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Buying Guide

The best Xbox controllers (2024)

Looking for a second controller for friends, or simply want a new one for yourself? We’ve got you covered.

ten controllers xbox side by side
Image: KnowTechie

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It’s hard to argue that Microsoft isn’t offering one of the best deals in gaming with Xbox Game Pass.

Whether you are playing on a Series X, S, One, or even from your computer, there are a ton of games constantly at your disposal.

However, with all the great offerings, you may need an extra controller for some couch co-op gaming with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge, or you need a controller for playing on your PC.

You might even be looking to up your game by upgrading your sticks. Regardless, there are a ton of options out there for you.

xbox series x controller
Image: KnowTechie

You may feel overwhelmed and decide a standard, first-party Xbox controller is the way to go. For price and feature, though, you have many different options.

There are quite a few options, whether you like flashy lights, additional buttons, modular customization, or improved audio options. It can be hard to pick what works best for your needs.

How we made our picks

So, how did we choose all the best Xbox controllers to include in this list? It’s easy – we personally tested many on the list.

On top of that, we spent hours researching user reviews, Reddit posts, YouTube videos, and more. But mainly, our first-hand experience is ultimately how we drafted our picks.

Choosing the best Xbox controller for your wallet and needs

Looking at first-hand experiences, reviews, and everything in between, we’ve got you covered. Here are some of the best Xbox controllers you can throw your money at.

BONUS: Any controller on this list works natively with Windows PCs, so you can easily switch between your console and desktop.

Microsoft Xbox Elite Series 2 ($164)

xbox elite series 2 controller
Image: KnowTechie

While there’s no end to third-party controllers, maybe you want to keep everything Microsoft-designed.

The Elite Series 2 gives you all the customization of the best third-party controllers while keeping a Microsoft warranty.

The best part? It works as well on PC as on the Xbox Series X|S. Microsoft even licensed SCUF’s technology to get the best of both worlds.

You get a modular, magnetic thumbstick, modular d-pads, hair-trigger locks, and four removable, remappable paddles on the back. You can also tweak the thumbstick tension for precision aiming.

Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 – Black Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 – Black
$179.99 $150.99

Get ready to level up with the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller! This thing is an absolute unit and boasts ultimate personalization, swappable components, and hair-trigger action for a next-gen gaming experience. Sure, it's expensive, but there's a reason why it's at the top of the list.

What We Like:
  • Microsoft and SCUF collaboration: Combines the best of Microsoft design and SCUF technology for unparalleled customization.
  • Microsoft warranty: Offers peace of mind with a trusted manufacturer's warranty.
  • Cross-platform compatibility: Works seamlessly on both PC and Xbox Series X|S platforms.
  • Customizable features: Modular magnetic thumbstick, adjustable d-pads, hair-trigger locks, and four removable, remappable paddles for tailored gameplay.
  • Precision aiming: Tweakable thumbstick tension ensures accurate aiming across diverse gaming genres.
KnowTechie is supported by its audience, so if you buy something through our links, we may get a small share of the sale.
03/06/2024 09:27 am GMT

Turtle Beach Recon ($59.95)

turtle beach recon cloud controller with installed phone in the grip
Image: KnowTechie / Arthur Collins

Sometimes you don’t want to spend more on a controller than on a game, but you want awesome features. Turtle Beach Recon happens to be just that type of controller.

With a lot of built-in audio options and front-facing adjustments, Turtle Beach believes the Recon can improve your K/D by “over 40%”.

That means I’m looking at going from a 0.25 to a 0.4 K/D! Jokes aside, the adjustable audio options aren’t anywhere else on this list, and that says a lot.

The tool-free, adjustable thumbstick resistance built into the controller is probably the coolest thing, making it one of the best Xbox controllers out there.

