10 Best DJ Controllers for 2022

Dave Mostert
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A DJ controller is a supplemental piece of equipment that allows DJs to manipulate a digital audio workstation using their hands and a MIDI controller.

Hands down the best DJ controller is the Numark Mixtrack Pro 2. It’s an excellent entry-level controller for beginners or for those more experienced DJs just looking for the necessary gear to complete a set.

Its layout is simple and pretty much all that you need for DJ-ing. Plus, it’s got both an audio interface and a built-in software so you won’t need a piece of extra software to plug into your laptop. With this controller, you can mix, scratch, and layer your beats, and record your productions – all out of the box. It also comes with DVS support.

NameCategoryProduct
Pioneer DJ DJ ControllerBest OverallPioneer DJ DJ Controller
Numark Mixtrack Pro II USB DJ ControllerBudget PickNumark Mixtrack Pro II USB DJ Controller
Reloop 236534 ControllerUpgrade PickReloop 236534 Controller

1. Pioneer DJ DJ Controller

Our rating: 9 / 10

Pioneer DJ DJ Controller

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Pros:

  • You can play tracks, practice mixes, and collaborate with other DJs, producers, and vocalists
  • Large, backlit display with multiple display and information views
  • Easy to setup and operate
  • The XDJ-RX works with your USB memory sticks, SD cards, and Pioneer’s Rekordbox library
  • Compatible with Serato DJ software, which is free with the purchase of this controller
  • Includes a full version of the Traktor Pro 2 software for DJs who prefer to spin with this platform
  • Extremely well-constructed and durable
  • Excellent customer service if needed

Cons:

  • Bridge function is not completely intuitive
  • No built-in sampler
  • Limited effects and no FX expansion card slot
  • Surface scratches easily

With a generous feature set, excellent sound quality, and a steel chassis, the XDJ-RX controller, from Pioneer DJ is one of the best game controllers on the market in 2019. This controller can be used in combination with a mixer, but the most important thing you’ll notice when you first use it is that you don’t really need a mixer to achieve flawless results.

2. Reloop 236534 Controller

Our rating: 7 / 10

Reloop 236534 Controller

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Pros:

  • Easy-to-use buttons
  • Both platters are touch-sensitive and have a smooth platter surface
  • Scratch-proof surface
  • Very responsive jog wheels
  • Comfortable layout and design

Cons:

  • Connection and power draw are questionable
  • Build quality is questionable
  • Square buttons are hard to differentiate

Reloop is best known these days for its headphones, but the company also makes DJ controllers. They're designed to stand up to a beating even when you're being intense on the wheels, in and out of the performance scene.

You can easily tell by the two-tone colors that they want to make this look like a professional controller for serious DJs. It's actually a decent controller, that has a lot of interesting features. Without question, the highlight is the platters. They're made of aluminum and have a smooth surface for extra scratch-resistance.

Plus, they're touch-sensitive and look very high-end. The redesign makes them stand out; the pitch fader is in the center, you can fit Serato DJ with it, and you can use the Serato DVS upgrade package as well.

3. Akai Professional AFX

Our rating: 6 / 10

Akai Professional AFX

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Pros:

  • Advanced features for professional DJ use
  • Dual USB ports for easy file transfer
  • Plug-and-play connection with Serato DJ software
  • Connectors for optional Akai Professional MPC-16 & MLA-16 pads
  • Superb sound quality with premium built-in 24-bit/40 kHz audio interface for MPC Software
  • Low latency ASIO drivers
  • Assignable MIDI controller with two decks and dedicated FX control
  • Easy-to-use plug-and-play operation with Serato DJ software with automatic plug-and-play compatibility

Cons:

  • Keys aren’t velocity sensitive
  • Knobs aren’t motorized

The Akai Professional AFX | Dedicated FX Controller for Advanced Serato DJ is a two-deck, USB controller and audio interface for Serato DJ Pro software.

The AFX features pro controls including a 4-channel USB sound card, two touch-activated decks, 4 deck skin controls, 16 dual-function trigger pads, and an 8-button pad layer. It also offers 24-bit/96k sonic purity with a superior 124dB signal-to-noise ratio.

