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The Best Nintendo Switch Controller (September 2020): GameCube-Style Controllers, Switch Fight Sticks, And More

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Dualshocks, Pro Controller clones, and retro-style pads you can play on your Switch

When the Nintendo Switch console first released in March 2017 the tiny, flat Joy-Cons at the console's sides left something to be desired (at least the newer Switch Lite has an actual D-Pad). With all of the options we get from the best Xbox One and Xbox Series X controllers, I wanted to look for the best Nintendo Switch controller to make all my games play just a bit better. An additional game controller is a key Nintendo Switch accessory for many players; while the current model of Switch sports improved battery life over the launch model, some kinds of games just don't play well on the default control option.

Thankfully, Switch players have all kinds of options when it comes to Nintendo Switch accessories. Like the best PS4 controllers, there are a lot of different options for Nintendo's platform. Whether you prefer to play your Nintendo Switch console with an Xbox One or PS4 controller, play using the Joy-Cons while they're charging, or just love gaming on the go, there's an accessory tailor-made for you. You can even make the console more comfortable by improving the grip on the console itself, so you don't drop it and damage the screen (though you should probably still get a tempered glass screen protector, just in case). The official Nintendo Pro controller is still the best Nintendo Switch controller for the console overall (it has a great battery perfect for long gaming stints, easy charging, and can be used with a Nintendo Switch dock or even if you're using the console in tabletop mode), but it's also somewhat pricey. But even if you're looking for something else, we're on the case.

Whether you're looking for a cheaper Switch Pro alternative or just want a Nintendo Switch controller with a different grip while you play Minecraft or any other Nintendo Switch game, we have a number of other gaming options at our disposal without having to resort to a Switch mod; third-party companies like 8Bitdo and PDP have introduced some great alternatives to the Pro controller that account for personal preference while also introducing new features not found in first-party Nintendo Switch accessories, which can improve your experience with your favorite Nintendo Switch game. A few companies have even tried to replicate the look and feel of a Gamecube controller, and some even keep the motion control aspect of the console intact. Not all of these Switch accessories are winners, but I've tested and identified some of the best Nintendo Switch controllers (most of which also work with the new Switch Lite, by the way) if you need something a little different at a more affordable price.

We'll keep this article updated as we test the latest custom controller, adapter, and other Switch accessories as they're introduced. In the meantime, read on for an overview of the best Nintendo Switch controllers we've tried and can vouch for. Note that all pricing indicated below is subject to change--Amazon slashes the price on these products regularly, so you may see a discount when clicking through that we haven't listed here.

Quick look: The best Nintendo Switch controllers we've tested

If you're looking for more great gaming accessories, check out our picks for the best gaming mouse, the best capture card, best gaming keyboard, best gaming headset, best PS4 controllers, best Xbox One controllers, and the overall best Nintendo Switch accessories, as well as our guide to all the VR headsets and best VPN services out there. If you're looking for more to do while stuck at home, check out our guide to building a gaming PC.

Best GameCube-style controllers

If you're looking for a controller that mirrors the original GameCube's pad, then look no further than here. It's very hard to find an official controller from Nintendo these days, but if you can't live without the classic controller's unique layout, then these pads will more than fill that role.

Best Switch fight sticks and pads

If you're fighting game fan, nothing beats a good fight stick or pad. They're made specifically for fighting games and make knocking out long combos much easier than your traditional controller. The Switch doesn't have much in the way of options when it comes to fight sticks and pads, but thankfully, there are still a few great options you'll love.

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motang

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I have both the Pro Controller and SN30 Pro (bought it prior to the SN30 Pro+ coming out). Love the Pro Controller and SN30 Pro. I might invest in a SN30 Pro+ eventually given the format of it. Also got a wires GC style controller that I use on certain games like Smash and Luigui's Mansion.

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zafarhacker

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get a reward i pad pro here

http://bit.ly/2mzSwbZ

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Litchie

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The 8Bitdo SN30 Pro Plus controller with the GameBoy colors is damn sexy.

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gamingdevil800

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Pro controller is pretty comfortable for me. I can't play the switch undocked with the joy cons though it's like the hight of discomfort for me.

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freedom01

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freedom01  Moderator

I'll add to the list
Best Arcade Stick.
The Hori Mini Fight Stick,

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ecmiller

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@freedom01: With the latest firmware update, Hitbox now natively supports the Nintendo Switch as well. I’ve really enjoyed using it to play Under-Night.

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Richardthe3rd

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Edited By Richardthe3rd

@freedom01: Upvoted, but I think it has some competition.

If you want a no-frills wired stick then the Hori Mini Fight Stick is a great stick that's limited to casual use.

If you want something that's wired or wireless and can be modded with higher quality parts the 8bitdo N30 Stick is the way to go. However, the biggest benefit over the Hori is that you can remap the stick to be either an analog or dpad, so you can play SSB with it without issue.

I'm planning a full sanwa project for my N30 soon so I can use it with my Switch, PC and Raspberry Pi.

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Richardthe3rd

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I have most of the controllers on this list, and while the M30 is probably the best 2D/Fighting pad ever made (6 face buttons give it the edge in that category), the SN Pro + is probably the single best all-around gamepad I've ever used in my 30+ years of gaming.

