The Xbox Core Controller is hard to beat, but there are plenty of other controllers offering more customizations, extra controls, and special uses to deck out your Xbox Series X/S. Click here to jump to a detailed look at the best Xbox Series X/S controllers, or check the shopping list below:
TL;DR – These are the Best Xbox Series X/S Controllers:
There are an overwhelming amount of Xbox controllers, so we’ve tested and researched a range of options, picking our favorites. You’ll find everything from customizable and budget gamepads to racing wheels and flight sticks ready to take on Microsoft’s console. Best of all, many of our selections work great with a gaming PC or even a gaming phone – and click here to see them in the UK.
Best Xbox Series X/S Controllers
1. Xbox Core Controller
Best Xbox Series X/S Controller
You can’t go wrong with a classic, so the Xbox Core Controller is hard to beat. There are no gimmicks or fancy features packed into this gamepad, with Microsoft sticking to a familiar and comfortable design of the Xbox One generation. However, a few slight tweaks will improve your experience when using it with the latest consoles, including recording gameplay, D-pad use, and a better grip.
The Core Controller connects to your Xbox through its upgraded wireless protocol for less latency and fewer mispresses. It’s also great for gaming on your PC or phone with built-in Bluetooth support. However, the gamepad requires AA batteries when playing wirelessly—a bit archaic for 2024. So to skip the battery hassle altogether, a USB-C plug is available.
Note that this is also our pick for the best PC controller to buy.
2. Turtle Beach Recon Wired Game Controller
Best Budget Xbox Series X/S Controller
Loads of features at a not-so-premium price are on offer with the Turtle Beach Recon Wired Game Controller. For around $50, this gamepad features all the traditional buttons, triggers, and sticks of an Xbox controller, plus two extra back buttons that let you activate controls without taking your thumbs off the analog sticks. You can configure those two rear buttons to do whatever you please, including tuning thumbstick sensitivity for better accuracy.
The Turtle Beach Recon offers a well-constructed, comfortable-in-hand wired controller with ergonomic grips to ensure a firm hold even in the heat of battle. However, audio customizations make it a standout. When connecting your gaming headset to the controller, you can play around with various EQ settings, like SuperHuman Hearing, to pick up on audio cues you may otherwise miss. And simple on-control adjustments to the game/chat mix should make communication with your teammates a breeze.
3. PowerA Enhanced Wired Controller
Best Ultra Cheap Xbox Series X/S Controller
If you’ve constantly got buddies stopping by for quick games of Madden NFL 24, having a flight of controllers ready to play might be convenient. A super affordable option, like PowerA’s Enhanced Wired Controller, is perfect to always keep on hand, ensuring no one misses out on playing. Coming in under $40, it’s cheap but still offers a sturdy build that can hold up against any action you throw at it.
With looks and a feel similar to the standard Series X option, PowerA’s gamepad is easy to get the hang of. Its button, trigger, and stick layout are almost identical, though it weighs less and is a solely wired option. There’s even a built-in share button and mic mute switch, while mappable back buttons are handy for quicker actions in-game. Overall, the face buttons are highly responsive, and as a whole, the controller offers great functionality. You’ll love this affordable gamepad as a backup option or even your mainstay, so you can spend money on some of the best game deals instead.
4. Xbox Elite Series 2
Best High-End Xbox Series X/S Controller
The Xbox Elite Series 2 is a premium controller for hardcore gamers willing to pay the high price for greatness. All the buttons can be completely re-mapped, while four extra rear paddles can change the function of the face buttons when held down or have their own actions within a game. The rear paddles, D-pad, and thumbsticks are even attached magnetically for easy swapping to get your best feel, and the Elite 2 is even more customizable thanks to Xbox Design Lab.
As a wireless option, the Xbox Elite Series 2 has a built-in rechargeable battery that lasts up to 40 hours on one charge. So you won’t be hunting down AA batteries like the Core Controller. And in addition to Xbox Wireless, there’s Bluetooth connectivity and a USB-C for a wired option, making it easy to use with your PC or gaming phone.
