The Xbox Series X|S ushered in a new generation of Xbox gaming. Both consoles are excellently designed and feature powerful hardware with enhanced features, but raw processing prowess doesn’t mean much without appropriate methods of controlling it.
There’s an overwhelming number of controllers compatible with Xbox Series X|S and it can be difficult to find the peripherals that deliver great experiences with robust features. These are the best controllers to use with your Xbox Series X and S, no matter what kinds of games you play or how your budget is looking. All of these also work on Xbox One X, and One S, as well as all Windows PC desktops and the best gaming laptops via USB or an Xbox Wireless Adapter.
Best overall: Xbox Wireless Controller
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The standard controller that Microsoft bundles with every Xbox Series X|S console is rock solid. The Xbox Wireless Controller is comfortable, ergonomic, and features a universally improved design compared to its Xbox One counterpart. The clicky buttons and resilient dpad provide satisfying tactile responses to all your presses. Xbox Wireless Controllers also feature both Xbox Wireless and Bluetooth support, meaning they can switch seamlessly between Xbox consoles and other devices like phones, tablets, and PCs.
The upgraded design of the new Xbox Wireless Controller offers an elegantly softened frame that caters to ergonomic support for a larger number of hand sizes. It also sports a redesigned D-pad, superior grips across the handles, triggers, and bumpers, and more. The dedicated Share button makes it easier to capture and share gameplay at any point. Finally, the Xbox Wireless Controller also uses USB Type-C for universal charging and connections to other devices, like PC. RIP Micro-USB.
The Xbox Wireless Controller is definitely one of the best controllers in gaming. However, some players may find the incorporation of AA batteries with the Xbox Wireless Controller disappointing. This means utilizing rechargeable capabilities requires an extra purchase.
Bonus: Xbox Design Labs
For players looking to add some additional flair and truly customize their favorite controller, Xbox Design Lab allows customers to craft the Xbox Wireless Controller of their dreams. While noticeably more expensive, especially if you opt for the custom labeling, this still serves as a fantastic supplemental option for the best all-around Xbox controller.
Best premium: Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2
The default Xbox Wireless Controller is a perfectly suitable gaming peripheral for almost any player, thanks to its award-winning design and comfort. However, competitive players may lament its general lack of additional features and versatility. The Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 takes what fans love about the Xbox Wireless Controller and massively improves upon them with new features, customizability, and much more. If you can afford to shell out a serious premium, there’s no better controller than the Elite Wireless Series 2.
At a glance, the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 looks very similar to its more standard counterpart, but upon further inspection, the refinements become markedly apparent. This premium controller features a durable design with improved grips, a denser metal-reinforced chassis, and a foundational focus on customization. Players can swap out the joysticks and D-pad for alternative covers, and take advantage of rear paddles and full button mapping (complete with a dedicated button for switching between modes) to get the most out of every single game.
The Series 2 also incorporates Bluetooth support in addition to Xbox Wireless, meaning it can seamlessly switch between multiple devices like phones, tablets, and Windows PCs. The Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 bests its little sibling once again by featuring a rechargeable battery via USB Type-C or the included dock, rather than relying on AA batteries, without an optional purchase. Unfortunately, these upgrades mean the Elite Controller Series 2 is far more expensive than most other controllers.
Bonus: Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 Core
The Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 Core delivers the same premium controller at a slightly more approachable price. Unfortunately, the extra necessities included with the standard variant, like extra joysticks, a charging dock, and the carrying case, aren’t included. If you’re fine with charging via USB-C and using the default d-pad, this is a worthwhile option to consider.
Best wired: Razer Wolverine V2 Chroma
The Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 may firmly take the top spot as the “best premium” Xbox controller, but the Razer Wolverine V2 Chroma gives the former peripheral some hefty competition in the space. The latest offering from Razer incorporates the company’s infamous customizable Chroma RGB lighting alongside great build quality and a surprising number of features.
Like with other “pro” controllers, Razer’s Wolverine V2 Chroma features back paddles, customizable button mapping, and generally fantastic action and feedback across its triggers, joysticks, and buttons. There’s also the unique “sensitivity clutch” feature, which lets you manually slow down the joysticks with the press of a paddle in any game. Overall, the Wolverine V2 takes some of the best elements of a standard Xbox controller’s design and injects a healthy blend of Razer goodness.
The only serious downside about the Razer Wolverine V2 Chroma versus other options is how it is wired-only. This limits the device to input on Xbox and PC, and means you’ll always be limited by the length of the cable you’re using. The Razer Wolverine V2 Chroma is also expensive, a downside further accentuated by the fact the completely wireless Xbox Elite Controller Series 2 has been seen on sale multiple times for less than the Wolverine V2 Chroma.
Best budget: PowerA Enhanced
PowerA is well known for making affordable and surprisingly high-quality gaming accessories, and the PowerA Enhanced Controller for Xbox Series X|S is no different. An updated design from earlier PowerA Xbox One controllers, the Enhanced comes with a metallic D-Pad, a scrollable volume wheel for a plugged-in headset, two programmable buttons on the rear, and a Share button for capturing screenshots and video clips.
The PowerA Enhanced is at its best when you consider its shockingly low price. The features you get for your money are highly competitive, making this a fantastic option if you want to get the most out of your purchases. This controller doesn’t slack on the extras, either, with a detachable cable and a wide variety of beautiful colors from which to choose.
