The best Xbox controllers will help to enhance your experience in the many fantastic games on Microsoft’s flagship console. If you’re after a new controller, we have recommendations for Xbox One, Xbox Series S, and Xbox Series X controllers. We’ve tried to cover all bases, so we’ve gone for variety and even included a steering wheel in the mix.
The best Xbox Series X games are at their most enjoyable when you have the right controller, and it has to be said that part of the reason that we count the Xbox Series X among the best gaming consoles is that its official controller is one of the best controllers to grace the gaming sphere – but, hey, other manufacturers have created some pretty great ones too, so that’s why we’ve picked out this selection for you.
Best Xbox Series X Controllers
First of all, we have a selection of Xbox Series X controller – these will all work well on this powerhouse of a console.
- Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 – best choice
- PowerA Spectra Infinity Enhanced Wireless Controller – most affordable
- Thrustmaster Ferrari Steering wheel – best steering wheel
1. Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2
The Elite Series 2 is the best Xbox Series X controller and it costs around $150 (£160).
- Microsoft’s own controller
- Adjustable to your needs
- A little expensive
- Could do with more design variety
This is not only the best controller you could use for Xbox Series X, but one of the best gaming controllers ever created. It fits comfortably in most hands, and never requires you to contort your fingers in strange ways to reach any of the buttons. As Microsoft’s own controller, you’ll never have to worry about encountering any compatibility issues, either.
While you will no doubt notice that this controller comes with a fairly big price tag, it works so well and has so many options for customization that it’s well worth the price. You can configure the button mapping extensively, and with so many components that can be adjusted for your comfort, it’ll feel like it was made for you – which, in a sense, it will have been.
Not only is this great for the Xbox Series X (and S), but you can use it on the Xbox One as well. It’s also popular in PC gaming spheres since it’s compatible with most Windows devices. You can even use it on your mobile devices, which is handy for anyone streaming their games to their phone.
2. PowerA Spectra Infinity Enhanced Wired Controller
The PowerA Spectra Infinity is the most affordable Xbox controller and its pricing works out around $40 (£35).
- Great price
- Similar to Microsoft’s own controllers
- Use of wire may be inconvenient
- Less options for customization
We get it – the Elite Series 2 is an expensive piece of equipment – you could buy a few new games for what it costs! If you want something a little more affordable, then you should check out the PowerA Spectra Infinity, which is still a great controller, but notably much cheaper. This isn’t some shoddy third-party bit of gear either, as it was officially licensed by Microsoft.
So why’s this one so much cheaper than the Elite? Well, part of the reason is that this is a wired controller, so you’ll have to make sure you’re close enough to your console for it to be plugged in (like the good old days). This may be annoying for some, but at very least it means that you don’t need to worry about charging it or replacing the batteries. It also offers fewer options for customization and button mapping, which may be off-putting for pro gamers.
Like the Elite Series 2, this is a controller that can be used on Xbox One and PC, as well as the Xbox Series X|S. If you enjoy playing on your PC as well as your Xbox, all you need to do is plug it into your computer or laptop and you’re away.
3. Thrustmaster Ferrari 458 Spider Racing Wheel
The Thrustmaster Ferrari 458 is the best steering wheel for Xbox Series X and its pricing works out around $130 (£110).
- Comes with pedals
- Feels like a real steering wheel
- Some compatibility issues
- A bit on the bulky side
Is Forza Horizon 5 one of your favorite games on the Xbox? Well, when you play the game with the Thrustmaster Ferrari 458 racing wheel, it gives you a whole new level of realism. You can even adjust the sensitivity levels so that it feels as much like your own car as possible. The addition of the pedals makes this feel even more immersive.
If you’re a fan of Xbox racing games, you’ll want to make sure that this wheel will be compatible with them. While it will work with most of the big games, it never hurts to double-check on the Thrustmaster website, as you don’t want to be disappointed, and there are some notable exceptions.
Meanwhile, at almost 10 pounds in weight, this can be a heavy bit of gear if you’ve not got the right set-up for it. With a purchase like this, it’s especially important that you’ve got enough space to use it comfortably – but if you do, it’s sure to be fantastic.
Best Xbox Series S controllers
If you’ve got the Xbox Series S, you can use any of the controllers mentioned above. However, if you’re looking for some more affordable options to go along with your more affordable console, we’ve got you covered. These are both also compatible with the Series X.
- Xbox Core Wireless Controller – best Series S controller
- Turtle Beach Recon Cloud Controller – best for streaming
1. Xbox Core Wireless Controller
The standard Xbox controller is the best Xbox Series S controller and its pricing works out around $60 (£55).
- Official Xbox controller
- Reasonably priced
- Batteries need replacing
- Few customization options
This is the standard Xbox controller, and it’s pretty darn fantastic. While we have given the Elite Series 2 our highest recommendation, the standard Xbox controller would be our next choice. It feels great, and as it has been manufactured by Microsoft, it’s another one where you’ll never have to worry about any compatibility issues.
This is a reasonably priced controller to match the reasonably priced Xbox Series S. Indeed, it’s the controller that Microsoft chose to package in with the console itself – although they seem to favor the white variation, and since there are so many other colors available, we recommend going for one of them, simply because white starts to look dirty pretty quickly.
