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Level Up Your PS4 With the Best Controllers Around

Illustration for article titled Level Up Your PS4 With the Best Controllers Around
Image: Razer

We may be on the precipice of a brand new console generation with the PlayStation 5 around the corner (and a new controller to boot), but that doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy your PlayStation 4. If you, like many of us, have a ridiculous backlog, you’re probably starting to work through it to prepare for the next generation of consoles. To successfully carry out such a feat, you’re going to need the best PS4 controller for the job.

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A controller is an integral part of any gaming experience. It’s just as important as your own skill when it comes to killing off that boss or making that ridiculously difficult jump. With blockbusters left in the year like Cyberpunk 2077 and Ghost of Tsushima, it’s time to grab a controller that works for you. With one of these top picks, you’ll get the most bang for your buck and the Shamblers won’t hear a peep.

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Classic and reliable

Illustration for article titled Level Up Your PS4 With the Best Controllers Around
Graphic: Brittany Vincent

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Sony’s proprietary DualShock 4 wireless controller remains the cheapest and most reliable peripheral for the cash. The factory-standard controller comes in a wide variety of different colors, but its quality is matched throughout the industry. It features a durable, matte exterior as well as hearty thumbsticks that should stand up to any wild gaming session.

Plus, this is official PlayStation-branded hardware, so you get the support that comes from buying straight from the company. You also get the built-in microphone that games like Death Stranding utilize for important game functions, such as your BB Pod crying out when the creepy BTs are in range. Add those perks up with the 8 to 10 hours of battery life you get and this PS4 controller is a recipe for perfection.

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Pro-quality build and customizable buttons

Illustration for article titled Level Up Your PS4 With the Best Controllers Around
Graphic: Gabe Carey

Razer’s gaming peripherals are usually top-notch, and this PS4 controller is no exception. The Razer Raiju Tournament Edition controller is a highly customizable option for anyone looking to mold their peripherals how they see fit. It comes with four programmable buttons, textured grips, and tactile triggers that feel right at home under the fingertips.

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Oddly enough, it resembles an Xbox One controller more than a typical DualShock 4. That also gives it added heft, which lends it a much more premium feel than the stock Sony controller. It’s a professional-grade option that should fit perfectly into any PlayStation enthusiast’s collection. It’s also great for fledgling esports players looking for an edge on the competition.

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Fight stick-like precision in controller form

Illustration for article titled Level Up Your PS4 With the Best Controllers Around
Graphic: Brittany Vincent

Fighting games can be played reasonably well with a regular DualShock 4 on your PS4, but if you’re serious about your game, you need a fight stick. Get the best of both worlds with the Razer Raion Fightpad, which brings PS4 sensibilities to the fighting game community at large. Touting a 6 front-button layout with an 8-way D-pad for more precise input, you’ll be able to pull off all the sickest combos with ease. A built-in competition mode lets you disable certain buttons during play.

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The controller is nice and durable, graced with larger buttons than those of the DualShock 4. Thanks to the inclusion of a 3.5mm audio jack, you can trash talk your opponents or coordinate with teammates while you play, and because it’s wired, input latency won’t even cross your mind.

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New analog stick positions for added comfort

Illustration for article titled Level Up Your PS4 With the Best Controllers Around
Graphic: Brittany Vincent

The Nacon Revolution Pro Controller 3 may look like an Xbox One controller, but—either wired or wireless—it’s a fantastic option for PS4. Among the first things you’ll notice are the asymmetrical analog sticks and textured grip, notably absent from Sony’s official DualShock 4 controller. A typical PS4 controller’s sticks lay horizontal, below the D-pad and face buttons, whereas the Nacon sees them diagonal of one another, an improvement for Xbox expats who’ve migrated to the PlayStation ecosystem. Though the Nacon is a third-party manufacturer, this product is licensed by Sony themselves.

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Full functionality in a tiny package

The Horizon Mini Wired PS4 Gamepad packs everything you need into one small, Nintendo Switch Joy-Con-like controller.
The Horizon Mini Wired PS4 Gamepad packs everything you need into one small, Nintendo Switch Joy-Con-like controller.
Graphic: Brittany Vincent
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If you have children or smaller hands, sometimes a full-sized PS4 controller hinders more than helps. The Horizon Mini wired PS4 gamepad packs everything you need into one small, Nintendo Switch Joy-Con-like controller. It’s about half the size of a traditional DualShock 4 and still has everything you need to trudge through your entire PS4 catalog. Unlike the aforementioned Nacon Revolution Pro 3, it’s better suited to smaller hands.

This officially licensed controller is available in red and black paint jobs, so you can pick up one for you and one for your Player 2, be they your loved ones or a friend who prefers smaller peripherals. The only downside is it’s wired, so you’ll have to sit near the console to play.

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Brittany Vincent has been covering video games and tech for 13 years for a variety of publications. When she's not writing or gaming, she's looking for the next great visual novel (like Saya no Uta.)

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