7 Best DJ Controllers of 2024

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DJ controllers opened up a whole new world of opportunities for DJs of all levels. They allow artists to connect their gear straight to their laptops and have access to an infinite library of sounds, creating exceptional mixes at a moment’s notice without the burden of having to carry vinyl around.

While DJ turntables are still popular among professional disc jockeys, DJ controllers combine portability, ease of use, and affordability to give anyone the opportunity to create unforgettable DJ sets.

In the ever-changing market landscape of DJ Controllers, we decided to dedicate an article on these must-have tools for performers.

Whether you mix tracks in your bedroom, broadcast your shows live, or play in front of thousands of people, here you’ll find the best DJ controller to unleash your creativity.

Quick Summary of the Best DJ Controllers

  1. Pioneer DJ DDJ-1000 (Best DJ Controller Overall)
  2. Numark DJ2GO2 Touch (Best DJ Controller for Absolute Beginners)
  3. Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol S4 Mk3 (Best DJ Controller for Stem Control)
  4. Rane One (Best Looking DJ Controller)
  5. Denon DJ Prime 4 (Best Standalone DJ Controller)
  6. Roland DJ-505 (Best DJ Controller for Serato DJ)
  7. Numark Platinum FX (Best for the Ambitious Beginner)

Best DJ Controllers

When choosing the best DJ controllers, there are various aspects we need to take into account: from budget to portability and compatibility.

In this list, you'll find controllers for all budgets, from the most basic to the high-end controllers for professional DJs. All you have to do is consider your budget and pick the DJ setup that ticks all the boxes.

1. Best DJ Controller Overall – Pioneer DJ DDJ-1000

Pioneer DJ DDJ-1000


  • Connectivity: USB 2.0 (2)
  • Channels: 4
  • Number of Decks: 4
  • Audio resolution: 24-bit/96kHz
  • Inputs: 6
  • Outputs: 3
  • Software included: Serato DJ Pro

The Pioneer DJ DDJ-1000 has been one of the most sought-after controllers for years, and for all the right reasons: it’s a professional and refined controller with plenty of functionalities and the fluid performance serious DJs need when performing live.

The 16 multi-color performance pads provide everything you’ll need to bring to life a dynamic performance, and the top-of-the-line built-in screen shows all the necessary information to perform live even without a laptop.

The Pioneer DJ DDJ-1000 features a 4-channel mixer and a wide array of cutting-edge effects, including the Beat FX and Sound Color FX, that’ll help you enhance the qualities of your mixes in seconds.

Like most Pioneer DJ products, the DDJ-1000 is designed to give you full control over your DJ software. In this case, the Pioneer DJ DDJ-1000 is crafted to give you comprehensive control of Serato DJ Pro and all its functionalities, offering a seamless DJing experience.

Highly compatible with the most popular software for DJs and built to last a lifetime, the Pioneer DJ DDJ-1000 is an excellent choice for DJs who want to make the most of their live sets.

2. Best DJ Controller for Absolute Beginners – Numark DJ2GO2 Touch

Numark DJ2GO2 Touch


  • Connectivity: USB
  • Channels: 2
  • Number of Decks: 2
  • Audio resolution: 16-bit/44.1kHz
  • Inputs: /
  • Outputs: 1
  • Software included: Serato DJ Lite

The Numark DJ2GO2 Touch is perhaps the best solution for beginner DJs, but also a valid option for intermediate and proficient artists looking for a compact controller to carry with them wherever they go.

Don’t let the size of the Numark DJ2GO2 Touch fool you: this controller has everything you need to create vibrant sets, starting from touch-sensitive jog wheels you can use for pitch bending and scratching and a performing mixer section with individual controls to make adjustments to your track.

The DJ2GO2 Touch is USB-powered and highly compatible with the most popular and the best DJ softwares and works on both Mac and PC. If you’ve just started and want a portable and versatile controller to get your hands dirty, the Numark DJ2GO2 Touch might well be the best option.

3. Best DJ Controller for Stem Control – Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol S4 Mk3

Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol S4 Mk3


  • Connectivity: USB
  • Channels: 4
  • Number of Decks: 4
  • Audio resolution: 24-bit/96kHz
  • Inputs: 2
  • Outputs: 2
  • Software included: Traktor Pro 3

Native Instruments is a household name when it comes to products for music producers, and the excellent Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol S4 Mk3 is no exception.

Thanks to a sleek design, high-quality material, and multiple connectivity options, NI’s high-end controller is one of the best options for experienced DJs.

