Best Nintendo Switch console in 2023: Original, Lite, OLED?

Our guide to the best Nintendo Switch console compares the standard, Lite, and OLED models, helping you to decide which is the right choice for you.

Best Nintendo Switch - image shows the OLED, Lite, and Standard Switch models side by side.

What’s the best Nintendo Switch console for you? There are three of them, after all, and it’s not as straightforward as you’d think to choose between the original Nintendo Switch, Switch Lite, and Switch OLED. In this guide, we’ll help you get the best Nintendo Switch, using our hours of gameplay experience and hands-on testing to offer you the best advice. You’ll also find the best Nintendo Switch deals under each entry, to give you the best price from a number of retailers.

The three current Nintendo Switch models all share a similar-looking (but not identical) design, and they feature the same games and software platform. What’s different is the price, overall size, controls, and screen sizes. To narrow down the right Switch for you, you can start by considering your budget and how you’ll be using the portable gaming console.

Even though the console is entering its sixth year of life, it’s still going strong with an ever-expanding library of new Switch games, and all three variations are among the best portable gaming consoles.

We’ve got a summary of the standard Nintendo Switch, the Switch Lite, and the Switch OLED below and we’ll break down the reasons for buying one version over the other.

Soon you’ll be sitting down to enjoy all the best Switch games. It’s also worth reading our best Nintendo Switch controllers guide for a bit of guidance on the controllers. If you’re shopping for a young person, read our guide on the best Switch games for kids, which will give you some idea of what they might like to play.

Where are the best Nintendo Switch deals?

These are the best Nintendo Switch models in 2023:

Best Nintendo Switch: the standard model. Image shows the box of a regular Nintendo Switch.

1. Nintendo Switch

The original Switch is the best model for most and is about $298 (£249).

Nintendo Switch specs:

Detachable Joy-Cons 2
Memory Capacity 32GB
Touch screen 6.2-inch LCD
Total ports 3 USB ports, 1 HDMI port, 1 AC adapter port
Playable docked Yes


  • Reasonably priced
  • Can be played handheld or docked


  • No LAN port
  • Memory capacity on the smaller side

If you’re someone who wants to take full advantage of the Nintendo Switch’s ability to be played both on your TV and out on the go, then this is probably the best option for you. It’s a little on the big side, but that’s where Switch carry cases come in. It might not be the same kind of pocket console as its Game Boy or DS predecessors, but it’s still easy enough to carry around with you.

We recommend that you buy one of these new, rather than pre-owned. Our reason for this is Joy-Con drift (where its joysticks cause your character to move, even if you’re not touching them). It was the early standard Switches that were hit the worst by this problem, so if you’re buying an old Switch, there’s a risk you’ll get one that drifts. The problem (while potentially not eliminated) doesn’t appear to be anywhere near as widespread in the modern Switch landscape, so if you buy a new one, you’re most likely to avoid it.

The standard Nintendo Switch comes with 32GB of internal storage capacity, and while this is a little on the lower side (especially when compared to things like the PlayStation 5 or the Xbox Series X), not all gamers are going to have this problem. If you plan on downloading all of the biggest new Switch games, you might find it filling up quite quickly. However, the Switch library also has a sizeable selection of retro and indie games, and if these are the main types of games you want to play on the console, then memory space probably won’t be an issue.

Do you plan on indulging in a little bit of handheld multiplayer fun? With the packaged-in Joy-Cons, you and a friend can play on the same screen. While this is a very viable option, the larger, clearer screen of the Switch OLED might be preferential to you if this is going to be a major part of your Switch usage.

Many gamers fall into the category of either exclusively playing their Switch through the television, or exclusively playing it in handheld mode. The standard model is great at doing both of these things, isn’t overly expensive, and doesn’t have any major problems – that’s why we recommend it as the best Nintendo Switch overall.

Read our Nintendo Switch review.

Best Nintendo Switch: the Lite model in its box.

2. Nintendo Switch Lite

The best affordable Nintendo Switch at about $199 (£185).

Nintendo Switch Lite specs:

Detachable Joy-Cons None
Memory Capacity 32GB
Touch screen 5.5-inch LCD
Total ports No dock, so no ports
Playable docked No


  • Cheapest Nintendo Switch you can get
  • Small and convenient for handheld play


  • Cannot be played on a TV
  • No detachable Joy-Con controllers

Many older gamers will probably remember the thrill of saving up their pennies so that they could buy a Game Boy Advance or Nintendo DS as a kid – sadly, with the Nintendo Switch, its larger price tag means this isn’t really an option. Enter the Switch Lite. This smaller model is specifically designed to be an affordable option for gaming on the go, making it ideal for children or anyone working with a tighter budget.

