originally launched in 2017 it created an entirely new type of console. Combining the portability and relatively low cost of Nintendo DS with the big-screen, living room console experience of competitors from the Playstation and Xbox lines, the Switch introduced a whole new lineup of hybrid use cases that would have previously required multiple consoles to fulfill.
This versatility also spawned a bevy of new accessory categories, with peripheral makers rushing to fulfill every possible need a switch user could have. In addition to the traditional lineup of controllers and headsets, the Switch also spawned innumerable travel cases, stands, licensed memory cards, and some true oddities unlike anything seen before in the tech world.
Although the variety of add-ons makes this an excellent time for users looking to customize their Switch for their particular use case and aesthetic tastes, it can be a daunting task to find which options in the sea of possibilities will work best for that particular user without wasting a lot of money. This buying guide is designed to help every type of Switch user, from the kid receiving their first console to the dedicated Smash Bros. pro, choose the best, most cost-effective accessories for them.
Nintendo has consistently shown itself to be a company capable of producing good, solid first-party peripherals, and that reputation shows in the Switch Pro Controller. This gamepad provides all of the same functionality as using the included Joy-Cons, complete with support for reading Amiibo figures and cards, Nintendo’s proprietary HD Rumble tactile feedback, and motion controls (where supported). Better yet, all of this comes in a shell that’s more than tough enough to hold up to any abuses younger gamers — and their older, angrier counterparts — are likely to put it through.
Unfortunately, the Switch Pro controller has been hard to get one’s hands on, literally, since day one. Frequent sellouts, attempts at price gouging by resellers, and a general lack of ready availability have driven impatient buyers to opt for third-party offerings instead. Others have gone the same third-party route in search of retro designs, additional buttons, or different charging options, all of which can be found in the alternatives listed below.
If you have the patience, the budget, and the lack of any desire for unusual button or shell configurations, the Switch Pro Controller is the clear winner for the overall best option. That said, Switch owners are at no lack of more budget-friendly and varied options that can suit their personal needs just as well, or better.
- Only licensed controller with both Amiibo and HD Rumble support
- Long-wearing internal battery
- Excellent build quality
- Often hard to find in stock, especially during holiday seasons
- Limited color options
When it became clear shortly after the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller launched that it would be a hard item to acquire, many users quickly turned to the PowerA as a viable alternative. The unit closely mirrors Nintendo’s own crack at a standalone gamepad, adding two extra, programmable buttons to the rear to allow users to configure quick access to in-game functions of their choice. Better yet, all of this comes in at a price point that is $15-$20 less than the Switch Pro Controller.
Of course, this reduced price does come with some compromises. First, the PowerA Enhanced controller does not include Amiibo support, nor does it provide HD Rumble support for games that include Nintendo’s immersive tactile feedback function. While this may be a dealbreaker for some Switch owners, there’s a large cohort of them that likely couldn’t care less about either of these absences.
The PowerA Enhanced series also offers something the Switch Pro Controller does not — ample aesthetic options. A huge variety of opaque and translucent colors is joined by franchise-themed versions covering everything from Doom and Apex Legends to Pokemon and Zelda. Of course, this has no impact on their functionality, but it might make you feel a little cooler when you show up to a friend’s house representing your favorite game series.
- Full Support for motion controls
- Massive number of available color and design options
- Nano version available for smaller hands
- Two extra programmable buttons in the rear
- No Amiibo or HD Rumble support
- Not quite as well built as Nintendo Switch Pro Controller
8BitDo may not be a household name in the gaming peripheral market, but the company has made a quickly-growing name for itself. One of their best-known offerings, the SN30 Pro line, supports not only the Nintendo Switch, but also Windows, MacOS, Android, Steam, and even Raspberry Pi.
Its ability to work with Raspberry Pi units has earned the SN30 Pro a massive following among tinkerers that have modified the cheap, diminutive DIY computers to create highly-capable retro gaming consoles. For Switch owners, the gamepad is an ideal option for its extensive library of Switch Online and retro titles available from the NES and SNES. Although Joy-Cons run these games just fine, its close resemblance to the original SNES controller provides that extra bit of immersion and nostalgia for gamers of a certain age.
