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Best Nintendo Switch controllers of 2020

Best Nintendo Switch Controllers of 2020
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The Nintendo Switch's included Joy-Cons make the system easy to enjoy, but there are plenty of other great controller options to enhance your play experience either at home or on the go. From high-end gamepads for competitive games to retro controllers for classic platformers, we've tested the Switch's most popular controllers to help you find the best pick for your playing style. 

Whether you're an aspiring Smash pro, are looking for a cure for Joy-Con drift or just need something for your player two, here are the best Nintendo Switch controllers to buy now.

Best overall Switch controller

Nintendo Switch Pro Controller

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

1. Nintendo Switch Pro Controller

Best overall Switch controller

Size: 6.1 x 5.7 x 2.5 inches | Weight: 14 ounces | HD Rumble: Yes | Motion Control: Yes | NFC: Yes

Supremely comfortable design
Sturdy sticks and buttons
Supports NFC, rumble and motion controls
So-so d-pad

It carries a hefty price tag, but Nintendo's Pro Controller is still the best traditional gamepad for playing Switch games like Splatoon 2 or Super Smash Bros. Ultimate with maximum precision. Its translucent plastic design is both sturdy and supremely comfortable, with ergonomic curves and textured grips on the handles. The thumbsticks are durable and soft to the touch, and the face buttons are big and satisfyingly clicky. 

One of the controller's only shortcomings is the d-pad, which is solid, but not as big or precise as some of the third-party options out there. The Pro Controller also features full-HD rumble and motion-control support, as well as NFC functionality for scanning in amiibos.

For old-school gamers

8BitDo SN30

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

2. 8BitDo SN30

For old-school gamers

Size: 5.6 x 2.5 x 1 inches | Weight: 3.3 ounces | HD Rumble: No | Motion Control: No | NFC: No

Attractive, nostalgic design
Great d-pad
SN30 model lacks additional shoulder buttons

If you want to play retro games and platformers like the Mega Man X Legacy Collection, Super Mario Maker 2 and the Switch's multitude of NES games the way they were meant to be played, the 8BitDo SN30 is a must-have. This slick retro pad is essentially a re-creation of the iconic Super Nintendo controller, with a lightweight candybar design, an excellent d-pad and snappy face buttons. Better yet, the latest SN30 models come in a variety of gorgeous colors inspired by the Game Boy Pocket. If you want the SN30's old-school design but with dual thumbsticks and additional shoulder buttons, we recommend checking out the SN30 Pro.

Read our full 8BitDo SN30 review

For gamers seeking built-in audio

PDP Faceoff Deluxe+ Audio Wired Controller

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

3. PDP Faceoff Deluxe+ Audio Wired Controller

For gamers seeking built-in audio

Size: 6.2 x 6 x 3.3 inches | Weight: 14 ounces | HD Rumble: No | Motion Control: No | NFC: No

Low price
Solid design
Programmable buttons
Good feel to the buttons and triggers
Nonremovable wire
No rumble

PDP's Faceoff Deluxe+ Audio Wired Controller stands out from the pack by being the only Switch controller that you can plug a pair of headphones into. That means you can get more immersed in Breath of the Wild from the couch, or use your gaming headset to talk with friends in games that support built-in voice chat (including Fortnite). It's also a fine budget controller in its own right, offering a solid plastic build, satisfying sticks and triggers, and handy programmable buttons on the rear for mapping extra inputs.

Read our full PDP Faceoff Deluxe+ review

Budget Pro Controller alternative

PowerA Enhanced Wireless Controller

(Image credit: PowerA)

4. PowerA Enhanced Wireless Controller

A budget Pro Controller alternative

Size: 6.4 x 6.3 x 2.6 inches | Weight: 13 ounces | HD Rumble: No | Motion Control: Yes | NFC: No

Cheaper than Pro Controller
Solid sticks
Motion controls
Great colors and design
Extra programmable buttons
No rumble
Top heavy
Battery powered

If you don't have the $70 to fork out for Nintendo's Pro Controller, the PowerA Enhanced Wireless Controller is a great alternative for $20 less. This gamepad has a lightweight but substantial design, solid buttons and analog sticks that we've found to be even smoother than that of the Pro Controller. And while PowerA's controller lacks rumble, you'll still get motion-control support for titles like Splatoon 2 and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. To top it off, the Enhanced Wireless Controller comes in a variety of slick color schemes that include licensed Mario, Zelda and Diablo options. 

It never hurts to have extra

Nintendo Joy-Con

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

5. Nintendo Joy-Con

It never hurts to have extra

Size: 4 x 1.4 x 1.1 inches (per Joy-Con) | Weight: 1.7 ounces | HD Rumble: Yes | Motion Control: Yes | NFC: Yes

Versatile design
Comes in a variety of colors
Includes HD rumble, NFC and motion control

Sure, the Switch packs two Joy-Cons, but it never hurts to have an extra pair or two handy for multiplayer games. Each individual Joy-Con doubles as a stand-alone mini-controller, which makes them perfect to pass to a friend for casual titles like Super Mario Party or Overcooked. And since Joy-Cons come in a rainbow of colors, picking up a new pair is a great way to personalize your Switch. If you just need a single Joy-Con, Nintendo also sells them as single units.

For fighters and platformers on the go

Hori D-Pad Controller

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

6. Hori D-Pad Controller

For fighters and platformers on the go

Size: N/A | Weight: N/A | HD Rumble: No | Motion Control: No | NFC: No

Excellent d-pad
Solid analog stick and shoulder buttons
Doesn't work wirelessly
No rumble

If you're thinking about switching to the upcoming Nintendo Switch Lite just because it has a proper d-pad, save your $200. Hori's excellent D-Pad controller will do the trick for just $25. This neat little accessory replaces your Switch's left Joy-Con with one that features a full directional pad, which feels even more precise and satisfying than Nintendo's Pro Controller. It also comes in a trio of fun styles for Zelda, Mario and Pokémon fans. While it doesn't work wirelessly and lacks HD rumble, Hori's custom Joy-Con is a must-have for anyone who plays fighting games or platformers on the go.