Gaming

The Top Nintendo Switch Controllers for 2023

The Nintendo Switch has become one of the most popular gaming consoles of all time, and with the release of the Switch Lite and the Switch OLED, its popularity is only expected to grow. While the Switch was designed with on-the-go gaming in mind, there are plenty of ways to enjoy it in the comfort of your own living room as well.

While the Joy-Con grip that comes with the Switch is functional, using a dedicated controller can greatly enhance your gaming experience. Whether you’re into fast-paced FPS games or slow narrative-driven adventures, there’s a Nintendo Switch controller for you. In this article, we’ll explore the best options available on the market. We’ve also included a list of frequently asked questions about controllers at the end.

The Best Nintendo Switch Controllers

Nintendo Switch Joy-Con Pair

While these are the standard controllers that come with the Nintendo Switch, having extra pairs can be incredibly handy, especially if you frequently play local co-op games. The Joy-Cons are versatile and can be used with the system in handheld or docked mode. Each Joy-Con is equipped with face buttons, bumpers, triggers, and directional buttons. They can also be used individually, with each one featuring bumper buttons on the side. The Joy-Cons provide precise control and are compatible with the newer Switch OLED model. It’s worth noting that the infamous “Joy-Con drift” issue still exists, but it’s less common now. These controllers are also compatible with other Nintendo Switch accessories.

Red and blue Joy-Con view from angle
Sara KurfeƟ

Nintendo Switch Pro Controller

If you primarily play your Nintendo Switch in docked mode, the Joy-Con grip may feel too small for your liking. In that case, investing in the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller is a great choice. While it is more expensive, retailing for around $70, it offers a more traditional controller design with large face buttons, bumpers, triggers, and analog sticks. The Pro Controller also features a directional pad that is similar to the ones found on the Wii U controllers. Its ergonomic shape is reminiscent of the Xbox Series X controller, and its rechargeable battery lasts longer than the PlayStation 5’s DualSense controller. The Pro Controller can also be used on the go with a stand or the system’s built-in kickstand.

Hands holding Nintendo Switch Pro Controller
Nintendo

HORI D-Pad Controller (L) – Nintendo Switch

When playing the Nintendo Switch in handheld mode, some users find the lack of a traditional directional pad on the left Joy-Con to be a drawback. To address this, Hori has created a left Joy-Con controller that includes a directional pad. This controller enhances the control you have over your character, particularly when playing 2D platformers. However, it does not replace the regular left Joy-Con entirely and is only compatible with the handheld mode of the Switch. The Hori Joy-Con drains the Switch’s battery more quickly compared to other controllers but comes at an affordable price of $25.

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Hori Joy-Con on Nintendo Switch
Genevieve Poblano/Digital Trends

8bitDo Zero 2

If you’re going on a road trip with friends and want to play multiplayer games like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe or Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, the 8bitDo Zero 2 is a great alternative to the Joy-Con controllers. This tiny controller has all the buttons you need for split-screen multiplayer games, including a traditional D-pad, face buttons, and shoulder buttons. It even comes in various colors inspired by the Game Boy Pocket. The 8bitDo Zero 2 is not limited to the Nintendo Switch and also supports PC, Mac, and Android devices through Bluetooth. It’s a versatile and affordable option that provides motion control support.

8bitdo Zero 2 featured
Dan Baker/Digital Trends

8bitdo Lite

Designed specifically for the Nintendo Switch Lite, the 8bitdo Lite controller perfectly complements the portability of the handheld console. It features two or three D-pads instead of joysticks, which makes it ideal for 2D or slower-paced 3D games. With turbo button functionality and a convenient USB-C charging function, the 8bitdo Lite is an affordable alternative controller that allows you to enjoy games without constantly holding the console up to your face. Keep in mind that it lacks motion and rumble features but offers great value for the price.

Front view of PowerA Switch wired controller
Image used with permission by copyright holder

PowerA Wired Controller Plus

If you primarily play your Nintendo Switch in docked mode and frequently have friends over for multiplayer gaming sessions, the PowerA Wired Controller Plus is a reliable second gamepad option. With a 10-foot cable, you can comfortably play from your couch without worrying about battery life. The design of the controller is similar to the Pro Controller, with a layout that closely resembles the official Nintendo controller. It even comes in two Nintendo-themed designs featuring Mario and Zelda. If you prefer a wireless option, PowerA also offers an enhanced version of this controller that uses Bluetooth connectivity. The Wired Controller Plus lacks some features like motion functionality and HD Rumble but offers great value for its price.

