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The 9 Best Cheap Xbox Controllers

These affordable gaming input devices won’t bust your bank account or let you down in the thick of the action.

best budget xbox controllers
Staff, Courtesy of RIG

About the Expert: Alex McCumbers has personally owned lots of Xbox-style controllers over the years that qualify as budget-friendly options. His website,, is a celebration of games from all eras across all systems, including Xbox, PlayStation, Steam, and Nintendo Switch. He’s also been published on gaming sites such as Giga Geek Magazine, Marooners’ Rock, and Twin Galaxies.

The latest core Xbox controller is one of the best-designed gaming inputs on the market. Its well-designed elements make it an excellent choice for just about any type of game on Xbox platforms, PC, and even other systems through adapters. That said, $60 for a single controller can be a big ask for many gamers, so we went on the search for solid options from other brands for less.

What to Look For

Go Hardline

With two exceptions, these are wired controllers, unlike the core Xbox unit. There are other wireless options, but they are less common. Communication quality usually isn’t great, with dropouts and latency issues that can affect gameplay. For the most part, a wired controller is the way to go when in the budget market. Some of these are hardwired, and we’ll make no secret that we prefer detachable connections, which make them easy to replace if a cable goes bad. We also prefer USB and USB-C to micro-USB, simply for the added security of the connection.

Build Quality

This is a key gauge of how long the controller could last. For instance, players who put in dozens of hours per week in a fighting game may want to consider getting a higher-quality controller or one that was built with fighting games in mind. Look for D-pads with a middle pivot, responsive buttons, and stronger plastics.

However, those spending their time playing turn-based RPGs really don’t need anything fancy to be able to play their games well. Reputable brands in the third-party space, such as PowerA, Razer, and Hori, to name a few, are also important to look out for.

How We Selected

Any recommendation here that I haven’t used personally, I have gotten detailed critiques from colleagues, regulars at my local gaming club, Black Ice eSports, and through tech expert opinions online. The Xbox-style of controller is so common and useful for a wide range of devices, and these nine are some of the best that I and my sources know.

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Most Traditional Xbox Feel
Hori Pad Pro Designed for Xbox Series X|S
$41.00 (18% off)

Key Specs

  • Compatibility: Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Windows PC
  • Connectivity: Wired USB

Hori has been a top hardware company in gaming for years, both in higher-end offerings and budget-friendly items. The Hori Pad Pro for Xbox is about as close as it gets to a more traditional Xbox controller with the caveat of being tethered to a wire. Of course, this particular controller isn’t much cheaper than the core Xbox model, but there are some customization capabilities through easy-to-use software that some gamers may find particularly handy. Players can adjust dead zones on the analog sticks and the triggers as well as set up to four different profiles.

There’s a level of premium feel that comes with Hori that is clear in the hand. If you want a controller geared to fighting games, the Hori Fighting Commander Octa is the same price. Those looking for microswitches and a six-button layout should pick up the Commander Octa.

  • Easy-to-use software customization
  • Solid build quality

  • No detachable wire
  • Button remapping could be more robust
  • More marginal cost savings than other options
Best Color Variety
PDP Gaming Wired Controller: Midnight Blue
$25.99 (13% off)

Key Specs

  • Compatibility: Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Windows PC
  • Connectivity: Wired (Detachable Micro USB)

PDP can’t be beat for sheer variety in colors and styles with its line of wired Xbox controllers. For half the cost of a core controller, players can get most (if not all) of the functions they expect such as an audio jack and rumble with the addition of software remapping and configuration. It’s a surprisingly feature-rich controller for the price.

While these controllers may not be exceptional at any one thing, they are solid choices for those looking to save some money. Anyone who plays close to their console, say, at a desk, can easily get just as much use out of a wired controller as a wireless one. In most instances, there is also less input latency when using wired controllers, so it could be an advantage in some games.

  • Same button functionality as a core controller
  • Sound, rumble, and software customization

  • Will feel much lighter than a core controller
  • Micro-USB
Best Streaming Tool
Nargos 8BitDo Media Remote for Xbox

Key Specs

  • Compatibility: Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One
  • Connectivity: Infrared

There are plenty of times when I turn on the Xbox One just to watch some Netflix or Hulu. Having a media remote is extremely useful for streaming media and saves precious battery life on your regular controller for gaming. 8BitDo quickly made a name for itself with various retro-themed controllers and tools for legacy consoles, but its Xbox Media Remote is excellent quality for a great price.

This simple remote features backlit buttons, TV volume control, and a full range of buttons that turns the Xbox into an all-in-one entertainment system. Unfortunately, the remote can’t be used to play games, which would be amazing for simple RPGs, but that’s more of a curiosity than an actually requested use.

