The best Nintendo Switch accessories

Like the Wii before it, the Nintendo Switch is one of the most innovative game consoles of the past decade, not to mention popular. It’s versatile, allowing you to play on the big screen in your living room or on the go. There are plenty of excellent games for it, and now there’s a portable-only model that’s less expensive, the Switch Lite.

As fun as this system may be, as any gamer will tell you, the experience can only get better with the help of some must-have accessories.

There are hundreds of accessories for the Nintendo Switch, but they’re not all created equal. In our list, we’ve narrowed down the essential Nintendo Switch accessories that will take your game to the next level.

Here are the best Nintendo Switch accessories:

Updated on 12/23/2020 by Nathaniel Mott: Added a new pick and category for best Nintendo Switch wired internet adapter.

The best controller

8bit pro

The 8BitDo SN30 Pro+ is the best controller for playing Switch games on a TV.

Pros: Well-designed, cheaper than Nintendo’s official Pro controller, D-Pad and analog trigger make some games more enjoyable to play

Cons: Lack of NFC for Amiibo, weaker rumble and motion controls.

While the Switch’s included Joy-Con controllers are ideal for handheld gaming in portable mode, they can be cumbersome when used in console mode — when the Switch is connected to the TV with its dock— due to their tiny size. For big screen gaming you should opt for the 8BitDo SN30 Pro+, which is a full-size controller that is solidly built and has clicky and responsive buttons.

The 8BitDo SN30 Pro+ design is a mashup of both the original Super Nintendo controller’s familiar button layout and the PlayStation 4 Dualshock controller’s comfortable grip. The old school D-Pad is a significant step up from the four separate directional buttons on the standard left Joy-Con, especially while playing platformers, or any 2D games that need precise inputs.

The 8BitDo SN30 Pro+ has a removable battery pack that lasts 20 hours on a single charge and can be charged via its USB-C port. It also offers the flexibility of using AA batteries in case you don’t have access to a power outlet.

Nintendo offers an official Pro Controller for the Switch, which is also a fine choice, but it has a few minor issues that hold it back from being our top pick. Firstly, Nintendo’s accessory has a D-Pad that is slightly spongy compared to the 8BitDo SN30 Pro+ which makes it come across as less responsive. Compared to the Pro Controller, the 8BitDo SN30 Pro+ manages to hit the sweet spot in size making it more comfortable to hold for extended gaming sessions. Finally, the biggest pro in the SN30 Pro+ column is that despite the above advantages it is $20 cheaper than Nintendo’s Pro Controller.

The SN30 Pro+ has a couple of minor downsides, the first being a lack of NFC support for Nintendo’s Amiibo toy figurines —  for this you’ll have to rely on the Joy-Cons. And lastly, its Rumble and motion control feature are a slight step down from Nintendo’s official offering. But, it’s a better value buy for most Switch users and as a bonus is compatible both with Windows 10 and macOS right out of the box. — Siladitya Ray

The best Nintendo Switch power bank

anker nintendo switch editon battery

Extend the Switch’s battery life with the Anker Powercore 13400 Nintendo Switch Edition so that your gameplay doesn’t get interrupted.

Pros: Licensed by Nintendo, compact, fast charging (USB-C Power Delivery), USB-C cable included, can be used with phones and some laptops

Cons: Pricey compared to other power banks with similar or larger capacities, no fast-charging wall adapter included

According to Nintendo, the battery life on the original Nintendo Switch (2017) is approximately 2.5 to 6.5 hours, while an updated version (2019), with more efficient power usage, yields about 4.5 to 9 hours; the Switch Lite averages between 3 to 7 hours. If you’re an avid gamer and you have all the settings on high — brightness on high and Wi-Fi enabled, for example — you should bring along a portable USB power bank to lengthen the battery life. Our pick is the Anker PowerCore 13400 Nintendo Switch Edition.

You might be thinking, can’t you use any power bank since they are all the same? No: Because of the significant amount of power the Switch draws (more so when it’s in use), you need a power bank that supports USB-C Power Delivery (PD) fast charging. As for capacity, you would want as your budget allows; 10,000 mAh should be the minimum. And, you’ll need a USB-C-to-USB-C cable.

Considering speed, capacity, and price, we like Anker’s PowerCore 13400 Nintendo Switch Edition. Switch-brand licensing aside, the battery is rated to support the full amount of power that the Switch draws. You can expect between 3 to 4 hours of playtime, depending on settings; it has a capacity of 13,400mAh. There’s no way to neatly attach the battery to the back of the Switch, but the PowerCore 13400 Nintendo Switch Edition is compact enough for travel. The power bank also works with smartphones and other portable devices and comes with a USB-C-to-USB-C cable. When used with a PD power adapter, the power bank recharges in about 4 hours, but the adapter is optional.

