The Best Traktor Controller In 2024

Native Instruments has a reputation for high-quality DJ controllers and innovation. While its DJ controller lineup might not be massive, several differences between them can make selecting the one for you a challenge.

We took all the options for a spin, and our Editor’s Choice is the Traktor Kontrol S3. The clean layout, high-quality jogwheels, and reasonable price make it a fantastic choice for Traktor fans.

Our website is a focal point of our years of experience in the industry. We offer detailed insights into the gear that matters to DJs, studio professionals, and live performers, and we have been using Traktor controllers for over 15 years.

With a deep understanding of Traktor controllers, we were already in a prime spot to thoroughly test each offering. But we believe in gathering data from as wide a net as possible. We engaged with our broader network of industry professionals to refine this guide beyond our internal testing.

Quick Summary

  • Editor’s Choice: Traktor Kontrol S3
    “A comprehensive Traktor DJ controller at a great price. Full four-channel capability, excellent looping controls, and professional connection options.”
  • Best For Beginners: Traktor Kontrol S2 Mk3
    “An excellent low-cost option for new DJs that want to explore the Traktor ecosystem. Full version software and impressive build quality.”
  • Best Budget: Traktor Kontrol Z1
    “A cheap and highly portable DJ controller that you can take anywhere. Refined design and rock solid build quality while offering premium sound quality.”
  • Best 4 Channel: Traktor Kontrol S4 Mk3
    “The most feature-rich Traktor DJ controller on the market. Full four-channel mixer, extensive FX controls, and motorized jog wheels for a tactile scratching experience.”
  • Best Modular: Traktor Kontrol X1 Mk3
    “Ultra-versatile DJ control module that expands your creative potential. Exceptional build quality and innovative features make it a must have addition for experienced Traktor DJs.”

Product Reviews

Traktor controllers are all from the range that Native Instruments offers. While other controllers are mappable to Traktor, the best way to get into Traktor is by using these dedicated controllers, many of which are the newest DJ controllers currently available for Traktor. Let’s check them out.

Traktor Kontrol S3

Editor’s Choice

Top view of the Traktor Kontrol S3 DJ Controller.

Overall Rating (7/10)

How Do We Rate?

Mixer
Jogwheels
Build
Software
Tempo
Pads
FX
Looping
Connections
Value
Mixer
Jogwheels
Build
Software
Tempo
Pads
FX
Looping
Connections
Value

What We Liked

4-Channel Mixer
Excellent Value
Reliable Build Quality
Full Version Software

What Could Be Better

Limited FX Controls & Pad Modes

The Traktor Kontrol S3 sits in the middle of the Native Instruments DJ controller lineup, and it is perfectly positioned as a feature-rich yet well-priced option for Traktor DJ fans.

The central mixer section gives you access to four channels with full 3-band EQ, gain controls, level meters for each channel, and a Filter section with four Filter FX options.

Supplementing this are capable jog wheels that offer a solid scratching experience but are equally fantastic for track nudging and skimming. The superb looping controls are another highlight. One knob to set and one to move makes using loops effortless.

Traktor Kontrol S3 Showcase.

The available connection options are excellent: a balanced and unbalanced Master Out, a Booth Out connection, RCA Line In, iOS, and a combo microphone port. Everything a professional DJ needs.

While this controller did impress in our testing, we encountered a few minor gripes. The first is the minimal amount of pad modes, only Hot Cues and Samples. Likewise, there are no onboard FX controls beyond the filters.

Despite these minor quibbles, the Trakot Kontrol S3 is the leading choice if you want maximum value for money. When you factor in full-version software, the value proposition becomes even more appealing—a fantastic DJ controller for Traktor fans.

Read our full Traktor Kontrol S3 review for more detailed information.
Browse customer reviews from people who have purchased this product.

Watch the official video below or visit the manufacturer’s website for more information and full product specifications.

Traktor Kontrol S2 Mk3

Best For Beginners

Top view of the Traktor Kontrol S2 Mk3

Overall Rating (7/10)

How Do We Rate?

