Best DJ Controllers

A DJ controller is a digital piece of equipment that allows a DJ like you to utilize your preferred software in the form of a traditional turntable and mixer. Having one that perfectly goes well with your creative skills and needs is vital for completing your setup or upgrading your current one.

Thanks to the very long list of top-selling DJs of today, there’s an overabundance of DJ controllers on the market that cater to the needs of professional DJs as well as those who are looking to become popular one day. If right now you are searching for a DJ controller to buy, read on — below are some of the best DJ controllers around. After reading this article, we hope that you have a better idea on which unit to invest in.

Pioneer DDJ-SR2

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Pioneer DJ DDJ-SR2 Portable 2-channel controller for Serato DJ
  • Balanced XLR outputs let you connect to a professional PA system, while a booth and 2 master outs allow you to monitor your mixes. Or use the DDJ-SR2 as a mixer with multiplayers or turntables using the line and phono inputs
  • The DDJ-SR2 controller features large, low-latency jog wheels to give you great scratch response and accuracy
  • A series of dedicated buttons were created to trigger the key-related functions in Serato DJ. Switch between the Key Shift, Key sync and Key Reset to play with keys without ever changing your tempo

If you’re a brand-conscious DJ, then you should definitely get your hands on the Pioneer DDJ-SR2 as it carries a name that a lot of DJs and music lovers adore. Just like some of the well-loved DJ controllers out there, this device is especially designed to work with the Serato DJ software. However, you’ll be glad to know that it also works very well with a number of other DJ software out there. By the way, the Pioneer DDJ-SR2 is engineered for phono cables. Purchasing an auxiliary adapter, needless to say, has to be done as necessary.

Pros:

  • Compact size
  • Bears a trusted brand name
  • Key shift and sync controls available

Cons:

  • No single effect mode
  • Pitch fader control is too small
  • Tons of buttons crammed into a small space

Numark Party Mix

Numark Party Mix | Complete DJ Controller Set for Serato DJ with 2 Decks, Party Lights, Headphone Output, Performance Pads and Crossfader / Mixer
  • Let’s Get This Party Started Portable two channel DJ Controller for Serato DJ Lite (Included) compatible with Mac and PC
  • Complete DJ System with DJ Lights Built in light show with three room filling LED light arrays that auto sync to your music and guarantee to make your party utterly unforgettable
  • Connectivity Covered On board audio interface with 1/8 inch headphone output and 1/8 inch main output for connection to DJ mixers, DJ Speakers & PA systems

Fun is a word that best describes the Numark Party Mix. That’s because of all the multicolored flashing lights that dance to the beats you are playing — if you’re having lots of fun, then everyone else at the party or club will have lots of fun as well. For seamless mixing, the unit is equipped with two decks that are outfitted with jog wheels and crossfaders. What we love about the Numark Party Mix is that we can plug our DJ headphones and speakers to it without the need to purchase costly accessories. Sadly, we’re not that impressed with the performance pads that amount to 8 only.

Pros:

  • Plug-and-play functionality
  • Dial scratch and slider controls
  • Integrated light show feature

Cons:

  • Meant for use with included software
  • Registration number needed to access software
  • No computer output

Pioneer DDJ-SX2

Pioneer DJ DJ Controller, 17.70 x 29.90 x 6.90 (DDJ-SX2)
  • Dedicated buttons for Serato FLIP
  • 4-Channel Performance DJ Controller Designed for Serato DJ
  • Updated Jog Wheel with "Hot Cue Countdown"

You know that the Pioneer DDJ-SX2 is designed for anyone who is a massive fan of the Serato DJ software – the presence of a dedicated button for the software is a testament to that. Unlike other DJ controllers from other brands, the Serato DJ software that comes bundled with the Pioneer DDJ-SX2 is the pro version so there’s no expiration date! And there’s another good news: the console may also be used with any other DJ software of your preference. Fret not if you don’t have a lot of mixing experience. That’s because the unit is very intuitive.

Pros:

  • Easy to carry around
  • Trouble-free to operate
  • Great value for its price tag

Cons:

  • Small performance pads
  • Not compatible with various DJ software
  • Control mapping issues

Numark NV

Numark NV | DJ Controller for Serato with Intelligent Dual-Display Screens & Touch-Capacitive Knob
  • Revolutionary dual-screen controller for professional DJ ready to keep laptop out of sight
  • Integrated display screens let you focus on music and crowd, not the computer, during performance
  • Blend elaborate audio layers or remix on the fly with 4 decks of cutting-edge Serato DJ control

It only takes one quick look for you to realize why the Numark NV is a total standout. At the top of each deck is a 4.3-inch display panel! Thanks to their presence, it’s less likely for you to constantly rely on your laptop screen while performing. LED lights that are integrated into the trigger pads of this DJ controller flash in sync with what you’re playing each time. With touch-sensitive controls, nothing can get in the way of your DJing as the console responds rather easily to your whim. And by the way, those touch-sensitive pads amount to 16 – there are 8 on each deck.

