PS4 Controller Charger.
Find the best PlayStation 4 controller charging cable that is truly made for the needs of a PS4 gamer.
A controller charging cable quite simply connects the PS4 controller to the PS4 console’s USB ports, which in turn allow you to charge the controller, sync it to the console and also use it as wired controller.
One might think that any old micro USB cable will do the job of charging up the DualShock 4 controller, but when it comes to gaming not all Micro USB cables are made equal.
In the past electronics (and particularly games consoles) used a variety of cable types to connect and charge, often these cables were proprietary to the product brand. Nowadays many devices utilize Micro USB & USB C due to industry standardisation and laws in different parts of the world.
Sony decided to opt for USB Micro-B for its latest PlayStation console the PS4, moving away from the older USB Mini-B connector standard that was used on the PS3.
Whilst USB C is starting to take over Micro USB is still commonly found on many devices today including the PS4 which is now just over 4 years old and the latest PS4 Pro iteration which has retained the same controller charging port design.
Micro USB is not a terrible technology, but equally it is not the strongest or most durable connector ever made. You do not have to look hard to find comments online in both reviews and forums complaining about PS4 charging cables, typical comments go along the lines of:
“They work great for a few weeks but eventually stop charging”
“The cable that comes with the controller is too short”
“Mini USB is a lot more durable than Micro USB”
“The metal tips on the cables break”
“The Micro USB connectors bend easily”
“Within a couple of months the same problem occurs, they break”
“Doesn't stay in the slot on the controller and keeps slipping / falling out”
Does any of the above sound familiar?
How can a manufacturer go so wrong with what seems like such a simple product?
We feel and understand your pain, if you can relate or you want to try and avoid these issues then keep reading as we explain how a simple charging goes wrong and what makes a good cable.
Making a good quality cable mostly comes down to common sense design and good material choices, but many manufacturers simply offer a generic cable solution which often does not cut it when it comes to gaming.
Cable length, diameter and charging performance.
Unless you are using a portable TV in a small room, then you will probably find that being 1.5 meters away from the TV is simply not far enough away to be comfortable.
Sony do not do a longer version of the 1.5m official PS4 charger cable, with the exception of some officially licensed cables (made by a third party and approved by Sony). You can get a longer cable made by a third party no problem, but as simply as a cable is, there are differences in quality which will affect you particularly when using the cable for gaming.
Generally speaking if you take the same short cable and make it longer without changing any of the specifications then the charging performance will reduce. The battery will take longer to charge, and in some cases it barely charge at all if the cable is longer, unless the manufacturer compensates for this. By increasing the diameter of the cable and the amount of conductive metal strands inside the cable the charge performance can be largely remain unaffected, but many cables on the market are made cheaply with as few materials as possible, resulting in a poor charging performance.
In the industry cables are generally measured in AWG (American wire gauge) with a higher AWG translating to decreasing strands of conductive metal in the cable, and a lower AWG translating to an increased number of metal strands and larger cable diameter.
In simple terms, a longer cable has a greater resistance than a shorter cable unless you compensate for this by using a thicker diameter cable.
Long thin cable = More resistance (higher AWG number) will perform worse as more resistance and power loss over the length of the cable, the power is lost in the form of heat caused by the resistance in the cable, resulting in less power reaching the controller’s battery.
Long thick cable = Less resistance (lower AWG number) improves the charge performance as the additional conductive strands compensate for the longer length and the cable retains most of the charging performance.
A good quality charging lead will charge the PS4 wireless controller in approximately 2 hours.
For more details on the PS4 controller battery and troubleshooting the PS4 controller check out How to charge a PS4 controller - Guides, tips & troubleshooting
Cable and connector durability
If a manufacturer or brand wants to make a something cheaper to manufacture, they can cut corners and use a smaller diameter cable on a long lead as it is cheaper to do so. The consequences of this decision is that the cable will not function as well, and it may not last as long as a cable from a manufacturer that cares and makes sensible choices about the cable diameter etc.
Sensible design decisions can go further to consider who will use the cable and how will it be used, and this part is particularly relevant when it comes to a gaming cable and PS4 gaming.
Common sense can tell you that a micro USB cable used with a game controller will generally suffer more wear, tear and abuse than a micro usb phone charger. Reinforcing the cable at weak spots such as the connector that goes into the controller, and using the best quality Micro USB connector available, all help to improve the durability of a cable.
The Dualshock 4 wireless controller housing shell has a curved back plate and this includes the micro USB charging port, this design can cause a big problem for micro USB cables because micro usb connectors are inherently weak compared to say mini USB used on the PS3. Micro usb connectors come in different quality levels and once plugged into the PS4 controller receptacle are easily bent during use, particularly when playing and charging at the same time. With a weak micro usb connector and no support it takes a minimal amount of wiggling and movement for that connector to become bent whilst connected to the controller or stretched, to the point that you end up with an intermittent cable that you have to hold in order to get a good connection. There are generally two reasons why the micro usb gets bent, the main one is the lack of support and strain relief where the micro usb connector connects into the controller, especially with the curved backplate. The second reason is lower quality copy micro usb connectors from cheaper manufacturers, these are made from weaker materials and will survive less insert cycles and strain.
We can go on to talk about the reinforced area where the cable join the connector or quality of plastic used for the cables outer jacket and so on, but the main issues for PS4 gaming come in the form of the AWG (cable diameter) for charging speed performance, and the quality and design of the micro USB connector that mates into the PS4 controller.
At ZedLabz we believe in continuous improvement of products and our own PS4 charging cable is now version 3, with the current version addressing the issues we have described in this article, including our unique flush fit connector which provides full support and strain relief for the first party highest grade Micro USB connector used in the cable.
Best charging cable for Sony PS4 DualShock 4 regular & Pro controllers.
Best cable for charging speed
Original Sony 1.5m charging cable for PS4
The bottom line is that a shorter cable will usually charge faster than a longer one due to the laws of electricity and resistance, but if you go for a decent quality longer cable the charging speed difference should be very minimal.
Best all round cable
ZedLabz 3m charging cable for PS4
A good all round cable in terms or length, durability and charging performance. Designed specifically for PS4 gaming the cable is probably the most durable PS4 charger on the market right now thanks to some common sense design work. The 3m length is suitable for most situations and will allow you to sit on the sofa, something that you might struggle with if using the original 1.5m cable. The difference in charging performance between the shorter original cable and this longer version is negligible, the average PS4 owner will not notice any real difference in the time it takes to get a full charge, and you can play whilst charging anyway.
Best length cable
ZedLabz ultra 5M charging cable for PS4
All the benefits of the 3m version but even longer at 5m, perfect for sitting back from gigantic TVs. This cable also comes braided which enhances durability f, a cable tidy to keep the cable in order and a handy draw string pouch big enough to store the cable and one controller if needed.