11 best joysticks for gaming

*Review of the best according to the editors. About the selection criteria. This material is subjective, it is not an advertisement and does not serve as a guide to purchase. You should consult with an expert before buying.

Many gamers prefer to play with a keyboard and mouse, but the audience of gamepad users is also steadily growing. By manipulator we mean in most cases the well-known gamepad or joystick.

In a precise interpretation, the term “joystick” implies a characteristic gaming arm in the form of a pen. But as the mass spread of gamepads, they also increasingly began to be called joysticks, and the “same” original joysticks have become a niche product for flight simulators, shooters and some other types of games.

The editorial team of Expertology magazine has studied the joystick market (in all senses) for the beginning of 2022 and has prepared a review of the most interesting models in different price brackets.

How to choose a joystick for gaming

Despite the apparent simplicity of the joystick / gamepad functionality, when choosing a specific model to consider quite a few nuances, and many of them will not be obvious to beginners. Let us consider the main criteria that are reasonable to take into consideration.

Form Factor (PlayStation or Xbox)

The most common form-factor of gamepad today is a well-recognized manipulator with two “horn”-holders, sticks, buttons and triggers. But this form factor is divided into two more conventional subtypes. The standard setters on this issue have been two of the biggest rivals in gaming console production – Microsoft with their Xbox series and Sony with their PlayStation series. Gamepads for these two series are similar in appearance, but differ in the presence and location of controls. Almost all third-party joystick gamepad manufacturers to varying degrees imitate either one format or the other.

For first-time gamers who buy this joystick there’s no significant difference between the form-factors, because there’s simply nothing to compare it with. But still there is something you should know not to be disappointed.

PlayStation form factor gamepads (the entire DualShock series and similar) feature symmetrical arrangement of sticks on the right and left side, and the cross (D-Pad) is located in the upper left corner. In Xbox-format gamepads sticks are located diagonally – left stick and crossbar are conventionally swapped places, if compared to PlayStation gamepads. The shape is also somewhat different – Xbox joysticks are visually more massive.

Otherwise, the presence and location of controls in these two formats are generally similar, the differences can be traced in detail, depending on the series and specific model.

Wired or wireless

This characteristic seems obvious in the sense that all the advantages of wireless gamepads are obviously more attractive. This is the absence of the wires themselves as an annoying factor, more comfort, more room for maneuvering in all senses.

On the other hand, a wired connection is disproportionately more reliable – cases of wireless connection “dropping out” are by no means uncommon, even in the original and expensive models. For the same reason, input delay in wired joysticks is by definition less, and therefore the response in a dynamic game will be better.

However, almost all top-of-the-range original gamepads are wireless. Some models allow for both modes. If wireless is important, you should at least pay attention to battery life. The battery capacity of different gamepads can vary greatly, respectively battery life also varies from a few hours to several tens of hours.

Input standard (API)

Here we are talking about well known to every console gamer terms – Direct-Input and X-Input. Both protocols are developed by Microsoft. But they are not interchangeable.

  1. Direct-Input is a relatively old protocol, which has not received any updates since the beginning of the “zero years. Many arcade games require a Direct-Input, and such games are still popular. This protocol has its own shortcomings, it is less compatible with modern games, and even if it is supported, then with certain restrictions. Partly solved the problem of compatibility by installing special emulators.
  2. X-Input – a newer protocol, came out with the release of the Xbox 360, and has since become a virtual standard not only for Xbox consoles, but also for PCs under Windows. If you are going to fully play modern games the gamepad must support X-Input.

Many models support both protocols, and are even equipped with a mechanical switch on the housing. But newer original Xbox gamepads are rarely universal in this regard, and for the most part only support X-Input.


If the goal is to use a joystick to play on a variety of devices, including Apple computers or even wearable gadgets, it is necessary to ask in advance what platforms the particular model supports.

If the manufacturer’s specs support Android, it does not mean that the controller will work with any Android game. Full support for iOS is only possible under strict licensing from Apple. Manufacturers of cheap controllers without such a license, often deceive in descriptions, claiming compatibility with iOS, while such compatibility will be very limited, bordering with complete uselessness.

