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The 10 Best DJ Controllers Out Now [Our Latest 2020 Review]

The Best Digital DJ Controllers Available in 2020

Comparing and working out what the best DJ controller is can be a daunting task. In this review, we’ve done all the research for you and have listed the top 10 DJ controllers currently available.

Top 10 Rated DJ Controllers

Pioneer DDJ 400 Beginner
Numark Mixtrack 3 Budget
Traktor Kontrol S3 Traktor
Pioneer DDJ1000SRT Serato
Pioneer DDJ1000 Rekordbox
Numark NS7III Scratching
Traktor Kontrol S2 Mk3 iPad
Denon MC7000 4 Channel
Denon Prime 4 Screens
Pioneer XDJ RX2 All-In-One

Controllers have grown from a small niche industry into a dominating force in DJ culture.

From beginner DJs to professional DJs there is a controller available to suit your needs.

As technology has improved so has the features and functionality of DJ controllers. Modern DJ controllers emulate the layout and feel of professional-grade gear. This allows new DJs to learn DJing at an affordable price point. It also allows experienced DJs to have a portable and compact option to practice their DJ sets. 

In this guide, we go over the major categories of DJ controllers and the best option available in that category. We also dive into each category in more detail so you know what to look out for.

DJ Controller Reviews

The below is our list of the best rated DJ controllers currently available in each category. There is a range of excellent options available. So let’s not waste any more time and dive into the details.

Best DJ Controller For Beginners

Pioneer DDJ 400

The Pioneer DDJ 400 offers new DJs everything they need to get started in the world of DJing. It comes with excellent full version rekordbox software. The layout of the controller emulates higher-end Pioneer gear making it easier to step up to more advanced gear.

While it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles it still offers a large number of pad modes and features. With long pitch faders, it helps make learning to beatmatch by ear easier. Built-in tutorial features to get you started are another bonus.

At an affordable price, it’s the best entry point for new DJs or DJs looking for a compact rekordbox controller.


Best Budget DJ Controller

Numark Mixtrack 3

If you are on a tight budget the Numark Mixtrack 3 is the best budget DJ controller currently available.

It offers new DJs 100mm pitch faders which are not common at this price point. These long pitch faders make it easier to adjust the BPM of a track more precisely. This makes beatmatching by ear easier.

Despite its low price point the Mixtrack 3 features a full 3 band EQ for full control over frequencies. High and Low pass filters are also available along with a suite of FX controls. Solid metal jogwheels add to a surprising level of build quality at this price.

If you don’t want to spend too much on your first controller the Numark Mixtrack 3 is your best option.


Best Traktor Controller

Traktor Kontrol S3

The Traktor Kontrol S3 is one of the best controllers Native Instruments has ever made. They have struck the balance between features and price with this controller.

It offers access to 4 channels and a full-featured mixer section to cover all the basic controls you need. The long and accurate pitch faders are great for manual beatmatching.

The jogwheels are high quality and durable despite not having the haptic feedback feature of the S4 Mk3. With plenty of connection options, it retains a small footprint making it a great portable controller.

If you are a fan of the Traktor ecosystem you’ll love the Kontrol S3.


Best Serato DJ Controller

Pioneer DDJ1000SRT

The Pioneer DDJ1000SRT is the Serato version of the popular DDJ1000. It’s a professional piece of gear that offers large jogwheels. These jogwheels have built-in screens for displaying important information. It has excellent and tight integration with Serato and offers control over 4 channels.

A large selection of connection options also adds to the flexibility this controller offers. An updated Magvel crossfader is also a step up from the previous generation.

An excellent choice for Serato fans that want a controller that looks and feels like club level gear.


Best Pioneer DJ Controller

Pioneer DDJ1000

The Pioneer DDJ1000 is a professional DJ controller with stacks of features. It offers DJs full-size jogwheels. The jogwheels also have screens that display waveform and cue data. Other important information is also displayed like BPM, time remaining and key.

The professional layout mimics high-end Pioneer gear making it an excellent option for DJs that want to or do use club gear regularly. The excellent sound color and beat FX allow you to fully express yourself behind the decks.

If you’re set on a Pioneer controller and want pro-level features don’t look past the Pioneer DDJ1000.


Best DJ Controller For Scratching

Numark NS7III

The Numark NS7III offers scratch DJs something that no other control can offer. Motorized jogwheels that emulate the feel of turntables. With the addition of slipmats and vinyl, it’s a controller that is sure to please dedicated vinyl DJs.

It features a detachable screen so that you get the benefits of the digital era. All without losing that authentic vinyl feel. If you are an exiting turntablist looking for a controller this is the closest you’ll come to replicate your experience.

It’s also a great controller for new DJs that want to explore the world of scratching without having to buy an expensive turntable setup.


Best iPad DJ Controller

Traktor Kontrol S2 Mk3

The Traktor Kontrol S2 Mk3 offers the best iPad integrated experience. The Traktor DJ 2 software for iOS is robust and offers plenty of features. You’ll also unlock a full version of Traktor Pro 3 and can use this controller with a laptop as well.

The controller itself offers full 3 band EQ and quality jogwheels that are of a decent size. A professional layout helps break the cycle of iPad controllers that don’t look like DJ gear. The inclusion of a master out is a bonus allowing for high-quality sound output.

The S2 Mk2 is the best choice for people that want to DJ with an iPad and controller combo. 


Best 4 Channel DJ Controller

Denon MC7000

The Denon MC7000 offers DJs a spacious and professional layout. The mixer section has plenty of room. Once you factor in all the integrated Serato features it is quite the accomplishment. It’s built tough and commands a presence. Luckily it’s not very heavy making it a good option for mobile DJs.

