Xbox Series X ControllerSource: Matt Brown | Windows Central

Best Xbox Series X and Series S controllers Windows Central 2022

The Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S are two excellent gaming consoles that feel most at home when connected to one of a wide range of controllers. While you can use one of the best keyboards for Xbox to gain additional input prowess, using one of the incredible gaming peripherals below guarantees support across thousands of the best Xbox games. Here are the best controllers currently available for Xbox Series X|S, with options for every need and budget.

Best overall: Xbox Wireless Controller

Xbox Series X ControllerSource: Matt Brown | Windows Central

You honestly can't go wrong with the default controller that Microsoft bundles in the box of every Xbox console. The Xbox Wireless Controller is comfortable and ergonomic, and features a healthy mix of features to make it an excellent gaming companion for a variety of situations. Xbox Wireless Controllers also feature both Xbox Wireless and Bluetooth support, meaning they can switch seamlessly between Xbox consoles and gaming on other devices like phones, tablets, and more.

The new Xbox Wireless Controller features a myriad of improvements to the design and feature set, including a more ergonomic shape for a larger number of hand sizes, a redesigned D-pad, superior grips across the handles, triggers, and bumpers, and more. There's also a dedicated Share button to make 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.

The Xbox Wireless Controller is considered to be one of the best controllers in gaming in general, and the praise is well-deserved. Just keep in mind that the Xbox Wireless Controller uses AA batteries by default, and including rechargeable capabilities requires an extra purchase. The Xbox Wireless Controller is available in a plethora of designs, and you can even use the Xbox Design Lab to custom design a controller that's unique to you.

Pros:

  • Excellent design
  • Dedicated Share button
  • Bluetooth for ease of use with other devices
  • Ergonomic and comfortable to use

Cons:

  • Not rechargeable without extra purchase
  • Not as premium or feature-packed as the Elite

Best overall

Xbox Series X Controller

Xbox Wireless Controller (Xbox, PC, & mobile)

Greatness refined

One of the best controllers of all time gets refined for a new generation of gaming with an improved design, an integrated Share button, and more.

Xbox Design Lab

Xbox Design Lab

The Xbox Design Lab lets you personalize your own entirely unique Xbox Wireless Controller, including rubberized grips, metallic accents, custom engravings, and much more.

Best premium: Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2

Xbox Elite Series 2Source: Windows Central

The ordinary Xbox Wireless Controller is a perfectly suitable gaming peripheral for almost any player thanks to its award-winning design and comfort, but hardcore gamers may lament its general lack of additional features and long-term durability. The Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 takes all the best things about the Xbox Wireless Controller and massively improves upon them with new features, customizability, and much more. If you're willing to shell out a serious premium, there is 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 comes in with a refined and more durable design with improved grips, and denser metal-reinforced chassis, and a foundational focus on customization. Players can change out the joysticks and D-pad for alternative designs, 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 ones-up its little sibling once again by featuring a rechargeable battery via USB Type-C or an included dock, rather than relying on AA batteries without an optional purchase. Just keep in mind the Elite Controller Series 2 is far more expensive than most other controllers, and features a lot of additional heft thanks to its sturdier construction.

Pros:

  • Excellent design
  • Great build quality
  • Custom button and paddle mapping
  • Changeable sticks and D-Pad
  • Bluetooth support

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Heavier than a standard controller

Best premium

Xbox Elite Controller Series 2

Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 (Xbox, PC, & mobile)

Likely the best controller ever made

The Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 may be one of the best controllers ever made, thanks to its wonderfully evolved design, customizable features and button mapping, and integrated Bluetooth support alongside Xbox Wireless.

Best wired: Razer Wolverine V2 Chroma

Razer Wolverine V2 Review 2021Source: Windows Central

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 that the Razer Wolverine V2 Chroma versus other options is how it is wired-only at the end of the day. 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 to plugin. 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.

Pros:

  • Customizable RGB lighting
  • Mappable buttons, paddles, and more
  • Sensitivity clutch is a genuinely useful feature
  • Premium design and build quality

Cons:

  • Wired-only
  • Expensive

Best wired

Razer Wolverine V2 Chroma Reco

Razer Wolverine V2 Chroma (Xbox & PC)

Premium wired

For those who don't mind (or even prefer) being tethered to their gaming device, the Razer Wolverine V2 Chroma is among the very best options, with a variety of high-end features and design elements that make it stand out from the crowd.

Best budget: PowerA Enhanced

PowerA Xbox Series X AccessoriesSource: PowerA | Amazon

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, however. 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.

Pros:

  • Solid construction
  • Great price
  • Familiar and comfortable design
  • Extra programmable buttons and volume wheel

Cons:

  • Wired-only
  • Soft-touch coating gets very grubby

Best budget

PowerA Xbox Series X Accessories

PowerA Enhanced (Xbox)

No frills, but still good quality

The PowerA Enhanced controller for Xbox consoles is basic and affordable, but it still offers great quality and some surprising additional features for an astoundingly aggressive price.

Best alternative: PowerA Fusion Pro 2

Fusion Pro 2Source: Windows Central

Both the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 and Razer Wolverine V2 Chroma are amazing controllers, but they're also quite expensive. Those who are 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 features 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.

Pros:

  • Affordable "pro" features
  • Customizable paddles, triggers, joysticks, and more
  • Replaceable faceplates
  • Software-free button mapping

Cons:

  • Wired-only
  • Grips become dirty quickly
  • Paddles are too easily removed

Best alternative

PowerA FUSION Pro 2 Controller

PowerA Fusion Pro 2 (Xbox)

An affordable "pro" alternative

For those who desire "pro" features like rear paddles and button mapping for less, the PowerA Fusion Pro 2 incorporates a lot of features found on more expensive controllers like the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2, but in a more affordable package.

Best accessibility: Xbox Adaptive Controller

Xbox Adaptive ControllerSource: Windows Central

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 the 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.

Pros:

  • True customization
  • Wide range of options and accessories
  • Great community support
  • Compatibility with Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and PC

Cons:

  • Time-consuming to set up
  • Accessories can be expensive

Best accessibility

Xbox Adaptive Controller

Xbox Adaptive Controller (Xbox & PC)

Making gaming accessible to everyone

The Xbox Adaptive Controller is a well-designed and well-supported product that helps make gaming more accessible for everyone.

Best wheel: Logitech G923

G923Source: Logitech

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 that are 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.

Pros:

  • Great design and build
  • Class-leading console force feedback
  • Integrated shift lights
  • Compact and lightweight

Cons:

  • No load-cell brake pedal
  • Dedicated shifter is optional purchase
  • Can be difficult to find in stock

Best wheel

G923

Logitech G923 (Xbox & PC)

One of the best console wheels ever made

Trueforce is a genuine step forward for console racing wheels, and Logitech has simply enhanced the wheel around this stunning new feature.

Conclusion

There are so many excellent Xbox Series X and 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 of the best, however, the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 is the top dog. 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.

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