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Nintendo Switch is a superb gaming console that boasts a massive library of entertaining first-party and third-party games. That said, the bundled Nintendo Switch Joy-Con controller leaves something to be desired, be it owing to the infamous Joycon drift issue or its textureless grip and tiny D-pad.
Well, if you are finding it difficult to acclimate to the wireless Joy-Cons, then fret not – here are the best Nintendo Switch controllers that will greatly elevate your gaming experience.
Before we get to the Nintendo Switch controllers,
Now, let’s take a closer look at the best Nintendo Switch controllers on the market.
1. 8BitDo Pro 2
- Battery life: Up to 20 hours | Weight: 0.5lbs
- Compatibility: Windows, macOS, Android, Nintendo Switch, Nintendo Switch Lite, Raspberry Pi
8BitDo makes terrific retro-themed game controllers and the Pro 2 is no exception. The 8BitDo Pro 2’s design, for instance, will walk you down memory lane as it looks like a SNES controller. Looks aside, the controller is packed to the brim with a truckload of features. In fact, while this list is primarily geared toward Nintendo Switch Controllers, you can connect the Pro 2 to a PC, an Android phone, or even an iOS device.
More notably, the controller comes with a fantastic, clicky D-pad which is well-revered in the community. The analog sticks offer adequate friction too, as reported by several users in their reviews. The controller also comes with two programmable back paddles which can be mapped to any in-game command of your liking. To do so, you’ll have to use the Ultimate software app, which can be downloaded from 8BitDo’s website.
Speaking of which, the Ultimate software utility offers granular control over the Pro 2’s inputs. You can modify the intensity of the haptic feedback, and the actuation range of the shoulder triggers and even assign macros in your favorite games.
The 8BitDo Pro 2 also supports motion controls, so you can tilt the controller to improve your aim in shooters. However, the controller doesn’t support Nintendo’s HD Rumble vibration feedback. Furthermore, the Pro 2 cannot wake the Switch from sleep either. Likewise, you won’t be able to scan Amiibos using the controller as it doesn’t support NFC.
The 8BitDo Pro 2 features a USB Type-C port for charging. The device gets a 1,000mAh rechargeable battery which should last up to 20 hours off a single charge. That said, you can swap out the battery pack and use two AA batteries instead if the controller dies in the heat of a battle.
All things considered, the Pro 2 from 8BitDo gets a lot right and is considered the best Nintendo Switch controller by many reviewers.
- Pros: Customizable macros, Reliable performance, Multi-device connectivity
- Cons: Doesn’t support NFC
2. PowerA Enhanced Wireless Controller
- Battery life: Up to 30 hours | Weight: 0.49lbs
- Compatibility: Nintendo Switch, Switch Lite
PowerA has a penchant for designing stylish controllers for the Nintendo Switch. The Enhanced Wireless controller, for instance, comes wrapped in stunning liveries with color-matched buttons. So, if you were on the lookout for a themed controller from say, the Pokemon franchise or the Legend of Zelda series, PowerA has you covered.
That’s not all, as the controller features an ergonomic shape and mimics the button layout of the pricier Nintendo Switch Pro controller. You also get two programmable paddles towards the back of the unit, which can be remapped without any third-party software.
On the downside, you cannot change the actuation force for the paddles or the triggers, or use macros like you can with the 8BitDo Pro 2 controller. Interestingly, buyers have reported that the controller offers extremely clicky and tactile buttons. The analog sticks spring back into position swiftly too and users have reported little to no lag when using the controller with their Nintendo Switch as well.
Further, PowerA has also added motion controls, which should come in handy in racing and FPS games. However, the PowerA Enhanced Wireless controller lacks NFC support. More notably, the controller doesn’t offer any Rumble support – HD or otherwise – either.
On the bright side, the lack of vibrational feedback allows the controller to last quite a while. In fact, PowerA claims that the Enhanced Wireless controller’s 900mAh battery can last 30 hours between charges. The company even bundles a USB 2.0 to Type-C cable in the box to charge the device.
- Pros: Affordable, Comes in unique colorways, Supports remappable buttons
- Cons: Doesn’t support NFC or Rumble
3. 8BitDo Lite 2
- Battery life: Up to 18 hours | Weight: 0.18lbs
- Compatibility: Nintendo Switch, Switch Lite, Android, Raspberry Pi
8BitDo Lite 2 is a compact Joy-Con replacement for the Nintendo Switch. Unlike most controllers on the list, the Lite 2 is geared toward arcade games and platformers. That’s not to say that you can’t play 3D games with the controller. In fact, unlike the original 8BitDo Lite, the newer version comes with analog sticks as well. Moreover, on top of offering support for Nintendo Switch, the controller can also pair with an Android or iOS device, along with a Windows machine.
