Top 5 Best Controllers For Smash Ultimate 2023:
- GameCube Controller Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Edition
- Nintendo Switch Pro Controller
- PDP 500-100-NA-D1 Fight Pad Pro Controller
- PowerA Wireless Controller for Nintendo Switch
- Nintendo Joy-Con (L/R)
If you played Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, then you know that games can be won – and lost – in milliseconds.
Now, many will still opt to play Smash with the Joy-Cons that came with their Nintendo Switch because it’s easier on the wallet and more convenient than buying a separate controller explicitly made with this game in mind.
And yes, you can certainly get by with Joy-Cons when there’s nothing else available. But if you find yourself playing against someone who has the best controller for Smash Ultimate in their hands, you’ll be at a definite disadvantage.
There’s no promise that a new controller will make you better, but it can give you an upper hand. So, why not give it a shot?
5 Best Controllers For Smash Ultimate In 2023: Detailed Reviews
The thing that makes the most significant difference between victory and defeat is, by and far, the tight controller input. It’s as simple as that.
Here are our top 5 picks competing for the title of the best controller for Smash Ultimate!
1. GameCube Controller Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Edition – Best Controller for Smash Ultimate
The GameCube controller’s been nothing but beloved within the Smash community – and who are we to disrespect the classics? The GameCube’s design has become an iconic part of the Super Smash Bros. franchise – and it fits the game like a glove.
Seriously, everything about this controller feels like it was designed explicitly for Smash Bros.
You get thick bumpers and a single Z-trigger that’s easy to slide your finger to, a conveniently large A button that’s made for mashing, and a C-stick that’s easy to flick. The button controls work together to help you execute quick and precise movements.
Even more so, it boasts ultra-low latency. And if you’re already used to GameCube, it gives you one benefit that no other controller could – your muscle memory.
Nintendo knows that many hardcore fans wouldn’t play the game any other way, which is the main reason why they released the controller-to-USB adapter for GameCube that works with Nintendo Switch.
If you already have a GameCube controller sitting at home, this is good news. You don’t need a new controller for Smash Ultimate. All you need is an adapter. If not, you’ll have to spend a bit more – which is the only potential downside of going with GameCube.
- Feels like it’s tailor-made for Smash Ultimate
- Large and responsive button controls
- Well-made, high-quality controller
- Wired design with ultra-low latency
- Suitable for players with large hands
- Requires a special adapter to work with Nintendo Switch
2. Nintendo Switch Pro Controller – Best Universal Controller for Nintendo Switch
A proper layout and workability make a world of difference when playing Smash Ultimate. There’s no room for mistakes and lags – and you can’t experience the game to its fullest, let alone enjoy it, without a proper Smash controller.
But for some, a dedicated controller for Smash Bros is overkill.
Enter Nintendo’s own Switch Pro – a universal workhorse of a controller with support for virtually any Switch-based games, including Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
In terms of quality and design, this is easily the most premium-feeling controller on our list. It’s ergonomic, versatile, and packed with features such as HD Rumble, motion controls, and built-in Amiibo functionality. Also, it has a bit more weight to it, which makes it feel sturdy and well-made.
There’s a noticeable difference in the button layout compared to our top pick, but it’s incredibly comfortable – and we’re sure that you’ll appreciate the large-faced buttons. Plus, it offers the flexibility of creating a setup that works for you by customizing button commands in Smash Ultimate’s settings.
And since the controller is wireless, it can serve both as your at-home and on-the-go console!
However, like most other wireless options, it’s prone to latency, which can be a deal-breaker in tournament play.
- Nintendo’s official Switch controller
- Universally suitable for all Switch-based games
- High-quality, premium feel
- Ergonomic design and comfortable, large-faced buttons
- Features HD Rumble, motion controls, and built-in Amiibo support
- Wireless connectivity
- Charging cable is included
- Latency may be an issue
3. PDP 500-100-NA-D1 Fight Pad Pro Controller – Best Budget-Friendly Controller for Smash Ultimate
One thing you’ll notice about the PDP Fight Pad Pro controller is that it’s heavily GameCube-inspired. But one thing that this controller for Smash Ultimate has to offer – that GameCube doesn’t – is a pocket-friendly price tag.
