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How Dirty Are Your Gaming Controllers?

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The debate rages on about which current gaming controllers are the best. PlayStation and
Xbox have both been perfecting a formula they’ve each stuck with for two decades, while
Nintendo continues to innovate and change the game – pardon the pun.

While people will debate over and over again about which controller from the ‘big three’ is
the most comfortable, responsive, and feature-packed, there’s one aspect that doesn’t
receive the same level of scrutiny: cleanliness levels.

However, that has now changed. Researchers at Betway have analyzed controllers for
PlayStation, Xbox, and the Switch and revealed the levels of bacteria on each one. Are you
ready to find out which controller is the dirtiest on average? Read on for the disgusting truth!


Starting off with Sony’s gaming behemoth, the controller for the PlayStation is sadly the
dirtiest of the three in general.

This is particularly the case when it comes to the buttons and joysticks. Research revealed
the median colony-forming bacteria units for these parts of the controller was a staggering
190. To put it into perspective, the average toilet seat comes in at 30 units. The good news
is the handles and triggers come in with a better score of 73 and 33 bacteria units,
respectively – although that still means they’re dirtier than a toilet seat!

Just remember these are the median figures. Going back to the buttons and joysticks, the
worst of the PlayStation controller sample set clocked in at 650 units. This is more than twice
the number of bacteria you’d tend to find on a kitchen surface.


Even though the Xbox controller generally does better than its Sony counterpart, the results
are still far from encouraging.

The buttons and joysticks, for instance, featured a median of 63 bacteria units. This is a
considerable drop from PlayStation’s 190 units. Yet, the handles of the Xbox controller came
in at a higher number in comparison, with this aspect scoring 83 bacteria units. The triggers,
however, were a different story in the opposite direction – these came in with a surprisingly
low 15 bacteria units.

Even though Xbox won against PlayStation in the battle of the medians, it doesn’t mean the
controller is impervious from being the dirtier of the two. This is evidenced by the worst
controller that was included in the test. On this particular controller’s buttons, there were
5,614 bacteria units. That’s right – that means the buttons were over 185 times dirtier than
the average toilet seat!

Nintendo Switch

Discussions often center on Xbox vs PlayStation, but don’t forget the Nintendo Switch in this
contest of cleanliness.

Fortunately for Nintendo fans, the Switch Joy-Cons are closer to the cleaner Xbox controller
than PlayStation’s offering. The buttons and joysticks of the Joy-Cons were found to have 63
bacteria units – the same as Xbox – while the handles were the best of the three with a
relatively low 55 bacteria units. You might want to give your Joy-Con triggers an extra clean,
however, as these were also 55 bacteria units, which is higher than both PlayStation and
Xbox controllers combined.

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