The best Switch controllers for every player level


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The Nintendo Switch is fairly standard, however its included Joy-Cons aren’t for everyone. Some gamers really feel the removable controllers are a bit small for their arms. Many gamers miss having a daily D-pad. Whatever your causes for eager to improve your Switch controller state of affairs, know that there are options — it’s only a matter of selecting the one that matches your wants. We examined out a bunch of Switch controllers to see that are value your cash.

For informal gaming: Joy-Cons

Kris Naudus / Engadget

Honestly, there’s rather a lot to love in regards to the included Joy-Cons. They come proper within the field and will be separated from the system so two individuals can play. The system additionally features a particular gamepad grip so you’ll be able to maintain them in your hand like every customary controller. So in case you are actually, joyful along with your Joy-Cons, there’s no want to modify them out. Just tweak them slightly relying in your wants. Find them a tad too small? FastSnail’s matte rubber shells could make them slightly simpler for giant arms to carry, and Hori’s Analog Caps could make the thumb sticks grippier. 

Buy FastSnail grips at Amazon – $14
Buy Hori analog caps at Amazon – $9

There’s actually no good option to substitute the Joy-Cons fully with a third-party copy. Some Joy-Con-like controllers gained’t join wirelessly, whereas others lack key options like vibration or an NFC reader. But there are some tradeoffs which can be value it. For instance, should you wish to play loads of 2D platformers in handheld mode, Hori’s D-pad controller will restore the beloved cross-shaped directional button to your gameplay. If you’re wanting for one thing that’s additionally extra snug in your hand, the corporate’s $50 Split Pad Pro can also be value a glance. It has a D-pad on the left aspect and a extra ergonomic grip than your customary set of Joy-Cons. But it additionally makes the whole assembled Switch rather a lot chunkier.

If you wish to play your Switch with teams (otherwise you’ve skilled the dreaded “drift” concern), likelihood is you’ve picked up one or two additional pairs of Joy-Cons. Which means you’re going to wish a spot to cost the spares. PowerA makes a superb $25 charging station that may be plugged into your Switch dock (or any gadget with a USB port) and handles 4 Joy-Con-like controllers without delay — that features third-party gamepads in addition to Nintendo’s personal Switch-compatible NES controllers (see beneath).

Buy Hori D-pad controller at Amazon – $60
Buy Split Pad Pro at Amazon – $88
Buy PowerA charging dock at Amazon – $25

For action-packed video games: Pro-level controllers

Kris Naudus / Engadget

Sometimes you simply need a normal controller to play your favourite motion titles — and customary in 2020 means one thing such as you’d get packed in with an Xbox, with grips for the heels of your arms, shoulder buttons and triggers, two thumb sticks, a set of 4 buttons on the correct and a D-pad on the left. Nintendo is aware of that, which is why it created the Pro Controller. This first-party gamepad pairs simply with the Switch and incorporates a D-pad on the left, whereas nonetheless sustaining options just like the infrared sensor and vibration that may go lacking on third-party options. The solely draw back is the $70 value, however avid gamers of video games like Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will respect the refined controls and elevated consolation.

While you’ll be able to plug your Pro Controller immediately into your Switch dock to cost, it’s not essentially the most elegant resolution. PowerA additionally makes a beautiful $25 dock that accommodates each Joy-Cons and the Pro Controller, which ought to maintain your gaming space good and tidy.

Buy Pro Controller at Amazon – $70
Buy PowerA dock at Amazon – $25

PowerA Nintendo Switch Pro Controller

Kris Naudus / Engadget

When the worth of the Pro Controller is a bit wealthy for your blood or out of inventory, PowerA makes its personal model with the identical association of buttons. The Enhanced Wireless Controller skips the rechargeable battery in favor of AAs, which has its downsides, however a minimum of when it runs low on juice you’ll be able to simply pop in a brand new pair of batteries and get proper again to gaming. Unfortunately, there’s no USB-C port to attach with so that you’ll need to pair the gadget wirelessly — which will be finicky and should take a number of tries earlier than your Switch acknowledges the controller. It additionally lacks vibration, so that you gained’t get tactile suggestions in video games the place it’s useful. And the plus and minus buttons are positioned a bit nearer to the middle, so these with smaller arms should attain a bit additional to press them.

