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The best Nintendo Switch controllers in 2024

Our best Nintendo Switch controllers guide will help you find something that pushes your buttons, with top picks on wired and wireless controllers.

Best Nintendo Switch controllers aligned near each other.

The best Nintendo Switch controllers offer you different ways to play with your console, whether you want a multiplayer session with friends or to play on your TV. The Nintendo Switch and Switch OLED have Joy-Cons included, but they can’t replicate the feel of a traditional gaming controller. The best Switch controllers range in price and function, from the mighty Nintendo Switch Pro Controller to cheaper third-party options.

At Pocket Tactics, we’ve been playing on Switch consoles for years while – so we know what Nintendo Switch accessories are worth your money and what is little more than a gimmick. Whether you want different inputs for your gaming console, or more controllers for parties, we’ve picked the best Switch controllers from trusted brands to help you pick the right one.

The best Nintendo Switch controllers in 2024:

  1. Switch Joy-Cons – best for most
  2. Switch Pro Controller – best for docked play
  3. Hori D-Pad Joy-Con – best for retro gaming
  4. Hori Split Pad Pro – best for handheld mode
  5. 8Bitdo Zero 2 – most portable controller
  6. PowerA Spectra Enhanced – best wired option
  7. Switch GameCube Controller – best for Smash Bros.
  8. 8Bitdo Pro 2 – best for all mobile devices
  9. 8Bitdo Pro Ultimate –  best third-party choice

Best Nintendo Switch controllers: Joy-Cons.

1. Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons

The best Nintendo Switch controller overall.

Nintendo Switch Joy-Con specs:

Customizable buttons None
Wired/Wireless Wireless
Battery life Around 20 hours
Handheld or docked play Both
Weight 189.9g


  • Easy to slot into your Switch
  • Use in handheld or docked mode
  • Motion control and HD Rumble


  • Small and a little flimsy
  • Older models prone to drifting
  • Slightly expensive

There’s no better place to start on your Switch controllers journey than with Nintendo’s Joy-Cons. These versatile controllers support motion and HD Rumble, and you can whack them in a grip or split them into two, allowing for comfortable solo or impromptu multiplayer sessions.

For the majority of gamers, the Joy-Con will be just fine. It’s convenient that they can be used both when the Switch is docked and when you’re playing ago. They’re also available in a number of different colors, many of which give them that quintessential Nintendo look –  though admittedly, they do feel a little flimsy.

Of course, you’ve probably heard of the dreaded Switch drift, where controllers would move in certain directions without the player making them do so. Though newer models don’t really have this issue, think carefully before buying cheaper second-hand models, because they might have this problem.

Best Nintendo Switch controllers: the Switch Pro Controller.

2. Nintendo Switch Pro Controller

The best controller for docked play.

Nintendo Switch Pro Controller specs:

Customizable buttons None
Wired/Wireless Both
Battery life Around 40 hours
Handheld or docked play Docked
Weight 362.9g


  • Impressive battery life
  • Sturdy design
  • Reasonably priced


  • Not great for handheld play

If comfort is your absolute priority, and you find yourself playing your Switch docked a lot of the time, we thoroughly recommend the official Pro Controller. It’s as premium in build quality as a DualShock 4 or Xbox One controller and features around 40 hours of battery life.

Of course, if you play in handheld mode a lot, you’ll find that it is considerably less useful for those occasions. In theory, it can still be played in handheld mode, but you have to put the Switch down and balance it on its kickstand to do so, which isn’t going to be possible in a lot of situations.

Other than that though, there’s very little to say against this controller. It’s an official piece of Nintendo hardware but has never had drifting issues (like the Joy-Con). Plus, if you prefer the peace of mind that comes from knowing something won’t run out of power, you can also use it as a wired controller if you want to.

Best Nintendo Switch controllers: the Hori d-pad Joy-Con.

3. Hori D-Pad Joy-Con

The best for retro gaming.

Hori D-Pad Joy-Con specs:

Customizable buttons None
Wired/Wireless Must be slotted into Switch
Battery life N/A
Handheld or docked play Handheld
Weight 49.9g

Play a load of retro games in handheld mode? The Hori D-Pad Joy-Con is a must-buy then. This replaces your left Joy-Con, and provides a traditional D-Pad, which is ideal for playing Nintendo Switch Online Game Boy games (or NES and SNES). The original games used a D-Pad, so those who grew up with them may find the standard Joy-Con’s controls off-putting (especially if you’re using a stick).

There is one pretty big limitation of this controller though: you can only use it when it’s slotted into your Switch. It doesn’t have a power source of its own, so there’s absolutely no option for wireless play. This is a little strange considering the fact that normal Joy-Cons are able to do this.

