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What’s the greatest controller for Xbox consoles and PC?

Read Time:19 Minute, 37 Second

2023-03-15 21:13:12

It’s possible you’ll not understand it, however we’re residing in a golden age of gaming controllers. The gamepads available on the market now are greater high quality, extra versatile, and extra customizable than something from just some console generations in the past. In the event you’re gaming on an Xbox Sequence X or Sequence S (or a Home windows PC), you now have a plethora of nice third-party choices from the likes of PowerA, Scuf, Nacon, and Turtle Seaside, in addition to high-quality first-party controllers. The times of a budget, “little sibling” controller that regarded cool however barely labored are over.

I’ve spent a ton of time taking part in every kind of video games (first-person shooters, fighters, third-person action-adventure, racing, indie roguelikes, and many others.) to check a large swath of Xbox controllers, and it could be unsurprising that the usual Xbox Wi-fi Controller is the very best Xbox controller for many. It makes an important PC controller, too.

However whereas the de facto Xbox gamepad strikes the appropriate steadiness of high quality, consolation, versatility, and worth, there are a number of options price cross-shopping in case you have particular wants — starting from high-end choices just like the Xbox Elite Sequence 2 and Scuf Intuition Professional to high quality finances picks just like the PowerA Enhanced Wired Controller.

a:hover]:shadow-highlight-franklin dark:[&>a:hover]:shadow-highlight-franklin [&>a]:shadow-underline-black dark:[&>a]:shadow-underline-white”>Greatest Xbox controller for most individuals

Connectivity: Xbox wi-fi, Bluetooth, wired / Connector sort: USB-C / Mappable rear buttons: No / Software program customization: No / Energy: AA batteries or add-on rechargeable

Okay, I already know what you’re considering. “The very best controller for Xbox is the one which comes with the Xbox?” That will seem to be a no brainer, however this “customary” controller really does earn this title as the best choice for many Xbox players. It might lack among the further options that we’ll go over on premium choices, however this controller is the distillation of 4 generations and quite a few first-party controllers earlier than it — and it exhibits.

That is the one reasonably priced wi-fi Xbox controller on the market, due to Microsoft’s proprietary protocol. Whereas some might hate that it comes with AA batteries as an alternative of a built-in rechargeable cell, that additionally means it’s versatile, permitting for rechargeable AAs or a battery pack. It additionally works as a wired accent with a USB-C cable, and user-replaceable batteries imply you’re not caught with a controller that doesn’t maintain its cost after years of use.


The official Xbox Wi-fi Controller has a devoted share button for saving clips and screenshots and sharing them on-line, Bluetooth help, and a USB-C port for charging up Microsoft’s play-and-charge rechargeable battery.

However the standard-issue Xbox pad isn’t simply nice due to its connectivity. The {hardware} itself is great for the controller’s $60 asking worth. The sticks, buttons, triggers, and the sunken dish-shaped D-pad all really feel impeccably tight, with the latter having a satisfying clickiness to it. In the event you’re a hardcore preventing recreation fan, it’s possible you’ll be higher served by an arcade stick or a controller geared towards that style — one with an impeccable D-pad like Hori’s Horipad Professional — however the Xbox Wi-fi Controller is an distinctive jack-of-all-trades.

The one issues it actually lacks in comparison with pricier choices are further, customizable buttons and software program tuning for issues like stick sensitivity, although Microsoft does provide beauty customization via its Xbox Design Lab, which ranges from $69.99 to $99.94 relying on the configuration. There’s rather a lot to like about these controllers, whether or not you make your personal or pick one from the assorted colours Microsoft continues to supply.

a:hover]:shadow-highlight-franklin dark:[&>a:hover]:shadow-highlight-franklin [&>a]:shadow-underline-black dark:[&>a]:shadow-underline-white”>Greatest low-cost Xbox controller

Connectivity: Wired / Connector sort: Micro USB / Mappable rear buttons: Two / Software program customization: No / Energy: Wired

In the event you’re on the lookout for an important controller however you don’t have some huge cash to spend — and also you don’t thoughts a cable — PowerA’s Enhanced Wired Controller affords an impeccable worth with out sacrificing an excessive amount of. Its full retail worth is $37.99, however some colorways can dip as little as round $25. Talking of colours, the Enhanced Wired Controller is available in a huge number of hues and designs, together with licensed ones from recreation franchises like Mass Impact and Fallout. A few of these designs might make you observed these are low-cost, cringe-inducing knockoffs, however the high quality of the controller might shock you if you use it.



The PowerA Enhanced Wired Controller is a budget-minded wired controller for Xbox and PC that connects through Micro USB and options two customizable buttons on its rear. It’s provided in many various colours and licensed designs.

