The Nintendo Switch has been an undeniable smash hit, selling more than 78 million units as of January 2021, and still going strong more than three years after release. Despite this, the standard Nintendo Switch Joy-Con controllers that ship with the console are frequently criticized. They are expensive and fragile.
Whether you’re looking for an extra controller or a replacement, we’ve put together a list of the best Nintendo Switch controllers. The list includes both first-party and third-party options. If you don’t have a Nintendo Switch yet, click the button below to get one of the best consoles of all time!
The best Nintendo Switch controllers:
Editor’s note: We’ll be updating this list of the best Nintendo Switch controllers regularly as new ones launch.
1. Nintendo Switch Pro Controller
While the Joy-Cons are perfect for portability, the best Nintendo Switch controller experience is undoubtedly the official Pro Controller. It’s a full controller with a similar layout to the ever-popular Xbox One Controller, with the D-pad on the bottom.
The Nintendo Switch Pro Controller is more durable and comfortable than the standard Joy-Cons, making it perfect for playing at home or getting competitive in Super Smash Bros Ultimate or Fortnite. That said, the D-pad isn’t the best for traditional fighting games, and as a first-party Nintendo controller, you should expect to pay a premium over other options.
2. Nintendo Switch Joy-Con Controllers
The Joy-Cons hit some early troubles with connectivity, but they’re still among the best Nintendo Switch controllers. Sure, they’re expensive, but you’re technically getting two fully functional controllers, which is perfect for the occasional co-op.
Nowadays, you can get Joy-Cons in a huge variety of colors, including the option to pick and choose the combination you like on Nintendo’s website. That said, there are plenty of color options available on Amazon, and they tend to run slightly cheaper than those in the official Nintendo Accessory shop.
If you want to save a little money, you can also try out some Joy-Con lookalikes. We tried and liked the Esywen Joypad Controller, which has the same split design but comes at half the price. Granted, they still don’t quite match up to the originals, which you can buy at the link below.
3. 8bitdo SN30 Pro
One of the best things about the Nintendo Switch is the sizeable library of retro and indie games available on the platform. In fact, if you have a subscription to Nintendo Switch Online, you already have access to more than 70 classic NES and SNES games.
Read also: 15 best retro games for Android!
Sure, Nintendo sells SNES-style Switch controllers, but they are almost always out of stock. The next best thing is the 8bitdo SN30, which offers the same experience for the Switch and Windows, Mac, Android, and more. This 8bitdo SN30 Pro (pictured above) also adds a couple of joysticks to better adapt the classic controller to modern Nintendo Switch games.
4. HORI Split Pad Pro
Those who like the portability of the Switch but don’t like the feel of standard Joy-Cons will find the HORI Split Pad Pro to be a great option. It’s made of two parts that slide right into the standard slots on the sides of the console. It provides a much more comfortable grip and a fully functional D-pad on the left side. This design makes traditional fighting games a dream.
Keep in mind that these Joy-Con replacements are beefy and won’t work wirelessly. However, they have several programmable turbo buttons and come in significantly cheaper than first-party Joy-Con controllers. If you want the D-pad but not the bulk, HORI also sells a D-pad toting replacement for the left Joy-Con.
5. PDP Faceoff Deluxe+ Controller
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One of the best additional features is a headphone jack at the bottom of the controller, which really helps build immersion. The tradeoff is that it’s wired. Still, it comes with a 10 foot (3 meters) cable. It would be best if you had plenty of mobility, whether playing at home or on the go.
6. PowerA Enhanced Wireless Controller – Mario Pop
If you want something similar to (but cheaper than) the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller, you can’t do much better than the PowerA Enhanced Wireless Controller. It gets really close to the official version in terms of quality and ergonomics, and you can’t deny this version of it is just about the most awesome-looking controller you’ve seen! Any Mario fan will go nuts over this controller.
Granted, there are some tradeoffs. The controller does not feature rumble, IR, or Amiibo support. It also uses two AA batteries (included in the box), which means the console can’t tell you the remaining battery life. The overall build quality is also worse, but it’s much more readily available than the Switch Pro Controller, which is often sold out at many retailers.
One great benefit to the PowerA controller is that the manufacturer has created a slew of designs, not just this Mario one. Some of these are really cool, featuring Zelda, Minecraft, Pokemon, Spyro, The Witcher, and much more. Just click the button below to see all the amazing options.