Mixer
Jogwheels
Build
Software
Tempo
Pads
FX
Looping
Connections
Value
Mixer
Jogwheels
Build
Software
Tempo
Pads
FX
Looping
Connections
Value

What We Liked

Compact & Capable
Full Software Included
Excellent Loop Controls
Uncluttered Design

What Could Be Better

Plastic Knobs

The entry-level Traktor Kontrol S2 Mk3 is the latest iteration of the popular beginner controller for Traktor DJ. It offers excellent build quality and all the essential features new DJs need at a very reasonable price point.

The design features a clean, refreshing color combination and an uncluttered layout that encourages a smooth and comfortable mixing workflow.

While I like DJ controllers offering ample pad modes, I appreciate NI’s direction with the S2 Mk3. Access to Hot Cues and Sampler is often all new DJs will want to experiment with, but more established DJs will want more.

Traktor Kontrol S2 MK3 Showcase.

The central mixer section offers a complete 3-band EQ, a must-have feature often lacking from other entry-level DJ controllers. Decently sized tempo faders are also great for more precise beatmatching.

Oustanding loop controls are another positive, but the quality of the knobs is a little lackluster. We’ve tested a lot of controllers in the studio, and we always prefer rubber knobs as opposed to the plastic knobs offered here.

The S2 Mk3 ticks many of the critical boxes we assess for an entry-level choice. Full version software, adequate performance features, and a balanced output. A slick and affordable entry-point into the Traktor ecosystem.

Read our full Traktor Kontrol S2 Mk3 review for more detailed information.
Browse customer reviews from people who have purchased this product.

Watch the official video below or visit the manufacturer’s website for more information and full product specifications.

Traktor Kontrol Z1

Best Budget

Top view of the Traktor Kontrol Z1 DJ controller.

Overall Rating (7/10)

How Do We Rate?

Mixer
Build
Software
Pads
FX
Connections
Value
Mixer
Build
Software
Pads
FX
Connections
Value

What We Liked

Tiny Footprint
Built-In Soundcard
Full EQ Controls
Rock Solid Construction

What Could Be Better

Intro Software

The Traktor Kontrol Z1 is a fantastic portable DJ controller that you can comfortably slip into your backpack. It also is very cheap, making it an enticing option for budget-conscious buyers.

This compact unit features a 24-bit soundcard, ensuring you can send high-quality audio signals to your speakers. The unit also features a three-band EQ for each of the two channels.

You’ll also have access to gain controls and a Filter/FX knob along with channel meters. Cue Volume, Cue Mix, and Main Volume round out the refined control options on this space-saving controller.

Traktor Kontrol X1 Showcase.

The faders for both channels and the crossfader are high-quality, and the robustness of the unit is second to none. An ideal travel companion that will allow you to mix anywhere and anytime.

A balanced output would have been fantastic, but not something I expect at this price point. Likewise, the Z1 doesn’t unlock the full version of Traktor Pro 3. However, you receive a voucher for it, which helps cushion the blow of paying for an upgrade.

The prospect of taking this anywhere and firing up the highly capable Traktor DJ 2 app is a liberating experience, and at this price point, it’s also a superb backup unit for working DJs.

Browse customer reviews from people who have purchased this product.

Watch the official video below or visit the manufacturer’s website for more information and full product specifications.

Traktor Kontrol S4 Mk3

Best 4 Channel

Top view of the Traktor Kontrol S4 Mk3.

Overall Rating (7/10)

How Do We Rate?

Mixer
Jogwheels
Build
Software
Tempo
Pads
FX
Looping
Connections
Value
Mixer
Jogwheels
Build
Software
Tempo
Pads
FX
Looping
Connections
Value

What We Liked

Large Motorized Jog Wheels
Hi-Res Display Screen
Comprehensive Layout
Detailed FX Controls

What Could Be Better

Not Budget-Friendly

Residing at the top of the Traktor DJ controller lineup is the impressive Kontrol S4. This comprehensive DJ controller has everything a Traktor DJ fan wants from a top-of-the-line controller.

The central four-channel mixer offers dedicated EQ controls, Mixer FX, level meters, and smooth faders for each channel. The crossfader is also excellent, and all the faders feature carbon protection for longevity.

