Since its debut in 2020, Sony’s PlayStation 5 has been an elusive video game console to find. Now that it’s widely more available, we’re seeing more options for alternatives to the PS5 DualSense controller. The new gamepad that comes with the PlayStation 5 has had many improvements to its build, triggers, features, and general immersion.
The PS5’s controller has been improved in almost all areas except in battery life, which seems to be worse than the previous generation. While the Dualshock controllers have only slightly changed in the past iterations, the new Dualsense controller has a refreshed design. This design change makes the controller overall larger and fit better in hands. The back triggers are now responsive, there are mic controls on the controller now, and the lightbar has been replaced with USB-C compatibility.
Luckily there are a rising number of first- and third-party alternatives appearing on the market to ease concerns and changes. If you’re not a fan of the first party offering from Sony, there are plenty of PS5 DualSense Controller alternatives worth looking at.
What To Know About PS5 DualSense Alternatives
There are a few main reasons to get an alternative controller, namely customization and ‘pro’ features. Both are pretty basic features that even Sony itself has come around to offering at a tortoise pacing. Eventually, Sony made it available in multiple colors and designs — including a pro style controller. The pro version, the Dualsense Edge, includes extra features above the standard Dualsense controller that appeals to a more serious gamer.
Customization from third-party controllers, though, is unmatched. You’re able to choose or even build a controller that more suits your gaming style. You can get controllers that feature and support pro gamers or streamers, or you can just change the color, style, and textures of each individual part of your controller. While the Dualsense controller is an upgrade to older Playstation controllers, it still misses more advanced features that the following controllers include.. For example, if you don’t like the shape of the PS5 controller, there are alternatives out there that change its basic shape.
What The Experts Say
In order to really understand what serious PS5 gamers crave when it comes to controllers, we spoke with YouTuber Warren Bowman who is a passionate PS5 owner. He’s been creating YouTube videos for well over a decade and has tackled some of the most pressing questions people have around gaming consoles.
Customization appears to be huge among gamers when it comes to DualSense PS5 controller alternatives. “I was at PAX East and this one guy does hand drawn customizations on controllers,” said Bowman. “So that’s what I’m finding more on the scene, it’s more of the look and feel.”
Many third party PS5 controllers do exactly this, by providing games the ability to tweak the sensitivity of the controls and even add custom designs. This level of customization is important in gaming because the responsiveness of a controller could be the determining factor of whether you live or die in a first person action shooter.
“It happens when you’re playing any sort of driving games or anything with some thrust with it, you can adjust the pressure sensitivity of the triggers,” explained Bowman. “You can add paddles to them, you can also change the thumb sticks to your liking, so you can tailor it to your liking.”
Best DualSense PS5 Controller Alternatives: At a Glance
– Comes with hardshell travel case with extra accessories
– Can set up multiple customer button profiles that you can change with a press of a button
– Has the same general design as the original Playstation 5 controller to help with accessories
Why We Chose It: If you’re like us and prefer to stick with only first-party options, then the DualSense Edge will be the best choice. It has the same build as the original PS5 controller with added features.
You now get customizable profiles, back triggers, trigger stop customization, and a slight color change. This controller also eases stick drift pains by allowing the user to easily swap thumbstick modules. At $200 it may seem expensive, but it’s actually right in line with most pro-style controllers.
As a personal owner of this controller, I enjoy the added back triggers and trigger stops. Also, connecting this controller to other’s Playstation and still having buttons set up in my favor is the best. Lastly, since I almost always have headphones on when I play, changing audio volumes using the function buttons is quick and easy and allows me to stay in the game without having to sort through menus.
- Comes with multiple options for back triggers and thumbsticks
- Can replace thumbstick modules without replacing entire controller
- Can not customer design of controller
Why We Chose It: One of the biggest names in pro gaming controllers, Scuf, offers its Reflex series controllers for the PS5. Scuf allows you to go in and customize nearly every aspect of your controller, from grip texture, colors and designs of everything, amount of back triggers, and trigger stop style. Being able to build your own controller with this much detail, truly makes them one of a kind for you.
When customizing each aspect of the controller, the price will dynamically adjust to your customization — we were able to build a $400 controller. This has another downside in that the controllers are not DIY, once you’ve built your design you can not customize it further when you receive it. Scuf also has partnered with plenty of competitive gamers and streamers to offer custom controllers that support them as well.
Scuf was one of the first companies to introduce digital click buttons to controllers. These allow an even faster response in pressing your back triggers that resembles the speed of a mouse click rather than the extended time that comes with the new Dualsense controller. Using digital triggers can give you the edge over your opponent in those high-paced games.
- Full custom design control to your controller
- Can also change texture of controller to help with slippage
- Can easily become more expensive than first marketed
– Uses official controllers to build the custom designs
– Every controller comes with 8 interchangeable thumbsticks
– Can use premade or custom designs at same price
Why We Chose It: HexGaming comes with its Rival series of controllers for those who want a different design but might now want to build it from scratch themselves. Instead of building the controller online, you purchase the design you want, and when it arrives, you’re given all the tools to customize buttons, change thumbsticks, and adjust back triggers. The only downside to these controllers is that they follow a cookie-cutter design instead of allowing you to build your own fully.
This strategy of sending options with the controller is similar to Sony’s system with their Dualsense Edge. It allows you to change your controller to your liking for each new situation that unfolds. Unfortunately, the HexGaming controllers have to go through a setup menu when connected to your Playstation that you may have to adjust with each controller change.
HexGaming also builds their controllers using the official controller from Sony. They were able to add extra components to it that Sony apparently didn’t want to provide. Be aware that HexGaming controllers do not come with a cable or other accessories besides thumbsticks.
- Get a pre-built pro style controller without the hassle of deciding what to add
- Get a pre-built pro style controller without the hassle of deciding what to add
- Can customize design or choose from popular styles
- Controllers are not uniquely built for your style of play
– Can customize every aspect of controller
– Beginning price of controller is lowest of all main competitors
– Can purchase accessories for controller after owning the build
Why We Chose It: The only controllers we felt comfortable recommending as a budget option come from AimControllers. These PS5 DualSense alternatives start at $80 but follow the Scuf model, where you can customize them to your needs and have the price reflect that.
These controllers offer a unique feature with digital buttons (not just digital triggers), which react much closer to a mouse click in terms of speed. This feature is similar to Scuf’s digital triggers, where the reaction speed is identical to a mouse click. With that said, Aim Controllers does offer ‘Smart Bumpers and Trigger,’ which is their wording for digital triggers. Aim also allows text/logo uploads to show on your controller.
AimControllers is very similar to Scuf except for different design languages – they have more ‘fun’ styles and appeal more to kids and young adults rather than professional gamers. So, for example, you can get a faceplate design that features the Joker on your AimControllers’ build.
- Have plenty of freedom to customize controller
- Allows you to upload text on your controller’s faceplate and touchpad
- Can be just as expensive as Scuf
Why We Chose It: Now, yes, you can keep that old DualShock 4 controller around, but it has a huge caveat — you can only use it to play PS4 games when a PS4 disc is inserted. This, of course, will limit the usefulness for veteran PS5 owners, but if you just got your new console and have a back catalog of games, then you might want to keep your old controller along with it.
With that said, it may be a better choice to use your Dualshock 4 with your older games if you’re still having a bit of trouble getting used to the new adaptive triggers on the Dualsense controller. Or, if your new controller is on the charger due to its short battery life, you can keep the game going using your Dualshock. You can also still use it wirelessly and not be forced to only use it while hardwired in.
- Cheaper to replace than Dualsense controller
- Has a more familiar build to use with older games
- Can only be used with PS4 games