Best Xbox Controllers 2024

For console gaming, your game is only as good as how you interact with your controller. While the controller that comes with the Xbox console is quite good, Microsoft’s isn’t the only game in town; the best Xbox controllers, like our top pick, the Microsoft Xbox Wireless Controller, offer plenty of small extras that can elevate your gaming experience.

One of the best Xbox controllers you can buy right now is the Turtle Beach Stealth Ultra.

Illustration: Forbes / Photo: Retailer

Many of those alternative Xbox controllers have their own unique features. Although the basic layout on almost all controllers remains the same—with offset analog sticks and the ABXY face button format—subtle changes to Microsoft’s standard design can make a world of difference for players. Some add an extra pair of re-mappable buttons, like the budget-friendly Turtle Beach React-R. Others, like the Xbox Adaptive Controller, can help make your gaming setup accessible for all players. And of course, no racing game would be complete without the Logitech G923 Racing Wheel. No matter your needs, here are the best Xbox controllers you can buy in 2024.



Microsoft Xbox Wireless Controller

Weight: 10.1 ounces | Rechargeable batteries: Sold separately | Connection: Wireless | Battery life: Varies by battery | Compatibility: Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC | Charging: USB-C | Headset: 3.5 mm

Best for: The basics and more, straight from Microsoft.


  • Included with every Xbox console
  • USB-C charging
  • Textured plastic for a better grip


  • Uses AA batteries
  • Lacks additional back paddles

Microsoft put in the work to ensure the Xbox Wireless Controller Carbon Black for Series X|S has just about everything players need—and more. This model has an ergonomic design, textured thumbsticks and triggers, a share button, an eight-directional concave D-pad and responsive face buttons. 

One downside is it uses AA batteries, but you can purchase compatible rechargeable batteries separately and charge them in the controller via its USB-C port. You won’t have any downtime in gameplay, since the controller supports charging while you’re using it or while it’s in standby mode. It may not feature the premium goodies like extra back paddles, but this is the best controller for most people, and anyone who loves Xbox’s previous controllers will feel right at home using this one. 

What our writers say: Gaming expert Christian de Looper says that most people don’t need all the extra features; they need something reliable and comfortable. “The default Xbox controller feels more comfortable and more premium than the majority of much more expensive controllers, and in my anecdotal experience, boasts a huge battery life. I don’t think I’ve replaced the batteries in mine in at least 50 hours of gaming, with decent-quality AA batteries.”

Christian de Looper for Forbes

Turtle Beach React-R

Weight: 9.6 ounces | Connection: Wired | Compatibility: Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC | Headset: 3.5 mm

Best for: Budget gamers who prefer a wired controller with some extra features.


  • Separate audio controls
  • Rear triggers
  • Fun color-schemes


  • Wired connectivity
  • Not as premium-feeling as first-party options

Microsoft’s first-party controllers aren’t necessarily cheap, and if you want a solid Xbox controller on a budget, the Turtle Beach React-R is an affordable option. In fact, for some purposes, this controller is actually better than the first-party options. That’s thanks to the built in audio control buttons, which let you mute your microphone and activate the so-called “Superhuman Hearing” feature with the press of a button. Superhuman Hearing basically turns on a compression algorithm to boost quieter in-game sounds, and while it did indeed work, I didn’t love the way it sounded, so I left it turned off most of the time. You, however, may have a different experience, and it’s certainly worth experimenting with. It’s important to note that unfortunately, the audio-specific buttons only work when a wired headset is connected to the controller itself.

Additionally, the controller has rear triggers, which is another helpful feature over the base first-party Xbox controller. These triggers can be mapped to the button combinations that are most helpful to your gaming setup. And, there’s a so-called “D-Pad Shift” button, which lets you map even more controls to the D-Pad, when you hold down the D-Pad Shift button. Really, the controller offers more features than the first-party controller, at a lower price. It doesn’t feel quite as premium, and it’s not as convenient thanks to its wired connectivity—but if you can look past those issues, it’s well worth adding to your gaming setup.

