Options have changed immensely for the better when it comes to officially-licensed Xbox controllers, and we’ve put together a list of the 7 best options out there to improve your PC gaming experience. Whether you’re looking for something affordable yet solid, or a true competitive option, there’s something here for everyone.
This list walks you through the defining features and specs that qualify these Xbox controllers as the best out there for PC gaming. You’ll of course need to decide what you really need and how much you can afford to spend.
Our picks for the 7 best Xbox controllers for PC gaming
You should definitely give each a fair consideration because some of these options are unique from the rest. Lastly, we’ll wrap up with the easiest general recommendation for those who aren’t too exacting about their controller preferences and just want something that feels good and is proven to be reliable.
First up on the list is the PowerA Enhanced Wired controller. It’s the cheapest option, but it features the highly sought-after programmable rear buttons that allow you to do things like remap your jumping and sliding controls without ever having to take your thumb off the aiming stick. This feature alone should make you consider it if you’re curious to try a controller with extra functional buttons but don’t want to pay the usual huge premium it costs to get this feature.
Many compare the feel to the original Xbox controller, though some note the button feedback can feel a bit soft. Additional things to note are the built-in headset audio controls and the 10-foot (3m) cable. Furthermore, PowerA makes the Enhanced controller in plenty of colors and designs to suit your taste.
As an added plus regarding this model, you can actually find it at some local retailers or just purchase it online. It comes with a two-year warranty.
2. Xbox Series X wireless controller
Sometimes it’s tough to beat the original, and Microsoft makes a strong case for it with the mainline Xbox Series X revision of its wireless controller. Each generation has been tweaked and tuned to provide a better feel, and it’s safe to say that each revision since the 2013 Xbox One debut has been excellent.
As far as the feel goes, the buttons and triggers provide a nice balance of resistance and feedback. The thumbsticks aren’t overly sensitive either, which some competing brands get carried away with. The Series X revision also has a dedicated Share button and textured bumpers and triggers for better traction. Microsoft’s mainline controller is a one-size-fits-all design but should work for most hand sizes. The only thing missing, really, are paddle buttons.
There’s nothing extra about the Series X wireless controller and you get exactly what the name implies. If you just plan to play single-player games and semi-competitive multiplayer, this is really all you need. The quality for the price is there, and the mainline Xbox controllers are reliable as well. The warranty is only 90 days, but these consistently hold up for years.
Lastly, one has to mention the endless color and design customization options available via the Design Lab if you want something a little more personal and flashy.
Microsoft’s souped-up, customizable Elite Series 2 Xbox wireless controller has been around for years and has an interesting reputation. It has everything from adjustable triggers and thumbstick sensitivity tuning to customizable thumbsticks and paddles on the back for extra button functionality. There’s no doubt it is the original premium controller option, but Elite Xbox controllers have always been expensive.
What makes the Core different is that it’s a stripped-down package for less money. It’s the same controller, minus $50 USD of bundled accessories. This way, you can just buy what matters to you, such as only tacking on some paddles.
Yet for all that’s great about this controller, many users have reported reliability issues over time. Buyers should definitely consider tacking on an extended hassle-free replacement plan in case their Elite Series 2 controller breaks. The manufacturer warranty period is one year.
Xbox’s Elite Series 2 Core is a great premium controller for those who like first-party options, and the Core series makes it more affordable. And in case you were wondering, it only comes in a single color scheme for now.
Razer is well known for its PC peripherals and other accessories, and the company ventured into designing Xbox controllers as well in recent years. The Wolverine Chroma V2 is the latest model from Razer and it’s designed for competitive play while looking sleek too. Since it’s Razer, you know there’s also RGB.
The design incorporates various technologies to reduce input latency and is only wired for this reason. There are a total of four rear buttons plus two extra bumpers, providing a total of six programmable buttons. Due to the placement of these extra buttons, the Wolverine Chroma V2 is a great option for gamers with bigger hands and longer fingers.
The triggers provide smooth feedback and can be set to hair-trigger mode if desired. Something which sets this controller apart from the rest are the clicky style X, Y, A, and B buttons plus the D-pad. However, the thumbsticks are a bit sensitive on this controller and take some getting used to. The thumbstick caps are also removable via magnetic lift-out and can be swapped for domed thumbsticks. Lastly, the controller handles are wrapped in a comfortable, rubberized material.
As for the styling options, it either comes in black or white on black. You can take this a step further though with the RGB. The LEDs run behind two stripes and feature even light diffusion for a consistent look. Users can set color cycle patterns or static colors. For better or worse, there’s no full rainbow option. And since this is a wired controller, it’s important to note it comes with a detachable USB Type-C cable which is 10ft in length.