8BitDO knows that nostalgia is at the heart of its success and has released retro-themed versions of the controller, including models with original SNES colors, Super Famicom variants, and even a colorway based on the original PlayStation.
- Usable across numerous gaming platforms
- Full support for motion controls
- Authentic feel and button layout for retro titles
- Programmable shoulder and face buttons
- No Amiibo or HD Rumble support
- Button layout may not be ideal for newer titles
Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros. franchise is one of the best-known fighting games in the world. It continues to draw a rabid following from fans old enough to have played the N64 original all the way up to those who first experienced the series via its latest entry, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate for the Nintendo Switch.
A large portion of the Smash Bros. community swears by the original GameCube controller as the best, if not only, way to play the game right, despite the number of consoles it has appeared on. Nintendo caught on to his and decided to create a perfect replica of the original gamepad with a new USB-C connector.
Sure, this means sacrificing wireless connectivity and modern rumble feedback, as well as going back to what many considered a very odd controller layout. But, for the devotees that swear by that unusual form factor, the GameCube Controller Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Edition provides an excellent option.
- Pixel-perfect replica of the original, from its original creator
- Authentic feel and button layout
- Reduced latency due to wired connectivity
- No Amiibo or HD Rumble support
- Wired connectivity with all its inherent tripping hazards
- Pricey compared to non-licensed options
For some Switch owners, the console spends most of its time docked to a large screen. However, for others, handheld mode is where it’s at. For the crowd that spends most of their time playing their switch in this mode, the Hori Split Pad Pro offers a bisected equivalent to the Switch Pro controller.
The larger, more ergonomic shape provides potential relief from the cramps that might ensue for those with larger hands trying to use the original Joy-Cons. Of course, this comes at the cost of not being able to use the units in wireless mode, as they only work while physically docked to the Switch itself.
Hori’s strong relationship with Nintendo means that users can also purchase the Split Pad Pro line with decorations from Pokémon, Monster Hunter, and other well-known franchises.
- More comfortable grip, particularly for larger hands
- Authentic feel and button layout
- No wireless functionality
The Nintendo Switch comes with built-in support for Bluetooth audio. Although it wasn’t until almost four years after its launch that Nintendo pushed an update to officially activate this feature, it is now available. However, the option comes with a big caveat: latency. This means that there can be a delay in the sound as its transmitted via Bluetooth, resulting in situations like a gamer being fragged by a gunshot they didn’t hear until too late, or missing a vital audio cue just long enough to ruin a match. To combat this, peripheral makers like Steelseries instead rely on 2.4GHz connectivity for units like the Arctis 1.
There are numerous 2.4GHz headsets on the market, but relatively few that come with a USB-C transmitter like this one. The diminutive dongle slots right into the Switch’s charging port, and provides low-latency audio output and microphone input.
While Switch support may be new to the iconic Arctis headset series, the Arctis 1 brings the pedigree of its predecessors with it, offering a wide range of support for other consoles, PCs, and even Google Stadia. At its $100-ish price point, this entry from Steelseries might be not only a great option for the Switch, but also a perfect solution for the multi-platform gamer in general.
- Low-latency 2.4GHz wireless provides ideal audio sync
- Also supports Windows, MacOS, PlayStation 4/5, Android, and Google Stadia
- USB-C to USB-A adapter included for additional connection options
- 20-hour battery life
- Headband and earcups might be a bit small for gamers with larger heads
- Dongle has to be moved between Switch and Dock whenever the user changes modes
Razer’s version of the Arctis 1 form factor came out to widespread praise for all of the same reasons as the product it so closely resembles. Intellectual property issues and calls for a lawsuit from uninvolved third parties aside, Razer managed to make a version of the Acrtis 1 that differs in just enough areas to potentially sway some buyers its way.
The most important of these may be the unit’s “HyperClear” cardioid mic, which uses a different capsule than the Steelseries microphone, potentially providing richer sound uptake. While the actual impact of this difference has been debated about among various reviewers, almost no one that has weighed in on both units has found significant inferiority with Razer’s version. Similarly, some find the headband fit and earcup padding to be slightly more comfortable, others, slightly less.
