Nintendo showcased their penchant for innovation with the Joy-Cons, but the controllers are not without their issues. They are more fragile than controllers of past consoles due to their many components and are also prone to the infamous "Joy-Con drift" phenomenon, where the controllers register input despite none being made.
Many Nintendo Switch owners have had to send their controllers in for repair, and Joy-Cons are quite expensive to replace. Fortunately, gamers have a wide variety of third-party knock-offs that boast many of the same features of Joy-Cons, but for a much lower price. If you're in need of an extra pair of controllers or want some Joy-Cons in new funky colors, look no further!
Our top picks for the best third-party Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons
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These controllers have a design akin to the GameCube controller, and it also has motion sensing and vibrating functions, giving you all the main functions of the Nintendo-brand Joy-Cons. Charge this set with a USB cable or on the Switch system itself.
YCCTEAM's Wireless Joypad Controller offers a white similar to the OLED model, with a futuristic touch. With a look and feel much like the Nintendo Joy-Con controllers, there's also the bonus of also having the wake-up feature, as we found during our review. However, there isn't amiibo support.
If you're looking for a pair of controllers similar to the Animal Crossing: New Horizons ones, this is a good place to start. This set, like many other third-party options, has no amiibo support and no rumble. However, it does have motion control and wake-up functions.
These comfortable controllers have an ergonomic design so you can hold them more comfortably, plus they come with the included grip too, so they can be turned into a traditional controller. While these controllers do not support amiibo or infrared functionality, they do feature gyro support, a wake-up function, and up to 10 hours of battery life.
These controllers are similar to the vibrant official Splatoon 2 controllers offered by Nintendo. If you're looking for a more traditional controller feel, this is the set to pick. Players will enjoy the immersive motion sensing and vibration features, but these will not provide HD rumble.
Ergonomic RGB grip
This fun controller has a great ergonomic design to make your hands feel more comfortable while playing your games. It also has RGB lighting with the rings around the joysticks, and you can choose between eight colors or have it fade through the colors.
This set offers a wider grip than the Nintendo Joy-Con controllers and a little more support on the controller's back. However, some important things to note about the HORI Split Pad Pro are that it will use your Switch battery, it cannot be used off of the Switch, and it does not have rumble, motion, or amiibo support. Despite these cons, we enjoyed using the controller during our review.
This set made it onto our best third-party Joy-Con controllers for Switch list because it offers a wider grip. These Joy-Cons don't allow for handheld mode, but they do have a programmable turbo button. There are also a variety of colors available. Get a fully immersive experience with rumble and motion control. Unfortunately, they do not have amiibo support.
Get a Joypad controller included with the Joy-Con when you pick up this ALIENGT set with a unique M shape. Keeping with the "M theme" is the programmable M (or macro) button. These controllers have dual vibration (but not HD rumble), motion sensors, and include a feature not seen on the original Joy-Con, turbo burst. Although these cannot register amiibo characters, they are still a great replacement for the Nintendo Joy-Con.
How to choose the best third-party Joy-Con for Nintendo Switch
The controller you use can really make a difference in your Nintendo Switch gaming experience. Some people prefer a more traditional controller and for that, there are many third-party options as well. However, others may want to stick with having the controllers the way the console intended. If the latter is you, choosing the best third-party Joy-Cons that fit what you need is largely about finding the one with the features important to your play style.
I found that the YCCTEAM Nintendo Switch Controller has the most features. The throwback GameCube design is an extra special treat. To get the official third-party option, the Hori Split Pad Pro doesn't function quite the same as the original Joy-Con controllers since they don't have internal batteries, but it is a high-quality pick that looks really nice on the Switch.
It's uncertain whether these controllers will function with whatever new console Nintendo has planned, but in the meantime, it's a great alternative to official options in the event that you're experiencing Joy-Con drift.
If you're looking to get a little bit of a different grip, the M of the ALIENGT Joypad Controller offers a unique feel with fun color options. Many options are available for you; whichever you choose is in your hands!
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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.
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