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The best controllers for kids: buying guide for Switch, PS4 & Xbox

The best controllers for kids: buying guide for Switch, PS4 & Xbox
Written by insideindyhomes


The selection of small, child-friendly controllers is not exactly huge, but you can still find one or the other model for PS4, Xbox One and Series as well as Nintendo Switch.

Given how long video games have been a children’s pastime, it’s amazing how few kid-sized controllers you can find these days. For those of you who are looking for the right input device for your little ones, we have put together a few tips for Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One and Xbox Series. First, we present you with our top recommendations for each console, at the end of the article you will find a small one List of alternatives.

Nintendo switch

Buying Tip: PowerA Upgraded Wireless Nano Controller

The officially licensed PowerA Nano Controller (right) looks almost like a mini version of the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller.





The officially licensed PowerA Nano Controller (right) looks almost like a mini version of the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller.

Per

  • additional buttons on the bottom
  • good workmanship
  • precise sticks and buttons

cons

  • spongy D-PAD
  • no rumble
  • no NFC to read amiibos

Price: around 40 to 50 euros

PowerA Upgraded Nano Controller at Amazon*

Per controller in Mini: The PowerA Nano Controller is that Nintendo Switch Pro Controller very similar, all buttons on the front are arranged in the same way as in the prototype. Everything is just a step more compact than the original: the width of the PowerA Nano is about 20 percent smaller than the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller, which makes a big difference in practice.

Good buttons, weak control pad: The workmanship of the PowerA Nano is not quite as high quality as that of the Pro Controller, but it is good. All buttons and sticks as well as the shoulder buttons and triggers work perfectly and react very precisely. Only the control pad is a bit spongy. The PowerA Nano has two additional buttons on the left and right on the back, which can be programmed with a third button in the middle below.

Good battery, missing features: The PowerA Nano works wirelessly. Battery life is half that of the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller at up to 20 hours, but that’s still pretty good compared to other third-party products. However, the PowerA Nano not only lacks NFC for reading Amiibos, but also the motors for the rumble feature. After all, motion control is included.

PowerA Upgraded Nano Controller at Amazon*

PlayStation 4

Buying tip: Hori Horipad Mini Controller

The Horipad Mini does without handles, but is also slightly smaller than the Sony DualShock 4.





The Horipad Mini does without handles, but is also slightly smaller than the Sony DualShock 4.

Per

  • very precise sticks and buttons
  • very compact shape
  • good control pad

cons

  • no audio output
  • Motion sensor and speakers are missing
  • some loud clicking noises
  • wired

Price: approx. 30 to 35 euros (varies by color)

Hori Horipad Mini (PS4) at Amazon*

Small not only because of missing handles: The wired Hori Horipad Mini owes its small size primarily to the complete absence of handles. It is also a bit narrower than the Sony DualShock 4. To save space, among other things, significantly smaller buttons are used, which are also quite close together. The same applies to the rather narrow trigger and shoulder buttons. If you have big fingers, it’s easy to hit the wrong button, but the controller is really very compact and easy to grip for small hands.

Some savings: Compared to the DualShock 4, the Horipad Mini has saved some features: The motion sensor and the speaker are missing. There is also no real touchpad, but there is at least a replacement: swiping on the touchpad can be simulated by pressing the TP button at the bottom and using the analog sticks. The small button at the top takes over the touchpad’s click. Since these functions are rarely used, this is tolerable. It weighs more heavily that the headset connection is also missing.

Good quality: Otherwise, there isn’t much to complain about with the Horipad Mini. The workmanship does not appear to be of high quality, but it is very solid and definitely appropriate for the price. The buttons and sticks do their job perfectly and work very precisely. The control pad, which is often the weak point in other controllers, does a good job. At most, one could complain that the controller sometimes makes quite loud clicking noises.

Hori Horipad Mini (PS4) at Amazon*

Xbox Series & One

Best Buy: Nacon Pro Compact Xbox Controller

The Nacon Pro Compact doesn't look that much smaller than the Microsoft Xbox controller on the surface, but it feels a lot more compact.





The Nacon Pro Compact doesn’t look that much smaller than the Microsoft Xbox controller on the surface, but it feels a lot more compact.

