Best DJ Controller for Beginners: An Easy Investment to Make For Your Future 

Written by: Zach Wright

If you’re a beginner DJ, you’re going to need some DJ equipment to get started. Unfortunately, not only is finding equipment a considerable task, but it can also be an expensive one! DJ equipment just isn’t cheap, but it is an investment in your career. However, you can minimize the amount of equipment you need to purchase with a DJ controller. 

DJ controllers are great for beginners just starting out. A DJ controller is a device that connects to your software. Much like a joystick or gamepad controls your gaming device, a DJ controller gives you physical controls to manage your DJ software. 

In this article, we’ll talk about the best DJ controllers for beginners. Then, we’ll talk about the criteria used to choose these controllers and give you a hot tip about our favorite one. Let’s go!

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Best Beginner DJ Controllers Reviewed

Pioneer DJ DDJ-400 2-Deck Rekordbox DJ Controller - Easiest Beginner DJ Controller to Learn On 


  • 2 Channel Mixer Created especially for beginners to learn on
  • Integrates and bundled with Rekordbox DJ software 
  • Includes dedicated cue buttons, Beat FX, CDJ-style looping controls, and more
  • A great precursor to their more advanced DJ Gear 
  • Includes tutorial features to learn how to use the controller, so you aren’t left in the dark
  • The lightweight and portable controller is easy to take to gigs


The DDJ-400 was created for the beginner DJ with easy-to-learn controls and plenty of tutorials to get you started quickly. It has a lightweight and portable design so that you can take it almost anywhere. Since its design is similar to the professional range of DJ controls, you’ll be right at home as you develop your skills and look to expand to the professional models. 

This two-deck controller includes lots of fun features to start your mixing journey. It has a great set of FX, hot cues, looping functions, and sampler options. The basic options on this controller are great for beginners and professionals who need a portable system or a backup controller. It includes a headphone jack for monitoring, mic out, and 1/8 inch output for external speakers. 


This controller is great for the new DJ to learn on and grow with 

Includes plenty of tutorials and software to get you started fast 

The 2 deck controller closely resembles the more professional level of equipment for easy transition as you get better at your craft


You may outgrow this controller quickly, although the price is hard to beat 

Roland Two-channel, Four-deck Serato DJ Controller - Best Beginner DJ Controller for Scratching 


  • Two channels and 4 deck controller made to work with Serato DJ Lite 
  • Includes built-in drum kits to create your own beats 
  • The onboard sequencer can control Serato DJ’s sampler 
  • This rugged and compact design includes handles for portability 
  • Has MIDI output to sync external devices with Serato DJ Tracks 
  • The USB-powered device makes connectivity easy
  • Connects directly with speakers or amplifier via RCA port


The Roland DJ-202 is a compact package that gives you all the same features and layout of a full-sized controller in a small footprint. It gives you the flexibility to DJ, remix, and produce beats live or in the studio. In addition, you can easily apply vocal effects and even clean up any sound issues. 

The Roland DJ-202 has large platters that are optimized for scratching. Don’t forget to use the beat pads to create awesome beats on the fly with Roland’s top-notch drum sounds, too. With the Roland DJ-202 you get a professional quality piece of equipment at a beginner price and in a portable package. 


  • The Roland DJ-202 is portable and compact
  • The larger-sized platters are great for scratching and spinning
  • Roland makes it easy to create beats on the fly


  • This model is expensive compared to other beginner controllers 

Numark DJ2GO2 | Ultra Portable Two-Channel DJ Controller for Serato DJ - Most Portable Beginner DJ Controller 


  • This is an extremely portable and compact 2-channel controller 
  • USB connections will work with both MAC and PC 
  • MIDI mapping works for other DJ software, so you aren’t tied to just one piece of software
  • This controller features two decks with crossfader, pitch faders, and jog wheels 
  • You can stream millions of tracks through the controller using Serato DJ Lite and SoundCloud 


The Numark DJ2GO2 is an ultra-portable miniature-sized controller that goes wherever you do. This controller includes a built-in sound card with plug-and-play connectivity. In spite of its small size, it is packed with features, including two jog wheels, sync/cue/play buttons, and a crossfader. It also boasts four responsive performance pads for dropping beats. Don’t forget you can also use them for cue points, looping, and cueing with the onboard headphone jack. This little controller fits right on top of your laptop so that you can save space. 