A long list of connection options for both inputs and outputs cements the MC7000 as a controller up to any task. It also comes with a massive amount of included Serato software.

If you are serious about 4 channel mixing the MC7000 is one of the best controllers out there.


Best DJ Controller With Screens

Denon Prime 4

It’s hard to look past the massive 10-inch screen on the Denon Prime 4. A gorgeous and bright screen that is a joy to use. It’s touch-responsive and adjustable to your preferred viewing angle. With 4 channels available it retains the feel of using professional-level gear.

It’s also standalone capable, with built-in Prime software and a SATA drive for music storage. Considering the size of the screen and the features it’s still much cheaper than other options in the market.

If screens are the biggest draw for you as a DJ this controller is the best available.


Best All-In-One DJ Controller

Pioneer XDJ RX2

The Pioneer XDJ RX2 takes out the top spot in the all-in-one category. The functionality this controller offers is perfect for mobile DJs that want a one-stop-shop DJ controller. It has an outstanding screen with stacked waveforms. While it’s only a 2 channel controller most mobile DJs are not composing elaborate sets for weddings, parties or smaller gigs.

The extensive range of connection options will also allow you to tackle any potential gig environment.

If you want to set the laptop aside or leave it at home this is the controller for you.


How To Choose A Professional DJ Controller

Selecting a DJ controller is a difficult process. There are so many controllers available. Some are more suited to certain types of DJs and the price range varies greatly.

If you are still unsure about what controller to buy we have you covered. Here are some key questions that will help narrow down which controller is right for you.

How Much Do You Want To Spend?

Before you even begin looking at features you need to set a budget. DJ controllers range from under a hundred dollars into the thousands. Knowing how much you have available to spend instantly narrows your choices. This makes it easier to compare features.

Entry-level controllers don’t offer as many features as more expensive options. But, you can still master the fundamentals of DJing and have a great time. If you are new to DJing these controllers are a perfect starting point that won’t cost a lot.

For established DJs selecting a controller is more complicated. You’ll likely need to set a larger budget to gain access to more features and better hardware. Keep in mind that it is not worth changing your controller if it is a lateral move. If you plan to upgrade you are better off saving more and getting a controller that helps push you to expand your skills.

Does The Controller Offer A Good Mixer?

When selecting a controller the mixer section is very important. This is the part of the hardware you’ll spend the most time using.

The controller should have a fleshed-out mixer section. It should offer a 3 band EQ and trim control. This gives you full control over the frequencies and volume of the music you are playing.

Dj using DJ equipment

A well-rounded and feature-rich mixer section forms the core of a good DJ controller.

A loose crossfader is ideal for scratch enthusiasts. Volume faders should offer a good level of resistance. This helps to comfortably adjust the level of each deck.

Level meters also help keep your mix out of the red. These should be easy to see and provide a clear indication of your levels.

Extra features like filter knobs, browse controls, or FX controls are bonuses that you should also consider.

If the controller you are looking at is lacking in some of these areas you may not be able to progress your skills beyond basic mixing.

How Many Channels Will You Need?

Another question worth asking is how many channels you need. Much like budget, this will instantly narrow your choices.

If you have the desire to layer multiple tracks at the same time it will be natural to look at 4 channel controllers. But, even professional DJs don’t always use 4 channels so this is purely a personal choice.

If you are a new DJ I suggest sticking to a 2-channel controller. Once you have mastered that you can look into an upgrade if that is where you want to take your mixes.

What DJ Software Comes With The Controller?

The software that comes with the controller can also help narrow your choices. If you already have a preferred software platform it can be annoying to have to switch to a new platform.

If you are a new DJ the exact platform is not as important. What is worth looking into is whether the controller comes with a full version of the software or just an intro edition. Having to upgrade software is a hidden expense that may not be in your budget. As for what software is the best that is debatable.

DJ using professional DJ equipment.

Unlike professional DJ equipment, most DJ controllers require software and a laptop.

The other consideration here is if the controller can operate standalone. These controllers open up the option of not requiring the use of a laptop with software. If this option is available the quality of the onboard software is very important.

In this situation, it is ideal to have access to both options. That way you can adapt to your preferred workflow.

What Connection Options Are Available?

Another thing to consider is the connection options the controller offers.

If you plan on taking yourself beyond the bedroom you’ll want a controller that can handle a variety of connection types. Extra connection options for microphones or external hardware is another consideration.

The cheaper the controller the more likely it will be to have limited options. For most beginners, this is not a big concern. You’ll likely just want to plug some speakers in. But, if you are an established DJ or looking to upgrade this a key area to investigate. Having flexibility here is important.

How Good Are The Jogwheels?

The other section to consider is the quality of the jogwheels.

For scratch DJs, this will be the most important part of the controller. Latency, jogwheel size, and feel all come into play here. While you’ll never able to get the same feel as vinyl there is a big difference between jogwheels. Usually, more expensive controllers will have better jogwheels. Keep this in mind when setting a budget.

For DJs that don’t scratch the jogwheels are less important. You’ll likely only be using them to nudge your tracks or for skimming.

Which One Should You Buy?

There is no single best DJ controller. The needs of DJs are wide and varied. One controller will be perfect for one DJ while not ideal for another. But, all the controllers in this list are quality controllers that meet a specific need. No matter which controller you end up selecting you’re in for a lot of fun!

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Patryk Biernacki

Patryk Biernacki

For over 20 years I've been involved in the world of DJing. Now I want to share my experience so that DJing is more accessible for anyone with a passion for music.

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