Are you looking to get a new gaming controller for your Linux PC?
Not sure which one to buy so that you don’t run into any issues? We can help, because we’ve done the research for you and our in-depth analysis can reveal which is the best product for the buck.
Here’s our list with the top USB gaming controllers for Linux.
#1 – Xbox One Controller
If you’re looking for a modern gaming controller to use on a Linux PC, the Xbox One controller is the best one to use. The reason? Not only does it “just work” when plugged into any Linux PC running kernel 4.0 or newer, but thanks to the XOW project, Microsoft’s Xbox wireless dongle works on Linux and allows for first-class wireless gaming.
Aside from it’s excellent Linux support, another reason to consider using the Xbox One controller is that most games on Steam use the Xbox driver, so there is no need to fuss with options to get everything working.
In our testing of the Xbox One controller, we found that it works on Linux via Bluetooth connection, as well as USB. We also tested the XOW driver for the Xbox One wireless dongle and found that it works, though it has issues as it is still under development.
- The Xbox One gaming controller can connect to a Linux PC over Bluetooth, Micro USB, or Microsoft’s wireless USB dongle, ensuring the ultimate choice in connectivity.
- The Xbox One controller is coated with a textured plastic, ensuring you’ll be able to keep a good grip on it.
- Although the controller is battery-powered, it takes conventional AA batteries, which allows users to swap out while gaming easily.
- As it is an Xbox controller, all Steam games with controller support automatically detect it.
- In addition to playing on your Linux PC, the Xbox One controller also works on any Xbox One console.
The Xbox One controller is not cheap. It is relatively expensive as far as gaming controllers go, as it comes packed with lots of advanced features. However, if you love the idea of being able to play your games in wired or wireless mode, it’s worth it.
If the Xbox One controller is a bit too much for you, the second-best to use for a Linux gamer is the PDP Rock Candy Xbox 360 controller. Why? It has all the same benefits of an Xbox One controller, like auto-detection for most video games and official driver support in the Linux kernel, without the premium cost that comes with the Xbox One.
There’s not a lot to say about the wired Xbox 360 controller, as it doesn’t have a lot of the fancy features that the Xbox One controller has. Still, it’s reliable and works on every Linux computer we’ve tested it on with zero issues. Just plug in, turn on your favorite game, and go!
- The PDP Rock Candy Xbox 360 controller’s USB cable has a breakaway cord, which means that gamers don’t need to worry about ruining a USB port if the controller is tugged on too hard.
- The controller cord is 8 feet long, ensuring you’ll always have a lot of cord slack while you play.
- The PDP Rock Candy Xbox 360 controller has an ergonomic design and feels good in the hand.
- As it is an Xbox 360 controller, virtually all PC games will automatically detect it and set up gaming controls with no configuration required.
PDP Rock Candy Xbox 360 controller is designed for a console that is no longer being sold. As a result, it is very inexpensive to purchase. If you’re in the market for an excellent wired controller, this is your best bet!
Those that don’t like Xbox and prefer the PlayStation control scheme should get the PlayStation DualShock 4 to use on Linux. It’s great! For starters, the PS4 controller has official support in the Linux kernel (like the Xbox One and Xbox 360 controllers). The PlayStation DualShock 4 controller also has excellent support in Steam for Linux and can make use of the Xbox controller features in most video games. You can even use it as a wireless controller, provided your Linux PC has Bluetooth support!
In our extensive testing of the PlayStation DualShock 4 controller, we found that it works in both Bluetooth and USB modes very well. We also found that the light bar on the back of the controller works, so long as you configured in Steam.
- The PS4 controller’s touchpad gives users a mini, mouse-like touchpad which is perfect for top-down strategy games, simulation games, etc.
- The PS4 controller has a built-in rechargeable battery, so there is no need to spend money on batteries.
- Users can connect the PS4 controller to Linux wirelessly over Bluetooth, or wired via a micro USB cable.
- The PlayStation controller form-factor is one of the oldest in gaming and is very comfortable for long hours of play.
- Aside from using it on PC, the PS4 controller also works with any Sony PlayStation 4.
As Sony designed the PlayStation DualShock 4 controller for the PlayStation 4, it costs a little more than ones created for the PC. That said, console manufacturers spend a lot of time crafting their controllers, and because of this, you get a well-designed product that lasts for a long time. So, if you’re a fan of Sony PlayStation and need a new gaming controller for PC, check this one out!
#4 – Steam Controller
The Steam controller is no longer in production by Valve. Still, it remains one of the best gaming controllers for Linux users to date. The reason? It has dozens of features, like wireless gaming (via the included USB dongle), is compatible with the Xbox gaming driver used in most PC video games, and has a click-pad, which makes it excellent to use with PC games that require a mouse.
In our testing, we found that the Steam controller works out of the box on any computer running Linux. We also found that the Steam controller does not require Steam to play games. It works well with all video games on Linux!
- The Steam controller was designed and manufactured by Valve and will work with any Steam game with controller support.
- The Steam controller is wireless but does not require the user to buy a Bluetooth dongle. Instead, it comes with its wireless connector.
- The Steam controller comes with dual, clickable trackpads. These trackpads can act as a mouse and are perfect for mouse-heavy games like real-time strategy games, simulation games, etc.
- Both trackpads have haptic feedback so you can feel the inputs you make in the game you are playing.
The Steam controller is no longer being manufactured by Valve and is considered discontinued. Still, it is possible to purchase the controller on Amazon, and there are still thousands of Steam controllers in circulation.
As Valve is no longer making the Steam controller, the cost isn’t cheap. Still, if you use Steam on Linux a lot, this is the best controller for it bar-none.
In this list, we covered four great USB gaming controllers that support Linux. However, these aren’t the only gaming controllers out there with excellent Linux support. What is your favorite Linux gaming controller to play with? Let us know down below in the comments!