Best controller for racing 2023: Top picks for PS4, PS5, Xbox, and PC

share to other networks share to twitter share to facebook

Finding the best controller for racing can be tricky at times, especially with the wide variety of devices to choose from making it hard to know how much you need to spend or what features to look out for.

Fortunately, we've put together a list of our top picks based on price, user reviews, and any features that make these top gamepads stand out from the crowd.

While there is some debate over whether a wheel is best for racing, we appreciate that a controller still remains the device of choice for many sim racing fans out there.

In fact, controllers are perhaps better suited than ever for racing. Take the new DualSense Edge, for example, which comes with adjustable joysticks and adaptive triggers to give you greater precision and control on the track.

So, if you're looking for a PlayStation controller that's available now, like the Nacon Revolution Unlimited Pro, or an Xbox gamepad, like this Xbox Elite Series 2, we've got everything you need right here.

We've also answered some of the most commonly asked questions surrounding controllers to help you figure out which is the right device to upgrade your setup. For now, though, let's dive into our list...

Best controller for racing

Best PlayStation controller for racing – Nacon Revolution Unlimited Pro

Best controller for racing Nacon product image of a black PS4-style controller.
Credit: Nacon
Brand: Nacon | Connectivity: Bluetooth, USB | Compatibility: PC, PS4

We've previously featured the Nacon Revolution Unlimited Pro in our list of the best controllers for F1 as we feel it has all the attributes to take your racing to the next level.

For example, it comes with replaceable joysticks and four shortcut buttons that should provide more precision and control over your high-speed vehicles.

Read More: Best monitors for racing games

Moreover, it features an ergonomic design and Bluetooth connectivity so you can lay back and relax whilst racing around your favourite Gran Turismo circuit for example.

Ultimately, we feel this Nacon device is well worth considering, especially if you game on a PlayStation console.

Best Xbox controller for racing – PowerA FUSION Pro 2

Best controller for racing PowerA product image of a black, Xbox-style, wired controller.
Credit: PowerA
Brand: PowerA | Connectivity: USB | Compatibility: PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X

For Xbox gamers, this PowerA FUSION Pro 2 may be better suited for your racing needs.

It comes with PowerA's mappable pro pack, featuring four programmable buttons which you can quickly customise mid-race, plus dual rumble motors and magnetic impulse triggers for added feedback from the race track.

Read More: Best racing seats

Furthermore, you get adjustable thumbsticks that can be switched from short, tall, and even convex-capped sticks to suit your racing preference to maximise your control.

It's also worth noting the wired connectivity should provide you with zero latency to accurately capture your subtle racing adjustments during wheel-to-wheel action, and is another reason why it makes our list as one of the best.

Best PC controller for racing - Xbox Elite Series 2

Best controller for racing Xbox product image of a black pro gamepad.
Credit: Xbox
Brand: Xbox | Connectivity: Bluetooth, USB | Compatibility: PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X

As Microsoft are behind both Xbox and the majority of PC software, it makes sense to feature the Xbox Elite Series 2 as it offers a plug-in-and-play experience, ready for you to dive straight into the action.

Xbox boasts it has made this controller using some of the most advanced controller technology around. For instance, you get shifter-like bumpers where you can adjust their pressure resistance to help you brake later into corners for a more aggressive racing style.

Read More: Best racing gloves

Additionally, with the supplied tool, you can alter the stiffness of the joysticks which should help with the precision of your turning, so you can hit every apex with ease.

All in all, this Xbox looks to be a real powerhouse of a controller, especially for PC gaming, hence why it also features in our list of the best controller for GT7 and FH5.

However, keep an eye out for the rumoured arrival of the Xbox Elite Series 3 in the future, which looks to be a serious bit of kit for both gaming and racing.

Best premium controller for racing - Razer Wolverine Ultimate

Best controller for racing Razer product image of a black gamepad with multi-coloured backlit buttons.
Credit: Razer
Brand: Razer | Connectivity: USB | Compatibility: PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X

If you're serious about racing games, then it may be worth spending that little bit more to get a real showstopping device like this Razer Wolverine Ultimate.

What we like about this controller is that it comes with a slew of extra buttons, including remappable multi-function bumpers, four multi-function triggers, and a quick control panel for faster access to some of your most-used controls.