It doesn’t matter if you are a DJ newbie or just getting going. The DJ2GO2 is great for learning your DJ skills and taking them on the go. 


  • This is a highly portable and small controller
  • It has enough features for more advanced DJs, too 
  • Great for new DJs learning skills or as a backup for more experienced DJs
  • Includes programmable pads, knobs, and faders
  • Features a built-in sound card 


  • The DJ2GO2 does not include EQ 
  • It cannot scratch while music is playing 

Hercules DJControl Inpulse 200 Compact DJ Controller - Best Beginner DJ Controller for Small Budgets 


  • The controller was designed for new DJs and professionals both 
  • It has an intuitive and compact design that integrates easily with the included DJUCED DJ software 
  • It includes tutorials and help videos 
  • It also includes touch-sensitive jog-wheels for vinyl-style cueing, pitch bend, and browsing tracks 
  • Through the included software, the controller can suggest suitable tracks to liven up your mixes
  • Includes Beatmatch Tempo Guides and light cues to help you transition smoothly between songs 


If you are a beginner DJ, the Hercules DJControl Impulse 200 may help you learn how to mix and scratch with its built-in light guides and Intelligent Music Assistant. Spend time studying the DJ Academy with step-by-step directions and tutorials to help you learn. 

The Inpulse 200 offers a two-deck layout and includes touch-sensitive job wheels so you can imitate vinyl cueing, track browsing, or use it for pitch bend. You’ll find a 2-band EQ for each deck, along with gain control and a level fader. The two-channel mixer sits between decks along with the crossfader for mixing tracks smoothly. This controller also includes eight performance pads and four control modes for more flexibility.


  • This controller has a great price point if you are budget-conscious 
  • This controller is intuitive and well laid out for beginners who are learning the craft 
  • It has a symmetrical and balanced layout which is esthetically pleasing for the DJ and guests
  • It is very compact and portable 


  • The only outputs are one RCA and one 3.5-inch headphone jack 

Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol S2 MK3 - Best DJ Controller for Beginners Looking to Grow 


  • This controller has two decks with easy-to-use tools 
  • It includes looping, beat syncing, and other high-end effects
  • Includes Mixer FX, Hotcues, and loop controls 
  • Works seamlessly with the included Traktor Pro 3 (the United States only) 
  • This controller is portable and compact to take it on the go easily 
  • Uses USB power for easy connectivity


This beginner DJ controller has it all, so you can make your transitions amazing. It includes one-touch control. You’ve got reverbs, dubby delay, and a smooth filter. Don’t forget to try the eight club-grade effects and filters to make your tunes pop. 

The large jog wheels make it easy to spin, scratch, and scroll your favorite mixes. Use loops and samples to edit and re-edit and even assign them to light-up pads. In addition, you can browse tracks and adjust beat grids, so your music is nonstop. 


  • Includes Traktor Pro 3 for a cost-effective controller package
  • A portable and compact controller is easy to take to gigs 
  • You can easily spin, scratch, and scroll with the oversized jog wheels 


  • This controller does not contain onboard effects, although you can map other controls to manage software effects 

Criteria for Choosing the Best DJ Controllers for Beginners 

Music mixing software can be managed with a keyboard and mouse, but it isn’t easy to create great mixes this way. So instead, a DJ controller acts as a physical interface between you and the software to make it easier to control your software and gives you a tactile interface, much like a gamepad or game controller. 

DJ controllers are pretty simple. First, you attach it to your laptop via USB or Bluetooth. This enables you to control the software on your laptop so you can mix and edit your tunes, add effects, and even create drum beats. Next, you’ll find a variety of knobs, wheels, faders, and pads that you can assign to different functions. For example, you’ll probably find dedicated start/stop buttons and jog wheels that you can use to start, stop, scratch, or adjust the beats of the music. 

If you find the right DJ controller, you can get started as a DJ with minimal equipment. But if you’re new to DJing, it might be hard to figure out what features you need the most. So let’s take a look at some of the criteria we used to consider the best DJ controllers for beginners. 


