6 Best Budget PC Gaming Controllers Under $50 in 2023

Microsoft has a handful of Xbox controllers that work seamlessly with a Windows device. Brands like Razer and Hori offer advanced features and extra buttons with their controllers, albeit all the aforementioned brands charge a premium for their products. This begs the question — where can you buy a reliable, budget PC gaming controller?

Be it console titles ported to Windows to action adventures or racing simulators, there are plenty of genres where a controller for PC gaming works better than a keyboard/mouse combo. Of course, finding a controller to fit your budget and needs is no mean feat.

So, if you’re looking for the best budget PC gaming controller, read on. We have options of the wired and wireless variety, and some even offer programmable buttons. But before we take a look at that, you might want to check out the following:

1. Logitech F310

  • Connectivity: Wired
  • Customizable Buttons: Yes | Headset Connection: No
Launched way back in 2010, the Logitech F310 still remains, to this date, one of the best wired controllers for your PC. And, at its current price, it’s easily the most affordable budget gaming controller for PC too. Despite its low price though, you still get a lot of features.

To start, the controller’s design is similar to Sony’s PlayStation gamepad layout, with both the joysticks positioned down low. The D-pad can be found on the upper left side, and the XYAB buttons are on the upper right side. The build quality is nothing to write home about. However, the controller feels slightly rigid in your hand.

The Logitech F310 supports both X-Input and Direct-Input settings. While pretty much all modern titles rely on XInput, the DirectInput settings will be useful if you’re trying to play some legacy games on your PC or using this controller with an emulator. You can switch between these modes with the toggle positioned towards the back of the controller.

While the controller itself is plug-and-play, you can download and use the Logitech Gaming software from the official website to customize the buttons. However, do keep in mind that the official support for this software has ended, so you might run into crashes on modern Windows PCs. That said, the controller itself should run just fine.

2. EasySMX Wireless Controller for PC Gaming

  • Connectivity: Wired/Wireless
  • Customizable Buttons: Yes | Headset Connection: No
When it comes to versatile gaming controllers for your PC that don’t break the bank, the EasySMX wireless controller is a great option. You get seamless compatibility with your Windows PC and a handful of other platforms too. And despite its wallet-friendly price point, it even offers programmable buttons.

The EasySMX Wireless Gaming Controller comes with a built-in battery that can easily be charged via the device’s USB-C port. This also allows you to use the controller in wired mode while it charges. Or, you could connect it wirelessly via the supplied USB dongle.

You get a total of four programmable keys here, which are located on the back of the controller. The programmable toggles can be used to record macros as well, which can come in handy for various games.

Customers love the fact that despite being wireless, there’s no perceivable input lag when using the controller. That’s great, especially when you factor in the price. That being said, do keep in mind that the dongle here is quite big, a reminiscence of the old pen drives from way back in the day. As such, make sure there is enough space around the USB port to plug the USB receiver.

3. PowerA Enhanced

  • Connectivity: Wired
  • Customizable Buttons: Yes | Headset Connection: Yes
When it comes to purchasing a third-party controller for either PC or Xbox, PowerA is the go-to choice for most consumers. And, with over 52,000 reviews that translates to a 4.3-star rating, you know you’re making the right choice with the PowerA Enhanced controller.

PowerA controllers are officially licensed by Microsoft for use with Xbox and Windows PCs. Not only is the brand highly reliable, but the controller should not pose any compatibility issues either. The design is exactly the same as the official Xbox controller, though you do get two extra programmable buttons on the backside.

The controller does feel a bit lightweight when compared to the official Xbox controller, primarily because it is of the wired variety. As such, it doesn’t have a battery pack or other electronics weighing the chassis down. What’s more, the cable is not soldered to the controller. Instead, you get a detachable USB-A to USB-C cable with the device.

The PowerA Enhanced controller also comes with a 3.5mm headset port. Correspondingly, you can easily connect your headset or microphone directly to the controller, thereby reducing the cable clutter in your setup.

If you prefer adding a bit of lighting to your controller, you can also opt for the PowerA Spectra Infinity Enhanced controller. It’s the same controller but comes with 20 different Spectra color zones that make the buttons pop.

