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HomeTechThe best Xbox controllers for 2022: Microsoft, Razer, PowerA, and more

The best Xbox controllers for 2022: Microsoft, Razer, PowerA, and more


You might not notice it, however we’re dwelling in a golden age of gaming controllers. The gamepads in the marketplace now are higher high quality, more versatile, and more customizable than something from only a few console generations in the past. That contains the plethora of third-party choices from the likes of PowerA, Scuf, Nacon, and Turtle Beach, in addition to first-party controllers from the console makers. The days of a budget, “little sibling” controller that appeared cool however barely labored are over.

Now, you possibly can select from a wide range of controllers, and when you’re taking part in throughout Xbox and Windows PC, the identical choice works for each. So, let’s say your console of selection is the Xbox Series X or Xbox Series S. What’s the best choice for you? Well, we examined an entire slew of controllers to seek out the best Xbox controller you should purchase.

The customary Xbox Wireless Controller got here away as our best choice, which can sound apparent, nevertheless it’s the best for a motive — versatility, consolation, and a lot more. Beyond that, we’ll stroll you thru some strengths and weaknesses of different controllers worthy of your consideration, starting from premium choices just like the Xbox Elite Series 2 and Scuf Instinct Pro to some high quality finances picks just like the PowerA Enhanced Wired Controller.

There are, after all, older, discontinued fashions which are nonetheless suitable — as Xbox One controllers are ahead suitable with the Xbox Series X / S — however our focus is to information you thru what to purchase that’s often obtainable proper now. We’ve obtained classes to assist steer your buying determination and discover the fitting one for you, together with customizable choices which will offer you a tiny edge in aggressive multiplayer video games. Plus, with Amazon Prime Day developing on July 12 and thirteenth, it’s probably many of those controllers might go on sale.

The customary Xbox controller appears nice, feels nice, performs nice, and is on the market in cool colours.

1. Microsoft Xbox Wireless Controller

The best Xbox controller for most individuals

Okay, I already know what you’re pondering. “The best controller for Xbox is the one that comes with the Xbox?” That might appear to be a no brainer, however I guarantee you this “standard” controller really does earn this title because the best choice for most Xbox avid gamers. It might lack a few of the additional options that we’ll go over on premium choices, however this controller is the distillation of 4 generations and quite a few first-party controllers earlier than it — and it reveals.

This is the one inexpensive wi-fi choice on the market, due to Microsoft’s proprietary wi-fi protocol. While some might hate that it comes with AA batteries as an alternative of a built-in rechargeable cell, that additionally means it’s versatile, permitting for rechargeable AAs or a battery pack. It additionally works as a wired accent when paired with a USB-C cable, and user-replaceable batteries imply you’re not caught with a controller that doesn’t maintain its cost after years of use.

Xbox Wireless Controller

The official Xbox Wireless Controller has a devoted share button for saving clips and screenshots and sharing them on-line, Bluetooth assist, and a USB-C port for charging up Microsoft’s play-and-charge rechargeable battery.

But the standard-issue Xbox pad isn’t simply nice due to its connectivity. The {hardware} itself is superb for the controller’s $60 asking value. The sticks, buttons, triggers, and the sunken dish-shaped D-pad all really feel impeccably tight, with the latter having a satisfying clickiness to it. If you’re a hardcore preventing sport fan, it’s possible you’ll be higher served by an arcade stick or a controller geared towards that style — one with an impeccable D-pad like Hori’s Horipad Pro — however the Xbox Wireless Controller is an distinctive jack-of-all-trades.

AA batteries might not be ultimate, however you may also use add-on rechargeable packs, like this one from Hori.

Attention to element: Microsoft colour matches the light-up Xbox button to the controller.

The solely factor it actually lacks in comparison with pricier choices are additional, customizable buttons and software program tuning for issues like stick sensitivity, although Microsoft does provide beauty customization by its Xbox Design Lab, which ranges from $69.99 to $99.94 relying on the configuration. There’s rather a lot to like about these controllers, whether or not you make your personal or select one from the assorted colours Microsoft continues to supply.

PowerA’s Enhanced Wired Controller is kind of an awesome cut price, with all types of colours and distinctive designs.

2. PowerA Enhanced Wired Controller

The best finances controller for Xbox

If you’re trying for an awesome controller however you don’t have some huge cash to spend — and you don’t thoughts a cable — PowerA’s Enhanced Wired Controller affords an impeccable worth with out sacrificing an excessive amount of. Its full retail value is $37.99, however some colorways can dip as little as round $25. Speaking of colours, the Enhanced Wired Controller is available in all kinds of hues and designs, together with licensed ones from sport franchises like Mass Effect and Fallout. Some of those designs might make you watched these are low cost, cringe-inducing knockoffs, however the high quality of the controller might shock you if you use it.

