurance, the Xbox 360 controller from Microsoft is definitely one to look out for.
As you’d expect, it works out of the box with every game that supports gamepads out there while offering the build quality of Microsoft. Overall, it simply gets the job done for less than 30 bucks.
The only downside that it has is that you can’t use it wirelessly. And while there is a wireless version, it probably doesn’t make too much sense to get it when you can simply go with the newer Xbox One controller that works both wired and wirelessly on demand.
One advantage that this old fella has compared to any other PC gamepad out there is the guarantee that it’s not going to give up on you anytime soon. Some people have even mentioned that it’s more endurable than the Xbox One controller.
The 360 gamepad may be older, out of style, and cheaper than the competition. But, again, it’s one that will surely work for a long time without having you to worry about things like input lag, endurance, compatibility, or anything like that. If you haven’t used one before, now is your chance to check it out!
Best High-End PC Gamepad: Xbox One Controller
You saw that coming from a mile ago, didn’t you? If not, you should have (JK). The Xbox One controller is basically the improved version of its predecessor.
Just like the Gamesir G3s, it allows you to go wired or wireless with its removable cable while it offers excellent build quality, game compatibility, and a solid feel. Definitely a great contender when it comes to premium gamepads. And if you feel like spending even more, you can also get the Elite version.
Other than that, there’s really not a lot to say about it. Other than the fact that you can connect headphones and that the buttons feel a little bit better, especially the Dpad, this is another gamepad that simply gets the job done.
You can usually find it new for about 50 bucks brand new and $35 second hand – depending on how heavily it has been used, how long, and if it has any signs of wear.
Best Gamepad For Compatibility And Customizability: Steam Controller
There seems to be a lot of hate around this controller. Most likely because it’s not something that your average gamer will really need. However, there’s no denying that it’s the best at what it does.
You see, as we mentioned above, our recommendations are widely compatible with games that feature gamepad support. The Steam controller, however, is even compatible with games that do NOT feature gamepad support. And that’s one of the amazing things that this gamepad does.
By using it through the Steam platform, you can customize this controller to work with pretty much any PC game out there. Not to mention that the touchpad helps tremendously with playing FPS games.
However, do not forget that in some cases, you’re far better off with a traditional gamepad. For example, a “normal” gamepad will likely fare much better in things like fighting and racing games. Maybe even RPG.
But, when it comes to playing full-fledged PC games from your couch that normally require a mouse and keyboard, no other gamepad does it as well as the Steam controller. So, check it out!
Best Budget Option: Logitech Gamepad F310
So, all of the gamepads that we checked out till now are obviously great. But, pretty much all of them cost at least 30 bucks with the exception of the 360 controller which is kinda old and we couldn’t find it new anyway.
That being said, we decided to include a budget option in this list. And the best gamepad that we could find for a small price (without completely butchering compatibility and build quality) is the Logitech F310!
At the moment, you can get it for about 15 bucks which is frankly ridiculous. It couldn’t get any cheaper than that. Obviously, for that price, you can’t expect any fancy features or insane longevity.
What you get, however, is a gamepad that gets the job done without asking for a lot of money. Again, it does feel a lot cheaper compared to the rest of our options and it sacrifices a little bit of performance due to the Dpad and trigger design. But, still, it gets the job done. And at the end of the day, I guess that you get what you pay for.
If you feel like there is another gamepad that is worthy of being on this list, then make sure to let us and everyone else know about it in the comments section down below!