Extend your controller’s lifespan in style

The Good

  • Easy to “install”
  • Increased grip.
  • No sweaty thumbs.

The Bad

  • Doesn’t necessarily improve gaming performance.

Over the course of my 20-year history within the order of gamerhood, I’ve tried my fair share of gaming accessories – remember GameShark, the giant N64 rumble pack, or the GameBoy Camera? Good times. HC GamerLife’s thumbstick grips might not be a retro revolution, but these little do-dads get the job done and then some.

Variety is the Spice of Life

Available in a variety of different flavors – close combat, long range (sniper), and sweat-free, the 100% silicone pads are a welcome addition to both the Xbox One controller and the PlayStation 4 DualShock 4, especially the latter which in my experience is especially prone to thumbsick wear over time. When faced with worn or in my case ripped thumbstick surfaces, there are a few options available; replace the whole analog stick, cover up the damage with thumbstick grips/pads, soldier through the discomfort, or buy a new controller.

I chose the former two options – one controller was equipped with brand new analog sticks and the other with the No Sweat Close Combat thumbstick grips. Replacing the actual analog stick is more trouble than it’s worth, especially if your analog issue is an aesthetic one or only affecting the actual thumbpad not the socket, so I found the Close Combat concave silicone grips to be the much easier solution. Simply mount the grips over your existing analogs and voila, you have a brand new set of breathable, “grippable” thumbpads.

Your Wallet Will Thank You

With controllers costing upwards of $60.00, not only did I save money opting to fix rather than buy new controllers, I’ve found that both the thumbstick additions (GripMax and No Sweat versions) have a better look and feel compared to the original stock pads, especially the sweat-free variety which boasts dozens of texture points for improved control without that awful sweaty thumb feeling. I’m no stranger to long game sessions and these thumbstick grips have proven to be very comfortable, keeping my hands cool and preventing slipping especially in faced-paced, reflex-driven FPS titles.

While I can’t attest to any actual improvement in gaming performance with the Close Combat thumbsticks, the aesthetic and functional benefits along with an affordable price point under $15 is more than enough to justify the minute investment. Overall, I highly recommend these little thumbpads, especially if you’re looking to extend the lifespan of your controller. And they just so happen to be the perfect stocking stuffer for the avid player in your home.

Get yours on Amazon here

More from HC GamerLife

HC GamerLife PS4 Stand

Read the ReviewHC GamerLife Thumbsticks

Read the ReviewHC GamerLife Charge & Play

Read the Review

Editor’s Note: Review for the GripMax Close Combat Thumbsticks was conducted with both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions. All review samples were provided by the manufacturer.



Taylor Stein

Gamer. Sushi-fanatic. Cartoon enthusiast. Overall big kid. Welcome to my journey throughout the world of video games and all around geekery.

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