Best Nintendo Switch controller

Reviews

One of the best uses for motion controls on the Nintendo Switch is the ability to turn your controller like a steering wheel while dodging banana peels in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.

BestReviews is reader-supported and may earn an affiliate commission. Details.

Which Nintendo Switch controller is best?

While the pair of Joy-Con controllers that bookend your Nintendo Switch console work well for playing a wide range of games, sometimes players simply prefer the feel of a traditional controller in their hands. Our top pick, the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller, is the go-to choice for many Switch owners for its ergonomic comfort and handy Amiibo support. But whether you need a more precise level of control while walloping opponents in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate or hugging tight corners in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, there are plenty of other excellent Nintendo Switch controllers available that are well worth checking out.

What to know before you buy a Nintendo Switch controller

Controller-specific features

Although unofficial options may be more affordable than Nintendo’s own Switch controllers, they may lack game-enhancing features, such as Amiibo support, HD rumble feedback, and motion controls.

Battery Life

Nintendo Switch controllers are powered by either disposable batteries, an internal rechargeable battery, or a wired connection. If you don’t want to keep buying new batteries, a rechargeable or wired Switch controller is the best solution for you.

Comfort

If you are concerned about the potential hand or wrist discomfort that may come with a marathon gaming session, look for controllers shaped after the comfortably designed Nintendo Switch Pro Controller.

What to look for in a quality Nintendo Switch controller

Comfort

Generally speaking, the grip of a conventional controller is likely to feel more comfortable in your hands as opposed to the thin and rectangular Joy-Con controllers. These superior ergonomic designs help players to avoid hand and wrist strain over long gaming sessions.

Wired or Wireless

Wireless gaming is certainly freeing, but it comes at the cost of having to buy additional batteries on a regular basis or having to play with the charging cable plugged in when its power runs low. A wired controller may feel limiting at first, but you’ll never have to worry about it running out of energy mid-game.

Game Functionality

Many Nintendo Switch games are designed to take full advantage of everything that the official Nintendo Switch Pro Controller can do, including HD rumble feedback, Amiibo support, and motion controls. If your new Switch controller doesn’t support these engaging functions, you may be missing out.

Color

Nintendo’s Joy-Cons are known for their vibrant neon colors, but many alternate Switch controllers are available in a wide range of sleek styles as well. True fans of Nintendo games like Super Mario and The Legend of Zelda should keep an eye out for special controllers decked out with limited-edition designs.

How much you can expect to spend on a Nintendo Switch controller

The average price for a new Nintendo Switch controller ranges from $9 to $69, and factors that may influence its cost include the inclusion of premium features like HD rumble feedback, the ability to play wirelessly, and exclusive controller colors or designs. If you are happy with using a plainly colored controller with fewer bonus features, modestly priced controllers are an affordable way to accommodate additional players.

Nintendo Switch controller FAQ

I love Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, but can I use my classic GameCube controller to play it like I could on my Wii U?

A. No. However, the Wireless GameCube Style Controller from Power A perfectly emulates the classic Super Smash Bros Melee feel, and it’s an excellent companion for fighting game fans.

How do I wirelessly pair a controller with my Nintendo Switch?

A. Launch the HOME Menu on your Switch, and enter the Controllers and Change Grip and Order menu options. From there, hold your controller’s SYNC Button for a few seconds to connect it to the console.

What are the best Nintendo Switch controllers to buy?

Top Nintendo Switch controller

Nintendo Switch Pro Controller

Nintendo Switch Pro Controller

Our take: Nintendo hit it out of the park with this comfortable controller, making it our go-to choice for tackling action-packed games like Super Mario Odssey and Splatoon 2.

What we like: Tap Amiibo to its surface to activate them. Excellent HD rumble feedback. Charging cable included. Wireless gameplay. Motion controls.

What we dislike: The Nintendo Switch Pro Controller is certainly the best Switch controller out there, but note that it is tethered to a premium price tag.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top Nintendo Switch controller for the money

Joy-Con Comfort Grips

Joy-Con Comfort Grips

Our take: This inexpensive and simple solution combines the HD rumble and motion controls of the two Joy-Con devices you already own with a surprisingly comfortable controller grip for the best of both worlds

What we like: Extremely affordable. Cozy rubberized grips. Lightweight design. Easy to insert and remove Joy-Cons for charging. Durable controller grip.

What we dislike: The concept works extremely well, but a Joy-Con Comfort Grip makes for a relatively narrow controller.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Nintendo Switch Afterglow Wireless Deluxe Controller

Nintendo Switch Afterglow Wireless Deluxe Controller

Our take: It has a comfortable grip of a high-end controller with LED customizable light and colors.

What we like: Officially licensed by Nintendo. Motion controls. Wireless play up to 30 feet. Responsive joysticks and buttons.

What we dislike: Average battery life.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.

Arnold Carreiro writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

Copyright 2021 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.