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The 5 Best PS3 Controllers: Ultimate Guide

Sony’s third-generation PlayStation console is widely regarded as one of the greatest gaming consoles of all time; its staggering collection of first and third-party titles is arguably unmatched in its scope and quality to this day.  Playing these games still requires the use of a PlayStation 3 controller – of which there are a staggering number – and we’ve scoured the web to bring you this list of the absolute best PS3 controllers available today!

The Top-Rated PS3 Controllers

Editor's PickControllerRating
Top PickSony Dualshock 390%
Budget PickJAMSWALL PS3 Controller85%
Luxury PickSony DualShock 494%
Best
Wired
PowerA Wired91%
Best
Multi-Platform
PICTEK PS4 3-in-1 Wireless91%

Top Pick: Sony Dualshock 3

Sale
Sony Dualshock 3
  • The only Bluetooth controller for the PS3 system;
  • Hours of comfortable game play with ergonomically designed grips;
  • Feel every hit, crash, and explosion with hand-vibrating DUALSHOCK response
  • Truly intuitive game play through the motion sensing SIXAXIS technology;
  • Play wirelessly with up to seven friends;

It should come as no surprise to anyone that the tried-and-true Sony Dualshock 3 takes the top spot as the best PS3 controller to this very day!  Released in 2008, the venerable gamepad immediately replaced the Sixaxis controller as the pack-in with new PS3 consoles and continued to be sold alongside every iteration of the hardware until the line’s eventual retirement in 2017.  

New-in-box Sony Dualshock 3 controllers can be purchased at a relative premium, or you can buy refurbished pads at a dramatic discount; either way, it’s hard to match the versatility, durability and value of the original Sony Dualshock 3!  In the hardware industry, so few things qualify as a “no-brainer”, but the Sony Dualshock 3 actually is a no-brainer!

Budget Pick: JAMSWALL PS3 Controller

Sale
JAMSWALL PS3 Controller
  • [Double Vibration and Shock] - Pressure sensors that rumble with each action make every impact feel like you are right in the game. Feel every hit, crash, and explosion with hand-vibrating double shock response. Highly sensitive motion control system senses your every move.
  • [Wireless Bluetooth Control] - With wireless transmission technology, you won't suffer from data loss or signal interference.Direct Bluetooth connection eliminates any lags and delays.
  • [ Best Experience ] - Highly sensitive motion control systerm senses your every move. Combining the explosion,crash and hit of the game, which makes the player feels like entering the world of the game.
  • [Super Power Long Standby] - Built in rechargeable high-capacity lithium battery, USB cable charging. 15mins auto sleep function.
  • [Ergonomic Design] - It’s shaped to almost ergonomic perfection for fitting in any gamers' hands, you will not feel tired after long time play. (Note: It's possible that the item gets damaged during transportation. Please contact us immediately to get a replacement or refund.)

The JAMSWALL PS3 Controller takes the crown as the best budget PS3 controller available today, and that is saying an awful lot considering just how many cheap PS3 controllers are currently available!  In a sea of knockoffs and me-toos, the JAMSWALL PS3 Controller manages to separate itself from the competition by consistently wowing verified buyers on Amazon.  Featuring a spec sheet that’s nearly identical to Sony’s own Dualshock 3 and over 1,300 5-star reviews, it’s hard to imagine why you wouldn’t buy one of these at less than ¼ the MSRP of the original controller!

Again, there are TONS of similar-looking, similarly-specced and priced PS3 controllers, but this one is the real deal – the absolute best budget PS3 controller available today!

Luxury Pick: Sony DualShock 4

Sony DualShock 4
  • Precision Controller for PlayStation 4: The feel, shape, and sensitivity of the DualShock 4’s analog sticks and trigger buttons have been enhanced to offer players absolute control for all games
  • Sharing at your Fingertips: The addition of the Share button makes sharing your greatest gaming moments as easy as a push of a button. Upload gameplay videos and screenshots directly from your system or live-stream your gameplay, all without disturbing the game in progress.
  • New ways to Play: Revolutionary features like the touch pad, integrated light bar, and built-in speaker offer exciting new ways to experience and interact with your games and its 3.5mm audio jack offers a practical personal audio solution for gamers who want to listen to their games in private.
  • Charge Efficiently: The DualShock 4 Wireless Controller can easily be recharged by plugging it into your PlayStation 4 system, even when on standby, or with any standard charger with a micro-USB port.