The AFX includes two X-Faders and eight 8-segment LED VU meters for beat matching and recording. It features four bank switches for DJ transitions.

4. Numark Mixtrack Pro II USB DJ Controller

Our rating: 6 / 10

Numark Mixtrack Pro II USB DJ Controller

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Pros:

  • Durable and long-lasting
  • Affordable price
  • Easy to learn how to use
  • Noise isolating pads

The Numark Mixtrack Pro II USB DJ Controller with Integrated Audio Interface and Trigger Pads is a very affordable DJ controller for the home use but can also handle professional use though not for main gigs. This is not a complicated controller, and anyone with an interest in DJ’ing will be able to learn to use the controller quickly. It is very portable as well.

This is the DJ controller you need to get started in the world of DJ’ing at home. It is very easy to use, and you can learn how to play with it go and you will keep progressing at learning with this excellent piece of equipment. It is also affordable.

5. Pioneer DJ DJ Controller

Our rating: 6 / 10

Pioneer DJ DJ Controller

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Pros:

  • Easy setup
  • High value
  • Great for beginners
  • Good price-performance ratio

Every producer who aspires to be the next big thing feels the need to become a DJ at some point. Most of them, however, run into the problem of not having a competent set of DJ controllers with which to perform. To solve this problem, allow us to introduce the Pioneer DJ DDJ-SB2, a great but affordable choice that will launch you into DJing with ease.

It comes with a lot of features you would not expect to find on an inexpensive controller such as, for example, a 4-channel mixer. This gives you the ability to mash up to 4 independent music tracks at once and mix them at will. You can also view the waveforms of the selected tracks right from your controller to make sure that they mix well.

6. Pioneer DJ DJ Controller

Our rating: 6 / 10

Pioneer DJ DJ Controller

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Pros:

  • Rack mounting compatible
  • High performance jog wheels
  • Excellent display
  • Available different colors
  • Responsive performance pads
  • High-end price point
  • High-quality HD sound output

Overall, we’ve found that the DDJ-SX2 from Pioneer is best DJ controller in 2020 as they’ve included some of the best features and hardware components in the DJ world. Not only does it include a 32-bit audio processing chip (same as the CDJ), the device can work with your software or virtually any vinyl. Not only that, it has a 7-inch screen display – delivering excellent control and a sleek look for a first-class setup.

7. Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol S4 MK2 DJ Controller

Our rating: 6 / 10

Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol S4 MK2 DJ Controller

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Pros:

  • Great quality for the price
  • Highly responsive jog wheels
  • Traktor Pro 2 software included

There’s no doubt that one of the best DJ controllers you can get is the Traktor Kontrol S4 MK2, also known as the S4 MK2.

Native Instruments (NI) is one of the top names in the DJ controller industry, and the S4 MK2 is one of their flagships models. If you’re familiar with the first generation S4, this is its newer, updated version.

The S4 MK2 features eight multifunctional jog wheels, each providing a smooth tactile feedback, responsive scratch, and fast search facility. It features high-quality sound, with two main outputs (XLR and RCA), a headphone output, and balanced line outputs. You have the option to select any of the four internal audio channels and a main stereo channel to headphones for fewer latencies and higher-quality sound. The low-latency, high-definition audio interface works great with the software and for MIDI.

8. Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol S2 MK2 DJ Controller

Our rating: 6 / 10

Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol S2 MK2 DJ Controller

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Pros:

  • High quality
  • Reliably built
  • Great for both beginners and seasoned DJs
  • Flexible
  • Controllable
  • The switches feel nice
  • Comes with a free remix pack

Cons:

  • Side buttons are small and close to each other
  • Knobs feel a little close together
  • Learning curve might be a little steeper than some people like

MK2 stands out as a great option for a DJ controller for a large number of reasons. It has the usual jog wheels, as well as independent cue and play/pause controls. The flat (as opposed to rounded) knobs give you more precision in your mixing and the gain controls also have a right-and-wrong way of turning, which is definitely a positive.

