How to charge a Nintendo Switch controller

Running out of juice for your Nintendo Switch controller is a surefire way to ruin any gaming session. There’s nothing worse than seeing that flashing indicator on the screen, warning you that your battery is low and your ability to play your favorite Switch games is about to come to a screeching halt. Thankfully, Nintendo makes it easy for players to keep their Joy-Cons charged up and ready for action. Beyond several techniques that work right out of the box, there are also dedicated Switch accessories you can use to power up your controller.

And — if you happen to use the Switch Pro Controller — you’ll have even more options when it comes to keeping the battery full. Here all the different ways to charge your Joy-Cons or Pro Controller for the Nintendo Switch, including the best Nintendo Switch chargers money can buy.

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If you use the Joy-Con Grip as your mainstay Nintendo Switch controller, then battery life will drain before you know it. Luckily, there are a few ways you can charge it.

Charging Joy-Cons when not playing

The easiest way to charge the Joy-Con controllers doesn’t require any extra cables, accessories, or shelf space.

Option 1: Use the Switch itself

– With the Switch on, attach the Joy-Con controllers to either side of the console until they click. You should see a notification on the screen showing that they’re connected.

– Ensure the Switch’s dock or AC adapter is plugged into a power outlet. Either connect the adapter’s plug to the USB-C port on the bottom of the Switch or place the Switch in the dock.

– Put your Nintendo Switch into “sleep” mode by hitting the power button located on the top. The Joy-Con controllers will not charge if the Switch is powered off completely

– Ensure the Switch’s dock or AC adapter is plugged into a power outlet. Either connect the adapter’s plug to the USB-C port on the bottom of the Switch or place the Switch in the dock.

– Wait! Nintendo estimates that it will take about three and a half hours to fully charge the Joy-Con controllers. To see how much charge they have, simply hit the Joy-Con icon on the Switch’s main menu and you’ll see their current charge level.

Option 2: Use a charging dock

If you prefer to use a charging dock, the process is simple, and you don’t need to leave your Switch turned on.

– For the Joy-Con charging dock, plug the included cable into the USB port on the Switch’s dock.

– Place up to four Joy-Con controllers into the dock and ensure the lights on the top are red. When they’ve turned green, the controllers are fully charged.

Charging Joy-Cons when playing

Want to keep playing on your Nintendo Switch while your Joy-Cons charge? There are a few ways to do that, as well.

Option 1: Play in handheld mode

– Take a Nintendo Switch AC adapter and plug it into a wall so that the cord still reaches where you’ll be playing, and plug the USB-C end into the port on the bottom of the console.

– Attach the Joy-Con controllers and get gaming! As long as the Switch is charging, so are the Joy-Con controllers.

Option 2: Use the Charging Grip

If you want to play on the television while the Joy-Con controllers are charging, you’ll need to get the Joy-Con Charging Grip. It’s shaped identically to the standard Joy-Con Grip but can connect to your Switch dock to continue charging the controllers while they’re in use.

– Use the included cable to connect the Charging Grip to the Switch’s dock, then open the small slider on the top of the Charging Grip and insert your Joy-Con controllers before closing the slider.

– Play! Your controllers will now charge as you’re using your Switch.

Option 3: Use a charging case

The S-Charge is a Nintendo Switch charging case that includes its own backup battery similar to that of portable USB chargers, and it can be used to charge the Switch and its attached Joy-Con controllers on the go.

– With the S-Charge itself charged (it can plug into the Switch dock like a Pro Controller can), press the power button located on the left side.

– Lift up the flap on the top and attach the Switch with Joy-Con controllers, then close the flap.

– Your controllers should now be charging! On the Switch’s home menu, tap the Joy-Con symbol to go to the controller page, and it should indicate that it’s connected to a power source.

– The S-Charge has a battery with more than double the capacity of the Switch itself, so you can continue charging your Joy-Con controllers this way for hours without having to worry about the case running out of battery.

– When not using the S-Charge, make sure you turn it off by holding down the power button for a few seconds. If you don’t do this, it could be dead the next time you need it.

Pro Controller

If you play your Nintendo Switch docked and using the television, you’ll want to invest in a Pro Controller since the battery life is good, but you will still need to charge it after about 40 hours of play.

Option 1: Plug it into the Switch’s dock

The simplest way to charge a Pro Controller is to plug it into the USB port on the front of the Switch’s dock using the included cable.

– Once plugged in, an orange light will light up on the top of the Pro Controller. It should take about six hours to charge fully. When the battery is full, the light will go out.

– You can continue to use the controller while it’s charging, though the cable is too short for this to work in some setups.

– The Nintendo Switch does not need to be docked for the Pro Controller to charge. You’re free to remove it and play in handheld mode as you wait for the controller to recharge.

Option 2: Use third-party charging dock

If you want to charge the Pro Controller without using the Switch dock, you can also use the Nyko Charge Block Pro. Nyko’s Charge Block Pro for Nintendo Switch features a low-profile design that fits anywhere and uses a patented dongle system attached to a USB Type-C port on your controller. 

– Take the included charging dongle and insert it into the port on the top of your Pro Controller.

Then take the USB cable (included) and connect it to the AC adapter (also included) before plugging the AC adapter into a wall outlet.

– Now put your controller into the Charge Block Pro. The orange light on the front of the dongle indicates that your controller is charging. You’ll see the light turn off once your controller finishes charging.

The way you charge your Nintendo Switch controller depends on what controller you’re using. The proprietary Joy-Con controller will differ from other alternatives.

How fast your controller charges also depends on the equipment you use. Some devices can offer a quicker charging speed than others. However, there are still many other factors that can impact the rate at which your controller charges. Be aware that you may need to test different cable types, Switch modes, etc. to achieve the best setup for you. 

Fortunately, it’s easy to find Switch accessories. If you’re eager to get back to your game, you can even buy a replacement controller to keep the fun rolling when your first controller runs out of juice. 

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