Best Xbox Series X controller 2022 – get a top pad for Xbox gaming this year

It can be hard to find the best Xbox Series X controller due to the fact that there have been so many companies throwing their hats in the ring. No matter what your need for a new controller is, whether its to replace your main pad, or for a spare when your friends are over there are a range on offer to suit you. This list contains both official Microsoft controllers and third-party ones. 

As many people prefer the flexibility and comfort of a wireless controller it goes without saying that battery life has to be considered when determining which is the best Xbox Series X controller. Having an extra pad for a ‘one in, one out’ policy can be sensible for those who are prone to longer gaming sessions. Due to the versatility of Xbox Series X controllers its likely that while picking one up you may also be picking up one of the best PC controllers, too. Having tested all of these pads extensively, we can say that they have become some of the best Xbox Series X controllers money can buy as they go beyond the standard pad’s abilities. But they will often cost a bit more.  

But remember that due to excellent forward, backward, (and sideways) compatibility, a lot of the best Xbox Series X controllers are also top Series S controllers, and candidates for best Xbox One controller, too, so the value and usability on offer is brilliant. We’ve tested a whole range of pads here at GamesRadar+ and some, if not most, of the below are now our everyday controllers in one way or another so we know which ones to go for, which ones offer what, and, pertinently, which are worth your hard earned cash. 

The best Xbox Series X/S controllers 2022

Xbox wireless core controller

(Image credit: Future)

1. Xbox Wireless Controller

The best Xbox Series X controller for most people

Specifications

Wireless: YesPowered by: AA batteriesBattery life: Depends on your AAs/battery packs

Reasons to buy

+OG quality and reliability+Works both wired and wireless+Native compatibility+Improved feel in the hand

Reasons to avoid

-Not changed too much from the Xbox One pad-Still uses batteries

All things considered (so to speak), it really is no shock that we think the best Xbox Series X controller for most people is the official console controller – now also called the core Xbox pad. 

Predictably, we’ve found it to work smoothly and beautifully via cable or the usual pairing mode, and it’s got that excellent performance and comfort by default. It will be very familiar to Xbox One owners from the last generation but there are subtle tweaks that do make it an objectively better controller.

This time around we have USB-C charging which is faster than Micro-USB (if you use a rechargeable pack at least) and there’s a ‘hybrid’ D-pad that takes its cues from a more premium Xbox controller that we’ll mention later. Like with many other players, we have found the big inclusion to be the share button which was missing all of the last generation (while the DualShock 4 had it from the start) – which does exactly what it should, enabling you to take snaps or clips and share media easily.

However, there’s an overwhelming reason why this iteration is easy for us to recommend and why it is similar to the previous generation’s – if it isn’t broken, you don’t fix it. And that’s why we have a superb Xbox Series X/S controller in the shape of the updated core controller. You cannot go wrong with this one, and our testing proved that the Xbox core controller is a brilliant one.

Read more: Our impressions of the Xbox Series X controller

Turtle Beach Recon Controller

(Image credit: Future/Brendan Griffiths)

2. Turtle Beach Recon Controller

The best affordable specialist Xbox Series X controller

Specifications

Wireless: NoPowered by: USBBattery life: N/A

Reasons to buy

+Comfortable D-pad +Tactile feel +Outstanding audio control

Reasons to avoid

-It’s light in the hand

We really think this is an Xbox Series X controller that punches well above its weight. The Turtle Beach Recon Controller is stacked with features, some of which are only present in more expensive pads – the most noticeable of which to us in our testing was a host of audio options that are available through a dedicated audio bar atop the dashboard button – something rarely seen on a controller. 

These audio options offer a startling array of choices to choose from when plugged in through your controller, and the EQ and settings available proved to us that they are excellent. Turtle Beach’s ‘superhuman hearing’ is particularly great and isolates and amplifies subtle noises that would have otherwise been washed out in the chaos, such as gunfire and footsteps. 