At the end of the day, the best choice between the Steelseries Arctis 1 and the Razer Barracuda X is likely the one you can find for a cheaper price, or find in stock at all.
- Support for nearly every modern console and PC platform, as well as Android
- Versatile connection options with included USB-C and USB-A adapters
- 20-hour battery life
- Headband and earcups still show comfort issues for some users
- Dongle needs to be moved between Switch and dock when changing modes
Handing a $100 headset over to some of the Switch’s younger users may not be the best idea. Likewise, the on-the-go nature of the console also means that its peripherals are sometimes best kept on the compact side. For either of these use cases, a pair of inexpensive earbuds is often the best option.
Although there are a truly staggering number of cheap earbuds of vastly divergent qualities on the market today, one of the most enduring standouts is Pansonic’s Ergofit line. Standing at well over 121,000 user reviews on Amazon, these earbuds have withstood many years of competitors trying to populate the same space.
There are some reports of inferior fakes being sold as Panasonic Ergofits, but the genuine article is almost always praised for its comfortable fit, durable build, and decent sound quality. All that said, these are not designed to compete directly with the likes of the Arctis 1 or Barracuda X, but they are a budget-friendly option for the user demographics mentioned above, or those of us that can’t seem to keep track of a pair of headphones to save our lives.
- In-line microphone for game chat via 3.5mm connection
- Solid build quality and sound for the price
- No match for the audio quality of more expensive options
- Scattered reports of inferior fakes being sold by less-than-reputable merchants
One of the most long-standing gripes about the Nintendo Switch’s use as a portable console is the fact that it’s very hard to charge it while using its included kickstand. This is because the Switch’s charging port is centered on the bottom of the unit, meaning any cable inserted there will interfere with it resting correctly while the built-in support is folded out for table-top use.
Thankfully, Nintendo has created a relatively inexpensive accessory that both solves this problem and serves as a portable dock for charging the Switch user on the go. The Adjustable Charging Stand can’t output video, but it can support the device while it powers up, and can fold up to fit in all but the tiniest carrying cases.
It should be noted that users will still be required to provide their own power supplies. This could be anything from a portable power bank, to the power brick that came with your switch, to nearly any third-party charging solution that terminates in a USB-C connector.
- Foldable and portable
- Solves issues with charging while using kickstand
- Requires user-provided power supply
- Arguably, should have been unnecessary with better charging port placement on the Switch itself
The Switch’s status as an ultra-portable console means that it will likely see a lot of use in the family car or van. Although many modern vehicles includes some form of USB charging, and users can easily purchase in-car USB chargers of their own, PowerA makes a cost-friendly option to provide an on-the-go power source for the Switch.
The included 6-foot braided cable should be able to reach most backset users, while still offering enough flexibility to be cable-managed for safe installations. It’s worth noting that Hori also makes a licensed in-car charger, but it retails for a much higher $25, and provides the exact same charging speed and cable length. The only, fairly minor, benefit of the Hori model is a somewhat smaller profile for the DC connector.
The 5v/3a power output of the unit means that it can also be used to charge a variety of Android smartphones, various tablets, and other portable electronics.
- Usable for other mobile devices
Ths Switch’s built-in battery weighs in at 4,310mAh. This includes both the original launch day units, and the updated version of the original Switch released in 2019. While the updated version tends to run longer thanks to efficiency improvements, either can conk out at an inopportune time while away from a main power source. This is why it’s important to have a reliable, portable power bank.
One name that’s become synonymous with power banks and other mobile-centric accessories is Anker. Their long-standing PowerCore line has had numerous entries over the years, almost all of which have received widespread praise. The line currently includes sizes ranging from 10,000mAh on the low end, to almost 27,000mAh on the high end. This means users can charge their Switch anywhere from a bit over twice, to over six times from a single charge of their power bank. This 20,000mAh option provides a nice middle ground.
