So much has changed about the way we play video games over the last few decades. Some people love to sit down alone and play their favorite RPGs, while others turn gaming into a family affair and gather around a classic console with their loved ones. Some like a big gaming system with all of the bells and whistles, while others like to keep it simple with a handheld system that they can pull out anywhere they go. No matter what your tastes are, you'll find something here on this list of the 10 best gaming consoles.
Best Overall: PlayStation 4 Pro
From new consoles to the old classics, everyone has a preference, but it's hard not to get excited about the PlayStation 4 Pro. It's at the top of the pack with its HDR technology, extreme power, 4K TV options and amazing graphics. It's big, bulky and a little on the expensive side, but reviewers have fallen in love. Many claim the experience is so realistic that it's hard to avoid spending hours a day gaming.
Best Value: Xbox One S
If you opt out of the bundles, you can get the Xbox One S for less than half the price of the PlayStation 4 Pro. The console is disc-free and 100% digital, so you can access your games on any Xbox One device. Reviewers give the console high ratings across the board, and it's especially popular with PC gamers who wanted to try something new. It's also popular with reviewers who were looking for a good deal and a game console that wouldn't break the bank.
Best Portable Console: Nintendo Switch
The Nintendo Switch is one of the hottest consoles on the market right now, and much of that has to do with its portability. Unlike the PlayStation 4, you can dock it to your TV and play it like an old-school Nintendo, or you can charge it up and play it like a handheld. Reviewers love the long-lasting battery life as well as the variety of games available — there’s something for every family member. They also enjoy the console's graphics.
Best Handheld Console: Nintendo Switch Lite
If you're looking for a true handheld — and something a little cheaper than the original Switch — consider the Nintendo Switch Lite. It's great for buyers who prefer single-player games, and it's compatible with many original Switch games. Reviewers report that they bought the Switch Lite for their kids but found themselves becoming addicted to its exciting games. They also report that the screen quality is amazing, and most games play smoothly without any issues.
Best Bundle: Xbox One S Two Controller Bundle
There are so many bundles available these days that it can be hard to figure out which one is truly a good deal. Look no further than the Xbox One S Two Controller Bundle. Not only does it come with two wireless controllers, but it also has a one-month trial of Xbox Game Pass and a 14-day trial of Xbox Live Gold. It also comes with entertainment apps, like ESPN, Netflix, HBO Go, YouTube and Hulu. Users love the easy setup, awesome graphics and audio and the fact that they can play games with people on PCs, mobile devices and other Xbox consoles.
Best for Casual Gamers: PlayStation 4 Slim
If you don't need all the bells and whistles that the PlayStation 4 Pro offers, consider the PlayStation 4 Slim. While it doesn't offer 4K video streaming, it's less expensive, doesn't take up as much space and is also quieter than the Pro. Available on its own or bundled with games, it offers vibrant HDR graphics, exclusive games you won't find on any other console and easy connectability to other players. Reviewers enjoy the abundance of games available as well as the inexpensive price.
Best Console for Kids: Nintendo Wii U Console
While Nintendo doesn't make the Nintendo Wii U Console anymore, you can still buy refurbished models on sites like Amazon. It remains a favorite for all family members, especially kids. Games like Super Smash Bros. and Mario Kart 8 will keep your kids engaged for hours. It's also compatible with most games from the original Wii if you still have those. Reviewers love the picture, audio, motion-control system and the variety of games available.
Best Console for the Whole Family: Nintendo Wii
Speaking of the original Nintendo Wii, while it's no longer manufactured, it remains a fan favorite. Sites like Amazon offer refurbished models for a fairly low price. Just go onto any Nintendo Switch message board and see that kids and adults alike are begging the company to make Wii games for the Switch. That remains one of the biggest appeals of the original Wii — the variety of games available. There's truly something for the whole family, whether you're looking for a workout or a fun game to play with friends. Reviewers maintain that it's the best Nintendo console.
Best Console for Your Next Road Trip: Nintendo 2DS XL
Want to keep your kids occupied on your next road trip? Get them the Nintendo 2DS XL. You can only get it refurbished these days, but reviewers maintain that it's still better than the 3DS and one of the best handheld games ever sold. It's fast and lightweight and has a decent battery life, making it a great gadget to take on the road. Unlike the Switch Lite, which requires a Wi-Fi connection, the 2DS XL is something you can literally play anywhere.
Best Old-School Gaming Experience: Super NES Classic
If you grew up in the 1990s, you probably fell in love with the Super NES Classic. Thankfully, Nintendo recognized how nostalgic Millennials were for the old console, and the company created a modern version. It's a little smaller, but it comes loaded with about 21 classic games. There's no need to set up or download anything; just plug it in and start playing. Reviewers love reliving their own childhoods — and the inexpensive price.