The standard Joy-Cons for the Nintendo Switch work fine when you’ve got the device in handheld mode. But to amp up your experience when playing with the Switch docked, a Nintendo Switch controller, like the GuliKit KingKong 3 Max is one of the best Switch accessories you can invest in.

TL;DR – These are the best Nintendo Switch controllers:

The best Nintendo Switch controllers deliver a far more ergonomic grip than the ones that come with the device. Not to mention the fact that they’re often far more customizable and offer additional buttons and features letting you make the most of the best Nintendo Switch games. Most aren’t exclusive to the Nintendo Switch either, so you can use them as a PC controller or with a handheld gaming PC. If rumors are true, the Nintendo Switch 2 is expected to launch sometime in early 2025, and we’re hopeful most of these controllers will be compatible with that console too.

The Best Switch Controllers

1. GuliKit KingKong 3 Max

Best Switch controller

GuliKit KingKong 3 Max

GuliKit KingKong 3 Max

With features like hall effect sensors, swappable buttons, and HD rumble, the KingKong 3 Max is ready to deliver an immersive and responsive playing experience.


Wired USB-C, Wireless dongle, Bluetooth

Max battery life

28 hours (RGB off), 15 hours (RGB on)

Hall Effect joysticks and triggers

AXBY buttons feel a little mushy

It’s a hard task to beat out Nintendo’s own Pro Controller, but GuliKit does just that with the KingKong 3 Max. With a look similar to Nintendo’s gamepad, this one kicks things up a notch, offering Hall Effect joysticks and triggers for better precision and adjustable sensitivity which can be a huge advantage in various games, especially shooters like Doom. GuliKit even includes four detachable and remappable rear paddles, and that’s on top of the slightly mushy, swappable face buttons, and large, adjustable D-Pad. Plus, all of this is available for about $10 more than Nintendo’s controller.

We’re only scratching the surface of what’s on offer, as the GuliKit KingKong 3 Max is chock full of features that work flawlessly with the Switch. There are three vibration modes, including HD rumble, to place you right into the action of Super Mario Odyessy. Plus, the 6-axis gyroscope allows motion control in games for better immersion, and you’ll also get support for Amiibo and the ability to wake the Switch from sleeping.

As mentioned, the design matches the Nintendo Pro Controller and many of the best Xbox controllers, meaning it’s ergonomic and comfortable to hold. We also welcome its lightweight and the addition of a slightly textured surface, ensuring the controller doesn’t slip from your grip during heated moments. There’s even a healthy dose of RGB lighting around the joysticks, which is more than just for looks, as it tells you the joystick sensitivities. Speaking of sensitivity, GuliKit lets you make those adjustments on the controller, so you don’t always need to rely on software to make changes.

The GuliKit KingKong 3 Max seamlessly pairs with the Switch wirelessly via Bluetooth, or a wired USB connection is available for less latency. If you want this controller to perform double duty, it also works great with PCs and comes with a USB dongle for a reliable tether-free link. When you opt to play wirelessly, expect up to 28 hours of playtime from the battery. But if you decide to game with those RGB lights illuminated, the battery life drops to about 15 hours.

2. Nintendo Switch Pro Controller

Best official Switch controller

Nintendo Switch Pro Controller

Nintendo Switch Pro Controller

This official Nintendo controller has HD rumble, large face buttons, tactile triggers, and the signature D-Pad while toting a generous 40-hour battery life.


Wired USB-C, Bluetooth

Probably too big for kids

For just about any Nintendo Switch game that you’re looking to play seriously, Nintendo’s very own Pro Controller for Switch is comfortable and effective. Costing just $70 means you’ll have money to spend on the best game deals.

Since its start as a video game hardware maker, Nintendo has consistently designed excellent controllers. The Nintendo Switch Pro Controller is the same with its large face buttons, tactile triggers, and trademark (literally) D-Pad for the best retro gaming. Although children under 6 years old might find it a bit too large.