What our writers say: De Looper loved the re-mappable buttons and the versatility that they offered. “Forget about having to learn tons of button combinations here, the React-R makes using and accessing complex combinations easier than ever. Oh, and it also looks really cool, at least in the Purple variant.”

Best Buy

Razer Wolverine V2 Chroma

Weight: 9.5 ounces | Connection: Wired | Compatibility: Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC | Headset: 3.5 mm

Best for: Loyal Razer fans looking for extra features. 


  • Interchangeable thumbsticks
  • Chroma lighting
  • Six multi-function buttons


  • Wired connection
  • Expensive

Even though wired controllers are usually lower-cost models, this Razer Wolverine V2 Chroma controller is the exception. This premium design only sports RGB Chroma LED lighting, but it’s also highly customizable—with swappable thumbsticks, a hair trigger mode with stop-switches and six additional multi-function buttons to remap in the app. 

Razer rates its tactile buttons for up to 3 million taps. The buttons provide crisp feedback, as opposed to some of the softer button presses of competitors, and they are satisfying to use for long gaming sessions. This model improves on its predecessor, the Wolverine Ultimate, with more ergonomic and comfortable L-shaped hand grips. Razer offers the Wolverine V2 Chroma in both white and black models, so anyone wishing to forego the darker aesthetic has an option available.

Christian de Looper for Forbes

Turtle Beach Stealth Ultra

Weight: 8.7 ounces | Connection: Wireless | Battery life: 30 hours | Compatibility: Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC | Charging: USB-C | Headset: 3.5 mm

Best for: Gamers who want a controller that they can map and customize to their ultra-specific needs.


  • Highly customizable
  • Unique features in display
  • Sleek design


  • Expensive
  • Can’t control wireless headsets

The Turtle Beach Stealth Ultra is perhaps the coolest Xbox controller on this list, and it also happens to be the most customizable. It’s not the look of the controller that’s customizable—instead the extras that are. The controller comes with a few different thumbstick grips to get the exact feel you want, and it has four mappable buttons on the back. The triggers can be locked for more immediate response with a simple switch on the back of the controller, too.

The controller even has a display on it, to control a host of settings. At its base level, the screen can be used to control audio settings for headsets plugged into the controller’s headphone jack (unfortunately, it can’t control wireless headsets, even Turtle Beach ones). But, you can dive into a huge selection of settings and features, including things like joystick response, RGB lighting effects and more. You can also connect the controller to your phone to get phone notifications—straight from your Xbox controller. The controller feels premium, has a sleek design and comes with a charging dock that ensures that it’ll never run out of battery—unless you happen to game for longer than 30 hours without placing it on the dock. The dock has a USB port in it that you can use for the dongle that actually connects to the controller. Or, you can put the dock somewhere away from your Xbox, and plug the dongle directly into the console. It’s an expensive controller, but those who want flashy features and customization will find it well worth the cash.

What our writers say: De Looper notes that this is the controller that he uses as his daily device, despite having access to the top pick on the list. “The Turtle Beach Stealth Ultra isn’t for everyone, especially given the price, but it’s easily the coolest controller out there, and offers more features and customization tools than anything else.”

Christian de Looper for Forbes

Turtle Beach Recon

Weight: 10.6 ounces | Connection: Wired | Compatibility: Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC | Headset: 3.5 mm

Best for: Gamers who want extra shooter-related features to get that competitive edge.


  • Tons of audio controls
  • Adjustable joystick sensitivity setting


  • Audio settings only work with wired headsets
  • Wired option only

The Turtle Beach Recon is the best controller for those who want a few extra shooter-related features. For starters, there’s the Superhuman Hearing feature, which can help elevate sound effects like footsteps and gunfire, with a headset connected to the 3.5 mm port. There’s a host of other audio features too, including dedicated game and chat volume controls, a microphone mute button and a built-in EQ. It’s important to note that the audio-related features only work on headsets connected to the controller’s 3.5 mm port. Additionally, however, it also offers a Pro-Aim Focus Mode that lets you set the sensitivity of the right joystick and two mappable buttons on the back of the controller.