If you’re someone who doesn’t foresee themselves playing their Switch on the TV, then you have very little to lose by going for the Switch Lite. While it is not compatible with Switch docks and so can never be played on the big screen, its much smaller size makes it ideal for handheld gaming, as unlike other models, it could actually fit inside your pocket.

While some gamers won’t care about this at all, the Switch Lite just looks a lot nicer than the standard and the OLED models. While they are not very colorful (especially the OLED), the Switch Lite comes in a number of bright, vibrant color schemes (reminiscent of the old rainbow of Game Boys). It’ll look great in a gamer bedroom and is just generally a good-looking bit of gaming hardware.

Something for fans of Nintendo Switch multiplayer gamers to keep in mind is that the Switch Lite does not have detachable Joy-Cons. What this means is that while the other models allow for multiplayer games to be played with friends using one Joy-Con each, this is not possible with the Switch Lite. You can still play against friends online without any trouble, but it’s not as well optimized for face-to-face gaming sessions as the others are.

Still, there’s a lot to admire about Switch Lite. When it first came out, early adopters who had bought the original Switch, but who only ever played handheld, lamented the fact that they hadn’t waited a little bit longer so that they could get the model better suited to them. Fortunately for you, you’re buying at a time when there’s a selection available to cater to all needs. What an age we live in.

Read our Nintendo Switch Lite review.

Best Nintendo Switch: the OLED model. Image shows it in its box.

3. Nintendo Switch OLED

The Switch OLED with the best screen at around $345 (£310).

Nintendo Switch OLED specs:

Detachable Joy-Cons 2
Memory Capacity 64GB
Touch screen 7-inch OLED
Total ports 2 USB ports, 1 Lan port,
1 HDMI port, 1 AC adapter port
Playable docked Yes


  • Largest OLED screen of all Switch models
  • Improved dock with added LAN


  • Few benefits for those who play docked
  • The most expensive option

Based on the specs alone, the Nintendo Switch OLED is the best version of the Switch. However, we didn’t feel we could give it the number one spot as it has a substantially bigger price tag, for upgrades that won’t appeal to all users. If you plan to play this at home on your TV exclusively, you’ll barely benefit from the improvements at all and will be better off with the standard version.

If you prefer playing in handheld mode, the best way to do so is through the Switch OLED. The 7-inch screen makes your games look better than ever before, and there’s even an option in the game’s settings to adjust the console screen colors to make them as vivid as possible. If this ever looks too saturated to you, you can just set it to appear as normal – you might want to adjust the color settings on a case-by-case basis.

The OLED Switch has 64GB memory – double the size of the standard model – although, you could buy a micro SD card for Switch and expand the capacity. Another benefit of the OLED is the LAN port, which allows you to use a wired internet connection for smoother online gaming.

There are also changes to the design of the dock. It’s a little more spacious than the earlier model, so it’s a bit easier to get cables plugged in. Still, there’s no denying the enhanced visual quality of playing the OLED in handheld mode.

Read our Nintendo Switch OLED review.

How to choose the best Nintendo Switch

While the standard Nintendo Switch is going to be the right choice for the largest number of players, the Switch OLED and Lite each have some unique benefits that make them the best for certain players. These are the things to think about when you’re shopping for a new Switch:

  • Play modes: The Nintendo Switch Lite only supports a handheld gaming mode. The Original and OLED offer Tabletop and TV modes, so you can play without having to hold them and can plug them into a TV. They both come with a Nintendo Switch dock and HDMI cable.
  • Size: If you enjoy handheld gameplay, the dimensions of the Switch might be important. As the Switch Lite is the smallest, it’s best for young players and those with small hands. While all three models are 0.55 inches deep, both the OLED and original Switch are longer and higher. They’re best suited to docked gameplay or larger hands.
  • Price: Do you have a tight budget? If so, the Switch Lite is the cheapest, followed by the Original and then the OLED.
  • Battery: If you want to play predominantly while you’re traveling, battery life might be an important consideration. The Nintendo Switch Lite has a lower life of 3-7 hours, while both the Original and OLED give you around 4.5 – 9 hours. Of course, how much juice you actually get will vary between games.
  • Design: Do you want to show off your unique personality with a bold and bright Nintendo Switch? Maybe you’d rather have a sleek white version. The Switch Lite comes in a wider range of fun hues, including turquoise, yellow, and coral.