The only downside is that it doesnt wake the Switch. That's it. Everything else about it blows every other peripheral out of the water. The shorter analogue sticks that are a bit snappier than the longer sticks on the pro, the amazing d-pad, the feel of the buttons, the low latency and strong sync to the console. Also cheaper than the Pro and better than it in so many ways.

And it works with my PC and phone as well; I'm considering making a holster on my belt for it.

8bitdo absolutely nailed my dream gamepad with this one.

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SkyHighGam3r

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Edited By SkyHighGam3r

8BitDo's M30 is the finest 2D controller ever made. That thing is just plain amazing. What they need to do though, is quit screwing around, and add 2 more triggers, and 2 thumbsticks w/ stick-buttons. Why? Because we have NEVER gotten a controller with a full setup before. Xbox, PS4, Switch, and every third party device of the like is missing 2 buttons. Z & C.

What I can't wrap my head around is why anyone is concerned with owning these controllers for the SWITCH though... get a Pro controller if you're gonna play Switch games.

You get the 8BitDo controllers for playing old consoles on your PC or something.

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Richardthe3rd

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@skyhighgam3r: the M30 is arguably the best pad for fighting games as well. It's just a fantastic controller.

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reBOOT2099

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I've had the 8bitdo SN30Pro+ since its release and I must say it is a great controller. Much better than the Nintendo official one.

The D-Pad is great and is placed at the right place for my tastes. I mostly play 2d platformers or tetris so I prefer it to be placed where it is on the SN30pro+. On Nintendo's controller, it feels weird to use the d-pad, you have to use it at an angle and you often missclick.

There are however 2 things I don't like about the SN30pro+. The home button is placed right below the 4 buttons. When I am playing intense Mario Maker levels, as an example, my thumb slides a bit lower sometimes and hit the home button. It might just be me and others never do that, I don't know, but it's annoying for me.

The other thing is I can't get it to wake the console. It's really annoying to use another controller to wake the console and then switch to the sn30pro+ every time I want to use it. And it also has a hard time connecting to the console when I do switch controllers. It often takes me about 1 or 2 minutes of trying to finally be able to connect to the Switch. But once it's recognized, it doesn't disconnect, so that's a minor annoyance.

I still highly recommend it.

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Izraal

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Edited By Izraal

@TJDMHEM

The very easy to find Power A wireless controllers for the Switch aren't mentioned, and they are hands down my favorite controllers for the Switch, and among my favorite for any console. They're lightweight, with a rational/standard layout similar to a PS4/Xbox One Controller. They have excellent D pads for fighting games.

https://www.amazon.com/PowerA-Enhanced-Wireless-Controller-Nintendo-Switch/dp/B07GVY1WXF/ref=sr_1_5?keywords=powera+switch+controller+wireless&qid=1566423537&s=gateway&sr=8-5

The official Switch Pro Controller, which I also own, is far inferior, and I can't see any rationale for why it was ranked so highly in this list. It is at least $10 more expensive than the comparable Power A wired controllers, it's heavier, and has one of the word D pads I've ever encountered. The D pad on the official Pro Controller is incredibly stiff and unresponsive, among the worst I've ever encountered and easily the worst on any Nintendo product since the original NES controller.

The Powered A Switch controllers are ubiquitously available, retail for less than the Pro in Wireless or far less for Wired. Despite owning a Pro Controller and having 2 regular users, I bought two of the Power A wireless controller to ensure neither of us need to use the awful official pro controller on the occasions we do multiplayer gaming on the Switch in docked mode.

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moonwatcher99

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@izraal: I don't know, I'm seeing a bunch of reviews that say either certain buttons or even the whole controller stopped working after just a few months. How's your shelf life been?

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Izraal

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Edited By Izraal

@moonwatcher99: I’ve had one for a bit over six months, one for about four months, and both are going strong. The six month old is my primary Switch controller and I play the Switch a fair amount.

I can’t speak well of the brand as a whole, just the Switch controllers specifically. A Power A controller for the Xbox One did have an analog stick that went wonky after only a couple of months, but I've been very pleased with the Switch controllers, which seem to be well made.

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matpaget

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matpaget  Staff

@izraal: This article doesn't rank any controllers. :)


We're currently testing the PowerA Enhanced Wireless Controller, so it may appear here in the future.

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Izraal

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@matpaget:

Good to know, and thanks for your response!

You're correct, it's not an overall ranking article, but "best of" by category. The official pro controller is not noted as the best pro controller, but the best "first-party" controller, an important distinction. I'm not sure what category to put the Power A model in, aside from "best alternative to pro controller," or something along those lines.

I did appreciate you calling out the D pad, as I've seen other website reviews of the official Switch Pro Controller which seem to have tested it using analog inputs, solely, and fail to recognize the poor D pad. It's baffling, really, as Nintendo has been putting D pads on controllers longer than anyone. Even other cases where the D pad wasn't the focus, as with the N64 or Gamecube controllers, the D pads were functional.

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TJDMHEM

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Which controllers should I get for the switch?

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Richardthe3rd

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@TJDMHEM: the 8bitdo SN Pro +, which is on this list, is the best controller on the Switch if you dont care about joycon motion control.

Personal preference may dictate otherwise for a select few, but this controller does it all (with the exception of being able to wake the controller).

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SkyHighGam3r

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@TJDMHEM: A Switch Pro controller. Then get 8BitDo stuff for playing older games.

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