There aren’t many portable batteries specifically designed for the Switch. The few we found either came from unfamiliar brands or had batteries that were too small, not to mention pricey. For your money, we didn’t feel they were worth considering and you’d get more value out of a standard power bank, as they can also be used to recharge phones, tablets, and other small USB-powered devices.

We also didn’t consider power banks that use Qualcomm’s Quick Charge technology, since the Switch does not support it. We want to note that you could theoretically use a power bank you already own, but unless it supports fast charging, it may not deliver the performance that’s needed. However, it’s probably fine for recharging overnight when you’re not playing.

The big downside might be the cost. For around the same price or less, you can usually find higher-capacity USB-C PD power banks, including ones from Anker, like the PowerCore Essential 20000 PD. If the Nintendo certification doesn’t matter to you, opt for something less expensive — just use a reliable brand with a good warranty. On a positive note, Anker’s power banks tend to be value products. We have used them for years and found them to be reliable and perform well. — Les Shu

The best Nintendo Switch microSD card

Samsung memory card

The Samsung Evo Select 256GB is the best microSD card for expanding the Switch’s measly internal storage.

Pros: Great value for a high-capacity card, meets Nintendo Switch’s speed requirements for SD cards, durable

Cons: None

The Switch’s 32GB internal storage can fill up almost instantly with individual major games taking up anywhere between 10 to 20GB of space. We recommend the Samsung Evo Select 256GB microSD card as an essential purchase for any new Switch buyer.

The Samsung Evo Select 256GB microSD card adds eight-fold more storage to the Switch and should comfortably hold a large collection of AAA, retro and indie games. Samsung’s card is rated with 100MB/s read and 90MB/s write speed, which should enable shorter game load times over lower performance cards.

While you could do with a 128GB card initially, if you plan on buying mostly digital games, then you would be better served going with the larger-capacity 256GB card since it costs only slightly more and is more future proof.

SanDisk makes a Nintendo-licensed microSD card. It has specs which are similar to our pick but often retails for a higher price. Pass on this and save the money unless you really want the card with Mario art on it. — Siladitya Ray

The best Nintendo Switch carry case

Nintendo switch case

The RDS Industries Nintendo Switch Deluxe Carrying Case is a sturdy hard case with room for a Switch, Joy-Con controllers, and game cartridges.

Pros: Hard exterior, room for Switch and eight games, built in kickstand for gaming on the go

Cons: Not large enough to carry the dock and other accessories

The RDS Industries Nintendo Switch Deluxe Carrying Case is an officially licensed case that protects a Nintendo Switch and accessories with a hard, water-resistant exterior. 

The case is available in multiple designs apart from the standard black that includes artwork from Mario, Zelda and Splatoon 2. Besides the Switch with Joy-Con controllers attached, there’s room for up to eight games in two separate plastic cases, cables, two SD cards, and other small accessories. We also like that the screen-protecting cushion doubles as an adjustable kickstand for gaming while on the road. There’s also a carry-handle. — Siladitya Ray

The best Nintendo Switch headset

Steel Series Artcis 1

The SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless is the best headset for Switch gaming on the go for its price and versatility.

Pros: Comfortable, light, stellar battery life, great audio for gaming

Cons: Plastic build quality, occasional interference due to Wi-Fi signals.

SteelSeries is known for making great gaming headsets, and the Arctis 1 Wireless continues that tradition. The wireless headset comes with the same drivers that were present on our previous pick, the SteelSeries Arctis 7, offering immersive audio and a wide soundstage. The cushioned ear cups make it comfortable to use during extended gaming sessions.

The SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless comes bundled with a USB-C transmitter dongle that plugs into the Switch and allows you to connect the headphones wirelessly to the Switch. The Arctis 1 uses 2.4GHz wireless on its dongle instead of Bluetooth to connect to the Switch, which ensures that there is no noticeable lag and crystal-clear audio. While in console mode, the dongle can be connected to the Switch’s dock using an included USB-C to USB-A adapter.

Priced at $100, the SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless lacks the premium build quality that you would expect from top shelf SteelSeries headphones, but the plastic-clad device is adequately sturdy for regular use. The design aesthetic is unassuming and doesn’t scream “gamer”, making it more versatile for use with other devices, like your phone. The most impressive part is that the headset lasts for 20 to 22 hours on a single charge, which is close to three times the Switch’s average battery life.

