To keep DiamondLobby free to read, this post may contain affiliate links. Learn more
If you’re looking for the best PS5 controller with back paddles or back buttons, there’s a large chance you’re looking to improve at FPS games.
These so-called ‘pro’ PS5 controllers give you extra inputs without needing to adjust your hands or fingers. This is a huge efficiency increase that can give you an edge in a variety of game types — especially ones where a split second can be the difference between winning and losing.
But with a variety of pro PS5 controllers on the market, which one is best?
I’ve been using controllers with back buttons for a long time and sourced as many pro PS5 controllers as I could for this review. We’re going to determine which one is the best overall and which one offers the most value.
Here are the controllers that I’ve personally tested for this guide:
- SCUF Reflex FPS
- Battle Beaver Pro Pick
- TCP Pro
- Defy PRO ULTIMATE
- HexGaming Ultimate Premium
I also previously reviewed the SCUF Reflex Pro and, of course, have played with the regular DualSense controller for a long period of time, but neither of those made the cut for this list of the best PS5 controllers with back buttons (for starters, the DualSense doesn’t have any).
One other note before we get started: you can mod a regular DualSense controller to have back paddles using an eXtremeRate kit. It’s cheaper, but I barely have the ability to tie my shoe laces, let alone mess with electronics.
Design & Build Quality
Most pro PS5 controllers are available in a number of colors at a minimum.
All controller brands in this review, with the exception of SCUF, give you a huge number of customization options for totally changing how every piece of the product’s looks and feels (at a cost).
Please bear that in mind whenever I mention how all of these controllers look and feel.
It’s likely that brands are using the same faceplate suppliers for their custom designs, so any credit or criticism of specific looks and feels should go to the part I chose for each controller, rather than towards the brand and controller itself — again with the exception of SCUF.
We purposely picked out designs that would make each controller easily recognizable for this review.
Here are my thoughts on the design for each:
I got the SCUF Reflex FPS in ‘Steel Gray’. It has a dark gray faceplate with a black interior and rear side, with black grip on the handles. A number of elements on the controller have a carbon fiber look, including the triggers, the four back paddles and the edges of the thumbsticks. I love how this looks. There are four color options for this controller and all come with the contrasted black and carbon fiber style design.
I purchased the Battle Beaver Pro Pick in ‘Cosmic Red’, one of seven color options. Other than the color and the two tiny back buttons, which have a raised, grippy surface, there is no difference in how any of the versions of this controller looks compared to the standard PS5 DualSense controller. I think the Battle Beaver looks boring. However, full customization on the aesthetics is available (at an added cost).
The TCP Pro is another that looks just like a regular DualSense with added functionality, especially in the default white color. The thumbsticks are slightly different to the DualSense thanks to a patterned edge, and the two back buttons — known as ClickSticks — stick out a long way. I think the ClickSticks look ugly. Like with the Battle Beaver, you can pay for additional design changes, with hundreds of different combinations available.
I got the ‘Fallen Samurai’ Defy PRO ULTIMATE PS5 controller. The design is not to my taste. The glossy faceplate does not feel as nice as the matte coating on the other controllers, and especially not as nice as the satin-like coating on the SCUF. The thumbsticks are textured with more grip than a regular controller, and there are four back buttons — well, I’d describe two as buttons and two as paddles.
Finally, I got the HexGaming Ultimate Premium controller in a garish gold and black. The gold looks tacky. The thumbsticks are identical to those on the Defy PRO ULTIMATE and the back is similar too; two buttons, two paddles, though in a slightly different layout — a difference that you will notice when playing, I should add.
Overall, it’s unfair to decide which of the controllers look and feel the best because a lot comes down to personal preference, and even more comes down to the designs I chose. Most of the brands use the same designs and parts.
That said, there is one standout controller in the design category; the SCUF Reflex FPS.
Of the five controllers being reviewed, three rattle when shaken. The SCUF, along with the TCP Pro, does not. A lack of rattle makes a controller feel like a higher quality product.
In terms of aesthetics, I’m a big fan of the attention to detail; the carbon fiber styling is a nice touch and the design of the back paddles — purely from a visual perspective — look the coolest.
Importantly, how a controller looks is the least important part of judging a controller. Let’s move on to the stuff that really matters.
Three controllers in this review have back paddles; the SCUF, Defy and Hex controllers. The former has four clear paddles whereas the latter two controllers have a hybrid of two buttons and two paddles.
I find that the SCUF’s additional back paddles (i.e. the third and fourth ones) get in the way — but they are removable.