Apart from those unique features, the controller simply works as a great controller. It’s comfortable and well-built, and comes in a range of colors and designs. Unfortunately, it’s wired-only, but if you already use—or don’t mind using—a wired controller, it’s an excellent option.

What our writers say: De Looper notes that the Recon may be a niche controller, but well worth buying for those who mostly or exclusively play shooters and don’t want to shell out for something like the Stealth Ultra. “The additional features that this controller offers, at this price, make it a great investment for shooter fans—especially when it comes to setting joystick sensitivity.”


Xbox Adaptive Controller

Weight: 19.3 ounces | Rechargeable batteries: Yes | Connection: Wireless | Battery life: Up to 25 hours | Compatibility: Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC | Charging: USB-C | Headset connection: 3.5 mm

Best for: Disabled gamers seeking unfettered control. 


  • Compatible with a wide range of accessibility devices
  • Custom button remapping and controller profiles
  • Built in collaboration with disability advocates


  • Not intuitive
  • Needs accessories to maximize gameplay

Not everyone can use the standard Xbox Wireless Controller for Series X|S as intended. Enter the Xbox Adaptive Controller, which Microsoft designed in collaboration with disability advocates, including The AbleGamers Charity, The Cerebral Palsy Foundation, SpecialEffect and Warfighter Engaged. The Xbox Adaptive Controller allows those with limited mobility to play games on Xbox or Windows PCs. It’s an accessibility marvel which stands in between the Xbox and a wide range of assistive input devices—including switches, mounts, buttons and joysticks. When Xbox says it wants everyone to enjoy gaming, this controller proves the company means it. 

While the controller has some button inputs, it mostly serves as a unified hub for other external accessibility accessories. Because these are often custom-made and unique for each person, it would be nearly impossible for the Xbox Adaptive Controller to act as the singular input device. In order to allow more gamers to play, it features several 3.5 mm jacks and USB ports for these assistive devices to connect. This isn’t a controller for anyone looking to try something new because they’re bored with the standard Xbox controller. It exists to serve a specific purpose, and it does so incredibly well.

What our testers say: Accessibility tech expert Sherin Shibu and Kayla, a gamer with limited mobility, went hands-on with the Xbox controller. In the review, Shibu writes “For gameplay, because Kayla added attachments—a great customization feature to this device—she was also able to play more games compared to solely using the adaptive controller. ‘Alone, this controller can be used,’ Kayla stated, ‘but with attachments, which you can find basically anywhere, the gaming experience improves, giving players the option to play more games.’”


Logitech G923 Racing Wheel

Weight: 5 pounds (wheel), 6.8 pounds (pedals) | Connection: Wired | Compatibility: Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC

Best for: Immersing yourself in the need for speed.


  • 900-degree wheel rotation range
  • Dual-force feedback motor
  • Progressive spring pedals


  • Only works with racing games
  • Costs as much as a console

Nothing compares to the feeling of being behind the wheel and speeding down an open highway. With a regular controller, you don’t get that same sense of immersion pushing the thumbsticks left and right to move the car on screen. With a racing wheel, though, it’s like you’re a part of the action. The Logitech G293 uses advanced technology to ensure that users get the most out of their experience. The wheel itself features dual-motor force feedback that Logitech dubs Trueforce and a closed-loop motor control, allowing players to feel real-time responses and adjusting torque correctly while driving. Its 24-point selection dial puts adjustable traction, torque and brake force directly at your fingertips. The face of the wheel even sports a built-in rev indicator that displays your RPM range in supported games. This is all capped off with a 900-degree wheel rotation range for players to make sharp turns effectively, and it all self-calibrates once you plug it in.

The pedals shine in their own regard by utilizing a progressive spring system that delivers a pressure-sensitive braking experience. No one wants to gently touch the brakes and realize they collapse with no tension. With the Logitech G293, that doesn’t happen. Players have more control in their braking, perfecting for drifting around tight corners. This wheel costs about as much as the Xbox Series S, but it is well worth it if you enjoy racing games. Should you decide you want to spend some extra money, Logitech sells an optional, compatible shifter separately. For racing fans, this is the best option to fully immerse yourself in that need for speed.