The Switch Pro controller also features HD rumble, so you won’t miss anything while having your system docked. We also find the battery life to be generous, living well up to the measured 40 hours per charge.

3. Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons

Best Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons

Nintendo Joy-Con

Nintendo Joy-Con

Use these handy little controllers when the Switch is docked, or attach them to the device in handheld mode. Just be prepared for some potential issues with drifting.

Joy-Con drift still exists

This might sound a bit redundant, but Nintendo’s own $80 Joy-Cons truly make the Switch’s magic. Yes, that’s even considering Joy-Con drift.

They’re essential to how the console works, both in docked and handheld modes. You can play games with both Joy-Cons slotted into the system or wirelessly while you have it sitting on a table or docked with your TV.

You can even share Joy-Cons with friends by turning them sideways to act as tinier standard controllers, though we strongly recommend keeping the straps handy for a bit more to hold onto while playing this way.

4. Hori Split Pad Pro

Best Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons for Handheld Play

Hori Split Pad Pro

Hori Split Pad Pro

Enjoy a more ergonomic grip and larger buttons than traditional Joy-Cons with these controls that attach to the sides of the Switch.


Docked in Switch

Easy to hold in handheld mode

While the Nintendo-issued Joy-Cons are fine for most people, something more ergonomic might be better for playing handheld. The $50 Hori Split Pad Pro is licensed by Nintendo and features a much wider area to hold on to while playing on the go.

The ergonomics go further with larger buttons everywhere, alternate shoulder triggers placed within reach of your middle or ring fingers, and a turbo setting for fewer button presses.

However, these alternative Joy-Cons only work while connected to the Switch. You cannot use the Split Pad Pro controllers wirelessly, so game modes in which you need to share individual Joy-Cons are not supported.

5. PowerA Fusion Pro

Best customizable Switch controller

PowerA Fusion Pro Wireless Controller

PowerA Fusion Pro Wireless Controller

A pro-level controller with four rear paddles, interchangeable thumbsticks, and motion controls but no rumble.


Wired USB-C, Bluetooth

With the PowerA Fusion Pro, you can truly customize the controller to your specific needs for comfort and better performance. However, you do lose the rumble pack inside compared to Nintendo’s own Pro Controller, and the battery lasts 20 hours, about half as long.

That’s a trade-off you’ll have to consider when weighing the benefits, which include swappable magnetic faceplates, multiple joysticks to choose from, additional customizable rear trigger paddles, and motion controls for games that support it.

With that many options to tailor the controller to your specific gaming needs, the PowerA Fusion Pro makes up for the loss of rumble and shorter battery life.

6. 8BitDo Arcade Stick

Best fight stick for Switch

8BitDo Arcade Stick

8BitDo Arcade Stick

This budget-friendly arcade stick delivers additional macro buttons and a turbo function, while wireless connectivity via a USB dongle or Bluetooth is handy for use with the Switch, PC, or mobile.


Wired USB-C, Wireless dongle, Bluetooth

Max battery life

30 hours (Bluetooth), 40 hours (wireless dongle)

Two profiles (for Switch and PC)

Since you’re not likely to play on Nintendo Switch in a fighting game tournament (unless it’s Smash Bros.), we heartily recommend the $90 8BitDo Arcade Stick for fighting games on the console.

Not only does this fight stick have a lovable retro style, but it’s also customizable with support for Sanwa parts. The stick automatically recognizes whether it is connected to a Switch or PC — wired or wireless — and instantly changes button assignments.

The Arcade Stick can store two profiles worth of button assignments, for either different platforms or different games, with digital icons that change between profiles. Lastly, the stick includes turbo support and its battery can last for up to 40 hours on a 2.4GHz wireless connection or 30 hours on Bluetooth.

See more of our picks for the best fight sticks for gaming.