PowerA Enhanced Wired Controller

The PowerA Enhanced Wired Controller is a budget-minded wired controller for Xbox and PC that connects through Micro USB and options two customizable buttons on its rear. It’s provided in many various colours and licensed designs.

First off, let’s get its greatest draw back out of the best way: it makes use of a Micro USB connection (gross, I do know). You not less than get a prolonged, removable cable with it, however not having a reversible connector is annoying. Thankfully, nothing else about this controller feels so outdated. Its construct high quality is simply fantastic, and it even has two mappable rear buttons constructed into the grips — which is nice to have at such an inexpensive value level.

The remainder of the PowerA Enhanced Wired Controller is an entire lot of desk stakes, nevertheless it executes every thing fairly effectively for a ridiculously inexpensive value. PowerA omitted impulse set off rumble, but when there’s any characteristic to low cost out on, I’d say that’s the fitting selection. On the flip facet, the Enhanced Wired Controller comes with a two-year guarantee, which is twice so long as expensive choices like Microsoft’s Elite Series 2 provide.

The customizable rear buttons are straightforward to function with out getting in the best way.

If solely this controller had USB-C as an alternative of Micro USB.

PowerA affords an entire lot of bang-for-your-buck with the Enhanced Wired Controller when you’re on a good finances. It’s additionally value mentioning that in case you have a bit more to spend, the PowerA Fusion Pro 2 is one other nice controller that punches above its weight class. The Fusion Pro 2 appears a bit like an imitator of Microsoft’s Elite Series 2, however its full value of $89.99 normally drops as little as $62.99. This is one to decide for when you’re trying for a premium controller with added options, like 4 rear paddles and rubberized grips, however you’ve gotten a finances nearer to a typical Xbox controller.

The PowerA Fusion Pro 2 additionally affords nice worth for these in search of premium options however nonetheless on a finances.

PowerA Fusion Pro 2

The PowerA Fusion Pro is an inexpensive different to the Xbox Elite Series 2 controller. It comes with swappable sticks, mappable rear paddle buttons, friction rings, and a zip-up case. This wired controller additionally has a 3.5mm jack for taking part in with headphones and connects through USB-C.

The Xbox Elite Series 2 is constituted of premium supplies however has a pleasant, subdued aesthetic.

The best premium controller for Xbox

The Xbox Elite Series 2 controller is Microsoft’s fancied-up, premium model of the inventory controller. It’s additionally older, having been launched a yr earlier than the Xbox Series X / S consoles arrived. So whereas it does sport a USB-C port and wi-fi assist, it lacks the handy Share button discovered on the newest Xbox Wireless Controller. However, it makes up for that in droves with distinctive construct high quality, additional buttons, user-swappable sticks and D-pad, and numerous customization.

If you decide up an Xbox Elite controller, you immediately acknowledge the standard of supplies put into it. Where the usual controller makes use of an unassuming plastic construct, the Elite mixes larger high quality plastic with rubberized grips and bits of metallic. Combine this with its built-in rechargeable battery, and the Elite is noticeably heavier than its lower-cost brethren. It additionally comes packaged with a charging dock and zip-up case with passthrough charging.

Xbox Elite Series 2

The Xbox Elite Series 2 is well one among our favourite controllers at The Verge. It’s an enchancment on the already glorious Elite Controller, with deep customization, non-compulsory rear paddle buttons, and a swappable D-pad and analog sticks that will let you tailor its format to fit your play model.

As glorious because the match and end are, the important thing elements which will offer you a aggressive edge are the hair-trigger locks and rear paddle buttons. In principle, the hair set off will get photographs off sooner when taking part in shooters, and the rear paddles will let you soar, crouch, reload, and so on., with out taking your thumb off the fitting stick for aiming. However, utilizing that many buttons on the again of the controller undoubtedly takes some adjustment. You have to coach new muscle reminiscence, and because it requires dexterity with more fingers, they’re not for everybody.

These premium options come at a steep value, too. The Elite Series 2 is often priced at $179.99, and despite the fact that it ceaselessly drops to $139.99, it’s nonetheless more than twice as costly as an everyday Xbox controller. You have to essentially need its additional options and person customization, and when you’re not utilizing its rear paddles or the software program changes for stick sensitivity, you’re not getting your cash’s value.

