It’s been a great year for VR with the Oculus Quest 2 dominating the market as well as other big players such as HTC making their mark. 

If you want to jump into the world of VR but don’t know where to start, you’re in the right place. 

Today, we will focus solely on the best VR controllers that are available in the market. These are the tools that translate your body movements into movements in-game.

Winner

Oculus Touch

The Oculus Touch VR controllers feature a well-rounded design that suits most individuals around the world. Not only that but they’re also quite lightweight and easy to handle.

Runner Up

HTC Vive Controller

The HTC Vive controller is a few years old at this point but it still holds up to modern standards. Since it’s a few years old, it’s relatively cheaper and the multi-function trackpad is highly intuitive. 

Also Great

Sony Playstation Move - Twin Pack

The Playstation Move controllers are an updated version of the Playstation 3 Move controllers. They boast a highly ergonomic design with familiar Dualshock buttons that any Playstation owner would know. 

Now that you’re acquainted with our top 3 picks, let’s delve deeper to see exactly what they have to offer. 

Best VR Controllers - Top 5 Reviews

#1: Best Economical PC for VR Gaming - HP Omen 30L Review

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Oculus has been the VR platform of choice for most consumers over the last few years. When you look at the quality of the Oculus Touch controllers, it’s easy to see why. 

The Oculus Touch controllers dropped with the release of the Oculus Quest 2 and they are one of the most ergonomic controllers we have ever tested. 

Not only are they lightweight but the design and button layout is perfect as well. It ensures that you’re easily able to reach all the buttons and the design ensures that no accidental button-presses ever happen. 

Factors to Consider Before You Decide to Buy Oculus Touch

Compatibility: The Oculus Touch controllers actually support SteamVR tracking. This means you can use them not only with the Oculus Quest 2 but any other headset that supports SteamVR tracking as well. 

Comfort: As mentioned earlier, the Oculus Touch controllers are highly ergonomic and lightweight. This ensures your hands don’t get tired over longer virtual reality sessions. 

Button layout: As we briefly said above, the button layout is perfect for most individuals both with smaller and larger hands. The buttons are designed in a way to ensure you don’t accidentally press something while VR gaming.

Best All-Around VR Controller

The best all-around VR controller is the Oculus Touch thanks to its immaculate design, smart button layout and high-quality build.

#2: Best Sturdy VR Controller - HTC Vive Controller Review

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While the HTC Vive controller is definitely fairly old at this point, it still holds up in terms of performance and compatibility with other headsets. 

Not only that but it features a design that, in our opinion, was quite ahead of its time. The multi-function trackpad is highly responsive and can be used as a thumbstick, scroll wheel, and button. 

This multi-functionality allows the controller to save space for other buttons and the user can easily use it to perform a variety of functions with ease.

Factors to Consider Before You Decide to Buy HTC Vive Controller

Compatibility: The HTC Vive controller supports SteamVR tracking. This means that not only does it work with HTC Vive headsets but it also works with pretty much any other VR headset that supports SteamVR tracking. 

Comfort: While they are definitely not lightweight, we do think that some consumers may actually prefer that. The weight that comes with the HTC Vive controller really makes you feel like you’re making an impact when you play VR games with it. 

That being said, it can definitely tire you out over longer sessions in the virtual world. 

Button layout: As mentioned above, the multi-function trackpad is really where this controller shines. This is because that trackpad can be used for a variety of purposes and this makes it very easy for users to navigate through games in the virtual world. 

Best Sturdy VR Controller

The best sturdy VR controller is the HTC Vive Controller thanks to its great build quality and ergonomic button layout.

#3: Best Console VR Controller - Sony PlayStation Move (Twin Pack) Review

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If you want to enter the virtual world on a console, then the Playstation VR controllers really are a no-brainer. 

They work with no issues on the Playstation 4 and Playstation 5 consoles. That being said, it should be noted that these are the only consoles that they work with. You cannot use them with other VR headsets. 

While their design may not be the most visually pleasing out there, their performance is definitely one of the most top-notch in the market. 

Factors to Consider Before You Decide to Buy Sony PlayStation Move (Twin Pack) 

Compatibility: They only work with Playstation 4 and Playstation 5 consoles; Nothing else. 

Comfort: They are quite ergonomic and rest nicely on most hands. Not only that but they are also fairly lightweight but not so light that you don’t feel anything in your hands. We feel it’s definitely the perfect balance between comfort and impact. 

Button layout: If you’ve ever played with a Dualshock controller before, the cross, square, triangle and circle buttons will be familiar to you. Additionally, you also get intuitive controls that are very easy to get the hang of, along with vibrational feedback.

Best Console VR Controller

The best console VR controller is the Sony PlayStation Move thanks to its comfortable design, easy compatibility with Playstation consoles and user-friendliness.

#4: Best Budget-Friendly VR Controller - Samsung Gear VR Controller Review

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If you don’t have a ton of money to spend on a VR controller but still want a high-quality experience, then the Samsung Gear VR controller is definitely worth considering. 

