The‘s Pro controller is superior to the company’s smaller Joy-Con controllers for more demanding games. (Drifting issues aside, the Joy-Cons are fine for simple multiplayer games.) The Switch Pro controller has actual grips and is more comfortable. When you’re in the heat of the moment, a full D-pad and larger buttons help you find the right controls. All Nintendo controller features such as HD Rumble, NFC for Amiibo scanning and motion controls are supported, and it works with or without wires. It’s great, but also has a regular price of between $60 and $70.
There are, however, a number of cheaper Switch Pro-like controllers available from third-party manufacturers. That’s why we tested several options to find the best Switch controller you can buy right now. Nintendo’s official game controller still leads the way in button feel and comfort, but some of these alternatives come close. Also, just because Black Friday and Cyber Monday have come and gone doesn’t mean you can’t find a deal on a controller right now. Most of our favorites includingthey are currently discounted.
Aside from lower prices, there are some advantages to using a third-party Switch Pro controller. For example, some have a Turbo button for faster firing or keys that can be mapped to launch certain commands more easily. In addition, some of the ones we have selected can be used with MacOS, Windows and Android as well. We will periodically update this list as we try new products.
For even more options, check out GameSpot’s recommendations.
If you can afford to get an official Switch Pro controller, do so. It’s the best you can get right now in terms of comfort, performance and features. And if you need to buy more than one controller, maybe get this one for yourself and one of the cheaper options below for visiting friends and family.
The PowerA Wireless Controller is the closest to the feel and design of the Nintendo Pro Controller, and you can normally get it for $40 to $50, depending on the design, from Amazon, Best Buy, and other sources. The PowerA Wireless Controller doesn’t have HD Rumble, IR or Amiibo NFC support like the Switch Pro Controller, but it does have motion controls. It is also available in game themed versions including Animal Crossing, Mario and Pokemon.
Its added feature is two additional buttons on the bottom of the controller that can be mapped on the fly. Also, while the original version of the Enhanced Wireless Controller ran on AA batteries, the latest models have a built-in rechargeable battery for up to 30 hours of playtime.
The tiny wireless controller – yes, that’s its real name – is slightly larger than the Joy-Con, but much more comfortable to use. The buttons are firm and responsive, and the D-pad isn’t mushy either. The sticks are taller than the Joy-Con, giving you more precision. The back buttons, despite being directly on top of each other, are perfectly shaped to make sure you hit the right one. It doesn’t have rumble or NFC support, but it does have motion control. The rechargeable battery is designed for up to 40 hours of wireless use and is charged via the USB-C port on the back. A great little companion.
Binbok’s Joypad is a combination of Nintendo Joy-Cons and its wireless Pro controller. There are left and right Joy-Con-like controllers that can be placed on the sides of the Switch, similar to Hori’s Switch Split Pad Pro. This gives you the convenience and greater control of a Pro controller while using a handheld Switch.
However, unlike Hori’s controller, the Binbok Joypad can be used outside of the Switch as each has a built-in battery and Bluetooth. Their design makes them as awkward to hold as the Joy-Cons, but it can be done, and each has adjustable rumble and motion control. Both have a mappable button on the inside of the grip as well as turbo buttons. The Home button can wake up the Switch when you’re ready to play, and you can even change the color of the LED light rings around the thumb.
The included grip snaps the two controllers together to form a single Pro-like controller like the Nintendo Joy-Con Comfort Grip. Unfortunately, this won’t allow you to charge both controllers at the same time; each of the controllers needs to be charged separately via their USB-C ports or while plugged into the Switch when charging (you can leave the controllers plugged in when in the dock). The grip is also unusually wide, and with the controllers attached it’s actually larger than the Pro controller. There is some flex where the controllers are placed on the grip giving it a flimsy feel. That pliability, combined with its light weight, makes the whole thing feel flimsy. Still, it’s not like Nintendo’s Joy-Cons are known for their reliability, and overall this is a great option if you want to pay less and do more.
If you want to customize, this Bluetooth controller is for you. Using the Ultimate 8BitDo software, you can remap buttons, adjust stick and trigger sensitivity, as well as vibration control, and easily create macros for complicated button combinations. The controls on the left side have been flipped so that the look is more like a PlayStation controller, but everything feels good and responsive. It’s also comfortable, although the black on black design makes the button markings almost impossible to see, but other colors are available.
The 8BitDo SN30 Pro Plus Bluetooth Gamepad Controller, which normally retails for $50, works with the Nintendo Switch console, Android, Windows, and MacOS. Another neat feature: the rechargeable battery can be easily replaced with a new one, so you can keep playing if the included one runs out or no longer holds a charge.
It’s like a regular PowerA Enhanced controller except smaller. The $50 Nano has the look, feel and features of the larger model, including motion controls, rumble (but not HD rumble) and map keys. However, it runs on a built-in rechargeable battery instead of replaceable AA cells. A six-foot USB-C cable is included for charging; you’ll get up to 20 hours on a single charge.
The Nano is designed for travel (it even comes with a nice little storage case), but it’s also good for kids or anyone with smaller hands. Also, even though the case is more compact, the buttons are full size, which is generally great. However, in the few games where I was furiously button mashing, I would regularly miss the Y button and hit the Home button instead — not great if you’re in the middle of a battle. At least the mappable buttons on the back of the controller provided a workaround.
Another minor thing: I noticed that the Bluetooth range on mine is a few feet less than that of the full-size version. It’s something that’s easily solved by sitting a little closer to the Switch and an acceptable compromise for a Pro-style controller on the go.
The full-featured design of the $50 SN30 Bluetooth Gamepad controller makes it a more travel-friendly alternative to the Nintendo Switch Pro controller. And there are no mushy buttons here: everything is solid and responsive. Although it may look similar to the PDP controller above, the sticks are set up like a PlayStation controller. And unlike PDP, it can be programmed for use with Android, Windows and MacOS.
It’s wired, but the $20 Horipad is one of the more comfortable controllers we’ve tested, and its buttons and sticks are nice, too. But while it has a Turbo button, it lacks vibration and motion controls. Its D-pad isn’t a real pad, but a plastic piece that clips onto four discreet buttons. It works well, but the fact that it’s a wired controller may be a problem for some. It’s currently hard to find the black version of the controller at normal price, but you can find it in blue and red.
Insten falls into the “you get what you pay for” category for me, but for what it’s worth, it’s a favorite of my 8 and 10 year olds. It’s just a basic wireless controller with an aggressive dual-shock vibe. It’s comfortable, but it’s cheap and flimsy. To be fair, the controller survived a high-speed tussle with my TV, and I can’t say the same for the TV. The best part about the Insten is the price, especially if you want multiple controllers: you can pick up a two-pack for under $50.