Pros:

  • Dual onboard display panel
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Touch-sensitive controls

Cons:

  • Not a standalone DJ controller
  • Most parts are plastic
  • Small screen may hinder trouble-free library navigation

Numark Mixtrack Pro 3

Numark Mixtrack Pro 3 | All In One 2 Deck DJ Controller for Serato DJ Including an On board Audio Interface, 5 inch High Resolution Jog Wheels and Serato DJ Intro & Prime Loops Remix Tool Kit
  • Next Generation Feature Packed Controller : Ultra Portable two deck DJ Controller for Serato DJ Intro (Included) for Mac and PC with high resolution 5 inch metal jog wheels
  • Connectivity Covered : On board pro grade class compliant audio interface with 2 headphone outputs and main output for seamless connection to mixers & PA systems
  • Mix Control : Two physical decks outfitted with a crossfader, dedicated browsing controls, individual filter controls, touch capacitive jog wheels and independent transport controls access to critical, must have tools for seamless blending are right at your fingertips

Just like what the name says, the Numark Mixtrack Pro 3 caters to the needs of professional DJs, although it’s also suited for newbies who would like to hone their DJing skills. There are a total of 16 performance pads that allow you launch loops and samples, as well as manage cues. What we can’t stop raving about the Numark Mixtrack Pro 3 is that it has metal platters that are touch sensitive, which means that it’s possible for you to stop or scratch a track simply by manipulating the top of the wheel with your fingers.

Pros:

  • Affordable price tag
  • Touch strip for track searching
  • Dedicated filter knobs

Cons:

  • The Serato DJ software is trial version only
  • Some parts may break easily
  • Bland design

Pioneer XDJ-RX

Pioneer DJ DJ Controller, 8.50 x 32.36 x 19.80 (XDJ-RX)
  • Dual waveform display beat perfect more creative freedom slip mode slice and dice
  • Country of Origin: China

Freedom is what you get to enjoy when you get your hands on the Pioneer XDJ-RX. It’s for the fact that not only is there a couple of digital platters but also a pair of channel mixers. Other than being an excellent performer, this DJing console is also a looker — it has a really cool blue light effect and it boasts of a massive 7-inch display panel that provides much-needed visual feedback to just about everything that you do with this versatile and high-performing DJ controller. Despite of the available features and functions, the Pioneer XDJ-RX is surprisingly compact.

Pros:

  • Great for professionals and neophytes alike
  • Has a 7-inch display panel
  • Familiar layout

Cons:

  • Track search is so-so
  • Plastic buttons
  • Jog wheels are not that impressive

Pioneer DDJSR

Pioneer DJ DJ Controller, Black (DDJSR)
  • 16 Performance Pads provide HOT CUE, ROLL, SLICER and SAMPLER functions
  • New PAD PLUS provide HOT CUE ROLL, TRANS, COMBO FX, and SAMPLER ROLL
  • Large Jog Wheels for precise scratching and mixing capabilities

Definitely, there are a lot of things that you can do with the Pioneer DDJSR. That’s because it grants you easy access to 16 performance pads that make it possible for you to cue, slice, sample, roll — just about anything you need to keep everyone in the mood. The DJ controller features a pair of oversized jog wheels to ensure that you get to scratch and mix with great precision. Because it’s from Pioneer, a lot of those who have already tried using this console swear that it is capable of producing stellar sound.

Pros:

  • Durable construction
  • Bundled with full Serato DJ software
  • Intuitive controls

Cons:

  • The tempo sliders are short
  • No pitch bend function
  • Powered by USB only

Numark Mixtrack Pro II

Numark Mixtrack Pro II USB DJ Controller with Integrated Audio Interface and Trigger Pads
  • Digital DJ controller with touch-sensitive control wheels, FX controls and integrated audio interface
  • 16 rubber drum pads for triggering samples, cue points, loops and more
  • Built-in audio interface for PA system output, headphone cueing and microphone

What’s really nice about the Numark Mixtrack Pro II is that it has an affordable price tag but it can be enjoyed not only by beginners but seasoned DJs, too. You can rest assured that the unit will let you showcase your full potential and capabilities, thanks to the 16 backlit pads that serve a host of essential DJing functions. However, while it’s the full version the Serato DJ software that comes bundled with the Numark Mixtrack Pro II is the introductory type only, which is a good thing if this is your first time to use the said software.

