Do Xbox Controllers Work On A PC? | Best Controllers for PC?

To the many who engage in PC vs Console wars, I have to say there is really no point fighting.

No, no this isn’t me being diplomatic.

You see the important thing is to be very clear with what your needs are.

If you have your work-related stuff sorted out and you already have a PC at your home for general stuff, having a console does actually make a lot of sense.

And similarly, if you want a station on which you can game and do other important tasks work-related or otherwise, building a pc for yourselves is the route for you.

But you are in for a serious heartbreak given the GPU pricing situation.

For this reason, there is a significant shift from PC gaming to console gaming.

On similar lines, if addition to gaming and work, what you want is also something that you can carry around, there are some very good gaming laptops that you can look into getting.

So, which realm of gaming do you wish to choose, I will leave it on you fam.

However, today I received an excellent question that kind of brings together these two worlds. The question that I received was,

Do Xbox Controllers Work On PC?

The answer is yes and may I add if you are looking to get yourselves a controller that you wish to use on a PC for gaming, Xbox controllers are the best ones.

For those of you who want to look beyond the Xbox controllers here are some other best controllers for PC to choose from.

Elite
Xbox Elite Series 2 Controller – Black
Best Overall
Xbox Core Wireless Controller – Carbon Black
Playstation DualSense Wireless Controller
Razer Wolverine Tournament Edition Officially Licensed Xbox One Controller: 4 Remappable Multi-Function Buttons - Hair Trigger Mode - For PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X & S - Black
PowerA Spectra Infinity Enhanced Wired Controller for Xbox Series X|S, Gamepad, Wired Video Game Controller, Gaming Controller, Xbox One, Officially Licensed - Xbox Series X
Xbox Elite Series 2 Controller – Black
Xbox Core Wireless Controller – Carbon Black
Playstation DualSense Wireless Controller
Razer Wolverine Tournament Edition Officially Licensed Xbox One Controller: 4 Remappable Multi-Function Buttons - Hair Trigger Mode - For PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X & S - Black
PowerA Spectra Infinity Enhanced Wired Controller for Xbox Series X|S, Gamepad, Wired Video Game Controller, Gaming Controller, Xbox One, Officially Licensed - Xbox Series X
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Elite
Xbox Elite Series 2 Controller – Black
Xbox Elite Series 2 Controller – Black
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-
Best Overall
Xbox Core Wireless Controller – Carbon Black
Xbox Core Wireless Controller – Carbon Black
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-
Playstation DualSense Wireless Controller
Playstation DualSense Wireless Controller
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Razer Wolverine Tournament Edition Officially Licensed Xbox One Controller: 4 Remappable Multi-Function Buttons - Hair Trigger Mode - For PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X & S - Black
Razer Wolverine Tournament Edition Officially Licensed Xbox One Controller: 4 Remappable Multi-Function Buttons - Hair Trigger Mode - For PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X & S - Black
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PowerA Spectra Infinity Enhanced Wired Controller for Xbox Series X|S, Gamepad, Wired Video Game Controller, Gaming Controller, Xbox One, Officially Licensed - Xbox Series X
PowerA Spectra Infinity Enhanced Wired Controller for Xbox Series X|S, Gamepad, Wired Video Game Controller, Gaming Controller, Xbox One, Officially Licensed - Xbox Series X
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Because I enjoyed the question so much, I thought of creating an entire article around the topic. Because I feel I can provide a lot of clarity around the topics that people desperately need.

Topics like do Xbox controllers work on a PC, best controllers for PC, and how to connect an Xbox controller to a PC, and everything around these.

I think you are going to enjoy the article so I urge you to read the article till the very end.


Talking about enjoyment here are some other articles that will aid the enjoyment that you are enjoying 😛


Alright so without any further ado let’s get into it.

Why Use Xbox Controllers For PC?

So, I just made a sweeping statement that Xbox controllers are the best controllers that you can also use to play your favorite games on PC.

But why? And how well does the Xbox controller work on a PC?

Well, here are the reasons why Xbox controllers are your best bet when it comes to game controllers that you can use on pc.

