How to Charge Nintendo Switch Without the Dock

Depending on what game you're playing, the Nintendo Switch can last from two to six hours — the system gave us just under three hours of playtime for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

If you want to keep gaming on the go after that brief amount of time, you'll need to charge. But you don't need Nintendo's Switch dock for that. The Switch charges over USB Type-C, which allows it to be used with portable chargers.

Credit: Shaun Lucas / Tom's Guide

(Image credit: Shaun Lucas / Tom's Guide)

The Switch doesn't include a USB Type-C cable, but you can grab one for cheap. A USB Type-C to USB Type-A (that's the rectangular kind you usually see on laptops) cable costs less than $7, while USB Type-C cables are a little pricier, around $20.

These cables will let you connect your Switch to a portable battery. Here's the rub: depending on which game you're playing, the system may not charge as fast as it uses energy.

Reports suggest Breath of the Wild drains faster than a portable battery can recharge it, but less taxing games like Snipperclips shouldn't pose the same issue. You can check out our roundup of the best portable chargers to find the best fit for your play habits.

MORE: 4 Reasons to Buy Nintendo Switch (and 7 Reasons Not to)

Some gamers have found that portable batteries meant for phone just don't cut it, so you may want to consider a high-capacity, high-voltage USB-C portable charger meant for laptops such as the $75 Dell Power Companion. It's more to carry around, but it's also more time playing your Switch.

If you cop a USB Type-C to Type-A cable, you'll be able to charge in other familiar ways. You could use a phone or tablet wall charger, USB ports in cars, planes or trains, or even with a laptop.

Andrew E. Freedman

Andrew E. Freedman is an editor at Tom's Hardware focusing on laptops, desktops and gaming as well as keeping up with the latest news. He holds a M.S. in Journalism (Digital Media) from Columbia University. A lover of all things gaming and tech, his previous work has shown up in Kotaku, PCMag, Complex, Tom's Guide and Laptop Mag among others.