Console controllers have been iterated upon to the point of near perfection, with each new version receiving fewer radical changes to their designs and features. While the run-of-the-mill controllers that come with a console might be good enough for most, some gamers like to have more granular control over how they play their games. On the other hand, others want that little extra edge over their opponents in intense competitive situations. And the following list will help you find the pro controllers that are at the top of the food chain in 2023.
If you belong to either of the aforementioned types of players, Pro controllers are the way to go. These superior controllers have gone by different names depending on their manufacturers, but what they all have in common is that they offer a more customizable gaming experience compared to their standard counterparts.
And with this distinct level of customizability, these things can cost a pretty penny. Some of the controllers on this list have price tags that get worryingly close to that of a current-generation console. But no price is too high for gamers who really want to dial in their gaming experience to fit their particular needs.
This list will cover the 5 (?) best “Pro” or “Elite” controllers you can buy in 2023 and what makes them better than your standard controller. This list will include something for just about everyone. Whether you’re a fan of twitch shooters or love one-on-one fighting games, you will find something on this list that fits the bill.
The Top 5 Best Pro / Elite Controllers To Buy In 2023
The First Party Options
We’ve decided to lump the first-party Pro controller options into one for the sake of adding more variety to the list. Both offerings from Sony and Microsoft boast a similar feature set and are familiar to most console gamers. Plus, most console owners will likely only be able to buy one of them because they only work on their respective consoles.
Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2
Microsoft took the original Elite controller which was already great and made it better with the Elite Wireless Controller Series 2. It features adjustable thumbsticks (tension), a trigger lock, up to 40-hour of battery life, and numerous interchangeable components. It also comes with a carrying case to easily transport from tournament to tournament and keep it juiced up.
For $180, buyers are definitely getting a lot of value. This controller is the baseline for what makes an “elite” or “pro” controller better than a standard one.
The DualSense Edge is Sony’s foray into the Pro controller space and an answer to the Xbox Elite Controller. It has most of what the Xbox Elite Series 2 offers, but with its own set of unique features like replaceable thumbstick modules, multiple rear paddle options, and a slick new design, literally.
But oddly enough, Sony’s Pro controller does not do everything better than its standard younger sibling. The Edge actually has a slightly worse battery life compared to the stock DualSense, which is already known for having a nodding acquaintance with wirelessness at best. Sony inexplicably decided not to rectify this issue, especially when you consider that the Edge costs more than three standard DualSense controllers.
The DualSense Edge is not available at the time of writing but will launch very soon, in January 2023 for $199.
Scuf Reflex Series
Tied as the most expensive controller on this list, with the FPS version hitting the $250 mark, the Scuf Reflex is arguably the most feature-packed pro controller on here. The Scuff Reflex has three versions. The base Reflex comes with all the features of the Xbox Elite Controller Series 2. The Reflex Pro adds a non-slip grip to it, while the Reflex FPS brings dedicated clicky trigger switches like those found in gaming mice.
The Scuf Reflex is the only third-party controller that looks and feels exactly like the DualSense. That is probably why it is also an officially licensed PlayStation product, like many others on this list.
8Bitdo Pro 2
If are more of an on-the-go Nintendo Switch owner and are considering getting a Pro controller, the 8Bitdo Pro 2 is probably your best bet. While the official Switch Pro controller is no slouch, compared to the other ones on the list, it definitely lacks customizability. But keeping its $60-70 price tag in mind, it is more akin to a standard DualSense or Xbox Series controller than an Elite or Pro one.
That’s where the 8Bitdo Pro 2 comes in. The controller offers a much more appreciable breadth of features while staying in the same price range. This is probably the only “Pro” controller on the list that is inarguably the better option compared to the first-party offering.
Everything from the D-pad, buttons, and battery life to the premium feel, exceeds that of the official Switch Pro controller from Nintendo. Additionally, the 8Bitdo Pro 2 features onboard profiles that can be switched on the fly, exactly like the Xbox Elite Controller Series 2.
Razer Wolverine V2 Pro
The Razer Wolverine V2 Pro also hits the $250 mark and offers similar features to the Scuf Reflex FPS. It’s designed for comfort, allowing you to adjust the tension of the thumbsticks to your preference. It also has a lot of extra features like two new back buttons, hair triggers, and mechanical buttons all over the controller, giving players a tactile and responsive experience reminiscent of Razer mechanical keyboards.
If money is not an object, you can’t possibly go wrong with the Razer Wolverine V2 Pro.
Victrix Pro BFG
The Victrix Pro BFG is the oddball on this list, hailing from a company known to make arcade sticks (big beefy controllers used to play fighting games), the Pro BFG can either function as a standard controller or turn into a pseudo-arcade stick with six buttons on the front, perfect for fighting games.
Swapping out the controller’s modules is as easy as playing with legos and allows you to not only have 4 or 6 face buttons but also switch the layout of the controller depending on where you prefer the thumb stick and D-pad to be. You can either go team PlayStation with the left stick below the D-pad or team Xbox and have it swapped.
The interchangeable paddle modules make it a good competitor to most pro controllers, especially since it also has a trigger-locking system. The Victrix Pro BFG is probably the most “pro” controller available in 2023. So if you like fighting games and play shooters on the side, the Victrix Pro BFG might be the best fit for you regardless of which console you own.
All of these controllers are excellent options and are some of the best pro controllers on the market for those who want to take their gaming to the next level in 2023. Whether you’re a casual or competitive gamer, a great pro controller can give you the edge you need in order to tune your gaming experience to your liking or get that split-second advantage over your unsuspecting opponent.