Overall, the Wolverine Chroma V2 a well-received wired Xbox controller made for competitive players that don’t mind splurging. Gamers with smaller hands may want to avoid this design though in favor of others since the extra buttons can be difficult to reach. Razer offers a one year warranty on this controller.
Scuf has been making some of the best custom Xbox controllers for many years now, and the Instinct series is the company’s latest. These wireless controllers are built for high-level play and certainly cost for that capability.
The standout features for the Instinct controllers are the four custom programmable buttons which are positioned closer to the controller handles. This allows for better ergonomics and works better for those with smaller hands. Scuf also bundles swappable thumbsticks, there’s wireless capability with a detachable USB Type-C port, and there’s an integrated mic mute button. Additionally, there is a profile switch button on the rear which allows users to store up to three profiles for the programmable button settings so they can quickly switch for different types of games.
One thing which sets Scuf Instinct controllers apart is the ability to swap out the entire front faceplate. This allows access to the many other faceplate colors and designs on sale in case you ever want to change things out for a different look.
If users want a little more and don’t mind spending more, there is also the Instinct Pro. This model features adjustable hair triggers, rubberized handle grips, and removable rumble modules to lighten the weight of the controller.
The downside to the Scuf Instinct Xbox controllers is the six-month warranty period for both models. For such a high cost, it’s not a lot of coverage. It’s certainly worth considering an extended third-party warranty for an investment like this, which only further racks up the price.
6. HORIPAD Pro
This next option is the HORIPAD Pro wired controller, which is unique in that it’s an Xbox controller meant to feel like the Nintendo Switch Pro controller. Given that PC gaming is far more accessible now, it makes sense to have a controller like this to help Nintendo console players to feel right at home on another platform.
Reception is positive for this controller, stating it’s responsive and satisfying to use. The build quality is also praised so it should last for years with proper care. The HORIPAD Pro does not have any programmable buttons, but it does have media controls for the mic and headset. As an added bonus, there’s a profile switch button for up to four profiles for you to customize how you want to play different types of games. Since this is a wired controller, you should also take note that the cable is 7ft long.
This is a relatively affordable controller compared to others on the list, and it comes with a 90 day warranty. While not an ideal warranty period length, it matches some of the competition and the price is more forgiving if the controller happens to develop any issues over time.
Last is the PDP Victrix wired controller, which packs in a ton of features for much less money than previous entries on the list. The design admittedly isn’t as sleek as other options, but don’t let that put you off from what makes this controller interesting.
The Victrix Gambit is marketed as a competitive controller with a focus on low latency. In addition to that, it has 5-point adjustable triggers, up to four programmable buttons on the rear side of the handles (like the Scuf), and swappable thumbsticks plus the D-pad.
Another distinct detail are the large menu buttons for easier actuation. There’s also a mic mute button on the bottom face side and that leads to the next bit. This controller comes with support for Dolby Atmos, including a lifetime headset subscription.
There’s a total of 14 swappable components bundled with this controller plus a case to keep things tidy. You can also swap the faceplate for a purple shell if you really like purple. The cable length isn’t listed, but the controller has a detachable USB Type-C port. Fortunately, that means you can use another cable if you don’t like purple.
Techies and DIYers can also take things further with diagnostic tools on the app if any issues arise. This leads us to the next point that PDP offers a two-year warranty on all products, which is a more generous policy versus some other options.
So that’s it for our 7 best Xbox controllers for PC gaming, but you may now have a tough decision to make with all the different options available at different prices from brands both big and small.
If we had to make any recommendation, it would be the original Xbox Series X style by Microsoft. The feel and quality of these controllers keep improving with each iteration. Check out our review to see why the Xbox Series X controller is still one of the best bets for PC gaming. There are also occasional sales that knock the starting prices down to $39.99 USD, and that’s impossible to beat for what you get.
You might explore a couple more options
If you want extra features and buttons, the models we’ve covered on this list are all worth your consideration. However, some of these brands have other Xbox controller models that just missed the list, so you might expand your search there if nothing ticks all the boxes for you here. There are also more upcoming officially-licensed Xbox controllers such as the ASUS ROG Raikiri Pro to keep an eye on.
PlayStation 5 controllers are growing in popularity for PC gaming too, and we’ll have some recommendations for those in the future alongside our best Xbox controllers list.
This article includes affiliate links, which may provide small compensation to PCInvasion.