Best Steam Deck Controllers 2024

Our top picks for the best Steam Deck controllers

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Valve’s Steam Deck has brought an exciting shake-up to the PC gaming space. The Steam Deck gives players access to Steam’s extensive library and the ability to play PC games anywhere, anytime, all on a handheld gadget. It opens new possibilities for how players can approach PC gaming, and it has the versatility to play in various ways. Players will have easy access to their Steam library on the go, which includes a wide range of games from stealth games and survival games to action games.

As with most modern handhelds, the Steam Deck can be connected to a big screen, so you can enjoy your favorite games on your TV from the comfort of your own couch. You might also want one to be a little more precise in your movement and aim. From the official Xbox controller to the PlayStation 5 controller, and other cheaper third-party options, we have you covered with a look at our top picks for the best Steam Deck controllers on the market.

The Steam Deck might be a handheld gaming console, but if you prefer to dock your Steam Deck to a monitor or TV, we’re happy to say that it supports an external controller. You’ll need to pair that controller via Bluetooth or connect it to your Steam Deck or the dock that it’s connected to via USB-C.

How To Connect A Controller To The Steam Deck

  1. For controllers with native support, turning them on will automatically make them recognizable by the Steam Deck. If you’re using a Bluetooth or USB-compatible controller, you can pair it with the Steam Deck through Bluetooth settings or a USB cable.
  1. To connect via Bluetooth, ensure the controller is in pairing mode and go to the Steam Deck’s Bluetooth settings.
  1. For USB-C connection, plug the controller into the USB-C port using a suitable cable.

Once connected, the Steam Deck will detect the controller, making it ready for use. You can also customize controller settings in the Steam Deck’s configuration menu for an optimized gaming experience.

Best Steam Deck Controller: Sony DualShock 4

DualShock 4 Wireless Controller for PlayStation 4

Compatible Devices

Playstation 4

Controller Type

Gamepad

Connectivity Technology

Bluetooth

Pros
  • Ergonomic design
  • Official Steam Deck support
  • Familiar button layout
Cons
  • May not be comfortable for individuals with smaller hands

Sony’s DualShock 4 controller has long been lauded as the best in the market, owing to its sleek, comfortable, and sturdy design. The standard PS4 controller boasts a solid build and a comfortable button layout. Each button and trigger is highly responsive, delivering a tactile button press without any noticeable input delay.

The DualShock 4 controllers have enjoyed official support on Steam for years, making the transition from Windows to the Steam Deck’s SteamOS seamless and trouble-free. With wireless Bluetooth capabilities, you can game in comfort from your couch without the constraints of wires or cables. Renowned for good reason, the DualShock 4 controllers are among the finest available and will undoubtedly complement your Steam Deck gaming experience.

Runner Up: Xbox Core Controller

Xbox Wireless Core Controller – Carbon Black

Connectivity

Bluetooth

Batteries

2 AA batteries required. (included)

Pros
  • Ideal for FPS/Action games
  • Versatile connectivity options
  • Ergonomic and comfortable design
Cons
  • Bluetooth connectivity may have occasional issues

Coming in a close second is the Xbox Core Controller, widely considered one of the finest controllers on the market, only narrowly trailing the PS4 DualShock controller on our list. Praised for its comfort, these controllers are slightly chunkier than some alternatives and are best suited for gamers with larger hands.

Moreover, it’s an excellent choice for FPS and Action games. With re-mappable buttons, you can customize functions, offering complete control over your gameplay style. Xbox controllers have official Steam support, and their button layout matches that of the Steam controller, facilitating seamless switching between the two. The choice between the Xbox Core Controller and the PS4 DualShock Controller boils down to personal preference in terms of button/stick layout and controller size.

Budget-Friendly Alternative: 8-BitDo Controller

8Bitdo SN30 Pro Wireless Bluetooth Controller with Joysticks Rumble Vibration

Batteries

1 Lithium Ion batteries required. (included)

Item Weight

9.9 ounces

Connectivity

Bluetooth

Pros
  • Excellent affordability
  • Solid build quality and button responsiveness
Cons
  • Limited to wired connectivity
  • Non-customizable buttons

If you’re in search of a budget-friendly Steam Deck controller, the 8Bitdo Ultimate C Wired is an excellent option. Its button layout and design resemble standard Xbox controllers, with offset thumbsticks, a D-pad, and A, X, Y, and B buttons. This ergonomic design offers comfortable handling, particularly for those with larger hands. Engineered with the Steam Deck in mind, it guarantees seamless compatibility right out of the box.

Though it’s a wired controller, the 8Bitdo Ultimate C Wired encompasses all the essential buttons. While the wired connection doesn’t offer the freedom of wireless controllers, the 1.8m (5.9ft) cable provides a reasonable gaming distance. At an affordable price, this controller effectively serves its purpose and enhances gaming comfort.

Best Ergonomic Controller: Sony DualSense Controller

Sony DualSense controller

Weight

280g/9.87oz

Connectivity

USB Type-C/Bluetooth

Battery life

Up to 15 hours (Depending on haptics)

Pros
  • Innovative haptic feedback and adaptive triggers
  • Strong Bluetooth connectivity
  • Ergonomic design for comfortable use
Cons
  • Advanced features may have limited compatibility
  • Non-replaceable batteries

The PS5 DualSense controller is celebrated for its innovative design. It introduces haptic feedback that enhances the tactile response to in-game actions. The adaptive triggers offer varying levels of resistance, intensifying the gaming experience. However, these features may not be fully functional on the Steam Deck due to compatibility limitations.

Beyond these advancements, the DualSense 5 controller boasts exceptional comfort. With a slightly larger size compared to its predecessors, it caters to a wider range of users. The adjusted button and trigger layout contribute to enhanced ergonomics, particularly during extended play sessions.

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