7. Nintendo GameCube Controller

Best Super Smash Bros. controller

GameCube Controller

GameCube Controller

Ideal for playing Super Smash Bros, the GameCube controller features a unique button layout, making it easier to pull off moves.


Game Cube (adapter required)

While not the first controller for a Smash Bros. game, the Nintendo GameCube Controller solidified itself as the gold standard almost immediately back in 2001.

The strange button layout of the GameCube Controller – with gray, jelly-bean shaped X and Y buttons surrounding a green, oversized A button and a red, shrunken B button – inherently makes playing Smash Bros. easier. For instance, quickly jumping and making air attacks, as well as pulling off smash attacks with the yellow C-stick, are much simpler.

While you can easily get by playing Super Smash Bros. Ultimate using a Switch Pro Controller, anyone playing remotely competitively will agree: just get the $75 GameCube controller (and the $15-to-$20 adapter) for Switch.

8. 8BitDo Pro 2

Best Switch controller for retro games

8Bitdo Pro 2

8Bitdo Pro 2

Get a retro aesthetic and modern sensibility on this controller that has customizable profiles that you can swap on the fly.


Wired USB-C, Bluetooth

Some Switch-specific features are lacking

Makers of some of the best retro-themed controllers available. The $50 8BitDo Pro 2‘s retro aesthetic and modern sensibility feel tailor-made for Nintendo Switch Online’s growing classic game libraries.

The buttons, direction pad, and shoulder buttons all have a click and feedback that feel quite similar to the original SNES controller. However, the extended grips and dual Hall Effect joysticks feel much like the first PlayStation DualShock controller, save for the additional trigger paddles underneath.

We’ve used the Pro 2 for modern Switch gameplay and were left satisfied. This and the support for three unique button layout profiles make the Pro 2 ideal for supporting multiple retro game consoles or a mix of both classic and contemporary games.

9. 8BitDo Ultimate

Best third-party Switch controller

8BitDo Ultimate Controller

8BitDo Ultimate Controller

Customize button mapping, swap stick behavior, and adjust vibration levels using robust software on this controller with two extra rear paddles and a charging dock.


Wired USB-C, Wireless dongle, Bluetooth

Style isn’t for everyone

The 8BitDo Ultimate makes for one competent controller with a design similar to the Switch Pro. However, you get a slightly larger D-pad, Hall Effect Sensors in the sticks, and extremely responsive buttons, which can be especially handy in fighting games like Smash Bros.

Using the 8BitDo’s Ultimate app, you can customize the button mapping, swap stick behavior, and adjust vibration levels while two extra back paddles are on the controller for additional commands. A custom profile switch button allows you to store three profiles on the pad for on-the-fly swapping.

This wireless controller offers a decent 22-hour battery life and comes with a charging dock that also acts as a wireless connection, though you get a 2.4GHz dongle, too. There’s even Bluetooth support for a super versatile gamepad that’s not exclusively for Switch.

10. Hori Mario Kart Racing Wheel Pro Deluxe

Best racing wheel for Switch

Hori Mario Kart Racing Wheel Pro Deluxe

Hori Mario Kart Racing Wheel Pro Deluxe

A cheap racing wheel and two-pedal set for the Switch that offers wheel sensitivity levels and programmable buttons.

Lacks features like force feedback

Many of the best racing wheels aren’t compatible with the Switch, making the pool of contenders to cruise down Rainbow Road in Mario Kart very small. Luckily, Hori didn’t forget about the versatile gaming handheld, offering the Mario Kart Racing Wheel Pro Deluxe.

Coming in at $100, it isn’t a pro-level option with powerful force feedback or direct drive systems, but the wheel is decently sized and feels solid in hand. You’ll find all the customizable controls needed to navigate games, sturdy paddle shifters, and different sensitivity levels for better handling.

A responsive two-pedal set for the break and gas round out this kit, ensuring a much more immersive gaming experience than a traditional controller. It isn’t exclusively for Mario Kart, so it’ll work with your favorite Switch and some PC driving games.

