12 Best Serato DJ Controllers For 2022

Phil Morse | Read time: 6 mins
Dj Gear Serato DJ controllers
Last updated 20 October, 2021

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Serato DJ is one of the most popular laptop DJ programs, and a good choice if you’re a DJ who plays hip-hop, open-format sets, who wants to scratch… but it’s equally at home with house and electronic music, too.

When it comes to what DJ controller you should use with Serato, you’re spoilt for choice, as there is plenty of gear out there made specially for this software.

Become a Serato Ninja – get the course: Serato Made Easy

All Serato DJ gear is licensed by the company, so any controller you buy that works with Serato is going to work well – there will be no difficulty setting up or using it.

In this article, we’ll look at our current favourite Serato DJ controllers, across a number of manufacturers. We’ll tell you why we like each one, and who we think it’d suit the best. They’re not all “new for 2022” (indeed, most aren’t totally new) – rather, they’re the best that’s available right now.

Contents

Why should I trust you?

There are many lists of controllers out there, and if you’ve been searching for info on Serato controllers, this may not be the first article you’ve come across. So why should you trust us?

Basically, because we are actually DJs. Our company, Digital DJ Tips, is the leading DJ school in the world. We have hands-on experience with all of these units, and we’ve actually reviewed them properly (we link to our reviews below).

Also, we don’t take a penny from any of these manufacturers. We are 100% independent, funded totally by our students. so you can trust that we’ll tell it how it is.

12 Best Serato DJ Controllers For 2022

We’ve put these in price order, from highest to lowest – that doesn’t necessarily indicate “best to worst” though so read the reviews to decide what suits your purposes the best – we recommend them all.

Denon DJ Prime 4


Really, this is the flagship DJ console in the Engine DJ system, a standalone (ie no laptop needed) way of DJing – but by making it compatible with Serato too, Denon DJ opened up another intriguing use for it.

✅ Well-built, attractive, imposing professional DJ systems
✅ Big central touchscreen for good feedback from the software
❌ Not specifically designed for Serato, so controls labelling is not all accurate
❌ Because it’s designed as a standalone DJ system, it’s an expensive purchase if all you want to do with it is DJ with Serato on a laptop

Price: $1899 / £1649 / €1778
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Full review: Denon DJ Prime 4 Review
Buy now: Amazon


Rane One


A scratch DJ’s dream, this is a heavyweight controller that is too bulky to tuck under your arm and move easily – but that is the closest you’ll ever get to the feel of using turntables in a DJ controller.

✅ Unique motorised platter Serato DJ controller, that feels just like using mini turntables
✅ Exceptional Rane build quality
❌ Only two channels – great for scratch DJs, but some may wish for four

Price: $1599 / £1299 / €1499
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Full review: Rane One Review
Buy now: Amazon


Pioneer DJ DDJ-1000SRT


If you want a Serato DJ controller that you can happily use in pro situations, and that looks pretty similar to club gear, this is it.

✅ Club-style layout
✅ All the pro features you’ll likely need, including standalone mixer
❌ Phono channels iffy
❌ Auto looping layout is fiddly

Price: $1349 / £1339 / €1499
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Full review: Pioneer DJ DDJ-1000SRT Review
Buy now: Official website


Other ways to DJ with Serato

While a full 75% of our students here at Digital DJ Tips use controllers, it’s by no means the only way to DJ, and by no means the only way you can DJ with Serato.

Pro DJs who use Serato in clubs often plug into those club set-ups (invariably made by Pioneer DJ), and use the club gear to control Serato on their laptops, which essentially turns the club equipment into a huge DJ controller.

But it is also possible to DJ with Serato on any gear – any old CD players or turntables – using a DVS (“Digital Vinyl System”), for which you would typically use special records or CDs to feed computer code to the software to control your music, and an interface box or special mixer to plug the computer in.

Learn to DJ with ANY gear: The Complete DJ Course

And finally, you can DJ with just your laptop, using keyboard shortcuts, with a paid-for Expansion Pack for Serato called “Serato Play” – good if you want to be able to practise DJ sets with just your laptop perched on your knees, for instance.

Roland DJ-707M

In many ways, this is the controller for DJs who really know – it may not look flashy, but it is the best specified device on this whole list, and as such, would particularly suit the working DJ looking for something easy to transport.

✅ Utterly professional DJ controller, with all the inputs, outputs and advanced features you could possibly want
✅ Lots of unique functions, including EQ and compression over the master out, and a “zone” to play a playlist to one room while DJing in another
❌ Relatively small size may make using it fiddly for some

Price: $999 / £749 / €839
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Full review: Roland DJ-707M Review
Buy now: Amazon


Pioneer DJ DDJ-FLX6


For home DJing and learning the ropes, you get a lot of features here – although its insides are really very similar to something like the DDJ-SB3, meaning this could be seen as quite expensive for what you get.

✅ Full-sized design, including excellent pro-style jogwheels
✅ Looks like pro controllers
❌ Lacking many of the features of semi-pro and pro controllers
❌ Only comes with Serato DJ Lite, and anyway works best with Rekordbox DJ (full version included)

Price: $599 / £539 / €579
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️
Full review: Pioneer DJ DDJ-FLX6 Review
Buy now: Amazon


Reloop Ready


Designed by our very own DJ Angelo, the Reloop Ready is the controller Angelo wished he could have to throw in his bag when on club tours, offering unprecedented control over Serato for such a device.