Unfortunately, this controller lacks the customization options of the Elite Series 2, so you can’t quite make it your own in the same way that you can with its bigger sibling. However, one thing that it doesn’t lack is its broad compatibility with Windows devices, and smartphones, so you can use it for PC gaming and streaming your games on mobile.
2. Turtle Beach Recon Cloud Controller
The Turtle Beach Recon Cloud Controller is the best controller for cloud gaming, and it costs around $80 (£70).
- Easy to use with phones
- Decent battery life
- Slightly more expensive
- Fewer customization options
Gaming on the go is becoming increasingly popular, with all the big names in the console arena giving some way for gamers to take their games with them. Xbox is no exception, with cloud gaming options allowing you to stream Game Pass games directly onto your mobile device. The Turtle Beach Recon Cloud Controller is the best one to go for if you regularly take advantage of this feature.
With a special, adjustable clamp built into the top of the controller, you can easily attach your phone and position the screen so that, along with the controller itself, you’ve got a sort of makeshift handheld console. You’re not limited to using it for Xbox games, either, as it will come in handy for anything you like to play on your phone, and has a decency enough battery that you won’t have to charge it every five minutes.
If you’re worried the clamp will get in the way when you’re trying to just play on the TV like normal, don’t be – you can just take it off. Aside from that though, it doesn’t have anywhere near as many customization options as the Elite Series 2, and it is a little expensive, but if you love streaming your games to your phone, this is a (literal) game changer.
Best Xbox One Controllers
Any one of the controllers mentioned in this article will work on Xbox One, and we recommend them for use on that platform as much as any other. Having said there, here are a couple more recommendations that we think are specifically well-poised to suit the needs of Xbox One owners.
- PowerA Fusion Pro 2 Wired Controller – best Xbox One controller
- GameSir G7 Wired Controller – most customizable
1. PowerA Fusion Pro 2 Wired Controller
The PowerA Fusion Pro 2 is the best Xbox One controller and it costs around $90 (£90).
- Easy share button
- Buttons easily reconfigured
- A little expensive
If you’re still using the Xbox One you bought back in 2015, don’t worry – a new controller can do a lot to breathe new life into your aging console, and we recommend the PowerA Fusion Pro 2 as the best controller for the job. Unlike the standard controllers that came with the console, this has four programmable buttons that you can adjust to best suit your own personal style of play.
There are two rumble motors in the controller, which will help make your gameplay experience as immersive as possible. Speaking of which, it comes with an audio jack, allowing you to play your earphones or headset directly into the controller and enjoy the soundscapes of your favorite games more deeply. With easy options for button reconfiguration, plus any easy share button for instant screenshots and gameplay videos, in many ways, it’s an upgrade over the Xbox One’s original controller.
This is a wired controller, which may be off-putting for some readers as it may require adjustments to your gaming space in order to ensure that the wire doesn’t present a hazard and that your sofa is within range of your console. Still, even this has its benefits, since you don’t need to change the batteries in it and so never have to worry about it running out in the middle of an intense session.
2. GameSir G7 Wired Controller
The GameSir G7 is the best cheap Xbox controller and its pricing works out around $45 (£50).
- Decent pricing
- Swappable faceplate and mappable buttons
- Slightly less durable than others
GameSir is a respected controller manufacturer and if you’re looking for something that’s a little more affordable than some of the other options on this list, but also isn’t complete rubbish, then the G7 may be the choice for you. It’s not quite as sturdy as something like the Elite Series 2, but there’s still a lot to be admired here.
There are two buttons on the back which you can set to do whatever you want them to. Meanwhile, this controller also gives you the option of swapping the faceplate, giving you some decent options for customization. It’s really reactive too, responding to even the most subtle of movements, which is going to give you the edge in competitive FPS games and other similar games.
This is another wired controller, which will be an issue for some gamers. It’s also notable that this is slightly less durable than other controllers. It’s not cheap or rubbish by any means, but if you had an Elite Series 2 in one hand and a GameSir G7 in the other, it would be obvious to you which of these was the more substantial piece of hardware. But, hey, for its price, compatibility with most platforms, and everything it does, the G7 is still a great choice.
How we chose the best Xbox controllers
When trying to narrow down the best Xbox controller, there were several criteria that we kept in mind. These were as follows:
- Pricing: the amount you pay for a new Xbox controller can vary drastically, and we understand that everyone is working with a different budget. We wanted to list a range of differently priced controllers, without listing anything of subpar quality
- Compatibility: there are now several different devices within the Xbox family, so we wanted to make sure we were recommending controllers that worked across each of the consoles
- Design: if you like everything in your gaming space to match and look just right, you’ll want to be sure you get a controller that looks right for you. While making this list, we were conscious of controllers that have various color options available
- Customisation: gaming is a very personal experience, and you want to make sure that you’ve got a controller that can match the way that you like to play, so remappable buttons and adjustable components are important considerations
- Power source: some Xbox controllers are rechargeable, others are battery-powered, and some are wired. A controller’s energy source is a big consideration when considering its overall quality
For more Xbox guidance, check out our Xbox Series X vs Series S comparison. Meanwhile, if you want something to be excited about, our list of upcoming Xbox games will give you a tantalizing glimpse into the future.