The superb motorized jog wheels also impressed during our testing. Excellent scratching experience and multiple Haptic Drive modes make these jog wheels exceptionally flexible.

Traktor Kontrol S4 MK3 Showcase.

The addition of small high-resolution screens helps to keep you focused on your controller and not your laptop, with vital information available at a glance. The full-length tempo faders are also superb.

Rounding out the comprehensive list of features are two dedicated FX banks with multiple control knobs and an extensive selection of professional-grade inputs and outputs.

While it isn’t cheap, it still offers excellent value compared to some of the competition. Plus, there is no denying that the S4 Mk3 is the ultimate option for those who want a feature-complete Traktor DJ controller.

Browse customer reviews from people who have purchased this product.

Watch the official video below or visit the manufacturer’s website for more information and full product specifications.

Traktor Kontrol X1 Mk3

Best Modular

Top view of the Traktor Kontrol X1 Mk3 DJ control module.

Overall Rating (7/10)

How Do We Rate?

Mixer
Build
Software
Pads
FX
Connections
Value
Mixer
Build
Software
Pads
FX
Connections
Value

What We Liked

Extensive Integration Flexibility
Top-Shelf Build Quality
Screens & Light Guides
Full Software Unlock

What Could Be Better

Not For Beginners

The Native Instruments X1 Mk3 DJ control module is a unique and highly versatile offering that will appeal to certain DJs thanks to its surprisingly deep feature set.

This DJ controller module offers standalone functionality, allowing instant integration with your existing Traktor setup. Add turntables, additional units, and more to gain deep and tactile control over Traktor Pro 3’s extensive selection of features.

The build quality is outstanding and up to the challenges of frequent gigging. The selection of five OLED screens and intuitive light guides also liberates you from having to look at your laptop.

Traktor Kontrol X1 Showcase.

The USB hub offers maximum versatility with three type-A and one type-B port. The enormous configuration potential allows experienced Traktor DJs to craft their ideal performance setup.

The quality of the buttons and knobs is also superb, and the inclusion of Traktor Pro 3 software makes this a value-packed offering. But its deep feature set can be overwhelming if you are a new DJ, so I’d suggest looking at an alternative choice.

NI has developed a genuinely innovative DJ module perfect for Traktor veterans. While it might not be for everyone, I’m happy to see Native Instruments continue pushing the boundaries, and I hope to see more innovative offerings in the future.

Watch the official video below or visit the manufacturer’s website for more information and full product specifications.

Buying Advice

When stepping into the Traktor product ecosystem, some things are worth considering.

Traktor Pro 3 Software

Native Instruments develops a range of software and hardware. From production-minded software like Komplete to physical gear from their Maschine range. This experience gave birth to Traktor Pro.

Each iteration of this software has pushed the boundaries of DJ software. This has created a dedicated community of DJs that swear by Traktor Pro software and the range of products designed for it.

Traktor Pro 3 is the latest version of its flagship DJ software. It is a solid and stable piece of software that gives DJs plenty of flexibility to adjust it to their preferences.

New additions like the Mixer FX section add easy options for new DJs to master. Meanwhile, the new audio engine is crisp. Time-stretching tracks are at the core of DJ software functionality. Luckily, this new sound engine does a great job of maintaining the song’s audio quality.

DJ using Native Instruments DJ gear at a club.

Traktor Pro 3 is a versatile DJ platform with ample features.

An updated and darker interface was another improvement from previous versions. I’ve always preferred a darker interface as it feels more natural and easier on the eyes.

Like most DJ software, it can suffer from screen real estate issues, especially on smaller laptops. This is where customization is essential, and Traktor Pro 3 offers a range of layout options. The addition of parallel waveforms now gives DJs a choice in how they want to view waveforms.

I always recommend new DJs opt for parallel waveforms. It provides a more apparent sign of phrases and mix-in and mix-out points. Little things like this help new DJs with timing and transitions.

The latest Traktor Pro 3 is an excellent piece of DJ software, and while new updates have been a little sparse lately, the platform is still a rock-solid choice.