You can get it for an extremely cheap price and use it with your Samsung Gear VR headset to access its vast library of VR titles. 

Simplicity is the word when it comes to the Samsung Gear VR controller as it features just a trigger, a touchpad, two volume keys, and two buttons.

Factors to Consider Before You Decide to Buy Samsung Gear VR Controller

Compatibility: Compatibility is definitely where the Samsung Gear VR controller falls short as it is designed to only work with the Samsung Gear VR headset. 

Comfort: The Samsung Gear VR controller is extremely lightweight and designed for a very comfortable feel. That being said, the light weight of the controller may be off-putting for some users.

Button layout: We described the button layout above as a trigger, two buttons, a trackpad, and two volume keys. This is the epitome of simplicity but it definitely gets the job done for the library of VR titles that the Samsung Gear VR headset has to offer.

Best Budget-Friendly VR Controller

The best budget-friendly VR controller is the Samsung Gear VR Controller thanks to its simplicity, ergonomic design and extremely cheap price.

#5: Best Console-Style VR Controller - SteelSeries Stratus Duo Wireless Gaming Controller Review

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The SteelSeries Stratus Duo is an option for individuals that don’t want to use two wonky controllers but rather, a single solid console controller of old. 

It boasts 2.4 GHz wireless and Bluetooth connectivity which ensures that it pairs with headsets such as the Oculus Rift, Oculus GO, and Samsung Gear VR. 

Not only that but you can use it to play regular games as well as many VR titles available on the market.

Factors to Consider Before You Decide to Buy SteelSeries Stratus Duo Wireless Gaming Controller

Compatibility: As mentioned above, the SteelSeries Stratus Duo can easily pair with the Oculus Rift, Oculus Go, Samsung Gear VR as well as many smartphones. 

Comfort: The controller is well-designed and ensures that most hands can wrap around it nicely. The buttons are also high-quality and feature tactical feedback which makes them very satisfying to press. 

Button layout: The button layout is pretty much what you would expect from a traditional console-style controller. It boasts A, B, X, and Y buttons, a D-pad, two bumpers, two triggers as well as two thumbsticks.

Best Console-Style VR Controller

The console-style VR controller is the SteelSeries Stratus Duo Wireless Gaming Controller thanks to its traditional console design, broad compatibility and ease of use.

Buyers’ Guide

best vr controllers

It can be extremely confusing to choose a VR controller for your VR setup. 

As a general rule of thumb, it’s a good idea to match the VR controller with the VR headset that they are associated with. This is a great way to ensure that you don’t run into compatibility issues. 

In the past, you could only run a VR controller with its associated VR headset. However, with all the strides that the VR industry is making, manufacturers are working to increase compatibility. This now allows consumers to mix and match to a fair degree. 

If you want to buy a different VR controller for your VR rig, it’s important that you take some factors into account that will help you reach an informed decision. 

It’s important that you assess what your needs are and then, pick a controller that fulfills those needs. 

The factors you should take into account when you browse the market for a VR controller include: 

Price 

This is something that is fairly obvious to most consumers as you’d consider the price of pretty much any product you intend to buy. 

In most cases, the reason why you’d want a separate VR controller for your VR rig would be due to the fact that you can get them cheap off of the market.

Hence, it’s a good idea to scour the market thoroughly in order to find the best deal possible. 

However, it’s also important to keep the golden rule in mind: If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. 

If you find a VR controller selling for a price that is absurdly cheaper than its retail price, you must ask yourself what the catch is. It could be that the controller is highly used and may not be in the best condition. 

Either that or it may even be a knock-off. 

If you intend to buy a used controller, it’s better to do it in person rather than online. That way, you can check what state it’s in and even test it to see if everything works properly. 

If you do intend to buy a used controller from a seller online, it’s a good idea to at least go through past user reviews. This can help give you an idea of how trustworthy the seller is and whether you should go for the deal or not. 

Compatibility 

Probably the most important check you need to perform when you opt for a VR controller from the market is its compatibility. 

You need to ensure that the VR controller you intend to buy is completely compatible with your current or planned VR rig. More specifically, it needs to be compatible with the VR headset that you have or intend to buy for your VR rig. 

Depending on the VR controller, it could work with many different VR headsets or it could work with only a few.

For example, the Playstation Move controllers only work with Playstation 4 and Playstation 5 consoles. 

On the other hand, the Valve Index “Knuckles” will work with pretty much any VR headset that supports SteamVR tracking. Examples of such headsets include the HTC Vive and the HTC Vive Pro headsets. 

The same applies to Base Stations as well.

It’s important to note that even if certain VR controllers are not entirely compared with a certain VR headset, there do exist ways to bypass these compatibility issues. You can find many tutorials online on how to make certain VR controllers work with certain VR headsets. 

That being said, such techniques are usually difficult to execute and are intended for people who know their way around a computer. 

