The Best DJ Controller Under $200: Our Top 6 Picks

Thanks to the EDM explosion, DJ controllers are now cheaper than ever. Even a small budget can get you access to some surprisingly competent gear. In this guide, we’ll look at some of the most affordable option in the market with our pick of the best DJ controller under $200.

Our Top Pick
Numark MixTrack Pro 3: Mature, professional DJ controller at a fantastic price
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When I first started DJing in my basement as a teenager, buying a DJ controller meant hunting through Craigslist for used, barely functional gear.

That has changed drastically today.

Blame it on the EDM explosion, but DJ controllers have never been cheaper or better. While storied brands like Pioneer still rule the market, extremely competent offerings from brands as diverse as Numark and Behringer and Hercules deliver fantastic performance at affordable prices.

In fact, even if you’re working with an absolute beginner’s budget of say, $200, you can get gear that would put 10-15 year old $1,000+ DJ controllers to shame.

The question is: what’s the best DJ controller under $200 you can buy right now?

I’ve got some answers below.

(Note: Some of these controllers might not fall strictly under the $200 budget limit, but with discounts and deals, you can often hit that mark easily.)

Best Overall

Numark MixTrack Pro 3

Cheap DJ controllers often tend to be gimmicky and poorly built. But the Numark MixTrack Pro 3 exceeds all expectations and offers the performance of DJ controllers priced 4-5x higher. Fantastic jog wheels, robust Serato compatibility, exceptional build quality and plug-and-play ease of use make it a top option for any beginner.

Throw in an affordable price tag, a responsive crossfader, and Numark’s trustworthiness and you have the best DJ controller under $200 you can buy right now.

The Numark Mixtrack Pro 3 is a budget controller that sports a wide variety of features and delivers a solid performance. Some of the key features you will enjoy upon getting this controller include Multi-functional touch strips for quickly scrubbing your tracks, two Channel controllers and three Bands EQ for filtering out low/high frequencies in the tracks, Long-throw Pitch controls for keeping beats in perfect sync, to mention but a few.

That being said, it will please you to know that this USB powered-controller is 100% plug and play and it also has a beginner-friendly layout. All the functions on this controller are carefully-arranged and they are very easy to operate, making it a great choice of controller for aspiring and mobile DJ’s.

Another strong point of the Numark Mixtrack Pro 3 is that it is very simple to set up, not forgetting that it also has a very sleek, robust and wide shape for ease of use.

Overall, if you are looking for the best DJ controllers under $200, the Numark Mixtrack Pro 3 is definitely a go-to area because it delivers real value for money.

What we don’t like

  • Supports only RCA master output
  • Does not have Dry/wet setting for effects

Recommended for: Beginners and mobile DJs looking to buy their first DJ controller.

Pros

  • Super responsive jog wheels
  • Extremely light yet robust
  • High-quality sound output
  • Excellent, Long pitch faders

Cons

  • Only RCA master output is supported
  • Does not come with full software
  • The touch strip is too limited

Best Budget DJ Controller: Hercules DJ Control Impulse 200

Key features:

  • Integrated built-in audio interface and Intelligent Music Assistant
  • Two-deck control with capacitive jog wheels
  • 2x RCA and 3.5mm Headphone Output
  • Compatible with DJUCED software
  • Beatmatch guide and onboard video tutorial
  • Two-channel mixer section with 2-band EQ and filter

The Hercules DJ Control Impulse 200 is again one of the best DJ controllers under $200. It has a two-deck control with capacitive jog wheels and is controlled by DJUCED software. That being said, it will interest you to know that this controller is packed with a wide variety of unique features that will make learning easier for you.

To start with, the controller 5 and built-in tutorials that comes with this deck allows you to learn how to mix in a jiffy while the 8 pads and 8 modes (hot cue, roll, FX, sampler) will help enhance your creativity.

It is worthy to note that this controller is also seasoned with a lot of comprehensive tutorial videos to help you learn the fundamentals of DJing and improve your skills while the light guides on the controller assist you in learning the right moves.

Another important feature in the Hercules DJ Control Impulse 200 is the Intelligent Music Assistant (IMA) which helps you pick the best songs to play. To enjoy this feature, all you need do is to press the assistant button, and it will automatically suggest songs based on what you have playing currently and what songs you have in your DJUCED library.

