Controllers have been the prime contender for ideal gaming peripherals and have been widely adopted by many people. This is because they deliver some of the best haptic feedback and a comfortable feel while gaming. One such legendary controller was the Xbox 360 controller, which partly standardized the specifications and made everyone a fan.
Controllers and Gamepads have been continuously evolving. Today, we’ll be taking a look at some of the best controllers that make your iPad gaming experience better and improve the overall feel and performance of the game.
[ Related: Best iPad and iPad Accessories for Gaming ]
Why should you use a controller for an iPad?
iPads are getting robust and powerful, and with these newfound improvements from the hardware changes and OS improvements, iPads have some serious performance for high-end demanding games. However, the touch screen can get a little limiting for most users, and controllers to solve that issue by providing a variety of features:
- Precise controls
- Haptic feedback
- Better aiming and directional control
- A comfortable gaming experience
- Full-screen visibility
So, get a controller from the list below, enjoy all these benefits, and have a better gaming experience.
Our picks of best iPad game controllers
- SteelSeries Nimbus+ – Best Overall Controller
- Xbox Series X/SWireless Controller – Best Xbox Style Option
- PS5 DualSense Controller – Best PS Style Option
- RazerRaiju Ultimate – Best for Gamers
- SteelSeries Stratus Wireless Gamepad – Most Compact Controller
- GameSir F7 Claw – Best for Casual Gamers
- MISH Gamepad Controller – Best for iPad Pro Users
- GameSirT4 Pro – Most Affordable Option
- Sunwaytek H510 [V2] – Premium Aesthetic Controller
- 8Bitdo N30 Wireless Controller – Best for Retro Games
1. SteelSeries Nimbus+ – Best Overall Controller
The Steel Series Nimbus+ is the latest version of Steel Series Nimbus that is specifically designed for Apple platforms that are iPhone, iPad, iPod, Apple TV, or Mac. Featuring a unique look and feel, the SteelSeries controller is intended to be an accurate and responsive replacement for controllers like Xbox or PS4. Also, the six buttons on the controller are distinguished by their unique textures and an innovative D-pad that offers more player control than traditional gamepads.
Steel Series Nimbus+ has an excellent build quality, and its innovative design incorporates a unique combination of functionality, classic style, and modern aesthetics. The controller is well-balanced with a substantial weight and a premium look. However, gaming is a lot more about the experience, and the Steel Series Nimbus+ delivers that experience in a highly realistic and ergonomic package.
- They are specifically designed for Apple platforms that are iPhone, iPad, iPod, Apple TV, or Mac.
- Brings a console-quality gaming experience.
- 50-hour battery life on a single charge.
- Clickable Joystick buttons.
- Hall effect magnetic triggers for a smooth feel.
- Easily rechargeable with a lightning cable.
- Tactile d-pad buttons for fast response.
- Impressive ergonomics
- Fifty hours battery life on a single charge.
- Clicky D-pad
- MFi certified
- Works the best with Apple devices
2. Xbox Series X/SWireless Controller – Best Xbox Style Option
The Xbox Series X/S wireless controller is a relatively conservative update of the Xbox One. However, the controller offers a premium feel with top-notch design features, improved textures, and geometry at an affordable price. Also, the controller lets you experience the modernized design, enhanced comfort, and effortless control during your game. You can also easily connect it with the iPad, which is a plus in our books.
The Xbox Series X/S wireless controller has an excellent design with superb build quality. In addition, the controller has a premium look featuring improved tactile textures and geometry on the triggers, grips, and bumpers.
- The share button seamlessly captures screenshots and share recordings, making it much easier to share content.
- Standard ergonomic layout.
- 3.5mm audio headset jack.
- Battery life up to 40 hours.
- The Xbox wireless controller has Bluetooth support which easily connects with PCs, iOS and Android phones, and tablets.
- Demands AA batteries.
- The controller includes a new clickier hybrid style D-Pad and textural grips on the triggers, bumpers, and back case.
- Excellent battery life.
- Bluetooth support.
- Fantastic build quality.
- Rechargeable batteries need to be purchased separately.
3. PS5 DualSense Controller – Best PS Style Option
The PS5 DualSense controller fits in seamlessly and delivers an unparalleled experience in gaming. With incredible tactile feedback and a refined shape, the controller makes the iPad feel like a next-gen experience and is decked out with all sorts of tech bells and whistles that can augment gameplay and overall improve your gaming experience with the iPad.
