How to find and make the perfect custom controller for you

Updated: Sep 11, 2020

A customized xbox controller with black camouflage and D-pad

It doesn't matter if you own an Xbox, Switch, PlayStation or even a PC, the most common gaming accessory you will use is a controller.

Controllers are peripherals that you use to, well, to control your videogame. Each gaming console comes with its own default gamepad that does a well enough job on its own, but what if you want more?

Maybe you want more buttons and paddles to customize how you play? Maybe you want a controller with mods to give you an edge? Or maybe you just want to change the look of the gamepad because it is not pretty enough, and you are nostalgic for the classic look of the Gamecube Controller.

In either scenario, you can get what you want by buying a custom controller or by modifying one yourself.

There are already several custom controllers on the market that come with the full package. The SCUF vantage for the PS4 or the Razer Wolverine for the Xbox are two examples.

There are also several online stores like ModdedZone and EvilControllers that make custom controllers at your request.

However, they might not give you what you need, or what you want. What exactly should you be looking for in a custom controller? How do you know which one (or which part) is best for you?

Well, let´s break down what are the modifications you can make to your controller so that you can know what would better suit your playstyle and taste.

Starting with the basics:

Custom appearance: Faceplates, shells, and skins.

This is the simplest and the most common modification. It´s probably what you were looking for in the first place when you searched for custom controllers.

If not, keep reading, we´ll touch on adding paddles, buttons, and mods later on the article.

While modifying your controller´s appearance can be as simple as grabbing a box of crayons and going crazy on your poor gamepad, there are better and more stylish alternatives to alter its look.

The easier, and often cheaper, way to do so is by purchasing skins and decals. These are "stickers" with special designs that you put over your controller to change how it looks. They have the added bonus of acting as a sort of protective shell too.

To get them, simply search for them in the online store of your choice. You will get a ton of results for your controller of choice, some being simple color swaps while others have an artistic design. Here are some good examples:

But this is not the only way to alter the appearance of your gamepad.

A more permanent modification for your controllers is buying a replacement faceplate. Installing these is not as simple as sticking your decal on the gamepad, as you will have to swap parts of it. To put a new faceplate in place, you have to unscrew the current one and replace it.

As with before, you can get a wide variety of faceplates online, and most include a screwdriver of the appropriate size to be able to put them in place.

Because they are screwed in, these faceplates and shells can be made from wildly different materials. Some are softer to the touch, others are resistant to sweat, a few are transparent, etc.

If you don´t want to spend too much time searching for the best skin online, check out our top ten for the Switch, Xbox, and PlayStation.

However, you might prefer a truly custom paint job. Like, maybe you have a special photo that you would like to plaster on your gamepad to commemorate a special date or a special someone.

In that case, there are sites like Decalgirl that lets you design your controller´s skin before mailing it to you. You can even try your hand at your painting your own design and selling it to other people.

Now that you have a controller that looks exactly how you want, it´s time to keep customizing it:

Custom design: thumbsticks, d-pads, paddles, and grips.