All these points should be clarified at the point of sale and checked in the gaming communities if you want to play a variety of mobile toys.

Control response

Another non-obvious point. Just because you have the right buttons, triggers, knobs and cross does not mean that they will work the way the potential user expects them to. So, gamers are constantly noticing a variety of inconveniences in the work of controllers. Too tight buttons, blind spots in the stick operation, false clicks on the crossbar axes, etc.

This information can not be obtained by reading only the official technical specifications, which are filed by the manufacturer. So in this matter it is also worth studying the experience of real users.

11 best joysticks for gaming

The best inexpensive gamepads1SVEN GC-250, black1 393 €
CBG 930, black
1 490 €
3Defender X7, black2 197 €
4Logitech G Gamepad F310, black/blue2 990 €
The best original gamepads of the popular segment1Nintendo Switch Pro Controller, black8 490 €
2Sony DualShock 4 v2 CUH-ZCT2E, Anthracite Black8 990 €
3Sony DualSense, Space Red6 647 €
4Microsoft Xbox Series11 890 €
5Razer Raiju Tournament Edition, black14 185 €
The best specialized premium joysticks1Thrustmaster T.F
  • ght Hotas X, black
  • 7 990 €
    2Thrustmaster Hotas Warthog F
  • ght Stick, black
  • 31 990 €

    The best inexpensive gamepads

    In the first selection we will look at the best of the most inexpensive gamepads. All of them are from third-party manufacturers who do not develop their own game consoles, much less computers. But they more or less imitate the format and functionality of the original Microsoft and Sony game controllers.

    SVEN GC-250, black

    Rating: 4.3

    SVEN GC-250, black

    One of the most popular gamepads in the budget price category will open the nomination. The producer is well-known in Russia – it’s a popular brand of SVEN accessories. The cost of the manipulator at the beginning of 2022 only about 800 rubles.

    This is a wired gamepad, the form factor resembles the popular “proprietary” model NVIDIA SHIELD Controller. The body is made of two-part plastic, the surface is glossy. All the classic controls are present, including the “Home” button.

    The layout of the analog sticks is symmetrical, PlayStation style, with a crossbar in the upper left corner. Rubberized caps, stroke is quite pleasant. Under the “Home” button is a 4-LED indicator – displays mode and status. Right group of buttons signed with numbers from 1 to 4, large, white on black, easy to read.

    The input type is universal – it works in both standards DirectInput and XInput, switching is simple – with a mechanical switch on the back of the case. Compatible with all Windows family operating systems from version 7 to 10 as well as PS3. OTG adapter can also connect to your Android gadget.

    Gamepad is easily recognized by systems. In X-input mode, Windows “sees” it as the Xbox 360 Controller, in D-input the console exhibits “behavior” gamepads for PlayStation. In the first case, the lower shiffts function as analog triggers, controlling the Z-axis; the right stick controls the rotation of the X/Y axes. In the second version, the lower sliftees simply register your presses as number keys; the right stick controls the Z-axis and rotation around it.

    No spatial sensors here, so the gamepad cannot detect its position in space. But this is not a disadvantage, given the super affordable price. What really causes complaints from users sometimes is the accuracy of the crossbar. Sometimes I get comments about stick blind spots. In general, the accuracy of the controls is fully sufficient for casual gamers, but not for advanced gamers.

    From the review of Yandex.Market with the status of “Level 6 Gadget Inspector”: “For its price is the best option, there are no problems with connection, setup and recognition in games. Used it for almost a year – no complaints, nothing has broken.


    • Solid build;
    • A nice stroke of the sticks;
    • supports DirectInput and XInput;
    • 4-position mode indicator;
    • Wide compatibility with popular platforms;
    • long cable;
    • super affordable price.


    • there are complaints about the accuracy of the crosshead.