Jog Wheels

The latest developments in jogwheels from NI are excellent. They underwent a strange jog-less experimental phase in their second generation of controllers. I’m pleased to see jog wheels returning to their range of controllers.

Motorized jogwheels are becoming more popular in new-generation controllers, and I’m glad to see NI has embraced them. The feedback and feel of these jog wheels feel natural and encourage scratching.

DJ using a Traktor controller.

Native Instruments has experimented with DJ controllers that don’t feature jog wheels.

Not every DJ is a scratch DJ. But even those DJs can appreciate the feel of motorized jogs regarding spinbacks, track skimming, and adjustments.

Haptic feedback is another innovation that NI has embraced. It gives tactile feedback, like if you were to run your finger over ridges or bumps. It’s another layer of sensation that can guide your mixing and scratching.

It also makes the jog wheels feel closer to vinyl platters. Once again, this helps improve the digital scratching experience. Check out the video below to see what you can achieve with these new jog wheels.

Mobile DJ Application

Traktor DJ 2 is a free Windows, Mac, and iPad app. A growing number of apps are jostling for position in the mobile DJ market, and Traktor DJ 2 is one of the leaders.

Several layout options help you make the most of the limited screen space. It includes the core features from Traktor Pro 3, allowing you to craft expressive and clean mixes. More importantly, it’s easy to use and intuitive.

Traktor Kontrol S2 Mk3 FX

Traktor DJ 2 integrates seamlessly with all Traktor DJ controllers.

With a growing range of compatible controllers, it’s an excellent alternative to taking your laptop to gigs.

SoundCloud Go+ integration also gives you access to a deep catalog of good music. You will only find some of the big names and tracks on there. But you can find plenty of hidden high-quality gems. It’s a great way to practice and inject fresh tunes into your mixes if you are a new DJ on a tight budget.

Competition Is Great For DJs

Traktor has a large and dedicated fanbase. It provides an alternative to the dominance of Serato and Rekordbox DJ. The innovation from Native Instruments has ebbed and flowed over the years. But they continue to produce high-quality pieces of software and hardware.

But if you want to avoid entering Traktor’s closed ecosystem, there are other options. A Serato DJ controller will give you access to one of the most popular and universal pieces of DJ software. Likewise, a Pioneer DJ controller will open up the world of Rekordbox and the pro-level Pioneer club gear line.

DJ performing with a DJ controller and laptop.

Native Instruments has a long history of developing innovative products for DJs and producers.

Having companies like Native Instruments embracing innovation is positive for the DJ market. It forces competitors to keep up their game and, in turn, forces NI to keep pushing boundaries. I firmly believe in choice, and Traktor controllers’ range highlights this. While not all controllers will be a hit, it’s excellent to see NI having success with their Mk3 generation of controllers.

The growing competition between the big manufacturers will continue to push prices down. Luckily, the features included are also being refined and expanded. That’s a win-win situation for both new and experienced DJs.

Our Verdict

The Traktor Kontrol S3 is the best Traktor controller. It’s the Goldilocks of controllers. It offers an excellent range of features but retains an uncomplicated feel. Plus, it also comes at an excellent price point. Superb build quality and fantastic software make it an ideal controller for all types of DJs.

However, each Traktor DJ controller on this list is a worthy contender; the right one for you will depend on your needs. Either way, if you’re a Traktor fan, plenty of great choices are available.

Traktor Kontrol S3

Editor’s Choice

Top view of the Traktor Kontrol S3 DJ Controller.

Overall Rating (7/10)

How Do We Rate?

Mixer
Jogwheels
Build
Software
Tempo
Pads
FX
Looping
Connections
Value
Mixer
Jogwheels
Build
Software
Tempo
Pads
FX
Looping
Connections
Value

Why You Can Trust Our Advice

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Article by Patryk Biernacki
Article by Patryk Biernacki

Patryk has been immersed in the world of music since the early 90s. This coupled with his creative talents, drove his passion to become an expert writer in the music industry. He constantly researches and tests new products, and enjoys playing with all types of gear in his spare time. Electronic music runs through his veins and he absolutely loves DJing in his home studio.

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