Best Charging Accessories for Xbox Windows Central 2021
Microsoft debuts two new Xbox consoles this November, including a revision of its Xbox Wireless Controller. The latest model embraces AA batteries for power, although with several rechargeable accessories also available. However, a new USB-C port and revised design brings some changes to how your Xbox controller charges. For the best battery and charging experience on Xbox, we recommend the Xbox Rechargeable Battery with USB-C for its long-lasting battery life and ease of use.
- Best Battery: Xbox Rechargeable Battery with USB-C
- Best Long-Life Battery: Panasonic Eneloop Pro Charger and Batteries (4 Pack)
- Best Cheap Battery: Smatree Rechargeable Battery for Xbox
- Best Charging Dock: PowerA Dual Charging Station for Xbox
- Best Rechargeable Controller: Xbox Elite Controller Series 2
Best Battery: Xbox Rechargeable Battery with USB-C
Microsoft launches Xbox Series X and Xbox Series X with several accessories, including a revision of one of the best Xbox charging accessories from recent years. The Xbox rechargeable battery provides an official upgrade that swaps out disposable AAs for an easy-to-use, replenishable alternative. It's an investment that rewards throughout the console's lifetime, with intermittent top-ups ensuring your Xbox controller is ready to go.
The Xbox rechargeable battery returns from the Xbox One era, previously known as the "Play and Charge" kit, albeit with minor changes. Microsoft has kept the same design, with a single battery that slots into the rear compartment, fading into the background after closing the battery door. It also has the same quoted battery life, with up to 30 hours per charge, although with varying mileage if factoring vibrations and connected headsets.
The controller charges via a physical cable connected through the top-facing port, although this time using USB-C over the Micro-USB seen on Xbox One controllers. The advantages of the modern connector are plentiful, including a reversible design that fits inside both ways. The old Xbox One Play and Charge kit also fits inside Xbox Series X and Series S controllers, but old cables won't work. The new rechargeable battery kit is an all-inclusive solution, which packs the new battery and the corresponding USB-C charge cable.
Microsoft packed a 1310 mAh lithium-ion cell inside, representing the premium end in rechargeable controller batteries. Many third parties use inferior nickel–metal hydride (NiMH) battery technology, with reduced longevity, with reduced performance over time. Microsoft's chosen battery will also fill up faster than cheaper alternatives, with a full charge in less than four hours, according to the company.
The rechargeable battery for the latest in Xbox controllers pairs well with a new Xbox Series X or Series S this holiday. It's the only official solution and works seamlessly, with a proven design first seen with an Xbox One equivalent. Preorders have opened at $25 ahead of its November 10 debut, eliminating the need for AA batteries.
- Great battery life
- Premium battery tech
- Fast charge time
- Easy plug-in charging
- Pricier than alternatives
Plug and play charging.
Microsoft has remixed its essential charging accessory for Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S, packing its new rechargeable battery alongside a USB-C tether. Simple, easy, and gets the job done.
Best Long-Life Battery: Panasonic Eneloop Pro Charger and Batteries (4 Pack)
The Panasonic Eneloop family remains a leader in rechargeable battery tech, recommended for their long life and relatively hassle-free implementation. These AA batteries provide a more versatile, multi-use alternative to power controllers. A four-pack and bundled charger is the best long-life battery for Xbox Series X and Series S buyers. You can power two controllers simultaneously, or cycle between pairs for one player, and never run out of juice.
The included Eneloop Pro AA batteries charge via an included charging cradle, hooking up to a power outlet via a retractable AC plug. Each battery slides in, with LED lights to denote charge status when sat in the cradle. The included batteries take around nine hours to charge according to Panasonic, which aligns with real-world results. You can also grab more Eneloop-branded batteries when needed.
Each cell boasts 2550 mAh capacity, which translates to around 20 hours of gameplay, although dependent on usage. The NiMH technology is slower to recharge than lithium-ion solutions, but you're receiving double the batteries at a similar price. The company also claims the included Eneloop Pro line is fit for 500 charge cycles, even if hard to prove with our tests.
The Eneloop kit doesn't change much over standard AA batteries but comes in cheaper and more sustainable than disposable alternatives with time. Shifting the cells back and forth from controller to charger may be cumbersome, but it's an ideal upgrade from the basics.
- Great battery life
- Durable over long-term use
- Great value for multiple controllers
- Cumbersome charging process
Best Long-Life Battery
Make the switch from disposable to rechargeable.
These rechargeable AA batteries come packaged with a handy charging cradle to guarantee you're never short of power. While they're more cumbersome than integrated batteries, they're multi-purpose and deliver impressive battery life.
Best Cheap Battery: Smatree Rechargeable Battery for Xbox
Cheap isn't always a bad thing and this affordable charging kit from Smatree supports controllers designed for Xbox One, Xbox Series X, or Xbox Series S. It has garnered attention for its price less than half of many top-selling solutions, but trading aspects of quality and performance in the process. But it's still a killer battery, especially when on a budget.
Two batteries and a USB-powered charging cradle come with that price, providing all you need for a first move away from disposable AA batteries. The included packs fit both Xbox One and Xbox Series controllers with their original battery doors but charged using an external cradle, rather than the top-mounted USB port.
