The best Xbox One controllers of 2024

Xbox One gamers who want the edge over other players should use these controllers, which have all the buttons fit to press.

Best Overall

The Xbox Elite Series 2 is the Best Xbox One Controller.

Xbox Elite Series 2

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Best wired

The Wolverine V2 Chroma is the best Xbox One Controller.

Razer Wolverine V2 Chroma

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Best Budget

The PowerA Enhanced controller is the best Xbox One Controller.

PowerA Enhanced Wired Controller

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Xbox One players have a lot of choices when picking the best controller for playing the latest games. Microsoft’s next-generation consoles—the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S—are also available, so every controller we recommend will work with all three systems. Upgrading to a better controller for the Xbox One today—or picking up a second one for multiplayer games—is still a wise investment, even if you stick with your current system for several more years. As long as it’s one of the best Xbox One controllers, you should be good.

How we chose the best Xbox One controllers 

To choose the best Xbox One controllers, I channeled my years of research and experience writing about video games. Each of these controllers comes highly recommended by various play-testers, reviews from other publications, and my own testing. Also, should you ever upgrade to the Series S or Series X, these are the best controllers for those platforms as well.

And there are a lot of choices out there. The original “core” Xbox gamepad is great, but there’s a whole world of premium controllers with special features and budget options for players who want something cheap to put in a friend’s hands. Regardless of what you’re looking for, picking the best Xbox One controller for your specific needs can be a lot of work. Luckily, we’ve played a lot of video games with a lot of controllers, so we have some ideas about what you should pick up.

The best Xbox One controllers: Reviews & Recommendations

Our picks for the best Xbox One controllers range in price and have different features, but they all have something to offer. Whether you want something inexpensive, something more accessible, or just like crazy, cool RGB lighting, we’ve got you.

Best overall: Xbox Elite Series 2

The ultimate upgrade

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Why it made the cut: Microsoft’s second Xbox Elite Wireless Controller is an upgrade in almost every conceivable way, making this controller the best wireless Xbox One controller. 


  • Estimated battery life: 40 hours
  • Notable features: Haptic feedback, Impulse Triggers, rumble motors, adjustable and swappable thumbsticks, assignable buttons, rear paddles, dual analog sticks
  • Connections: Wireless, USB-C wired
  • Colors: Black
  • Weight: 12.2oz


  • Tons of customization options
  • Sturdy and stylish 
  • Long-lasting battery life  


  • Expensive

Microsoft went all out when it sought to reimagine its high-end Xbox Elite controller. Building on the core Xbox One controller, the Xbox Elite Series 2 features a host of augments and upgrades, including customizable buttons and swappable D-pads, to a wireless charging dock.

Do these extra features make a demonstrable difference? Yes. The controller feels premium in the hand, and while the extra weight is noticeable, it never made the Elite Series 2 unpleasant to hold. Its subtle features, like the way buttons and triggers feel when they’re pushed or the smoothness of the joysticks as they’re moved around and twisted, are easy to appreciate. The biggest technical differences between the Elite Series 2 and a standard Xbox One controller are its back triggers, which can be mapped to any of the controller’s face buttons for easy access, and a circular, paddle-style directional pad below the left joystick.

In our tests, the paddle-style directional pad didn’t make a big difference in how we played games, but the triggers were helpful game-by-game. The utility of these triggers will depend on how you hold the Elite Series 2 and whether you play games where it’s advantageous to keep your thumbs on its joysticks at all times. Typically, your right thumb would have to operate the face buttons (A,B,X,Y) and right joystick depending on what’s happening on screen, which can get tedious. If you take time to retrain your muscle memory, you may find yourself in an advantageous position compared to players using a different controller.

Simply put, the Xbox Elite Series 2 is the best Xbox One controller on the market now. Period. That level of quality translates to a high price tag, though. It’s also been difficult to find, lately, just like the consoles themselves. You’ve got to pay a lofty price for greatness, but this is the best gift you can give yourself as an Xbox player.

Best wired: Razer Wolverine V2 Chroma

Wired for the win

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Why it made the cut: Razer’s newest revision of the wired Wolverine controller has advanced Chroma RGB light strips, as well as faster actuation and response times.


