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Best Xbox One controllers 2021: The coolest, most customisable Xbox One gamepads available now

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Looking for a new Xbox One controller? Here's our pick of the best official and third-party pads

The best Xbox controllers can enhance so many aspects of your Xbox gaming experience, and it's a component that many gamers take for granted. The shape of the controller, for instance, helps you comfortably game for hours, while the button and stick responsiveness can improve your game substantially.

Don't get us wrong: that controller packaged with your latest Xbox console purchase isn't as bad as you think, but it could certainly be more progressive. So if you're looking to upgrade your Xbox One controller, where's the best place to start?

Below, you'll find our guide to the best Xbox One controllers on the market right now, catering to any budget. First, though, we'll go over the most important things you need to know before splashing out on a new Xbox One controller.

Already scored a next-gen Xbox? Check out the best controllers for Xbox Series X and Series S


Best Xbox controllers: At a glance

Don't have time to read the whole guide? Here are our top picks.


How to choose the best Xbox controller for you

What are the key features to look out for?

The first things are customisability and repairability. The best Xbox controllers let you adjust and replace the thumbsticks and D-pad buttons to suit your preferences and game type – even the size of and texture of the grips – and all without having to buy a new controller.

But that’s not where the customisability ends. Some controller manufacturers let you customise the look of your controller, too. It’s also worth searching for extra buttons and paddles, which aftermarket controller manufacturers add to their controllers to make your life easier, and hair-trigger modes for the right and left trigger buttons that make laying down a blast of withering machine-gun fire that bit more responsive.

At the top end, controllers also make it possible to adjust the strength of the vibration motor; some controllers even come with multiple vibrating motors, in the triggers as well as the handgrips.

Does spending more make a difference?

One of the biggest compromises a manufacturer has to make when building a controller to bundle in with a console is on materials. Usually, a standard controller is built from plain or slightly textured plastic. Often, the buttons feel cheap and spongy and the rubber coating on the thumbsticks can wear through with extended use.

Spend a bit more on a decent controller, however, and you get better build quality, more responsive buttons and sticks that feel not only more comfortable but have a more progressive feel, giving you more precise control over in-game movement, especially in driving games.

What are other features worth thinking about?

Last, but not least, aftermarket controllers will often add extra, or different connectivity options. If you’re not a fan of having to replace the batteries on a monthly basis, you can opt for a wired controller; and some controllers will come with a rechargeable battery, although it’s worth noting that it’s possible to buy rechargeable batteries for the standard Xbox Wireless Controller anyway.

Also, be on the lookout for buttons that let you control more mundane features such as headset volume. When you’re concentrating on the action, the last thing you want to do is have to take your hands off the grips.

READ NEXT: Xbox Series X review: Next-gen gaming is here

The best Xbox One controllers you can buy in 2021

1. Xbox Wireless Controller (Series X): Merely refined but still the best value

Price: £55 l Buy now from Argos

It’s no surprise that Microsoft has a brand-new controller to coincide with the launch of its next-gen consoles. Both the Xbox Series X and Series S have received significant performance upgrades, but the bundled controller is more of a refinement than an evolution in terms of design, not that that’s necessarily a bad thing.

To be clear, the new Xbox Wireless Controller is still the best-value pad you can buy. The design hasn’t changed dramatically, although it now has textured rear grips and triggers as well as a new matte finish, which does a better job at shrugging off greasy fingerprints. It can also be connected via USB-C, which is a bonus if you no longer have any old micro-USB cables kicking about, or struggle with plugging the cable in the correct way around while playing games in the dark.

The most obvious new addition, meanwhile, is the inclusion of a dedicated share button, which allows you to capture screenshots or 30-second videos at up to 4K resolution. Even if this isn’t your sort of thing, the new Xbox Wireless Controller is yet another astonishing Microsoft-made gamepad. And since it only costs a little bit more than the original and still works with the previous generation of consoles, it’s basically a no-brainer regardless of whether you have a Series X or not.

Buy now from Argos


2. Razer Wolverine Ultimate: Best controller for show-offs

Price: £160 l Buy now from Razer

Razer's Wolverine Ultimate might not be as appealing as the Wildcat – now sadly discontinued – but it's still a top-notch pad for lengthy gaming conquests. It isn’t cheap, at almost £40 more than Razer’s previous effort, but what you’re getting here is a highly-customisable controller filled with flamboyancy.

This is a wired Xbox controller but the 3m cable is more than long enough to reach a gaming setup embedded in the corner of your living room. And, like the Wildcat, a semi-hard case is provided for storing the controller and its accessories. The controller’s sticks and directional face buttons can be removed magnetically and swapped out for taller/shorter sticks or an alternative set of directional buttons. Unfortunately, the right-side face buttons can’t be removed, and neither can flappy paddle-like triggers on the underside of the pad.

Every button can be remapped via Razer’s Synapse app for Xbox, as well as button sensitivities and vibration settings. The controller’s RGB lighting effects and colours can be tinkered with, too – just like the gaming firm’s own PC peripherals. A pair of sliding switches underneath the pad can reduce trigger travel too. The sticks are nice and weighty, and all of the buttons are clicky and tactile – just like Razer’s mechanical keyboards. Every movement and action in-game feels precise.

Buy now from Razer


3. Scuf Prestige: Best for competitive gamers

Price: £160 | Buy now from Scuf

Scuf controllers are aimed at competitive gamers and the Prestige model is finely tuned with that market in mind. Outwardly, it looks just like a regular Xbox controller but in the hand, it feels quite different. The finish on the top plate is made of soft rubbery plastic and this combines perfectly with finely textured rubber grips to make for a controller that’s comfortable to play with for hours on end.

The Prestige is rechargeable via micro-USB, delivering around 30 hours of playtime on each charge. It comes fitted with four paddles on the underside that can be custom mapped to most of the standard buttons, ideal for those times when you can’t afford to take your thumbs off the sticks. You can replace the top panel, too, and each of the sticks can be swapped over at the drop of a hat.

Short-throw sticks are included as standard but you can buy domed or long-throw sticks from Scuf's site. In fact, there's a variety of customisations you can undertake at the point of purchase: you can remove the rumble packs; select different colours for the top plate or add a case for travel. Any additions do increase the price, though. With a pair of switches underneath the controller that allow you to shorten the travel of the triggers (this travel is adjustable, too), the Scuf Prestige really is the perfect customisable Xbox One controller.

Buy now from Scuf


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