✅ A controller no bigger than a 13” laptop, but with pretty much every pro software control on it
✅ A unique tool for set preparation for touring DJs, and also ultra-lightweight DJ set-ups (eg for livestreaming on the road)
❌ Only has two-band EQ
❌ Expensive for what it is

Price: $349 / £249 / €279
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️
Full review: Reloop Ready Review
Buy now: Official website


Hercules DJ Control Inpulse 500


Hercules has always produced quirky controllers, and this one does have its quirks, including a tool to help you beatmix using arrow lights. It’s a great value choice if you want a bigger-sized entry-level controller.

✅ Looks great, and feels substantial with its built-in feet
✅ Lots of inputs and outputs that you wouldn’t necessarily expect for this price
❌ Limited FX control
❌ LEDs very dim (an issue for DJing in the daytime)

Price: $299 / £269 / €272
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Full review: Hercules DJ Control Inpulse 500 Review
Buy now: Amazon


Serato DJ Pro vs Serato DJ Lite

The cheaper controllers in this roundup come with Serato DJ Lite, a stripped-down version of Serato’s software. Serato wants you to upgrade to Serato DJ Pro, and if you get serious about your DJing, you will indeed want to – just trust us on that.

It’ll cost you $99 to upgrade (although they have occasional offers), so do bear in mind that “hidden” cost when pricing up and comparing the various systems here – we’ve marked every controller that comes with Serato DJ Lite clearly in this round-up.

Numark Mixtrack Platinum FX

Mixtrack Platinum FX Review
An immensely popular model of controller over the years, the Mixtrack series has come to define entry-level DJing for many – and this (and its sister, the two-deck, display-less Mixtrack Pro FX) are the best incarnations yet.

✅ Well-built controller with a mature design, looks pricier than it is
✅ Useful displays in the jogwheels, and scratch DJ-friendly paddle FX
✅ Everything the average amateur DJ would need, even (fiddly) control over decks three and four of the software
❌ Only four “true” performance pads per deck, not the more pro eight
❌ Comes with Serato DJ Lite – you’d need to pay for an upgrade if you want the full software

Price: $279 / £219 / €249
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Full review: Numark Mixtrack Platinum FX Review
Buy now: Amazon


Pioneer DJ DDJ-SB3


The archetypal beginner’s controller, and the oldest controller in this round-up – but still a good choice for anyone just getting started with Serato DJing.

✅ Proven entry-level Serato controller from the leading brand
✅ Has a unique “Jazzy Jeff” button endorsed by the man himself, to help you understand and get started with scratching
❌ A relatively old controller, and layout is looking old-fashioned
❌ Only comes with Serato DJ Lite – factor in the upgrade price

Price: $249 / £249 / €279
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Full review: Pioneer DJ DDJ-SB3 Review
Buy now: Amazon


Numark Party Mix Live

A quirky, fun controller (actually, a brace of controllers with its sister version, the speaker-less Party Mix II), that will suit kids and home parties.

✅ Unique entry-level controller with a built-in, half-decent speaker system and light show for parties at home
✅ You get a lot for your money
❌ Only comes with Serato DJ Lite – factor in the upgrade price
❌ Very basic feature set, so only for the super-casual DJ

Price: $180 / £125 / €140
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️
Full review: Numark Party Mix Live Review
Buy now: Amazon


Pro vs Consumer?

We’ve listed every type of device here, from the lowliest to the best money can buy.

The truth is you could DJ in a club on any of these and get away with it – some may raise eyebrows, but technically it’s possible. However, pro controllers (and you can tell by the cost), tend to have features that make them better suited for those making a living from DJing.

These include better build quality, better sound quality, pro inputs (decent mic channels, inputs for turntables and CDJs), extra laptop inputs (for easy DJ switchovers), pro audio outputs (so you can run high quality audio to a PA system as well as your own speakers), and more.

Want help choosing gear? Grab your free PDF: The Digital DJ Gear Buyer’s Guide

If you’re just starting out, you should get a consumer controller. All pro DJs should carry a back-up device; that’s what your first purchase will become if and when you get more “pro” yourself, and upgrade to something better.


Hercules DJControl Starlight


One of a brace of tiny controllers in this list, the other being the similar Numark DJ2GO2, and a fantastic little device to let you DJ where normal controllers can’t go.

✅ Impossibly tiny, cute controller
✅ You can actually scratch on its tiny jogwheels
✅ Bass EQ and filter controls – making transitions sound surprisingly good
❌ Only good as a secondary / backup device – too small to use as an “only” controller
❌ Comes with Serato DJ Lite – you’d need to pay for an upgrade if you want the full software

Price: $99 / £69 / €74
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️
Full review: Hercules DJControl Starlight Review
Buy now: Amazon


Numark DJ2GO2


Numark started this “ultra tiny” DJ controller thing, with the original DJ2GO. This one improves on it by adding touch-sensitive jogwheels.

✅ A tiny, cute controller
✅ You can actually scratch on its tiny jogwheels
❌ No EQ controls at all
❌ Only good as a secondary / backup device – too small to use as an “only” controller
❌ Comes with Serato DJ Lite – you’d need to pay for an upgrade if you want the full software

Price: $79 / £69 / €69
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️
Full review: Numark DJ2GO2 Review
Buy now: Amazon


Finally…

In this article, we’ve looked at pretty much all the current Serato DJ controller we recommend to our students. There’s no such thing as a “best” controller, because as you’ve seen, they are often very different from each other.

Become a Serato Ninja: Serato Made Easy

The best thing to do is list your needs, be honest about where you’re at in your DJing and what you really need (against what you vaguely want), and choose accordingly.

You’ll also, of course, need to see what’s available where you live and at what price, which will probably narrow your choice down even further.

Click through to our reviews and review videos from the links above, and feel free to ask any questions in the comments below. Happy hunting!

Read this next: 7 Extras & Accessories Every New DJ Needs

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