The PS5 DualSense Controller has a solid build quality and offers a premium feel and redesigned shape that’s easier on the hands. Also, it has long handles, new additional buttons, and an improved D-pad and Face buttons. Overall, the PS5 DualSense is a detailed and luxurious controller designed for wireless interaction, so they work with any Bluetooth-enabled device.
- Haptic feedback makes you feel in-game actions and pinpoint sensations in different places on the gamepad.
- The adaptive triggers give an experience of varying force and tension at your fingertips during gameplay.
- Built-in microphone to chat in-game and integrated speaker.
- 3.5mm headset jack.
- Battery life of 12 hours.
- It also has a gyroscope and a big touchpad.
- Motion sensor
- Solid build
- Easier to hold
- Built-in mic
- Next-gen performance
- Significantly less textural grip.
- Battery life is only 12 hours.
4. RazerRaiju Ultimate – Best for Gamers
The Razer Raiju Ultimate is an excellent addition to the existing lineup of peripherals and encourages gamers to get creative with their games. It is primarily a PS4 controller but also works on the iPad with a Bluetooth connection. However, it features three different connection modes, Bluetooth for the PS4 and iPad, USB connection for PC and other devices.
Razer Raiju Ultimate controller has a superb build quality and pretty bulky in size. However, its ergonomic design makes it feel very comfortable to hold, and the exterior design of the controller consists of very soft-touch material which is immune to fingerprints. Furthermore, on the back of the controller, incredibly comfortable perfect grips make it easy to hold for a long stretch.
- The micro USB charging cable is a very well-made braided nylon design that can charge the controller and play in wired mode.
- It also works with PS4, PC and Android devices.
- Battery life up to 11 hours.
- It comes with two interchangeable thumbsticks and a directional pad.
- Bluetooth and wired connection.
- Soft cushioned touch with tactile feedback.
- Great build quality.
- Incredible performance.
- Interchangeable thumbsticks.
- Great D-pad.
- Two different triggers and mechanical face buttons.
- Features a somewhat bulky design.
- Only up to 11 hours battery life.
5. SteelSeries Stratus Wireless Gamepad – Most Compact Controller
The SteelSeries Stratus is the smallest controller on the list that provides a unique gaming experience. While it loses the full-size triggers for some shoulder buttons, it makes up two great joysticks that make the gaming experience lovely. However, there is a reason for the small design, and that is portability. This is the most portable controller that we have come across.
The controller comes built in a clamshell design with a robust plastic and rubber body that can handle everything you throw at it. The D-Pad and the ABXY buttons also feel clicky and tactile, and the small joysticks feel fantastic to use with excellent grip and stable movement. However, as this is a small controller, the battery life suffers a bit, and you would need to charge it twice or more in a week, depending on your use case.
- Pressure-sensitive D-Pad
- 4 LED’s to display player status
- MFi certified
- The small size of 2.36 x 4.33 x 1.3 inches
- Multi-Device Compatibility
- Compact size
- Excellent portability
- Grippy triggers and clicky buttons
- Poor battery life
6. GameSir F7 Claw – Best for Casual Gamers
GameSir F7 Claw is a first of its kind wireless gaming controller that gives you ultimate control over your games. No more tangled wires or tangled thumbsticks as this breakout box turns iPhone or iPad into a complete gaming system. Especially it is designed for on-screen control games, and this controller is compatible with all tablets of thickness range of 6mm to 12mm.
The GameSir F7 claw controller has a fantastic build quality and offers a stunning, ergonomic design. This highly-acclaimed gaming accessory is designed and built to perfection by experts in the industry. In addition, it comes loaded with features that give players the best possible experience when playing games on their devices.
- Compatible with any iPad and android tablets.
- The turbo buttons on the gamepad control burst frequency.
- Battery life is up to 120 hours.
- Spring-loaded capacitive sensing arms.
- A tight and secure suction cup design makes it easy to attach.
- Ergonomic design.
- Doesn’t rely on Bluetooth for a connection.
- Battery life up to 120 hours on a single charge.
- Comfortable to hold.
- Capacitive gamepad.
- They are only designed for on-screen control games.
- Expensive price tag
7. EMISH Gamepad Controller – Best for iPad Pro Users
The EMISH controller is a wireless gamepad designed to improve the ergonomics of control in gaming. The EMISH is made of high-quality materials, including anisotropic texture mapping technology that offers superb control precision in all environments. It is designed for Android and iOS devices and also supports iPads.
EMISH gamepad has a good and durable build quality and has an ergonomically designed grip that prevents slip and provides a comfortable grip during gameplay. In addition, it has extendable spring clips that can be extended up to 4.5-6.5 inches.
