September 2021

DJ Controllers: Aggregated Ranking Report

This report contains an aggregate consensus of DJ Controller rankings posted by key online experts, as of September 2021.

At a glance - September 2021 Ranking

Scroll horizontally to browse this ranking table
Rank Change Price DJ Controller
Music Radar
Music Critic
Consordini
Home DJ Studio
LandR
Prime Sound
Equipboard
MSpot
Passionate DJ
DJ Tech Reviews
1
+1 $339
Native Instruments S2 Mk3
8
-
1
2
-
-
-
7
-
8
2
-1 $249
Pioneer DDJ-SB3
7
-
-
3
2
-
-
2
-
7
3
- $249
Pioneer DDJ-400
-
-
2
1
-
-
-
4
-
6
4
- Check price
Native Traktor Kontrol S8
5
-
-
-
-
10
-
-
5
3
5
- Check price
Pioneer XDJ-RX2
-
-
-
-
5
1
-
-
-
11
6
- Check price
Pioneer DDJ-1000
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
1
1
7
- $990
Native Instruments S4 Mk3
2
-
-
-
-
4
-
-
-
13
8
+12 Check price
Denon DJ MCX8000
6
-
-
-
-
6
-
-
3
-
9
+1 $300
Roland DJ-202
-
-
3
5
-
-
-
9
-
-
10
-2 Check price
Reloop Mixon-4
10
8
-
-
-
5
-
-
-
-
11
-2 Check price
Pioneer DJ DDJ-SB2
-
1
-
-
-
-
3
-
-
-
12
-1 Check price
Native Instruments S2 MK2
-
5
-
-
-
-
1
-
-
-
13
-1 $63
Numark Party Mix
-
-
5
-
-
-
-
1
-
-
14
-1 $100
Hercules DJControl Starlight
-
-
-
-
1
-
-
5
-
-
15
- Check price
Pioneer DDJ-RZ
-
-
-
-
-
3
-
-
-
2
16
- Check price
Pioneer DDJ-SX3
3
-
-
-
-
8
-
-
-
-
17
- $1198
Native Instruments S4 MK2
-
7
-
-
-
-
2
-
-
-
18
+1 $405
Gemini G4V
-
-
-
-
-
2
-
10
-
-
19
+2 Check price
Pioneer DDJ-SR Pro
-
6
-
-
-
-
4
-
-
-
20
+3 $710
Numark Mixtrack Pro 3
-
-
8
-
-
-
5
-
-
-

We ranked Native Instruments S2 Mk3 #1 in September 2021 because:

  • 5 independent experts mentioned it in their “best DJ Controllers” rankings.
  • Out of those, 1 expert ranked Native Instruments S2 Mk3 as #1.
Critic endorsements:
Music Radar

A solid budget controller for Traktor,with iOS compatibility

Pros
Laptop and iOS compatible
Compact and affordable
Well-built

Cons
Just two decks with no extra inputs

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Consordini

The best DJ controller under $500

Pros
Comes with Traktor Pro software.
Plug and play functionality allows you to make music anywhere as long as you have a computer.
Includes generous mixing effects and other useful tools for transitions and beat matching.

Cons
Low volume output.
Only has RCA outputs which is a bit outdated.

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Home DJ Studio

Excellent Traktor Controller For Beginners

Pros
Solid Build Quality
DJ Software
Portable
Pro Layout

Cons
Plastic Knobs

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MSpot

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DJ Tech Reviews

Pros
Excellent compact design that will fit in small DJ booths
Excellent entry-level price with software included
Very portable for travelling DJs
Bigger job wheels than the previous version

Cons
Only possible to use it with the NI software
Soundcard isn’t as great as some other NI options

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We ranked Pioneer DDJ-SB3 #2 in September 2021 because:

  • 5 independent experts mentioned it in their “best DJ Controllers” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Music Radar

New to DJing? This is the best Serato controller for you

Pros
Pad scratch function
Bundled with Serato DJ Lite

Cons
Small pitch faders

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Home DJ Studio

Popular Entry-Level Serato Controller

Pros
Quality Jog wheels
Logical Layout
4 Channels Available
FX Fade

Cons
Intro Software

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LandR

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MSpot

Premium Choice

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DJ Tech Reviews

Pros
Helps with learning how to scratch
Easy to transport thanks to a lightweight design
Out-of-the-box plug and play performance
Affordable pricing is excellent for beginners

Cons
Simplistic in some areas, limited in effects and control options
Only comes with Serato Lite tech

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Methodology: combine opinions of key experts

Identify Experts

We identify key publishers and experts that consistently review and recommend DJ Controllers.

Capture Rankings

For each publisher we find a currently recommended "top 10" list of DJ Controllers, it must be updated in the last 9 months.