The Fight Pad Pro is a lot cheaper than the real deal, making it a perfect choice for Nintendo Switch gamers on a budget.
One of the few welcome differences – other than the price – is the slightly longer design of the handles. Another unique feature is the detachable C-stick on the controller’s right analog stick slot:
You can use the yellow one for a traditional GameCube gaming experience, or you can swap it out for the gray stick, which is a full-sized one.
The character-themed design of the PDP controllers has to be the coolest thing ever. Besides this one, which is inspired by Super Mario, you have a whole host of designs to choose from, including Pikachu, Sonic, Link, and Luigi.
Sure, the clicking is annoyingly loud, the bumpers don’t always give the best feedback, and the stick tension could stand to see some improvements. But if you want a fun design at a budget-friendly price, this is it.
- Budget-friendly GameCube-style controller
- Available in a variety of character-themed designs
- A detachable C-stick with standard and full-sized options
- Sits comfortably in larger hands
- Long, 10-foot cable
- The buttons make a loud clicking noise
- The C-stick tension isn’t the best
4. PowerA Wireless Controller for Nintendo Switch – Best Wireless Controller for Smash Ultimate
Maybe you’re feeling nostalgic about the original GameCube controller. But at the same time, you may be ready to dip your feet into the modern world of wireless game consoles.
If that’s the case, you won’t find a better option than the PowerA Wireless Controller!
This controller is molded after the GameCube – it’s the spitting image of the original, much like our previous pick. However, it adds a touch of modernized functionality:
First off, instead of a wired connection, the PowerA relies on Bluetooth 5.0 technology to allow wireless connectivity.
Even more so, it offers a full set of made-for-Switch controls – “Home” and “Share” buttons included – which is another step-up from the GameCube’s somewhat outdated layout.
We did found that it makes a lot of noise and that the buttons have a specific “cheap” feeling to them, but not enough to make us want to put it down.
Also, we were hoping for an integrated rechargeable battery, but the PowerA uses two AA batteries instead. It’s not a big deal, and you can get up to 30 hours of play out of them, but we still have to knock a few points off for the sake of the environment.
- Features Bluetooth 5.0 wireless connectivity
- Full set of made-for-Switch controls
- Offers up to 30 hours of play
- Has a low battery indicator light
- Uses two AA batteries
- The buttons are loud and cheap-feeling
- It may have latency issues
5. Nintendo Joy-Con (L/R) – Standard Nintendo Switch Controller
We weren’t entirely fair to the official Nintendo Switch Joy-Con at the beginning. It deserves a spot in our round-up, even if it may not necessarily be our go-to choice for playing Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
Many Nintendo Switch owners will use the included controllers to play the game because of the on-the-go convenience and flexibility.
Each controller has a full set of button controls, and although their tiny size doesn’t inspire much confidence, they’re more than capable of meeting the demands of this fast-paced game.
Furthermore, each comes with a separate accelerometer and gyro-sensor, as well as IR Motion Camera and HD Rumble, which opens up a whole new gaming experience, complete with physical feedback. Plus, Joy-Cons are Amiibo-compatible.
Joined together with a Joy-Con grip, these make for a surprisingly comfortable controller. However, it’s when you try to use them independently as two stand-alone controllers that their microscopic size becomes an issue:
The small controller comes with even smaller buttons, and to make matters worse, they’re so close together that it’s bound to make your fingers cramp up pretty quickly.
Again, Joy-Con will do if you don’t have an alternative – but don’t expect any levels of competitiveness with it.
- A standard controller that comes with your Nintendo Switch
- On-the-go convenience and flexibility
- Features HD Rumble, IR Motion Camera, and Amiibo-compatibility
- Joy-Cons can be used as two separate controllers
- The small form-factor is very uncomfortable
- The buttons are tiny and close together
Things To Know Before Buying The Best Controller for Smash Ultimate
“It’s just a controller, what’s the big deal?”