First off, let’s get its greatest draw back out of the best way: it makes use of a Micro USB connection (gross, I do know). You a minimum of get a prolonged, removable cable with it, however not having a reversible connector is annoying. Fortunately, nothing else about this controller feels so outdated. Its construct high quality is simply effective, and it even has two mappable rear buttons constructed into the grips — which is nice to have at such a low worth.

The remainder of the PowerA Enhanced Wired Controller is a complete lot of desk stakes, however it executes every part fairly nicely for a ridiculously reasonably priced worth. There’s no impulse set off rumble, but when there’s any function to low-cost out on, I’d say that’s the appropriate alternative. On the flip facet, the Enhanced Wired Controller comes with a two-year guarantee, which is twice so long as dear choices like Microsoft’s Elite Sequence 2 provide.

PowerA affords a complete lot of bang on your buck with the Enhanced Wired Controller in the event you’re on a good finances. When you’ve got Elite controller tastes however customary controller finances, the PowerA Fusion Professional 2 is one other nice possibility. It seems just like the Microsoft Elite Sequence 2, full with 4 rear paddles and rubberized grips, however its full worth of $89.99 often drops as little as $62.99.



The PowerA Fusion Professional is an reasonably priced different to the Xbox Elite Sequence 2 controller. It comes with swappable sticks, mappable rear paddle buttons, friction rings, and a zip-up case. This wired controller additionally has a 3.5mm jack for taking part in with headphones and connects through USB-C.

a:hover]:shadow-highlight-franklin dark:[&>a:hover]:shadow-highlight-franklin [&>a]:shadow-underline-black dark:[&>a]:shadow-underline-white”>Greatest premium Xbox controller

Microsoft Xbox Elite Sequence 2

Connectivity: Xbox wi-fi, Bluetooth, wired / Connector sort: USB-C / Mappable rear buttons: As much as 4 / Software program customization: Sure / Energy: Constructed-in rechargeable

The Xbox Elite Sequence 2 controller is Microsoft’s fancied-up, premium model of the inventory controller. It’s additionally older, having been launched a 12 months earlier than the Xbox Sequence X / S consoles arrived. So whereas it does sport a USB-C port and wi-fi help, it lacks the handy Share button discovered on the most recent Xbox Wi-fi Controller. Nevertheless, it makes up for that in droves with distinctive construct high quality, further buttons, user-swappable sticks and D-pad, and plenty of customization.

In the event you decide up an Xbox Elite controller, you immediately acknowledge the standard of supplies put into it. The place the usual controller makes use of an unassuming plastic construct, the Elite mixes higher-quality plastic with rubberized grips and bits of metallic. Mix this with its built-in rechargeable battery, and the Elite is noticeably heavier than its cheaper brethren. It additionally comes with a charging dock and zip-up case with passthrough charging.



The Xbox Elite Sequence 2 is well considered one of our favourite controllers at The Verge. It’s an enchancment on the already glorious Elite Controller, with deep customization, non-obligatory rear paddle buttons, and a swappable D-pad and analog sticks that let you tailor its structure to fit your play fashion.

As glorious because the match and end are, the important thing elements which will offer you a aggressive edge are the hair-trigger locks and rear paddle buttons. In principle, the hair set off will get photographs off quicker when taking part in shooters, and the rear paddles let you bounce, crouch, reload, and many others., with out taking your thumb off the appropriate stick for aiming. Nevertheless, utilizing that many buttons on the again of the controller positively takes some adjustment. You need to practice new muscle reminiscence, and because it requires dexterity with extra fingers, they’re not for everybody.

These premium options come at a steep value, too. The Elite Sequence 2 is often priced at $179.99, and although it sometimes drops to $139.99, it’s nonetheless greater than twice as costly as a daily Xbox controller. You need to actually need its further options and person customization, and in the event you’re not utilizing its rear paddles or the software program changes for stick sensitivity, you’re not getting your cash’s price. (And if you wish to customise the colours, you’re $209.99 for the Design Lab “Elite Bundle.”)

Microsoft additionally has a stripped-down Elite Sequence 2 “Core” model for $129.99, which is identical controller in a white-and-black end with out the rear paddles, accent charging case, or further stick toppers and D-pad. You may get all of these in a $59.99 equipment pack, which turns the Elite Sequence 2 Core again into a typical Elite Sequence 2, however that units you again $10 extra than simply going for the Elite Sequence 2 to start out with.