Of course, as capacity rises, so does size, which is why it’s important to take Anker’s variety of sizes, shapes, and output layouts into account. The company even offers an officially licensed line of Switch power banks, but these tend to offer fewer ports and come at a significant premium, without offering any benefits aside from some Nintendo branding.
- Some of the best value per mAh among reputable brands
- Usable with other mobile devices
- Variety of capacities and form factors to suit particular needs
- Users will need to provide their own charging cables
Ths Switch can play games from two sources: Nintendo’s proprietary memory cartridges, or via an inserted MicroSD card. Thankfully, the file size of most switch titles is just a fraction of their Xbox or PlayStation counterparts. However, users wishing to tote around a large number of game titles without any extra physical encumbrances will want to invest in at least a 128GB card.
Nintendo offers its own line of officially licensed MicroSD cards for this purpose. However, there are some drawbacks to the official entries. First, their are more expensive than their non-licensed counterparts, despite offering the same transfer speeds and storage capacities. Additionally, they also top out at 512GB, or half of the 1GB maximum storage option currently available from SanDisk in the correct configuration.
Looking forward, the Switch can support cards of up to 2TB according to its technical specifications, but these remain very rare and extremely cost prohibitive. As with all solid state storage, however, this is likely to change as the years roll on.
- Identical to Nintendo’s licensed version at a cheaper price
- Available in sizes up to 1TB
- No Nintendo franchise branding, if that bothers you
Like all touchscreens, the Switch’s display is designed to hold up to fingers, approved styli, and not much else. For this reason, the clumsy, cautious, and those expecting the device to frequently be in younger hands may want to invest in a screen protector.
Nintendo tapped HORI to fill this need with a PET plastic-based option that promises to protect the built-in display without sacrificing sensitivity or responsiveness. The unit also features a unique application method designed to make its installation as easy and bubble-free as possible. An optional variant with blue light blocking technology is also built in.
While the general consensus seems to suggest that the plastic film does an admirable job, it does add noticeable thickness to the display, and a detectable raised edge where it ends. This flaw is somewhat corrected by the tempered glass alternative mentioned below.
- Optional blue light blocking technology
- Detectable edge when applied to Switch, could annoy some users
Many smartphone owners swear by tempered glass screen protectors. The relatively inexpensive accessories can prevent scratches, chips, and other damage to a device’s built-in display. While they may shatter in the process of taking a hit, they are easy to replace, and generally much, much cheaper than a smartphone repair bill.
Many companies decided to expand this technology to the Nintendo Switch, including SuperShieldz, an organization known for its well-reviewed smartphone and tablet protectors. Like most mobile device display protectors from the company, the Switch version includes a rounded edge to ease the transition at the sides and top of the display, potentially avoiding some of the irritation the plastic option from HORi can cause.
Supershieldz also promises zero-bubble installation, high transparency, and resistance to fingerprints and smudges, thanks to its oleophobic coating. Better yet, the protectors come in a multi-pack so that when one bites the dust, a quick replacement is available.
- Very inexpensive
- Oleophobic coating resists fingerprints and smudges
- More easily shattered than its plastic counterpart
No matter how protective a case is, it needs to be on the device in order to save it from a drop or collision. It may seem obvious, but it’s a real concern for many, many hard and rubberized cases designed for the Switch for one simple reason: they have to be removed to fit the switch into its docking station or disconnect its Joy-Cons. Because of this, the console will spend a dangerous amount of time outside its case, including during some of the common times when it’s mostly like to be dropped.
Most cases simply depend on the user to continually install and uninstall their switch to mitigate the risk. However, The Mumba Blade Series Dockable Case is, as its name would suggest, able to be slotted into the Switch’s dock without having to be removed. Additionally, it even allows the unit’s Joy-Cons to be disconnected while it remains on the main body.
Of course this convenience does come at the cost of some level of protection, with the case being generally thinner than some competing products and including more gaps than some others. However, the fact that it will always be installed on the device means its far, far more likely to be able to prevent damage than a case that may or may not have been removed before a drop.
