Controllers are used in video games for players to input buttons and other commands. Throughout the Super Smash Bros. series, the games have been compatible with many controllers usable for playing.
 Types of controllers
 Nintendo 64 controller
This was the first controller to be used in Super Smash Bros. Due to the fact that only one console is compatible with the controller, the Nintendo 64 controller rarely sees use in tournaments; the resurgence of interest in the original Super Smash Bros. due to emulation also has not caused more interest in the Nintendo 64 controller, as it is difficult to find adapters for the controller, and specific drivers for the adapters can also be difficult to procure.
 GameCube controller
For Melee, this was the only controller one could use.
The GameCube controller can also be used as one of the four options of playing Super Smash Bros. Brawl. This option was made for people accustomed to Melee's controls. The release of Super Smash Bros. for the Virtual Console also added the ability to play the game with the GameCube controller. In addition to a standard wired model, a wireless version was released called the "Wavebird"; though identical in function, it did not have the rumble capabilities of the original GameCube controller due to battery life concerns.
GameCube controllers were discontinued in North America and PAL regions shortly after the release of the Wii; however, Nintendo of America continues to sell the Platinum controller on its website and third party options are available as well. In April 2008, Nintendo released a white GameCube controller exclusive to Japan. This model differs from previous controllers in that it sports a white, 3 meter long cord compared to the black, 2 meter long cable on older controllers. This revision has attained a modest amount of users in the tournament scene, particularly by Japanese players such as Otori, and despite its relative difficulty to procure in the United States, some smashers use it as well, such as Nairo.
Within Brawl tournaments, the GameCube controller is by far the most popular option, due to the still-strong tournament scene of Melee, the high amount of Melee veterans who have since moved to Brawl, and most players having the opinion of the GameCube controller being the best controller for Smash. Additionally, GameCube controllers do not bring the wireless issues the other available controller types bring, do not carry potential battery issues, are overall simpler to manage (other controller types require batteries and additional attachments), and connecting GameCube controllers to a Wii is considerably simpler and faster than syncing Wii remotes.
As the Wii U lacks GameCube controller ports, the controller will not be compatible with Super Smash Bros. 4, and it will not be possible to use them to play Brawl on the Wii U.
 Wii remote
The Wii remote is used on its side, much like an NES controller. In Brawl tournaments, this controller is rarely, if ever used, due to having severe limitations not present in other controllers. Besides having significantly less available buttons and lacking an analog stick to move with, this controller lacks a c-stick equivalent, jumping cannot be relegated to another option other than up on the d-pad (which limits one's aerial mobility and efficiency at performing aerials), up tilts cannot be performed without doing another input previously while holding up on the d-pad (pressing up and attack before jumping will produce an up smash), angling forward tilts and shifting the position of one's shield are impossible, special moves with directional control are harder to maneuver (e.g. Fire Fox, PK Thunder), and it is impossible to perform DACUS.
Due to the Wii U's backward compatibility with Wii games, the Wii Remote and all variations below can be used on the Wii U; while this means that the controllers will be useable with Brawl, it is not yet known if these controllers will be useable in the fourth game.
 Wii remote + Nunchuk
The Nunchuk is inserted into the bottom of the Wii remote for games too complex for the remote alone. Movement is assigned to the Nunchuk's control stick, while A and B button attacks are assigned to the A and B button on the remote and grabbing is performed by pressing A and B together. By default, taunts are assigned to combinations of the 1 and 2 buttons. This controller is commonly referred to as the "Wiichuk", as a simpler name that differentiates it from the Wii remote alone.
The majority of players believe the GameCube controller to be superior to the Wiichuk. Despite this, the Wiichuk has near-equivalent capabilities compared to the GameCube controller. For objective disadvantages, the Wiichuk lacks access to B-sticking and A-sticking, as well as having less available buttons. The Wiichuk does have a couple of advantages however; the ability to assign smash attacks to buttons, rather than assigning them to an analog stick, gives the Wiichuk superior capability to mash out of grabs, and it has access to the unique shake smash.
 Classic Controller
Classic Controllers were initially released for the Wii's Virtual Console, though this later changed when the Wii's library began to grow; a new release of the controller, known as the Classic Controller Pro was also produced, adding "wings" to the controller to assist grip. As the controller connects to the Wii remote, it is wireless in nature.
Despite being near functionally identical to a GameCube controller with an added shoulder button, the Classic controller is not used often in tournaments. Besides most players preferring the design of the GameCube controller (for example, the placement of the left control stick), this can be attributed to the Classic Controller having potential connectivity and interference issues that come with wireless controllers, and that the Classic Controller effectively requires the player to bring along batteries and a Wiimote to use it. It has also been reported that the Classic Controller is less durable than official GameCube controllers, leading to players who use them having to spend more money to obtain more replacement controllers to continue playing optimally. Some players, however, chiefly use the Classic Controller in tournaments, such as Vermanubis.
 In tournament play
Within tournaments, controllers are rarely provided to players; as a result, the phrase BYOC became common, meaning "Bring Your Own Controller". Players are responsible for their own controllers, as tournaments will not replace them or compensate players who lose them.
Within the tournament scene, GameCube controllers are ubiquitous, though a few players are dedicated to using the Wiichuk or Classic Controller.
Due to the wireless nature of Wii Remotes, Wii Remotes are required to have their batteries removed between matches, as they can interfere with other remotes trying to sync to the console, as well as with connecting GameCube controllers; players who do not comply can be disqualified.
 Controller compatibility chart
|SSB (Nintendo 64)||SSBM (Nintendo GameCube)||SSBB (Wii)|
|Nintendo 64 Controller|
|GameCube controller||(VC only)|
|Wii Remote & Nunchuk|
|Classic Controller||(VC only)|
Controllers and buttons
|Nintendo 64 controller|
|Wii Remote (and Nunchuk)||·|