Fortunately, the classics are best played in handheld mode anyway since the older graphics don’t always look so good when blown up on a big TV screen (that’s what I think anyway). Meanwhile, this is also one of the nicer-looking Switch controllers. The Zelda version is pictured above, but there’s also a Mario version, and both of them are pretty fantastic.

Worth noting is that when this controller first launched, it received a lot of bad press for draining the Switch’s battery really quickly when used. If you’ve heard this and it’s put you off getting one, rest assured that the problem was resolved following a Switch update, so unless you refuse all the system updates, it won’t affect you.

Best Nintendo Switch controllers: the Hori Split Pad Pro.

4. Nintendo Switch Hori Split Pad Pro

The best controller for handheld mode.

Hori Split Pad Pro specs:

Customizable buttons 2
Wired/Wireless Must be slotted into Switch
Battery life N/A
Handheld or docked play Handheld
Weight 226.8g


  • Comfortable ergonomic design
  • Cheaper than Joy-Cons


  • Lacks many Joy-Con features
  • Can only be used in handheld mode

Play your Switch more often in handheld mode? The Hori Split Pad Pro is an essential controller. This inexpensive option makes your Switch much more comfortable for longer playing sessions, feeling more like the Pro Controller.

It does sacrifice features like HD Rumble, NFC scanning, and motion controls, but it makes up for that with enhanced ergonomics. For as much as there will be some gamers who are disappointed by the loss of these features, we know that there will be plenty of you who can take them or leave them – the best Switch games are still great without them.

It’s a little less versatile than other controllers in that it can only be used when directly slotted into the Switch. Not an issue at all if you only use your Switch in handheld mode (as a lot of people do), but worth keeping in mind that you’ll need another controller if you want to play on your TV.

Best Nintendo Switch controllers: the 8bitdo Zero 2.

5. 8Bitdo Zero 2

The most portable Nintendo Switch controller.

8Bitdo Zero specs:

Customizable buttons None
Wired/Wireless Wireless
Battery life Around 8 hours
Handheld or docked play Both
Weight 22.6g


  • Tiny size helps portability
  • Really cheap
  • Works with other devices


  • Size may be off-putting for some
  • Short battery life

This mighty but miniature controller is small enough to fit on your keys, but as an emergency controller, it’s a hit. Capable of playing Nintendo Switch, iOS, and Android games, this snazzy-looking accessory could be the perfect addition to your setup.

We do really need to emphasize how small it is though. Do you think that a single Joy-Con makes for quite a small controller? Well, this is a lot smaller than a single controller. If you have large hands, it might even be uncomfortable for you to use.

But, frankly, it’s super cheap and does exactly what you need it to. We’d have liked a slightly longer battery life, but its portability is super convenient, and it’s pretty cute too.

Best Nintendo Switch controllers: the PowerA Spectra Enhanced.

6. PowerA Spectra Enhanced Wired Controller

The best wired Nintendo Switch controller.

PowerA Spectra Enhanced Wired Controller specs:

Customizable buttons 2
Wired/Wireless Wired
Battery life N/A
Handheld or docked play Docked
Weight 241g


  • Well-designed wired controller
  • Two programmable buttons


  • No gyro, motion controls, or HD Rumble
  • No option for handheld play

If you’re after a wired option you can’t get much better. With a nice weight, great-feeling analog sticks with anti-friction rings, mappable gaming buttons, and even controllable LED lights, there’s so much to love about the Spectra.

Not if you prefer playing in handheld mode though, as this one can only be used when the Switch is in its dock. Though, for a lot of people, the Joy-Cons will be just fine for gaming on the go, so if you use them for handheld play, and save this for when you’re sitting at home, you should be just fine.

It even has a couple of programmable buttons on the back, making it ideal for anybody who likes to play competitively. You can assign different functions to these so that you can conveniently use their function in a hurry. It’s a great way to help make the controller specific to your unique style of play.

Best Nintendo Switch controllers: the Switch Gamecube controller.

7. Switch GameCube Controller

The best controller for Super Smash Bros.

Switch GameCube Controller specs:

Customizable buttons None
Wired/Wireless  Wired
Battery life N/A
Handheld or docked play Docked
Weight  150.2g


  • Authentic GameCube controller
  • An adapter lets you use historic GameCube controllers


  • Only works with Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
  • Doesn’t use the wireless WaveBird design

This is literally a GameCube controller with Super Smash Bros. Ultimate branding and a converter that allows it to work on Switch. Boy, it’s nice to buy a brand-new GameCube controller in 2024.

Sadly, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is the only game that you can use it with (let’s hope for a future where GameCube games are part of the Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack, and these work with them), so unless that’s the only game you play, you’re not going to be able to have it as your ‘main’ controller.

Still, as much as their usage is limited, we’re happy that these exist. Collectors will want to add them to their collection, and long-term fans will enjoy the chance to play Smash Bros. with this iconic controller once again. If you happen to have any old GameCube controllers already, you can just buy the adapter and use one of those.

