Best DJ Controllers Under $300 (Updated Aug 2022)

In recent years, the DJ industry has shifted significantly in a positive way – gear and equipment have become more accessible, more affordable and more powerful.

Of course, the old schoolers still tout that vinyl decks are the only way to practice the art, and then there’s the waves of CDJ users which choose to spend their load on Pioneer decks and mixers.

The way forward? Well, all things considered, it’s probably controllers! They just offer more of everything for the money, not to mention the fact that they make the creative process so much easier and straightforward.

Sure, CDJs are probably still the club standard but even at major clubs like Ministry, top DJs regularly turn up and plug their controllers straight into the system. Also, if you learn to mix on a controller then the skills aren’t completely non-transferable. They’re a good way of getting into DJing of all forms but they’re certainly not limited to entry-level, they’re suited to the very highest level as well.

Here, we’ll assess the best DJ controllers for under $300. It doesn’t seem like a lot of cash when it comes to buying a high-tech bit of kit but you can get some real gems for the money.

NameBundled Software 
Numark Mixtrack Pro 3Serato DJ IntroPRICING
Pioneer DDJ-WeGo4Serato DJ LitePRICING
Traktor Kontrol S2 MK2Traktor Pro 2 with Remix DecksPRICING
Reloop Beatmix 2 MK2Serato DJ LitePRICING

DJ Controller Guide

DJ controllers are all very similar in shape and format but nonetheless, there are some pretty profound differences.

At their core, DJ controllers are MIDI controllers which connect to a laptop or PC via a USB cable. They control software, either Serato DJ, Traktor, RekordBox or less frequently, Virtual DJ.

Each hardware control on the controller (the knobs, faders, jogwheels, etc) are mapped to the software. So, your playlists, cue points, etc, are stored on your laptop – you’re just controlling them with a hardware setup!

Build Quality

For controllers under $300, you’re probably looking at controllers with plastic housings and hardware. Does that matter? Not really. It doesn’t look so great but plastic is more durable in some circumstances as it absorbs shocks and knocks efficiently. Also, plastic is lighter generally making cheaper controllers more portable.


Controllers pretty much always come with the same basic core features: two physical decks and a mixer. The decks contain the usual functions; play/pause buttons, tempo/pitch faders and jog-wheels (which can be used in vinyl or CDJ mode). The mixer contains at least 2 or rotary EQs for low frequencies, mid frequencies and high frequencies as well as volume faders and a crossfader.

Controllers also usually have an effect bank/control panel, trigger pads and other mappable buttons for controlling your software.

Inputs / Outputs

Controllers contain inputs and outputs. The inputs allow for the connection of exterior devices, like other decks.

For example, with some controllers you can connect two more external decks, either vinyl or CDJ, and then run these through your software or straight through the controller’s mixer. This is usually only an option on more expensive decks.

Output wise, every controller will have either an RCA or XLR for connection to speaker systems. These outputs vary in quality. The outputs on more expensive controllers can be significantly better but the general standard is pretty even across the board.


Traktor Pro 01

This is the big one.

Controllers have tons in common but software is where they fork off quite drastically. As mentioned, controllers are exactly that – controllers of DJ software installed on a laptop.

Different controller manufacturers use different software.

All Pioneer controllers use RekordBox.

All Native Instruments controllers use Traktor.

Most other controllers (Denon, Roland, Numark, etc) use Serato DJ.

However…most controllers can be mapped onto software not included by default. E.g. it is possible to map a Native Instruments controller to RekordBox. It’s a tricky process, though, and it’s recommended you pick your controller and side and stick with it.

Each software has its own pros and cons. They fundamentally share most of the same functions, though, and it’s impossible to single one out as the best.

In short, it goes something a little like this:

RekordBox – Pioneer are well known for their generally high-end gear. Expensive Pioneer controllers work either with RekordBox DJ or standalone in the same way as CDJs – you load your tracks onto a memory stick and mix without the requirement of a laptop ‘all-in-one’.

Pioneer’s RekordBox DJ is really powerful, even though it’s only really been around for a couple of years. It isn’t lacking in any feature and it sports a cool and modern interface with extremely efficient layouts and browsers.

Serato DJ – Serato DJ is the most commonly found software in the DJ controller industry. Serato doesn’t manufacture controllers themselves so the software is bundled with controllers manufactured by companies who don’t own their own software, like Roland, Numark and Denon.

Serato DJ was made famous by its vertical waveforms. It’s stuck for nearly a decade now and evidently keeps delivering for pro DJs.

Traktor – Native Instruments use their own software, Traktor. Traktor has been considered the more niche of the 3 competitors. Many suggested that Traktor was ‘dying’ – there had been no update for a few years and Pioneer and Serato DJ sailed by. Traktor’s new version has been eagerly awaited.

The Controllers

Numark Mixtrack Pro 3

Numark Mixtrack Pro 3 01

Numark have built a great reputation with their affordable yet feature-packed DJ controllers. The Mixtrack 3 is one of the later models and it’s pretty cheap, easily weighing in below the $300 threshold.

In terms of build quality, it’s spacious and wide which is awesome if space isn’t a real issue. Its size makes navigating the controls really easy, very beneficial for use in dark rooms where light is at a premium – you don’t want to hit the wrong buttons by accident! It’s made from plastic but it doesn’t look tacky at all – it’s certainly not a toy.

Numark has crammed in enough features to give this controller scope. It delivers the goods in almost every respect – EQ, 100mm tempo faders, metal jog wheels, sample / FX pads and even a touch strip for navigating your music!