One downside of the 2.4Ghz band used by the headset’s dongle is that you may deal with occasional choppiness in an area crowded with Wi-Fi devices, but this shouldn’t be an issue for most people. — Siladitya Ray

The best screen protector

tempered glass screen protector

The amFilm Tempered Glass screen protector protects the display from dings and bumps.

Pros: Thick, two in the box, inexpensive

Cons: Thickness makes it noticeable

As with any portable device, the screen on the Nintendo Switch can be easily scratched if it isn’t properly protected — like throwing it into a backpack. For a strong, protective screen protector, we recommend the amFilm Tempered Glass Screen Protector.

It’s a little thicker than other screen protectors, at 0.3 millimeters, which makes it harder to cut through it. In the box, you get two screen protectors — if one gets damaged, there’s another one to replace it — and wet wipes and microfiber cloth to clean the screen before applying the protector.

The downside: Given the thickness, it’s more noticeable than other screen protectors. — Christian de Looper

The best controller charging dock

powera controller dock

Charging Joy-Con and Pro controllers is relatively easy with the PowerA Joy-Con and Pro Controller Charging Dock.

Pros: Charges Joy-Con and Pro Controllers, well-designed, inexpensive

Cons: Wire is flimsy

While the Joy-Con controllers can be recharged when attached to the Nintendo Switch, it’s more convenient to use the PowerA Joy-Con and Pro Controller Charging Dock. In addition, if you own the Pro Controller, it will recharge that too.

The dock is a great way to keep things organized. It looks basic, but it complements the Switch dock. It is also cheaper than many other charging docks for the Nintendo Switch, and, if you care about such things, it’s officially licensed by Nintendo.

In our test, the dock works well, but the included USB-C cable for charging the Pro Controller isn’t very strong. — Christian de Looper

The best Joy-Con alternative

Hori switch joycon

The Hori D-Pad Controller is perfect for 2D platformers, NES and SNES games while on the go.

Pros: Cheap, fairly solid design, the best way to play 2D-platformers in handheld mode

Cons: Lack of wireless, rumble and motion controls

Despite being loaded with sweet features, the Switch’s Joy-Con has one major flaw: the lack of a true D-Pad. Every single one of Nintendo’s previous consoles came with its iconic plus-shaped D-Pad, but the Switch’s unique design did not allow for the same. The Hori D-Pad Controller, which replaces the left Joy-Con, helps fix that flaw as it comes with a directional pad.

The Hori D-Pad Controller is frugal by design, and comes with no wireless connectivity, no rumble, no motion control and no battery. It only works when it’s connected to the left rail of the Switch in handheld mode. Despite these limitations, the controller is simple to use and delivers precise directional inputs.

The precision of a D-Pad is immediately evident if you play a lot of 2D side scrolling or fighting games. Games like Sonic Mania, Metal Slug, and Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap are ideal to play using the controller. The peripheral also shines when used with NES and SNES classic games that come bundled with the Switch’s online subscription. If you want to speed-run classic Mario in handheld mode, the Hori D-Pad Controller is your best weapon.

Other parts of the controller are well designed too, the analog joystick and both shoulder buttons work just as you would expect on an original Joy-Con. The assembly feels sturdy but significantly lighter than a real Joy-Con as it lacks a lot of the additional wireless, gyroscope and rumble hardware that add heft.

The Hori D-Pad Controller is officially priced at $25, which makes it significantly cheaper than the $80 Nintendo charges for a pair of new Joy-Cons. Additionally the gamepad is officially licensed by Nintendo, and is available in three separate designs; a black-and-gold Zelda version, a red Mario version and a yellow-and-black Pokemon version. [Editor’s Note: Unfortunately, some versions are currently out of stock.] — Siladitya Ray

The best Joy-Con controller handles

MoKo grip

The MoKo Grips turn your Joy-Con controllers into console-style controllers, making them easier to hold and more convenient for multiplayer games.

Pros: Comfortable, inexpensive, great for multiplayer games

Cons: Not for games that require vertical use of Joy-Con controller

The Pro Controller we recommended is more conducive to console-style gaming, but if the price is a turn-off or you just don’t want a bulky controller, stick with the Joy-Con controllers but add this affordable accessory, the MoKo Grip.

Coming in a pack of two, the grip, made of resin, is a sleeve that you wrap around a Joy-Con controller, giving it handles that make holding a Joy-Con more comfortable. It also has left and right buttons trigger buttons. There are plenty of similar products like this, but we like the MoKo because it provides a better fit.