If you’re looking for a wireless controller, however, you won’t find it here. The PowerA Enhanced comes only in a wired version. On top of that, the PowerA Enhanced suffers from the same problem as the previous PowerA Spectra: a soft-touch coating on the top plate. While this looks and feels great, it can get quite grubby over time.
Best alternative: PowerA Fusion Pro 2
Both the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 and Razer Wolverine V2 Chroma are amazing controllers, but they’re also quite expensive. Those interested in enjoying some of those high-end features, but without the high-end price tag, would be remiss not to consider the PowerA Fusion Pro 2. This offering from PowerA is significantly more affordable than the aforementioned solutions, but still includes a number of premium features.
The Fusion Pro 2 boasts of removable rear paddles, customizable joysticks, trigger stops, replaceable (and customizable) faceplates, software-free button mapping, integrated headset controls, and more. There really is a lot to love about the PowerA Fusion Pro 2 controller, especially when you’re paying less than half the retail price of the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2.
Of course, there are compromises to get so many features at this price point. The Fusion Pro 2 becomes dirty quickly thanks to its soft-touch grips, it has a limited number of trigger replacements, and the rear paddles are too easy to knock away on accident. Of course, this controller is also wired-only, like many affordable options, meaning there’s no Bluetooth support for use on other devices.
Best Xbox Cloud Gaming: Razer Kishi V2
Mobile gaming continues to be a juggernaut. It’s impossible to argue with the convenience of picking up your phone and playing great games. Not only does the Razer Kishi V2 improve upon its predecessor in every conceivable way, but it also elevates mobile gaming in commendable ways. Step aside touch controls, there’s a better way to play.
The upgraded Razer Kishi V2 incorporates better-feeling joysticks and buttons that align more closely with console competitors. This excellent mobile gaming device quickly and easily connects to essentially any Android phone with a USB-C port, making setup a breeze. Additionally, the overall ergonomic feel of the Razer Kishi V2 is smooth and seamless. With a sprinkle of Joycon and a splash of Xbox, Razer borrowed from its counterparts to deliver a great experience.
When it comes to feel and form factor, there isn’t much to fault with the Razer Kishi V2. However, the clamp on the back of the unit doesn’t feel the sturdiest, leaving some questions about its long-term durability. The newly implemented capture features for screenshots and videos could also be improved a bit. All in all though, this is the best way to play games on your phone.
Best accessibility: Xbox Adaptive Controller
The Xbox Adaptive Controller isn’t going to be the best controller for everyone, but its incredible customization and wide range of compatible accessories make this peripheral the best possible controller for accessibility. Microsoft carefully designed the Adaptive Controller to fit the needs of millions of gamers with limited mobility in a package that’s easy to use and tailor to your specific needs.
The Xbox Adaptive Controller features large, programmable buttons and switches, and has a ton of additional ports to allow additional accessories and peripherals to be connected. Using the Adaptive Controller, you can make your gaming setup exactly what you need.
There’s an unfortunately limited number of options for players who can take advantage of controllers like this, and the Xbox Adaptive Controller is absolutely among the best of them. Built with Xbox consoles and PC in mind, it’s 100% compatible with Xbox Series X|S. It can become expensive to purchase optional accessories, however, and it may be time-consuming to set up the Adaptive Controller for your specific needs.
Best wheel: Logitech G923
For the budding virtual racer on Xbox Series X and Series S, you can’t do better right now than this wheel. Thanks to a partnership with many of the best Xbox racing games, the G923 and its included Trueforce system allows for feedback and feel like never before seen on a console.
The actual design is almost identical to Logitech’s previous wheels, an added benefit that maintains comfort in familiarity without moving away from an already almost-perfect design. The latest incarnation has some neat features new to Xbox, including a double-clutch system, a dial, and integrated LED shift lights. The wheel is compact and trimmed in leather, while the whole unit is small, light, and easy to mount to either a desk or a dedicated racing rig.
The G923 also features upgraded pedals that are less spongy and more responsive than previous models, albeit still without a load cell. The Logitech G923 was originally designed for Xbox One, but it fully supports use on Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and PC. Keep in mind that high demand for racing wheels has led to stock shortages, meaning the Logitech G923 can sometimes be difficult to find.
There are so many excellent Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S controllers out there right now, not least because of forward compatibility with the best Xbox One controllers. No matter your playstyle, favorite genre, or budget, there’s bound to be the perfect controller accessory out there for you. More and more manufacturers are also updating their best products with new features from the Xbox Series X|S, like the incredibly handy Share button.
If you want the best for the best Xbox games, however, the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 is the top choice. Mixing the brilliant design of the standard Xbox Wireless Controller with additional features and swappable parts, as well as a more durable, longer-lasting build, you truly can’t go wrong with this beast of a peripheral. Sure, it definitely carries a premium price tag to accompany its exorbitant features, but it’s worth every penny for the hardcore gamer.
Of course, there are plenty of other awesome options, whether you’re into racing games, shooters, action-adventure, or anything else. The PowerA Enhanced Wired Controller for Xbox Series X|S, for example, still delivers great features at an incredibly appealing price. If you want to get the most for your money and you’re on a budget, it’s a great option. All in all, there’s never been a better time to be an Xbox gamer.
You can also pair your Xbox Series X|S with one of the best Xbox keyboards for more control in certain genres of games, or take advantage of the best Xbox charging accessories to make all the best controllers on this list even better and easier to use.