Having said the above, it is worthy of highlighting that this controller comes in a premium-looking design and the layout is carefully crafted with beginners in mind, making it an ideal deck for those willing to get started with DJing

What we don’t like

iTunes is required to upload to the controller

Recommended for: Beginners and aspiring DJs working on a tight budget who need a full-fledged DJ controller.

Pros

  • Easy-to-control jog wheels, knobs, and faders
  • Premium-looking design
  • Very easy to set up
  • IMA suggests tracks from your library

Cons

  • The manual is not that helpful for a beginner
  • Takes time to be acquainted with all the functions of the controller

Best Performance DJ Controller: Pioneer DJ DDJ-400

Key features:

  • Built-in sound card with plug and play connectivity via USB cable
  • Full 3 band EQ with dedicated high/low pass on each channel
  • Larger pitch faders and the loop buttons
  • Generous Rekordbox DJ license key
  • Extremely lightweight and compact

The Pioneer DDJ-400 might not strictly fit the budget requirement, but it deserves a mention simply because of how good it is, especially given the only slightly higher price tag.

The Pioneer DJ DDJ-400 is an entry-level deck seasoned with contemporary digital DJ controls and performance features found on pricier DDJ controllers. Part of the things that make this deck worthwhile is the fact that it comes with all the key buttons, pads and knobs that will ignite your experience, and this includes full three-band EQs plus dedicated high/low pass on each channel, responsive and touch-capacitive two jog wheels, 8 performance pads per deck, filters volume faders, trim pots, loop buttons, to mention but a few.

Still on the plus side, it will please you to know that the Pioneer DJ DDJ-400 is designed with newbies in mind such that the layout is well arranged and you can easily set up the deck even as a beginner. Also, this DDJ controller Rekordbox DJ license key, which gives you access to the tutorial section where you can quickly learn the basic tutorials you need to develop your skills as a first-time DJ.

More importantly, this deck has an extremely lightweight and portable design, which means you can easily take it along with you almost anywhere you go.

Overall, the Pioneer DJ DDJ-400 is a feature-filled, cheap controller for first-time DJs who wants to learn the basics of DJing, and professional DJs who are in search of a portable deck they can use at their leisure.

What we don’t like

  • Can only apply one effect to one output at once via the hardware
  • Below-average tech support from the manufacturer

Recommended for: First-time and DJs graduating from rank beginner to intermediate level; performance-focused or serious beginners.

Pros

  • Pioneer’s proven quality and performance
  • Larger pitch faders and the loop buttons
  • Fairly responsive pads/platters

Cons

  • It’s a 2 channel controller
  • Dead/Unusable headphone jack
  • Causes distorting audio lag

Best for Portability: Numark DJ2GO2

Key features:

  • Portable two-channel DJ controller for Serato DJ Intro
  • Built-in audio card with headphone cueing for creating a perfect mix
  • Standard midi mapping for use with other popular DJ software
  • Dual-stereo audio interface
  • 1/8 inch Headphone output and 1/8 inch main output
  • Song navigation and channel and master gain control

The Numark DJ2GO2 is an ultra-compact, pocket-sized DJ controller that comes with virtually all the key functions you need to learn the basics of mixing, coupled with some other intriguing features that seasoned professionals may find noteworthy.

The deck comes with a tiny two-channel controller for easy blending and each channel sports a small jog wheel, sync, cue and play/pause buttons, a volume knob, a pitch fader for beatmatching, four auto beat loop buttons(2,4,8,16 beats), and Manual loop(in, out, cancel, reloop).

Additionally, the Numark DJ2GO2 also features four performance pad buttons per deck, all of which have 4 distinctive pad modes, namely Cues [for setting hot cues in Serato DJ], Auto and Manual loop [for setting loop in and loop out points] and Sampler [for triggering sounds from Serato DJ’s sample banks]

Some other interesting controls that come with this ultra-compact controller include crossfader, master and cue volume knobs, dual-stereo audio, headphone output, browse knob, built-in sound card with master gain, all of which makes it one of the Best DJ controller under $200.

Overall, the Numark DJ2GO2 might be your best bet if you are a beginner looking for a decent and affordable controller to start your DJing career. It is also perfect for pro DJs who need a backup for gigs.

