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What are the best third-party controllers for PlayStation consoles available right now, and why should you bother with a third-party controller at all? I’ll be answering both these questions in detail in the article below, so let’s not waste any time diving right in!
Why Bother With a Third-Party Controller?
Potential Savings Compared To Official PlayStation Controllers
One of the main reasons to opt for a third-party controller compared to one of the main options on offer from Sony (like the DualShock 4, DualSense, or DualSense Edge) is to save some money compared to those options. Even many of the “Pro” controllers from third-party manufacturers offer feature parity or improved features over the official enhanced DualSense Edge from Sony themselves.
The PlayStation 5 controller market is pretty slim pickings at the time of writing for third-party controllers, and the ones that are out there are primarily Pro controllers made to compete with the likes of the DualSense Edge, an official $200 controller straight from Sony themselves.
Alternative or Improved Features Compared To Official PlayStation Controllers
So, of course, when you get a DualShock 4 or DualSense from Sony you’re getting the “default” intended experience controller. With the release of the DualSense Edge and even Back Buttons peripheral for the PS4 Controller, though, Sony has started to acknowledge the growing market of enhanced controllers with extra buttons and other features being released for consoles and PC.
If you aren’t in the market for these extra features, you’ll still most likely be best-suited with the stock controllers on offer from PlayStation. But if you like a little extra, aftermarket gamepads can be quite nice!
More Customization Options, In General
Finally, let’s talk about customization options. While this doesn’t apply to every controller listed below, many of them (especially from SCUF or Razer) offer a wider variety of available controller colors and skins than you’ll get from the official manufacturer The Wolverine V2 Pro for PS5 even offers customizable RGB lighting!
Additionally, many pro controllers will even offer software customization for changes to things like stick sensitivity, button bindings, and more. The majority of programmable button controllers will have this functionality, or a button combination that allows you to do it manually without any software required.
Best Third-Party Controllers For PlayStation 4
Product Image Credits: Respective Manufacturer’s Site unless Stated Otherwise
1. Jusubb Replacement PS4 Controller
Image Credit: Amazon
- Estimated Price: Under $40
- Extra Features: 2 Programmable Back Buttons
- Recommended For: Gamers on a Budget
First, let’s talk about a nice budget alternative to the entry-level DualShock 4 controller. The Jusubb Replacement PS4 Controller is pretty much exactly what you’d expect from a cheaper third-party controller. It doesn’t have any official branding, but it’s still pretty much a clone of the original design in terms of clamshell and intended feel. The built-in dual programmable back buttons also give it some parity with a DualShock 4 that has the official Back Button attachment, which also adds two extra buttons.
2. HORI Fighting Commander
Image Credit: PCMag
- Estimated Price: Under $60
- Extra Features: Six Button Arcade Layout, Improved D-Pad
- Recommended For: Fighting Game Players
Now, let’s talk about a controller that changes things pretty significantly from the “default” DualShock 4 controller design. The HORI Fighting Commander is a PS4 controller built for fighting gamers first, and shows its dedication to that by removing the triggers in favor of dual bumpers and even removing the analog stick to make more room for a large, high-precision D-Pad! For clean directional inputs in fighting games and 2D games, it’s hard to beat a D-Pad like this one.
The sacrifice of the triggers also means that there are now two extra face buttons, which allow for the HORI Fighting Commander to adopt a six button layout akin to that of an arcade stick, or even a Sega Genesis Controller for the particularly old-headed gamers among you.
3. SCUF Infinity4PS PRO
- Estimated Price: ~$150
- Extra Features: 4 Programmable Back Paddles, Adjustable Triggers, Swappable Analog Sticks, Thumbstick Ring Locks
- Recommended For: Professional Gamers, Fighting Gamers, FPS Gamers
Last but not least, let’s talk about the SCUF Infinity4PS Pro. This is a high-quality pro controller for PlayStation 4 from SCUF, one of the most lauded brands in third-party controllers for any console manufacturer.
