The Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons are fantastic controllers, but they are expensive. Fortunately, some of the best Switch third-party controllers can be better options and offer more traditional gamepad designs. Whether you prefer the smaller Joy-Cons or the heavier Pro Controller, everyone has their preference. If you want a more traditional gaming controller for your Switch and want to spend less money, here are the best third-party controllers we recommend most.
The best third-party Switch controllers to get your game on
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Comfortable and inexpensive
This wireless controller not only features motion controls and rumble, but one of our favorite features noted in Rebecca Spear's review is that it's one of the few that actually has amiibo scanning abilities. The large home button in the center makes it super easy to access, and it has an ergonomic grip for comfortable play. The battery lasts up to 10 hours, so just charge it up between sessions, and you're good to go.
These third-party Joy-Cons look and feel very much like the official Joy-Cons but at about half the price. Features include rumble and motion controls, but they do not support amiibo scanning. Slide them on the Switch or use them detached. They even come in three different colors so you can find the look you like best.
Animal Crossing's Isabelle
Animal Crossing: New Horizons has been one of the most popular games in the last few years. You can celebrate your love for the game with this cute Isabelle design in blue or green. It has a built-in battery charged via USB-C cable, and it includes motion controls and rumble.
Extra buttons and options
This fancy controller comes with two interchangeable faceplates (black and white), a carrying case, features rubberized grips, and even has extra controls. As we said in our Fusion Pro review, "the optional mappable back buttons can really give you an edge,", especially in competitive play. However, it doesn't offer rumble or amiibo scanning. Still, if you're looking for a controller that feels great in your hands and gives you extra options, it's a great choice.
Solid wireless controller
The PowerA Enhanced Wireless Controller is likely one of the best Switch third-party controllers as we have called it the "closest you're going to get to the Nintendo Pro controller." It's wireless and has motion controls, 30 hours of battery life, and the same layout as the Pro controller for the Switch. Like PowerA's other controllers, it also takes two AA batteries and comes in multiple fun colorways and designs.
Best for N64 games
If you have a Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack subscription then you have access to dozens of retro N64 games on Switch. Thing is, these games were built to play with the N64 controller, but it expensive and hard to find in stock. This wireless controller works perfectly with N64 games on Switch since it has that C-button joystick. Plus, the more modern gamepad design feels great in your hands.
This is the first Nintendo Switch controller to feature a headphone jack. I know, right? This should have been done sooner! You can adjust music volume during gameplay using the D-pad and interchangeable faceplates. New faceplates have been added with some of Nintendo's most beloved characters, as well as different colors. Plus, you won't feel too tethered since it comes with a 10-foot cable.
If you are okay with sacrificing rumble, motion control, and NFC capabilities, the HORIPAD Wired Nintendo Switch Controller is a very budget-friendly option. It comes with a 10-foot cable, making it long enough to sit at a comfortable distance from your TV. It also has a detachable directional pad so you can choose between that or the buttons.
Show off your love for the classic SNES controller with this sweet retro design. It offers vibration and motion controls, has a battery life of up to 20 hours, and is compatible with other devices, including iOS, Android, PC, Steam, and macOS.
Classic GameCube feel
The GameCube controller will always reign supreme for some Nintendo fans, and the PowerA Wireless GameCube-Style Controller brings that classic style and feel to the Nintendo Switch. With motion controls on board, it feels much more like a Nintendo Switch controller than other gamepads. However, there are no rumble or NFC capabilities. Plus, instead of being rechargeable, it needs two AA batteries.
Perfect for retro games
The Nintendo Switch has a ton of retro and retro-styled games available in the Nintendo eShop, so why not use a controller that embodies that nostalgia in a perfect way? The select and start buttons function as the - and + buttons, respectively, and the 8Bitdo SN30 Pro even adds two joysticks (as we mention in our 8Bitdo vs. Pro Controller comparison) so you can play all your games just like a Pro Controller.
Use your own controller
Perhaps you are one of those folks that are totally in love with the Xbox controller or even the PS5 DualShock. Or maybe you just don't want to buy one more controller. Fortunately for you, there's a solution that allows you to use those controllers with your Switch. The Magic-NS enables wireless connection for PS5, PS4, PS3, Wii U Pro, Xbox One S, or Xbox Series X controllers, so you can game comfortably with any of these familiar controllers!
Switch it up
The Nintendo Switch is an amazing console and it can be enjoyed even more with the proper controller. A conventional-looking controller is essential for some of the best multiplayer games, shooters, and action RPGs. On the other hand, if you get one of the best Switch third-party controllers out there, there's no need to dish out more for the Pro Controller if you don't want to.
Our number one recommendation is the YCCTEAM Wireless Pro Controller. It offers everything that the official Pro Controller has, including amiibo scanning, vibration, and motion controls. Plus, it feels great in hand and offers a huge Home button for easy access.
PowerA's Wireless Nintendo Switch controller is another great option due to its ergonomic and lightweight design. It feels good in adult-sized hands and provides all the functions you need for an intense gaming session. Just keep in mind it doesn't have amiibo support.
If you'd prefer something a little cheaper, check out the HORIPAD Wired Nintendo Switch Controller. It's one of the least expensive controllers on this list but will still provide you with a better gaming experience than the Joy-Cons. Now get gaming!
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Gaming aficionado Rebecca Spear is iMore's dedicated gaming editor with a focus on Nintendo Switch and iOS gaming. You’ll never catch her without her Switch or her iPad Air handy. If you’ve got a question about Pokémon, The Legend of Zelda, or just about any other Nintendo series check out her guides to help you out. Rebecca has written thousands of articles in the last six years including hundreds of extensive gaming guides, previews, and reviews for both Switch and Apple Arcade. She also loves checking out new gaming accessories like iPhone controllers and has her ear to the ground when it comes to covering the next big trend.
- Alex HuebnerContributor