What’s most noticeable at first sight are the high-quality, touch-sensitive jog wheels: thanks to their haptic feedback, these jog wheels offer scratch DJs the tactile responsiveness necessary to scratch, cue, and manipulate audio professionally.

Other crucial factors include the Stem Deck Control, which helps you manipulate certain elements of a song while leaving others untouched. For instance, you might want to remove the kick from a track to mix it with the next song, allowing you to experiment with your set and expand your sonic palette.

Last but not least, Traktor Pro 3 is a must-have software if you’re serious about DJing, and its seamless connectivity with the Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol S4 Mk3 will ensure you’ll be ready to perform the moment you unbox this phenomenal DJ controller.

4. Best Looking DJ Controller – Rane One

Rane One


  • Connectivity: 2x USB
  • Channels: 2
  • Number of Decks: 2
  • Audio resolution: 24-bit/48kHz
  • Inputs: 2
  • Outputs: 2
  • Software included: Serato DJ Pro

Rane One is a work of art, and you don’t even need to use it to find out why: this DJ controller has the look and feel of a classic deck but with the advanced technology to meet the demands of worldwide-known club DJs.

The Rane One is not only good to look at: the turntable platters are made of acrylic disks to deliver highly sensitive wheels perfect for scratch DJs. The 16 multifunction performance pads allow easy access to a wide array of creative tools, ranging from the Sampler to the Slicer and the Saved Loops.

A 3-band EQ, a highpass, and a lowpass filter are only some of the great effects included in the Rane One: a plethora of carefully crafted tools will help you shape your tracks and give you complete control over your gig.

5. Best Standalone DJ Controller – Denon DJ Prime 4

Denon DJ Prime 4


  • Connectivity: 4x USB
  • Channels: 4
  • Number of Decks: 4
  • Audio resolution: 32-bit/192kHz
  • Inputs: 4
  • Outputs: 2
  • Software included: Engine Prime Music Management

The Denon DJ Prime 4 is an impressive controller and a comprehensive solution for professional artists who want nothing but the best tools for their gigs.

The Prime 4 is a standalone DJ system, meaning you won’t need to connect it to your laptop to mix your tracks: you can do everything from the 10-inch HD Touchscreen, from loading tracks to adjusting settings and effects.

Connectivity is only one of the Prime 4’s many strong points. The dual USB ports give artists the opportunity to collaborate live and explore endless creative possibilities; the four integrated decks will allow you to upload audio from multiple sources, from SD cards to USB-connected devices.

The Engine Prime Software is an unmissable software for the skilled DJ, maximizing the potential of the Prime 4 by organizing, cataloging, and analyzing music libraries in real time.

Finally, the TIDAL integration is a great option to access your music selection directly from the popular streaming platform.

6. Best DJ Controller for Serato DJ – Roland DJ-505

Roland DJ-505


  • Connectivity: USB
  • Channels: 2
  • Number of Decks: 4
  • Audio resolution: 24-bit/48kHz
  • Inputs: 2
  • Outputs: 2
  • Software included: Serato DJ Pro and Serato Tool Kit

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the legendary brand Roland can deliver some of the best DJ controllers at an affordable price.

The Japanese manufacturer has produced the most iconic synths in electronic music. While their DJ controllers are undoubtedly some of the best in the market, the DJ-505 offers exceptional value for money.

With the DJ-505, you can create new beats on the go thanks to the powerful built-in drum sequencer, using an extensive library of drums and sound effects to personalize your mix.

If that’s not enough, you can connect your musical instruments directly to the controller thanks to the external instrument mic input and incorporate new sounds into your performance.

The Roland DJ-505 is DVS-ready (DVS stands for Digital Vinyl System). You can use it to connect your turntables or CD player to the controller and then manipulate audio through Serato DJ.

This is a fantastic solution other DJ controllers don't always offer, so if you want to make use of your physical music collection without sacrificing the benefits of a modern DJ controller, the DJ-505 is the right DJ gear for you.

The authentic feel and highly-performing pads are precisely what you’d expect from a legendary brand that’s offered cutting-edge technology without breaking the bank for decades. For the price, the Roland DJ-505 is a bargain.

7. Best for the Ambitious Beginner – Numark Platinum FX

Numark Platinum FX


  • Connectivity: USB
  • Channels: 2
  • Number of Decks: 4
  • Audio resolution: 24-bit/44.1 kHz
  • Inputs: 1
  • Outputs: 1
  • Software included: Serato DJ Lite (with Serato DJ Pro upgrade option)

Sightly more expensive than DJ controllers for absolute beginners, with the starter DJ controller Numark Platinum FX, you can catch a glimpse of what a professional DJ controller can do without spending a fortune. As it comes with Serato DJ Lite, you can start mixing professionally right away.