    CBG 930, black

    Rating: 4.4

    C</div><p> CBG 930, black” src=”/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/15116666195891-6811.jpg” height=”362″ title=”C<br /> CBG 930, black”></p><p>The second number in the selection of budget gamepads will be a model of the Chinese brand C<br />. Cost in February 2022 about 1000 rubles.</p><p>Joystick simple, without any special frills, and in some respects the previous model may feel better. But here is the key difference – the gamepad is wireless. And since wireless models are for the most part significantly more expensive than even very good wired ones, this model is actually the cheapest of the workable options.</p><p>According to the form factor, the controller corresponds to the conditional standard PlayStation – sticks are symmetrical, the cross-arm is located on the left side on top. The XYBA control keys are not marked with letters or digits, but with graphic characters, also very recognizable: square, triangle, etc. d.</p><p>The gamepad has a total of 12 control buttons. In addition to the crossbar and the 4 main buttons, there are four shifters (buttons on the end L1, L2, R1, R2), auxiliary buttons Select and Start, the Home button to go to the system menu. The need to recharge the battery is notified by a special LED indicator.</p><p>In general, the feeling of the joystick in the game is pretty convenient, responsive. There is a vibration response, which also adds comfort, engagement and the effect of presence in the game. Connects via Bluetooth to your computer or console without any problems.</p><p>The main drawback of this model is its limited compatibility. Gamepad is “geared” almost exclusively for PS3. On Windows PCs it will of course work too, but with some restrictions. You may need to install an emulator. Overall there is not as much versatility in terms of DirectInput and XInput connections as the variant described above. All this is an indirect “fee” for wireless connectivity. So if you are going to play a specific game with this mouse, you should ask in advance in the thematic communities about the compatibility of this model with the games of interest.</p><h4>Advantages</h4><ul><li>wireless;</li><li>12 buttons;</li><li>Vibration – two vibration motors;</li><li>easy connection;</li><li>comfortable control;</li><li>LED indicator.</li></ul><h4>Disadvantages</h4><ul><li>limited compatibility.</li></ul><h3>Defender X7, black</h3><p>Rating: 4.5</p><div style=Defender X7, black

    The third in the category of the best budget joysticks according to Expertology magazine is an even more interesting model in terms of combination of features and characteristics. It is also the most expensive, the cost varies greatly depending on the point of sale – from 1500 to 2000 rubles.

    This model is already made in the form factor of gamepads for Xbox, that is, the sticks are located diagonally, and the crossbar is closer to the player in one horizontal line with the right stick. The shape of the controller is also more “massive”, in the style of Xbox.

    Here we already see the presence of wireless and versatility in terms of API – both DirectInput and XInput are supported. But here’s the point – to connect and work with PC wirelessly in XInput mode requires separate software like the program XOutput (Xbox emulator). Otherwise the gamepad will work in D-input mode by default.

    The model’s versatility does not end there. The gamepad can be successfully used to play on PC, PS3 console, portable gadgets running Android version 3 and higher.2 and higher. It even comes with a special physical holder for your smartphone.

    The quality of workmanship for this price is very good – the assembly is solid, there are no obvious squeaks or backlashes. Buttons and other controls are quite tight, some users may even find them too tight. The same can be said about the gadget holder.

    According to user reviews, this controller is quite comfortable in the game, I am pleased with the presence of vibration motors. Unfortunately, there is no gyroscope, so the gamepad will not be able to determine its position in space.


    • wireless;
    • Supports DirectInput and XInput;
    • It’s compatible with Android, PS3 and Windows;
    • vibration feedback;
    • Long cord;
    • the ability to work with a PC over the wire;
    • there is a holder for a smartphone in the kit;
    • price to performance ratio.


    • no gyroscope.

    Logitech G Gamepad F310, black/blue

    Rating: 4.6

    Logitech G Gamepad F310, black/blue

    One of the most popular gamepads in the budget segment completes the selection. This is the youngest model in the F-series, starting at 2 thou. rubles. More advanced modifications – F510 and F710, significantly more expensive, but also more functional. The brand itself is not unreasonably trustworthy – Logitech has long been known for quality and inexpensive accessories.

