Are you an aspiring DJ? Or perhaps the go-to person for music whenever there’s a party somewhere? You know that you are born to mix and match music; the signs have always been there.
The only problem is, you’re missing an instrument. Whether you are a novice or someone with a bit of experience in the world of DJ-ing, having a reliable and good-quality DJ controller is a must.
Chances are, you’ve already been lurking around the web for months, searching for the best DJ controllers in the market today. But as we all know these digital music instruments don’t come cheap.
High-end DJ controllers may look super cool and a lot of fun to mix and scratch with, but one look at the price tag and you could end up with a heart attack. A lot of people seem to be under the impression that pricier DJ controllers are the only solution to become pro.
This is probably one of the reasons why a lot of people put a hold on their DJ-ing dreams. But believe it or not, cheaper DJ controllers may sometimes be the better companion in your journey of becoming a pro.
The only problem is knowing how to choose the right ones. Lucky for you, we’ve got you covered with a roundup of our fave DJ controllers. Below is a list of the best DJ controllers under $300 – a budget-friendly price range that can still provide a good quality controller.
Top 10 Best DJ Controllers Under $300
On the hunt for a beginner-friendly DJ controller but not satisfied with the features most entry-level options have? The Pioneer DJ DDJ-SB3 DJ Controller has everything you need and more.
You have all the effects, all the buttons and sliders you need in a smart and intuitive layout. Plus, you get a Pad Scratch so you can easily add scratch effects to currently playing songs and songs in queue. You also have the FX Fade feature that allows users to smoothly blend tracks even if the songs have clashing genres!
And if that isn’t enough for you, here’s one of the reasons why the DDJ-SB3 is my favorite: it comes with a Serato sound card which allows you to easily connect to your PC/Mac via USB – no need for an external sound card.
And if you still aren’t satisfied with that, this robust machine also comes with a mic input circuity for crystal clear audio.
- Features an intuitive layout
- Made with durable premium materials
- Sports a portable design
- Comes with easy grab handles
- Comes with features that are useful for advanced DJs and friendly for beginners as well
- Some features may only be used with the Serato software
Numark Mixtrack Pro 3
Who says you can’t go pro with a budget of $300? The Numark Mixtrack Pro 3 is jam-packed with features with the skilled and advanced DJ in mind. This DJ Controller understands how important connectivity is for a DJ and so it had various options for headphones, mics, and PA.
The Mixtrack Pro 3 also had 5-inch capacitive jog wheels, 2-channel mixing capabilities with filter and gain controls for each channel. Plus, it also has a multi-function touch strip and a high-resolution audio output. Basically, everything a pro could ever ask for.
If you’re an experienced DJ looking to purchase a great-quality DJ controller without hurting your wallet, this is your best bet.
- Sports and onboard
- Pro-grade class-compliant audio interface and 2 dedicated headphone outputs
- Comes with features that guarantee easy
- Smooth and seamless blending
- Also comes with the Prime Loops Remix Toolkit
- Serato DJ Intro
- And the Numark Expansions Remix Toolkit
- Does not come with a sound card
- A bit complicated to set up
- There’s a bit of a learning curve
- Fingerprint marks easily on jog wheels
Pioneer DDJ-RB Portable 2-Channel Controller
Looking for a DJ Controller to take on the road with you? The Pioneer DDJ-RB could be your new travel buddy. Lightweight and featuring a super portable design, it seems as if this DJ Controller is built to travel.
It comes with a durable and adjustable laptop stand so that you can easily plug and play this machine via USB. If all you need are the basics for your next road trip, this DJ Controller is a great option.
On the other hand, the DDJ-RB was also created for the novice in mind. It has all the basics covered. This 2-channel controller also comes with the rekordbox dj DJ software to help beginners get started. It also allows users to create sample sequences directly on the hardware by using the Sequence Call buttons.
Personally, I love how this package also comes with headphones – making this set a perfect starter kit for any beginner.