  • Full suite of Xbox Media functions

  • Could’ve been Bluetooth
  • Not for gameplay
Best Budget LED Controller
PDP Afterglow Wired Controller
$66.97 (16% off)

Key Specs

  • Compatibility: Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Windows PC
  • Connectivity: Wired USB

Like PDP’s Wired Xbox Controller, its Afterglow is also a good option. Though I consider the Wired PDP Controller to generally feel better, there’s something fun about a jellyfish-style, see-through controller with lights that makes my inner child smile. Similar functions are available between these two items including the PDP Control Hub for customization, rumble, and audio jack, but many of the criticisms also remain such as the hardwired design. Additionally, these can often be found on sale, so they’re a great choice for those looking to get a big multiplayer party together, especially for younger players.

  • Standard Xbox Functions plus PDP Control Hub
  • LEDs add fun

  • Hardwired
Most Durable Budget Controller
PowerA Enhanced Wired Controller for Xbox
$29.99 (21% off)

Key Specs

  • Compatibility: Xbox Series, Xbox One, PC
  • Connectivity: Wired (Detachable Micro USB)

What surprises me most about PowerA’s recent line of controllers is how durable they are. I’ve played through some tough games that use pretty much every button on a modern controller. and the PowerA controller takes it like a champ. The Enhanced Wired Xbox Controller features two back buttons for extra use, which is great for shooters, and a positive-feeling grip texture. For a few dollars more than some of the $30 options, this controller is a great choice for those looking for a better feel in the hand.

Unfortunately, this controller uses Micro-USB; hopefully we’ll see more USB-C connections in the future. For those wanting even more features and durability, PowerA has also started to dip into premium controllers, and these are also worth checking out.

  • Two programmable back buttons
  • Durable

  • Micro-USB isn’t as sturdy as USB-C
Best Wired Controller for Software Tinkerers
8BitDo Pro 2 Wired Controller for Xbox

Key Specs

  • Compatibility: Xbox Series, Xbox One, Windows PC
  • Connectivity: USB Wired, Fixed

One of the most celebrated designs from 8BitDo is its Pro line of controllers that feature a PlayStation-style grip with a SNES button layout. This combination of the best of other controllers has been steadily refined over many iterations, and the new-release Pro 2 Wired Controller brings that level of precision to the Xbox. This wired version isn’t quite as nice as the wireless, but many players have come to love this layout, especially for the price.

On top of that, 8BitDo’s software offers a ton of remapping and tinkering that is perfect for the type of gamer searching for a very specific feel. It’s definitely worth a shot for those looking for something different.

  • A design that’s been honed over several iterations
  • Fine-tuning options through intuitive software

  • USB connection is hardwired
Best Xbox Converter
Mcbazel Brook Wingman XB Converter

Key Specs

  • Compatibility: Xbox Series, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Windows PC
  • Connectivity: Wired USB Passthrough or Bluetooth Wireless

Speaking of something different, why not just connect another controller to the Xbox? Fighting-game players like to be able to hook up their preferred controller on just about any console, and so Brook has crafted several simple USB converters. The Wingman XB Converter does just that allowing for various Xbox, PlayStation, Switch, and many more controllers to be connected to the Xbox One and Xbox 360 family of systems. Thanks to a firmware update, this converter also connects to Xbox Series X|S systems. If you already happen to own a few different types of controllers, Brook Converters are a clever way to stay on budget.

  • Firmware update adds newest consoles
  • Supports a ton of controllers

  • Connects to a single controller
  • May require a manual firmware update
  • Need to BYO controller
Most Unique Budget Grip
Rig Nacon PRO Compact Controller with Dolby Atmos

Key Specs

  • Compatibility: Xbox Series, Xbox One, Windows PC
  • Connectivity: Wired USB

The Rig Nacon Pro Compact Controller adds a touch of class to controllers that are cheaper than the core controller. With a more advanced audio jack for 3D Audio, this is a great solution for gamers who rely on their headset. The compact design may not be for everyone, but the smaller flairs of quality definitely make it a controller worth considering. The premium analog sticks, textured back, slightly larger buttons, and software customization create a mighty weapon in a small package.

  • 3D Audio capable
  • Unique compact design

  • Hardwired connection
  • Still spendy for a budget controller
Best Keyboard/Mouse Combo
Logitech G213 Prodigy Gaming Keyboard and Logitech G502 HERO High Performance Wired Gaming Mouse

Buy Mouse $39.99

Key Specs

  • Compatibility: Xbox Series, Xbox One, Windows PC
  • Connectivity: Wireless USB

Since Xbox is a Microsoft product, there are a lot of Xbox features that PC users will find familiar. For starters, there are several Xbox games that offer keyboard and mouse support, many of which are common cross-platform or crossplay titles in popular genres: Fortnite, ARK, Call of Duty Warzone, Five Nights at Freddy’s, Halo, and Gears of War, just to name a few. Using this control scheme usually just calls for entering the game’s settings menu and enabling the feature, and sometimes mapping individual actions.

With a little setup, gamers can try a new way to play, which may just add the competitive edge they’re looking for. Many modern keyboards and mice will function on the Xbox One, but this gaming-specific combo from Logitech is a great way to get into this play method. 

  • A PC-like experience for some games

  • Limited compatibility
  • A controller may still be needed to access console settings
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