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

30 Models Considered
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421 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 Nintendo Switch controllers

Last Updated November 2019

The hugely popular Nintendo Switch lets you play games from pretty much anywhere, easily transitioning from TV mode to handheld mode to tabletop mode. But how you play those games depends on which controller you prefer.

Nintendo created two controllers that work with the Switch: the Joy-Con, a nimble two-piece device that attaches to either side of the console or can be used wirelessly by one or two players, and the Pro Controller, which looks and functions more like a conventional controller. With these two devices, Nintendo built upon the fluid-motion controls of the Switch’s predecessor, the Wii U, while including a number of intriguing new features, including HD rumble and an infrared motion camera.

While there’s no replacing the Joy-Con when it comes to motion-controlled gaming, Nintendo Switch owners have a number of options when it comes to buying a traditional-styled controller. After testing out both the Nintendo Switch’s Pro Controller and a number of third-party variants, we have all the information you’ll need to find the best controller for you.

To learn more, check out our shopping guide for tips and other helpful information. If you’re ready to buy, consider one of our recommended Nintendo Switch controllers.

Although Nintendo made it convenient for players to bring over all of their old controllers from the Wii to the Wii U, all controllers released prior to the Nintendo Switch are not compatible with the Nintendo Switch console.

Key considerations

Controller-specific features

The official Nintendo Switch Pro Controller includes Amiibo support, allowing players to import in-game bonuses from their favorite characters, motion controls, and HD rumble feedback, which all greatly improves your overall gaming experience. Third-party controllers are often more affordable because they end up cutting one or more of these innovative features.

Sure, you may not feel strongly about Amiibo support or gyroscopic motion controls now, but an upcoming game could change your mind completely — so plan for the future when buying your Nintendo Switch controllers.

Comfort

You should expect an officially licensed Nintendo Switch controller to feel comfortable in your hands. The ergonomic design of the Pro Controller is widely copied by third-party controller manufacturers, but each model has its own unique take on this core controller concept. Read through the reviews of any third-party Nintendo Switch controller to look for comfort-related complaints, such as the size of the controller or if the user noted hand or wrist aches after playing with the device.

Battery life

Although battery life isn’t an issue for wired controllers, it should be a prime selling point for anyone considering a rechargeable or battery-powered Nintendo Switch controller.

Of course, you can simply dock a pair of your Joy-Con controllers directly to the sides of your Nintendo Switch, and they will be fully recharged within three hours. However, official and third-party Pro Controllers may provide anywhere from four to 40 hours of gameplay between charges, so it’s well worth your consideration.

EXPERT TIP

Joy-Con controllers feature an intuitive HD rumble feature that changes the intensity of the controller’s vibrations depending on what’s happening on-screen to further immerse you in the game via your sense of touch.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

If you enjoy playing games that heavily rely on motion controls, consider buying wrist straps for your Joy-Con controllers. You wouldn’t want them to slip out of your hands when you’re swinging for a home run.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

Nintendo occasionally releases video game-themed Pro Controllers that are designed after games like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and Splatoon 2. If one of these special controllers catches your eye, buy it immediately before the hardcore fans snap them up.


Staff  | BestReviews

Features

Since the prime function of a Nintendo Switch controller is to play Nintendo Switch games, controller-specific features won’t differ too widely between models. Whether it’s an official or third-party Nintendo Switch controller, they will all have the same buttons and basic layout needed to play your games. Although there aren’t many features that stand out between controllers, here are a few to keep in mind.

  • Color: Nintendo Switch controllers are widely available in a rainbow of striking colors and fun designs based around fan-favorite video games, including The Legend of Zelda and Super Mario Bros.

  • Functionality: As mentioned above, third-party Pro Controllers may feature any combination of HD (or standard) rumble feedback, Amiibo support, or motion controls. If all three are important to you, consider buying the official Nintendo controller.

  • Joy-Con controller accessory: Some devices are essentially controller-shaped shells to insert your left and right Joy-Con controllers into to make one single controller. Some of these Joy-Con accessories may even be used to charge your Joy-Cons as you play.

Perfect for fast-paced games

It’s difficult to beat the quality and overall feel of an official Nintendo controller. Not only is the Switch Pro Controller the optimal choice for tackling fast-paced action games like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and Super Mario Odyssey, these controllers sport the premium features that you’d expect from Nintendo, such as built-in Amiibo support, HD rumble feedback, motion controls, and an internal rechargeable lithium ion battery.