- High-density conductive rubber that allows operating with six fingers at the same time improving the speed of operation.
- It has a cooling fan that prevents the iPad from overheating and prolongs the battery life.
- Trigger buttons to feel the actual shooting experience.
- Designed for games like Pubg, Fortnite, Knives Out, Rules of Survival, Call of Duty.
- Highly sensitive L1 R1 triggers.
- No power supply or driver is needed.
- Easy to use
- Easy to install
- Ergonomic design
- Value for money
- Has a learning curve
- Controller moves during gameplay.
8. GameSirT4 Pro – Most Affordable Option
GameSir has been making budget-friendly controllers for a long time, and the T4 Pro is another addition to that. However, as you might’ve guessed from the name, the T4 has a Pro name and comes with great Pro features. It has excellent triggers and buttons, LED backlighting, Macros and a whole lot more to help your game and perform your best in all gaming titles.
The T4 Pro has a holo transparent look with LED backlighting and a robust body with macro buttons for immense customization. It also features some of the best triggers that we’ve used, and the grip is fantastic. In addition to that, the joysticks, D-Pad, the ABXY buttons feel tactile, clicky and prove to be some of the best-built buttons after the Xbox controller.
- RGB LED Backlighting
- Grippy Back and Joysticks
- Four customizable macro buttons
- Clicky and tactile D-Pad
- Excellent Triggers with customizable pressure
- Haptic vibration motors
- MFi certified
- Programmable buttons
- USB-C connection for charging and pairing
- Bluetooth connection for iPads
- Battery Life is terrible with just a 600mAh internal battery
9. Sunwaytek H510 [V2] – Premium Aesthetic Controller
Sunwaytek’s H510 controller is a unique gamepad for iPads as it brings linear mechanical switches to the experience. Yes, this is the same switch used in your keyboard, and you would love the clicky feel they provide with the ABXY buttons. They are also interchangeable for your preference and stick with a magnetic connection. As a result, the D-Pad feels incredible, and the overall aesthetic feels premium and robust.
The H510 controller has a unique ergonomic design and features a premium and robust body that feels comfortable to hold. However, the most pleasing buttons are the ABXY buttons. They are made with mechanical clicky switches that are amazing and feature linear feedback. In addition, the vibration motors are excellent at providing haptic feedback and grip for all your gaming sessions.
- Mechanical Red Switches
- Shorter key travel
- Linear Triggers
- Ergonomic design and build
- Circular D-Pad
- Magnetic connection and swap ability
- Excellent tactile mechanical feel
- Premium aesthetic and feel
- Budget-friendly price tag
- Some users have had a problem with the shoulder triggers.
- Manufacturing defects
10. 8Bitdo N30 Wireless Controller – Best for Retro Games
Are you a retro gamer and enjoy the old 90s titles that made gaming a new hobby for many users. It was the golden era of gaming, and we got many classics that players still adore. This retro controller by 8BitDo is an excellent option that will bring all your memories back and bring great nostalgia while gaming on your iPad. It is ideal for retro games and emulation and also works with newer light games.
The design is purely based on older Nintendo controllers, and the buttons and D-Pad feel clicky and robust for an enjoyable gaming experience. The entire construction feels solid and is made with a plastic construction that can handle everything you throw at it. However, it doesn’t have any fancy triggers or joysticks and is primarily made for retro gaming.
- Bluetooth/USB Gamepad.
- Compatible with a lot of devices and old consoles.
- Supports iCade compatible games.
- Two shoulder button design.
- Long Battery life supports up to 20 hours of gaming.
- Excellent retro-gaming capabilities
- Long Battery Life
- Works with emulators
- It can’t be used with newer high-end gaming titles
- It is not a great value proposition
Q: How to pair an Xbox/PS Controller?
Pairing a new Xbox and PS controller with your iPad is easy as Apple officially supports them. You just need to put your controller in Bluetooth pairing mode by holding down their respective pairing button and connecting it with your iPad on the Bluetooth connection screen.
Q: How to connect a game controller to an iPad?
You can connect most controllers with the Bluetooth connection standard by going into settings and Bluetooth connection. However, if you have the newer USB-C iPads, you can also use a wired connection to access the controller faster and easier.
Q: Should I buy an MFi Controller for the iPad in 2021?
It is unnecessary to buy an MFi Controller for your iPad as the standard for controllers is already great in 2021. However, getting an MFi certified controller will ensure the best possible scenario and compatibility with your iPad and would provide you with the best gaming experience it is meant to deliver.