Whether you’re playing casual games or competitive ones, the quality of your controller can make or break your gaming experience. A mushy button or an uncomfortable grip can differentiate between winning and losing.
Thankfully, the best Xbox controllers don’t have to cost a fortune. A cheaper alternative can even be better in some ways.
Xbox Series X and S consoles have ushered in a new generation of gaming, but raw processing power means little without the best controller. Whether you’re looking to save money or add a few extra features, plenty of cheap Xbox controller options are available to suit your needs.
First, decide what type of gaming you’re going to be doing. If you’re playing competitively, get a controller with extra options for movement and control. These usually include extra paddles or buttons that you can program yourself. The standard Xbox Series X controller suits this, but the more expensive controllers also work well with most games.
If you’re just a casual player, the standard wireless controller is from. It’s comfortable to hold and has a good weight and feel. You can use it with the Xbox wireless adapter for a better connection and less lag, but it works fine over Bluetooth.
If you’re a hardcore gamer who plays a lot of hours, consider upgrading to a wired controller. This high-quality controller is made from rugged materials and has a great battery life. It’s a bit heavier than the Series X controller but has adjustable-tension thumbsticks and wrap-around rubber grips. It also has a rechargeable battery so you won’t waste money on disposable AA batteries.
There are many options if you’re looking for an Xbox controller that gives you extra buttons or more customization. Some are more expensive than others, but they’re often worth the investment if you play competitive games or enjoy a premium experience.
Xbox Series X|S is an excellent pad and is currently the cheapest official controller you can buy. It has a rechargeable battery lasting 40 hours and offers features like adjustable tension thumbsticks and short hair trigger locks. It’s also compatible with PC games so you can play your favorite titles on a laptop or desktop.
The standard Xbox wireless controller is another excellent option. It’s comfortable to hold and plays well. Plus, it’s available in a range of colors. And if you’re concerned about input lag, getting a wired version that eliminates this issue is possible.
It’s a third-party controller that feels like the Xbox Original and has several color options. It’s also a good choice for people who frequently host gaming parties and need to replace worn-out controllers quickly. It uses AA batteries and has a Play and Charge kit that lets you plug in when the battery runs low.
When you’re putting in some serious gaming time, having your controller suddenly shut off can be frustrating. This is especially true if it’s right in the middle of an intense fight or an exciting game-winning run. You can avoid these problems by investing in a cheap Xbox controller that uses rechargeable batteries.
Most cheap controllers use a standard set of disposable AA batteries. While this may seem old-fashioned, it’s a practical way to keep the costs down and still offers plenty of battery life. In contrast, controllers contain internal rechargeable battery packs, which are more expensive to maintain and can drain over time.
If you want to extend your Xbox controller’s battery life, consider getting a battery pack that accepts AAs or lithium batteries. Lithium batteries are more expensive, but they offer superior performance and longevity. You can also get longer battery life by using a partially-drained battery, avoiding complete discharge cycles, and keeping the controller in a cool place.
For a budget-friendly option, look for a controller with a recharging dock and USB cable. This can be as simple as the Xbox Series X LED USB-C Charge Cable (the product name certainly leaves something to be desired). The dock features an LED that lights up when the controller is charging and has a passthrough port so you can play while it sets.
Now that we’re living in a golden age of console gaming, the controllers you buy can do more than look pretty. You can purchase third-party controllers from companies offering various features and customization options that can improve your gaming experience.
While the standard Xbox controller for Series X and Series S consoles isn’t the best for competitive gamers, it’s still an excellent controller for casual players at a reasonable price point (or less when on sale). This model has a refined design, comfortable hand feel, and Bluetooth connectivity, eliminating the need for a separate wireless dongle.
However, it’s worth considering the excellent options from third-party manufacturers that also undercut the Pro controller in cost and features. For example, based on its official size and shape but offers a bevy of features that are more often found in high-end controllers. These include trigger stops and programmable buttons for quick access to basic settings.
If you’re looking for the ultimate custom Xbox controller, Microsoft has you covered with its Xbox Design Lab service, which allows you to customize your device’s shell and internal components. Some combinations span subdued to vibrant colors, and you can add accessories like rubberized grips and engravings to personalize the experience.