Believe it or not, the Sony DualShock 4 – which is designed and intended for use with the PlayStation 4 – is fully compatible with the PlayStation 3!  Using the included micro-usb cable, gamers can plug the newer system’s sleek, updated and modern DS into a PS3 and used just as they would use a DS3!  Even better – updating the PlayStation 3’s firmware to the newest version will allow for the Sony DualShock 4 to be used wirelessly via bluetooth!  

While there are no limits to the cross-hardware functionality, it should be noted that the touchpad and some other features are exclusively used with the PlayStation 4 and therefore do not serve any purpose when used with the PS3.

If you want a smoother, more refined controller – or you simply want to go ahead and grab a new controller that will move with you should you choose to upgrade to the newer system later, go with the Sony DualShock 4!

Best Wired: PowerA Wired

PowerA Wired
  • Matte black design
  • Ergonomic controller shape with Nintendo Switch button layout
  • Instant plug and play connection (no sync required)
  • Detachable 10ft (3m) USB cable with Velcro strap
  • 2 year limited warranty register at PowerA.com

The PowerA Wired is the best solution for pro gamers or those who simply prefer wired controllers!  Why might someone prefer a wired controller to the increased portability and reduced clutter of wireless controllers?  Quite a few reasons, actually!  For starters, wired controllers have a dramatically faster response and transmission time than wireless controllers; whereas most casual gamers will struggle to feel or see the difference, pro gamers and those who spend a considerable amount of time becoming intimately familiar with games are often startled by the difference a wire makes!  

Additionally, a wired controller eschews the necessity of being powered by a battery that must be recharged or replaced occasionally, which can save precious time and money in the long run.  

The list of potential benefits goes on, but it’s sufficient to say these examples are likely to be the ones that will make-or-break the choice for most users.

In any case, PowerA is a great brand to go with. They also have experience making performance USB GameCube controllers!

Best Multiplatform: PICTEK PS4 3-in-1 Wireless

PICTEK PS4 3-in-1 Wireless
  • 🎮【Nonstop Playing PS4 Controller】 Adopted with 1300mAh rechargeable battery, the largest capacity in the market, PICTEK wireless controller for PlayStation 4 offers longer nonstop playing time which is up to 16 hours, thus you can use it for almost one day without charging.
  • 🎮【Immersive Gaming Experience】 Our wireless ps4 controller has 6-axis sensor and dual vibration feedback for a more realistic gaming feeling. It is also equipped with an audio option, so you can plug headset to completely immerse yourself in a gaming world.
  • 🎮【Make You Unstoppable in Games】 The linear trigger of this ps4 controller has a built-in Hall sensor, which can provide a better sense of game and control. It is like an accelerator and can speed up more easily during driving games. PICTEK game controller for playstation 4 also adds an turbo button that allows you to fire continuously without hitting the button all the time. These powerful functions will make you unstoppable in any game.
  • 🎮【Ergonomically Designed PS4 Controller】 Compared with other normal game controllers, the wireless gaming controller is ergonomically designed with asymmetric joysticks. Such design can effectively relieve muscle fatigue on your thumb joint, so as to offer you maximum gaming comfort.
  • 🎮【Strong Compatibility】 Our wireless controller working for PS4, PC and other Android devices (A USB cable is needed for PC connection), Supporting tremendous popular games such as PUBG, Fortnite, Rules of Survival, Super Mario and more, you can play any games you want with our PC game controller. It’s compatible with all Windows systems such as Win 7/8/9/10/XP/Vista, etc.

The PICTEK PS4 3-in-1 Wireless is a great controller that has the distinction of not only being a great PS3 controller, but also a great PS4, Android and PC controller!  What sets the PICTEK PS4 3-in-1 Wireless apart from other similarly-flexible controllers is that it features the ability to connect to each of the mentioned platforms via bluetooth, whereas most of the others connect to some via bluetooth, some via 2.4ghz wireless dongle and others via usb.

THe PICTEK PS4 3-in-1 Wireless doesn’t simply check that box and call it a day, though – it’s also loaded with competitive features that merit consideration for single-platform use – such as a turbo button and toggle for the built-in light.  

If you’re someone who plays on PS3 in addition to any of the above platforms – or you’re simply looking for a controller with a built-in turbo function, the PICTEK PS4 3-in-1 Wireless is extremely easy to recommend to you! 