Aggregate Rankings

We put all those lists together and aggregate them. The more frequently a product is recommended, the higher it is in our ranking

Experts chosen for September 2021 ranking

We ranked Pioneer DDJ-400 #3 in September 2021 because:

  • 4 independent experts mentioned it in their “best DJ Controllers” rankings.
  • Out of those, 1 expert ranked Pioneer DDJ-400 as #1.
Critic endorsements:
Consordini

Perfect for absolute beginners

Pros
Controller is set up more professionally so that you feel comfortable when you upgrade.
Durable enough to take on the road.
Comes with rekordbox DJ software.

Cons
Not suitable for those who are not absolute beginners.
Not compatible with software other than rekordbox DJ.

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Home DJ Studio

The Best DJ Controller For Beginners

Pros
Professional Layout
Rekordbox DJ Software
Tutorial Feature
Long Pitch Fader

Cons
Smaller Mixer Section

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MSpot

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DJ Tech Reviews

Pros
Professional looping section included
Incredibly good build quality
Reasonable pricing and good portability
Responsive performance pad section

Cons
Looping section can be complex for beginners
Plastic throughout

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We ranked Native Traktor Kontrol S8 #4 in September 2021 because:

  • 4 independent experts mentioned it in their “best DJ Controllers” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Music Radar

The best high-end Traktor controller

Pros
Stems compatibility
MIDI connectivity
Standalone capability

Cons
No jog wheels

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Prime Sound

Best Controller without Jog Wheels

Pros
Extremely durable metal housing

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Passionate DJ

Best DJ Controller Over $1000

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DJ Tech Reviews

Pros
Incredible high-quality performance
MIDI connectivity and Stems compatibility
Easy enough to transport
Fantastic range of analogue inputs and outputs
Fun to use

Cons
No Jog wheels included
No pitch faders

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We ranked Pioneer XDJ-RX2 #5 in September 2021 because:

  • 3 independent experts mentioned it in their “best DJ Controllers” rankings.
  • Out of those, 1 expert ranked Pioneer XDJ-RX2 as #1.
Critic endorsements:
LandR

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Prime Sound

Editors' Choice

Pros
Can also use it via USB without the need for a laptop.
Not heavy

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DJ Tech Reviews

Pros
Fantastic and highly durable built quality
8 performance pads per deck for high-level control
Excellent jog wheels that feel fantastic to use
Large touchscreen for easier control
Pro DJ features included

Cons
Quite bulky – so harder to transport
The touchscreen can be a little problematic to use at times

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We ranked Pioneer DDJ-1000 #6 in September 2021 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best DJ Controllers” rankings.
  • Out of those, 2 experts ranked Pioneer DDJ-1000 as #1.
Critic endorsements:
Passionate DJ

Best DJ Controller Over $1000

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DJ Tech Reviews

Best DJ Controller Option

Pros
Advanced performance
Fantastic range of effects and updated Magvel crossfader
Large jog wheels and HD screens included
Ideal for digital DJs with DJM-900 mixer session
Fantastic array of bonus features like four new Beat FX

Cons
Complicated set-up
Not the smoothest jog wheel
Very heavy

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We ranked Native Instruments S4 Mk3 #7 in September 2021 because:

  • 3 independent experts mentioned it in their “best DJ Controllers” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Music Radar

Flagship Traktor controller with ‘haptic’ jogwheels

Pros
Innovative haptic jog wheels
Tight Traktor 3 integration
Flexible selection of analogue I/O

Cons
Users of previous versions may feel a little lost

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Prime Sound

Best 4-Channel Controller

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DJ Tech Reviews

Pros
Excellent performance with fantastic features throughout
Feels very solid and reliable – great for pros
Easy enough to understand that beginners can enjoy it too
A dedicated section for remixing decks

Cons
No curve/reverse linefader functions
Only one effect per module
Plastic rotary knobs

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We ranked Denon DJ MCX8000 #8 in September 2021 because:

  • 3 independent experts mentioned it in their “best DJ Controllers” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Music Radar

Best high-end Serato controller

Pros
Standalone capability
Dedicated filters
Two HD displays

Cons
Not the largest platters

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Prime Sound

Best Heavy-Duty Controller

Pros
18lbs weight
Robust

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Passionate DJ

Best DJ Controller Over $1000

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We ranked Roland DJ-202 #9 in September 2021 because:

  • 3 independent experts mentioned it in their “best DJ Controllers” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Consordini

Impressive features for DJing anywhere

Pros
Solid construction with handles for transport.
Mic inputs for performing.
Large selection of drum kits for on the fly creation.

Cons
Drivers can be difficult to set up on your computer.
A bit too lightweight.