Xbox Elite Series 2 Wireless Controller

Weight: 12.2 ounces | Rechargeable batteries: Yes | Connection: Wireless | Battery life: 40 hours | Compatibility: Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC | Charging: USB Type-C | Headset: 3.5mm

Best for: Maximum customization at a premium price.


  • Short hair trigger locks
  • Adjustable-tension thumbsticks
  • Saves up to three profiles


  • Expensive

Microsoft created the ultimate Xbox controller with its Elite Series 2 Wireless Controller, using fan feedback to improve this iteration. It costs a pretty penny, but Microsoft made small quality-of-life changes to improve durability and customization. The Elite Series 2 comes packed with four back paddles, adjustable-tension thumbsticks (complete with the tool to do so), a swappable D-pad, swappable thumbsticks, hair triggers and three custom profiles. The grips are rubberized, for better control.

This controller is also unique because it doesn’t take standard AA batteries like other Xbox controllers do. It has an internal battery back which recharges through the USB-C port. The battery lasts an outstanding 40 hours. There’s little that the Elite Series 2 can’t do, and that’s what makes it the best premium controller on the market right now.


Hori Fighting Stick Alpha

Weight: 7.5 pounds | Connection: Wired | Compatibility: Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC | Headset: 3.5mm

Best for: Fighting aficionados ready to level-up their game. 


  • Can swap out top housing for custom artwork 
  • App customization
  • Key lock mode


  • Expensive
  • Not ideal for most game genres

Far from a traditional Xbox controller, the Hori Fighting Stick Alpha delivers outstanding and agile arcade stick gameplay. It’s certainly not built for every type of game, but it’s perfect for what it’s designed for: fighting games. Players get an arcade stick that boasts easy maintenance and customizability, with custom profiles and the option to change the faceplate for their own artwork.

The Hori Fighting Stick Alpha also features key lock mode to prevent accidentally pressing Menu, View and Share buttons, and it supports up to four profiles. Those looking for audio controls will find those on board, too. Hori’s companion app allows players to customize its settings further. Though the $200 price tag can be off-putting, that’s comparable to other fight sticks worth considering. Looking at the complete package, the Hori Fighting Stick Alpha is a beast.

How We Chose The Best Xbox Controllers

At Forbes Vetted, much of our spare time is devoted to gaming, whether it’s on the a great gaming laptop or playing our favorite Xbox Series X|S games.

  • To find the best Xbox controllers, gaming experts Christian de Looper and Jennifer Locke went hands-on with nearly every controller on this list, testing it for ease-of-use, compatibility, battery life, features and more.
  • In addition to extensively testing most controllers on this list, both de Looper and Locke spoke with industry experts to help determine what features you should look for in an Xbox gaming controller.
  • They also combed through reviews to ensure that each pick on the list has received at least four out of 5-star reviews across multiple sites.

Why Trust Forbes Vetted

The Forbes Vetted team is well-versed on all things tech, including gaming tech—and we’ve written hundreds of articles on various tech subjects. The tech vertical is overseen by Rebecca Isaacs, the consumer tech and electronics editor at Forbes Vetted.

  • Christian de Looper, the co-author of this article, is a long-time gamer. He fully tested our top choices for the best gaming headsets and has written about the best gaming routers for your home.
  • He has a PlayStation 5, Xbox Series S, and Nintendo Switch and games regularly (when his two-month-old baby allows). With years of experience in the tech space, de Looper’s other bylines include CNN, Wall Street Journal, Tom’s Guide and many more.
  • Jennifer Locke is a former games editor at Windows Central and Android Central. In addition to covering major titles like the Assassin’s Creed franchise and Hogwarts Legacy, she has bylines at CNET and more. She has been covering the video games industry for nearly a decade, including working as a PR manager at Gearbox Entertainment.

