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Best Oculus Quest 2 controller alternatives 2022

The Quest 2 surrounded by video game controllers
(Image credit: Nick Sutrich / Android Central)

The Oculus Quest 2 ships with some pretty amazing controllers, known simply as Oculus Touch. While these controllers work perfectly for many VR games — especially ones where you're moving around — some games just make more sense with a traditional gamepad or something more specialized like a HOTAS flight stick. You can even use a mouse and keyboard if you want! Looking to branch out for your next gaming experience? These are the best Oculus Quest 2 controller alternatives for every situation.

These are the best Oculus Quest 2 controllers

The Xbox Series X Controller

(Image credit: Windows Central)

Xbox Core Controller

Best alternative controller

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent compatibility
+
Simple Bluetooth pairing
+
Super comfortable

Reasons to avoid

-
Might require an extra adapter for some PCs

There's really just no beating the sheer compatibility you'll get with an Xbox Core Controller. The Xbox Core Controller is the controller that ships with the Xbox Series X|S and features Bluetooth connectivity that pairs perfectly with your Oculus Quest 2 or your gaming PC. Microsoft's Xbox controllers define how a great traditional controller should work and feel, and every game that supports a traditional controller works perfectly with this one.

While you can use most third-party Bluetooth controllers with your Quest, many of them come with button mapping issues or other weird problems. Not so with the Xbox Controller. Plus, since it's Bluetooth, it'll also pair with your phone or gaming PC — although some gaming PCs might require the Xbox Wireless Adapter for Windows if they don't have Bluetooth connectivity built-in. 

Controllers like this work best with many sideloaded titles on Quest 2, while playing PC games with Quest can give you the perfect way to get a little personal space or to keep little eyes away while you're playing mature-rated games.

SteelSeries Stratus Duo

(Image credit: Android Central)

SteelSeries Stratus Duo

Best versatility

Reasons to buy

+
Works for consoles, PC, and mobile too
+
Comes with a USB wireless adapter
+
Simple Bluetooth pairing

Reasons to avoid

-
Not quite as ergonomic as an Xbox controller
-
Some quality control issues have been reported

SteelSeries controller is a bit less expensive than the Xbox Core Controller, yet it still features all the same buttons and great Bluetooth connectivity that'll work perfectly with your Quest 2 or gaming PC (or even your phone). This one actually ships with a USB adapter for the PC, meaning you won't have to buy an extra one if your PC doesn't have Bluetooth — unlike the Xbox Core Controller — making this an even better value than the price initially suggests.

SteelSeries Stratus Duo controller ergonomics seem to mimic the original Xbox Controller S in some ways, but feature the dual joystick placement from a PlayStation controller, as well as a more traditional cross-shaped D-pad. If you prefer the PlayStation joystick placement or just want to save some dough, SteelSeries is a fantastic choice, for the best PC VR games and any other PC or mobile games you want to play.

Thrustmaster T1.6000M

(Image credit: Thrustmaster)

Thrustmaster T.16000M FCS HOTAS

Best HOTAS

Reasons to buy

+
Separate throttle and stick for better ergonomics
+
Solid construction
+
Lots of buttons

Reasons to avoid

-
No wireless option
-
Expensive
-
Needs to be plugged into a PC

If you've played Star Wars Squadrons using your gaming PC and an Oculus Quest 2, you'll know that it's a little bit difficult to precisely maneuver your ship in space using a joystick. What better way to replicate the actual cockpit of a Star Wars space ship than to have your very own flight stick and thrust? A hands-on throttle-and-stick, or HOTAS, is a near-perfect way to make yourself not only feel like you're actually flying in the cockpit of a ship, but also have a far greater level of control over your movements.

Right now, no HOTAS can be paired directly with a Quest 2. There are no Quest 2 games that would support one at this time, anyway. That means, if you're going to pick up this HOTAS, you'll need to have it plugged into your gaming PC, where you'll be playing PC VR games with Quest 2.

The Thrustmaster T.16000M FCS HOTAS is a fantastic value for your money that separates the throttle from the stick, giving you a more ergonomic way of playing and customizing for your own setup. If you really want to go all-out, an upgraded version can be found on the Amazon page listing that includes separate pedals.

