Best Overall

SteelSeries Stratus XL

See at Amazon

If you want a no-compromises controller, something that feels just like the controller you use when you're sitting in front of your television, SteelSeries has what you need. These controllers look and feel solid. No cheap buttons, wiggly joysticks, or any of the typical problems you find with cheap mobile gaming controllers. You're getting what you pay for here, which means you're paying a little more than you would for the average gamepad.

Bottom line: If you want the best controller for your gaming, SteelSeries built the Stratus controller for you.

One more thing: This version of the controller only comes in black. If you see a white version of this controller, it's the iOS-only version and won't work with your Android phone.

Why the SteelSeries Stratus XL is the best

It's basically an Xbox Controller, which is exactly what you want if you're gaming for extended periods.

Microsoft and Sony spend an insane amount of money engineering controllers, because research shows how the different grip design and button placements lead to longer gameplay sessions. When you're looking for a controller for a phone, it doesn't make a ton of sense to drift very far from what you know works. SteelSeries borrows quite a bit from the Xbox One design, and it shows when you're able to comfortably play for extended periods of time.

This controller delivers plenty of battery, a strong connection to the phone, and a quality feel when playing. It's the perfect gamepad for playing games during a long flight, or during a lunch break at work. It's comfortable, durable, and capable, exactly what you want if your goal is to own the best possible controller for your gaming needs.

Best for portability

Moga Hero Power

See at Amazon

Playing games when mobile frequently means not having the best place to put your phone when playing. The natural solution is to have a controller that actually holds your phone, and the Moga Hero Power is the best controller for that ultra-portable experience.

It's designed to be more flat than a standard console controller, so it easily slides into a bag and doesn't take up much space. When it's time to play, lift up the center section and drop your phone into the grip. You now have a controller you can take anywhere that lets you play just about anything.

Just don't walk and play, or video of your epic wall smash will absolutely make it to YouTube.

Bottom line: If portability is what you need, Moga offers the best with the Hero Power controller.

Best Value

8BitDo Zero

See at Amazon

Can we all take a moment to stop and appreciate how small and functional this controller is? It's a classic SNES format in a package small enough that you could hang it from your car keys. That's damned impressive.

8BitDo has a history of making quality hardware that appeals to Nintendo nerds, and this latest version if no exception. The buttons are nice and tactile, the battery will last for several days of gaming, and it even comes with a wrist strap just in case.

The big feature here, aside from the physical size, is the price. This controller is available for under $20, so you can grab one cheap and not be terribly concerned with what happens if it doesn't survive the washing machine because you forgot to check your pockets again.

Bottom line: It's small, cheap, and sturdy. You want this controller.

Conclusion

There is no such thing as one kind of gamer. If you want a controller for your phone that feels like a console controller, get yourself the SteelSeries Stratus. If portability is the most important feature, the Moga Hero Power is what you need. For those on a budget, or just want something pocketable, 8BitDo nails it with the Zero. Either way you win, because each of these are exceptional controllers delivering quality gaming experiences. Have fun!

Best overall

SteelSeries Stratus XL

See at Amazon

If you want a no-compromises controller, something that feels just like the controller you use when you're sitting in front of your television, SteelSeries has what you need. These controllers look and feel solid. No cheap buttons, wiggly joysticks, or any of the typical problems you find with cheap mobile gaming controllers. You're getting what you pay for here, which means you're paying a little more than you would for the average gamepad.

Bottom line: If you want the best controller for your gaming, SteelSeries built the Stratus controller for you.

One more thing: This version of the controller only comes in black. If you see a white version of this controller, it's the iOS-only version and won't work with your Android phone.