Sound aside, however, in our testing and reviewing we found this to still be just a great gamepad to use and this comes from two very interesting features: ‘Pro Aim’ mode and button remapping. The former is a form of sensitivity reduction that has four different levels of force (the fourth and highest setting restricts stick movement for more precise inputs) and it works surprisingly well. The button remapping available is only on the two rear buttons but is also executed well: both can be programmed to cycle through four different profiles for different configurations of resistance and audio settings. This means that you spend less time desperately wading through the options and have your desired setup for any given in-game moment. 

Overall, if you don’t mind being attached by a wire, we don’t think there aren’t many that are better value, and better quality wired Xbox Series X controllers.

Read more: Turtle Beach Recon Controller review 

Xbox Elite Series 2 controller

(Image credit: Future/Josh West)

3. Xbox Elite Series 2 Controller

The best top-of-the-line wireless Xbox Series X controller

Specifications

Wireless: YesPowered by: Lithium-ion internal packBattery life: 30-40 hours

Reasons to buy

+Unparalleled customization +Incredible build quality +Wired or wireless use  

Reasons to avoid

-Requires a healthy investment

You probably knew it was coming but near the top of any best Xbox Series X controller list, we simply have to feature the Elite Series 2 pad. It really is the one to beat for many Xbox (and PC) users, with none bettering its performance and feature set.

Naturally, it often demands a price tag to match its premium nature, but we have seen this level out at a new, lower price range which is encouraging (or potentially is heralding the arrival of the Elite Series 3 perhaps…). But anyway, what that means, in reality, is the Elite Series 2 is just more affordable than it has ever been and if you want a premium beast for the new-gen of consoles then this is still the one to beat.

Included are replacement thumbstick heads, a classic cross-design D-pad, and tools to tailor the feel of the controller to your liking – with physical adjustments to almost every part of the controller. Also, there’s a better, extended 40-hour battery life which represents a good 8-hour bump up from the Xbox Series X gamepad’s lifespan between charges. From our testing, the experience of using the Elite Series 2

On the whole, if you can stretch the budget, the Elite 2 justifies its asking price through its premium design and suite of features. 

Read more: Xbox Elite 2 controller review

Thrustmaster eSwap X Pro

(Image credit: Future)

4. Thrustmaster eSwap X Pro

The best Xbox Series X controller for accessibility and modifications

Specifications

Wireless: NoPowered by: USBBattery life: N/A

Reasons to buy

+Bigger than average build +Great weight +Different D-pads are viable 

Reasons to avoid

-Always plugged in 

Personally my favorite Xbox Series X controller (read more on that in our full Thrustmaster eSwap X Pro review). It’s brilliant for accessibility and changing a controller to be exactly what you need it to be in terms of the ‘main’ features – the D-Pad and sticks – but beyond that, we also think this is just a brilliant Series X controller. And one that’s very worthy of its price tag; as it’ll give you more options, features, and customization options than you can swing a bat at.

The main core of the feature set of the eSwap X Pro is its modular design which can be changed to however you prefer – we even tried having three analog sticks for fun, for example. This enables a quick swap from symmetric to asymmetric with a wave of a tool and sets the scene for a great controller build. Elsewhere the rear buttons proved to us to be excellent to use and program, though perhaps not quite as intuitive as more paddle-like solutions. However, we did really like the actuation of the bumpers and face buttons which are satisfying and punchy, and the triggers are also excellent. 

It’s a chunkier pad than most, but I have managed it with smaller hands, and with it being wired you know you’re getting the fastest input from your actions possible.

And if you want to top it off with even more customization options, be aware that you can swap out the wing panels, sticks, and D-Pad for different colors and LED parts to bring your pad to life. This is a great controller.

best pc controller: Razer Wolverine V2

(Image credit: Razer)

5. Razer Wolverine V2

The best Razer Xbox Series X controller

Specifications

Wireless : NoPowered by: USBBattery life: N/A

Reasons to buy

+Clicky buttons +Rugged feel +Responsive feedback

Reasons to avoid

-Wire doesn’t detach 

If a specialist, feature-filled third-party Xbox Series X controller is what you’re after but you don’t have the budget to throw money at the situation then the Razer Wolverine V2 is a great candidate for you, and one we can heartily recommend.