Super Smash Bros. GameCube controller for Switch
Image used with permission by copyright holder

GameCube Controller Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Edition

For fans of the classic GameCube controller, there is good news. The Nintendo Switch supports the GameCube controller through a special adapter. This adapter, which is also compatible with the Wii U, allows you to connect multiple GameCube controllers for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate battles. The GameCube Controller’s unique design, including the iconic C-stick, asymmetrical button layout, and ergonomic shape, makes it a must-have for dedicated Super Smash Bros. players. While it’s not intended for portable gaming, 8BitDo offers the GBros. wireless adapter that allows you to use the GameCube controller wirelessly with up to 30 hours of battery life.

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Side view of PDP Wired Fight Pad Pro Controller for Nintendo Switch
Image used with permission by copyright holder

PDP – Wired Fight Pad Pro Controller for Nintendo Switch

If you’re a fan of the GameCube-style controller but don’t want to invest in a USB adapter, the PDP Wired Fight Pad Pro Controller is a great alternative. Sporting a classic GameCube controller design, it features a standard left analog stick and a smaller C-stick on the right. The face buttons feel similar to Nintendo’s own controller, and it also includes shoulder buttons and triggers on both sides. While primarily designed for playing Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, it can be used with other Switch games that require a traditional controller layout. The Wired Fight Pad Pro Controller does not have motion sensors like the Joy-Con or Pro Controllers but comes with a second analog stick that can be attached in place of the C-stick. It’s available with different character themes such as Mario, Zelda, Pikachu, Luigi, and Peach.

Side view of the Esywen wireless controller for Switch
Image used with permission by copyright holder

ESYWEN Wireless Switch Controller

If you’re looking for a customizable controller that offers a similar layout to the Pro Controller, the ESYWEN wireless Switch controller is a fantastic option. It features adjustable turbo and dual motors with three different levels to choose from, allowing you to customize your gaming experience. The controller supports motion control and pairs via Bluetooth. It comes with a three-year warranty and technical support in case you encounter any issues. The ESYWEN controller offers great value for its price and also appeals to fans of the PlayStation 5’s DualSense setup.

Zelda-themed PowerA Enhanced Wireless Controller
Image used with permission by copyright holder

PowerA Enhanced Wireless Controller

When it comes to customization, the PowerA Enhanced Wireless Controller stands out. This wireless controller offers a similar design to the Pro Controller but includes additional buttons to enhance your gaming experience. The best part is the wide range of character designs available, with around 40 options to choose from on PowerA’s Amazon page. The PowerA Enhanced Wireless Controller closely resembles the Pro Controller with similarly positioned analog sticks, face buttons, shoulder buttons, and triggers. While the directional pad is slightly smaller, it functions well. The controller uses standard AA batteries, making it lighter than the Pro Controller. It features two customizable “Advanced Gaming Buttons” on the back that can be programmed to perform the function of any other button. You can easily switch between different button mappings for specific games. The PowerA Enhanced Wireless Controller also supports motion controls, despite its lower price compared to the Pro Controller.

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8bitdo Sn30 Pro controller front view
Image used with permission by copyright holder

8BitDo Sn30 Pro+

The 8BitDo Sn30 Pro+ offers a unique combination of style and versatility. It suits a wide variety of games, from Animal Crossing: New Horizons to Astral Chain. While it may not feel as solid as the Switch Pro Controller, it comes at a lower price point, making it an attractive alternative. The Sn30 Pro+ is ready to use with the Switch out of the box and can be easily paired through the console’s Bluetooth settings. It also works well with macOS, Android, and Windows, offering great compatibility with other devices. The Sn30 Pro+ features customizable options, including trigger dead zones, macro programming, and key rebinding, thanks to the incredible configuration software provided by 8BitDo. The controller’s design resembles the regular SN30 Pro, but with additional customization capabilities. Please note that the Sn30 Pro+ does not appear to work with iPhones or iPads. We recommend connecting it to your computer at least once to take advantage of its customizations, even if you primarily use it with your Switch.

Nintendo Switch 1-Up Glow in the Dark Rematch Controller

Great for gaming on a budget

For those seeking affordability without sacrificing style, the Nintendo Switch 1-Up Glow in the Dark Rematch Controller is a fantastic choice. As the name suggests, it glows in the dark and features a cool Toad design, allowing you to game with a touch of style. The controller is comfortable, convenient, and comes with a 10-foot cable, making it perfect for gamers who don’t want to worry about batteries or charging. The back button paddles give it a professional feel without breaking the bank. This controller offers a great gaming experience at an affordable price.

Frequently Asked Questions

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  • The best fighting games on Nintendo Switch
  • The best party games for Nintendo Switch
  • Best video game deals for May 2023: PlayStation, Xbox, Switch
  • 150+ Nintendo Switch games discounted in weekend sale, from $10

This article was brought to you by OnSpec Electronic, Inc..

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