This controller really does give you all the creative tools you need to get started in DJing.

For example, the center section of the controller gives you everything you need to control Midi signals (not the kind you drink) and effects to enhance the music. There’s no shortage of original content on the Traktor Kontrol S2.

9. Pioneer DJ DJ Controller

Our rating: 5 / 10

Pioneer DJ DJ Controller

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Pros:

  • Cheap price, extensive feature set for the price
  • Native hardware integration for Serato DJ
  • Solid construction and durable design
  • Built-in sound card
  • Includes a license for Serato DJ Lite
  • Full-color screen, jog wheels, and performance pads are great for beginners
  • 64 backlit velocity sensitive pads are great for scratching
  • Crossfader is solid
  • Comprehensive effects unit
  • Includes 500 sampling sounds which are great for intros etc.

Cons:

  • Doesn’t include other software for DJing
  • Amount of knobs and buttons may be overwhelming for beginners

This is one of the more diverse DJ controllers we’ve come across, with the features you’ll need to get started. It’s a simple solution for DJs looking to combine DJing and sampling for the first time.

This DJ controller is built for people with limited experience, but who still want to be able to perform a lot of different DJ techniques. The reason this controller stands out is that it’s full of dancing LED lights, performance pads, and buttons – all of which would normally be reserved for experienced DJs.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What's the best DJ controller to start with?

If you’re a beginner and want to use a DJ controller to learn how to use of software like Traktor Pro for DJs, then you should start with the Numark Mixtrack Pro 2 because it’s the best DJ controller for beginners.

It has everything a beginner needs as well as everything an experienced DJ needs. Beginners will love the built-in jog wheels to let them practice mixing without having to buy a Serato interface.

Experienced DJs will appreciate the macro capabilities and mic inputs so they can freestyle over tracks or mix vocals right in with the music.

Overall, you can use this device as a standalone DJ controller or as a virtual DJ client. And, the Mixtrack Pro 2 is compatible with all of the most popular DJ apps so that you can learn how to use them.

What are the best mixing decks?

Modern DJ cartridges, such as the Numark NS-7 II, have many features that enable them to better serve digital DJs, including:

A flexible platter that can be used as either a scratch or turntable controller.

Play, cue, and pause controls that can be freely assigned to any other function on screen.

Expression capability, which enables you to control other mixing features.

A perfectly weighted, weighted platter that helps you make ultra-precise mixes.

High-quality, scratch-ready jog wheels.

High-quality, scratch-ready platters.

The ability to play directly from a removable SD card.

Built-in sound card and headphone monitoring controls.

A MIDI connection input.

A quick loop feature that enables you to cue up desired parts of a song.

What is the best DJ equipment?

Choosing your first DJ equipment can be an overwhelming experience. There are a seemingly endless number of options, and many newbie DJs cave under the weight of so much choice.

So what is the best DJ equipment? It depends on a wide range of factors like your budget, skill, gear intentions, and more.

And it matters more than you might think. The quality of your DJ equipment directly impacts how your music sounds. If you pick up a cheap pair of DJ headphones, you might be tempted to blame the DJ when your music doesnʼt sound as good as you think it should.

Good DJ equipment is able to give you the best foundation possible to create a fun, family friendly, and professional experience.

Finding good DJ equipment can be hard because, sadly, the best DJ equipment can cost you a lot of money.

Here are our recommendations for the best of the best in professional DJ gear.

Conclusion

In the world of DJ equipment, there’s always something new to learn. If you’re a beginner or intermediate DJ, chances are you’re still navigating this landscape, trying to find your way.

Fortunately, our team has been doing this for a long time, and we’ve learned a lot. After reading this article, you’ll gain all the information you need to make a sound choice. We’re going to cover all of the important aspects of today’s DJ controller market, and guide you to the best DJ controllers to suit your needs.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
Pioneer DJ DJ ControllerBest OverallPioneer DJ DJ Controller
Numark Mixtrack Pro II USB DJ ControllerBudget PickNumark Mixtrack Pro II USB DJ Controller
Reloop 236534 ControllerUpgrade PickReloop 236534 Controller