  • Estimated battery life: N/A
  • Notable features: Haptic feedback, Hair Trigger mode, rumble motors, adjustable and swappable thumbsticks, assignable buttons, rear paddles, dual analog sticks, Razer Chroma RGB lighting
  • Connections: USB-C wired
  • Colors: Black
  • Weight: 9.5oz


  • Customizable buttons and analog sticks
  • Razer Chroma RGB lighting
  • Excellent grip profile


  • Wired connection only
  • Expensive

Razer’s Wolverine V2 Chroma is a fantastic wired counterpart to the Series 2 Elite controller. With additional customization options and features, it’s a luxury controller for players willing to pay for something special. Only, in this case, that specialty includes wired performance. The V2 Chroma is Razer’s third Wolverine. It looks similar to the original V2 but with customizable RGB piping, which launched in 2020, and its six multi-function buttons evoke the original Wolverine Ultimate, which came out nearly 10 years ago. It also has many features found on the Elite Series 2, including trigger locks and a swappable D-pad. All in all, it’s just as expensive as the Elite controller series and just as enticing for discerning players, which is why this controller is our pick for best wired Xbox One controller.

Best audio-centric: Turtle Beach Recon Xbox Controller

Competitive features, competitive price

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Why it made the cut: Turtle Beach’s first controller brings a slew of headset-focused features for players who pair it with a wired headset.


  • Estimated battery life: N/A
  • Notable features: Haptic feedback, Hair Trigger mode, rumble motors, adjustable and swappable thumbsticks, assignable buttons, rear paddles, dual analog sticks, Razer Chroma RGB lighting
  • Connections: USB-A wired
  • Colors: Black
  • Weight: 10.6oz


  • Superhuman Hearing and audio controls
  • Ergonomic cooling grips
  • Rear quick-action buttons


  • Wired connection only
  • Audio features only work with analog headsets

The Turtle Beach Recon Xbox One Controller is a solid wired alternative to the standard Xbox controller. In exchange for having to plug in, you get selectable user-profiles and rear quick-action buttons, among other upgrades. However, the Recon stands apart from other controllers because of its audio-focused features. For players who plug a headset into the Recon with a 3.5mm headphone jack, the Recon gives you access to onboard audio controls, audio presets to mix your sound, and Turtle Beach’s competitive Superhuman hearing feature, which makes it easier to hear gameplay-relevant sounds like footsteps. It’s the best audio-centric Xbox One controller and a very good option for players who want to optimize for competitive play without spending too much on a controller and/or headset.

Best wireless: Xbox Wireless Controller (2020)

Keep it classic

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Why it made the cut: The Xbox Wireless Controller is an affordable, reliable option that’s great for any gamer. 


  • Estimated battery life: 40 hours
  • Notable features: Rumble motors, dual analog sticks
  • Connections: Wireless, USB-C wired
  • Colors: Multiple
  • Weight: 9.9oz


  • Affordable and sturdy
  • Lengthy battery life
  • Multiple colors available


  • Fewer customization options than high-end alternatives

Do not underestimate the Xbox Wireless Controller. The standard Xbox gamepad is an affordable, sturdy, and versatile gamepad. This version, which comes with the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S, is fully compatible with the Xbox One and features a very useful extra button. The “share” button right in the center lets you record a screenshot or video without accessing the Xbox menu.

This is the default Xbox controller for tens of millions of players, so, unsurprisingly, it performed very well during our gameplay tests. The Xbox “Core” controller is so good that we could easily have named it the best overall pick in this guide and dubbed the Elite Series 2 a premium option. The controller was always responsive, and its buttons, triggers, and joysticks felt fine. We’ve used this controller with an Xbox Series X for over two years, showing no sign of wear or degradation. One of this controller’s underrated (or at the very least underappreciated) features is how nice it feels in the hand. It’s lighter than its Elite sibling, and the plastic Microsoft used makes this controller easy to hold for multi-hour gaming sessions.