What to look for in a Nintendo Switch controller

When looking for a new Nintendo Switch controller, the list of criteria is thankfully short. It really just comes down to comfort and the game type. If it’s basic Nintendo Switch gameplay, then we recommend going with Nintendo’s own options. However, if you’re looking to play a specific type of game on Switch, then there’s more specific advice for you:

Fighting games: Consider a fight stick for traditional, arcade style fighting games such as Street Fighter, BlazBlue, and Mortal Kombat. We recommend the 8BitDo Arcade Stick for Switch players, but competitive players should consult our guide to the best fight sticks overall.

Racing games: There are very few racing wheels compatible with Switch, but the Hori Mario Kart Racing Wheel Pro Deluxe is a solid, affordable option. You can also find basic plastic wheels to slot your Joy-Cons into, but they are nowhere near as solid as the traditional racing wheel experience.

Retro games: Players of classic games are generally looking for controllers that feel as close to the originals as possible, if not just re-releases of those very controllers. Since those are extremely difficult to come by, we recommend the 8BitDo Pro 2 for most people playing retro games on Switch.

Nintendo Switch controller FAQ

Can you use Switch controllers on a PC?

Nintendo offers some solid gamepads you may occasionally want to use with your gaming PC. Luckily, official Nintendo controllers like the Switch Pro and Joy-Cons are compatible.

The Switch Pro easily connects to PC via a wired connection. Going wireless requires jumping through a few hoops, but it’s a fairly painless Bluetooth-pairing process. Your device should recognize the controller, and then you can set it up in Steam. With Steam, all the button mapping will be done for you, as it’s recognized as an Xbox controller. However, if you’re playing games outside of Steam, you’ll need the 8BitDo Wireless USB Adapter or special programs to make the Switch Pro Controller act like an Xbox gamepad.

Joy-Con controllers are compatible with PC and other devices over Bluetooth, similar to the Switch Pro. Once synced, programs like JoytoKey or BetterJoy allow the Joy-Cons to work with your computer.

Do Nintendo Switch controllers drift?

The Switch’s Joy-Cons have always been plagued with drift, meaning your controller will register an input when there wasn’t any. It’s unclear what exactly has caused this problem, but it appears to be more than just wear and tear or dust. This issue isn’t just a few isolated cases: It affects a good chunk of Switch users. There are ways to fix Joy-Con drift yourself, or Nintendo will repair the Joy-Cons for you. Luckily, drift is less of a problem in other Nintendo controllers.

What controllers does a new Nintendo Switch come with?

When purchasing a new Switch OLED or original Switch model, you get a set of Joy-Con controllers to use attached to the console for handheld play or disconnected to play games in tabletop and TV mode. The Switch Lite doesn’t come with any controller since its built-in controls only work with games that support handheld mode. You’ll have to purchase a compatible controller separately and connect wirelessly to play other types of games.

Are there any Joy-Con alternatives?

There are plenty of other controllers that can replace your Switch Joy-Cons when playing in handheld mode, but there aren’t actually any alternatives that work with the motion sensor. If you’re hoping to have a better handheld experience, the Hori Split Pad Pro is an excellent choice, but it won’t replace the need for Joy-Cons entirely for certain games.

What are the best Nintendo Switch controllers according to Reddit?

If you’re wondering what the Reddit community reccommends as the best Switch controller, you can find a good thread about it on the r/nintendo subreddit. The overall consensus from the users in that thread seems to be that the Nintendo Switch Pro controller is the way to go. Other users have also suggested that the 8bitdo Ultimate is a good alternative as long as you don’t care about scanning Amiibo.

Joe Osborne is a writer and editor with more than a decade of experience in games and tech media. You can find his work elsewhere at Insider, TechRadar, Laptop Magazine, Tom’s Guide, and more.

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