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Home DJ Studio

Great Choice For Creative DJs

Pros
Built-In Drum Machine
Responsive Jog wheels
4 Channel DJ Controller
Midi Out

Cons
Flimsy Feeling Build Quality

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MSpot

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We ranked Reloop Mixon-4 #10 in September 2021 because:

  • 3 independent experts mentioned it in their “best DJ Controllers” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Music Radar

The best iOS and Android DJ controller

Pros
Multi-platform support
Plug and play with djay PRO and Serato DJ Pro
Integrated docking station can hold an iPad Pro

Cons
Mic input not XLR

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Music Critic

Pros
Industry-first hybrid designed to work with djay Pro and Serato DJ software
Capable of supporting multi-platforms such as IOS, Android, PC, and Mac
Comes with multiple inputs and outputs

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Prime Sound

Best for Tablets

Pros
Low weight
Its set up makes it ideal for use with tablets

Cons
Poor crossfader

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We ranked Pioneer DJ DDJ-SB2 #11 in September 2021 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best DJ Controllers” rankings.
  • Out of those, 1 expert ranked Pioneer DJ DDJ-SB2 as #1.
Critic endorsements:
Music Critic

Pros
Comes with all of the same features as the famous Pioneer DJ DDJ-SB in addition to new professional features like trim pots, level meters, pad trans effect etc.
Easy to use
USB powered
It's a compact controller that can fit in the smallest of DJ setups and is extremely portable

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Equipboard

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We ranked Native Instruments S2 MK2 #12 in September 2021 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best DJ Controllers” rankings.
  • Out of those, 1 expert ranked Native Instruments S2 MK2 as #1.
Critic endorsements:
Music Critic

Pros
Comes with plug-and-play support for hands-on control with iPhone and iPad. Great for mobile DJ use.
High-resolution cueing and scratching. Comes equipped with silicone-damped jog wheels with aluminum top plates.
Can be played with a desktop, laptop, iPhone or iPad.

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Equipboard

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We ranked Numark Party Mix #13 in September 2021 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best DJ Controllers” rankings.
  • Out of those, 1 expert ranked Numark Party Mix as #1.
Critic endorsements:
Consordini

The best beginner DJ controller for around $100

Pros
Optional light show feature.
Pad Mode for extensive looping.
Automatic beat syncing.

Cons
Loading performance pad files can be difficult.
Pitch sliders are not as precise as a deck.
Not ideal for those with epilepsy or other similar issues due to the light show feature.

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MSpot

Best Overall

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We ranked Hercules DJControl Starlight #14 in September 2021 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best DJ Controllers” rankings.
  • Out of those, 1 expert ranked Hercules DJControl Starlight as #1.
Critic endorsements:
LandR

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MSpot

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We ranked Pioneer DDJ-RZ #15 in September 2021 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best DJ Controllers” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Prime Sound

Premium Pick

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DJ Tech Reviews

Pros
Attractive and sturdy build with intuitive layout
Excellent range of high-level features, including Oscillator sampler
Double USB inputs
Rekordbox DJ licensing included

Cons
Huge and heavy, so not great for transport
Only works with Rekordbox DJ

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We ranked Pioneer DDJ-SX3 #16 in September 2021 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best DJ Controllers” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Music Radar

The best Serato DJ controller under £/$1,200

Pros
Jog wheels feel great for their size
Serato Flip and Pitch N’ Time included

Cons
Color FX could get old quickly

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Prime Sound

Best Controller with Case

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We ranked Native Instruments S4 MK2 #17 in September 2021 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best DJ Controllers” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Music Critic

Pros
4-deck product specifically designed to work with TRAKTOR DJ software.
The look, feel and the visual feedback of this unit have been upgraded from previous models.
Plug-and-play, with TRAKTOR DJ for iPhone and iPad.

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Equipboard

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We ranked Gemini G4V #18 in September 2021 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best DJ Controllers” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Prime Sound

Best Value

Pros
Great contender for the best controller for Virtual DJ
It has a solid level of build quality and comes with jog wheels that offer exceptional control.

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MSpot

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We ranked Pioneer DDJ-SR Pro #19 in September 2021 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best DJ Controllers” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Music Critic

Pros
Equipped with 16 performance pads to execute functions like hot cue, slicer, roll, and sampler
Large jog wheels to enhance its scratching and the mixing capabilities
The setup is very simple and is USB operated
Comes with all the features necessary to provide you with quality mixes

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Equipboard

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We ranked Numark Mixtrack Pro 3 #20 in September 2021 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best DJ Controllers” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Consordini

A fantastic all-in-one controller

Pros
Extremely realistic feeling platters with pitch control.
16 pads for launching loops and going between hot cues.
Precision crossfader for seamless mixing.

Cons
Platters don’t move as smoothly as original vinyl records do.
Lack of individual gain control for the decks.

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Equipboard

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