How to Charge the Xbox Series X or S Controller


Having been an avid fan of the Xbox controller since the “Duke ” controller on the original Xbox, I was super excited to see Microsoft’s next-gen controller for the Xbox Series X and S. 

Though the new controller hasn’t changed that much, I was thrilled to discover that old Xbox One controllers and Xbox Series X controllers are both forward and backward compatible between consoles. 

But that got me thinking, how do you charge the Xbox series X or S controller? After all, if they are forward and backward compatible, does that mean I can use my old batteries, cables, or charging stations with the new controller? Or do I have to buy new accessories?

Realising I’m probably not the only person wondering this, I jumped on the internet in search of an answer for us all. 

This is what I found:

How do you charge the Xbox Series X or S controller? The Xbox Series X and S controller is powered by 2 normal AA batteries. However, the controller can also be charged with rechargeable batteries, rechargeable 3rd party battery packs, the official Xbox USB-C play and charge kit, and controller charging docks that come with smaller battery packs. The controller can also be plugged directly into the Xbox Series X and S console using a USB-C to USB-A cable for it to be powered without batteries. Some Xbox One controller accessories will not work with the Xbox Series X controller because the new controller uses USB-C instead of a Micro USB port and because of a change in shape to the back panel. 

Ok, now that we have a basic answer, let’s take a look at each point in more detail. 

How the Xbox Series X charges

The Xbox Series X back panel is slightly different. the back panel on the Xbox One controller. this means not all old panel replacing Battery packs will fit.

The Xbox Series X controller has a battery compartment on the underside just like the Xbox one controller. 

The compartment takes normal AA batteries, rechargeable battery packs, or rechargeable AA batteries. 

If your controller has run out of battery and you’re just looking to plug it into the Xbox Series X to keep on gaming check out my article on the Xbox Series X controller’s USB-C port and how to use it here.

Otherwise, there are many ways to charge the controller. Let’s take a look at them…

Your Xbox Series X Controller Charging Options

The following are all the options that I could find for charging the Xbox Series X and S controller. 

I’ll point out if these methods are forward and backward compatible between the new Xbox Series X controller and the Xbox one controller.

After all, using your old controller accessories could save some much-needed cash.  

Charging the Xbox Series X controller with… Rechargeable Batteries

Fab batteries. Fab charger. ‘nough said.

This is how I charge my Xbox One and Xbox Series X and S controllers. And I believe this is the best and most cost-efficient way of keeping your controllers powered up. 

I recommend buying a set of 4, at a minimum, rechargeable batteries along with a plug-in AA battery recharger. 

I’ve picked out the Panasonic Eneloop Rechargeable Batteries with Charger as the best charger and batteries for your Xbox Series X controller needs.

Why? 

Panasonic is a world leader in battery technology. Trusted by Tesla to manufacture batteries in GigaFactories across the world, Panasonic makes batteries that last. 

And this isn’t just marketing trash talk.   

I’ve thrashed a set of Eneloop rechargeable batteries for over 8 years and they have been incredibly reliable. I’m yet to notice a drop in performance.

But don’t take my word for it, I’m going to let the maths do the talking…

The Xbox Series X controller needs 2 AA batteries to work. That means with the Panasonic rechargeable batteries you’ll have a total capacity of 4000mAh.

But what does that mean for you and your gaming? 

First, let’s compare this to Microsoft’s own, and mediocre, Play and Charge kit. 

The Play and Charge kit offers 1400mAh which, according to Microsoft, should last for about 30 hours of normal game use. 

So the Panasonic batteries have 2.86 times the capacity. 

That means Panasonic’s batteries can theoretically last for 85 hours of gameplay time between charges. 

If you played for 5 hours a day, every day, a single charge should last you 17 days! 

Now, this is where it gets interesting.

The Panasonic batteries can be charged up to 2100 times with only a 70% loss in battery power over the course of their life. 

So if each charge could last you 17 days, and you can recharge the batteries 2100 times, the batteries, again, in theory, should last you well over 30,000 days! Which is just over 82 years! 

And I can back this up, to a certain extent. I have been using the same 4 batteries for 2 controllers for the past 8 years. 

Yes, I know, in the real world the batteries won’t last anywhere near that long. But if they last a console generation, like my batteries, you can consider that one heck of an investment. 

This makes the Panasonic Eneloop Rechargeable batteries a must-buy accessory of any Xbox Series X or S gamer and the best charging option for the Xbox controller. 

And the investment looks even better when compared to normal batteries. 

As you’ll see below. 

Backwards and Forward Compatibility

If you already have rechargeable batteries, from Panasonic or other companies, they will be compatible with the new controller. 

Charging the Xbox Series X controller with… Normal Batteries

Normal batteries are not only expensive, but they are also a liability to our planet’s ecosystem. Buy rechargeable batteries instead.