What we don’t like

  • You can’t control Serato effects from the controller
  • The jog wheels are not touch-sensitive

Recommended for: Casual DJs and beginners; DJs who want a portable controller to use on the go; experienced DJs who want a second controller for mobile use

Pros

  • Extremely compact
  • Responsive Browsing knob
  • Perfect Crossfader with even curve, easy to blend tunes

Cons

  • Has no EQ controls
  • Extremely small pitch adjustment controls
  • No mic input and split cue

Best for Serato: Gemini Slate-2

Key features:

  • 2-channel mixer with 3-band EQ, each with a dedicated filter control
  • Touch-sensitive and high-resolution jog wheels
  • RCA master outputs and 1/8″ headphone output
  • 8 multi-function RGB pads per deck
  • 1/4″ microphone input with Gain control
  • USB/MIDI software controller with built-in professional 24-bit PC/MAC audio interface

The list of the best DJ controller under $200 would be too shallow without this amazing controller –Gemini Slate-2. Here’s why:

The Gemini Slate-2 Channel Slim Virtual DJ Controller is a compact audio interface fully equipped with RIB backlit pads, a newly designed capacitive jog wheel and an overall familiar layout design that feels comfortable for all DJs from beginners to expert spin stars.

Some of the DJ tools that come handy with this controller include pitch fader, key-lock, and advanced effect controls that make it easier for you to operate. That being said, this controller also sports a wide variety of functions, including the 8 multi-colour pads (per deck) control features such as hot cues, sampler, and on-the-fly auto loops in colour-coded detail. The built-in 2-channel mixer gives you access to the equalizer and dedicated filter controls.

In addition to the above, the stereo master RCA outputs, one 1/8″ headphone output, and one 1/4″ microphone input are located on the left side panel. Also, it includes Serato DJ Intro and is compatible with Serato on PC, and Mac computers. The full 2-channel mixer gives you constant access to the EQ and dedicated filter controls. The fully MIDI mappable and high-resolution controls give the SLATE the ability to easily be adapted for use with any of your favourite DJ applications.

Another thing you will enjoy upon getting the Gemini Slate-2 Channel Slim Virtual DJ Controller is that it comes in a thin but extremely strong enclosure that makes it very durable, as well as quite portable for those long periods on the road.

What we don’t like

  • Small jog wheels and sliders
  • Very short-throw pitch faders

Recommended for: Mobile DJs, Club Installations or those looking for backup gigs; Serato users

Pros

  • Very easy to use, even for beginners
  • Compatible with Serato and has Pre-mapped FX controls for Serato DJ Intro
  • Excellent MIDI mapping functionality
  • Responsive controls with high-resolution 14-bit Midi

Cons

  • Small jog wheels and sliders
  • No gain controls and other related external inputs
  • Very short-throw pitch faders
  • No outlet power

Best for Virtual DJ: Behringer CMD Studio 4a

Key features:

  • Highly integrated 4-deck controller with built-in 4-channel USB audio interface
  • Compatible with popular DJ software including DEX 3 and RED Mobile 3
  • Powerful 4-channel USB audio interface with 24-bit converters and ultra-low latency operation under Windows* and OS X* operating systems
  • Large 6” touch-sensitive high-resolution control platters for precise control
  • Slim tabletop design for ultimate portability
  • Compatible with other BEHRINGER CMD controllers for full expandability

The Behringer CMD STUDIO 4a is a 4-deck and 4-channel (audio interface) feature-rich, table-top style DJ controller equipped with all the standard features you’d love to see in a controller. Being full of useful functionality, the controller is considered by most an entry-level option with a very affordable price.

The Behringer CMD STUDIO 4a comes with all the tools you need to learn the basics of DJing. This is no crippled budget controller; Studio 4A has similar features to what you™ll find on bigger, more expensive controllers. It has lots of LED feedback, a decent built-in audio interface, plenty of hot cues, Industry-standard fader sizes, properly proportioned jog wheels, a built-in sound card, which makes it one of the best DJ controller under $200.

What we don’t like

  • Noticeable jog latency
  • The occasional hiccup of internal soundcard in ASIO mode

Recommended for: Beginners who use VirtualDJ

Pros

  • 4 deck control and 4 Fx banks
  • MIDI-reactive controls and Backlit buttons
  • Long-throw faders for beat matching

Cons

  • Noticeable jog latency
  • RCA out only
  • The occasional hiccup of internal soundcard in ASIO mode
  • No Serato compatibility

Over to You

That wraps up our list of the best DJ controllers under $200. Regardless of your budget or requirements, you should find an option that fits your needs above.

For more recommendations and advice, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Also read:

References:

Changelog
  • November 1, 2019: Article published with 6 reviewed DJ controllers.