You have to additionally bear in mind that the Elite has a little bit of a repute for lackluster high quality management, with horror tales from customers about going via a number of replacements below guarantee. Microsoft prolonged the controller’s guarantee from 90 days to a 12 months in late 2020 to assist tackle considerations, however shopping for an Elite Sequence 2 should still really feel like a barely dangerous proposition. Nevertheless, if you nail that good sequence — switching to your pistol and touchdown a headshot with a fast pop-pop of the hair set off whereas your thumbs keep firmly planted on the sticks — it may well really feel price it.

a:hover]:shadow-highlight-franklin dark:[&>a:hover]:shadow-highlight-franklin [&>a]:shadow-underline-black dark:[&>a]:shadow-underline-white”>A formidable different to the Elite

Connectivity: Xbox wi-fi, Bluetooth, wired / Connector sort: USB-C / Mappable rear buttons: 4 / Software program customization: No / Energy: AA batteries or add-on rechargeable

The Scuf Intuition Professional finds itself in a little bit of a bizarre spot, because it’s the one wi-fi possibility from a 3rd get together, however it’s by far the costliest Xbox controller round (it begins at $199.99). The one I examined clocked in at $263.91 with a particular faceplate and added shade accents. That’s greater than the Xbox Sequence S sometimes sells for, which is a complete console. Nonetheless, you’re in for a deal with in the event you’re okay with spending that form of cash, because the Intuition Professional is arguably higher than Microsoft’s Elite in some very particular methods — primarily, its consolation and implementation of rear buttons and hair triggers.



Scuf’s Intuition Professional is its top-tier controller for Xbox consoles and PC. It’s the solely third-party wi-fi possibility round, and for its very excessive worth, you get rubberized grips, built-in mappable rear paddle buttons, hair-trigger locks, swappable sticks, and user-configurable cosmetics.

The Intuition Professional has very distinctive rear buttons, and I truly desire them. As a substitute of paddles, there are 4 rocker-like buttons constructed into the controller’s physique that you just push towards or away out of your hand with a center finger. It nonetheless requires coaching your mind a bit to get accustomed to it, however I discovered them extra intuitive.

Rear buttons apart, the Scuf’s different large function is its hair triggers, which have the quickest response of all of the controllers examined right here. Simply flick a change on the again, and the left and proper triggers really feel such as you’re clicking a mouse — it’s extremely satisfying. The hair triggers, rear buttons, and the wonderful textured grip materials on the controller’s underside make this controller a pleasure to make use of.

The Intuition Professional looks like Scuf basically hot-rodded a inventory Xbox controller, however like several boutique merchandise, it comes with a large value. In the meantime, it nonetheless makes use of AA batteries and lacks software program customization, in order a lot as I get pleasure from utilizing it, I’d solely advise getting one in the event you’re tremendous captivated with its very particular qualities otherwise you completely love the colourful accents and magnetically swappable faceplates on Scuf’s configurator.

a:hover]:shadow-highlight-franklin dark:[&>a:hover]:shadow-highlight-franklin [&>a]:shadow-underline-black dark:[&>a]:shadow-underline-white”>The very best customizable controller

Connectivity: Wired / Connector sort: USB-C / Mappable rear buttons: 4 / Software program customization: Sure / Energy: Wired

RIG’s Nacon Revolution X could also be worthy of an award for awful naming, however its actual strengths are in its deep customization. In the event you’re the kind that likes to endlessly tinker with a number of detailed settings, that is the controller for you. Usually priced at $99.99, the wired Revolution X and its added options don’t come low-cost, however the worth is a bit fairer when you think about the competitors it squares up in opposition to.

Once you first decide up the Revolution X, it appears very unassuming — and borderline low-cost. Whereas it’s not a looker, it’s a form-follows-function sort of controller. It’s cozy to make use of, and its 4 rear buttons constructed into the grips are giant and properly contoured. The true stars of this present, nevertheless, are the analog sticks and their software program customizations, in addition to the expansive customized choices for different internal workings of the controller.



The RIG Nacon Revolution X is a wired controller for Xbox consoles and Home windows PCs that provides a slew of detailed software program customization choices. It’s additionally acquired 4 customizable rear buttons, adjustable sticks, and non-obligatory weights to insert into the grips to provide it extra heft.

Whereas different user-customizable controllers have three person profiles you’ll be able to swap between on the fly, the Revolution X has 4 — plus a “basic” mode with fundamental settings and a hoop of RGB gentle round the appropriate persist with remind you what mode you’re in. The software program app shouldn’t be probably the most user-friendly, however the controls go very in-depth. Fortunately, there are useful beginning factors with presets for arcade preventing video games, racing, FPS video games, and even sniping, which makes the choices a lot simpler to grasp. Add the flexibility to customise and remap each button on the controller, in addition to a Dolby Atmos for Headphones app license, and also you’ve acquired numerous customization choices.

The customization doesn’t cease with software program, audio, or lighting, nevertheless. The Revolution X comes with ring spacers to regulate the vary of the analog sticks, too, in addition to a collection of small weights starting from 10g to 16g, which you’ll be able to insert into its grips to provide them a further quantity of heft.

