Whether you’re a budding artist or a seasoned mixmaster, this list of 7 DJ controllers will unlock your creative prowess and give you command over the dancefloor.

We’re discussing the 7 best DJ controllers and standalone hardware for DJs to buy. Pioneer DJ, with all of its innovation, is by far the market leader in the DJ performance world, but thanks to innovation from brands like Denon, Native Instruments, and Numark, the market is slowly diversifying its offerings. However, this is a list of the 7 best controllers and, as it stands and Pioneer has a lot of command over this space…

1. Pioneer DDJ FLX10 ($1,599.00)best Pioneer DJ controller

Pioneer DDJ-FLX10. Image Credit: Pioneer

First, we have the market leader’s latest DJ controller: the DDJ FLX10. This is the best DJ controller available right now simply because it’s packed with so many features that I think may define the future of DJ’ing…

The FLX10 offers 4 channels and the controller is compatible with Serato DJ Pro and Rekordbox. Like the DDJ-1000, the predecessor of the FLX10, you’ll have 8 performance pads on each deck with two pages of slots for hot cues, samples, pad effects, and beat jumping. Pioneer has also kept colour FX (filtering, pitching, etc.) and beat FX too. As I result, the FLX10 is easily the best DJ controller for Serato.

However, it’s the all-new Track Separation feature that separates the FLX10 from other controllers. Simply load your tracks onto any of the four channels and use Track Separation to isolate the drums, vocals, or instruments and create remixes live, or isolate a specific part of the track (vocal, drums, or inst) and transfer it to another channel.

Furthermore, you can adjust the level of and mute each of these elements independently, and you can determine which you would like to apply effects to too. You can also adjust what information you see on the new, multi-coloured jog wheels where there are 4 different modes:

  • Deck Info Mode

    Displays information such as the waveform of tracks loaded on the deck, and Pioneer notes that this mode displays the virtual deck of Serato DJ Pro while using this software.
  • Waveform Mode

    Displays zoomed-in waveforms of loaded tracks on 2 decks.
  • Artwork Display

    The default mode of past controllers, Artwork Display presents the artwork for the loaded track on the deck.
  • DJ Logo Display

In addition, another new feature that may change the way we play is the Mix Point Link, Pioneer’s new playback concept whereby you can create musical progressions in your DJ mixes by linking mix points in different tracks in sequence, making the next track play at the right time.

2. Pioneer OPUS-QUAD ($3,200) – best standalone DJ decks

Pioneer OPUS-QUAD. Image Credit: Pioneer

It feels like a sin to have the same brand sitting in the top two slots but Pioneer really does just crush it – they’re the industry standard in Clubs for a reason.

The Pioneer OPUS-QUAD is a 4-channel standalone DJ system with a look that makes it stands out from the crowd. It’s an all-in-one performance unit so you don’t need a laptop to use it, though you can always connect your laptop and use Rekordbox via the USB-C port. The QUAD gives you full-size jog wheels, 8 Hot Cue Buttons, and a colour screen that displays track information and makes navigation super easy.

Features on the OPUS-QUAD are more streamlined than the FLX10 in my opinion. While the FLX10 controller gives you as many features as possible, the OPUS-QUAD is a little more stripped back but packs a meaty punch. For example, it has a new Smart Cue feature which lets you overwrite the current cue position automatically with Hot Cues. As a result, the OPUS-QUAD workflow makes using Hot Cues much more flexible.

Furthermore, import your music from USB, your PC, or an SSD, and you can even pair your smartphone with Bluetooth and import tracks that way! Equally refreshing is the new user interface with its electrostatic touch screen for finding your songs via the keyboard or using Playlist Bank for jumping between playlists.

The new Smart Rotary Selector on the OPUS-QUAD offers is essentially a joystick for navigating left/right and up/down, though it also has 360-degree rotation and push control. All browsing controls sit in a neat arrangement around the selector to make it easy for can to search your collection and load tracks as efficiently as possible.

While the touchscreen is super efficient for navigating between your song files, it also displays track information such as enlarged waveforms, BPM, and so on. You’ll see your cue, hot cue and loop points though the tracks must be analysed in Rekordbox first. See mixer & channel information, BEAT FX information, and see the phrases of your tracks too.

3. Denon DJ Prime 4 ($1899)

Denon DJ Prime 4. Image Credt: Denon

We’re taking a short break from Pioneer gear as we talk about Denon, a brand that has been making waves in the world of DJ controllers in recent years. The DJ Prime 4 is much like the OPUS-QUAD in that it’s a standalone DJ performance system.

Firstly, you can use the Prime 4 as a DJ controller with both Serato DJ Pro and Virtual DJ but not Rekordbox. The unit does offer plug-and-play functionality for up to 4 USB slots & an SD card prepared for Rekordbox though. Alternatively, you can also stream music directly from Beatport LINK, Beatsource LINK, SoundCloud GO+, and TIDAL with a built-in WiFi receiver!

Like the Pioneer products I’ve listed, the Denon Prime 4 has two sets of 8 performance pads with integration in Serato & Virtual DJ software suites. Moreover, its 10.1” multi-gesture touchscreen allows you to see horizontal or vertical waveforms across the four decks; search, select, preview and load your tracks; curate playlists; as well as monitor important parameter information.

