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How to charge your Nintendo Switch Controllers

Nintendo Switch Pro Controller
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The Nintendo Switch offers a variety of controller options. You can use the included Joy-Cons to play in handheld mode or use the Joy-Con grip for TV play, or connect a Pro Controller for maximum precision in TV or tabletop mode. 

You can even use wireless controllers on the newer Nintendo Switch Lite, provided that you have a way to prop up Nintendo's dedicated handheld console. The Switch's controllers help make the console as versatile as it is, but you'll need to keep them charged up to make the most of them.

You never want to be in a situation where your controllers run out of juice in the middle of an intense Fortnite match, or when you're trying to build the perfect island in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Your Joy-Con controllers should last about 20 hours when fully charged, but that time can go quick, especially if you leave your games idle for long periods.

If you just picked up a new Nintendo Switch to fill the time up at home, make sure your controllers don't run dry. Here are some tips for how to charge your Nintendo Switch controllers so that you never run out of juice.

How to charge your Nintendo Switch controllers

1. Charge your Joy-Con controllers by attaching them to the Switch. The easiest way to charge your Joy-Con controllers is to attach them to the sides of your Switch. This will begin charging each Joy-Con’s internal battery.

2. Charge your Pro Controller through your USB cable. If you bought a Switch Pro Controller you can charge it at any time through the included USB-C cable connected to your Switch dock. The front two USB ports on the dock are easiest to access while still playing.

3. Buy a Charging Grip. The Joy-Con Charging Grip is sold separately, retails for $29.99 and will let you charge your Joy-Con controllers when not attached to your Switch via a USB cable that connects to your Switch dock. The standard Joy-Con Grip that comes with your console cannot charge your controllers.

Nintendo Joy-Con Charging GripView Deal

4. Buy a Joy-Con or Pro Controller charging dock. If you own more than one set of Joy-Con controllers, the officially licensed PowerA Joy-Con Charging Dock is your best choice for keeping everything topped off as easily as possible. It will charge 2 sets of Joy-Con controllers at once. PowerA also has a Joy-Con and Pro Controller dock that can charge a Pro Controller and a single set of Joy-Cons at the same time.

5. Keep your controllers charging when not in use. Don’t just leave your Joy-Con controllers laying around in a standard Grip or sitting apart on a coffee table, or your Pro Controller disconnected from its USB cable. When you’re done playing, slide the Joy-Con controllers on to your Switch or into a Charging Grip, and plug the USB cable into your Pro Controller so you don’t lose power as fast the next time you play. This is also true of the Switch itself — leave the system in the dock when not in use to keep its battery charged for later.

6. Know your third-party controllers. There are a variety of wireless third-party controller options for the Switch, and many of them use different charging methods. One of our favorite Pro Controller alternatives, the PowerA Enhanced Wireless Controller, uses two AA batteries instead of relying on a charge. 8Bitdo controllers use a mix of USB connections -- the latest SN30 charges over microUSB, while the more robust SN30 Pro charges via the same USB-C connection as the Pro Controller.

Make sure you keep an eye out for these connection types when choosing a third-party pad, and be sure to leave your controller connected to a charger when not in use.