  • Incredible design.
  • Very comfortable.
  • Hybrid D-pad
  • Textured Triggers
  • Aesthetically pleasing.
  • Bluetooth/USB-C support.
  • Supports most games.
  • Share button.
Sale
Xbox Core Wireless Controller – Carbon Black
  • Experience the modernized design of the Xbox Wireless Controller in Carbon Black, featuring sculpted surfaces and refined geometry for enhanced comfort and effortless control during gameplay with battery usage up to 40 hours.
  • Stay on target with the hybrid D-pad, textured grip on the triggers, bumpers, and back-case. Plug in any compatible headset with the 3.5mm audio headset jack.
  • Connect using the USB-C port for direct plug and play to console or PC. Support for AA batteries is included on the rear.
  • Seamlessly capture and share content with the Share button.
  • Use Xbox Wireless, Bluetooth, or the included USB C cable to play across Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and Windows 10/11 devices.

While that in a glance depicts everything that is good with the Xbox controllers, I think it is important that I describe what’s good with them in a little more depth.

The current-gen controller retains a lot of its features from its predecessors.

This is a good thing because the previous generation controllers definitely had certain things done the right way.

So, why reinvent the wheel, am I right? Or is why fix something that isn’t broken the better phrase. I need to get some sleep.

Anyways, as I was saying Microsoft has done a good job in retaining the good features inherent to the Xbox controllers.

The priority is still comfort and the overall design appended with texturized rubber gives a great feeling when you hold it.

Taking some cues from the elite series controllers, the d-pad design should now aid in fighting games.

And there is a new button in the dead center of the controller that is hard to miss.

This is nothing but one of the most requested features that let you capture screenshots and gameplay footage without hassle.

And because the device belongs to Microsoft, the native compatibility means you won’t have to hunt for the proper drivers. Not a big deal but it’s always good when everything is seamless.

All you will really need then is an active Bluetooth connection or a USB-C connection and you will be ready to rock.

I think those should be more than enough reasons to go ahead with Xbox controllers for your PC.

If for some reason you wish to look elsewhere, I have already listed some of my other favorite picks to choose from above.

How To Connect An Xbox Controller To A PC?

Okay, now if you have chosen to get yourself an Xbox controller for your PC, its time to understand how exactly can you connect an Xbox controller to a PC.

Now because Microsoft handles both platforms, Windows 10 and Xbox, making your Xbox controller get in sync with your PC is fairly easy.

There are three ways in which you can connect your Xbox controller to your PC.

  • Using Bluetooth,
  • Via USB-C cable,
  • Or Xbox wireless adapter.

Let’s go ahead and look at how exactly you can hook up an Xbox controller using each of these ways.

Connect Xbox Controller to PC via USB Cable

The simplest most obvious way to connect your Xbox controller to a Windows 10 PC is using a USB cable.

Earlier controllers needed a micro-USB cable, Xbox series X and S controllers require a USB type C.

Insert the end with the smaller form factor to the Xbox and the other end to your PC’s USB port.

If the Xbox controller doesn’t turn on by itself just hit the Xbox button to turn it on.

And as I said because Microsoft handles both the platforms, you won’t have to fiddle on the internet for drivers.

Windows 10 will immediately recognize the device and make it ready to use.

Here is a quick tip that will serve you well. You see your Xbox controller will drain its battery even when it is connected.

So, if you choose to pick up an Xbox controller for your PC, also invest in Xbox One Play and Charge kit or a rechargeable Xbox battery.

Xbox One Play and Charge Kit
  • Compatible with the original Xbox one wireless controller and the new white Xbox wireless controller
  • Rechargeable Lithium Ion battery pack. Compatible with Xbox One X, Xbox One S, Xbox One, Windows 10
  • Charging cable. Fully charges in under 4 hours
  • Battery chargers: Automatic Shut-Off, Mini-USB connector
  • Say goodbye to AA disposable batteries
Xbox Rechargeable Battery + USB-C Cable
  • Keep the action going with the Xbox Rechargeable Battery + USB-C Cable
  • Recharge while you play or afterwards, even when your Xbox is in standby
  • The long-lasting rechargeable battery fully charges in under 4 hours
  • Say goodbye to disposable batteries and interrupted gameplay

Having these will ensure that your gaming experience never sees any hindrance.

With the help of these add-ons, your controller will charge when connected to your PC thus ensuring an obstruction less gaming experience.

Unplug your controller when you disconnect it from PC, it may continue searching for other devices as it flashes, but it will eventually turn OFF.