The metallic, dish-like D-pad is a small murals. Sadly, nevertheless, it’s a far cry from the best D-pad round.

The 4 detachable paddles on the rear sit beneath the set off locks and charging dock pins.

You should additionally remember that the Elite has a little bit of a popularity for lackluster high quality management, with horror tales from customers about going by a number of replacements underneath guarantee. Microsoft prolonged the controller’s guarantee from 90-days to a yr in late 2020 to assist tackle issues, however shopping for an Elite Series 2 should still really feel like a barely dangerous proposition. However, if you land that good sequence — switching to your pistol and touchdown a headshot with a fast pop-pop of the hair set off whereas your thumbs keep firmly planted on the sticks — it will possibly really feel value it.

Scuf’s Instinct Pro is ultra-premium and very customizable — for an added value.

4. Scuf Instinct Pro

An even pricier runner-up to the Elite

The Scuf Instinct Pro finds itself in a little bit of a bizarre spot, because it’s the one wi-fi choice from a 3rd occasion, nevertheless it’s by far the costliest Xbox controller round (it begins at $199.99). The one I examined clocked in at $263.91 with a particular faceplate and added colour accents. That’s more than the Xbox Series S sometimes sells for, which is a whole console. Still, you’re in for a deal with when you’re okay with spending that type of cash, because the Instinct Pro is arguably higher than Microsoft’s Elite in some very particular methods — primarily, its consolation and implementation of rear buttons and hair triggers.

Scuf Instinct Pro

Scuf’s Instinct Pro is its top-tier controller for Xbox consoles and PC. It is the one third-party wi-fi choice round, and for its very excessive value, you get rubberized grips, built-in mappable rear paddle buttons, hair-trigger locks, swappable sticks, and user-configurable cosmetics.

The Instinct Pro has very distinctive rear buttons, and I really desire them. Instead of paddles, there are 4 rocker-like buttons constructed into the controller’s physique that you just push towards or away out of your hand with a center finger. It nonetheless requires coaching your mind a bit to get accustomed to it, however I discovered them more intuitive.

Rear buttons apart, the Scuf’s different huge characteristic is its hair triggers, which have the quickest response of all of the controllers examined right here. Just flick a swap on the again, and the left and proper triggers really feel such as you’re clicking a mouse — it’s extremely satisfying. The hair triggers, rear buttons, and the wonderful textured grip materials on the controller’s underside go an extended solution to make this controller a pleasure to make use of.

The magnetic faceplate and sticks are straightforward to pop off and swap out.

Scuf’s rear rocker buttons and textured rubber grips are intricately detailed.

The Instinct Pro looks like Scuf basically hot-rodded a inventory Xbox controller, however like every boutique merchandise, it comes with an enormous value. Meanwhile, it nonetheless makes use of AA batteries and lacks software program customization, in order a lot as I take pleasure in utilizing it, I’d solely advise getting one when you’re tremendous captivated with its very particular qualities otherwise you completely love the colourful accents and magnetically swappable faceplates on Scuf’s configurator.

The Nacon Revolution X appears a little bit low cost at first, however its premium options are steeped in deep customization.

5. Nacon Revolution X

The best customizable controller

RIG’s Nacon Revolution X could also be worthy of an award for horrible naming, however its actual strengths are in its deep customization. If you’re the kind that likes to endlessly tinker with numerous detailed settings, that is the controller for you. Normally priced at $99.99, the wired Revolution X and its added options don’t come low cost, however the value is a little bit fairer when you think about the competitors it squares up towards.

When you first decide up the Revolution X, it appears very unassuming — and borderline low cost. While it’s not a looker, it’s a type follows perform kind of controller. It’s cozy to make use of, and its 4 rear buttons constructed into the grips are massive and properly contoured. The actual stars of this present, nevertheless, are the analog sticks and their software program customizations, in addition to the expansive customized choices for different interior workings of the controller.

Nacon Revolution X

The RIG Nacon Revolution X is a wired controller for Xbox consoles and Windows PCs that provides a slew of detailed software program customization choices. It’s additionally obtained 4 customizable rear buttons, adjustable sticks, and non-compulsory weights to insert into the grips to offer it more heft.

While different user-customizable controllers have three person profiles you possibly can swap between on the fly, the Revolution X has 4 — plus a “classic” mode with primary settings and a hoop of RGB mild round the fitting persist with remind you what mode you’re in. The software program app is just not probably the most user-friendly, however the controls go very in-depth. Thankfully, there are useful beginning factors with presets for arcade preventing video games, racing, FPS video games, and even sniping. It makes it a lot simpler to grasp when you’ve gotten examples for completely different genres of video games. Add the power to customise and remap each button on the controller, in addition to a Dolby Atmos for Headphones app license, and you’ve obtained quite a lot of customization choices.

