The best Xbox One controllers 2022

The best Xbox One controllers
(Image credit: Microsoft)

The best Xbox One controllers can do far more than connect to your previous generation console. These gamepads remain popular for a reason; they're fully compatible with both Series X (and S) and PC. That means there's plenty of value in grabbing yourself a cheap (or premium) set of buttons. 

Whether you’re in the market for a competitive solution, a good all-rounder that will suit any occasion, a spare for multiplayer, or you simply want to replace your standard gamepad, our round-up of the best Xbox One controllers has got you covered. We’ll break down the explicit benefits of each in detail, helping you to more effectively weigh up your options to make a confident purchase decision and also likely bag one of the best PC controllers at the same time too. Better yet, all the Xbox One controller entries featured below will be listed at the current lowest price available from a range of popular retailers.  

You can have confidence in the fact that these excellent Xbox One controllers will work with new-gen consoles and rival some of the best Xbox Series X controllers' performance (although they don't feature the newer 'share' button if they were made with the last generation console specifically in mind). 

The best Xbox One controllers in 2022

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The best Xbox One controller

Specifications

Wireless: Yes
Powered by: Lithium-ion internal pack
Battery life: 30-40 hours

Reasons to buy

+
Wildly customisable
+
Built-in battery
+
Modular thumb sticks and D-pad

Reasons to avoid

-
Sizeable price

Players seeking the ultimate in comfort and customization need look no further than the recently released Xbox Elite Wireless controller series 2. It doesn’t look too dissimilar to the original Elite made available back in 2015, but it sprinkles in just enough new enhancements that it easily takes the place of its predecessor and makes our list of the best Xbox One controllers. It still features such appreciated elements as modular thumbsticks, D-pads, and hair-trigger locks, yet the components for all three of these has been re-engineered to help all Xbox One enthusiasts to play like a pro.

It may hold a hefty price point when compared to some of the other best Xbox One controllers featured on this list, but the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 justifies it by offering players over 30 new ways to play. Shorter hair trigger locks, for example, allows for faster shooting in competitive FPS titles, while the tension of all 6 thumbsticks included can be adjusted for enhanced aiming. It’s in this minute detail where the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 impresses most, serving as a great gamepad option for most Xbox One players but really shining in these subtle areas. And if that wasn’t enough, like the standard option, the Elite Series 2 works just as flawlessly on PC. 

Read more: Xbox Elite Controller Series 2 review

The best Xbox One controller under $40 / £40

Specifications

Connection: Wired
Buttons: 23
Remappable buttons: 2
Headset connection: 3.5mm
Cable length: 2.5m
Weight: 271g

Reasons to buy

+
Grippy texture
+
Well balanced and spaced
+
On the fly remapping
+
Smooth movement

Reasons to avoid

-
No rubberized grip of Recon model
-
Bumpers feel slightly hollow
-
No chat mix on PC

If you don't want to break past $39.99 / £34.99, the Turtle Beach React-R is the best Xbox One controller open to you. We used to revere the PowerA Enhanced Wired gamepad for its budget price point and value for money, but that top spot has be firmly replaced now. The React-R is slightly cheaper at MSRP (by around $5), offers better paddles (and the ability to remap them on the fly), and even packs the brand's Superhuman Hearing mode in as well. 

Overall that's an astonishing value, and particularly impressive considering just how good this Xbox One controller feels to use. Some sacrifices have been made by slimming down the previous release (the Turtle Beach Recon Controller). You're dropping rubberized grips and Pro-Aim assist mode, for example. However, the textured plastic still holds your position well and you're still getting particularly pleasing ridges on the shoulder buttons as well. 

While lighter than more premium options on this list, the React-R still feels solid in the hand, with a satisfying resistance beneath each of the thumbsticks and a comfortable face button press as well. 

Overall, minus some personal frustration with the slightly hollow shoulder buttons and a lack of chat mix on PC, the Turtle Beach React-R is the best Xbox One controller under $40 / £40 right now. The value for money on offer here is outstanding, making it a must-see budget option. 

Read more: Turtle Beach React-R review

3. Xbox One Wireless controller

The best Xbox One controller for most

Specifications

Wireless: Yes
Powered by: AA batteries
Battery life: Depends on your AAs/battery packs

Reasons to buy

+
Timeless design
+
Satisfying button feedback
+
True D-pad

Reasons to avoid

-
Requires AA batteries/charging packs

The original Xbox One Wireless controller is still one of the best, perfectly suiting the size of most players’ hands to make playing games all the more immersive and natural. Despite being on the market in some form since late 2013, it easily overcomes some of the faults featured on the controllers of rival platforms, affording Xbox One players great build quality and a true D-pad – the latter of which is essential for those that play fighting games on a competitive level. The Xbox One Wireless controller’s face and shoulder buttons are equally responsive, complimented further by the classic asymmetrical analog stick design.

It easily makes our list of the best Xbox One controllers for all the reasons listed above, yes, but its value is boosted even further when you consider its flawlessly compatibility with Steam, the Epic Games Store, and even many mobile games on Android and Apple platforms. Microsoft has ensured that the Xbox One Wireless controller delivers a seamless and comfortable experience whether used for playing games on Xbox One or PC, serving as a more than serviceable solution for those that like bouncing between. What’s more, the Xbox One Wireless controller can be found in a range of colors.

