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The Xbox console has had a few iterations over the years. Each one can play an increasingly complex set of titles from new developers. In most cases, gamers can also play older games on newer versions of the Xbox, although not every title will have such compatibility options.

As with anything that is computerized, the Xbox has many internal components that will heat up and use energy as you get into your gaming sessions.

Although it is extremely rare, there might be occasions when you notice that there seems to be a smell that is reminiscent of burning plastic coming from the device itself. This is not usual behavior, and it is something that you need to investigate before you continue to use the console.

Our article will cover why you might be smelling a burning plastic odor that seems to emanate from the device itself. As we dig deeper into this topic, we will also cover what you might be able to do to solve this issue.

Further, we will cover whether Xboxes that seem to be running too hot might cause games to stutter or lag, whether a console can break just from overheating parts, and touch on some things you might be able to do to cool down your Xbox One if the temps are getting too high.

Depositphotos_194135832_S A studio shot of a Microsoft XBOX One X with controller on a white background

(Attribution: ©[robtek]/Depositphotos.com)

Why Does My Xbox Smell Like Burnt Plastic?

Before we get into precisely why your Xbox might smell this way, it is important that you turn off, unplug, and stop using the console if you notice this smell. Electronic parts can be somewhat unpredictable, and it is possible that you think you notice this odor of burning plastic for a few moments.

If the smell seems to dissipate after just a very short time, it may be fine to keep using the console. However, this advice assumes that the odor does not return. Similarly, if you notice that the smell of plastic burning persists, it is best to shut off the device and discontinue its use.

The problem with this particular odor is that it likely represents a serious issue with some of the internal components. Most of the Xbox is made from different plastic parts. There are vent ports and fans to help keep everything inside this casing cool, even when you are running games.

Although it is good to take breaks during gaming sessions that last a long time, both for your health and the life of the console, the device is designed to run for several hours and produce heat for that time without issue.

Therefore, you should never smell burning plastic when the Xbox is operating normally. If you do, one or more of the parts inside the console could be under some kind of extreme stress that is causing things to melt or fry.

All of this can be bad for the console, but it poses a safety risk for you and your home, too. This is why it is best to shut everything down completely until you can figure out what might be wrong. If you would like to run a test, leave the console alone to cool to at least room temperature before trying to do anything. After some time, you can power it back on to see if the smell continues.

If there is a serious problem, you will probably notice the smell not long after you start everything up. Indicating that the same parts are still subject to possible damage.

The heatsink or fans might be failing in one way or another, and they may not draw enough power to do their jobs. This could lead to other parts frying and giving off the smell you’re noticing.

Is There Any Way I Can Fix This?

There might be a few things you can do to solve this issue. Overall, our goal will be to make sure that the console can still work well after you’re done. If nothing else works, it is possible that you’ll simply have to replace the device or have a third party repair it.

Before you do anything else, it is a good idea to check the area around the console. If you’ve noticed the smell but haven’t inspected anything in the area too closely yet, it is possible that there is something else near the Xbox that may be causing the odor to reach you.

If this is the case, unplug or dispose of the item as needed and see if the problem persists. This may be unlikely if you only notice the odor when the Xbox is active, but it is still worth trying.

Some consoles may produce a smell that is akin to burning if they are new. In most cases, this indicates the silicon inside the console heating up. Not all new consoles have this odor, but many devices that do tend to be brand new ones that have not seen any active time yet.

If you do notice this smell after a few hours of playing, try to give the console a break. If it is not serious, just use the console for a few hours each day. After that, see if the odor dissipates after a couple of weeks. If it does not, you may have a more serious issue on your hands.

Similarly, this is an odor that you should only notice if you get close to the console. It is not a smell that should fill the entire room. If you are experiencing the latter, it may be a good indication that it is time to discontinue your use of the console.

In such cases, one of the best things you can do is contact official support channels such as local third party repair shops to see if they can look into it for you. Expert technicians should be able to take apart the console and look inside without damaging it.

They may also know what to look for in the event of a burning plastic smell. If parts are failing, particularly if the console is still quite new and under warranty, they should be able to get everything replaced and back in good working order for you.

Can a Hot Xbox Cause Lag?

It may be possible for a hot Xbox to cause lagging, but it is not necessarily likely. It will depend on a few factors, and you may need to eliminate some possibilities before you know for certain. For one thing, the Xbox relies heavily on your network connection, and it is possible that this connection is sluggish.

This is true even if you are not necessarily playing an online game. The system and user interfaces for Xbox both rely quite a bit on Microsoft’s Live network when your console is connected to the internet. This means that any network problems might be magnified, and it could make it seem like the system is running slowly due to heat concerns.

Xboxes are made to run at some fairly high temperatures consistently, and they are expected to let gamers play titles smoothly even under these conditions. You should still make sure that your console is off the ground but not too high up, in a ventilated area, and has no obstructions restricting the flow of air around it.

If you are having problems with a specific title, it could be that the issue is with the game itself, particularly if that game relies on a connection to online servers to give you access to all the features.

Problems with multiple games could show that the console does have a lag issue. However, this could be a memory problem, and restarting the device may help.

Games can stutter if things are getting too hot, but the console has temperature controls. In most cases, the device should shut itself off completely if it thinks things are getting too hot for the components to handle.

Although lag issues could result from overheating, they are not things you should experience consistently for long periods, and it is mostly thanks to these kinds of controls.

Can an Xbox Break From Overheating?

The console has safety mechanisms that should prevent damage from overheating. As we touched on, internal sensors should be able to tell when things are getting too hot for the Xbox, and they should act to perform an emergency shutdown of the device.

That said, no mechanism is foolproof. You should let the console cool down to at least room temperature before trying to operate it again. If you don’t give it enough time, there could be an overheating issue that damages it, or it could fail to turn on and stay on at all.

How Do You Cool Down an Overheated Xbox One?

In most cases, you can just let your Xbox return to room temperature. Along with that, there are some considerations to keep in mind that may help you:

  1. Make sure all of the sides are unobstructed and that the console can vent properly.
  2. Don’t set it on a carpeted floor.
  3. However, you can set it fairly low to the ground. Heat rises, and a lower position may be good for the console.
  4. Don’t power on or use the console in direct sunlight.


Various sounds are normal when the Xbox is running, but specific smells are not. You shouldn’t notice any burning plastic smell coming from the unit. At most, such an odor should dissipate after a few sessions of using the device, and it should not be strong enough to be noticeable unless you are close to it. If anything seems off or overwhelming about the smell, discontinue the console’s use and seek technical assistance.