- And comes with the Gearlux laptop stand
- Also comes with the rekordbox dj software and a pair of headphones
- Perfect for first-time users
- Has internal speakers but can also be connected to a wireless speaker or to desktop speakers
- Headphones can be used at the same time
- Sound quality from the headphones and master output could be improved
On the lookout for a practice DJ Controller? Numark has got you covered. The Numark Mixtrack Platinum is one of their newest additions to their DJ Controller catalog. It is a robust 4-deck DJ controller that houses all your DJ-ing needs in a beginner-friendly interface.
First, it has a built-in custom LCD display screen in each 5” capacitive jog wheel – a beautiful addition to an intuitively designed controller. It also has 4-channel mixing capabilities with filter and gain controllers for each channel.
And like the other controllers in the Numark Mixtrack series, the Mixtrack Platinum also has a multi-function touch strip and 24-bit audio output. Personally, if there is one DJ Controller that I would recommend to both newbies and veterans, it would be the Numark Mixtrack Platinum.
I like that it has a lot of features but not too much to the point where beginners might feel overwhelmed.
- Great option for both beginners and advanced DJs
- Comes with a good set of effects and mixing features
- And easy to set up – just plug and play onto your computer
- The software may cause glitches
- Desktop freezes occasionally
Pioneer DJ DDJ-SB2 Portable 2-channel controller
Like its former predecessors, the Pioneer DJ DDJ-SB2 also comes with a wide array of advanced features but with a few amazing additions.
The DDJ-SB2 has been upgraded with 4-deck control and dedicated buttons so that users can switch between channels without the extra hassle. It also has a trim knob and level meters, allowing users to master the input volume. This DJ Controller also has Pad Trans beat effects that can help you take your DJ-ing skills to the next level.
But what attracted me to this DJ Controller is its top and bottom rubber pads; giving users easy access to Hot Cue, Auto Loop, Manual Loop, and Sampler at the top, Play, Sync, Cue, and Shift at the bottom.
Thanks to the placement of these rubber pads, you don’t have to keep looking for the buttons you need. Getting used to this DJ Controller is a breeze.
- Super easy setup
- Not much of a learning curve while getting used to this DJ Controller
- Features an intuitive layout with immediate access to important functions found at the top and bottom rubber pads
- Does not come with the full version of the Serato software
Pioneer Pro DJ Black
Most DJ Controllers come with tons of buttons, sliders, and trackpads, making it difficult for newbies to get used to the machine.
The Pioneer Pro DJ Black aims to reduce the amount of overwhelm by simplifying its design and layout. But make no mistake – just because it looks like it has less stuff on it, doesn’t mean that it does not come with an enviable number of effects.
Like other DJ controllers of the Pioneer DJ brand, this one comes with a free rekordbox dj license key. It also has a host of professional features like Hot Cues, Pad FX, ampler, and loops – all in a super lightweight and compact body.
Apart from the capability to connect to your desktop, I also like how this DJ controller can be used with Pioneer’s own app for iPad.
- Super simple and easy to understand layout
- Perfect for beginners and for practice as well
- Lightweight and portable but comes with professional features advanced DJs would love
- Compatible with Pioneer’s DJ performance app for iPad
- The durability of materials can be improved
Do tons of buttons, sliders, knobs, and rubber pads excite you? If you’re a novice who is not afraid to tackle a more advanced DJ tool, or if you are a master DJ who wants an affordable machine that can keep up with your skills, then the Roland DJ-202 is your new best friend.
This two-channel, 4-deck controller has large platters with the lowest available latency that is best for scratching. It also has built-in drum kits made with legendary Roland technology. It has eight sounds in each TR kit: Bass Drum, Snare Drum, Closed Hat, Open Hat, Tom, Rim, Clap, and Ride.
But personally, I really like this DJ Controller’s 16-step sequencer. Accessible via the performance pads, you can easily program and sync beats and live performances to the Senator library, giving you more freedom and creativity to make more unique transitions and remixes.
- Has a wide array of features
- Ability to control music from a laptop and has a full sequencer and drum sounds
- Professional quality and durability from the Roland brand name
- Not friendly for absolute beginners or for novice learners
Gemini GV Series G2V Professional
The Gemini brand has been around since the 1970s, creating some of the most innovative DJ products in the world today – the G2V being one of them. If you are looking for a no-frills DJ Controller that fits your $300 budget, this DJ Controller may be the option for you.