4. Razer Wolverine Ultimate

The best Xbox One controller from Razer

Specifications

Wireless: No
Powered by: USB connection
Battery life: N/A

Reasons to buy

+
Super responsive face buttons
+
Excellent grip design
+
Six extra mappable buttons

Reasons to avoid

-
Wired connection only

The Razer Wolverine Ultimate is a genuine contender to Microsoft’s excellent Series 2 Elite for the title of best Xbox One controller and arguably has even greater customization thanks to the additional M1/M2 shoulder buttons. The four buttons underneath the controller on the rear are less like paddles and more like additional triggers that might be a little bit more of a reach, but we found them far less susceptible to accidental touches than the Elite’s paddles that expand into your natural grip area. You also get a few swappable elements like taller or rounder analogs and a four or eight-directional d-pad. 

A huge shout out to the face buttons too which have ditched the regular squishy feel for an instant response that’s more in line with a mouse click than what we’ve come to expect from controller buttons. It’s a great feature that the Elite 2 was smart to borrow for the upgrade and it makes going back to regular button inputs on the standard Xbox One controller feel incredibly sluggish.

The Razer Wolverine Ultimate trumps Microsoft’s beast in two neat areas though by allowing you to store two-controller profile setups on board at once and you don’t need to head into menus to swap between them thanks to the on-board controls. There’s also a remapping button to change things up on the fly too, although you do, of course, have the Xbox app to create maps with a visual aid and also adjust analog sensitivity. 

Read more: Best Razer controllers 2022

best xbox one controllers: Hyperkin Duke

(Image credit: Hyperkin)

5. Hyperkin Duke

The best nostalgia-fuelled Xbox One controller

Specifications

Wireless: No
Powered by: USB connection
Battery life: N/A

Reasons to buy

+
Faithful design replication
+
Great attention to detail
+
Vibration feedback
+
Precision triggers and bumpers

Reasons to avoid

-
Likely too archaic for modern players

Some things just get better with age. The folks over at Hyperkin were quick to recognize this, quickly developing an Xbox One controller solution that harkens back to the design of the original Xbox console’s controller. Nicknamed “The Duke” due to how beefy it was, Hyperkin’s modern interpretation is so faithful from a design standpoint that it even features the classic Xbox logo at its center. Also, as you expect, the Hyperkin Duke can only be used wired, strongly cementing its strong attention to detail and why it should make our list of the best Xbox One controllers.

Needless to say, the Hyperkin Duke won’t be to everyone’s taste. This is a design that has continually been iterated and improved upon after all, but that doesn’t mean that long-term Xbox players won’t appreciate the strong dose of early 2000s nostalgia it offers. Hyperkin has been clever enough to include a fair few modern improvements, such as fully supported vibration feedback and precision analog triggers and bumpers. Minor elements like this not only compliment the classic Duke design further but work to subtly bring it up to today’s standards. The Hyperkin Duke is a great Xbox One controller for those that have stayed with the platform since the beginning.

Which is the best Xbox One controller?

The best Xbox One controller overall, in our opinion, is the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2. It offers impressive customisation options and is truly built for professional or intense gamers. 

Want to save money? The best budget Xbox One controller is the PowerA Enhanced wired, giving you a competitive edge due to the 0-millisecond input lag, introducing new buttons on the back of the controller, and still boasting a low price point. 

However, the best traditional Xbox One controller is the Xbox One Wireless Controller - perfectly suiting the size of most players' hands to make playing games all the more immersive and natural. 

Is an Elite controller worth it?

As you can see from our list, we think that the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 is currently the best Xbox One controller on the market. It has insane customisation options, providing over 30 new ways to play. It shines in subtle areas compared to its cheaper counterparts, making it the best gamepad for most Xbox One players. In other words, yes - we do think the Elite 2 is worth it.

How to connect an Xbox One controller to PC

Your Xbox One controller can go further than you might think, connecting to gaming tablets, gaming laptops, and gaming PCs. That means there's a whole world waiting for your buttons, and you can put that mouse and keyboard down. Connecting your Xbox One controller via a cable is easy - it's a plug and play affair that works straight out the box. However, if you're after a wireless connection things are a little more complicated. 

The first thing you'll need to work out is if you can connect via Bluetooth at all. If you're using an older gamepad you might need to upgrade. Controllers with a black shiny section running along the top (around the main Xbox button) that doesn't match the color of the controller won't be able to connect wirelessly. 

However, if you've got a newer model you're all good to go. Hold the Xbox button to power up and then press the Pair button for three seconds. Navigate to your PC's Bluetooth settings and search for a device - once the Xbox logo starts flashing, you'll see the option for Xbox Wireless Controller appear in the menu. Select this option to connect. 

How we test Xbox One controllers 

In brief, every controller that we have had our hands on is used in a series of different video games to accommodate for most genres. This means that we'll test the responsiveness of the sticks, face buttons, bumpers, triggers, and any other additional features found on the unit. If a controller is wired or relies on rechargeable batteries, then the duration of the lifespan is tested, too. The same can be said for any specialist software, such as drivers, that may be included with the gamepad as well. 

For more on how we test controllers at GamesRadar+ check out our full article, and for something more representative of our holistic approach to the latest gear, check out our Hardware Policy


We're also rounding up all the latest Xbox Series X restock developments if you're keen to get your hands on the new console. We're also rounding up all the latest Xbox Series S bundles and Xbox Game Pass prices for more discounts as well. 

Jasmine Mannan
Hardware Editor

Currently a Hardware Editor at GamesRadar+ and in charge of all things PC after graduating from University with a degree in Politics and International Relations in 2022. During my time at University I managed to obtain a platform on social media - specifically TikTok - where I reviewed tech and gaming hardware and produced creative and innovative gaming content. My platform allowed me to be an advocate for females in gaming and within the tech industry as a whole. I'm primarily a PC gamer and have been for over 8 years now and with no specific genre I enjoy, I have been able to play and love many titles from the past decade. I would label myself as a Nintendo Fanatic and also am extremely interested in VR and hoping to follow it closely in upcoming years. 

With contributions from