Connect Xbox Controller to PC via Bluetooth

The second way in which you can connect an Xbox controller to your PC is via Bluetooth.

If you want to keep things wireless going the Bluetooth way will give you a lot of conveniences.

To be able to use Bluetooth you need to have newer models like Series X or Series S.

A good way to check a controller’s Bluetooth compatibility is by looking at the controller itself.

You see if your controller’s Xbox logo is covered by plastic which is the part of the face of the controller.

And on controllers that aren’t Bluetooth compatible, the plastic just covers the front of the controller where all the bumper buttons are.

This image from Xbox’s official site should make the distinction pretty clear.

Xbox bluetooth compatibility
The model at the top is Bluetooth compatible, the lower model isn’t | Source

Now how to establish the Bluetooth connection?

You need to enable Bluetooth on your PC first. Here is how you do it.

Go to Settings > Devices > Bluetooth & other devices on your Windows 10 PC.

Enable the Bluetooth slider to ON if it isn’t already. Now in order to add your Xbox controller to the list of identified devices click on “Add Bluetooth or other device” and then select Bluetooth.

Now turn on your Xbox controller using the Xbox button on it. Now press the pair button on the top for a few seconds till you see the Xbox button flash in quick succession.

This should pair your Xbox controller to your PC and you will see it in the Bluetooth pairing devices list and pairing menu.

You are all set to have some wireless gaming action sitting on your couch.

Take a good number of breaks in your gaming sessions alright.

Using Xbox Wireless Adapter to Connect Xbox Controller to PC

There is one other way to wirelessly pair your Xbox controller to your Windows 10 PC. And that is using a Microsoft standard known as Xbox wireless.

Xbox wireless is an inherent part of only a few computers as of now, and so in order to be able to sync your Xbox controller to your PC without Bluetooth, you will have to get an Xbox wireless adapter like this one.

Microsoft Xbox Wireless Adapter for Windows 10
  • Play with your Xbox Wireless Controller on PCs and tablets running Windows 10
  • Use the adapter to play PC games or when streaming Xbox One games from the Xbox app to Windows 10
  • Wirelessly connect the Adapter to your Xbox controller to enable the same gaming experience you are used to on Xbox One, including in-game chat and high quality stereo audio
  • Comes with USB extender cable to enhance placement and accessibility when connecting to your PC or tablet
  • Simply bind the Adapter to your Wireless Controller to enable the same gaming experience you are used to on Xbox One, including in-game chat and high quality stereo audio

With the help of this adapter, you will be able to connect your Xbox controller to your PC wirelessly.

The wireless connection that happens between the PC and your controller using the wireless adapter is the same proprietary connection that your Xbox uses.

Just plug the adapter into your PC’s USB port and let all the relevant drives install automatically.

Once the driver installation is completed, press and hold the adapter button till you see the light flash.

Now turn on your Xbox controller and press the pair button on the controller. In a few seconds, the connection will be established and finalized.

Now all you need to do next is open up your favorite game on your PC and game away.

Out of the three methods that we have discussed, use this one only if your Xbox isn’t Bluetooth enabled and you aren’t happy with the wired connection.

If you have a custom-built PC there is a chance that you may not have a Bluetooth adapter on your PC.

In such cases, I recommend getting a nice Bluetooth adapter instead of getting the Xbox wireless adapter. It will be cheaper and the wireless connection won’t be exclusive to Xbox controllers.

Reconnecting Xbox Controllers to Xbox from PC

Once you are done playing games using your controller you should switch it OFF by pressing the Xbox button for about 5 seconds.

You will know that the controller is OFF when the light goes out.

One thing that you need to be aware of is that when you switch on your Xbox controller and if it is already paired with your console, the whole system will turn on.

So, you need to be mindful about that and switch your console OFF in case you have both PC and console at your disposal Mr or Miss Richie Rich.

You will still be able to pair your Xbox controller to your PC using any of the three ways that we just discussed. But why keep two systems on at once.

If you have indeed paired your Xbox controller to your PC, you will have to again pair your controller to the console to be able to use it with Xbox.

Pairing Xbox controllers with Xbox is very intuitive for obvious reasons.

If you are using a USB cable, first connect both of its ends to their relevant places and press the Xbox button to pair.

