Xbox One controller

Best Xbox One Controller Windows Central 2019

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.

Best overall - Xbox Elite Wireless Controller

Xbox Elite Controller

The Xbox One controller is incredibly comfortable to use for long periods. It's sturdy and it generally feels great to hold and use. However, like all things, it has a lifespan, and more serious gamers can wear them out fairly quickly.

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 that no controller is worth that much, and that's fine. 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.

Pros:

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

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Heavier than a standard controller
  • No Bluetooth

Best overall

Xbox Elite Wireless Controller

The king of Xbox One controllers

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, well, better. Everything has been upgraded. The thumbsticks are removable, as is the D-pad, and you get four paddles on the rear to customize however you see fit.

Best Bluetooth - Microsoft Xbox One controller

You honestly can't go wrong with the controller Microsoft bundled in the box with your Xbox console. Since the debut of the Xbox One S, it's had Bluetooth capabilities, which while unused on the Xbox One, comes in handy if you also like to dabble in some wire-free PC gaming.

The Xbox One controller design is arguably the best there has ever been on any platform, with its offset analog sticks and perfect size leading to many, many hours of comfortable gaming.

It works seamlessly with the PC, too, either wired or over Bluetooth, and if you're not a fan of dumping AA batteries inside it, there's a play and charge kit available that transforms it into a rechargeable controller. And whether it's through the Design Lab or the ridiculous amount of special edition designs, there's a color combo that's perfect for you.

Pros:

  • Excellent design
  • Custom color combos available
  • Bluetooth for easy PC use
  • Great price

Cons:

  • Not rechargeable without extra purchase
  • Won't last as long as an Elite
  • Design Lab not available everywhere

Best Bluetooth

Microsoft Xbox One controller

Affordable, wireless, and oh so many designs

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 also now Bluetooth, which makes it much easier to connect to a PC for wire-free gaming.

Best for retro fans - Hyperkin Duke

Hyperkin Duke

Hyperkin and Xbox teamed up to revive the classic Xbox controller, known affectionately as the "Duke." If you weren't gaming on the first Xbox console, you're in for a real treat, even if it's absolutely massive by today's standards, hence the name.

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

It's a piece of gaming history brought back to life for modern gaming, and while it's absolutely beastly, long time Xbox fans will adore it. It's impossible not to! And what better way to play those first-gen Xbox games on backward compatibility?

Pros:

  • Faithful design to the original
  • OLED display is a nice touch
  • Modernised with headset jack
  • It's the Duke!

Cons:

  • Very large
  • Only comes wired
  • Can be hard to get hold of at times

Best for retro fans

Hyperkin Duke

An icon is reborn for the modern era

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 compatible games as they were intended, you have to buy this controller.

Best wired - Razer Wolverine Ultimate

Wolverine Ultimate

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.

The Wolverine, as with the Xbox Elite, is targeted at the competitive scene — those who need a controller that not only has added durability, but additional features such as those paddles, which can all be mapped to your own customized layout. Wired is also a better option for competitive play, since the connection will be more reliable.

The included cable is long enough to allow you to sit far away from the screen if you wish, and it also means you're never going to run out of power when the going gets tough. The Wolverine also closely resembles Microsoft's own controller design, so it's comfortable to use for long periods.

Pros:

  • Excellent design
  • Best for comeptitive players
  • Long, braided cable
  • Customizable paddles and buttons
  • Integrated audio controls

Cons:

  • Paddle design is unusual
  • Fairly expensive
  • No option to use wirelessly with PC

Best wired

Razer Wolverine Ultimate

They don't call it ultimate for nothing

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.

Best budget - Amazon Basics

Amazon Basics

If you just want a solid controller that costs as little as possible, you can't do better than Amazon's own brand Xbox One offering. It's cheap, but well made and very nice to use.

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

It only comes wired, and you won't be able to remap any of its buttons, but it's a perfect budget or entry level controller, and especially good to give to the kids.

Pros:

  • Solid construction
  • Great price
  • Design close to official controller

Cons:

  • Only comes wired
  • Not much variation in colors
  • Can't remap buttons

Best budget

Amazon Basics

No frills, but still good quality

If you're 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, costs a fraction of the price of a regular controller.

Best arcade stick - Hori Real Arcade Pro.V Kai Fighting Stick

If you're into fighting games then you're going to want an arcade stick to take your performance to the next level. The combination of button presses and direction changes are best served by something like this excellent stick from Hori.

It's packing an original Hayabusa stick and KURO buttons, but also allows for some modding. it's pretty easy to do with this stick. There's ample cable storage and it looks pretty sharp, too.

It is a little pricey, but if you play a ton of fighting games it's a price worth paying to up your game to the next level.

Pros:

  • Solid construction
  • Popular and well-regarded Hayabusa stick
  • Easily modified

Cons:

  • Quite pricey
  • One of the larger arcade sticks

Best arcade stick

Hori Real Arcade Pro.V Kai Fighting Stick

The stick to up your Fighting game performance

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, but it's the best choice out there for Xbox One fight fans.

Best racing wheel - Thrustmaster TS-XW

Thrustmaster TS-XW

For the serious virtual racer on Xbox One, you can't do better right now than this wheel. Thanks to a partnership with Sparco, the TS-XW is based on an actual racing wheel, trimmed in alcantara, constructed entirely from metal, and with two large paddle shifters.

It's not for the faint 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.

The rotation goes though a full 1,080 degrees, and if you hook it up to your PC, the Thrustmaster app will allow you to alter that to a custom value so it applies to all your games. If you want realism, you'll find it right here.

Pros:

  • Realistic design
  • Amazing force feedback
  • 1,080-degree rotation

Cons:

  • Quite pricey
  • Very heavy

Best racing wheel

Thrustmaster TS-XW

As close as you can get to the real thing without a helmet

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.

Conclusion

There are so many good Xbox One controllers out there right now, including the one you get in the box with the console. Even better, there's a good choice for virtually any type of gamer.

The Xbox Elite Controller is the top dog, though, mixing the brilliant design of the standard controller with additional features and swappable parts, as well as a more durable, longer-lasting build.

But whether you're into racing games, fighting games, or want something a little more unique looking, there's something out there for you. Ir's a really great time to be an Xbox One gamer.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Richard Devine Richard Devine is an Editor at Windows Central. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently you'll find him covering all manner of PC hardware and gaming.

Jez Corden is a full-time writer for Windows Central, focusing on Xbox, Surface, and Windows PC. He spends the vast majority of his time gaming, or writing about gaming, with a mission to provide gamers in the Microsoft ecosystem the best and most up-to-date info possible.

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