Read More: Best headsets for racing games

Like with the previous entries, this gamepad also includes interchangeable thumbsticks, plus two interchangeable D-Pads so you can optimise the configuration to suit your racing style and for when you're switching to other titles such as Warzone or Fortnite.

Ultimately, we feel the Wolverine Ultimate is a good option to consider if you're on the hunt for a premium bit of kit.

Best budget controller for racing - Logitech F310

Best controller for racing Logitech product image of a retro-style grey gamepad.
Credit: Logitech
Brand: Logitech | Connectivity: Bluetooth, USB | Compatibility: PC

From a high-end device to a cheaper alternative, this Logitech F310 could be one to contemplate if you're a slightly more casual racer.

In terms of the design, it's more akin to a PS4 controller, so should suit those who prefer the PlayStation layout, and is also slightly smaller than most modern controllers which should be ideal if you're not a huge fan of the bulkier designs.

Read More: Best budget racing equipment

On the whole, this aesthetically charming budget controller includes all the necessary features for you to race with.

So, if you're not using one of Logitech's best racing wheels for PS5 or Xbox, why not give this relatively inexpensive controller a try instead?

Best official controller for racing - PS5 DualSense Wireless Controller

Best controller for racing Sony product image of an official black PS5 gamepad.
Credit: Sony
Brand: Sony | Connectivity: Bluetooth, USB | Compatibility: PS5, PC

While custom, pro controllers can be great, sometimes sticking with the original is best which is why the PS5 DualSense controller remains a popular choice.

With the gamepad, you get haptic feedback and adaptive triggers which should help bring your racing games experience to life.

Read More: Best triple monitor arms for racing games

Furthermore, you get an ergonomic grip with a slightly rough texture designed to improve your grip, particularly when in a tense battle for first place.

It's also worth noting that it comes with a built-in mic which is great for when you want to kick back and race with your friends online.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

When it comes to finding the right controller for gaming, there are usually a few questions that pop up, but we're here to answer some of the more common queries.

How much should I spend on a controller for racing?

This really depends on your budget and what you're looking to get out of a controller for racing games.

You can pick up a relatively inexpensive third-party controller in the traditional layouts popularised by Xbox and PlayStation, however, you may miss out on some useful features like remappable buttons that can take your ability to the next level.

A pro controller will likely be a bit more expensive, but they all typically come with adjustable bumpers, buttons, and joysticks which can give you more control, accuracy, and precision whilst racing.

How long does a wireless controller last?

The answer to this question will vary from controller to controller and on how often you use the gamepad

When it comes to the official PlayStation controllers though, a DualSense PS4 device is said to last somewhere up to 8 hours on a single charge.

The PS5 controller goes one better with a battery life ranging from around 9 to 15 hours.

At the top end of the scale, the Xbox Elite Series 2 is quoted as having up to a 40-hour battery life which is perfect for multiple racing sessions.

Most third-party wireless devices should fall within this range as well, so you'll be able to enjoy plenty of racing with whichever controller you choose for your setup.

Are all controllers compatible with PC?

Most officially licensed Xbox controllers are immediately compatible with Windows PCs as Microsoft is the manufacturer behind them both.

Unfortunately, PlayStation controllers will likely require additional software or adapters in order to plug in and play.

However, if you play your racing games through Steam, then you can connect a PS5 DualSense by going to Steam > Settings > Controller > General Controller Settings and selecting PlayStation configuration when you plug in your device.

Is a controller better for racing than a wheel?

In our opinion, there's more to gain from using a wheel for racing games than a controller, especially once you get used to the mechanics.

This is due, in part, to the added control and realism you get from a wheel for racing with the addition of Force Feedback or Direct Drive device.

You also get a ton of extra information through these additional simulation techniques. If you want to find out more, check out our guides on Force Feedback and Direct Drive right here.

Having said that, a controller offers a greater degree of versatility away from racing, so you may find picking up a great gamepad more useful if you're a more casual sim gamer.

Can you use a PS5 controller on PS4?

You can't just plug in and plag the PS4 with a PS5 controller. However, there is a workaround if you're desperate to use the latest DualShock device on PS4.

This approach requires a PC or laptop to connect your controller to.

Simply connect your device to your PC when you're ready to play on your PS4, then the Remote Play app should launch on your PC once you start your console.

Simply follow the in-app instructions to connect the PC to the PS4 console and you should be good to go.