Tweaking and tinkering really is the name of the game with this controller; especially for its ‘mecha’ tactile buttons – which were satisfyingly clicky in our testing – and the adjustable sensitivity of the two analog sticks. It is wired, however, something that may not gel with those looking to sit a decent distance away. 

We really think that this successfully builds on the initial iteration of the Wolverine from the last console generation, (still a great controller in itself for Xbox consoles), and given the V2’s price is not too much more than the MSRP of the standard Xbox gamepad, it’s worth a second look if some extra features and button are what you’re after. 

Read more: best Razer controllers

best pc controller for gaming: Nacon Revolution X Pro

(Image credit: Nacon)

6. Nacon Revolution X Pro Controller

The best PC controller for Esports customization

Specifications

Wireless: NoPowered by: USBBattery life: N/A

Reasons to buy

+Great weight and build quality +Stellar physical tweaking options +Reprogrammable buttons 

Reasons to avoid

-It’s not wireless-The software isn’t ideal

The Nacon Revolution X Pro Controller is one of the studier gamepads we’ve had our hands on, and it has exceptional build quality and a satisfying weight to it. Its suite of adjustability and customization options (both physically and through software) offers functionality comparable to high-end Esports controllers (like the Xbox Elite 2) for a fraction of their asking price. 

You not only benefit from being able to swap out thumbstick heads, or adding or subtracting movement from your analog sticks but there is also the option to restrict trigger feedback, too, which can prove instrumental in certain competitive game genres. On the audio front, it’s also nice to see Dolby Atmos present and accounted for, and while your tweaking options are a little on the thin side, the sound that comes through the Nacon Revolution X Pro Controller (through all the headsets tested) was suitably impressive. 

Read more: Nacon Revolution X Pro Controller review

Scuf Instinct Pro

(Image credit: Future)

8. Scuf Instinct Pro

The best customizable and esports Xbox Series X controller

Specifications

Wireless: YesPowered by: BatteriesBattery life: Up to 30 hours

Reasons to buy

+Superb back buttons+Customize the design yourself+Great overall build-quality

Reasons to avoid

-So much more expensive than the competition

It’s fair enough to be skeptical of the design-it-yourself Scuf Instinct. For starters, it’s expensive. Incredibly expensive. But if you can move past that, you’ll find a genuinely excellent Xbox Series X controller with the best back buttons we’ve ever used. These things are a revelation.

Sure, you can mix and match designs ranging from simple color-swaps to golden Japanese Koi art. It also has a satisfyingly ergonomic rubber coating at the front for better grip. Oh, and you can change the shape of the thumbsticks before checkout as well. That’s not what stays with you when you boot up a game, though. Rather, it’s the savvy back button placement that makes them so easy to activate in the middle of a Destiny firefight or Call of Duty battle. Because they form a shell of sorts around your index finger, all you need to do is press down or lift up to activate them. It’s much more intuitive than the other alternatives we’ve tried – and we’ve tried more than our fair share.

The trigger locks are right on the money as well. They enable much faster responses than you’d find from the console’s standard controller; we’re definitely not that quick on the draw in Halo the rest of the time. Even the thumbsticks feel bouncier and more taut than usual.

So, is the result worth the money? Should you buy one instead of the Elite Series 2 – the current gold standard? It’s a subjective matter best left in your capable hands, but if you do decide to invest, you’ll find a handset at the top of its game.

Read more: Scuf Instinct Pro review

How do we test our Xbox Series X 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


If you’re looking for more accessories and tech to fill out your Xbox setup then check out our guides to the best TV for Xbox Series X and the best Xbox Series X headset.

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