T-Flight

(Image credit: Thrustmaster)

Thrustmaster T-Flight Hotas X Flight Stick

Best Value HOTAS

Reasons to buy

+
More affordable than many HOTAS
+
Single-body design keeps things simple
+
Quality construction

Reasons to avoid

-
No wireless option
-
Needs a PC to plug into

Sometimes, you just want a simple setup that isn't going to cost a lot of money. In that case, the Thrustmaster T-Flight HOTAS x Flight Stick may just be the perfect product. It retails for a fair bit less than the Thrustmaster T.16000M and features everything in one plastic-molded body. That's the flight stick and thrust together in one package with one single, each to plug-in cable.

Like any HOTAS, remember that you'll need to plug it into your gaming PC's USB port and be playing PC VR games with Quest 2. This will not plugin or pair with your Quest 2, so it's important to know that before going all in. Two of the most popular games to use a HOTAS with are Star Wars Squadrons and Microsoft Flight Simulator, but you'll find there are a smattering of other VR-ready titles that also support these incredibly immersive controllers.

A man wearing the Quest 2 holds an Apple Magic Keyboard

(Image credit: Nick Sutrich / Android Central)

Apple Magic Keyboard

Best keyboard for VR

Reasons to buy

+
Works with Quest passthrough
+
Great key feel
+
Quiet keystrokes

Reasons to avoid

-
Not fully compatible with Windows
-
Not very ergonomic
-
Doesn't have the full set of keys

Did you know you can use a mouse and keyboard with the Quest 2? The Meta team made the Apple Magic Keyboard and Logitech K830 visible via passthrough, so you can see the keys on your desk while in virtual reality. While the Logitech is a great keyboard it also frequently sells out, whereas Apple's popular, minimalist keyboard isn't going anywhere.

Sure, it's not technically a controller, but it's worth mentioning here because you can use it with Quest 2 apps like Horizon Workrooms and Virtual Desktop. Meta is pushing the Quest as a "work" device, but you can use a keyboard casually for chatting with friends on Messenger or for playing Steam games with keyboard controls. Yes, you can play non-VR games in-headset if you want!

A man wears the Meta Quest 2 with hand tracking enabled

(Image credit: Future)

Your hands

No controller needed

Reasons to buy

+
Nothing to buy
+
Don't need to charge
+
Super immersive

Reasons to avoid

-
Tracking isn't always reliable
-
Need to make sure you have bright lighting in a room
-
Limited number of experiences

You might laugh at this one, but, truly, using your hands in VR is a sublime experience — when it works, that is. The Oculus Quest and Oculus Quest 2 can both track hands in VR space thanks to the four cameras positioned outside the headset. Hand tracking is best used for navigating the menus and official Oculus entertainment apps. However, the best hand-tracking games for Quest 2 will give you a uniquely immersive experience, even if there are only a few games that support the feature.

While hand tracking is obviously free and provides the most immersive way to interact with things in VR, there are a few things to consider. First off, you'll want to make sure you're in a brightly lit room so the cameras can see your hands. Second, know that hand tracking isn't the most accurate thing in the world, and you'll likely come across several situations where the Quest 2 has a hard time understanding what you want to do. If you're OK with a bit of jankiness, give hand tracking a shot. If, for no other reason, it's a fun way to see how the future of VR could look once tracking improves in future headsets.

Bottom line

The Oculus Quest 2 was made to be played out of the box without anything else, but there's no doubting the value that accessories can add to the package. Like the Xbox Core Controller, alternative controllers will allow you to more easily play classic VR titles that don't have motion controller support. You'll also find that these are a great way to play classic games via emulators — which can be sideloaded onto Quest — or when playing traditional games on a giant virtual monitor with software like Virtual Desktop.

Fans of flight sims will certainly want to pick up a good HOTAS for an even more immersive experience, as it'll make you feel like you're actually sitting in the cockpit of an aircraft or your favorite Star Wars ship. Just remember that these all require a gaming PC to plug into, and all games that support them will be running on a gaming PC.

Lastly is the hands-only experiences powered by the four cameras on the front of an Oculus Quest or Oculus Quest 2. Oddly enough, your hands can actually become controllers with these platforms and any supported title, meaning you won't even need to remember to charge those controllers for a uniquely immersive VR experience.

Nicholas Sutrich
Nicholas Sutrich
Nick started with DOS and NES and uses those fond memories of floppy disks and cartridges to fuel his opinions on modern tech. Whether it's VR, smart home gadgets, or something else that beeps and boops, he's been writing about it since 2011. Reach him on Twitter or Instagram @Gwanatu