The standard Xbox Series X|S controllers are great, with their new textured backs, dual-wireless connectivity, and tweaked ergonomics. The thing is, there are many third-party controller makers that all bring something different to the party.
Those additional features could be additional buttons or paddles, you can remap with your favorite controls, or other tweaks like onboard audio mixers so you can pick up your teammate’s comms over the action. They could also be a different form factor, better suited to something like fighting games.
If you’ve already picked up an Xbox Series X or Series S, or are looking to add one to your console collection, here are the best customized controllers to really maximize your playtime.
Here are the best customized Xbox Series X|S controllers
If you want something a little out of the ordinary, we’ve got you covered.
SCUF Instinct or Instinct Pro ($170 or $200)
SCUF is undoubtedly the go-to brand for customized controllers. They’re competition-friendly, add customized paddles to the back, and now the Instinct and Instinct Pro tweak those paddles to have them embedded into the back of the controller. They can still be customized to your preferred face buttons, and you can change the thumbsticks (which have a new design this time around), the faceplates, the d-pad, and more. New this generation are Instant Triggers, which change the usual trigger pull into an instant-click, just like a mouse click.
The other cool thing about the Instinct and Instinct Pro? You can save your customized button profiles to the controller, and switch between three saved profiles at a touch. Perfect for having profiles for racing, shooters, or other game types.
Microsoft Elite Series 2 ($164)
While there’s no end of third-party controllers, maybe you want to keep everything Microsoft-designed. The Elite Series 2 gives you all the customization of the best third-party controllers while keeping a Microsoft warranty. The best part? It works just as well on PC as on the Xbox Series X|S.
Microsoft even licensed SCUF’s technology, so you get the best of both worlds. You get modular, magnetic thumbstick, modular d-pads, hair-trigger locks, and four removable, remappable paddles on the back. Oh, and you can tweak the thumbstick tension for precision aiming. It’s also wireless, with an internal, rechargeable battery.
Razer Wolverine V2 ($77)
Razer’s latest Xbox controller has the all-important share button, while still being one of the cheapest controllers Razer has produced. Paying less does mean you lose some features, but the Wolverine V2 still comes with two extra mappable trigger buttons, and trigger stops for faster performance in shooters.
It’s wired, with no option for wireless play, but then you’re not at the mercy of the Xbox Series X|S wireless connection, which is still having issues with some controllers. The best feature? Razer’s own Mecha-tactile buttons, which are mechanical instead of membrane and have a satisfying click when pressed.
Razer Wolverine Ultimate ($130)
Razer’s Wolverine Ultimate is about as good as you can to rival the likes of SCUF or the Elite 2. It’s another competition favorite, with additional remappable triggers so you can further customize your control scheme to your liking. The six extra buttons underneath are closer to triggers than paddles, so you’ll be less likely to accidentally clutch them in frenetic action.
The face buttons are more clicky than the usual mush of controller buttons, and you can store two profiles on-device so you don’t need the software to remap things while you’re playing. Last up, you can change the sensitivity of the analog sticks, so you can still hit those 360-noscopes with ease.
Turtle Beach Recon wired ($60)
Turtle Beach’s first foray into the controller market is a solid effort that brings one thing that most of the others didn’t think of. That’s the ability to transform your favorite pair of mic-equipped IEMs into a tournament-ready headset.
Choose from four preset equalizer settings, tweak mic monitoring, and change the chat/game mix, like you can on the more expensive external devices from the competition. That chat/game mix only works on the console though, so if you want to use it on PC you’re out of luck. The other neat feature is Pro-Aim, which changes the right-hand thumbstick’s sensitivity when activated, so you get slowed stick movement when aiming.
Oh, and it has Turtle Beach’s Superhuman Hearing feature, which tweaks the EQ to bring footsteps and doors opening more forward in the mix, so you hear gameplay cues more easily.
PowerA Spectra Infinity ($45)
PowerA has been making console accessories for ages now, and the Spectra Infinity is an affordable masterclass in how to do things right. It’s got all the RGB lighting you could want, with one great party trick that isn’t just aesthetic. That’s the volume control, which has a tilt button to change volume levels, or to tap in to mute/unmute. Isn’t that great? No more worrying about if you’ve left your headset on, or if your headset has its own mute switch.
You also get two remappable back buttons, and trigger locks with three setting options. Bargain.
Xbox Series X Evil Shift custom controller (from $99)
I’ve got an Evil Controllers Evil Shift from last-gen as my primary controller on PC, and it’s great. The best part, other than it being built on an official Xbox controller? The additional back paddles, which are more like buttons with large pads to tap with your fingers. Their placing means they’re easy to get to while gripping the controller normally, and they’re responsive enough to work with a light squeeze instead of the heavy pull some controllers need. You can also go for four back buttons if you think that will work better for you.
Oh, and you can customize almost anything on the controller to your liking at the time of ordering. Hairpin, standard, or tactile triggers, different thumbsticks, standard or mechanical face switches, and tons of color and design options. Nice.
Microsoft Design Lab ($70)
Microsoft isn’t about to let the third-party companies have all the fun for customization, and the Xbox Design Lab is their offering. You don’t get any additional features, but you can customize your controller to your own unique color scheme, and then add laser engraving so everyone knows it is yours.
There are 18 colors to choose from for most of the controller’s parts, including triggers, bumpers, thumbsticks, and buttons. For only a $10 premium over the boring single-color Xbox Series X|S controllers, it’s a bargain.
Hori Fighting Stick Alpha ($200)
Sometimes you need a different controller for a specific type of game, and any fighting game fan will want this Hori Fighting Stick Alpha. It’s the first officially licensed tournament-grade fighting stick for the Xbox Series X|S, and it’s a monster.
Hayabusa levers, buttons, and switches abound, with a low-profile eight-directional joystick for quick movements. You also get a 3.5mm headset jack and on-controller buttons to manage your audio, and a whole host of tweaks that are aimed at competition-level players, like a switch that locks out some functions that might get you disqualified if they get used in a bout.
Bionik Power Stand ($30)
If your Xbox controller is wireless, you’ll probably need batteries to use it. The Power Stand from Bionik gives you a charging stand for two controllers, two 1,110 mAh batteries, and replacement battery doors for your controllers, all for $5 more than buying one of the official batteries.
I’ve been using these for a while now and they get insane battery life. The design makes it so the electrical contacts always seat properly, and you get a charging light indicator that goes away once the battery is full.
Bionik QuickShot Pro trigger extensions ($20)
If you don’t want to ditch your existing controllers, you can still add more functionality with add-ons. Bionik has replacement grips for your Xbox Series X|S controllers that add trigger stops, so you can get the benefits of reduced trigger pull in your FPS titles without shelling out for an expensive new controller. They also add some additional grip with their rubber pattern, so even if the game gets sweaty, you’ll still hang on.
Just an FYI – these go on sale September 3, so if you want to add trigger stops to your existing Xbox Series X|S controllers, you only have a couple of days to wait.
The cool thing about any of the controllers on this list? They all work natively with your Windows PC, so you can switch between your console and your desktop with ease.
You might need to use a USB cable in some cases, or the $25 Microsoft Xbox One wireless adapter will connect any of the wireless options. If your PC has Bluetooth, you can also use that with many of the wireless options, but you’ll have minor latency here so the other two options are better.
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