Controllers tend to make the gaming experience on a PC significantly easier; with most competitive games designed for consoles, a good controller can even the playing field. The problem is that many popular gaming controllers are extremely expensive, upwards of $45. So, what are your options when it comes to budget controllers for PC?
The best budget controller for PC overall is the PDP Gaming Wired Controller, which offers more open compatibility and excellent bonus features for a reasonable $25. Other controllers can cost as little as $16 while offering a decent gaming experience.
Here are our picks for the top 5 best budget controllers for PC.
The Best Overall Budget Controller for PC: The PDP Gaming Wired Controller
PDP Gaming is a name you’re probably familiar with if you’ve done any gaming accessory shopping in the past; the company has a wide range of controllers across the pricing spectrum, starting at around $8.
Their PDP Gaming Wired Controller is officially licensed and compatible with PC and Xbox, making it versatile on top of affordable. It also offers haptic feedback and an audio jack so that you can connect your headphones directly to it. As a bonus, the wire is detachable, making it useful for charging your other Micro-USB compatible devices.
The controller comes in 10 colors and patterns, ranging from solid white to blue camouflage. It features textured, non-slip grips.
The PDP Gaming Wired Controller costs $25, though you can often buy them used for significantly less.
The 4 Runner-Up Best Budget Controllers for PC
From most to least expensive, here are our runner-up 4 picks for the best budget controllers for PC gaming.
Best Decorative Budget Controller: The PowerA Spectra Enhanced Wired Controller
PowerA is a popular gaming accessories brand that carries products for the Nintendo Switch and Xbox lines. Their PowerA Spectra Enhanced Controller is compatible with the Xbox series as well as PC gaming.
This controller allows you to set up thousands of color combinations with its LED backlight displays, including “breathing” patterns. It’s got mappable buttons and trigger locking for precision, as well as haptic feedback and an option for one-touch mic muting.
The PowerA Spectra Enhanced Wired Controller costs $31.
Best Starting Budget Controller: The Logitech F310 Wired GamePad Controller
Logitech is another common name in the gaming world. Better known for their keyboards and mice, they also make a line of competitively priced gaming controllers.
Definitely one of the most affordable controllers on the list, the Logitech F310 Wired Gamepad Controller is extremely simple to set up, with plug-and-play power across Windows Xp, Vista, and 7, though it isn’t clear whether it’s supported on newer operating systems. It has programmable buttons, including a programmable D-pad, and runs on 2 AAA batteries.
The Logitech F310 Wired Gamepad Controller costs $16.
Best Simple Budget Controller: The VOYEE Wired PC Controller
VOYEE makes accessories for Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo consoles, and PCs including headphones and controllers – both wired and wireless – as well as controller charging stations.
Their VOYEE Wired PC Controller is available in a few different colors, and offers plug-and-play compatibility. It’s got rumble control and contoured grips for a more immersive experience, as well as sensitive joysticks and trigger buttons, upgraded from the previous model.
The VOYEE Wired PC Controller costs $16 and comes with a 1-year warranty.
Best Portable Budget Controller: The 8Bitdo Zero 2
The 8Bitdo Zero 2 is the only controller on this list that’s compatible with MacOS. There are two versions of the Zero 2: one with a gamepad and one without. The one with the gamepad is significantly more expensive, but is better suited for at-home gaming.
The basic 8Bitdo Zero 2’s small, retro-inspired design makes it excellent for portability. It comes in Yellow, Turquoise, and Pink, and offers compatibility with the Nintendo Switch, Android, Windows, and MacOS. The firmware is upgradeable, and the controller features two triggers and a simple directional pad.
The 8Bitdo Zero 2 costs $20.
Though the luxury of more expensive controllers can be a nice bit of bragging rights, buying a controller for your PC gaming experience doesn’t have to break the bank, and you don’t have to sacrifice quality for pricing. There are options across the pricing spectrum for you to test and find the best options for you.
It comes down to planning and understanding what you’re looking for. Knowing where to shop for your controller, as well as what you really need out of it, can help you save money while still getting the best possible PC gaming experience.