Best Xbox One Remote Controls

Updated December 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

13 Models Considered
5 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
277 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best Xbox One remote controls

Last Updated December 2019

The Xbox One is an incredible gaming platform, so much so that it’s easy to forget that it’s also a powerful media center. In addition to playing AAA gaming titles, the Xbox One also has a wide variety of streaming apps and a built-in 4K Blu-ray player (which can also play CDs, DVDs, and standard Blu-rays). In fact, the Xbox One is one of the best multimedia devices around, although there’s one accessory you’ll need to complete the experience: a remote control.

All Xbox Ones have an infrared sensor on the front, so they can be easily controlled via remote control. There are plenty of options available, ranging from Microsoft’s officially branded Xbox One remote to third-party universal remotes that support the Xbox One along with thousands of other devices. Whether you like simple remotes with big buttons or you want a complex universal remote with an LED screen, there’s one that will work with your Xbox One.

Which one’s right for you? That’s what we’re here for. We’ll help you find the perfect model based on your needs and budget and offer some recommendations. Here’s everything you need to know to find your ideal Xbox One remote control!

Not everyone is a fan of remote controls with backlighting because it usually can’t be turned off, and it uses up battery life faster. Consider getting a remote with glow-in-the-dark buttons. They absorb light during the daytime and light up in the dark, so you get the benefits of a backlit remote without the drawbacks.

Key considerations

To help determine what kind of remote to look for, start by answering these questions.

Do you want a dedicated Xbox One remote or one that can control other devices, too?

If you’re looking for a remote that controls your Xbox One and nothing else, you can save some money by looking at dedicated models. On the other hand, if you’ve already got too many remotes and you’re looking to consolidate, it might be worth it to buy a universal remote so you can control other devices beyond your Xbox One.

Do you want a remote with a screen and buttons or just buttons?

Some fancier remotes come complete with built-in displays to make them more customizable and easier to use. Having a remote control with a screen can be a game changer because you can easily switch between devices you’re controlling. They’re not cheap, though, so if budget is a priority for you, you may want to stick with a traditional buttons-only remote.

Do you want a directionless remote or one you need to point at your Xbox One to operate?

The Xbox One accepts remote commands via infrared (IR) signal, which means with most remote controls, you’ll need a clear line of sight to the IR sensor in order for yours to work. However, some remote controls get around this problem by including an IR blaster/command receiver, so it will handle the IR part and you can point the remote in any direction you want. The bottom line: IR-based remote controls are less expensive, but you need to point them at your Xbox One. If that sounds like a hassle to you, go for a universal remote with an included IR blaster.

EXPERT TIP

If you’re buying an Xbox One remote control for anyone with accessibility issues, get one with as few buttons as possible. Some remotes are specifically made to only have buttons for the basics, which is perfect for anyone who doesn’t need any advanced features.


Staff  | BestReviews

Features

All Xbox One remote controls cover the basics of letting you navigate menus and control media playback, but there are definitely some niche features to keep an eye out for that can make a big difference. Here are our favorites.

Backlighting

Most remotes are difficult to use in the dark, and that’s where backlighting comes in. Backlit remotes light up their buttons when any button is pressed, so you can instantly see everything without having to turn on a light. While it might not sound like a big deal, backlighting makes all the difference in the dark, and it’s a convenience we’d never go without.

Eject button

If you watch a lot of movies on Blu-ray or 4K Blu-ray disc, you’re probably used to switching out discs often. Having an eject button on your remote can make that a little easier. Surprisingly, not all remotes support the eject functionality, but if you’re a movie buff and you’ve got a big collection of physical media, it’s a useful convenience.

Macro support

Some remote controls support macros, so you can program multiple commands to execute with a single button. For example, using a macro, you can program a single button to turn on your TV, your Xbox One, and your soundbar all at once. Macros can take a little while to set up, but they save you multiple steps time and again, so if you’ve got multiple devices that you frequently use together, they’re practically essential.

If you own multiple Xbox Ones, you can use the same remote control with any of them. That also means you’ll need to be careful if you have your Xbox Ones in the same area. If they’re next to each other, it’s likely that they’ll all respond to the remote commands simultaneously.