It’s also by far the best option for a PlayStation 4 controller with extra buttons, since it has four back paddles compared to the mere two extra buttons added by the official DualShock 4 Back Buttons attachment.
Besides the extra buttons, you also have adjustable triggers that can be used for more rapid-fire responses in FPS, fighting games, or other action titles where you don’t need the full range of analog trigger motion.
And finally, you have the combination of two great analog-centric features. You can actually swap your analog sticks for longer or shorter height, allowing you to match your desired range of motion to the game of your choice. You also get attachable thumbstick ring locks, which can help keep your analog sticks secure whenever you’re carrying your PS4 controller in a travel bag for your next tournament or game at a friend’s house.
A Note on Controller Compatibility on PS5
So, good news and bad news for those of you with plenty of PlayStation 4 controllers. The good news is that those controllers will still work on your PlayStation 5! The bad news is that those controllers will only work in PlayStation 4 games played on the PlayStation 5, which is a rather frustrating compatibility issue compared to the free cross-gen controller compatibility enjoyed by Xbox consoles.
On top of that, PlayStation 5 controllers don’t even work on PlayStation 4! There’s really no reason these issues couldn’t be fixed in software, but apparently Sony is determined to make sure you buy at least one new controller every console generation, consequences be darned.
Best Third-Party Controllers For PlayStation 5
Product Image Credits: Respective Manufacturer’s Site unless Stated Otherwise
1. Victrix Pro BFG
- Estimated Price: ~$180
- Extra Features: Fully Swappable Face Button/Analog Stick Modules: Allows For Six Button Fighter Layout, Swapped Analog/D-Pad Positioning, Swappable D-Pad and Sticks; 4 Programmable Back Buttons; Adjustable Triggers; 3D Audio and EQ Support
- Recommended For: Professional Gamers (Any Genre), Gamers Who Want a Cheaper Alternative To the DualSense Edge
The Victrix Pro BFG is perhaps the most interesting of the third-party controllers available on the market, and for good reason. The ability to fully swap the orientation of your analog stick and D-Pad, or remove and replace your face buttons + analog stick with a six-button arcade layout, is truly wild compared to the customization features offered by most controllers.
In particular, my favorite thing about the Victrix Pro BFG— even if it didn’t offer a six button layout— is the fact that these “Swappable” components aren’t just for show, like with most swappable analog sticks on pro controllers. These allow you to completely remove the module containing the stick and the sensor beneath, ensuring that you truly don’t have to worry about stick drift in the long-term since you can fully replace the faulty analog module whenever you like. Even the best analog sticks eventually give away to wear and tear without very careful maintenance and repairs, but the Victrix Pro BFG ensures that what would normally be a death-knell for an analog-centric gamer is just a quick module replacement away from playing like new.
Besides all the benefits of the swappable modules, including seamless support for a six-button layout for fighting games, the Victrix Pro BFG is also outfitted with all the things you’d expect from a pro controller. This includes adjustable triggers, four programmable back buttons (2 more than the DualSense Edge!), and even 3D Audio support!
2. HORI Fighting Commander Octa
- Estimated Price: ~$60
- Extra Features: Six Button Arcade Layout, Improved D-Pad and Analog Stick,
- Recommended For: Fighting Gamers, Retro Gamers
Another great controller from the ever-reliable HORI! The HORI Fighting Commander Octa builds on the original HORI Fighting Commander by upgrading the design to be a little more friendly to modern controller shape without compromising on what made the original Fighting Commander great. The unique six-button layout is still present, even with the addition of full triggers and a touchpad for as many inputs as possible.
Of course, if you don’t play fighting games or 2D games, you probably don’t want to get either version of the HORI Fighting Commander. The lack of a second analog stick in a proper 3D action game or FPS is a real killer, and even if you can sort of work around it by setting a toggle for right stick functionality on the left stick…it’s still not the same.
If you are in the market for retro gaming or fighting games, though, the Fighting Commander Octa is about as good as it gets! Not only is it considerably cheaper than mainstream pro controllers, but every last bit of the controller, including the analog stick, are geared for a much higher degree of precision than the default DualSense controller for PS5.
