It used to be that every console controller had to be wired back in the day. After all, wireless devices in general had barely gotten off the ground even by the early 2000s. Eventually the advent of Infrared and Bluetooth found their way into smartphones, until players had to make the choice between a wireless or wired video game controller. Why the need to pick? Because there are advantages to both.
Wireless controllers obviously free you up to move around and get comfortable as necessary, but wired controllers have a slight edge in terms of the actual play experience – minimising latency to the absolute minimum. You see, when you push a button to carry out an action in a game, there’s several milliseconds that pass before that message can travel from controller to console. Opting to go wired makes this pretty much instant, whereas wireless controllers might take a little more time depending on the distance.
Here we’ll run through the very best wired controllers you can buy for each console, as well as those suited to other specific events and occasions. You can be assured that the options listed below are displayed at the very best price, too. No more hunting for the best wired controller in the wild west of the interwebs as we’ve done all the hard work for you.
1. Nacon Wired Compact Controller
Best Wired controller for use with PlayStation 4
Nacon is a third-party manufacturer that’s no stranger to perfecting the gamepad design – or at least attempting to. There’s no official wired PS4 controller, but luckily Nacon’s Wired Compact Controller is the closest thing to that. It maintains the Dualshock 4’s unique traits, such as the share button and central touchpad, adding in a three-metre long cord and a textured finish that’s shaded beautifully in PlayStation’s trademark blue. Make no mind about it, the Nacon wired compact controller is the best wired controller for PS4.
2. Nintendo Switch Wired Controller
Best Wired controller for use with Nintendo Switch
Despite the Nintendo Switch coming with two controllers right out of the box in the Joy-Con which can be broken off either side, picking up a third-party wired controller for Nintendo Switch is a good choice for anyone wanting to compete in online games like Mario Kart or Splatoon 2 seriously. The good news is that there’s plenty of possibilities to choose from, with most sporting colourful character designs and therefore officially licensed by Nintendo itself.
3. PowerA Wired GameCube Controller
Best Wired controller that replicates a classic Nintendo design
While it might seem weird to want to replicate certain classic controller designs for a new generation of players, it’s actually the new games developed in the classic style which make them necessary. Take this PowerA Wired controller that is pretty much a one-to-one comparison with the original controller for GameCube – a lot of players who would prefer this are those that want to continue that feeling of playing Super Smash Bros on a sofa with friends. Smash Bros is also a game popular on the eSports scene and most people have become accustomed to the GameCube’s classic layout.
4. Hori Wired Mini Gamepad Controller
Best Wired controller that is of a compact size
If you’re a gamer with notably smaller hands than most, you’ll likely have struggled with playing comfortably when using the standard controllers. No controller perfectly suits everyone, so the best thing players can do is take matters into their own hands (tehe) and opt for a smaller, more suitable control pad. The Hori Wired Mini Gamepad Controller is the perfect choice for those playing on PS4, for example, being compact enough that all buttons are easily reachable at any time.
5. Hyperkin Duke Xbox One Controller
Best Wired controller that replicates a classic Xbox design
Released in 2001, the controller that came with Microsoft’s original Xbox console was as hefty as they come. It makes sense for this first outing to be a little more experimental when compared to the traditional gamepad designs PlayStation and Nintendo were touting at the time. It eventually became known as The Duke, and that’s the design Hyperkin has replicated for this wired controller for Xbox One. It features the same heft and is a great throwback to a fan-favourite era of gaming.
6. Razer Wolverine Tournament Edition Controller
Best Wired controller for use with Xbox One
Wired Xbox One controllers that aren’t a recall to a prior era are extremely tricky to come by – mainly because you can always link up the gamepad via a USB-to-Micro USB cable. However, if you’re in the market for a wired controller that will also give you an edge during online competitively play, you needn’t look further than Razer’s Wolverine Tournament Edition controller. It’s priced slightly higher than most other options, but you get such innovative additions as hairpin trigger locks, remappable buttons and swappable analogue stick lengths. One of the most high-tech wired controllers out there.
7. Revolution Pro Controller
Best Wired PS4 controller for use in pro tournaments
Need a wired PS4 controller that’ll also see you through tournaments without breaking the bank? The aptly named Revolution Pro controller has you covered, aiming to give players an edge using eSports specific controllers like 46-degree amplitude dual analogue sticks and a wired 3m braided cable which minimises latency. With this in hand when playing on PS4 you can be the best you can possibly be during competitive online play.