You’re probably not going to be DJing from home, so you’ll need an easily portable controller. The controllers on this list are all lightweight and easy to carry. Some even have handles that make it even easier to take them with you. Smaller controllers may not have room for as many features, though, so you’ll need to decide if the size or features are more important to you. 

Compatible Software 

DJ controllers don’t work on their own. Instead, they need to be used in conjunction with DJ software. Most of these controllers come standard with their own DJ software, such as Rekordbox or Serato. The software handles all of the effects, organizes your library of tunes, and acts as a digital version of what was once done on vinyl records.

It isn’t unusual for a controller to come with the light version of a DJ software program. This is fine for beginners and will help you get started learning how to be a DJ. But over time, you might find that you need more flexibility and more features from the software, so keep that in mind as you choose which controller fits your needs, since you aren’t just buying a controller but the software package as well. 

If you have a software version that you prefer, you’ll want to keep that in mind when you choose your controller because some only work with specific software. On the other hand, if you are going to expand into professional gig work, you might want to consider what software the club or gig will need and choose the corresponding software, even if it is the light version. 


Some controllers will have dedicated buttons for cueing or to start/stop. But you’ll probably want to have some controls, knobs, or jog wheels that you can fully customize to suit your style and music needs. 


Here are some of the features you might find on your controller:

  • Tempo Fader. This changes the speed of the song – you can speed it up or slow it down to transition to the next track. 
  • FX Section Control 
  • Sync Button. The Sync Button immediately matches the BPM of one track to another to facilitate the transition. 
  • Sampler Buttons. Sampler buttons have preset functions and are velocity-sensitive. They may play drums, be mapped to MIDI, or apply effects.
  • The Platter. The platter has vinyl mode and slip mode. Slip mode is used to adjust how fast the track is playing. In vinyl mode, you can use the platter like you would a vinyl turntable.
  • Drum Pads can trigger loops, cue points, FX, or act as drums. 
  • Play and Pause buttons. These will start and stop the music.
  • Cue buttons. Cue buttons can be used to change the start location of a track or switch a deck to headphones. 
  • EQ Knobs and Faders These control your music's highs, mids, and lows. 
  • Isolater EQ boosts or cuts specific frequencies. 
  • Crossfader. The crossfader can be used to blend two tracks together
  • Jog wheel. The jog wheel can be used like the platter to change the tempo of a song or scratch. 
  • Volume faders. These adjust the volume of each channel. 


Of course, everyone has their own budget they need to stick to. Beginner controllers are typically reasonably priced, but some are cheaper than others. So you’ll need to find the one that works best for your budget. 

Our Pick for the Best Beginner DJ Controller 

When you’re just getting started with DJing, you really need a good piece of equipment to learn on. You want just enough features to practice with but not too many, so you don’t get overwhelmed. On the other hand, you need flexibility but also ease of use. 

The tutorials that come with some of the controllers in our list are very helpful for newbies, but in spite of that, we chose the Numark DJ2GO2 | Ultra Portable Two-Channel DJ Controller for Serato DJ

We chose this controller because it is easily portable and highly compact. This means you can toss it in your laptop bag or backpack and take it with you anywhere – so you can practice in front of your friends and family. 

It has plenty of features for its small size, so don’t be discouraged thinking it won’t get the job. It has two decks with crossfader, pitch faders, and jog wheels so you can spin or scratch. 

We also love the MIDI mapping features on this device so that you can use it with other types of software. Of course, you can easily connect to Serato DJ Lite and stream millions of tracks, which is another bonus. 

Best yet, the DJ2GO2 has its own sound card with plug-and-play connectivity, so it is easy to set up and easy to send your tunes where you want them. 

It doesn’t matter if you’re a seasoned pro or just getting started. This is a great little controller to have at your disposal. And the price is great, too, so even if you outgrow it soon, it will be worth the investment. 

Written By:
Zach has a vast experience in digital audio and sound design. Being a studio owner for 13 years, he actively helps musicians and producers with technical issues around musical instruments and studio and audio equipment.

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