5. Turtle Beach Stealth Ultra
Best Tunable Xbox Series X/S Controller
The Turtle Beach Stealth Ultra is a pro-level controller ready to be tuned to your ideal settings. Its reliable microswitch face buttons are remappable, and the four extra buttons on the rear can be assigned actions. There are hall-effect, anti-drift thumbsticks that you can dial in the performance of and come with interchangeable thumbsticks, while trigger stops to adjust actuation distance are ideal for FPS. Most of these settings can be modified using the controller’s companion app, but you may opt to use the rather unique on-gamepad “Connected Command Display.”
This compact, full-color screen directly on the Stealth Ultra displays phone notifications and allows you to make on-the-fly setting adjustments like swapping between ten different profiles, remapping buttons, fine-tuning the vibration intensity, and modifying RGB lighting. Given this is a wireless controller, you may think that the screen will significantly drain the battery, but Turtle Beach claims the battery lasts up to 30 hours, depending on the mode. It even comes with a handy quick charging dock so you can get back to the action in no time.
6. Scuf Instinct Pro
Best Competitive Xbox Series X/S Controller
The best controller to give you a competitive edge is the Scuf Instinct Pro. It rocks a look similar to the Core controller but includes some extras like four easy-to-use, customizable paddles. A switch near the triggers makes them actuate like a mouse click for a faster response time, which is a boon in shooters. Four interchangeable thumbsticks also let you find the best feel when annihilating your opponents.
The overall design of the Scuf Instinct Pro is something to marvel at, starting with the lightweight, ergonomic build, so even the longest gaming sessions won’t leave you fatigued. The grips on the rear of the handles also keep your hands firmly in place. However, when using the controller wirelessly, you’ll rely on those pesky AA batteries.
7. Thrustmaster Eswap X Pro
Best Customizable Xbox Series Controller
If you want to perform next-level customizations to your controller, the Thrustmaster Eswap X Pro has you covered. It’s a modular option with swappable, removable parts, making it easy to tinker around with different configurations as the thumbsticks and D-pad pop right out. Therefore, you can go for the standard Core Controller layout or opt for something similar to the DualSense controller.
Packed to the brim with controls, the Thrustmaster Eswap X Pro has solid, tactile face buttons, while shortcut buttons on the rear keep your thumbs on the thumbsticks. There are six additional “settings” buttons and two switches to lock triggers for quicker firing. Its bulkier design may also be more comfortable for some than a traditional Xbox controller.
8. Thrustmaster TMX Force Feedback
Best Xbox Series X/S Racing Wheel
Without a doubt, racing games like Forza Horizon 5 are best played on a proper racing wheel setup. Thrustmaster’s TMX Force Feedback offers ruggedness, and the feel of its components will impress anyone hitting the virtual open road. There is an insane amount of realistic, responsive force feedback that’s fine-tuned with a belt-pulley system, while the wheel has a non-slip grip and 900° rotation for ultimate precision.
The TMX Force Feedback has only two pedals, so you’ll be shifting gears with the attached metal paddle shifters, similar to a real high-performance car. The button layout and styling also match that of a race car rather than a standard Xbox controller, but you still have all the controls you need to get by in games. Your Xbox should even automatically recognize the wheel, and it works seamlessly with your PC too.
9. Thrustmaster T-Flight HOTAS One
Best Xbox Series X/S Flight Stick
Are you ready to take it to the skies in Microsoft Flight Simulator? The best way to pilot your aircraft is with Thrustmaster’s T-Flight HOTAS One. This all-in-one flight stick is simple enough for rookie pilots to learn quickly, but seasoned veterans can still appreciate the realistic, ergonomic joystick and precise throttle to get up in the air.
The T-Flight HOTAS One offers a streamlined design with a sturdy base that connects the throttle and joystick, though you can separate them for your preferred setup. It’s easy to find the 14 different buttons and switches needed to perform actions in your game, while a share button captures views on your scenic flight. Five axes of control, a multidirectional hat switch, and a rapid-fire trigger further ensure you have the best flying experience possible.