Having tried both a PS5 Controller and a Fighting Commander Octa for fighting games, I heartily recommend the Octa over the default DualSense, which costs about the same, or more!
3. Razer Wolverine V2 Pro
- Estimated Price: ~$250
- Extra Features: 4 Programmable Back Buttons, 2 Extra Programmable Bumpers, Adjustable Triggers, Improved D-Pad, Swappable Analog Sticks,
- Recommended For: Professional Gamers (Any Genre), Gamers Who Like RGB Lighting
The Razer Wolverine V2 Pro is another great PS5 controller competing with the DualSense Edge, but I should address one key downside immediately: this controller actually costs more than the DualSense Edge. In exchange for that trade-off, though, you get quite a few extra features!
Chief among those extra features is the fact you actually get six programmable extra buttons, counting the two extra bumpers, on the Wolverine V2 Pro. Compared to the only two extra buttons on the DualSense Edge and the four extra button design standard on other pro controllers, the Wolverine V2 Pro gives you by far the most buttons available on an official third-party controller.
Besides the extra buttons, all the standard things you would expect in a pro controller are present here: adjustable triggers, improved build quality on the D-Pad and analog sticks, and even swappable analog sticks! The swappable sticks are mostly a surface-level only change compared to the Pro BFG, of course, but that’s because you’re just swapping the sticks, not the entire underlying analog module.
And of course, since it’s Razer, there’s one extra feature for the sake of flashiness that doesn’t really impact the gaming experience but can still be a nice-to-have. The addition of software-customizable RGB lighting to the Razer Wolverine V2 Pro is overkill on a good day, but if that’s an itch you want scratched, I’d be the last person to talk you out of it.
4. SCUF Reflex FPS
- Estimated Price: ~$260
- Extra Features: 4 Programmable Back Buttons, Instant Triggers, Swappable Analog Sticks
- Recommended For: FPS Gamers, Action Gamers, Gamers Who Want Many Controller Skins To Choose From
Last but not least, let’s talk about the SCUF Reflex FPS! The SCUF Reflex PS5 is probably the most “optimized” of the PS5 pro controllers, because it isn’t particularly focused on show-stopping extra features or too much flexibility outside of its intended genres.
The SCUF Reflex looks the most like the original DualSense, and not by accident. However, when you take a deeper look at the controller or actually get your hands on it is when the differences will present themselves almost immediately. Vibration functionality has been removed from the controller entirely in favor of input consistency and stability. Rubberized, non-slip grips have been added to improve the stability and hand-feel of the controller.
And while the triggers are different, they aren’t adjustable at all. Instead, they’re both set to be near instant-actuation hair-triggers to completely minimize actuation time for quick shots in FPS or rapid inputs in any other genre. This makes them outright unsuited for racing games or other titles that rely on the full range of analog trigger motion, but excellent for any title that doesn’t rely on analog triggers, which is still…most of them.
There are still some nice extras here, though. The pro controller standard of 4 programmable back buttons is still in play here, and nicely built into the body of the controller as opposed to protruding as distinct “paddles”. You can also change between tall-domed or short-domed thumbsticks as you please, in accordance to your preference.
Finally, over on SCUF’s site, you actually have by far the most cosmetic customization options! There are 11 unique skins for the SCUF REFLEX FPS, which is a considerable flex over the rest of the controllers on this list, which only come in 1-2 configurations.
And that’s it! I hope this article helped highlight the best third-party controllers for PlayStation consoles available right now, and helped you gravitate toward the best one for your particular needs. Personally, I find the Fighting Commander Octa and the Victrix Pro BFG the most appealing, but I could see how someone else might prefer the Wolverine V2 or Reflex FPS.
For now, it’s time to sign off! I wish you happy gaming. If you have any feedback or controller recommendations of your own, consider reaching out to us @GamersDirector on Twitter. Until next time!