This 2-channel DJ Controller has 2 physical DJ decks and complete control of 4 virtual software decks. It features 16 multi-function performance pads and has easy-to-use touch controls. But what I love most about this DJ Controller is the fact that it has plenty of outputs – balanced and unbalanced master and booth outputs.
- Lightweight and portable
- Perfect for the mobile DJ
- Compatible with Virtual DJ 8 and a multiple of other DJ software
- Comes with high-resolution platters
- Mix and scratch the feel of real vinyl
- The software is not included with the purchase of this DJ Controller
Pioneer DDJ-WEGO3-K Compact DJ
Looking for a compact DJ Controller but has all the features you need on the go? The Pioneer DDJ-WEGO3-K has everything you need in an easy-to-carry and lightweight body. It’s so travel-friendly it can even fit in your backpack. But just because it fits in your pack doesn’t mean that you can’t mix and scratch a good tune.
The DDJ-WEGO3-K is compatible with Spotify and iTunes, allowing users access to their music library from their iPhone or iPod. But of course, you can still plug this into your desktop if you like.
One of the biggest reasons why this DJ Controller is a winner for me is the fact that it comes with its own sound card. Other bigger and more robust options don’t even have their own! Because this controller has its own sound card, that’s one thing less to purchase.
- Super portable and lightweight
- Fits into your backpack
- Compatible with Spotify and iTunes
- Access songs from your iPhone or iPod
- Virtual DJ Limited Edition software included
- Only comes with the most basic features
- Perfect for an entry-level controller
- But will not stay long with you as you advance your skills
Are you a novice DJ looking for the complete package – a set that will stay with you no matter if you’ve become pro? The Numark Mixtrack Pro DJ Controller is here to stay with you. This DJ Controller is friendly enough to be your first controller but challenging and durable enough to stay with you for the long haul.
The Mixtrack Pro comes with large, touch-sensitive control wheels and audio interface. With just a single USB connection, you can connect the Mixtrack Pro with your desktop. Mix and scratch via the controller’s dual-deck layout and a mixer section.
I also appreciate the fact that the Mixtrack Pro is a MIDI-over-USB controller, making it compatible with all DJ software.
- Compatible with multiple DJ software
- Works with Mac or PC via USB connection
- Easy to set up
- Class-compliant which means that there are no drivers that need installing
- Great as a starter controller
- Not many possibilities or room to grow as a DJ
- Does not come with a sampler
How To Choose The Best DJ Controllers For Under $300
From the outside looking in, DJ controllers may look like an intimidating piece of tech. With buttons in various shapes and sizes, control sliders that manipulate who-knows-what, and not to mention all those DJ terminologies, it’s not hard to understand why many find it so overwhelming to purchase a DJ controller.
But surprisingly, it’s not as difficult as many people think. Sure, you have to be familiar with all those terminologies, but you don’t have to get into the nitty-gritty details to find the best DJ controllers. There are 2 main factors which you need to consider: layout and the list of effects.
With so many buttons and controllers, it’s obviously difficult to keep up with all of them. That said, you’d want a DJ controller that has everything right where you need them. A DJ controller must have an intuitive layout.
The controls should not just be readily available when you need them, but they also need to make sense to you. There’s no right or wrong layout – just a suitable one for you. With that in mind, it is also important to identify what you’d like to achieve with your DJ controller.
Find out what effects you’d like to use. Having a full palette of effects is ideal but starting out, you may not be able to use all of them anyway. It is better to have all the right things you need on your DJ controller than to have a huge list of features that you rarely use anyway.
Choosing the best of the best DJ Controllers under $300 is not an easy feat; there are a lot of pointers to consider, and some controllers even have irresistible features that definitely caught our eye.
But as always, picking one option from our roundup is our duty and responsibility. That said, our choice for the best DJ Controller is the Pioneer DJ DDJ-SB3.
Although not as robust as other options on the list, the DDJ-SB3 has a great balance of features. It’s not tough on beginners, but it gives users the chance to play around with pro features. It’s easy to use, and even easier to bring around with you – an overall perfect choice to any aspiring DJ, no matter their skills or experience level.