As you know, the Xbox Controller is powered by AA batteries. 

But I’m going to explain why charging your Xbox Series X controller with normal batteries instead of rechargeable batteries is a very bad idea from a financial point of view. 

Let’s take a look why: 

Amazon sells normal AA batteries that have a capacity 2200mAh. That means 2 batteries give you a massive 4400mAh which equals about 95 hours of gameplay. That’s 19 days worth of gameplay if you game for 5 hours a day. 

That’s about 12% more than rechargeable batteries. 

Not bad!

But, that’s the only positive compared to rechargeable batteries. 

Let me explain why:

These Amazon batteries come in packs of 48. So a pack of 48 batteries would keep one Xbox Series X controller charged for around 465 days. 

Or about 15.5 months. 

That’s compared to 82 years for the rechargeable Panasonic Batteries. 

That means, to get the same amount of charge for your controllers as the Panasonic batteries, you’d have to buy 63 packs of batteries.

But wait, a console generation only lasts 6 years.

How many battery packs would you actually need for the 6 years? 

Hang on, let me stick my math-nerd hat on!

First how many battery packs would you need to last you a 6-year console generation cycle?

The Answer is 4.6 packets of batteries. Or 224 batteries if buying packs of 48. 

What does that mean in money terms? 

Well, a rechargeable Panasonic Battery pack costs around $28. But that’s a one-time purchase. 

The Amazon batteries cost $15.50 for 48. So the cost to charge one Xbox Series X controller, over 6 years, comes to $71.30.

But that’s just for one controller. And remember the rechargeable battery pack can recharge enough batteries for 2 controllers. 

So we have to double that amount of money to $142.60. That’s the true cost of using disposable batteries for the Xbox Series X controllers. 

So the normal batteries would end up costing you 5 times more over the course of the console’s life compared to a 4 rechargeable batteries and a charger.

However, if you still think normal batteries are the right option for you, you can find Amazon’s batteries here.  

Backwards and Forward Compatibility

Any AA batteries you already have will work with the Xbox Series X/S controller. 

Charging the Xbox Series X controller with… Dedicated rechargeable battery packs

Battery Packs specifically made for the Xbox are great, but they don’t offer the flexibility of normal rechargeable batteries.

Though the 3rd party battery pack chargers seem good value I would buy a pack of Panasonic rechargeable AA batteries with a charger. 

I’d go with the separate AA batteries and charger because they offer more flexibility. 

The charger can be used with any other type of AA rechargeable battery, the charger can also charge AAA batteries, and the batteries can be used in other devices such as TV remotes. 

Plus, normal rechargeable batteries offer 57% more battery capacity. 

However, if you do like the idea of having dedicated rechargeable battery packs for your Xbox, you can’t go far wrong with the Beboncool Xbox Series X Battery Pack charger as it comes with 3 battery packs to give you the capacity to charge two of them at the same time while using the 3rd is powering the controller. 

Check out the Beboncool charger out here. 

Backwards and Forward Compatibility

If you already have a dedicated Xbox charger such as the Beboncool, the battery packs will be compatible with the Xbox Series X controller. 

Charging the Xbox Series X controller with… the Official Play and charge kit

The Microsoft Play and Charge kit is over price and underpowered. Buy rechargeable batteries instead.

Microsoft offers the Xbox controller play and charge kit for the new Xbox Series X controller. 

This battery pack is the only battery option that can be charged directly through the controller’s rear USB-C port. 

Unfortunately, the use of USB-C also means that the old Xbox One Play and Charge kit is no longer compatible with the newer controllers. The old Play and Charge kit used the Micro-USB port on the Xbox One controller.

And if that’s not bad enough, the new play and charge kits cost $25. And they only work with one controller. So if you have two controllers, you’ll need to buy two at the cost of $50. 

Also, they only offer a meager 1400mAh capacity.

Buying those Panasonic Rechargeable batteries is looking better and better. 

Charging the Xbox Series X controller with… USB Rechargeable Power Packs 

Low power capacity and the use of a Micro-USB charger make these a no-go for me.

You can buy 3rd party battery packs that charge through a separate USB cord. Such as these ones from YCCTeam

But I’d avoid them.

Their capacity is very low, they don’t charge that many times before fading (Can hold as large a charge as when new), and most of these cheaper chargers use old Micro-USB connectors. So they can’t be charged using the Xbox Series X USB-C connector. 

If I were you, I would buy rechargeable batteries. As it’s a much simpler solution. And you won’t have wires snaking across your floor between controller and console. 

Backwards and Forward Compatibility

Xbox One controller versions of these battery panel replacement packs are not compatible with Xbox Series X Controller. This is because the Xbox Series X Controller’s back panel is a slightly different shape. 

