Gaming on the Xbox One is usually perfectly served by the controller that came with your console. The Xbox One controller is simply one of the best controllers there is – for Xbox or otherwise. But, there are more than a few reasons to consider picking yourself up something a bit different. If you got the Xbox One when it originally launched, you’ll find the modern controller has made some minor improvements (including Bluetooth). Microsoft even has an upgraded version of its controller in the form of the Elite Series 2 controller.
As great as the stock controller is, comfort can still come into play for many of us. The shape and size of a controller matters for long-term comfort, and you may find a different controller lets you get a better feel through lengthy play sessions. This is especially true for hands that are bigger or smaller than average. Then there’s the fact that the Xbox controller is built to be universal, so any purpose-built controller can have an advantage in certain games. Flying games can benefit greatly from a flight stick just as racing games and fighting games feel great with racing wheels and fight sticks, respectively.
So, to help you find a controller that can get the job done for whatever games you want to play, we’ve rounded up top contenders in a variety of categories. If you’re browsing in the UK, click here to find out where you can go to find the best Xbox One controller.
TL;DR – These are the Best Xbox One Controllers:
1. Microsoft Xbox Elite Series 2
Best Xbox Controller
The basic Xbox controllers might be technically perfect for gaming on the Xbox One, but even Microsoft realized there was more that could be done. Enter the Xbox Elite controller. That took the excellent form of the standard controller and introduced new rear controls and some swappable components. The Xbox Elite Series 2 (read our review) just goes even further.
With the Xbox Elite Series 2 controller, you get a solid controller with a bit of heft to it and plenty of grip. The controller offers your typical controls along with a swappable D-Pad, rear paddle buttons, tunable triggers, and swappable thumbsticks that attach magnetically (careful if you have pets that like to steal). With Microsoft’s software, you can remap the controls on the Elite Series 2 as you please. And, with Bluetooth connectivity, you can also use this with your phone or computer for Xbox Cloud Gaming. Naturally, at this premium price point, the controller also has some nice extras, like a sturdy case and pogo-pin charging stand.
2. Xbox Core Controller
The Next Best Xbox Controller
The Xbox Elite Series 2 might be the best controller, but its price and features may be a little more than you bargained for. So, if we were to look past that premium controller, the Xbox Core Controller would be the next best. It comes with a familiar but remodeled design. It’ll feel just right in your hands if you loved the original Xbox One controllers, but it has a bit more grip. Microsoft managed this by making the side grips and even the triggers and bumpers more textured.
The redesign has also reached the D-Pad, which now has more of the concave stylings of one of the Elite Series controller’s alternate D-Pads. The Xbox Core Controller has also entered the modern age of connectivity. You won’t have to deal with a weak and finicky micro USB cable again as the controller now uses a USB-C port. It also has a standard 3.5mm headset jack built in. Another huge perk of the Xbox Core Controller is its flexibility. You can use it with your Xbox One, a new Xbox Series X/S, and with a ton of other devices over Bluetooth or wired connections. Though it already comes in a handful of different colors, you can also get creative with the Xbox Design Lab controller customizer.
3. Razer Wolverine V2
Best Third-Party Xbox Controller
Microsoft might make the best Xbox controllers, but Razer has found a nice Goldilocks position in the market with its Razer Wolverine V2 (see our review). It costs more than the Xbox Core controller, but not as much as the Xbox Elite Series controllers, and yet by sticking to a wired connection, it’s able to offer capabilities that can compete with the Elite.
This controller is built for the Xbox Series consoles, updating the controls to include the Xbox Share button as well as updating the design from the older Tournament Edition. It includes tactile switches to improve on the feel over the mushier standard Xbox face buttons. Around the front, you’ll also find some pro features with two extra shoulder buttons that can be remapped to whichever control you like. The Razer Wolverine V2 also features trigger locks to shorten the travel of the triggers for faster tapping. And, despite being larger, the Razer Wolverine V2 is actually lighter than the Core controller, making it easier to game on for longer (especially since it also doesn’t rely on batteries).
4. Razer Dragon Ball FighterZ Atrox Arcade Stick
Best Xbox One Fight Stick
The best way to play fighting games is with a fight stick and the best one for the Xbox One is the Razer Atrox Arcade Stick. This premium fight stick offers some incredible build quality with high-end Sanwa components. You can find this stick in different styles, but we’re a fan of this Dragon Ball FighterZ model that adds some extra flair to the design without trading off the quality of any of the components.
Of course, if you prefer using a different stick, other buttons, or just don’t like the box art, users can open up this fight stick and change virtually every part of it.
5. PowerA Fusion
Best Xbox One Fight Pad Controller
Thumbsticks sometimes just don’t cut it when you want to play fighting games. The more instantaneos control of a good D-pad can help a lot, and the PowerA Fusion has just what you need. This fightpad delivers a streamlined design to let your hands focus on the buttons that really matter in fighting games.
On the left-hand side, you’ll find just the D-pad. PowerA does include a three-way switch, allowing the D-pad to emulate the Xbox controller’s thumbsticks and D-pad, so you shouldn’t run into issues navigating in games. The right side keeps the ABXY buttons where you need them and throws in the right and left bumper buttons, so you can mash away in fighting games. PowerA also includes a long, wired cable that firmly clips into the back of the controller for a secure attachment, while a quick-release point near the cable’s connection point with the Xbox can help ensure no one accidentally yanks your console off your media center.
6. Xbox Adaptive Controller
Best Customizable Xbox One Controller
The Xbox Adaptive Controller is specially designed for gamers with limited mobility. On its own, the Adaptive controller only gives you three inputs with an oversized D-Pad and two massive A and B buttons that users can hit with their palm, elbow, foot, or what have you.