With Hi-res color LCDs which you can customize to show exactly what you need, you can remove all distractions and focus exclusively on your performance.

The 6-inch capacitive jog wheels activate the moment you touch them, enhancing their tactile expressiveness and empowering you with a performance not unlike the one offered by vinyl turntables.

You can access a library of saved loops and drum sounds and manipulate your tracks through the 16 multifunction pads.

Finally, the EQ, gain, and filter knobs offer the sensitivity and authentic feel you’d expect from Numark, a brand that’s made a name for itself in the world of professional DJing tools.

Best DJ Controllers Buyer's Guide

There are dozens of great DJ controllers available at any price, so how do you choose one? In this buyer’s guide, we’ll look into how you can narrow down your list of potential DJ controllers to buy.

Needless to say, budget plays a crucial role here. However, it’s not the main factor to consider when choosing the best DJ controller for your needs.

Options are endless, but ultimately it all comes down to what you need as an artist and what can improve your workflow.


There are certain features in a DJ controller that many professionals find crucial, such as Stem Controls and a vast assortment of FX Options.

Professional mic inputs and outputs can expand the versatility of your controller and make it last longer without needing to replace it.

Workflow, the instant scratch option, and the quality of the LCD screen (if available) are other important factors to consider.


If you're traveling extensively with your controller, or space in your bedroom is limited, you might want to look for a DJ deck that takes as little space as possible while also offering all the features you need to bring to life your DJ sets.

For many, this might be the most critical aspect when buying a new DJ controller. If this rings a bell, then look no further than the Numark DJ2GO2 Touch.

It might lack some of the professional features other controllers have, but you can literally carry it with you anywhere, plug it in, and create professional sets at a moment’s notice.

DJ Software: Traktor, Virtual DJ, Serato DJ Pro, Rekordbox DJ…

Choosing the right DJ software platform is like choosing the best DAW to make music: it can dramatically improve your workflow and make mixing intuitive and fun.

On the other hand, opting for one without considering the other options might slow down your progress and cause problems you could have easily avoided with other software.

The most popular options are Rekordbox DJ, Virtual DJ, and Serato, but there are many other software in the market that can help you craft your mixing technique.

The only way to choose one is to try as many as you can: most DJ software platforms offer a trial period you can use to get an idea of their interface, so take this opportunity to test them out.

Finally, many DJ controllers come with a software package ready to use (like the Pioneer DJ DDJ-1000 with Serato DJ Pro), so check out the software package before purchasing the controller, as it might help you save some money and give you everything you need to get started.

Built-In Battery

Another great option offered by some DJ controllers is the built-in battery, which allows you to connect your deck straight to your laptop without a direct connection to the electricity. For those who want to have total flexibility when performing live, this is certainly a feature that’ll come in handy.

If that’s something you’re looking for, I’d definitely recommend either the Numark DJ2GO2 or the Denon DJ Prime Go.


CD and USB connectivity are standard, but how many USB ports does the DJ controller have? And what if you want to connect your smartphone to have access to your portable library?

Ensure your next DJ controller features enough connections to give you the flexibility you need to create professional DJ sets. Most of us might just need a USB port, while others might require more options to make the most of their mixes.

Your Skill Level

If you’re a beginner, chances are you won’t need most of the FX and controls high-end DJ controllers come with. All you need is an intuitive plug-and-play interface, sensitive controls, and access to your library.

However, as you improve as a DJ, you’ll look for more and more effects to make your sets more engaging and memorable, so my advice is to look for DJ controllers that have enough effects to keep you busy for a long time, without feeling overwhelming as you start your journey to DJ stardom.


The expanding market of DJ controllers, further accelerated by the pandemic, brought to life an interesting ecosystem of artists performing at home or in small venues that don’t require professional equipment.

Before purchasing your next DJ controller, you should consider how and where you're going to use it. Will you broadcast DJ sets from your bedroom or play in a local club?

If you’re serious about your career as a DJ, you’ll also need to consider marketing and your public image. If people take pictures of your deck in a big club, you might not want them to see you’re using a portable Numark DJ2GO2 to mix your tracks.

It all comes down to what's your objective as a DJ and how the best DJ controllers can help you achieve your goals.