Turtle Beach Recon Cloud Wired Gaming Controller Turtle Beach Recon Cloud Wired Gaming Controller
$79.95 $54.99
Quick Verdict: The Recon Cloud takes their solid wired controller line and adds Bluetooth. Unfortunately, they leave some of their original audience behind with compatibility issues on PC. But, if you’re buying this for your phone to play games, at least you can mount it to the controller and it connects to your Android really well for that specific purpose.
  • Shape and weight is identical to their other Recon controllers
  • Full-sized buttons
  • Mount is easy to use and holds phones well
  • Can be connected directly to make it a normal Recon controller
  • If you want to use it on a PC, you have to jump through a ton of hoops
  • Mount requires thinner cases or no case at all on your phone, it determines center of gravity, and will push down on your volume button
  • Mount detaches and turns into a stand that won’t stand up on its own when phone is attached
  • Superhuman Hearing only works when directly plugged into a PC or Xbox
  • No phone app for firmware or additional options
KnowTechie is supported by its audience, so if you buy something through our links, we may get a small share of the sale.
03/07/2024 07:38 am GMT

PDP Wired Game Controller ($34.99)

PDP wired Game Controller
Image: KnowTechie

Remember back in the day when you had that “guest” controller that you’d let younger siblings or friends that didn’t bring their own controller use?

The PDP Wired Game controller is the natural evolution of that idea.

It may not offer all the flash and glitz that other controllers on the list have. However, this Xbox controller is still pound-for-pound, one of the best if you are in a pinch and need a secondary controller.

What it lacks in additional features, it makes up in versatility.

Coming in a selection of colors and offering full button customization via the PDP app, this one still gives you a lot to work with without breaking the bank.

RIG Nacon PRO Compact ($49.99)

Image: KnowTechie

Much like the previous entry, the RIG Nacon PRO compact controller doesn’t offer an absolute truckload of extra benefits.

This one does offer something that none of the other controllers on this list do, and it can be a big deal.

This controller is one of the few certified for Dolby ATMOS audio.

That means plugging your headset into the audio will improve the quality over just about any other controller on the list.

Another thing that sets this controller apart from the rest is the shape.

While every other controller on this list more or less looks like the traditional Xbox controller shape, this one is almost more PlayStation-like.

HexGaming Make Your Own BLADE controller

hexgaming xbox controller
Image: KnowTechie

Looking for a sleek Xbox controller that allows for full customization? We love our HexGaming controller with custom triggers and back buttons.

Customize every aspect of the controller, including the faceplate, buttons, triggers, and more. There are a ton of colors to choose from, and we especially appreciate the thumbstick options.

Pricing is what you’d expect from a custom controller, coming in at $159.99 for the custom version.

PowerA Spectra Infinity Enhanced ($44.99)

Image: KnowTechie

The PowerA Spectra Infinity Enhanced controller is likely the best “price per feature” option on the list.

Having the ability to look stylish, feel stylish, and help keep your eyes on the screen at all times, it’s pretty awesome and keeps it in the ranks of best Xbox controllers.

This controller lets you modify the RGB lights for the left thumbstick, right thumbstick, face buttons, and the perimeter of the controller.

Match the look to your game and the room, or just make it look as funky as you’d like.

The other great feature of this controller is the front-facing audio control and mappable back buttons.

You can map any of the buttons or L3 or R3 to the back of the controller without any software needed.

See at Amazon

Victrix Gambit Wired ($99.99)

Victrix Gambit Wired controller
Image: KnowTechie

The Victrix Gambit controller is basically a mishmash of nearly all the high-end features on this list.

The selling point on this one is that there is a lot of customization, and has the fastest response time on the list.

With a selection of controller gates, thumbstick, and a custom d-pad, the Victrix already goes toe to toe with many controllers above and below this price point.

Surprisingly, this controller also includes the Dolby Atmos sound drivers, making it even more appealing to players.

The Victrix may be one of the gaudier controllers of the bunch, but the response and customization show that this is a function over design situation. It’s literally built for any situation.

PowerA Fusion Pro 2 ($89.99)

PowerA Fusion Pro 2 controller
Image: KnowTechie

I like to refer to the PowerA Fusion Pro 2 as the Xbox Elite Lite controller. This bad boy also boasts some of the fastest response times on the list outside of the Vitrix.

My favorite feature of the controller is that it has mappable back paddles, just like the Xbox Elite 2 controller.

While it doesn’t allow non-controller button presses, it’s still lovely to map common buttons or L3 or R3 to the back so you can move while hitting those paddles.

The paddles are also removable, so if that’s not your thing, that can be ignored too.