However, the Xbox Adaptive Controller isn’t meant to be used on its own. Rather it has 19 3.5mm jacks along its back, each of which corresponds to a single command triggered on the normal Xbox One controller. Users can plug in their own accessibility controllers—which includes a massive variety of buttons, foot pedals, switches, joysticks and more—and turn the Xbox Adaptive Controller into a central control hub.
7. Hyperkin Duke Wired Controller
Best Xbox Controller for Xbox One
Thanks to Microsoft’s robust backwards compatibility, you can play a huge library of original Xbox titles. If you’re like us and want to play the game as close to the original experience as you can, you need the Duke.
The Hyperkin Duke might not be made by Microsoft, but it’s been officially licensed by Xbox. This controller emulates the entire original Xbox Controller experience from its large, rotund shape to the almost excessive resistance on the thumbsticks. Of course, this blast from the past controller keeps the old-school black and white buttons to complete the experience.
8. Thrustmaster TMX Racing Wheel
Best Xbox One Racing Wheel
When you’re really getting heavy into a racing game like Forza, F1, or Dirt, it can quickly become tedious trying to feel like you’re really driving the hyper-realistic cars on those photorealistic tracks when you’re just holding a simple Xbox controller in your hands. That’s where a racing wheel comes in, helping to fully immerse you in your game, and Thrustmaster makes many of the best
The Thrustmaster TMX Racing Wheel is a spectacular option for anyone looking to dive deep into racing sims with a wheel that doesn’t just look the part but also feels the part. The Thrustmaster TMX is a force feedback racing wheel, so you’re going to feel the road in your hands when you try taking a turn at high speeds. It also has a 900-degree rotation with a high level of sensitivity, giving you finer control over your steering than a cheap wheel would. The controller includes the force feedback base, an 11-inch wheel with paddle shifters, and foot pedals.
9. Thrustmaster T-Flight HOTAS One
Best Xbox Flight Stick
If you’re aiming to be top gun in your favorite piloting games, whether that be Ace Combat or the upcoming Star Wars Squadrons, you’ll probably want to have your hands on a flight stick instead of your Xbox One controller. To that end, the Thrustmaster T-Flight HOTAS One is your best bet. This controller gives you that authentic hands-on-throttle-and-stick feel with both elements in one fairly affordable package.
The Thrustmaster T-Flight HOTAS One physically connects the throttle and joystick with a sturdy base, but they can also be pulled apart and remain connected via a tether. This lets you position each element however you like in your gaming setup. You can even adjust the resistance of the stick to your liking. The controllers offer up fives axes of control as well as 14 action buttons, a mulitdirectional hat switch, and a rapid fire trigger. So, when you’re ready to get flying, this controller will do the job.
Where to Get the Best Xbox One Controller in the UK
It should be incredibly easy to pick up each and every one of the Xbox controllers we’ve mentioned on this list. You’ll be looking at your standard tech retailers in the UK, with sites such as Amazon, Game, and Currys PC World being the typical go-to for console accessories.
Xbox and PC Compatibility
The biggest advantage Xbox One controllers have over the DualShock 4 PS4 controller is they work wirelessly with your with your Windows PC right out of the box. No extra software or fiddling needed.
While it’s true most PC games are best enjoyed using a gaming keyboard and high-quality gaming mouse, an ever-increasing number of games and menu systems are designed around the controller instead of the traditional WASD control scheme PC gamers know and love.
With an Xbox One controller, you just plug it into your Windows computer and you’re good to go. The PS4 controllers also work with PC but require a bit more effort. However, not all games will perfectly map their controls onto a DualShock 4, so an Xbox One controller is definitely your safest bet. Controller compatibility also makes swapping between Windows Play Anywhere and Xbox Game Pass for PC games like Cuphead, Forza Horizon 4, Gears of War 4 and more much easier.
To use an Xbox One controller on your PC requires you have Windows. There are Linux and Mac solutions, too, but they require more work. Getting your Xbox One controller up and running on PC is as simple as using a Micro USB cable to connect it to your gaming laptop or gaming PC. You can also grab a Microsoft Xbox One wireless controller adapter or if your computer has Bluetooth, you can pair it as you’d pair any other Bluetooth device.
Windows might take a second or two to update the drivers, but that’s it. You just hook your Xbox One controller to a PC and you’re good to go from there. Keep in mind, if you move back and forth between PC and Xbox One, you’ll need to pair the controller whenever you switch between the two.
Of course, Xbox One traditional-style controllers are pretty great, and our guide to the best should help you in most gaming situations. But what about specialty controllers?
For example, are you playing fighting games on a regular controller? If so, you’re doing yourself an enormous disservice. It’s possible to practice and get really good with one of these controllers, but for dominance in the fighting game community, you really need to pick yourself up a dedicated fight stick.
For driving games, like the excellent Forza Horizon 4, you’re going to want a racing wheel. It’s up to you to decide if you want to go all-in with dedicated pedals, gear shift, and racing chair. Same with flight sticks. You can make the experience as immersive as your budget allows.
The best part about buying a dedicated controller like a fight stick or racing wheel is they have the same compatibility as the traditional Xbox One controllers. Your fight stick will work on your PC the same as it works on your Xbox One X, same as the others.
Also, be sure to check out more of our expert tech roundups like our guide to the best 4K TVs for gaming, the best PlayStation 4 controllers, or jump-start your streaming career with one of the best capture cards for streamers.
Kevin Lee is IGN’s Hardware and Roundups Editor. Follow him on Twitter @baggingspam
Mark Knapp is a regular contributor to IGN and an irregular Tweeter on Twitter @Techn0Mark
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