For the money, Numark have provided a controller which will get beginner and aspiring DJs off to a flyer and further than that, this controller can do most of the same things a controller double its price can do.

The Numark Mixtrack Pro 3 comes with Serato DJ Lite, which can be upgraded to the full version at an additional cost when you feel you need it.


  • Cheap and powerful
  • Spacious design and layout
  • All the features you need as a beginner or aspiring DJ
  • Serato DJ Lite for out-of-the-box mixing


  • You will probably need to upgrade Serato DJ Lite at some point

Pioneer DDJ-WeGo4

Pioneer DDJ We Go 4 01

To be fair, this funky little controller from Pioneer can’t be classified as an entry or cheap controller. It’s more like a super-compact pro level controller – it’s actually just 38cm long!

You can easily fit this in a decent sized bag for transport on trains, planes or even on your bike. It’s fully featured, in fact, it’s rammed with features, probably even a few too many for beginner DJs!

Pioneer have done their homework here, this portable DJ controller is loaded for on-the-go DJs with features like its PC master out, which enables you to output audio through your PC speakers for the purpose of practicing sets before performance, etc. It also has lots of controls nestled cozily next to its funky jog wheels. You can trigger FX, cues and loops easily and efficiently, alter tempo and control EQ – though it is just a two-band EQ (high and low, no mids).

Pioneer have enabled the DDJ-WeGo4 to be connectable to WeDJ, a DJ software app for iPhone and iPad. That’s pretty awesome for those who aren’t traveling with their laptop. But, for laptop use, it contains a full version of RekordBox DJ anyway!

Pioneer have always been somewhat of an innovator without equal and this little controller proves that the rules are there for breaking – Pioneer redefined the portable controller scene with this device.


  • Awesomely compact
  • PC master out
  • RekordBox and WeDJ software (no additional costs)
  • Enough features to please the pros


  • Faders are miniaturized and there’s only a two-way EQ: high and low only.

Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol S2 MK2

Traktor Kontrol S2 MK2 01

This controller is right on the threshold at $300. It’s Native Instrument’s only controller at this price point, though, so it’s worth including. It’s also worth saying that Native Instruments are certain to release new DJ controllers soon, following the highly anticipated release of Traktor 3.0.

Those points aside, Native Instruments are sure to include a discount upgrade path for previous owners of their Kontrol S series controllers. Please check this though as these events are unfolding in real time!

The Kontrol S series built a cult following as they fit perfectly with those who love the NI brand. NI manufactures other audio gear, like the famous Maschine, as well as other software and plugins. NI released something named ‘STEMS’, which is a music management tool developed for production. STEMs allow producers to build a selection of loops and samples for performance within Traktor.

STEMs never really took off in the way NI expected but they’re still big amongst electronica DJs and scratchers in the hip-hop scene. If you’re a producer who is familiar with STEMs, or like the idea of organizing your tracks into a format that can be reassembled in a DJ set, then look into the Kontrol S2.

The Kontrol S2 is a two-channel controller with four sample buttons and four hot cues, a high quality club-ready 24-bit 96kHz output and it’s all laid out in classic NI style – nice and techy.


  • Perfect for Native Instruments fans or those who know STEMs
  • Traktor 3.0 promises to revitalize the franchise
  • High-quality output
  • Top-class build quality


  • May soon need to upgrade software

Reloop Beatmix 2 MK2 DJ Controller

Reloop Beatmix 2 MK2 01

Here’s a controller that differs from those offered by the big guns. The Reloop Beatmix 2 is very small, a similar size to the Pioneer DDJ-WeGO4. It’s designed with the traveling DJ in mind and like the DDJ-WeGO4, it’s probably a little too small for beginner DJs. This controller does really well to challenge the main manufacturers, though and does so at a remarkably cheap price.

This two-channel controller is crowded in a good way, once you get used to it. It has 16 drum pads for the triggering of FX and samples, a 3-way equalizer (the WeGo4 only has a 2-way) and some rather original metal-topped jog wheels. It comes with Serato DJ Lite for out-of-the-box functionality.

With a 24-bit 48kHz output, this little controller still delivers a hi-res output to even the biggest sound systems. It’s a nifty little controller which suits those looking for a fully featured setup in the smallest package. Yep, it’s pretty crowded and this doesn’t fit everyone’s style but once you’re used to it, it’s almost always beneficial to have a small controller in oppose to a big one.


  • No less than 16 performance pads
  • 3-way EQ
  • High-quality output
  • Very small and light


  • Potentially crowded layout

To Sum Up…

These controllers prove that the price to features ration is improving all the time. None of these controllers can be classed as toys, they’re all pretty much professional bits of kit in their own right.

Sure, these controllers lack extra decks, metal chassis and occasionally, ultra-high quality outputs but they do pack in more than you’d imagine for the money.

If portability is a priority then the Pioneer DDJ-WeGo4 is pretty remarkable. It packs a highly usable design with an innovative layout and best of all, you get a full RekordBox license. The Reloop Beatmix 2 beats the Pioneer WeGo4 in one key way: it has a 3-way EQ instead of a 2-way EQ. Both are awesome controllers.

The Traktor Kontrol S2 suits Native Instruments or Traktor fans, and there are definitely some left out there. Who knows what resurgence Native Instruments will see with the release of Traktor 3.0, we’ll have to wait to find out!

Last but never least, the Numark Mixtrack Pro 3 provides exceptional value. It’s slightly bigger which is either a positive or negative depending on your requirements. In any case, for the money, its features are pretty awesome.

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