The controller also includes two faceplates, one black with grips and one white without. This is a prime example of what looks good and feels good, plus it is seemingly always on sale.

Razer Wolverine V2 Chroma ($149.99)

Razer Wolverine V2 Chroma
Image: KnowTechie

There is a few “luxury model” controllers on this list.

The Razer Wolverine V2 Chroma is absolutely the chromatic-painted Corvette with neon lights of the bunch here. But what makes it one of the best Xbox controllers?

For starters, thumbsticks with tension adjustment and a science-backed ergonomic design are two features you won’t find on any other controller on the list.

The additional six mappable input buttons that can also use customizable input commands give it just a little bit more value, as well.

The Raver Wolverine V2 Chroma may be more expensive than most controllers but offers nearly unmatched customization and tune-up options.

There is a reason this is a popular controller with streamers.

PowerA MOGA XP7-X Plus Bluetooth ($99)

PowerZ MOGA XP7-X controller
Image: KnowTechie

While technically not a direct Xbox controller, the MOGA XP7-X is meant for Xbox Cloud Gaming.

Having accurate and consistent Xbox-style control grips for Xbox Cloud Gaming on your phone is great.

The added bonus of being able to wirelessly charge your phone while gaming is even better.

If you aren’t on the go, the MOGA XP7-X also has a built-in kickstand, so you can lounge back with a normal-sized controller.

It’s worth noting that this works with any size phone too. I have a Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, one of the biggest phones on the market. If it fits me, it will fit basically any smartphone out there.

eSwap Pro by Thrustmaster ($159)

eSwap Pro by Thrustmaster controller
Image: KnowTechie

The eSwap Pro is a go-to controller for some of the best competitive players on Twitch. The features seem a bit lighter than some options on this list, but sometimes less is more.

Hot-swappable thumbsticks are the first noticeable difference from the other controllers here. This means you can completely change the layout of your controller by moving or adding additional nodes.

Are you more of a PlayStation user and are used to the symmetrical thumbstick?

No problem, you can swap it to match that. Want to add the XYAB buttons where the d-pad goes for prime button mashing? It can do that too.

Mappable options on the controller and lightning-fast response time also round this out to make the eSwap Pro one of the most attractive controllers on the list.

SCUF Instinct Pro ($229.99)

SCUF Instinct Pro
Image: KnowTechie

Looking good, feeling good, playing good, and costing a small fortune is the SCUF way. The SCUF Instinct Pro takes the ideas of the Elite 2 controller and takes it a few steps further.

It includes four embedded, rear remappable paddles, three configuration profiles, switchable instant triggers, and interchangeable thumbstick.

The non-slip grip is also nice for some of your more serious sessions.

The SCUF Instinct Pro may be the most expensive on the list, but it is undeniably one of the best Xbox controllers. It’s not just a superior controller but also a major flex on anyone in your lobbies.

Razer Wolverine V2 ($77)

razer wolverine v2 xbox controller
Image: KnowTechie

Razer’s latest Xbox controller has the all-important share button, while still being one of the cheapest controllers Razer has produced.

Paying less does mean you lose some features, but the Wolverine V2 still comes with two extra mappable trigger buttons and trigger stops for faster performance in shooters.

It’s wired, with no option for wireless play, but then you’re not at the mercy of the Xbox Series X|S wireless connection, which is still having issues with some controllers.

The best feature? Razer’s Mecha-tactile buttons are mechanical instead of membrane and have a satisfying click when pressed.

Remember that third-party Xbox controllers aren’t just “guest controllers” anymore

You’ve seen the best that third-party controller companies have to offer when it comes to Xbox controllers. You can toss that $70 basic first-party controller and put some real power and response into your mitts.

Now it’s just a matter of lining up your needs and price point to determine the best Xbox controller for you.

Have any thoughts on this? Carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

Editors’ Recommendations:

Just a heads up, if you buy something through our links, we may get a small share of the sale. It’s one of the ways we keep the lights on here. Click here for more.

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Longtime games journalist and Florida resident. I'm a Guinness World Record holder, wordsmith extraordinaire, MOBA fan, devoted dad and husband. I'm here to spread the gospel of video games.

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