Pros:

  • MIDI mapping compatible
  • Lightweight and sleek
  • Serato DJ software is full version

Cons:

  • Plastic parts and construction
  • Limited input and output options
  • Absence of level meters and gain knobs

Numark Mixtrack 3

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Numark Mixtrack 3 | All-In-One 2-Deck DJ Controller for Serato DJ Including an Long-Throw Pitch Faders, 5-inch High Resolution Jog Wheels and Virtual DJ LE & Prime Loops Remix Tool Kit
  • Usb Controller: Powered by USB connection to computer for home and aspiring DJs
  • Sound Cord Sold Separately: Requires external audio interface for sound output to headphones and speakers
  • VIRTUAL DJ LE: Software download included after free controller registration. Please refer the User Guide before use.

Have you already heard or read about the Pro 2 and Pro III DJ consoles from Numark? Well, the Numark Mixtrack 3 is just like those, but at a cheaper price and of course with reduced functions. But that’s not really a bad thing especially if you have just stepped foot in the world of DJing or you simply prefer practicality over functionality. The good news is that the layout of the Numark Mixtrack 3 is very much similar to those of its more advanced cousins, and that’s why you may consider using this unit as a training ground for a future upgrade.

Pros:

  • 16 pads that light up
  • Great layout
  • Dedicated filter knobs

Cons:

  • Very simple design
  • Serato DJ software is trial version only
  • Certain parts seem easy to break

Hercules DJ Control Compact

Hercules DJControl Compact
  • The most complete and portable DJ controller; "On the go" DJ companion; Measures only 13.4" x 3.9" and weighs less than 1.23 pounds; Fits very easily into a bag or laptop shoulder bag; USB bus-powered (detachable USB cable included)
  • Ergonomics that adapt perfectly to your laptop; All of the essential Djing functionality in an ultra-portable design; Two-deck DJ controller; 2 jog wheels, 2.95" in diameter; Mixer controls in the center, individual deck controls on the left and right
  • 4 modes (Loop, Fx, Samples, Cue) per deck; 4 pads per deck; 2 equalization potentiometers per deck; 1 volume potentiometer per deck; 1.77" crossfader; 10 control buttons including a SHIFT command allowing you to double all the pad controls

The name says it all — the Hercules DJ Control Compact won’t take up a lot of precious space because it has a small footprint that’s great for reducing clutter and simplifying travelling, too. Similarly, it won’t leave a gigantic hole in your pocket, courtesy of its affordable price tag. Despite its size and cost, this DJ controllers gives you just about everything you will need to discover as well as hone your DJing skills. Generously sized jog wheels, massive crossfader and large 8 LED-lit pads all help to make your DJing sessions go as flawless as possible.

Pros:

  • Really easy to use
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Jog wheels feel like vinyl records

Cons:

  • No jacks of any sort
  • UBS powered only
  • Designed for beginners

Pioneer DDJ-WEGO3-K

Pioneer DDJ-WEGO3-K Compact DJ 4/Dual Deck Controller, Black
  • Intuitive Layout - buttons and dials are arranged around the backlit jog wheels for easy access
  • The Pulse Control lights add a visual element to DJing, showing when a track has loaded, as well as which effects and filters are engaged
  • Comact, easy-to-carry weighing just over 2 lbs. and small enough to fit in a backpack, the DDJ WeGo3 is perfectly portable

It’s small and lightweight, but you’ll be very happy with the Pioneer DDJ-WEGO3-K especially if you’re still in the process of establishing what sort of DJ you would like to be. It’s perfect for you if for now your goal is learning the ropes of DJ mixing and you have no idea which software you prefer the most. While it offers just about everything you will need in order to get started, sadly, it lacks certain things necessary to take your DJing to the next level. And by the way, this is the unit for you if your smartphone or laptop is an integral part of your music-making venture.