Nintendo Switch controller prices

Although the official Nintendo Switch Pro controller is usually sold for around $60, it is a quality piece of hardware that supports everything that the console has to offer, including motion controls, Amiibo support, and rumble feedback.

Third-party Nintendo Switch controllers, which go for $25 to $30, are significantly cheaper and are functionally similar to the Pro Controller — but they usually do not include all of the features of the original Pro Controller.

A pair of Joy-Con controllers are typically priced at around $69 to $80, but you can buy an individual left or right Joy-Con for $50. We’ve got good news if you prefer to play with Joy-Con controllers, because Joy-Con controller accessories that combine the devices into a single controller are generally sold for between $10 and $30.

Allows for extended play

Every Nintendo Switch console includes at least one pair of versatile Joy-Con controllers. Since many Switch games intend for players to use both left and right motion controls together as a single controller anyway, PowerA’s rubberized Comfort Grip is a simple, affordable, and genuinely comfortable device that makes it easier than ever to enjoy playing for longer. Joy-Con Comfort Grips are also available in several video game-themed styles, including Super Mario, Minecraft, and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

Tips

  • Some Nintendo Switch controllers are battery-powered, while others are rechargeable. Make sure that you know how a controller is powered before you purchase it so you aren’t disappointed later.

  • While a single Nintendo Switch Pro Controller can only support one player at a time, a pair of Joy-Con controllers can function as two separate controllers. If you are planning to buy several controllers for couch-side multiplayer gaming, left and right Joy-Con bundles may be a cost-effective solution for you.

  • There are plenty of Joy-Con color combinations available, including red, blue, yellow, pink, green, and gray. Most Joy-Con controllers feature matching accessories, so don’t be afraid to mix and match Joy-Con colors.

  • A new Nintendo Switch console includes a left and right Joy-Con controller, so two people can play Joy-Con supported games right out of the box. Each of these Joy-Cons is packed with a matching wrist strap, as well as a bonus Joy-Con grip accessory that combines both Joy Cons into a single controller.

Other products we considered

Although the PowerA Enhanced Wireless Controller for Nintendo Switch doesn’t feature Amiibo functionality and relies on AA batteries, it provides 30 hours of gameplay per pair of batteries and is available in an impressive array of colors and designs, including white, black, and Super Mario Red. The official Nintendo Joy-Con Charging Grip is a fantastic solution that combines the left and right Joy-Con together into one single controller, while charging both devices at the same time. The Charging Grip includes a USB charging cable that connects it and your Joy-Cons directly to the Nintendo Switch console, allowing you to continue playing your favorite games as if it were a traditional wired controller. A pair of Joy-Con controllers will be fully charged after three hours inside of the Charging Grip controller accessory.

If you are a Nintendo Switch Online member, you can buy a pair of authentic NES wireless controllers directly through Nintendo. These retro controllers are great for playing classic NES games, such as Kirby’s Adventure, Donkey Kong, and Balloon Fight.

FAQ

Q. How do I use an Amiibo toy with my Nintendo Switch controller?
A.
It’s as easy as tapping the base of your favorite Amiibo character to the near-field communication (NFC) touchpoint located on your right Joy-Con controller or the center of your Pro Controller.

Q. How many Nintendo Switch Pro Controllers can I connect to the console at once?
A.
You can connect up to eight Pro Controllers to your Nintendo Switch at the same time. Of course, only certain games will support eight local players, such as Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and even then, if you’re playing with eight fighters, it’s going to be one hectic battlefield. Good luck!

Q. How long does a fully charged Nintendo Switch Pro Controller last between charges?
A.
A fully charged official Nintendo Pro Controller will provide you with around 40 hours of gameplay, and the controller will be fully charged after six hours. When comparing Nintendo Switch controllers, battery life is an excellent factor to keep in mind.

The team that worked on this review
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    Alvina
    Photographer
  • Amos
    Amos
    Director of Photography
  • Angela
    Angela
    Editor
  • Arnold
    Arnold
    Writer
  • Branson
    Branson
    Videographer
  • Ciera
    Ciera
    Digital Content Producer
  • Jennifer
    Jennifer
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Vukan
    Vukan
    Post Production Editor

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