Having tested the MoKo Grips, we find them to enhance the experience of playing multiplayer fighting games like “Super Smash Bros.” where you would want a tighter hold on the controller as you mash those buttons, as well as lengthy solo gameplay like “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.”

Where the grips don’t work are games where you need to use the controller vertically, like “Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu!” or “Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee.” Also, it’s not an improvement over the Pro Controller since they don’t offer those large buttons and analog sticks, but it’s an affordable upgrade nonetheless. — Christian de Looper

The best controller for “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate”

GameCube style switch controller

The PowerA GameCube-style Wireless Controller looks and feels like the original, but works better.

Pros: Feels like original GameCube controller, wireless, great for “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate”

Cons: Expensive, AA batteries instead of rechargeable, no rumble

“Super Smash Bros. Ultimate” is an immensely popular Nintendo Switch game, and die-hard fans swear by a controller for an old Nintendo console that actually came out in 2001: the GameCube. Nintendo took notice — so much so that it introduced a GameCube controller for the Switch specifically for “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate,” which is now hard to come by. If you don’t own an old GameCube controller (you can use it with the Switch via an adapter), you can get a third-party option, like this licensed product from PowerA, the GameCube Style Wireless Controller.

This controller looks identical to the classic GameCube controller, but it has extra buttons for the Nintendo Switch: home, plus, and minus. Apart from that, you get the large “A” and shoulder buttons that make this controller popular with gamers. Since it works over Bluetooth, no wires are required. Unlike using an original GameCube controller, this one has motion controls.

While the controller works with nearly all Switch games, it doesn’t have the rumble function. And, it’s powered by two AA batteries instead of a rechargeable one; PowerA claims 30 hours of gameplay, so either have spares handy or use rechargeable AA batteries. Another downer: It’s expensive. — Christian de Looper and Les Shu

The best Nintendo Switch wired internet adapter

Ugreen USB 2.0 Ethernet Adapter lifestyle

The UGreen USB 2.0 Ethernet Adapter is the best wired internet solution for Switch owners seeking a more reliable and faster connection while the console is docked.

Pros:  Enables a better internet connection when the Switch is docked, affordable

Cons: Requires slightly more setup than simply relying on a Wi-Fi connection

Nintendo officially recommends that Switch owners access the console’s online features via Wi-Fi. That recommendation makes sense — a wireless connection doesn’t care if the Switch is being used in TV mode, portable mode, or kickstand mode — but Wi-Fi isn’t always ideal. 

Luckily the Switch does support a wired connection when it’s docked. That is, as long as you use an Ethernet-to-USB adapter, like the UGreen 20254, to bridge the gap between the console and your network.

That extra setup can be worth the hassle, though, especially if you play a lot of games online. Wi-Fi is great when you want to be able to play no matter where you are in your home, and it complements the Switch’s versatility well. But, sometimes wireless connections are less reliable and slower than their wired counterparts. Those drawbacks can lead to increased download times as well as potentially game-breaking performance issues in online titles.

Wired connections don’t suffer from those problems, which is why Nintendo’s Masahiro Sakurai recently told “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate” players that the best way to improve performance for online battles was to use an Ethernet adapter. Having a more reliable connection leads to better performance in competitive games like “Smash,” faster downloads from the Nintendo eShop, and improved experiences in games that feature significant online components.

Here’s the good news: There isn’t a significant difference between adapters. Some cost more than others, sure, but most offer similar performance. It’s kind of like buying an expensive HDMI cable. Sometimes it’s necessary, but the reality is that most people will be content with any cable that meet’s the relevant standards (USB 2.0 and Ethernet in this case). Don’t feel pressured into buying the most expensive Ethernet-to-USB adapter for your Switch.

That’s why our pick for the best Nintendo Switch wired internet adapter is the UGreen 20254. It’s an affordable and versatile adapter, with support for many other devices besides the Switch. Swapping it out if you decide you don’t need that competitive edge in “Smash” should be a cinch. Just remember that you’ll have to supply your own router and Ethernet cable as well.

Setting up the adapter is as easy as plugging an Ethernet cable into the appropriate port on your router, connecting that cable to the adapter, and then plugging the adapter’s USB 2.0 cable into the USB port on the official Nintendo Switch dock. The console should automatically switch between the wired connection when it’s docked and a Wi-Fi connection when it’s not. — Nathaniel Mott

Read the original article on Business Insider