Pros:

  • Suited for newbies
  • Easy to carry around as it’s small and lightweight
  • Can be used with a smartphone and laptop

Cons:

  • Doesn’t have a lot of features
  • Short pitch faders
  • Absence of cue mix

Hercules Instinct

Hercules DJ Control Instinct USB DJ Controller with Audio Outputs
  • 2-deck DJ Controller with Mixer Controls in the center and Deck Controls on the left and right sides
  • Built-in audio outputs for mix and previewing
  • Pressure-detecting jog wheels | Compact and user-friendly, 10.4" wide by 7.4" deep

The party will get started as soon as you switch on the Hercules Instinct — it does the job perfectly well while looking so cool. Some of the things that you will notice right away about this DJ controller is that it has massive everything, from the jog wheels, performance pads to the knobs. Despite that, all of those giants are packed in a compact body, which makes the Hercules Instinct easy to take with you from party to party. And before we forget, heads will certainly turn towards your direction as it has multicolored LED lights that synchronize themselves with the beat.

Pros:

  • Compatible with various software types
  • Highly portable
  • 4 performance pads per panel

Cons:

  • Jog wheels are hogging the space
  • Fully made of plastic
  • Not suited for serious scratching or nudging

Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol S8

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Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol S8 DJ Controller
  • Full-integrated 4-deck TRAKTOR controller including TRAKTOR SCRATH PRO 2 software
  • 30 touch-sensitive knobs and faders for intuitive control over TRAKTOR software
  • 2 bright, full-color displays reveal pop-ups displays, views, and panels

The Traktor Kontrol S8 by Native Instruments comes bundled with its own DJ software called Traktor Pro. To let you maximize the use of the said software, the console is equipped with not one but two display panels. Aside from the pair of high-resolution screens, another star of the Traktor Kontrol S8 is the sizable remix deck panel that makes it possible for you to easily come up with your signature sound. For precise performance each time, the knobs and faders are all very sensitive, and the 16 performance pads are brightly lit.

Pros:

  • Plug and play
  • High-resolution display panels
  • Reddot design award winner back in 2015

Cons:

  • No jogs
  • Absence of pitch faders
  • Still expensive despite the unit’s age

Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol S2 MK2

Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol S2 MK2 DJ Controller
  • Updated MK2 hardware with new duo-tone design and improved fader reliability
  • Plug-and-play support for hands-on control over TRAKTOR DJ for iPad and iPhone
  • Silicone-damped jog wheels with aluminum top plates for high-resolution cueing and scratching

Just like other DJ controllers from Native Instruments, the Traktor Kontrol S2 MK2 comes equipped with the manufacturer’s very own Traktor Pro software. This is a bummer because sticking to this console means momentarily abandoning the Serato DJ software. However, this is also a good thing because it allows you to explore your options. If you are a beginner, you won’t end up intimidated by the Traktor Kontrol S2 MK2 because of its user-friendly interface as evidenced by the clean layout, sizable jog wheels and backlit buttons.

Pros:

  • Compact and lightweight
  • iOS support for proprietary Traktor Pro software
  • Responsive jog wheels

Cons:

  • Remix deck has basic controls
  • No added inputs other than the mic port
  • Crossfader feels plasticky

Numark DJ Controller 20 (Mixdeck Express)

Numark Mixdeck Express | 2-Channel DJ Controller / Standalone Media Player with CD / CD MP3 and USB Playback, Dual Channel Mixer, Multi-Function Jog Wheels and Serato DJ Intro Included
  • Next-Generation Feature Packed Controller – Ultra-Portable two-deck DJ Controller for Serato DJ (included) with standalone playback from dual CD/MP3 CD drives and USB Thumb Drives
  • Pro Features – High-resolution multifunction jog wheels for searching and scratching plus long-throw pitch controls for tight blending, mixing and beat matching
  • Mix Control - Two physical decks, radiant LCD screen and three channel mixer with a replaceable crossfader, EQ/Rotary kills and external inputs

One look and it’s plain to see that the Numark DJ Controller 20 (Mixdeck Express) is designed by the manufacturer with professional DJs in mind. Despite having many of the bells and whistles that the pros look for in a console, including display panels, this unit won’t leave a dent on your savings — yes, it’s reasonably priced! One of the things we love about the Numark DJ Controller 20 (Mixdeck Express) is that it has Bluetooth connectivity that allows you to seamlessly integrate it with your iPad, as well as connect it with your favorite Bluetooth speakers.

Pros:

  • Looks and feels professional
  • Easy on the pocket
  • Bluetooth connectivity eliminates clutter

Cons:

  • Works with certain iOS versions only
  • Limited functions
  • Display panels are really small

Just Before You Shop

Some DJ controllers are ideal for professionals, while others are more suited for beginners. But then there are also those that are great for both experts and newbies. When looking for a DJ controller, always consider some of the most important factors such as your needs, preferences and even budget.