If you’d desire to not need to recharge — or buy batteries for — your gamepad, PowerA additionally makes a wired version of the identical controller that connects by way of USB. It’s received the identical feel and look, however you gained’t need to wrestle as a lot with getting your console to acknowledge it, and there’s no potential for wi-fi lag, making it best for fast-paced shooters and combating video games. The included wire is 10 ft lengthy so it ought to attain most couches simply high-quality.

While most third-party controllers are likely to mimic the Xbox fashion of gamepad, anybody extra conversant in the PlayStation’s distinctive DualShock design will in all probability desire the $50 Pro 2 from 8BitDo. The retro-styled controller has the identical basic format because the basic SNES gamepad, however provides twin thumb sticks, palm grips, again buttons, management remapping and even sensitivity changes. It’s really the Swiss Army knife of Switch controllers.

Buy Enhanced Wireless controller at Amazon – $60
Buy PowerA wired controller at Amazon – $23
Buy 8bitdo Pro 2 at Amazon – $50

For old-fashioned gaming: Niche and retro controllers

PowerA GameCube-style controller for Switch

Kris Naudus / Engadget

Twenty years later and the popular controller format for Super Smash Bros. gamers continues to be the one made for the GameCube, which is why in the present day it’s nonetheless potential to buy new gamepads straight from Nintendo. The Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Edition GameCube Controller is similar in format and design to the unique gamepads, although now it connects by way of USB so it may be used with the Switch. The solely draw back to the reissue is that it doesn’t are available a daring shade of purple anymore.

However, should you’re nonetheless sporting a basic GameCube controller with its proprietary connector, you can too decide up an adapter that may let your Switch accommodate as much as 4 old-school gamepads. Nintendo sells one on its retailer, however the Y Team controller adapter can also be an excellent different that prices much less and will be purchased at Amazon.

But you may not wish to be tethered to your console — particularly when you’ve got fond reminiscences of kicking again in your sofa with a Wavebird in hand to play GameCube video games like Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Killer 7. PowerA’s Nintendo GameCube-Style wi-fi controller is the closest you may get to recreating that feeling wanting plugging a number of RF dongles right into a GameCube adapter.

Buy Smash Bros. controller at Amazon – $73
Buy Y Team adapter at Amazon – $14
Buy PowerA Game Cube-style controller at Amazon – $55

NES Switch controller

Devindra Hardawar / Engadget

What in case your retro tastes go even additional again, say to the NES and SNES period? If you’re subscribed to Nintendo Online, you may have entry to over 100 basic titles, so you may want a extra “authentic” controller to make use of with them. Nintendo Online subscribers can buy retro-style wi-fi gamepads immediately from the corporate, although the $60 set of two small, rectangular NES controllers will remind you why we’ve moved on from that design. The dog-bone form of the $30 SNES model is extra hand pleasant and may nonetheless be used with the NES video games, so it’s a greater use of your funds do you have to resolve you wish to recreate your childhood gaming experiences.

If you don’t want an actual copy of the one that you love childhood gamepads it’s value taking a look at 8BitDo as a substitute: It makes a wide range of classic-styled controllers that add simply sufficient trendy options to make them helpful for a greater variety of video games. Its fashions are nearly all wi-fi, and there are some design modifications to make the controllers extra snug and simpler to make use of. We’ve already advisable the DualShock-like Pro 2, however the $45 SN30 Pro additionally affords options like twin thumb sticks and vibration within the dog-bone controller fashion.

If you’re wanting for one thing extra transportable, nevertheless, the $25 8BitDo Lite is smaller and swaps out the thumb sticks for two D-pads, retaining the 4 button association on either side. It’s nice for 2D video games and it even matches the color scheme of the Switch Lite. 

Before you strive any of the controllers listed on this information, bear in mind to replace your Switch to the most recent firmware — the 8BitDo controllers will run on any model, however the PowerA gamepads want your system to run a minimum of model 6.0.0.

Buy NES controller pack at Nintendo – $60
Buy SNES controller at Nintendo – $30
Buy SN30 Pro at Amazon – $45
Buy 8bitdo Lite at Amazon – $25



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