Xbox One controller

In order to play games on the Xbox One you'll need a controller. Microsoft's Xbox Elite wireless controller is the best gamepad for the company's console. You can customize it to your needs, replace various components, and even remap buttons through an app for console and PC.

Our pick

Xbox Elite Wireless Controller

If you want the cream of the crop, you want the Xbox One Elite Wireless Controller. It's the same overall design as the regular controller. But it's just ... well, better.

Everything has been upgraded. The thumbsticks are removable, as is the D-pad, and they can be replaced with different options depending on your preferences for the games you play. There are four additional paddles on the back, configurable firing mechanisms, and custom button mapping with the Xbox Accessories app for Xbox One and Windows 10.

Who should buy the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller?

If you're a keen gamer looking for something that offers more features, button customization and a sturdier build quality, but love the design of the standard controller, the Elite Wireless is perfect.

Is it a good time to buy?

Definitely. An upgraded model was rumored, but that turned out to be simply a refreshed version of the current Elite Controller but in white.

Reasons to buy

  • Excellent design.
  • Great build quality.
  • Custom button and paddle mapping.
  • Changable sticks and D-Pad.

Reasons not to buy

  • Expensive.
  • Quite a lot heavier than a standard controller.
  • No Bluetooth.

Professional-class controller with the best design

The Xbox One controller is incredibly comfortable to use for long periods, sturdy, and it has a great feel. But like all things, it has a lifespan, and more serious gamers can wear them out fairly quickly.

It's hard to imagine anyone making a better controller.

Then comes the Elite. Microsoft worked alongside professional gamers to design this controller, which keeps the same great design but improves just about everything else. The sticks are removable and more durable, as is the D-pad. There are now paddles on the rear which can be mapped to any button on the controller using the companion app for Xbox One and Windows 10. The whole thing is covered with a soft-touch finish. There are hand-grips, and there are trigger stops.

Some may look at the price tag and declare there's no way a controller is worth that much. And that's fine. But to the people willing to pay top dollar, the Elite Controller is the very best around. It'll last many years longer than a regular controller and is packed with serious features. It's hard to imagine how anyone could make a better controller.

Alternatives to the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller

While the Elite Wireless is the best all-round controller, there are a number of other great options out there to suit folks on different budgets and with specific needs.

Best Bluetooth

Xbox One Bluetooth controller + Design Lab

The latest revision of the official Xbox One controller has a tweaked design, adding more grippy parts on the rear side than were present on its predecessor. Inside there's now Bluetooth, which makes it much easier to connect to a PC for wire-free gaming.

It lacks the total customizability of the Elite Controller, but there are still aspects that can be changed in the Xbox Accessories app. And with the new Design Lab (select countries only, for now) you can come up with the wild design of your dreams. Choose from a whole array of colors and even get your own Gamertag stamped on it, so forever it shall be yours.

Best retro

Hyperkin Duke

Hyperkin and Xbox teamed up to revive the classic OG Xbox controller, known affectionately as the "Duke."

The Duke was a hulking beast of a wired controller, sporting huge Xbox branding and, at the time, unique triggers and joystick placements. Microsoft has iterated on this classic design giving us the controllers we have today, but if you want to experience OG Xbox back compat games as they were intended, you have to buy this controller.

It's extremely well made, sports several modernizing refinements across the board, including 3.5mm audio and shoulder buttons, and also has a gorgeous OLED display in the center, which showcases the OG Xbox boot animation on every press. This controller is a stunner at $70, and well worth a place in any Xbox fan's home. It feels as though it came straight out of Microsoft's own labs.

Best wired

Razer Wolverine Ultimate

Razer was never going to make just an average controller, and following on from its eSports focused Wildcat is the Wolverine. And this time, Razer brought the Chroma.

The Wolverine is a fully customizable, wired (that's important for a lot of gamers who still prefer this over wireless) controller that's a variation on the standard design. You've got built in hardware audio controls down the bottom, paddles on the rear, and RGB lighting around the Xbox button.

Best budget

Amazon Basics

If you're simply looking for a cheap, solid Xbox One controller then this one from Amazon Basics will do the job nicely. You don't get any fancy features like paddles, nor is it wireless, but it's white like the Xbox One S (or black if you prefer) and importantly, only costs $25.

It's not exactly the same size and shape as the regular controller, but it's pretty close, all the buttons are in the right place and the headset jack is on the bottom. No frills, but great value.

Best arcade stick

Hori Real Arcade Pro.V Kai Fighting Stick

If you're a fan of beat-em-up games then you might find that a dedicated arcade stick is your best method of input. The Hori Pro V isn't cheap at $150, but it's the best choice out there for Xbox One fight fans.

It's packing an original Hayabusa stick and KURO buttons, and if you're into modding it up a little that's OK, too, it's pretty easy to do with this stick. There's ample cable storage and it looks pretty sharp, too.

Best racing wheel

Thrustmaster TS-XW

You've driven cars with a worse wheel than this. The TS-XW from Thrustmaster and Sparco is the very pinnacle of what you'd want a console wheel to be. It's based on a real Sparco wheel, made from metal and trimmed in alcantara with precise feeling paddle shifters and an amazing force feedback.

It's not for the feint at heart, and driving with this wheel gives you a bit of a workout. The pedals are lifelike and adjustable, and thanks to Thrustmaster's system you can even swap out the wheel itself for a different design to use on the same base. It comes with a premium price at $650, but you can't do better.

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