Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning we get a small commission if you make a purchase through our links, at no cost to you. For more information, please visit our Disclaimer Page.
Xbox controllers come in both wired and wireless models that allow you to play games and use all of the features of your console. While some gamers refuse to play with wired controllers, others swear that they are better. Looking at the pros and cons of wired vs. wireless Xbox controllers is the best way to see which one you need.
Wired Controllers Pros & Cons
A wired controller is – as the name implies – a controller that has a wire or cable hanging out of the back. This cable connects to your console and allows you to play for as long as you want without worrying about batteries. Make sure you consider the pros and cons of this type before you spend a dime, though.
No Interference: A big benefit of a wired controller is that it always works. You never need to worry about electrical or device interference.
Low Price: If price is on your mind, keep in mind that wired controllers almost always cost less. You might save $10 or more when you buy a wired controller.
No Charging: How often have you sat down to play a game and found your wireless controller dead? Wired controllers are always ready to go as long as you keep the cable in good shape.
Know Its Location: Some gamers like that wired controllers are easy to keep track of when they take a break. You can always follow the cable to find the controller.
Ease of Use: Go with a wired Xbox controller if you want one that is easy to use. It plugs into the console and starts working immediately without any setup.
Great for Beginners: Wired Xbox controllers are also great for beginners and those with less gaming experience. They don’t need to worry about charging batteries or setting up their controllers. New gamers can later upgrade to wireless controllers.
Short Cord: A big con of using a wired controller is that it usually has a short cord. You need to sit within six feet of your Xbox to use the controller.
Hazard: Wired controllers can act as hazards around your house. You’re always just a few steps away from tripping over the cable or watching someone else rip it out of the console.
Pet Temptation: If you have pets in your home, keep in mind that the controller becomes a temptation for them. Many gamers had cats that chewed on the cables and caused so much damage that they had to replace their controllers.
Lack of Options: Microsoft no longer makes wired controllers. All of the wired controllers you see on the market today are from third parties that may not offer a good warranty.
Cheap Parts: Remember that some wired controllers use cheap parts that can easily break. Many gamers bought controllers with ports for their headsets and found that these ports stopped working within a few months.
Wireless Controllers Pros & Cons
A wireless Xbox controller allows you to play without a cable or cord. With a Plug & Play controller, you get rechargeable batteries and a power pack plugs into the console.
This lets you play as the controller charges and allows you to charge the batteries without using the console. Consider the pros and cons of wireless Xbox controllers as you search for a new one.
Faster Response Time: The biggest reason to choose a wireless controller is that it has a faster response time that can help you move faster and avoid dying in certain games.
Freedom of Movement: The biggest problem with a wired controller is that it limits your movements to just the area around your Xbox. A wireless controller gives you more freedom of movement. These controllers often have a range of up to 30 feet, which is great for a larger room.
Lots of Options: Another reason to choose a wireless controller is that you can pick from different options. There are Plug & Play models as well as controllers that work with rechargeable batteries you buy separately. You’ll find tons of colors and limited edition designs, too.
Backed by Microsoft: You’ll feel confident when you buy a wireless controller because it comes with a warranty from Microsoft. Microsoft will repair or replace your controller if it has problems covered by your warranty.
Custom Options: When you download the right app, you can customize a wireless controller and change what some of the buttons do to make it better work for you. This option is not available for wired Xbox controllers.
Interference: Any time you use a wireless controller, you need to worry about interference. Any other electronics or appliances in the surrounding area can interfere with the connection between the console and controller.
Misplaced Controllers: It’s quite easy to misplace or lose a wireless controller because you don’t have a cable that connects it to your console. You might find that it slid under your couch or between your pillows.
Dead and Dying Batteries: With a wired controller, you must ensure the batteries are charged before you play. You can avoid this problem with a Plug & Play controller.
High Price: While you can find a wired Xbox controller for as little as $60 and even less during sales, wireless controllers usually cost more. We even saw a couple of options that retail for $100 before paying taxes and shipping.
Wireless controllers usually win over wired controllers in a head-to-head battle because they give you more freedom and offer better latency. Wired controllers do not require a wireless connection and let you avoid worrying about batteries. The right Xbox controller for you will depend on what factors matter the most to you.