The Best Controller for Nintendo Switch for 2023

There are many different kinds of the best Nintendo Switch controllers, so you can find one that fits your budget and style. We’ve made a list of our top choices to make things easier to understand, and we’re sure one of them will fit your needs.

Best Nintendo Switch Controllers in 2023

8BitDo Ultimate Controller

8BitDo Ultimate Controller
8BitDo Ultimate Controller

If you had to choose a Nintendo Switch controller on the spot, you should get the 8BitDo Ultimate. It’s one of the best controllers on the market because of how well it’s made, how it feels, how long its batteries last, and other things. Add extra features like button profiles that can be changed through the 8BitDo app and two extra buttons on the back of the pad, and you have a “Pro”-like controller that is well worth the money.

Even better is the price tag. It costs the same as the next item on our list, $69.99/£59.99, but has even more features. The value of the 8BitDo Ultimate goes up even more when you think about how it comes with its charging dock. Handy for when the pad’s 20-hour battery life runs out, and you need to charge quickly.

There are only a few problems, like the area in the middle, where buttons like Start, Select, Home, and Share are, are a little crowded. This makes it easy to hit more than one button by accident. There is also no NFC support, so if you like to collect and scan amiibo figures and cards, you’ll have to use the Joy-Con controllers. But in the end, these are just small things that don’t take away from what this great controller does right.

Nintendo Switch Pro Controller

Nintendo Switch Pro Controller
Nintendo Switch Pro Controller

It doesn’t come as a surprise that the official Nintendo Switch Pro Controller is one of the contenders for the best controller for the system. Even though we think the 8BitDo Ultimate is a little better, Nintendo’s controller is still a great option. Especially if 40+ hours of battery life on a single charge sounds good. The Pro Controller’s battery life is probably its best feature.

The Nintendo Switch Pro Controller costs $69.99/£59.99, the same price as our top pick on this list. And while the Pro Controller doesn’t have some of its competitor’s features, such as a charging dock, rear buttons, or support for multiple button profiles, it makes up for it in other ways, such as by supporting NFC fully and, again, by having a simply fantastic battery life.

If you want a controller that’s a little more traditional and a lot more durable than the Joy-Con controllers that come with the Switch, there’s not much wrong with the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller. Even though the Ultimate has better buttons and triggers, the Pro is still a great choice, especially if you play primarily in docked mode.

Nintendo Switch Joy-Con controllers

Nintendo Switch Joy-Con controllers
Nintendo Switch Joy-Con controllers

When the Nintendo Switch came out in 2017, the Joy-Con controllers were new and exciting. Some of their more futuristic features, like the HD rumble and haptics like the DualSense, are still great. Most importantly, you get two controllers for the price of one if you can deal with their small size. This alone makes the Joy-Con great for playing games in the same room.

But because of that and the fact that the Joy-Con are new, they are even more expensive than the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller. A pair of Joy-Con controllers will cost you $79.99/£69.99, even more than the top two items on our list.

When you consider that the Joy-Con controllers are less well-made than the Pro Controller and that the analog sticks on the Joy-Con controllers tend to drift, you may be better off looking at some of the other options on our list. On the other hand, their versatility is undeniably valuable, and games like Mario Party Superstars and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe work great with them. So, the Joy-Con controllers are fun and suitable for the whole family.

Hori Split Pad Compact

Hori Split Pad Compact
Hori Split Pad Compact

Is the Joy-Con better than the Hori Split Pad Compact? Yes, in many ways. Hori’s version of the pair is a little bit wider, so it fits better in bigger hands. You also have two back paddle buttons on each controller and a “turbo” button for quick inputs.

It is also much cheaper, costing only $49 or £39.99. This is even better because the Compact is easier to find than Nintendo’s Joy-Con controllers, which are often sold out at big stores. So, you can get almost the same experience with the Compact pretty easily and for a low price.

But even though the Compact is fun to use, it doesn’t have some key Joy-Con features. You won’t get Nintendo’s HD Rumble, and it doesn’t work with NFC or have gyro aiming. Because of this, we wouldn’t recommend playing games like Splatoon 3 and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on the Compact in docked mode.

PowerA Enhanced Wired Controller

PowerA Enhanced Wired Controller
PowerA Enhanced Wired Controller

It’s a miracle that the PowerA Enhanced wired controller exists. If you only looked at the price, you might think these pads are cheap and have little to offer. But, thank goodness, that’s not true.

PowerA Enhanced controllers that are wired only cost $27.99 or £24.99. PowerA’s pads are great gifts for younger players because they are cheap and come in many fun designs with Nintendo themes.

Also surprising is how well the buttons, triggers, and sticks work here. Even though it’s not as good as the 8BitDo Ultimate, with its satisfyingly clicky buttons and deeper triggers, it’s still an excellent job for such a cheap pad. The only downside to its price is that the place can only be used when it’s plugged in. This means you can’t use it on the go or with the Nintendo Switch Lite.

8BitDo Arcade Stick

8BitDo Arcade Stick
8BitDo Arcade Stick

8BitDo’s great arcade stick is at both ends of our list of the best Nintendo Switch controllers. It’s a great choice if you like to download and play many fighting games on the Nintendo eShop, from compilations like the Capcom Fighting Collection to SNK cult classics like Garou: Mark of the Wolves. It’s not just one of the best Nintendo Switch controllers, however. It’s also on our list of the best fight sticks for 2023.

At $90/£82, the 8BitDo Arcade Stick is the most expensive thing on our list. However, its beautiful retro look and 8BitDo’s always-reliable build quality make it an excellent match for Nintendo’s console. So, it’s great for playing fighting games and the many retro games you can play online with Nintendo Switch Online.

The 8BitDo arcade stick also has good buttons, button mapping, support for multiple profiles, and can connect wirelessly. You won’t have to deal with wires because the stick has Bluetooth. It also works great when docked and taking it with you.

What’s The Best Controller for Nintendo Switch?

The 8BitDo Ultimate and the official Nintendo Switch Pro controller are close to taking the number one spot. Even though the Pro Controller has the best battery life in its class and works with amiibo, we think the 8BitDo Ultimate is better because of its high build quality, better-feeling buttons and triggers, and extra features like a charging dock and button profiles that can be mapped.

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