If you are looking for the best value, one of the first things you should consider is purchasing an Xbox 360 controller charger and battery pack. Assuming you have wireless controllers, you will soon discover, if you haven’t already, that you will be burning through AA batteries fairly quickly, and batteries aren’t cheap. It is only a matter of time before you will have spent far more money on batteries than you would ever spend on one of several choices in battery packs and charging stations, so there is no debating the fact that it just makes sense to make the investment. Let’s take a look at some of the options available.

The most economical option, at least if you are only in need of one battery pack, would be the official Xbox 360 Play & Charge Kit. Consisting of one rechargeable battery pack and a USB cord that attaches from the controller to the Xbox 360 console, this kit has the added feature of allowing you to, as the name implies, play while recharging the battery pack. Obviously the downside to this kit is that you will have to be close enough to the console for wired play, but considering that this is the only kit offering you the ability to charge while playing, this is a bit of a non-issue. You can find these for $19.99-$24.99 online or in most stores where video games and accessories are sold and is available in all of the colors that official Microsoft Xbox 360 controllers come in.

If you need a charging kit for more than one controller, you may want to consider a charging dock of some sort. If you insist on using only officially licensed Microsoft accessories, then you have the option of the Xbox 360 Quick Charge Kit. As you can see from the picture, this is a small unit that sits on your entertainment center alongside your Xbox 360, or wherever else you would like it and there is a wall outlet available. The advantage of this kit, and others that feature wall power, is that it charges much faster than a USB connection. In other words, while you can’t play while you are charging as with the Play & Charge Kit, you will have a fully charged battery pack and thus truly wireless gameplay much quicker than with the Play & Charge Kit. Note that although this unit supports charging two battery packs simultaneously, only one is included. With the list price of $29.99 for the unit plus the cost of an additional official Microsoft charger pack being $14.99-$19.99, depending on where you buy it, you would come out about the same as buying two of the Play & Charge Kits, so it really comes down to if you want the ability to play while you charge or you would prefer the faster charging time so that you can get back to wireless play faster in regards to which is the better choice.

Additionally, there are a variety of third-party Xbox 360 controller chargers out there with varying designs, from “clones” of the Quick Charge Kit, to alternate designs such as the Nyko Dual Charge Base shown here. They are all similar to the Xbox 360 Quick Charge Kit in that they offer wall power for quicker charge and they support charging two battery packs simultaneously. Also like the Quick Charge Kit, they all seem to run with a list price of $29.99. The advantage to these over the officially licensed Microsoft kit is that they generally come with two battery packs, so you can save $15-$20 if you don’t absolutely insist on having officially licensed Xbox products.

XBox Controller Charger Summary

Regardless of which option you go with or how much it costs you, there is no denying that an Xbox 360 controller charger is a great investment that will save you a lot of money over repeatedly buying batteries in the long run.