If you’re not a very tech-savvy consumer and just want to buy your VR controller and have a good time instantly, this may not be the approach for you. 

In this case, we would just recommend that you check for the compatibility of the VR controller you intend to buy with your current or planned VR headset. 

Comfort

Comfort may not seem like too important of a factor but with technology like VR, it’s actually extremely important. 

Playing VR games for an extended period of time can be tiring. In many cases, you may still want to keep playing but if you have VR controllers that are uncomfortable, you may not be able to do so. 

This is because uncomfortable virtual reality controllers can cause your hands and palms to ache. This leaves you with no choice but to take a break. Not to mention that it’s just an unpleasant experience, in general, to have VR controllers that are uncomfortable. 

When you browse the market for VR controllers, be on the lookout for controllers that come with adjustable straps and comfortable hand positions. They should also be made from high-quality materials that are pleasant to hold and touch. 

Trust us when we say that nothing makes what’s supposed to be a fun VR experience into a frustrating one like an uncomfortable controller. 

We know that virtual reality is not cheap. However, it’s important that you don’t skimp on VR controllers when it comes to their level of comfort. Do not go for a cheaper VR controller that is uncomfortable over a relatively expensive one that is comfortable. 

Button Layout 

The button layout and design of the VR controller you choose is up to you, to an extent. 

Everybody has their own personal preference when it comes to what type of VR controller best suits them. 

That being said, when you browse the market, you will notice that as the price goes up, the different types of input that a controller can take increase.

For example, the Samsung Gear VR controller is one of the cheapest on the market. To reflect that, you’ll see that it only has a trigger, touchpad, volume keys, and two buttons for inputs.

On the other hand, you have the Valve Index “Knuckles”. These are much more expensive and that’s because they boast per-finger sensors, buttons, triggers, thumbsticks, a touchpad, as well as force sensors.

If you don’t like the design of most current VR controllers, then you can also opt for something that’s more traditional to a console controller. 

An example of this would be our #5 pick in the list, the SteelSeries Stratus Duo. As you can tell from its design, it borrows heavily from traditional console controllers. Again, it’s a matter of preference when it comes to what design you’re comfortable with. 

Build Quality

When you look at different VR gaming controllers, it’s very important that you inspect their build quality to ensure they will last you a long time. 

As mentioned earlier, you will find many sellers selling expensive VR controllers for very cheap prices online. It’s very important that you be very wary of such sellers as the reason why they’re so cheap could be due to the fact that they’re in very bad condition. 

When you opt for a VR controller, we highly recommend that you buy one from a reputable brand and not a shady, knock-off one. 

This is because, even if the latter is cheaper, you have to understand that it’s cheaper for a reason. In most cases, such VR controllers are cheap because they are poorly constructed and from low-quality materials. 

You don’t want to invest in such low-quality VR controllers because not only will they be unpleasant to play with but they might also break down within a few months. 

If they break down, you’ll have to buy another one. So, they’re not even exactly cheap in the long run. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How Do VR Controllers Work? 

Every VR controller is slightly different when it comes to how it works. However, most of them follow the same principle: Each controller has a set of infrared LEDs inside them. These are typically located on the controller’s rings. 

When you play, the VR headset takes images of these infrared LEDs continuously and tracks their position. As you move the controller(s), the headset continues to take images and track the difference in its position. This difference is then translated to your in-game movements. 

Can I Mix and Match VR Controllers with Different VR Headsets? 

As mentioned above, it all depends on what your VR headset is and what VR controller you choose to pair with it. 

For example, the Valve Index controllers can work with most VR headsets that support SteamVR tracking. On the other hand, the Playstation Move controllers can only work with Playstation 4 and 5 consoles.

Do I Need Controllers for the Valve Index? 

Yes, you do need controllers for the Valve Index to work properly. 

Your best bet would be to use the Valve Index controllers with it but it also does work with other VR controllers such as the Vive Wands. 

What are Some Controllers that Support SteamVR Tracking? 

Some controllers that support SteamVR tracking include: 

  • The Xbox One Gamepad
  • HTC Vive Controller
  • Bionik Controller
  • 3D Rudder Foot Motion Controller
  • ZD-O Controller

How Do VR Base Stations Work? 

Base stations are devices that help VR headsets and controllers map the 3D environment in that they are placed. 

They work by emitting infrared beam signals to the VR headset and the controller(s). These signals are then used by the headset and controller(s) to map out their environment. 

Please note that if you have other infrared devices in the room (such as an infrared TV remote control), the functioning of these devices may be impaired by the Base Station.

Final Verdict

This ends our post for the best VR controllers on the market. 

As you can already tell, your best bet is to use a controller that is associated with the VR headset that you have. 

In our opinion, the best VR controller of the bunch is the Oculus Touch thanks to its great compatibility, user-friendliness and ergonomic design. 

Which VR controller do you think is the best? Let us know in the comments section below.