How To Choose An Xbox Controller

Choosing a controller doesn’t need to be an exhausting affair. In fact, you may not need to buy an extra one at all. If you only need one controller, then the one included with the console should suffice. If you play multiplayer games more competitively, consider upgrading to a controller with additional buttons and triggers you can remap. Opting for a model with hair triggers—which shorten the distance required for the controller to register an input—is especially beneficial in first-person shooters.

There are plenty of Xbox controllers out there — including the Microsoft-built options and Turtle … [+] Beach options, both pictured.

Christian de Looper for Forbes

If you’re looking for another controller besides the standard Xbox Wireless Controller but don’t care about any fancy features, look at wired options, which tend to be cheaper than their wireless counterparts. And, of course, you can also purchase the regular Xbox Series X|S Wireless Controller separately if you really love it—it gets the job done exactly how you want it to.

Here are some features you should look for when choosing the best Xbox controller for your needs.

Connectivity: Does It Matter What Xbox Controller I Buy?

The two ways to connect a controller to an Xbox are through a wired USB cable, or through a wireless 2.4 GHz connection, like our top pick, the Microsoft Xbox Wireless Controller. Many controllers also offer Bluetooth connectivity—however that connectivity is to allow controllers to also connect to other devices, like a smartphone. These days, wired connectivity, like the best wired pick, the Razer Wolverine V2 Chroma, isn’t meaningfully faster than wireless connectivity. Wireless tech has improved enough to where they’re more or less the same. However, wireless controllers do have batteries, which either have to be replaced or charged, which can be a downside.

Battery Life: What Is The Best Battery Option For My Xbox Controller?

If you do go for a wireless controller, you have to contend with battery life. Some controllers have a built-in, non-replaceable rechargeable battery, which is obviously better for the environment, but means that you can’t simply replace the batteries and jump back into a game if you run out of juice.

Recharging these controllers, however, is done through a USB-C cable, and you can usually keep playing while charging, if you don’t mind using a wired connection for a few hours. Some higher-end controllers, like the Turtle Beach Stealth Ultra, come with a dock to keep controllers charged up, which can be very handy.

Customizability: How Can I Adjust My Gameplay With Extra Features?

Some controllers offer customizability that allows you to tweak the physical controller to your preferences. You can change out the faceplate of the controller for different designs on some, while others have thumbstick grips that can help you better control the thumbsticks. Many controllers have trigger locks too, which reduced the travel required to control analog triggers for a more responsive, clickier feel.

Mappable Controls: Can Remapping Help Improve My Gameplay?

Mappable controls are another type of customizability that allows users to set the functions for additional controls built into a controller. These additional buttons allow you to route what would otherwise by button combinations into one easy to use button. The most common of these mappable buttons can be found on the back of a controller, often simply buttons, but sometimes longer, paddles. Others have customizable D-Pad buttons that let you hold down a button and press a key on the D-Pad for additional controls. The Turtle Beach Stealth Ultra takes things a step further with an OLED display that allows you to map buttons, tweak audio and even get notifications from your phone with the associated app.

Can I Update My Xbox Controller Firmware?

The official Xbox Wireless Controller for Series X|S updates wirelessly or through USB-C by connecting it to the console or PC. Firmware updates usually fix intermittent connectivity issues and improve performance. Some third-party controllers do not support firmware updates.

Can I Customize My Xbox Controller?

Customization is key to a lot of players. For physical customization, you’ll need to purchase a controller that specifically allows it. The Xbox Elite Series 2 is a great example that give players the option the swap out various parts (either included in the package or purchased separately).

Controllers that offer customization options come with instructions on how to do so. You can remap buttons through third-party apps, on-board through the controller itself or via the Xbox accessories app (for official controllers). The method will depend on the particular controller you are using.

Are Xbox Controllers Backward Compatible?

Almost every Xbox controller is backward compatible, meaning that even if they’re designed with newer hardware like the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S in mind, they’ll still work on older systems like the Xbox One, Xbox One S, and Xbox One X (and vice versa). They won’t, however, work on systems older than the Xbox One, so you’re out of luck if you want to use one on your Xbox 360.

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