Xbox One remote control prices

Inexpensive: Entry-level Xbox One remote controls cost between $10 and $20. In this price range, you’ll find the most straightforward models: they’re small, they have all the buttons for navigating your Xbox One and playing media, and they don’t require pairing. Models in this price range typically send commands via IR signals, which means you’ll need a clear line of sight between the remote and your Xbox One in order to use yours. If you’re looking for a remote that’s simple to operate and covers all the basics, you don’t need to spend more than this.

Mid-range: These Xbox One remote controls cost between $20 and $50. Once you cross the $20 threshold, you’ll find remotes that start to offer a few key comfort features like one-touch macros and backlit buttons. The remotes in this price range still predominantly rely on IR signals for sending commands, and they still look fairly spartan, but they definitely get the job done.

Expensive: Premium universal remotes that support the Xbox One cost between $50 and $100. If you’re willing to spend a little more, you can get a universal remote that can control your Xbox One as well as dozens of other devices. Universal remotes in this price range use WiFi and Bluetooth to connect, so you can point them in any direction and they’ll still work. If you’re looking for a remote that can control your entire Xbox One experience, including your TV, soundbar, and smart lighting, spend a little more for a universal remote. It’s a worthwhile investment.

EXPERT TIP

If you get an Xbox One remote control that uses AA or AAA batteries, consider getting rechargeable batteries. They save money over time and are less wasteful (a big plus for the environment).


Staff  | BestReviews

Tips

  • Consider the batteries. Do you want an Xbox One Remote that uses AA batteries, one that uses AAA batteries, or one that has an internal battery you can recharge? Your Xbox One remote control will run out of power eventually, and different models approach battery life differently. Most remote controls run on AA or AAA batteries, which creates an ongoing expense. More expensive models include built-in rechargeable batteries.
  • Check the measurements. Do this on the different models to get a sense of how big or how small they are. Photos of remote controls can be deceiving because it’s often hard to get a sense of their relative size. Don’t be disappointed by a remote that’s too tiny or way too large for you. Check the measurements closely and make sure you’re getting one that will be comfortable to use.
  • Get to know the mute button on your remote first. If you watch TV with the volume up, or others in your home do, make sure you know exactly where the mute button is on your remote, so you can easily turn the volume down if you need to. Whether you’re not into loud TV, or you just need to be able to kill all the sound on the fly, the mute button is your best bet.

Other products we considered

If you’re looking for a universal remote that can control your Xbox One and multiple other devices, consider the first name in universal remotes: Logitech’s Harmony brand. If you want a super-simple but incredibly powerful universal remote, consider the Logitech Harmony 350. It’s as spartan as they come, but it’s fully customizable and works with the Xbox One (as well as thousands of other devices). It supports macros and offers one-touch buttons like Watch TV that you can use to control multiple devices. If you need a straightforward, no-frills universal remote, this is one of the best options out there.

If you’re looking for a universal remote that’s a bit fancier, try the Logitech Harmony 650. The built-in screen makes it a lot easier to see what you’re controlling, but the best part is that it’s context-aware and offers you options based on what you’re doing. For example, when you’re using it with an Xbox One, the screen populates with controls and options specific to the Xbox One.

If you plan on using multiple remotes, get a remote caddy to keep them all organized. Remote caddies come in all different materials and colors, and they ensure you’ll never waste time hunting for a lost remote again.

FAQ

Q. Can I use an Xbox One remote control as a game controller?
A.
No. Xbox One remote controls can control any aspect of the interface, but they can’t be used as game controllers.

Q. Will an Xbox One remote control also work with an Xbox 360?
A.
Only if it’s a universal remote that supports multiple devices. Universal remotes are great for controlling multiple devices, including your gaming consoles, but if you buy a dedicated Xbox One remote control, it will only be able to control your Xbox One and not your Xbox 360.

Q. Will an Xbox One remote control work with other versions of the same console, like the Xbox One X and the Xbox One S?
A. Yes. All versions of the Xbox One use the same infrared commands, so whichever remote control you buy, as long as it’s compatible with the Xbox One, it will also work with the Xbox One X and the Xbox One S.

The team that worked on this review
  • Bronwyn
    Bronwyn
    Editor
  • Ciera
    Ciera
    Digital Content Producer
  • Jaime
    Jaime
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Peter
    Peter
    Writer

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