4. MSI Force GC30V2

  • Connectivity: Wired/Wireless
  • Customizable Buttons: No | Headset Connection: No
Designed on the Xbox controller layout, the MSI Force GC30V2 was made primarily for Android users but it works seamlessly on Windows PCs too. You can use it in the wired mode with the microUSB port, or use it wirelessly with the supplied dongle.

One of the major USPs of this controller is the unit’s dual-vibration motors. While every controller on this list does offer haptic feedback, the experience offered by the MSI controller is unmatched. The joysticks, however, can feel a bit stiff, so do keep that in mind.

The company claims a battery life of eight hours on a full charge, though customers have stated that it lasts longer. There are also four LED battery indicators on the controller between the D-pad and the L stick. When the controller is running low on battery, these indicators will start rapidly flashing, giving you ample time to plug the controller into a charger.

5. 8Bitdo Ultimate 2.4g

  • Connectivity: Wired/Wireless
  • Customizable Buttons: Yes | Headset Connection: No
8Bitdo is known for making premium controllers for Windows, and the 8Bitdo Ultimate is one of their best offerings in the budget segment. You get an attractive design along with a beautiful and functional charging dock.

Available in three colors – Pink, White, and Black, the 8Bitdo Ultimate gaming controller is not only attractive but it also packs in a lot of features under its sleeve. You get a custom profile switching button, with support for three profiles that can be switched on the fly. You also get two Pro back paddle buttons that are fully customizable.

As a matter of fact, you can reprogram all the buttons on the controller to your liking. To actually make use of these features, you will have to use Ultimate Software on your PC, which is by far one of the best companion software for budget gaming controllers.

Similar to the Logitech F310, the 8Bitdo Ultimate also comes with compatibility for both X-Input and D-Input. The charging dock not only makes juicing the controller a lot easier but also adds to your setup’s aesthetics.

8Bitdo Ultimate also comes with a more expensive version that adds Bluetooth connectivity and Motion Control to the mix. However, as far as PC gaming is concerned, this variant should suffice for most folks out there.

6. Turtle Beach Recon

  • Connectivity: Wired
  • Customizable Buttons: Yes | Headset Connection: Yes
The Turtle Beach Recon is hands-down the best budget gaming controller for PC users. If you want a gaming controller that not only works well but also gives you an edge over your enemies, look no further!

The Turtle Beach Recon has practically all the features you could ask for in a budget controller, and then some. You get a stellar design that’s based on the official Xbox controller. At the same time, the design adds more functionality to the controller, including two programmable quick-action buttons with seamless profile switching too.

You get a 3.5mm headset jack at the bottom to easily connect your gaming headphones to the controller. That said, Turtle Beach offers you an audio console at the top of the controller too. So, you can make use of a bunch of EQ presets to better hear enemy footsteps and gunshots.

The controller comes with a detachable 10ft cable included in the box. The only caveat here is that there’s no wireless connectivity on offer. But, factoring in other features, the Turtle Beach Recon controller even gives the official Xbox controller a run for its money.

FAQs about Budget Gaming Controller for PC

1. Is it better to play PC games with a controller?

For competitive gaming, especially first-person shooters, you can’t beat the accuracy of a keyboard and mouse setup. However, for racing or sports titles, using a controller is not only more convenient but also far more immersive.

2. Which is the best controller for PC gaming?

It’s hard to state an outright winner since consumers appreciate different aspects of various controllers. However, most people consider the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 to be the best controller for PC gaming.

3. Is a controller better for FPS gaming?

While you can get accustomed to using a controller with aim-assist for FPS titles, a keyboard/mouse combo is still better for FPS games. Not only do you get better accuracy, but using a mouse comes in handy when taking flick shots too.

Game Better with These Budget Gaming Controllers for PC

A couple of years ago, opting for a budget controller meant having to compromise on plenty of features. However, as our list highlights, you can now get affordable controllers with a truckload of features and plenty of customizability.

The PowerA Enhanced still remains my personal favorite choice for a budget PC gaming controller. However, if you can stretch your budget by just a little bit more, the Turtle Beach Recon is undoubtedly the best budget gaming controller out there.

Last updated on 28 February, 2023

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