The rear grip covers confide in enable the non-compulsory weights to be added.

The controller, cable, stick tops, grip weights, and stick rings are all packaged within the included zipper case.

The customization doesn’t cease with software program, audio, or lighting, nevertheless. The Revolution X comes with ring spacers to regulate the vary of the analog sticks, too, in addition to a sequence of small weights starting from 10g to 16g, which you’ll be able to insert into its grips to offer them an extra quantity of heft.

Adding up all these options, you see why the Nacon is such an awesome controller for tinkering. It took me time to heat as much as it, however upon setting it up the best way I most well-liked, it made for a really compelling controller in a wide range of sport sorts.

The Turtle Beach Recon controller’s greatest strengths lie in its plethora of audio controls.

The best controller for shooters

Turtle Beach is understood for its headsets, so it is smart that its Recon wired controller options some sturdy audio controls. Its strengths actually come into focus when taking part in first-person shooters, the place its Superhuman Hearing mode tweaks the audio of any wired headset to attract out footsteps and distant gunfire within the combine. At its common value of round $60, and as soon as promoting as little as $29.99, the Recon is a reasonably inexpensive solution to achieve a slight aggressive edge in multiplayer video games with out spending effectively over $100 on a controller.

This pad isn’t going to win any magnificence contests due to all these awkward buttons situated smack-dab in the course of its brow, however each has a sound objective. There are 4 ranges of microphone monitoring, general sport quantity controls, sport chat quantity combine, 4 EQ presets, 4 programmable modes for mapping the 2 rear buttons, and 4 ranges of non-compulsory right-stick sensitivity changes. That final characteristic, dubbed Pro Aim by Turtle Beach, lowers the sensitivity of the fitting analog stick whilst you maintain the right-hand rear button, permitting for very small actions like sniping, although it’s a bit clumsy to make use of.

Turtle Beach Recon Controller

Turtle Beach’s Recon Controller is a USB-C wired gamepad that provides a substantial amount of audio tweaking for wired headsets. Its Superhuman Hearing mode attracts out footsteps and gunfire within the combine, and the 2 rear buttons assist make it nice for FPS video games.

Learning to make use of all these controls might sound daunting, however the controller’s quick-start information makes it simpler. Superhuman Hearing could be very useful for shooters and value utilizing extensively for video games like Halo Infinite — simply remember that it’s going to muddy up the soundtrack a little bit, so it’s possible you’ll wish to go away it off throughout story-driven, single-player video games.

It’s a bit a lot to absorb at first, however these buttons enable for very useful audio controls when utilizing a wired headset.

The bumpers, shoulders, and customizable rear buttons have a wonderful textured sample that feels nice.

Audio controls apart, the Recon lacks fancy options like hair triggers and swappable thumbsticks, and the D-pad appears like the usual Xbox Wireless Controller however pales compared. The controller’s plastic construct feels low cost, however the rubbery grips redeem it with a pleasant and cozy really feel. As for the sticks, triggers, and extra rear buttons, all of them really feel tight and snappy. Combine that with Superhuman Hearing, and you’ve obtained an awesome recipe for shooters. The Recon has a little bit of a studying curve, however when you play ranked matches and worth a reasonably priced wired controller with additional buttons and useful audio features, you possibly can’t go unsuitable right here.

Other controllers value figuring out about

  • Razer’s Wolverine V2 Chroma is a feast for the ears and eyes, due to very clicky buttons and a strip of RGB lighting alongside the grips. It has more customizable buttons than some other controller (six complete), although their positioning requires reaching, and it’s an expensive controller.
  • Briefly talked about above, the Horipad Pro has one of many best D-pads round. It additionally affords quite a lot of software program customization at an inexpensive value, however its shoulder buttons are a bit stiff.
  • The Nacon Pro Compact Controller has a few of the Revolution X’s glorious software program customization at a a lot lower cost. It’s additionally one of many smallest choices round, although the ergonomics might really feel hit and miss relying in your hand measurement.
  • One of the dumbest but most lovable controllers is the Hyperkin Duke. This reissue of the unique Xbox pad is a love letter to the salad days of 2001. It’s simply not nice to make use of for trendy video games. Thankfully it comes with a show stand, because it’s more of a collector piece.

Photography by Antonio G. Di Benedetto / The Verge

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