    In the younger modification of F310 is meant only a wired connection and there is no feedback in the form of a vibration response. Vibration appears in F510, and in the top-end F710 there is wireless connection. The entire line supports XInput and DirectInput. This is a key difference from the predecessor of the super-popular Logitech Dual Action Gamepad series. Switching between modes is via a mechanical switch on the bottom of the body.

    In format, this model is something common between the two main form factors. From Dualshock here we see a similar shape of the case and symmetric location of the sticks. Taken from the Xbox color scheme marking the main buttons XYBA. There are also six additional control buttons and two triggers. During the game you can swap the control functions from the cross to the left stick and back. This is done by simply pressing the additional control button Mode.

    The gamepad lends itself to fairly fine-tuning via the proprietary Logitech Gaming Software. In the program you can reassign functions to the buttons, adjust the sensitivity, etc. d. You can even save different control profiles and use ready-made presets in games.

    The D-pad’s crossbar draws quite fair criticism from users and experts for its primitive design. It is essentially a single platform button for all axes, and in a fast-paced game, it’s easy to miss taps. Also sometimes in the reviews there are comments from users about the tight triggers.


    • brand;
    • Quality build;
    • XInput and DirectInput support with a mechanical switch;
    • it is possible to reassign the functions of the buttons;
    • saving control profiles;
    • useful proprietary software.


    • primitive crossbar.

    The second selection of our review is dedicated to the best “proprietary” gamepads of middle price category. These are the joysticks that are made by the companies that make popular game consoles themselves. The exception is the model of the legendary brand Razer.

    Nintendo Switch Pro Controller, black

    Rating: 4.7

    Nintendo Switch Pro Controller, black

    First in the selection let’s look at an interesting, but somewhat ambiguous model from Nintendo. This is a gaming controller for gaming consoles of the same name, which is just as successfully used for PC gaming. The gamepad costs about 5 thousand. rubles.

    The mentioned ambiguity of the model lies in the polarized opinion of users. In the opinion of many gamers, it is definitely the best original solution for Nintendo consoles instead of the standard low-functioning “joykons. This controller also gets a lot of positive feedback from gamers who prefer other platforms. But at the same time the gamepad is criticized for some points, which we will describe below. Nevertheless, despite all the remarks, this model has its own large audience of users who are happy with everything.

    And this controller has plenty of positive qualities. It’s wireless, well-designed and comfortable. The stick travel is especially nice – this is noted by users and experts alike. In contrast to budget models, this already has a built-in gyroscope and accelerometer. It uses a high-speed Bluetooth 3.0. There is even an NFC module for some additional features.

    As for the controls, there are quite fair comments about them. For example, the D-pad cross – at first glance it is convenient, but this convenience comes to naught when you have to deal with false presses. The very design of the mechanism forces the gamer to adhere to the accuracy of pressing, which in a dynamic game is almost impossible. Also noticed a difference in stick sensitivity when playing on console and PC.

    But, again, opinions are polar, and many users do not face such problems. On the contrary, some users claim that the crossbow in this model is almost the best, because it allows you to perform complex combinations, especially in fighting games.

    Special mention and serious praise deserves the autonomy. Even though it uses the quite standard 1300 mAh battery, the battery life on a full charge is surprising – up to 30-35 hours! In comparison, the Dualshock 4 for PS4 can last no more than 6-8 hours. Charging time Switch Pro Controller, however, will also take a decent amount of time – 3-4 hours, up to 6 hours. Special thanks to the manufacturer for the connector USB Type-C, cable Type-C – Type-A is included.


    • wireless;
    • high quality build;
    • The stick travel is particularly comfortable;
    • USB Type- C;
    • luetooth 3.0;
    • NFC;
    • exceptional autonomy.


    • claims to the crossbar and sticks (debatable).

    Sony DualShock 4 v2 CUH-ZCT2E, Anthracite Black

    Rating: 4.7

    Sony DualShock 4 v2 CUH-ZCT2E, Anthracite Black

    We are going to continue our review with the famous DualShock, that in its time was a real revolution in the gaming controllers industry. To be precise, this is DualShock 4 v2, the second edition of the legendary Gamepad. The average price for this model is a little over 5 thousand roubles. rubles.