Users have pointed out that the controller offers an excellent directional pad. Furthermore, you can pick up the controller in two stunning colors as well. In terms of core functionality, the controller features a customizable Turbo function and even comes with a motion sensor. You will miss out on support for HD Rumble and NFC, though.
On the upside, the Lite 2 improves upon its predecessor’s design and employs proper shoulder triggers as opposed to in-line L and R buttons.
The controller comes with a 480mAh rechargeable battery pack which, per 8BitDo’s claims, can last up to 18 hours. The controller charges via a USB Type-C interface and can charge completely in around two hours. All said and done, the 8BitDo Lite 2 is a cool Nintendo Switch controller for 2D and 3D games.
- Pros: Compact, Lightweight, Rumble support, Motion controls
- Cons: Lacks NFC and Amiibo support
4. Nintendo Switch Pro Controller
- Battery life: Up to 40 hours | Weight: 0.54lbs
- Compatibility: Nintendo Switch, Switch Lite, Windows
The Nintendo Switch Pro Controller is the most expensive controller on the list. But, don’t let its price tag wean you off. In fact, the common consensus in the gaming community is that the controller is the cream of the crop as it comes with a treasure trove of features. For starters, the controller is available in a myriad of cool colors and themes.
So, if you don’t mind shelling out a couple of extra bucks, you can pick up the controller in a Xenoblade Chronicles 2 theme as well. The controller’s feature set doesn’t disappoint either. In fact, it is the only controller on the list to support Nintendo’s HD rumble feature. As a result, you will benefit from more immersive vibrational feedback in titles like Hollow Knight and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.
Furthermore, the controller also supports NFC, so you can tap your Amiibos on the controller to get additional rewards in select first-party games like Legend of Zelda: BOTW as well.
You’ll also be able to leverage motion controls in racing and FPS games on the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller. And, unlike the Nintendo Switch Joy-Con controller, the Switch Pro controller offers bigger analog sticks with better friction for more precise inputs.
Users have jotted that the controller ships with deeply-tactile buttons as well. More importantly, the Switch Pro controller features the biggest battery out of all the options on this list. To wit, the controller comes with a 1,300mAh battery pack which, per the brand, can last 40 hours between games. The device also gets a USB Type-C port for charging and takes up to 6 hours to fully charge.
To sum up, the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller is expensive, but justifiably so.
- Pros: Supports HD Rumble, NFC, and Motion controls
- Cons: Expensive
5. Hori Nintendo Switch Split Pad Pro
- Battery life: N/A | Weight: 0.49lbs
- Compatibility: Nintendo Switch
The Nintendo Switch is a versatile console as it can be docked and connected to a TV or used on the fly. While most Nintendo Switch controllers on the list cater to the docked orientation, the Hori Split Pad Pro is designed to give gamers the best experience when using the Switch in handheld mode. As its design suggests, the Hori Split Pad Pro offers a meatier grip and mimics a conventional controller. It even offers more sizeable analog sticks and a bigger D-pad compared to the Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons.
The icing on the cake is that the Hori Split Pad Pro is officially licensed by Nintendo. As a result, the gamepad can comfortably fit inside the Nintendo Switch and Nintendo Switch OLED docks too. The button layout comprises the A/B/X/Y toggles, along with two dedicated paddles towards the back. The paddles can be remapped to any button of your liking to better optimize your gameplay.
That’s not all, as the controller even ships with Turbo functionality, which mimics the notion of a button being quickly tapped when you press and hold it.
Do note that, unlike the bundled Joy-Con controller, the Hori Split Pad Pro can only be used when slotted into a Nintendo Switch. It goes without saying that the controller doesn’t come with a battery pack as well.
Further, you should also be aware that the Split Pad Pro doesn’t support haptic feedback or motion controls either. However, if you plan on buying the controller, you can pick up the Split Pad Pro in a bunch of unique colorways.
- Pros: Ergonomic grip for handheld usage, unique colorways
- Cons: Doesn’t support NFC and Rumble, Cannot work wirelessly
Get Your Game On!
These are some of the best Nintendo Switch third-party and first-party controllers you can buy. While the Nintendo Switch Pro controller gets the most features, opting for a third-party controller will save you some bucks. At the same time, most third-party Switch controllers support remappable paddles and a Turbo feature too, so choose wisely.