If you go for a second controller, the “core” controller, as it’s called sometimes, comes in a dizzying amount of colors and feels great in your hands, with buttons that feel good, hardy triggers, and a grippy surface that doesn’t get slick after lengthy gaming sessions. It may lack the bells and whistles of the other, more expensive controllers on this list, but it can handle anything you throw at it.

Most accessible: Xbox Adaptive Controller

Video games for everyone

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Why it made the cut: Xbox’s Adaptive Controller is the only one of its kind, and it’s an absolute triumph for accessibility. 


  • Estimated battery life: 25 hours
  • Notable features: Multiple ports for accessible play, large face buttons
  • Connections: Wireless, USB-C wired, additional hookups for additional accessibility-focused peripherals
  • Colors: White
  • Weight: 19.5oz


  • Designed so anyone can play
  • Decent battery life for multipurpose controller
  • Dizzying amount of input options


  • Can be a bit confusing to set up

The Xbox Adaptive Controller offers a unique proposition among game controllers. Specifically created for gamers with limited mobility, the two-button slab is a hub for specialty peripherals that allow players who can’t hold and/or easily use a traditional gamepad. You can connect buttons, joysticks, mounts, and essentially anything that makes it easier for anyone to jump in and play. It also includes features such as Bluetooth, Xbox wireless support, USB connectivity, and a 3.5 mm jack. It may be a bit confusing to set up for the first time, depending on your needs, but it’s the only controller that does what it does. Its unique capabilities open up the world of video games to many gamers who wouldn’t be able to play otherwise, and that’s a very special thing.

Best budget: PowerA Enhanced Wired Controller

A little extra

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Why it made the cut: PowerA’s excellent peripheral pedigree means its latest wired Xbox controller is a great option at a low price point. 


  • Estimated battery life: N/A
  • Notable features: Dual rumble motors, mappable buttons, ergonomic design, textured diamond grip, dual analog sticks, headset dial, Share button
  • Connections: USB-C wired
  • Colors: Multiple
  • Weight: 7.2oz


  • Solid list of features
  • Affordable
  • Multiple colors available


  • Lacks customization found in higher-priced controllers

PowerA’s Enhanced Wired Controller is the best cheap Xbox One controller you can buy for less than the cost of a new Xbox Wireless Controller. It’s a solid wired option and adds some special features that the standard Xbox controller doesn’t have, including a pair of customizable rear buttons. There’s also a headset dial on board, so you can adjust the volume or mute the wired headset you choose to attach

The biggest benefits to using a wired game controller are never having to worry about latency (lag) or having to charge your device. Yes, using a wired controller brought back the classic memories of days spent tethered to 16 and 32-bit consoles of yesteryear, but it was nice to know our game wasn’t going to get interrupted by a “low battery” warning. Regarding responsiveness, PowerA’s Wireless Controller performed just as well as Microsoft’s first-party wireless controllers.

This is the lightest Xbox One controller we’re recommending—this is because there’s no heavy battery inside weighing it down—and while that didn’t make much of a difference to us, it could be the deciding factor if you’re optimizing your gaming experience for comfort. If you’re looking for an inexpensive Xbox One controller that works just as well as options that cost roughly double its price, PowerA’s Enhanced Wired Controller is the one to choose.

What to consider when buying the best Xbox One controllers

There are a surprisingly large number of things to consider when picking out a new Xbox One controller. There are obvious factors, like what types of games you’ll be playing and what kind of customization you’re looking to get out of your peripherals, but there are also smaller details, like the size of your hands. All these factors come into play when you’re seeking the perfect controller, so don’t be afraid to sweat the small stuff.

Cutting the cord

The standard Xbox controller is wireless, but that doesn’t mean everyone needs to have a wireless controller. In fact, there are still several great wired gamepads out there. In many cases, manufacturers make wired controllers to keep costs down. The cheapest controller will, inevitably, be wired only. That said, there are also wired controllers designed specifically for competitive players, who may be concerned about the potential input lag that inevitably creeps in with wireless controllers. Using a wired controller also eliminates the need to plug in a controller to charge between sessions or replace batteries.

In our experience, the difference in input lag between wireless controllers using Microsoft’s proprietary Xbox wireless connection and a wired controller is negligible, so most players should feel comfortable going wireless without issue. That said, don’t discount it automatically. Some of our favorite controllers are wired and worth picking up if you sit near your TV or monitor.