Smatree makes charging relatively straightforward, where you'll need to remove batteries from the controller and place them side-by-side in the cradle. The included USB cable also allows for charging from your console or a power adapter. It tops up batteries for seven hours before cutting out, with LED lights to indicate charge time, even if a little unreliable.
The included batteries have 2,000mAh capacities, although battery life often falls short of the 48-hour maximum the company claims. The NiMH battery technology will also get you through a handful of length sessions, but with reports of steady degradation after the first year.
In short, these represent a capable entry point into rechargeable batteries while undercutting other solutions. It's a cheap route to get started, but reduced longevity and reliability reduce the long-term viability. But over disposable AA batteries, it's the way to go.
- Acceptable battery life
- Cumbersome charging process
- Less reliable over long term use
Best Cheap Battery
A cheaper alternative to Microsoft's official kit.
Upgrade your Xbox Series X or Series S controller with rechargeable batteries at a price that won't hurt the wallet. While cutting corners to achieve that low entry cost, they fulfill all the basics to step away from disposable cells.
Best Charging Dock: PowerA Dual Charging Station for Xbox
Power up wirelessly with the best charging dock for Xbox, presenting an effortless charging solution for up to two controllers. PowerA made its name with a strong lineup of Xbox One accessories last generation, now unveiling products geared for Xbox Series X and Series S. Its dedicated controller charging station is up for preorder and scheduled to launch this November in tandem with the consoles.
The PowerA Dual Charging Station for Xbox replaces a prior counterpart designed for Xbox One but reworked with the next-generation compatibility. The product ships with the charging station coupled with rechargeable batteries and custom battery doors. The batteries feature wireless contacts, with each rear cover featuring a small cutout for direct contact with the charging base. Pressing down a controller initiates charging, with an LED to signify battery status.
The station is mostly unchanged from its previous Xbox One counterpart, allowing us to confidently recommend this model, despite its launch still to come. The changes come with the battery doors, including four in the box; two for Xbox One and two for Xbox Series X or S. It allows the dock to accommodate peripherals across generations, ideal when jumping switching new and old gamepads.
Each of the batteries sports 1100 mAh capacities, translating to around 20 hours of usage with a full charge. The chosen NiMH technology enables a relatively low price, but trading longevity and charge speeds. But the result is a comprehensive charging solution that doesn't break the bank, balancing affordability without significant performance sacrifices.
- Easy to use
- Acceptable battery life
- Works with both Xbox One and new Xbox controllers
- Build quality mediocre
- Mandatory battery doors can look ugly
Best Charging Dock
Keep two Xbox controllers ready to go.
PowerA has adapted its hit Xbox One controller charger for the next generation. It's a hassle-free way option to have two controllers juiced up simultaneously while keeping your living room organized.
Best Rechargeable Controller: Xbox Elite Controller Series 2
The Xbox Elite Controller Series 2 has pioneered rechargeability as the only Microsoft-made gamepad with a battery built inside. It makes for a much more seamless approach, with a robust charging solution that rewards those invested.
Microsoft gave its flagship gamepad a considerable upgrade with the Xbox Elite Controller Series 2, which remains our best Xbox One controller also compatible with Xbox Series X and Series S. The product debuted as a leader in its class, donning an ultra-premium design, refined ergonomics, overall improvements to functionality. The controller resulted in a highly customizable and versatile Xbox accessory with an impressive battery to match.
The Xbox Elite Controller Series 2 has four rear-facing paddles, control over thumbstick tension, and trigger locks that improve rapid firing. It also supports configurable controller profiles, which allow you to switch between multiple fine-tunes presets.
But the integrated battery completes the package, with our past testing exceeding the company's claimed 40 hours with a single charge. The internal 2,050 mAh battery charges via USB-C or an included wireless charging cradle that fits inside a hard-shell carrying case. The only downside in the power department comes from an incompatibility with other charging accessories like third-party cradles or batteries.
The second attempt at the Xbox Elite Controller refines the original in almost every way, perfecting crucial components of the trusty gamepad. The biggest issue for some will simply be the $180 RRP, far exceeding other official controllers. But for that high price, it's nothing but the best.
- Robust, ergonomic design
- More features than other Xbox controllers
- 40-hour battery life
- Charging cradle included
Best Rechargeable Controller
The best controller, now better than ever.
Microsoft brings its best with the latest in the Elite controller line, packing additional buttons and more ways to fine-tune your control over your games. It also has an integrated rechargeable battery quoted for up to 40 hours, with a complimentary charging cradle completing the experience.
While the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S buyers already have several charging solutions to choose from for the included controllers, the official Xbox Rechargeable Battery with USB-C kit remains our top pick. Microsoft packs premium technology in a relatively seamless solution, functioning similarly to the internal battery used by the dearer Xbox Elite Controller Series 2. That brings up to 30 hours of quoted battery life, with a full charge within a speedy four hours. This is the best charging accessory providing long-term value without a crazy price.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Matt Brown is a staff writer at Future for Windows Central. Following years of professional consumer technology and gaming coverage, he's focused on the world of Xbox and Windows PCs. You can follow him on Twitter @mattjbrown.
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