Charging the Xbox Series X controller with… Controller Docking Station

Charging docks keep your expensive controllers safe and off the floor while charging your controllers.

I’m a big advocate of docking stations as they help to keep your controllers off the floor away from the jaws of doggies and errant boots. 

Game controllers are very expensive and just as fragile, so storing them safely is always a good idea. 

Fortunately, 3rd party companies are creating some fab-looking Xbox Series X controller docks, such as the PowerA Dual charging docking station.  

This rather snazzy dock comes with battery packs that have metal connectors on the back of them facing away from the controller.

Once the battery packs are inserted into the controllers, the controllers can be placed onto the dock, and the metal connectors on the back of the battery packs make contact with the charging plates to start charging.  

The problem is, these back panels take up a lot of internal spacing leaving very little left for the actual battery. The battery’s capacity is only 1100 mAh. Which is far lower than rechargeable AA batteries. 

However, despite the low capacity, I do think they are a good choice if you don’t have a draw or somewhere safe to store your controllers. 

And, even though the battery packs offer very low capacity, you can conveniently place the controller on the dock every night to fully charge them. 

So I think the PowerA Dual charging docking station is a good choice even when compared to rechargeable batteries. 

Backwards and Forward Compatibility

Some charging stations, such as the one above, will be backward and forward compatible between the different generations of Xbox controllers. However, older docking stations won’t be as the Xbox Series X controllers have a slightly different back panel shape.  

A back up to batteries: Plug your controller into your Xbox

Anker Powerline+ USB cables are some of the best you can buy.

If all else fails, if you’re caught short on battery power, you can always fall back on the good old wired power with a USB-A to USB-C cable. 

The cable packed in with the Xbox Series X and S is quite short. So I’d recommend an Anker Powerline+ 10ft as a great backup option that’ll let you chill back and relax on the sofa even when plugged in. 

Conclusion

In conclusion, there are many ways that you can charge your Xbox Series X and S controllers. 

But, I think the best method by far for charging your new controllers is by using rechargeable AA batteries.

Compared to normal AA batteries, rechargeable AA batteries could save you as much as $142.60 dollars over the 6-year life cycle of the Xbox Series X. 

Plus, the battery charger can be used to charge other rechargeable batteries keeping your TV remotes topped up with power. 

Check out the Panasonic Eneloop Rechargeable Batteries here. 

If you’d prefer normal batteries check out Amazon’s batteries here

I wouldn’t recommend the Official Xbox Series X play and charge kit or the USB charge power packs. 

Finally, I would say a new docking station would be a good option to safely store your controllers while charging them. 

What Next? 

How much does an Xbox Series X console cost? The Xbox Series X/S Controller costs $59.99

What features does the Xbox Series X Controller have? The new Xbox Series X controller is pretty much the same as the Xbox one controller. However, it does have a few new features including:

  • A new share button
  • Textured triggers
  • A new D-pad

Yes, not a lot of new features, but then, the Xbox One controller was already a fantastic controller.  

Nick Sinclair

Having played games since the golden age of the Commodore 64, Nick finally took the plunge and studied Creative Game Design in university. After 3 years of "Study", Nick co-founded a games company where he soon discovered his true calling: writing about games. 11 years later Nick writes about a tower of topics, but gaming is always stacked neatly at the top.

7 thoughts on “How to Charge the Xbox Series X or S Controller

  1. Hi Everybody. I’m trying out a new comments system.

    You don’t need to input your email address!

    After all, who wants to get yet another junk email in their inbox. I know I don’t!

    Anyway, if you have time, leave a comment down here. Let me know if you found the article enjoyable and how I can improve future articles.

    Thanks again for reading. Stay safe and all the very best.

    Nick.

  2. 2x2000mah is not 4000mah total. It’s 3V instead of 1.5V at the same 2000mah. There is a difference between parallel and series connectionss… You increase voltage or capacity. Not booth…

    1. Hi LaLa. Thanks for the fantastic comment. I will have to amend the article. But I still think everything I said stands: rechargeable AA batteries are by far the best option for your Xbox controller.

    1. Hi Chris.Thank for commenting. I’m thrilled I was able to help you out. Hopefully those new batteries will keep you gaming longer for a lower cost in the future!

  3. I will stick with my MS charge kit. No need for a separate charger as I can charge via the console while I am playing. To each their own.

    1. Hi Aubrey.
      Thanks for replying to the post. You make a really good point.

      i think the reason why I recommended the batteries is because of their versatility and capacity. You can use rechargeable AA batteries in thousands of devices if you wanted. Also, the capacity of the AA Panasonic batteries far outstrips the Play-and-Charge kit.

      However, for simplicity, the play-and-charge kit is still a fantastic option.

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