To pair wirelessly using Bluetooth, first press the pairing button on the console first. On Xbox One it’s to the left of the disc tray, on the bottom right of the front panel under the power button on Xbox One S/One X, and next to the USB port for Xbox Series S and X.

After initiating the button, turn on your Xbox controller press the pair button to pair it to your console.

And Microsoft has introduced a clever way to switch between different devices. If you have Xbox Series X or S controller, and you are using a Bluetooth connection on a PC, you can switch to your previous device (console) by pressing the pair button twice.

You can switch back to your Bluetooth connection by pressing the pair button twice again.

Best Controllers For PC

Now I think I have established sufficiently that Xbox controllers are the best controller that you can get for your Windows 10 PC.

And it without any doubt is the overall best choice for the best controller for PC that you can get.

But that doesn’t of course mean they are the only ones to choose from.

Here are the other choices for the top controllers for PC from which you can take your pick.

Elite
Xbox Elite Series 2 Controller – Black
Best Overall
Xbox Core Wireless Controller – Carbon Black
Playstation DualSense Wireless Controller
Razer Wolverine Tournament Edition Officially Licensed Xbox One Controller: 4 Remappable Multi-Function Buttons - Hair Trigger Mode - For PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X & S - Black
PowerA Spectra Infinity Enhanced Wired Controller for Xbox Series X|S, Gamepad, Wired Video Game Controller, Gaming Controller, Xbox One, Officially Licensed - Xbox Series X
Xbox Elite Series 2 Controller – Black
Xbox Core Wireless Controller – Carbon Black
Playstation DualSense Wireless Controller
Razer Wolverine Tournament Edition Officially Licensed Xbox One Controller: 4 Remappable Multi-Function Buttons - Hair Trigger Mode - For PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X & S - Black
PowerA Spectra Infinity Enhanced Wired Controller for Xbox Series X|S, Gamepad, Wired Video Game Controller, Gaming Controller, Xbox One, Officially Licensed - Xbox Series X
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Elite
Xbox Elite Series 2 Controller – Black
Xbox Elite Series 2 Controller – Black
-
-
Best Overall
Xbox Core Wireless Controller – Carbon Black
Xbox Core Wireless Controller – Carbon Black
-
-
Playstation DualSense Wireless Controller
Playstation DualSense Wireless Controller
-
-
Razer Wolverine Tournament Edition Officially Licensed Xbox One Controller: 4 Remappable Multi-Function Buttons - Hair Trigger Mode - For PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X & S - Black
Razer Wolverine Tournament Edition Officially Licensed Xbox One Controller: 4 Remappable Multi-Function Buttons - Hair Trigger Mode - For PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X & S - Black
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-
PowerA Spectra Infinity Enhanced Wired Controller for Xbox Series X|S, Gamepad, Wired Video Game Controller, Gaming Controller, Xbox One, Officially Licensed - Xbox Series X
PowerA Spectra Infinity Enhanced Wired Controller for Xbox Series X|S, Gamepad, Wired Video Game Controller, Gaming Controller, Xbox One, Officially Licensed - Xbox Series X
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Let me quickly put forth the pros and cons about each one of them to help make your purchase decision easier.

Now, I can give you a huge list of controllers to choose from, but I don’t wish to confuse you like other review sites.

The wireless Xbox controller is still my top overall choice, and here are three more touching all important segments.

Best Wireless Controller For PC

Sale
Xbox Elite Series 2 Controller – Black
  • Play like a pro with the all new Xbox Elite Series 2 Wireless Controller.
  • Tailor the controller with new interchangeable thumbstick and paddle shapes.
  • Experience limitless customization and exclusive configuration options with the Xbox Accessories app.
  • Stay in the game for longer with up to 40 hours of rechargeable battery life.
  • Use Xbox Wireless, Bluetooth, or the included USB C cable to play across Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and Windows 10/11 devices.

Now if you don’t mind the cost and are ready to splurge your bucks for the best.

The Xbox’s Elite Series controllers are a gamer’s dream come true.

Everything about this Xbox Elite series controller screams luxury and comfort.

The incredible amounts of allowed customizations give you the level of control that is hard to replicate.

Choosing to invest around $160 is surely a thinker but if you can look past that, the controller has everything you would want out of a controller.

Here are the pros and cons at a glance.