Best Nintendo Switch controllers: the 8Bitdo Pro 2.

8. 8Bitdo Pro 2 Wireless Controller

The best controller for all mobile devices.

8Bitdo Pro 2 Wireless Controller:

Customizable buttons 13
Wired/Wireless Both
Battery life Around 20 hours
Handheld or docked play Both
Weight 226.8g


  • Works on most mobile devices
  • Loads of customization options


  • No HD Rumble or NFC scanner

An absolute workhorse of a controller, this is one of the nearest things to a Nintendo Switch Pro Controller you will find in terms of functionality, though it’s still missing a couple of small features. A gorgeous design is aided by a lovely tactile feel, and it’s even compatible with pretty much and device that supports Bluetooth. This is a great option to tuck away in your bag and use either with your Switch or your smart device for mobile gaming sessions!

Almost every button (sans Start and Select) is remappable, and you can save up to four different configuration profiles. This means that you can adjust how it works for different devices, and easily switch between the setups with the flick of a switch.

If you love collecting and using amiibo, you may be a little disappoited, because this controller lacks an NFC scanner. It also lacks the HD Rumble feature that you can with official Nintendo controllers, so your gaming experience might be a little less immersive. If those don’t sound like huge losses to you, the 8Bitdo Pro 2 is a great choice.

Best Nintendo Switch controllers: the 8Bitdo Ultimate Controller.

9. 8BitDo Ultimate controller

The best third-party Switch controller.

8Bitdo Ultimate Controller specs:

Customizable buttons 13
Wired/Wireless Wireless
Battery life up to 20 hours
Handheld or docked play Docked
Weight 616.9g


  • Comes with a charging dock
  • Loads of customisation options


  • No NFC scanner
  • Bit on the pricey side

The best controller 8BitDo has ever made, but with a price to match, the 8BitDo Ultimate is a true contender for the Switch Pro controller, but with a few extra bells and whistles that just might make it the best controller on the market.

The one thing it doesn’t do (compared to the Switch Pro) is scan amiibo. We know that there will be a small dedicated group of fans who spend hours training up amiibo in Smash Bros. and them battling them with friends, but as there’s significantly much less amiibo content on the Switch compared to older consoles, you won’t be missing out much.

Meanwhile, it still has the gyro and motion controls, and it still has HD Rumble too. Not a lot of third-party controllers manage to include that, and impressively, it still gives you plenty of customisation options. Buttons can be remapped, and profiles can be saved. It’s by far the most comprehensive third-party controller on the market.

Read our full thoughts in our 8BitDo Ultimate controller review.

How we chose the best Switch controllers

When narrowing down the options for this list, we used the following criteria to decide what was worth including:

  • Pricing: We wanted options for gamers on every budget. There are some amazing premium Switch controllers, but we also felt it was important to include some cheaper ones that still manage to pack a punch.
  • Portability: As much as the Nintendo Switch is a hybrid, there are a lot of people who like to play their console on the go. We’ve included options which shouldn’t be too difficult to bring with you when playing in handheld mode (except for those explicitly made for docked play).
  • Switch Pro features: The Switch Pro is an impressive controller that offers many fancy bells and whistles, from gyro and motion controls, to NFC scanning, and HD Rumble. Not everyone will want or need these, but when it comes to third-party controllers, those which can match this are the ones that have the most to offer.
  • Customization: Nintendo rarely let players customize things for some reason. No doubt some arrogant notion about knowing best. If you need a controller with programmable buttons, you’ll have to go for a third-party choice. Fortunately, we’ve covered a couple of these on this list.
  • Aesthetics: Who doesn’t like their controller to look good? Though it’s more of a secondary concern for us, we didn’t want to include any hideous cheap-o controllers.

If you have any more questions about how we put this list together, read our how we test page. Still got lingering questions? Read the FAQs below:

What type of controller is best for Nintendo Switch?

Generally speaking, we’d advise going for options created by Nintendo themselves. They’re optimized for Nintendo games and tend to have features that third-party manufacturers miss out on. However, if you want remappable buttons and other customization options, then you’ll have to look beyond Nintendo.

How many different Nintendo Switch controllers are there?

Too many to count, honestly. There are countless manufacturers trying to cash in on the Switch’s success by making their own controllers. We recommending sticking to those made by Nintendo itself, or respected brands like PowerA or 8Bitdo.

Is there a Switch controller that doesn’t drift?

Yes. In fact, modern Joy-Cons don’t have that problem. It was a big problem in the earlier days of the console, but Nintendo have made updates to the hardware and you’ll find Joy-Cons to be much more reliable now.

For more Nintendo Switch accessories, check out our guides to the best MicroSD cards for Switch and the best Nintendo Switch cases.