I had to remove an inner paddle because I was continually triggering the wrong button — it seems very easy to press both paddles, or the wrong paddle, at least with my hand size; medium to large.
The Battle Beaver Pro Pick is the only pro PS5 controller in this list with two clearly definable back buttons. They’re small, odd-looking buttons described as ‘textured BeaverTail button caps’, but they’re perfectly located for easy pressing.
The TCP Pro has what the brand calls ‘ClickSticks’ — two of them — that don’t really feel like buttons or paddles; they’re sticks, and that’s the only way they can be described. They trigger by pressing them downwards, rather than inwards.
Of all of the back buttons and paddles, the controller I find most comfortable to use is the TCP Pro. The ClickSticks allow me to rest my fingers naturally, whereas the others force me to wrap my fingers a little more tightly around the controller. With smaller hands, I think this feeling would be more pronounced.
Whilst the back buttons on the Battle Beaver look the worst, they’re located in a position that makes them extremely easy and natural to press, and they’re very consistent too.
The controller that I found weakest in terms of comfort and ease of pressing the back paddles was the Hex Ultimate Premium.
Whilst very similar to the Defy PRO ULTIMATE to the eye, the K1 and K2 buttons (the main paddles) were much easier and more consistent to press on the Defy controller. The K3 and K4 buttons (the inner back buttons) were more consistent to press on the Defy controller, too.
I didn’t have any issues with the Hex controller in terms of pressing the wrong buttons like I did on the SCUF, but at least removing the additional paddles did fix the issue with that one.
Digital triggers, also known as ‘mouse click’ triggers, technically feature on all controllers that I’ve featured.
The SCUF Reflex FPS, the Battle Beaver Pro Pick and the Hex Ultimate Premium all feature what I would describe as ‘true’ mouse click triggers on all of L1, L2, R1 and R2. You barely press them in to operate and they sound like a mouse click; crisp, responsive and satisfying.
The Defy PRO ULTIMATE has shortened L1, L2, R1 and R2 buttons and triggers, but they’re not the mouse click style.
The TCP Pro has regular L1 and R1 buttons, but shortened triggers in the same style of the Defy PRO ULTIMATE.
I give the edge to the SCUF, Battle Beaver and Hex controllers in terms of functionality and that satisfying crisp click, however the Hex controller has a small amount of pre-travel, which means you can slightly press the triggers in without the trigger registering, which adds a tiny amount of input delay.
The Defy controller also has a small bit of pre-travel on the shortened triggers, but the TCP Pro does not.
The SCUF and the Battle Beaver PS5 controllers come out victorious in the digital triggers category.
Three of these pro PS5 controllers have grip on them; the SCUF Reflex FPS, the Hex Ultimate Premium and the Defy PRO ULTIMATE.
The TCP Pro does not have grip though there is a higher version of this controller available, the TCP Ultimate, which does.
The Battle Beaver is the only controller on this list which does not come with a built-in grip option at all. They sell separate stick-on grip tape but that’s not the same thing.
My opinion is that built-in grip is a big win for how comfortable a controller is to hold for prolonged periods.
The grips on the three controllers that do offer it look somewhat similar but all feel different.
The SCUF Reflex FPS is the softest to hold, the Defy PRO ULTIMATE is the most coarse, and the Hex Ultimate Premium falls in the middle of this goldilocks-like tale.
The more coarse the grip is, the more grip you have. However, some people find coarseness to be uncomfortable.
I find the grip on the SCUF Reflex FPS to be most comfortable.
So far, I’m surprised with how positive I’ve been about the Reflex FPS controller considering I gave a very negative review to the Reflex Pro, which is the next model down.
All of the controllers in this review come with interchangeable thumbsticks, with the exception of the Battle Beaver Pro Pick.
On the SCUF Reflex FPS, changing the thumbsticks is simple when you know how…but a little convoluted. You must peel away the bottom of the controller and slide it off over the thumbsticks, then swap out the thumbsticks for the ones that you want and then reinsert the bottom cover. It feels unnecessarily fiddly compared to the other controllers.
With all of the TCP Pro, the Defy PRO ULTIMATE and the Hex Ultimate Premium, you simply pull on the thumbstick to pop it off and then press the new thumbstick straight in. All sticks have a bit of texture to them for added grip, though the Defy and Hex controllers have more grip than the TCP Pro.
I like the look of the SCUF thumbsticks the most; their carbon fiber style edging leads to a higher quality look compared to the other thumbsticks in this list. If you don’t want extra grip on your thumbsticks, the SCUF sticks offer a smooth matte finish.