Finally, defining how much you can spend on a DJ controller is vital. Aside from the investment in the actual controller, you’ll need to consider the DJ software (if not included), and especially your music library.

Nowadays, you can access your library on TIDAL and Soundcloud to mix your music, so you might not even need to purchase tracks on Beatport prior to your event.

Nevertheless, you’ll need to activate subscriptions and have access to your selected tracks and all the tools and effects that can create your sets memorably.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is a DJ controller?

A DJ controller is a device that recreates the effect of a mixing console without DJ turntables and vinyl. By connecting it directly to your computer, you can manage your music library and mix tracks seamlessly thanks to the tactile interface and various playback functions.

How does a DJ controller work?

A DJ controller can manipulate sounds and mix tracks thanks to a series of controls and buttons that allow you to change the sound, most commonly the song’s volume, EQ (equalization), and tempo.

Furthermore, with a DJ controller, you can create loops, trigger samples, and use other creative effects to make your mixes unique and more engaging.

What features should I look for in a DJ controller?

Portability is crucial, especially if you travel extensively or space is an issue. The build quality of the jog wheels is also essential because you’ll use them to make time adjustments to your tracks and for scratch effects: something scratch DJs should definitely consider.

Other important features to consider are the mixer section's versatility, the performance pads' quality, and the controller’s connectivity.

What is the difference between a DJ controller and a DJ mixer?

There’s often some confusion when it comes to the differences between DJ controllers and DJ mixers.

A DJ controller is an all-in-one unit that allows you to manipulate and mix tracks using DJ software. It includes a series of effects and controls that make it a comprehensive solution for DJs looking for portability.

On the other hand, a DJ mixer is a control device that’s designed to blend and manipulate audio sources. It has fewer features than a DJ controller, and it's used mainly by DJs who work with CDs and vinyl (it’s the device placed between the turntables).

Can I use a DJ controller with software other than the one it comes with?

Professional DJ controllers are compatible with the most popular software, so you can definitely use different software if the one it comes with it’s not of your liking. You might need to install the appropriate drivers and ensure that the mapping was successful before going on stage.

Some DJ controllers come with software that has unique integrations you won’t find in other software, meaning you might miss out on the special functionalities your new DJ controller has.

What are the best DJ controller brands?

Pioneer DJ, Native Instruments, Numark, and Roland, are undoubtedly among the most popular producers of professional DJ controllers. Other great brands include Reloop and Denon, so if you’re looking for a reliable, versatile DJ controller, I will opt for one of these brands.

What is the price range for DJ controllers?

Beginner DJ controllers range between $100 to $300, and you can get a mid-range controller for less than $1000. Anything above $1000, including standalone DJ systems, is considered a high-end DJ controller that should provide you with everything you need to perform live professionally.

Are DJ controllers suitable for beginners, or are they more for experienced DJs?

The great thing about DJ controllers is that anyone can use them regardless of their experience. An entry-level controller is an excellent and affordable solution for the DJ who wants to get to know the world of mixing.

On the other hand, an experienced DJ will find in a professional DJ controller (like the Pioneer DJ DDJ-1000) a portable, versatile solution for all occasions, simplifying the workflow and accessibility of extended music libraries.

Can I use a DJ controller with vinyl or CDJs?

Yes, you can use your DJ controller to mix and manipulate vinyl, but the process will require extra equipment and a configuration that might not be intuitive for beginners.

To connect your DJ controller to vinyl turntables, you’ll need an audio interface that’ll convert the audio signal from analog to digital, which in turn will give you access to all the controls on your DJ deck.

If you want to connect your controller to CDJs, you’ll need a controller with MIDI capabilities and connect the two via USB, ensuring they’re compatible and work seamlessly.

Can I connect a DJ controller to external speakers or a sound system? 

You can certainly connect your DJ controller to speakers. Most DJ controllers come with jack, RCA, or XLR connectors that you can use to connect them to external sound systems without issues.

As long as the mic input options on your sound system are compatible with the controller and cables you have, you’ll be good to go in no time.

Final Thoughts

Remember that buying a DJ controller is an investment that should meet your expectations long-term, so my recommendation is always to spend a little more and buy something that'll last for years; rather than a cheap option, you’ll have to ditch the moment you become a proficient DJ.

If the budget allows, consider buying professional DJ hardware like the Pioneer DJ DDJ-1000 or Roland DJ-505. These two are some of the best DJ controllers in the market and will help you create memorable sets in any situation, from your bedroom up to the biggest dance clubs.

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