When Nintendo announced the Joy-Cons, we all saw what kind of new experiences that could be made possible with Nintendo's innovation. After we've had some time with the little controllers, however, we've noticed some issues with them. They're more fragile than other controllers of past consoles, with their tiny components and propensity to develop the ever-irritating Joy-Con drift, where controllers register input despite none being made.
Many of us Nintendo Switch owners have therefore turned to third-party controllers in order to save money while getting new controllers for our systems. Nintendo's options are, after all, very expensive to replace. Third-party controllers will cost you less, and in many cases offer many of the same features as the official Joy-Cons. If you need to replace a pair of Joy-Cons but don't want to spend loads of money doing it, then we've got you covered.
Our top picks for the best third-party Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons
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A little wider
These controllers come in super cool colors, and will click straight into the side of the Switch. They even have a turbo button for the shooters you'll play with the NES part of your Nintendo Switch online subscription.
These little controllers look an awful lot like the controllers you get with the Switch, albeit with some different colors. They have vibration on board, and they'll recharge from the rail on the Switch. They might not be official, but they look very similar.
These controllers have a slightly jazzier shape than standard switch controllers, so there's something a little different. They also have all the right motion controls, so you'll be able to play your favorite Switch games with no issues.
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.
We find that the Hori Split pad Pro is a great option, with its super comfortable shape. It might not have the same kind of features as a standard switch controller, but it'll make your Switch more comfortable to game on for long periods.
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.
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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.