Button it up

All Xbox One controllers come with the same array of core buttons. However, many also feature customizable extra buttons or paddles, which you can map to create new button layouts. That means you can personalize your game in important ways, like changing the action button or assigning a different one to running or shooting. For some players, a custom control scheme can make a huge difference, or it may not be important at all. It all comes down to how much you like to personalize your experience.

Additional accommodations

Some gamers may need a controller with extra options to ensure they’re able to play their favorite titles without compromising. This might mean larger buttons or controllers that offer multiple inputs. Whatever your needs may be, there’s a controller that can help you settle in and enjoy the fantastical worlds you want to explore—or just up your body count as you move through the levels of your favorite first-person shooter. 


Q: Are third-party Xbox controllers worth buying?

Choosing a third-party controller doesn’t automatically mean “settling” or buying something cheap. In many cases, peripheral makers offer features Microsoft hasn’t added to its controllers, like Razer’s RGB lighting. Even among “budget” controllers, though, the bar for quality among controllers is as high as it’s ever been.

Q: Do I need any extra accessories for my Xbox controller?

You’ll want to ensure you have batteries on hand, as Microsoft’s standard wireless controller still needs two AA batteries for wireless play. Alternatively, you can also buy rechargeable batteries or an Xbox rechargeable battery kit so you can plug in and avoid generating e-waste.

Q: Are Xbox controllers hard to find in stores?

It depends on what you’re looking for. The standard Xbox Wireless Controller or less expensive options like PowerA are usually available at most retailers. You’re better off looking for specialized options like Razer’s Wolverine V2 Chroma and the Xbox Adaptive Controller online, as they can be much more difficult to find.

Q: How long do Xbox controllers last on average?

An Xbox controller will last several years before having to be replaced as long as it’s treated well. Playing video games with greasy fingers, dropping your controller on the ground, or leaving it uncharged (if wireless) for long stretches of time will impact its longevity.

Q: Can I use an Xbox One controller on Xbox 360?

Unfortunately, you cannot use an Xbox One controller with the Xbox 360.

Q: Can I connect Xbox controllers to PS4 or PS5?

Unfortunately, you cannot connect an Xbox One controller to a PlayStation.

Q: How much do Xbox controllers cost?

This depends on whether the controller is wired or wireless and whether it supports any unique features.

Q: Which other Xbox One accessories are worth it?

A controller is the most important accessory for any game console, but we have an entire guide dedicated to Xbox One and Xbox Series X accessories that are worth your time.

Final thoughts on the best Xbox One controllers

One of the best Xbox One controllers can go a long way toward maximizing the immersion of playing games on an Xbox (or a PC). Whether you’ve snagged an Xbox Series X or are still happily gaming on an Xbox One, there are options for everyone. There’s no reason to purchase an uncomfortable controller from a mystery brand with flimsy analog sticks, frustrating D-pads, or sweaty plastic. We’ve come a long way when it comes to controller technology, so you should never have to deal with those “Player 2” gamepads ever again.

Why trust us

Popular Science started writing about technology more than 150 years ago. There was no such thing as “gadget writing” when we published our first issue in 1872, but if there was, our mission to demystify the world of innovation for everyday readers means we would have been all over it. Here in the present, PopSci is fully committed to helping readers navigate the increasingly intimidating array of devices on the market right now.

Our writers and editors have combined decades of experience covering and reviewing consumer electronics. We each have our own obsessive specialties—from high-end audio to video games to cameras and beyond—but when we’re reviewing devices outside of our immediate wheelhouses, we do our best to seek out trustworthy voices and opinions to help guide people to the very best recommendations. We know we don’t know everything, but we’re excited to live through the analysis paralysis that internet shopping can spur so readers don’t have to.

Brittany Vincent Avatar

Brittany Vincent

Contributor, Reviews

Brittany Vincent has covered video games, technology, and pop culture for 15 years at publications like G4, Playboy, Empire, Complex, IGN, GamesRadar, Polygon, Kotaku, Maxim, and more. She began working with Popular Science’s reviews coverage in late 2021.