- Can remain on Switch while docked
- Allows Joy-Cons to be disconnected while installed
- Provides extra comfort during handheld mode with ergonomic grips
- Does have some gaps when compared to competing products that must be removed to dock
- Protective material is thinner than some full-enclosure cases
The convenience of the Switch lies in its relatively small size and slim exterior. Many carrying cases expand these dimensions to the point where that level of compact convenience is greatly reduced. Of course, no one wants to just toss a naked Switch into their bag and have it knocking around and getting damaged all day.
That’s where the tomtoc Switch case comes in. Its EVA hardshell is designed to precisely fit the Switch’s dimensions, complete with molded protrusions to prevent damage to Joy-Con thumbsticks, and just enough room over the display to store 10 game cartridges. tomtoc also offers a total of 18 colors and designs, allowing users to customize the look of their case to their taste.
There are certainly beefier, more heavy-duty cases on the market. But, for day-to-day use and storage convenience, few others strike the right balance provided by the tomtoc Switch Case’s precision-molded form.
- Slim hardshell takes up barely more space than the Switch itself
- Still fits 10 game catridges
- Not as protective against severe blows as some bulkier competitors
- No room for any other peripherals or chargers
Maybe you have a vacation home, maybe you like to take your Switch RVing, maybe you just can’t stand the idea that you’ll be without a single, precious accessory for your Switch when at a friend’s house…if any of these things sound like you, the Zadii Hard Carrying Case may be the ideal solution.
Where the above entry prides itself on being practically a second skin for the Switch, this one focuses entirely on letting you stuff in just about everything, including the Switch itself, both Joy-Cons, both Joy-Con straps, the Joy-Con Grip, a Nintendo Switch Pro or similarly shaped controller, the official power adapter, 21 game cartridges, and the original Switch Dock.
Even with all of these pre-cut foam slots, the case still isn’t massive at 11 inches at its widest and just 5.11 inches thick. There’s definitely a niche market for this one. But, for the users that fall within its ideal demographic, the Zadii Hard Carrying Case represents a protective and comprehensive solution to the problem of being a true Switch road warrior.
- Can hold literally everything in the Switch box, and more
- Holds 21 game cartridges
- Burly exterior should protect against all but the most catastrophic impacts
- Understandably bulky
- Pre-cut foam may not precisely fit all third-party equivalent accessories
How did we choose these products?
Switch owners are the most diverse group of console gamers there is. Everyone from youngsters plowing through their first Mario Kart races, to Smash Bros veterans that have been playing since the N64, to casual gamers that just want to relax on their Animal Crossing islands all play on the same hardware. Because of this, the way that each of these owners customizes their own personal switch can vary greatly. However, a few things hold true for all of them and were integral to informing the selections made for this list.
First, the products chosen here have all received praise from both professionals and private users alike. Second, each product was pitted against its competitors to assess the best mix of features and value. Lastly, all of the items all fulfill a specific, practical need that most Switch users will likely run into during their ownership.
Are licensed accessories really worth it?
As annoying as this answer can be, the truth is: it depends. Official Nintendo licensing provides an extra layer of assurance that you’re using a product that isn’t likely to damage your switch or run into compatibility issues. That said, paying an extra 25-50% for the exact same MicroSD card because it has a Zelda logo printed on the outside is probably not a good idea for anyone but the most rabid Nintendo collector.
Can I just use the USB-C cord from my phone/tablet/laptop?
USB-C has become such a dominant protocol because of the versatility of the connector and the wide range of data and power it can deliver. Because of that, yes, most USB-C cables will work to charge the Switch. However, as with any mobile device, it is important to use undamaged, good-quality cables to avoid potentially harming an expensive console by cheaping out on a unsafe or frayed cable.
Can I charge the switch with (insert random power supply here)?
This is a less clearcut answer. Although it is highly unlikely that the switch will be damaged by being plugged into a third-party charger of good quality (thanks to the power delivery regulations of the USB-C protocol), it is not impossible. The most likely “bad” outcome is that the console will charge slowly or not at all. However, it is still best to confirm with a manufacturer, or at least an existing owner of the charging device, that it provides a good charging experience for Switch consoles.
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