Including up all these options, you see why the Nacon is such an important controller for tinkering. It took me time to heat as much as it, however upon setting it up the best way I most well-liked, it made for a really compelling controller in a wide range of recreation varieties.

a:hover]:shadow-highlight-franklin dark:[&>a:hover]:shadow-highlight-franklin [&>a]:shadow-underline-black dark:[&>a]:shadow-underline-white”>The very best controller for shooters

Connectivity: Wired / Connector sort: USB-C / Mappable rear buttons: Two / Software program customization: No / Energy: Wired

Turtle Seaside is understood for its headsets, so it is smart that its Recon wired controller options some strong audio controls. Its strengths actually come into focus when taking part in first-person shooters, the place its Superhuman Listening to mode tweaks the audio of any wired headset to attract out footsteps and distant gunfire within the combine. At its common worth of round $60, and as soon as promoting as little as $39.95, the Recon is a reasonably reasonably priced strategy to acquire a slight aggressive edge in multiplayer video games with out spending nicely over $100 on a controller.

This pad isn’t going to win any magnificence contests due to all these awkward buttons positioned smack-dab in the course of its brow, however every one has a legitimate goal. There are 4 ranges of microphone monitoring, general recreation quantity controls, recreation chat quantity combine, 4 EQ presets, 4 programmable modes for mapping the 2 rear buttons, and 4 ranges of non-obligatory right-stick sensitivity changes. That final function, dubbed Professional Goal by Turtle Seaside, lowers the sensitivity of the appropriate analog stick when you maintain the right-hand rear button, permitting for very small actions like sniping, although it’s a bit clumsy to make use of.



Turtle Seaside’s Recon Controller is a USB-C-wired gamepad that provides an excessive amount of audio tweaking for wired headsets. Its Superhuman Listening to mode attracts out footsteps and gunfire within the combine, and the 2 rear buttons assist make it nice for FPS video games.

Studying to make use of all these controls might sound daunting, however the controller’s quick-start information makes it simpler. Superhuman Listening to could be very useful for shooters and price utilizing extensively for video games like Halo Infinite — simply bear in mind that it’s going to muddy up the soundtrack a bit, so it’s possible you’ll need to go away it off throughout story-driven, single-player video games.

Audio controls apart, the Recon lacks fancy options like hair triggers and swappable thumbsticks, and the D-pad seems like the usual Xbox Wi-fi Controller however pales compared. The controller’s plastic construct feels low-cost, however the rubbery grips redeem it with a pleasant and comfortable really feel. As for the sticks, triggers, and extra rear buttons, all of them really feel tight and snappy. Mix that with Superhuman Listening to, and also you’ve acquired an important recipe for shooters. The Recon has a little bit of a studying curve, however in the event you play ranked matches and worth a reasonably priced wired controller with further buttons and useful audio capabilities, you’ll be able to’t go unsuitable right here.

  • The GameSir G7 is a superb wired controller with textured grip materials feeling a tiny bit like a Scuf, clicky face buttons like a Razer and two programmable rear buttons. Its D-pad is a bit too stiff, however what makes this gamepad distinctive is it comes with two magnetic face plates — one black, one white — which can be primed for personalization with spray paint or markers.
  • Turtle Seaside’s React-R is a stripped-down Recon that maintains Superhuman Listening to and rear buttons however omits EQ presets, mic monitoring, and Professional-Goal for a decrease $39.99 worth. It’s an excellent worth, particularly in the event you discover it on sale for as little as $29.99, sustaining among the greatest options of the Recon for cheaper.
  • Razer’s Wolverine V2 Chroma is a feast for the ears and eyes, due to very clicky buttons and a strip of RGB lighting alongside the grips. It has extra customizable buttons than every other controller (six complete), although their positioning requires reaching, and it’s a bit dear.
  • Briefly talked about above, the Horipad Professional has among the best D-pads round. It additionally affords numerous software program customization at an reasonably priced worth, however its shoulder buttons are a bit stiff.
  • PowerA’s Nano Enhanced Wired Controller is an adorably smol man for individuals with tinier palms or kids. In contrast to most kid-centric gamepads, it seems identical to a full-size mannequin, and in contrast to our finances decide from PowerA above, this one ditches Micro USB for USB-C (hallelujah!).
  • The Nacon Professional Compact Controller has among the Revolution X’s glorious software program customization at a a lot lower cost. It’s additionally one of many smaller choices round, although the ergonomics might really feel hit and miss relying in your hand measurement.
  • One of many dumbest but most adorable controllers is the Hyperkin Duke. This reissue of the unique Xbox pad is a love letter to the salad days of 2001. It’s simply not nice to make use of for contemporary video games. Fortunately it comes with a show stand, because it’s extra of a collector piece.

Yet one more controller examined was the Turtle Seaside Recon Cloud. It didn’t make the lower on account of its excessive value and area of interest use case, however the suggestions above current higher options.

Pictures by Antonio G. Di Benedetto / The Verge

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