It takes a lot of power to properly charge your Nintendo Switch.
Don't be fooled by it's child-friendly appearance, there's a lot happening under the glass face of a Nintendo Switch console. Making a system this capable into something that could be portable for up to six hours on a single charge means there's a big battery and a lot of thermal management happening underneath to keep everything running smooth. It also means recharging that battery when it isn't docked in the included charger isn't easy, especially if you want to charge and play at the same time.
If you've been hunting for a good portable battery that will charge a Nintendo Switch while you're away from home, there are a few options that will get the job done with a few caveats attached. The best option for charging a Switch, however, isn't yet available to purchase.
Charging your Switch with a battery backup
The key to charging your Switch with a portable battery is making sure that battery can output energy at the same rate as the power cord that comes with your Switch. That can be a little confusing in this situation, as the back of the Switch power brick actually has two different charge rates. You'll see 5V/1.5A and 15V/2.6A listed on the charger, and this case it means the charger will output at 5V/1.5A when the Switch isn't charging the battery and 15V/2.6A when it is charging the battery.
Most of the "fast charging" battery packs you find for smartphones have a max output of 5V/3A, and if you connect one of those chargers to your Switch you will see the charging symbol appear over the battery in the Switch UI. What you won't see is the battery actually charging, especially if you're using the Switch at the time.
With a 5V/3A battery backup, your Switch will recharge at a rate of roughly 1% every five minutes if you aren't using it. If you are using your Switch with one of these backups attached, you'll find the battery percentage of the Switch is still going down even though the charging symbol is on the screen.
If you want a battery that will "trickle" charge your Switch while you aren't using it, here's what we recommend.
This high-capacity portable charger boasts a 20100mAh battery cell with a 3A output. It's small enough to hide away in your pocket or a bag, and will get the job done if your goal is the charge the Switch while it sits safely in a backpack or travel case.
With its high capacity, you're likely to be able to charge the Switch three times over and have enough for your phone before it needs to be recharged.
What about Quick Charge?
You'll find a lot of batteries now will have a featured called Quick Charge onboard that promises 12V/1.5A output, which may seem like it would charge your Switch faster. This is not the case, and you should not rely on Quick Charge to power your Switch.
Quick Charge is a proprietary charging tech created by Qualcomm for rapidly charging smartphones and tablets. In order for something to take advantage of Quick Charge, it has to have a Qualcomm processor and be certified by Qualcomm. No such certification exists for the Switch.
It's also important to point out that Quick Charge is not a part of the USB-C spec, which has its own rapid charging tech that is also not being used in the Switch. If this all seems overly complicated, that's because it is. The bottom line, however, is that Quick Charge is both something you don't want to use on your Switch and not something that will actually rapidly charge your console.
The best battery pack to charge a Nintendo Switch while playing it
We've done a great job so far telling you about all of the sad things, but there are battery backups that will offer you the experience you want. Unfortunately, neither of them are immediately available to purchase right now.
Razer Power Bank
Originally built to charge laptops, Razer's 12,800mAh capacity battery is more than capable of charging your Switch at 15V/2.6A through the included USB-C port. This battery is slim enough to fit into your back pocket, but at .74lbs you're unlikely to leave it there. Even better, this battery should have no problem completely charging your Switch twice with enough juice left over to charge your phone before it needs to be recharged.
If you want one of these chargers, you need to sign up for the notification list on Razer's website. Once they're available to purchase, this battery will set you back $150.
Why bother with a separate USB cable in a battery pack when you can just plug the wall charger and not have to worry about power output? Alright, so that actually a really clumsy solution but it's one that is available thanks to the folks behind the OmniCharge. It's a portable battery with a US three prong jack right on the side of it, and the 13,600 capacity will deliver all the power you need for multiple complete charges.
OmniCharge is an IndieGoGo project that is currently shipping in batches, so if you have $160 to drop on an all purpose battery backup you can get one in a couple of weeks.