Pros
  • Here are the pros and cons at a glance.
  • Incredible design
  • Lots of customization options
  • Detachable charging dock via USB-C
  • Bluetooth enabled
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Can feel a bit heavy, may take some time to get used to

Most Impressive Gamepad For PC

When we are talking about controllers how can we leave one of the most impressive controllers or consoles for that matter that we are having the pleasure to witness.

Playstation DualSense Wireless Controller
  • Haptic feedback - Feel physically responsive feedback to your in-game actions with dual actuators which replace traditional rumble motors. In your hands, these dynamic vibrations can simulate the feeling of everything from environments to the recoil of different weapons.
  • Adaptive triggers - Experience varying levels of force and tension as you interact with your in-game gear and environments. From pulling back an increasingly tight bowstring to hitting the brakes on a speeding car, feel physically connected to your on-screen actions.
  • Built-in microphone and headset jack - Chat with friends online using the built-in microphone or by connecting a headset to the 3.5mm jack. Easily switch voice capture on and off at a moment’s notice with the dedicated mute button. Internet and account for PlayStation Network required.
  • DualSense Controller PS5 and PC compatible. Not compatible with PS4.

The 5th edition of Play Station is everything it was promised and more.

It is so good and so much in demand that even after one year of its release people are finding it hard to grab one for themselves.

The haptic feedbacks and adaptive triggers are offering an endless talking point for everyone who loves and understands what gaming is.

The whole intention behind the whole development process has been to make gaming feel even more real.

And I would say Sony has been successful in doing that as in the words of gamers, firing a gun is actually feeling like firing a gun with this controller.

The rumbles and the feedbacks are just too cool to experience.

You won’t have any qualms if you choose to purchase it, that much I promise.

Here are the pros and cons at a glance.

Pros
  • Haptic feedbacks
  • Adaptive triggers
  • Highly accurate thumbsticks
Cons
  • Featured support limited on PC
  • Battery life could be better

Best Budget Controller For PC

Now, I saw budget I am not saying cheap. You see while all the controllers that we are using here are exceptional, it may be possible that for some of you they are over what you can expend right now and hey I understand that.

Therefore, if you are on a tight budget this PowerA Spectra Infinity controller can be a very sensible buy.

Sale
PowerA Spectra Infinity Enhanced Wired Controller for Xbox Series X|S, Gamepad, Wired Video Game Controller, Gaming Controller, Xbox One, Officially Licensed - Xbox Series X
  • Thousands of Color combinations with hundreds of vivid colors and three distinct Spectra zones plus two LED modes: select either “breathing” or “solid” modes
  • Advanced gaming Buttons: two mappable Buttons on back plus 3-way trigger Locks for super-precise throws
  • Immersive dual rumble motors plus New share button and volume dial with one-touch mic mute
  • Precision-tuned analog thumb sticks with smooth anti-friction rings plus No batteries required
  • Officially Licensed for Xbox series x|s and works on Xbox One plus two-year limited warranty

Especially with the newest iteration it seems it has a lot of similarities to the Xbox series X/S controllers.

And that is precisely why I have chosen to keep this controller on the list. It was either this or Redgear Pro Wireless.

But I am willing to give this a chance given the improvement it is offering and the good reviews it is attracting.

Here are the pros and cons at a glance.

Pros
  • Budget friendly
  • Button feels great to touch
  • Matches a lot of features to Series X/S controller
  • Better lighting than its previous models
Cons
  • No wireless support
  • Trigger locks could be better

Conclusion,

As you can see there are more than enough ways of connecting an Xbox controller to your PC and back.

I hope you enjoyed reading the article as much as I enjoyed writing it. I started the article by answering a very common question asked by pc gamers and matured it to where we discussed how exactly can you connect an Xbox controller to your PC.

While using an Xbox controller is the best bet if you want to use it for PC gaming, there are other options too that we discussed in the subsequent section.

If you have any other comment, query or feedback about everything that you have read here, do let me know in the comments section below.

Don’t forget to subscribe to the blog because it will give me immense happiness to know every single one of you personally.

Take care of yourselves and I will see you in the next one!
BBye!

Electronics Engineer | Former Deputy Manager | Self-Taught Digital Marketer. Owner & Admin Of A Network Of Blogs and Global E-Commerce Stores

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