What to Look for in a PS3 Controller

There are plenty of factors one must consider when shopping for a new PlayStation 3 controller, but these are the most important:

Price

There is a wide delta from the cheapest to most expensive PS3 controllers.  Your budgetary restrictions should be a primary consideration when shopping!  Great PS3 controllers can be found for as low as $11 shipped, and go up to $200+ for custom or collectible pads!

Forward Compatibility

PlayStation 3 controllers are not compatible with PlayStation 4.  However, PS4 controllers do work with PS3!  If you intend to upgrade at some point, it may be prudent to go ahead and get a PS4 controller to save some money in the long run.

PC Compatibility

More and more gamers find themselves playing a mix of console and PC games.  If you find yourself in this group or think you may in the future, it’s a great idea to go ahead and get a controller that will work with both!  The real pro-tip here is that most PS4 controllers are compatible with both PS4 and PC, so grabbing a Dualshock 4 or one of its cousins is probably a great idea!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Here are some of the most common questions users ask when choosing a PS3 controller:

Why buy a PS3 controller in 2021?

There are quite a few good reasons why one might want to buy a PS3 controller in 2021 – not the least of which is that you may be spending a lot more time indoors with not much to do! Regardless of reason, if you think you might want one, it’s probably a good idea to do so as they’re super-affordable and in many cases, versatile.

Should I buy a universal PS3 controller?

It’s hard to recommend against buying a more versatile controller, especially considering that there isn’t anything a PS3 can do that a PS4 controller can’t. If you’re confident that you won’t have any desire to play on any other platforms in the near future, it’s probably a good idea to save a few bucks and get a dedicated PS3 controller. Otherwise, splurge a little and get something that will follow you to your next console(s)!

Other PS3 Controllers We Reviewed

We looked at two other PS3 controllers. Even though they didn’t make our top 5 list, they’re still some of the market’s best.

PDP Afterglow Wireless Controller for PS3

PDP Afterglow Wireless Controller for PS3
  • Features clear polycarbonate housing that reveals the controller's inner circuitry and signature Afterglow blue lighting
  • Custom-engineered SmartTrack technology for superior analog stick accuracy that improves precision and reaction time
  • Upgraded L1/R1 and L2/R2 buttons allow players to swap the functions by holding down the Afterglow button on the back of the controller
  • Compatible with Windows 7 and up
  • Powered by 2 AA Batteries (not included)

The PDP Afterglow Wireless Controller for PS3 is a great controller with many bells and whistles that’s really easy to recommend to anyone who’s willing to do a bit of outside-the-box thinking!  This is a really good-looking clear controller with internal LED lighting in colors of your choice, and it features programmable buttons.
The potential detractors here include a wireless 2.4ghz dongle instead of native bluetooth connectivity and the use of AA batteries instead of the standard-for-PS3 rechargeable battery.  This is more of a quirk than a downgrade, as many users would prefer to use their own rechargeable batteries that can be swapped on the fly instead of requiring a tether to recharge.

EasySMX Wired Gaming Controller

EasySMX Wired Gaming Controller
  • 🎮【Wide Compatibility】EasySMX Wired Game Controller works with Windows, Vista, TV box, PS3 and Android 4.0 or above with OTG function. 🍀Not support Xbox 360/ Xbox One/ Mac/ IOS/ Amazon fire TV/ Amazon fire stick🍀
  • 🎮【Plug & Play】You can start playing right after getting the Gamepad to your hands. The USB cable extends 2 meters long (6.5 feet) and you can play sitting a bit far away from the console
  • 🎮【Dual vibrators】Gaming Controller Vibrating motors are embedded in the side grips and deliver distinct feedback during the game, enhancing the immersion and realism of the game scenarios
  • 🎮【Ergonomics Design】Asymmetrical design of the joysticks is based on ergonomics and designed for the most comfortable thumb position. Ensure you optimal feeling when playing
  • 🎮【TURBO】Customize turbo plus any button to free players’ fingers and destroy your enemies with mere one press. Customers may met problem due to use the item incorrectly, pls contact seller in advance if any questions before returning.

The EasySMX Wired Gaming Controllers is a great controller that hardcore gamers or those who take their matches really seriously should consider when shopping for a new PS3 controller.  The first thing you’re likely to notice is that this thing looks an awful lot like an Xbox360 controller; this controller does in fact work with a variety of Xbox and PlayStation consoles as well as Android and PC. 

Among the many notable features included are a dedicated turbo button, linear triggers (an uncommon luxury amongst PS3 controllers) and a 2-meter attached USB cable for low-latency gaming. 

Last Updated on February 15, 2021