The Xbox Series X and S have been out for over a year now, and we’ve seen some great options appear for controllers. While there hasn’t been a new Elite to join the ranks yet, there are plenty of interesting third-party options. Let’s compare the ones we’ve gotten in our hands and take a look at the pros and cons of each model to try and find out which is the best Xbox controller.
Table of contents
- Best Xbox Controller for Series X and S: Video
- Standard Xbox Wireless controller – $60 – Wireless
- Turtle Beach Recon Controller – $60 – Wired
- PowerA Fusion Pro 2 – $80 – Wired
- Xbox Elite Series 2 – $140 – Wireless
- Razer Wolverine V2 Chroma – $150 – Wired
- Scuf Instinct Pro – $200 – Wireless
- My top pick for the best Xbox controller
We’ll organize these by price, and then I’ll give my final thoughts at the end. If you’ve watched any of my controller reviews in the past, you’ll probably have a good idea of which controller will be my top pick. But, from what I’ve read in the comments on my controller reviews, there are controllers that work for some and not for others.
Best Xbox Controller for Series X and S: Video
Standard Xbox Wireless controller – $60 – Wireless
- Can customize for a bit more money
- No additional features
First up is the standard Xbox Wireless controller. At $60, it’s the standard, and you know you’re not getting a low-quality knockoff. While it may not have any extra features or buttons, it’s wireless and will do everything you need it to. It also comes in a variety of colors.
If you want to make it you’re own, dive into the Xbox Design lab for a ton of custom options. Starting at $70, it’s a great way to get the design you want and would make for a great gift for that special gamer in your life.
Turtle Beach Recon Controller – $60 – Wired
- Very affordable
- Audio customization
- Mappable buttons
- Only two buttons on the back of the controller
Next up is the Turtle Beach Recon controller. At $60, there are a ton of features here – most notably the deep audio customization. Turtle Beach is known for putting its superhuman hearing mode on headsets, but with the Recon Controller, you can get this competitive audio mode on any headset plugged into your controller.
Besides audio, the Recon controller also has two mappable buttons on the back of the controller as well as a sensitivity trigger mode that can quickly drop the sensitivity of stick input.
The Turtle Beach Recon is also plenty comfortable and has rubberized grips to help make the controller more comfortable. Check out our full review over here.
PowerA Fusion Pro 2 – $80 – Wired
- Four mappable paddles
- Other swappable parts
- Trigger customization
We went hands-on with the Fusion Pro from PowerA in mid-2020, but the company has since released a newer version for the Series X and S. Featuring a similar rear paddle design to the mappable pro pack, the Fusion Pro 2 is an affordable wired alternative to more expensive wireless controllers with paddles on the back.
While wireless setups are convenient, for competitive players, I would imagine using a wired controller isn’t that much of an issue. You never need to worry about battery life and if you are using a monitor for lower input lag, you’re most likely not too far from the screen anyways.
I can’t speak to the feel of the Fusion Pro 2. The original Fusion Pro worked well but didn’t have the same premium feel as the Xbox Elite Series 2. But if you’re on a budget and want extra mappable buttons with additional customizability, the Fusion Pro 2 is a valid choice.
Xbox Elite Series 2 – $140 – Wireless
- Hightly customizable
- Reasonably priced for the performance
- Many experience reliability issues
The Xbox Elite Series 2 might be one of the more polarizing options on here. The feature set for the price point is incredible, but it has had its fair share of quality issues, with many people going through multiple controllers.
Personally, I’m a big fan of the Elite Series 2. The paddles are the best implementation of buttons on the rear of the controller for how I like to play. I also love that you can change the height of the sticks and adjust their tension to make the higher sticks feel more normal.
If you get one that doesn’t have issues, the feature set on the Elite Series 2 is top-notch, and at $140, they’re pretty reasonable for a wireless and highly customizable controller. Check out our full review over here.
Razer Wolverine V2 Chroma – $150 – Wired
- 4 mappable buttons on back
- 2 additional mappable bumper buttons
- Nice buttons
- Expensive for a wired controller
- Back button placement (for me)
Razer’s latest controller, the $150 Wolverine V2 Chroma, changes things up from the older Wolverine V2. In addition to colorful accents, the Wolverine V2 Chroma has six additional mappable buttons. Two are located near the bumpers, and the remaining four are positioned on the back of the controller.
Instead of the more standard location under your finger, like the paddle setup of the Elite series, or other buttons designs from Turtle Beach and Scuf, Razer has opted to put them in the middle. It’s been interesting watching the comments on the review because some people love this position for the back buttons, but some people hate them. For me, it’s not natural for my fingers to rest there, so I found myself reaching for the buttons when I wanted to press them.
Besides the mappable buttons, the Wolverine V2 Chroma has tactile switches with a nice feeling and sounding click, as well as adjustable triggers. Check out our full review over here.
Scuf Instinct Pro – $200 – Wireless
- Deep customization options
- 4 mappable buttons on back
- Can get expensive
- No paddles (pro for some)
The most expensive controller in this line-up, the Scuf Instinct Pro starts at $200, but with the huge variety of custom options available can get much, much more expensive. Instead of the paddle design that Scuf has been known for, it has opted for a rocker design. Your middle finger sits in between two buttons that can be pressed by pushing forward or backward. Check out our full review over here.
Beyond the back buttons, the Instinct Pro features adjustable hair triggers that have a pleasing tactile click. For comfort, the Instinct Pro has rubberized grips on the bottom.
My top pick for the best Xbox controller
As I alluded to in the intro, if you’ve followed any of my Xbox controller reviews in the past, I’m a huge fan of the Elite series. Maybe it’s just because I’ve grown fond of the paddle setup, but the Elite controllers feel the best in my hands, and the paddles are in a great position for me. I don’t have to reach for the buttons, and they don’t require a ton of force to actuate. I also really like that you can tune the resistance of the thumbstick on the Elite Series 2. When using taller sticks, that’s a great way to make the stick feel more natural.
Depending on your budget and gaming needs, there are plenty of great options out there. The audio options on the Turtle Beach Recon are great for competitive players who want an edge, while the customization options of the Scuf Instinct Pro make it possible to truly get a one-of-a-kind controller.
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