    The main advantage of this gamepad is quite comprehensive – the overall accuracy, painstaking detail study, filigree ergonomics. Compared to previous generations, this joystick feels like a precision professional tool.

    The model also features wide compatibility with various platforms. In addition to the very Sony PlayStation 4, which was designed gamepad for, there is official support for Apple wearable gadgets (iPhone, iPad and even iPod Touch), also for the system Apple TV on iOS 13 and above, for Mac on macOS Cata operating system

  • na and above, and of course for Windows. Of course, this model supports both of the major API’s – DirectInput and XInput.

    On the technical side, there is an important difference: the touchpad on the front of the phone. It’s a kind of miniature touchpad, two-point, with a click mechanism. In total there are 18 control buttons, gyroscope, accelerometer, vibration motors.

    Special thanks from fans to the manufacturer for not giving up the standard jack 3 in this version.5 mm “mini-jack” for audio headset. Located on the front end, next to it is an expansion slot to connect the docking station. There, just above is a small speaker – with its help, some game sounds are played. If it’s not necessary, you can easily disable the speaker.

    In general about this model, mostly positive reviews, if we are talking about the original copy – easy to check through the identification by serial number. In the first batches there were sometimes examples with a bit problematic left stick, in the new deliveries this problem was eliminated.

    About battery life, the battery of 800 mAh will run the gamepad up to 6 hours, this is not enough for some avid gamers. You can turn off the backlight, then add a couple more hours to the runtime.


    • wireless;
    • build quality;
    • exceptional precision;
    • DirectInput / XInput;
    • Wide platform compatibility;
    • stereo headset jack;
    • Capacitive touchpad with push;
    • one of the most successful gamepad versions ever;


    • not the most outstanding autonomy.

    Sony DualSense, Space Red

    Rating: 4.8

    Sony DualSense, Space Red

    Next in the review is another original gamepad manufactured by Sony. It came after the DualShock 4 as a “companion” to Sony’s long-awaited PlayStation 5 gaming console. After the triumph of DualShock 4 it was hard to speculate what the new product would be able to offer seriously, but still a number of interesting points are present.

    First of all you can see the external difference between the new DualSense and the classic DualShock. The new gamepad is a little more massive, heavier, sturdier, and overall “more thorough” – you can see that the developers went even further in terms of attention to detail. And attention to detail is what separates premium tech from budget tech. And in this case, these details are the most noticeable and impressive innovation.

    The first notable improvement is a new approach to haptic feedback. DualShock vibrated with different intensity, depending on the game action, but did so with the entire body. DualSense is fundamentally different – the vibration can be felt much more locally, in different corners of the gamepad body. All the awesome effects of this approach are clearly demonstrated in Astro’s Playroom, the default game flashed on the PlayStation 5.

    The second impressive feature is the adaptive triggers. This innovation fans have been waiting a long time, and once received, not disappointed. The point is that different gameplay action triggers different stick feedback. For example, lifting weights in the game causes a reverse stick force, shooting causes an imitation of recoil, etc. d.

    Inherited the trackpad from the previous DualSense version – here it is implemented as successfully as in the DualShock. The rest of the controls also remain in the full set. In addition to the gyroscope and gas pedal added a built-in microphone and motion sensor.

    Finally, autonomy. Here the new model has also received improvements – a higher capacity battery. It adds a nice massiveness, but more importantly, plus 4 hours of battery life over what the DualShock was capable of.


    • build quality;
    • attention to detail;
    • exceptional precision;
    • DirectInput / XInput;
    • localization of the vibration response;
    • adaptive triggers;
    • USB Type-C;
    • autonomy.


    • PC and Android support is only partial.

    Microsoft Xbox Series

    Rating: 4.8

    Microsoft Xbox Series

    Now let’s pay attention to the direct rival of PlayStation – Xbox gaming console and the new gamepad, which has not even received a separate name, but has the same name as the console – Microsoft Xbox Series. This is a new development, which is noticeably different for the better from the previous generation version for the Xbox One console.