If you’re a gamer, these words probably make your skin crawl. And while those who haven’t played the game may not get it, we do.
We already showed you our top 5 picks when it comes to the best controllers for Smash Ultimate, all of which have what it takes to live up to gamers’ expectations – but we’re not done yet.
It’s the tiny details that all add up to a complete Smash experience.
1. Licensed Or Rip-Off?
We already touched on this subject when we mentioned how crucial having the right controller is for experiencing the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate to its fullest.
A lot of people opt for third-party controllers, mostly because they’re cheap, which often leaves them frustrated or unsatisfied with the game.
We may come off as harsh here, but it’s not the game’s fault that your rip-off controller can’t keep up with the fast-paced tempo of Smash Ultimate. You know it’s true.
The thing is, the market is filled to the brim with Smash controllers – but not all of them are Nintendo-Switch-licensed. When you opt for a verified Smash controller, you know that you’re in for smooth and responsive operation and overall durability. Keep this in mind before you empty your wallet.
We’d even go as far as to say that buying a used original controller is still a better deal than a cheap third-party knock-off one.
That’s how strongly we feel about the matter.
2. Layout And Design
Aside from licensing, which is again a pretty big deal, the second most crucial make-or-break factor here is the design of your Smash controller, and more specifically, its layout.
There are several reasons why these things matter, but it all comes down to user experience and functionality.
First off, the best controller for Smash Ultimate has to be responsive to be functional and ensure a smooth gaming experience:
Considering how fast-paced the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate game can be – the instantaneous attacks are the perfect example of what we mean – you need highly-sensitive buttons and analog sticks. Try to avoid long-travel controls, as they make a significant impact on the effectiveness of your attacks.
Like we said already, the best controller is one that’s quick to respond to your actions.
Furthermore, the design of the Smash controller should be such that it sits in your hands comfortably. It should be easy to manage and feel like an extension of your hands to keep your gaming sessions fatigue-free.
3. Wireless Or Wired?
If you’re thinking of getting a wireless Smash controller, you’re probably doing so because of the modern, techy edge it brings to the table. And sure, there’s something undeniably sleek and stylish about wireless controllers.
But you have to look at things from the perspective of functionality, rather than appearances.
A wireless controller for Smash Ultimate looks good but also brings on issues of connectivity and battery life. If you tend to play for extended periods, you probably wouldn’t appreciate getting interrupted or losing your progress because the controller’s battery died mid-game.
So, if you do go down this route, be sure to have rechargeable batteries – or a charging cable – near-by at all times.
Wired Smash controllers, on the other hand, are plug-and-play by design. They don’t require as much attention or maintenance and are generally the go-to choice of competitive gamers.
Ultimately, there’s no right or wrong option here – it’s up to the gamer’s preferences.
4. Additional Features
Cheaper Smash consoles typically offer a cheap gaming experience with little to no additional features that could help make the game more immersive.
We’re not saying that you run out and spend a small fortune on a gaming controller, though. It’s unreasonable – and flat-out irresponsible – to shoot way above what your budget allows.
But there’s no denying that, as far as the gaming experience goes, additional features found in more expensive controllers do make a difference.
For example, features like motion sensors and HD rumble – precise and fast-changing vibrations that act as real, tangible feedback to what’s going on within the game – contribute to a more captivating gaming session.
You’re not only seeing and hearing the attacks, falls, collisions, and movements of your character within the game; you’re feeling them, too.
See Also: The Best Xbox Steering Wheel
There’s a multitude of options out there when it comes to the Smash controllers. Not all of them are made equal, though, and we certainly had our personal favorites in the bunch.
We feel that GameCube Controller Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Edition stands out as the best controller for Smash Ultimate, but Nintendo Switch Pro Controller comes in as a close second.
That said, no matter what anyone tells you, the most critical thing is that the controller feels right for you. You’re the one who’ll be using it daily, after all.
Whatever controller you end up using, there will likely be a learning curve – but as long as it feels comfortable to you, we’re sure that you’ll get the hang of it pretty fast.
And once you do, you’ll smash it!