See more of our picks of the best joysticks for additional options.
10. Honeycomb Aeronautical Alpha Flight Controls XPC
Best Flight Sim Controller
For the most immersive experience in the virtual air, grab the Honeycomb Aeronautical Alpha Flight Controls XPC. This yoke totes the look and feel of one you’d typically see on an aircraft with a 180-degree rotation and 12-Bit Hall Effect Sensors for a smooth, realistic feel. A solid metal frame and shaft made of steel ensure this controller holds up, while a mounting system also lets you expand controls.
Speaking of controls, the Honeycomb Aeronautical Alpha Flight Controls XPC is packing tons for a more custom flight experience. On the handles are a variety of fully programmable buttons like an eight-way hat switch and two-way rockers switches for trim or aileron. Don’t worry the base also features buttons specifically for Xbox. Other features that mimic those of an actual airplane include a spring-loaded five-position ignition switch alongside a panel of master, alternator, avionics, and light switches.
11. PowerA MOGA XP5-X Plus
Best Xbox Game Pass Controller
Do you enjoy gaming on the go? Xbox Game Pass makes that much easier, offering tons of your favorite console titles on your gaming phone. So grabbing a phone controller like the PowerA MOGA XP5-X Plus makes it much easier to play them. This option has a layout similar to the Xbox Core controller, but it manages to take things to another level for a better mobile gaming experience.
The PowerA MOGA XP5-X Plus offers Bluetooth 4.2 LE or USB wired modes for a simple connection to your smartphone. There’s even a 3,000 mAh rechargeable battery on board, which doubles as a phone charger, so you won’t need to worry about your device running out of juice halfway through a session. And a phone clip rests snuggly on the chassis, letting you game from multiple viewing angles and reduce fatigue, as it’s ergonomically balanced.
Where to Get the Best Xbox Controllers in the UK
What to look for in a controller
There’s plenty to seek out in an Xbox controller. Here are some important specs to pay attention to when buying this type of Xbox accessory.
Connectivity is essential when it comes to your gamepad. If you’re looking to have the lowest latency when gaming, a wired option is your best bet. A wireless dongle is another solid connection option. Some of our picks even offer Xbox’s own wireless protocol that provides less latency and fewer mispresses. And with Bluetooth connectivity on some of our picks, you can easily use it as a PC controller or phone controller. Take a look at our guide on how to pair an Xbox controller with PC for more ways to connect.
Another important factor to consider is how customizable a controller can be. If you want to remap some buttons or literally change the placement of a D-pad or thumbstick, some of our picks have the ability to do that. There are also options that offer additional buttons, like ones on the backside to provide shortcuts. Or, there might be added switches to lock triggers, allowing you to perform actions quicker. The possibilities are truly endless with some of these gamepads, and you can make them truly your own to annihilate the competition.
Xbox Controller FAQ
Can You Connect a PS5 Controller to an Xbox Series X?
If you really like the look atnd feel of the PS5 Dualsense controller and want to use it on an Xbox console, it is actually possible to do so. You will, however, need to purchase an adapter to do so. The Brooks Wingman Converter allows you to connect either a PS5 controller or a Switch Pro controller to your Xbox console.
Can You Connect a Mouse and Keyboard to Xbox?
If you’d rather use your gaming mouse and gaming keyboard on your Xbox instead of one of the best controllers, you certainly can. All you need to do is plug in your mouse and keyboard into one of the extra USB ports on the console and you’ll be connected. Not all Xbox Series X games have mouse and keyboard support, however.
Leana Hafer is an avid PC gamer. Talk action-RPGs, strategy games, and more with her on Twitter at @TilFolkvang.
Danielle Abraham is a freelance writer and unpaid music historian.
Image Credit: Annalee Tsujino is a multi disciplinary designer and illustrator. Check them out on Instagram @antsu_illustrations.