Per

  • good sticks and buttons
  • good build quality
  • App with many setting options
  • short trigger paths for fast firing

cons

  • wired
  • moderate control pad
  • short trigger paths bad for racing games

Price: around 45 to 50 euros

Nacon Pro Compact Controller (Xbox Series & One) at MediaMarkt*

Smaller than he looks: The difference in size between the wired Nacon Pro Compact Controller and the normal Xbox controller (according to the manufacturer around 15 percent) is not really noticeable from the outside. But as soon as you hold it in your hand, it seems much smaller due to the narrower shape of the handles and the rest of the housing. The buttons and sticks are still the same size, but a few buttons have been positioned differently: the share button is now at the bottom between the control pad and the right stick, and the start and menu buttons have moved further outwards.

Good quality, short trigger paths: The build quality of the Nacon Pro Compact is good, even if it doesn’t feel quite as premium as the original from Microsoft. It can match the quality of the sticks and buttons, but the directional pad doesn’t feel quite as precise as the Microsoft Xbox Series controller’s plate-shaped D-Pad. With the triggers, the distances are significantly shorter. This is good for fast firing, but not so good for adjusting speed in racing games.

Good app: Numerous settings can be made on the Nacon Pro Compact via the app. As with the standard controller from Microsoft, you can reassign buttons, but you can also adjust the sensitivity of the sticks and triggers like with the Microsoft Elite Controller. But even if you fully utilize the paths of the triggers, they still remain comparatively short. With a small switch on the back you can quickly switch between the preset and an individual profile.

Nacon Pro Compact Controller (Xbox Series & One) at MediaMarkt*

As a dad, I'm really frustrated: Why are there so few children's controllers?

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more on the subject

As a dad, I’m really frustrated: Why are there so few children’s controllers?

alternatives

Nintendo switch

For the Nintendo Switch, the selection of child-friendly controllers is comparatively good.  From left to right: The 8bitdo SN30 Pro, the Horipad Mini and the Kingear Controller.





For the Nintendo Switch, the selection of child-friendly controllers is comparatively good. From left to right: The 8bitdo SN30 Pro, the Horipad Mini and the Kingear Controller.

If you don’t like the PowerA Nano, you’ll find a whole range of alternatives for the Switch that are good for children. For example, there is the Horipad Mini, which in the Switch version has a slightly different shape than the PS4 version described above, but is similar in quality. There are also good controllers from 8bitdo, which are well suited for small hands due to the lack of handles. Finally, you can get a whole range of cute animal-themed Switch controllers, such as the Kingear model:

PlayStation 4

The Nacon Compact PS4 controller (left) is one of the few alternatives for PS4.





The Nacon Compact PS4 controller (left) is one of the few alternatives for PS4.

The PS4 has few alternatives when it comes to small controllers, and with the console having since been superseded by the PS5, the choice is only going to get worse in the future. The Nacon Compact PS4 controller is at least a little less wide than the DualShock 4, the relatively large and closely spaced buttons are easier for small hands to reach. Otherwise, only unlicensed controllers from unknown brands are available, but we don’t want to put our hands on fire for their quality.

Nacon Compact PS4 controller (approx. 40 to 45€)*

Xbox One & Xbox Series

Available in white, black, and red, the Hyperkin X91 is one of the few smaller-handed Xbox controllers still readily available.





Available in white, black, and red, the Hyperkin X91 is one of the few smaller-handed Xbox controllers still readily available.

The officially licensed Hyperkin X91 controller is a compact alternative as it only has very small handles. However, since the wired controller costs around the same as Microsoft’s wireless Xbox controller at around 60 euros, it’s not the best value for money. Otherwise, it looks bad on the Xbox with alternatives. Theoretically, it still exists PowerA Wired Mini Controller for Xbox One, but in practice this is almost impossible to get anywhere else.

Hyperkin X91 Xbox One Controller (about 60 €) at Amazon*

This article is a sponsored story that was created on behalf of an advertising partner of Webedia. It was created by a freelance writer who is not a member of the GamePro editorial team. The offers listed are provided with so-called affiliate links.

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