The best of the best

Xbox Elite Controller

Xbox Elite Controller

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If you want the cream of the crop, you want the Xbox One Elite 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.

The materials are as close to wear-resistant as Microsoft can get, and once you hold one next to a regular controller, the differences are clear — and astounding. Microsoft studied professional gamers to create the Elite and produce a product to fit their needs. It'll set you back $159.99.

Bottom line: The best console controller gets even better.

One more thing: Gradually more third-party accessories are becoming available to brighten up the look.

Why the Xbox Elite Controller is the best

Microsoft nailed the design of the Xbox One controller.

It's 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.

Best custom

Scuf Elite

Scuf Elite

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Scuf is a brand familiar to serious and pro gamers, and it was producing modified versions of the Xbox One controller before Microsoft's Elite Controller was even a glimmer on the horizon. Now through a partnership with Microsoft, it makes its own Elite!

On the rear are four removable paddles, though unlike the regular Elite they're all straight. You still get trigger stops, Scuf uses its own D-Pad and thumbsticks, and it lets you choose from any number of design options to customize your Elite to your own tastes. Starting from $139.95.

Bottom line: It's a great pro-grade controller with lots of customizations.

One more thing: Scuf sells the sticks and paddles separately to attach to your own Elite controller.

Best Bluetooth

Xbox One Bluetooth controller + Design Lab

See at Microsoft

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.

Bottom line: Microsoft's newest regular controller is better than it's ever been. Pricing starts from $79.99.

One more thing: Bluetooth means wireless gaming on your Windows 10 PC without a dongle.

Best wired

Razer Wolverine

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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.

It's not cheap at around $160, but it's well built, looks the business, and is packed to the gills with features.

Bottom line: It's well-made, customizable and perfect for serious gamers.

One more thing: It has Chroma lighting, and there's nothing to not like about that.

Best budget

HoriPad

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The Horipad is an Xbox controller that's perfect for Windows 10 gaming, as well as Xbox One games, and it doesn't cost a ton. This wired, third-party option is officially licensed by Microsoft and has a layout that's representative of the official Xbox One controllers.

It's a little glossy and something of a fingerprint magnet, but it's well made and great to play with. Especially when you consider it only costs $30. It isn't available in the U.S. right now but other parts of the world can still snag one.

Bottom line: It's a solid controller at a great price.

One more thing: The HoriPad is only available with wires so take that into account when buying.

Best arcade stick

Hori Real Arcade Pro.V Kai Fighting Stick

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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.

Bottom line: The best arcade stick for Xbox fight fans.

One more thing: Hori also does a slightly different model in a rather outrageous Tekken 7 paint job.

The best

Xbox Elite Controller

Xbox Elite Controller

See at Amazon

If you want the cream of the crop, you want the Xbox One Elite 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.

The materials are as close to wear-resistant as Microsoft can get, and once you hold one next to a regular controller, the differences are clear — and astounding. Microsoft studied professional gamers to create the Elite and produce a product to fit their needs. It'll set you back $159.99.

Bottom line: The best console controller gets even better.

One more thing: Gradually more third-party accessories are becoming available to brighten up the look.

Updated November 16, 2017: The new Razer Wolverine makes its debut as our top pick for wired controllers.