You’ll have access to 14 industry FX from Denon’s X1850 club mixer, and you can import more of your music collection with the 2.5” SATA drive bay. Use your collection to stream music into a second room automatically, and use the 2 dedicated TRS mic channels which have their own EQ, level, and echo effects which you can see on the 10.1″ screen.

4. Pioneer DDJ-FLX6-GT ($649)

Pioneer DDJ-FLX6-GT. Image Credit: Pioneer

Up next we have another of Pioneer’s latest releases – yes, another one – the DDJ FLX6. Unlike our first 3 selections, this controller isn’t full-size – but it still packs a punch.

The FLX 6 does offer full-size jog wheels which flex the new graphite colour, metallic texture, and rubberized coating on the outer ring. The controller boasts this new colour scheme with its matt grey body while the graphite jog wheels give the FLX6 a premium look.

While the layout of the controls on the DDJ-FLX6-GT is the same as its predecessor by following the schematic of the CDJ + DJM setup, the FLX6 does offer a number of new features you won’t find anywhere else. For one, the new Jog Cutter feature allows you to apply a professional scratch effect to the Hot Cue or playback position last used.

Then the new Sample Scratch pad mode lets you choose sounds you’ve assigned to the sampler and load them onto any deck. A number of other pad modes include Pad FX 1, Beat Jump, Sampler, Keyboard, Key Shift, and more.

The FLX6 offers 2 headphone ports, RCA master & booth outputs, USB-B connectivity and a ¼” TRS microphone input too. Pioneer has included a number of software percs such as the Serato FX Pack which includes Single & Multi FX modes, and the Serato Pitch ‘n Time DJ Expansion Pack are included too.

5. Numark Mixstream Pro ($499) – best DJ controller under $500 for beginners

Numark Mixstreram Pro. Image Credit: Numark

Next, we have a brand we haven’t spoken about yet – Numark. Its Mixstream Pro 2 deck controller is a great fit for beginners with its simple controls and connectivity, offering a standard 3-band EQ, filter knobs, as well as trim controls.

The beginner DJ controller is pretty small so it’ll fit nicely in a cramped bedroom space. The Mixstream Pro’s jog wheels are 6” in size bearing a Smart Scratch feature which means the music always stays on the beat after you scratch. In fact, the controller offers a couple of smart features, such as onboard Engine Lighting which wirelessly connects to smart lights for beat-synchronized light shows and built-in WiFi with direct access to millions of songs you can stream directly with no laptop required.

Equally cool is the 7” HD touchscreen which makes it easy to navigate your music library and control your music. Meanwhile, onboard high-quality speakers make the need for a laptop redundant while USB and SD Card inputs are available in addition to Wifi streaming. Finally, the FX section gives you 4 effects and 2 toggle switches while a ¼” mic input and balanced XLR and RCA outputs are available.

Ultimately, the Mixstream Pro is a cheap DJ controller for beginners who want to learn the basics of DJing, and its clean and simple interface makes this easy.

6. Pioneer DJ-REV1 Battle and Scratch Controller ($381.62) – best decks for scratching

Pioneer DJ-REV1. Image Credit: RouteNote

Now it’s time to talk about Pioneer… again. They really do have this much clout. This DJ controller, however, is a little different than the others I’ve listed. This battle-style layout features two decks with no additional channels, emulating the layout of a professional DJM-S mixer & PLX turntable setup.

While the Rev1’s jog wheels are the same size as the DDJ-SR2’s, at 60mm the tempo sliders are longer than those on the DDJ-SB3 which means you’ll have more flexibility and control over track speeds. The sliders lie horizontally above the while performance pads sit in the mixer section. This abnormal layout may strike you as odd, but the method in the madness is an intuitive workflow – combine effects, trigger samples, and scratch your tracks all at once.

Moreover, the DJ-REV1 pads offer a selection of modes including Auto Loop, Tracking Scratch, Sampler, Transient (gating), and Scratch Bank. At the same time, you can use the Lever FX to add texture to your mixes by pulling the levers down and holding them which applies effects from Serato DJ Lite in short bursts. Alternatively, you can push them up to lock effects which frees your hands up.

7. Pioneer DJ DDJ-REV7 ($1,999)

Pioneer DJ DDJ-REV7. Image Credit: Pioneer

The DDJ-REV7 DJ controller emulates a DJM-S mixer & PLX turntable setup in the same way the REV1 does, but it also boasts some enhancements and additional features.

Its 7″ motorized jog wheels built to feel as if you’re playing with real records boast a vinyl-like texture for effortless finger grip. Furthermore, you can choose between low & high wheel torques, and the controller provides two slip sheets inside each deck which allow you to find your preferred amount of friction. You can even switch between rotation speeds of 33⅓ or 45rpm at any time, while the “Stop Time” setting make sit easy to adjust how long it takes for the music to end after pressing pause.

REV7 platter breakdown. Image Credit: Pioneer DJ

In the same fashion as the FLX10, the jog wheels also boast 3.5″ LCD screens that can display our DJ logo, album artwork, track waveforms, and it even boasts a Virtual Deck Mode.

The DDJ-REV7 also boasts a total of 22 FX with three new such as Duck Down, Fill Out and Helix Out, all triggerable via the dedicated controls. Like the REV1, the DDJ-REV7 also features effect levers which you can pull down to apply effects from Serato DJ Pro in short bursts or push them up to lock effects on.