    The form factor of this model is obvious – with the diagonal positioning of the sticks, as we are talking about the original gamepad for Xbox. From the first minutes of interaction with the device you feel the exceptional quality of materials and workmanship, and the same delicate and meticulous detailing as in the two aforementioned grips.

    The surface in the grip areas has a rubbery texture, prevents slipping. Similar trigger surface, provides a good grip. The gamepad is perfectly balanced, users’ opinions agree in high estimation of exactly comfort and tactile comfort of playing with this joystick.

    There are several ways to connect to this model. Firstly, the proprietary Xbox Wireless; secondly, a wireless connection via Bluetooth and wired connection via USB Type-C connector (cable not included). This way you can connect the gamepad to Windows PCs, MacOS computers and notebooks, Android and iOS wearable gadgets.

    Two AA batteries to power it. It comes with two of these Duracel OEM batteries. According to user reviews with daily play for a few hours, two of these batteries lasts about a week, with moderate gameplay – up to a month. They can easily be replaced with rechargeable cells of the same format.

    This model has the official software package in Russian with a user-friendly and clear interface. In the program you can fine tune and calibrate the manipulator, reassign functions to different buttons.

    From Yandex user review.Market with the status of “Level 7 Gadget Inspector”: “Excellent build quality. The ability to quickly switch between sources. Better grip than xbox one. High quality body material. New USB Type C connector. Shows the charge level in Windows (the old one did not)”.


    • The quality of materials and assembly;
    • convenience and tactile comfort;
    • Precise control accuracy;
    • USB Type-C;
    • Standard mini-jack headphone jack;
    • Wide compatibility with different platforms
    • powered by batteries or AA batteries;
    • Convenient and functional software.


    • Some users have rare problems with Bluetooth connection.

    Razer Raiju Tournament Edition, black

    Rating: 4.9

    Razer Raiju Tournament Edition, black

    Completes the selection of the brand, which we could not ignore, considering the gaming devices. It is, of course, Razer – one of the most “idea” companies in the field of hardware and accessories for gaming. Here we take a look at the popular and relatively expensive Raiju gamepad in the Tournament Edition. Will cost around 8,000-9,000 in early 2022. rubles.

    This model is positioned as adapted (and licensed) for PlayStation 4, but the form factor is almost exactly the same as the gamepads for Xbox. Such a small paradox can be easily explained by the desire of the manufacturer to take the best of both concepts. And the Razer team succeeded, judging by the numerous positive reviews of users and experts.

    Independent work of the controller is provided by its own built-in battery. A full charge lasts for up to 19 hours of active play. Charging via microUSB. The cable is included, and it is made with the inherent solidity of this brand – the length of 2 meters, fabric braid, plus more ferrite rings to protect against interference.

    In this model, in addition to the basic functionality, some additional features are implemented that make the gamepad suitable for serious eSports competitions. This option of rapid fire, plus a number of additional universal keys.

    We are talking about keys M1 and M2 in the space between the triggers and bumpers, and in the lower part near the handles two petals M3 and M4. On the lower part of the body, near the handles, where the middle or ring fingers rest, depending on the grip, there are “petals” M3 and M4, which execute commands of the “cross” and “circle” keys.

    By default, these keys duplicate the functions of the four main “colored” buttons. On them through proprietary software can be set any other action. This addition can give you a serious advantage in fierce gaming competitions. And another important detail – there are two switches at the bottom of the case – trigger stops. In a certain position, they cut the trigger travel by almost half, thereby reducing the time for a series of shots.


    • legendary gamer brand;
    • The quality of materials and assembly;
    • precision controls;
    • Functional software;
    • autonomy;
    • Small, but important details that give advantages in the game;
    • two-meter secure USB cable braided with ferrite rings.


    • comments on the convenience of installing a wireless connection.

    The best specialized premium joysticks

    In the final selection of the review of the best joysticks according to Expertology magazine, we look at gaming handles, which are joysticks in the original sense. They are a lever with buttons on the platform, optionally with additional accessories. As of the beginning of 2022, this narrow niche in the Russian market is dominated by the Thrustmaster brand.

    Thrustmaster T.F
  • ght Hotas X, black
  • Rating: 4.8

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