With all of these controllers (aside from the Battle Beaver) you can change the height of the thumbsticks and, aside from the TCP Pro, you also have the option to insert domed thumbsticks, rather than standard concaved thumbsticks, should you wish. The TCP Ultimate, that I’ve not tested, does come with domed sticks.
Overall, there is no clear winner in the thumbsticks category.
The TCP, Defy and Hex controllers all make it easy to switch thumbsticks out and their sticks are grippy on the top.
The SCUF is slightly more annoying to swap thumbsticks out but their sticks look the best and aren’t grippy, so it depends what you’re looking for.
The weakest in this category is the Battle Beaver Pro Pick as the sticks can’t be easily switched out.
PS5 controllers and reliability are two things that I’m not sure will ever go hand in hand.
‘Stick drift’ — when your controller is registering movement from your thumbsticks without you pressing anything — is a highly-prevalent issue on PS5 DualSense controllers.
I’ve only given most of these controllers around 1-2 weeks of testing but the good news is I’ve not noticed any stick drift yet.
I’ve used the Battle Beaver Pro Pick for at least six months and haven’t had any stick drift issues so far, so that’s the one I can vouch for most in this area.
That said, I genuinely expect all PS5 controllers — including these ‘pro’ options — to have issues with drifting eventually.
Whilst I’ve had no issues so far with these controllers, I’ve had issues with my standard DualSense and I also experienced issues with my previously-tested Reflex Pro, so I’m expecting that it’s a matter of time for all of them.
Value for Money
Let’s talk about cost.
At the time of writing, these are the prices for all controllers featured in this review on their official stores, not including delivery:
- SCUF Reflex FPS: $249.99
- Battle Beaver Pro Pick: $204.99
- TCP Pro: $160.73
- Defy PRO ULTIMATE: £139.99 ($159.57 at time of writing)
- HexGaming Ultimate Premium: $199.99
The SCUF Reflex FPS is by far the most expensive; nearly 20% more than the second-most expensive controller on the list.
The Defy PRO ULTIMATE and the TCP Pro are the cheapest.
But most importantly…which one offers the most value?
That’s where things get very tricky.
As the old saying goes, “you get what you pay for”. With the prices these products are listed at, the functionality almost scales accordingly.
I think the cheapest option, the Defy PRO ULTIMATE, offers a lot of value. I like the back paddles as I find them very consistent and responsive.
I’m actually a little shocked by how much I like the Defy controller as I write this review and look at things more objectively as I didn’t really feel much love during testing — I think it’s likely that I was put off by the glossy front plate and a design that isn’t to my personal taste.
Overall, the Defy controller is actually very good value, however, it’s lacking the mouse click triggers that I really like, instead opting for shortened triggers.
I find the TCP Pro has the most comfortable back buttons to use, but it’s missing grip and mouse click triggers, again going with shorter ones.
In the middle of the pricing there’s the Hex Ultimate Premium and it arguably sits in the middle ground in terms of its functionality and quality.
I previously thought the Battle Beaver ticked the most boxes in terms of responsiveness, having mouse click triggers and well-placed back buttons that were consistent to press, but I don’t like the feel as much now that I’ve trialled more controllers with grip. It also doesn’t have interchangeable thumbsticks — I don’t change mine personally, but if you are the type to switch to lengthened or domed sticks, this would be an issue for you.
And then there’s the SCUF Reflex FPS, a product I was expecting to hate based on my testing of the Reflex Pro, but actually…I really like it.
I don’t think the SCUF’s paddles are quite right for my hand size or preferences, but the controller feels like the highest quality product overall. It has a high price tag to match, though.
The real question here for our verdict: is the most expensive controller on this list, the SCUF Reflex FPS, worth $90 more than the cheapest, the Defy PRO ULTIMATE?
The answer…it depends.
If you only care about getting the core benefit of back buttons and paddles, i.e. the ability to react faster in FPS games, I’d say no, it’s not worth spending the additional money. Get yourself a Defy or TCP controller.
However, if you place value in how a product looks and feels, you do get a more premium product for the money with the SCUF controller — in my opinion.
The SCUF feels like the highest quality controller, the TCP Pro is the most comfortable controller for my hands, the other controllers are all viable options and if you want to get really creative with your controller design, SCUF is a no-go due to a lack of customization.
The Battle Beaver Pro Pick will be your best bet if you don’t want grip.
The bottom line is that you can’t really go wrong with any of the PS5 pro controllers that I’ve featured in this review.
All controllers featured in this review are a huge improvement over the standard DualSense.
Every PS5 controller is probably going to have stick drift issues in the future, so don’t expect any of these products to last you a lifetime.