How to Charge Nintendo Switch Controllers

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Nintendo’s tiny Switch Joy-Cons have impressive battery life, but eventually, they’ll need to be recharged. These small controllers don’t have traditional USB charging ports, so just how are you supposed to get them back up to 100% again?

Put Your Joy-Cons on Your Switch

The main way to charge your Joy-Cons is to simply slide them onto your Switch. However, some conditions must be met before the Joy-Cons will actually charge.

You can use your Joy-Cons in portable mode attached to the Switch even if they have no battery power left, since they get power directly from the Switch. However, they will only charge if the Switch is attached to an AC adapter. You can either directly connect a USB power source (preferably the official charger) to an undocked Switch, or dock the Switch with power connected to the dock.

A docked Nintendo Switch with a white background.
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Your Switch must also be powered on or in Sleep Mode for the Joy-Cons to charge, if your Switch is completely powered off the Joy-Cons will not charge.

RELATED: The Best Nintendo Switch Charger

Charge Multiple Joy-Cons With a Charging Dock

Charging Joy-Cons using the Switch itself is easy enough, but what if you have more than one pair of Joy-Cons? The Switch is a great console for playing games with groups of friends, so it can be tedious to swap out pairs of Joy-Cons on the Switch. The answer is to buy a dedicated Joy-Con charging dock.

These docks allow you to charge one or more pairs of Joy-Cons and usually work from any standard USB power source, including one of the USB ports on your Switch Dock.

Get Comfortable With a Joy-Con Charging Grip

In every Switch or Switch OLED box you’ll get a Joy-Con grip that turns your Joy-Cons into something that is more like a traditional controller. That freebie grip is just a plastic frame, but you can buy a version of the grip that has an internal battery, which charges your Joy-Cons while attached.

Charging Grip Stand for Joy-Con

This official Nintendo Grip turns your Joy-Cons into a more traditional controller and charges your Joy-Cons using a built-in battery.

Using one of these grips will also significantly extend your play time, assuming that the grip and Joy-Cons are fully charged.

Charge the Pro Controller With Any USB Port

Unlike the Joy-Cons, the Nintendo Pro Controller uses a standard USB-C port to charge. You can charge it directly with a Switch wall adapter or USB-C charger. You can also connect it to one of the USB ports on your Switch Dock. There are also special charging docks that can accommodate both Joy-Cons and Pro Controllers at the same time.

The Pro Controller has an exceptional battery life, so it’s easy to forget to charge it. With a dedicated dock, getting into the habit of charging your Pro Controller when not playing is much easier to enforce, since it also acts as a holder.


There are other ways to make your Switch life more convenient as well, like investing in a Joy-Con replacement to make your handheld experience more comfortable.

RELATED: This Joy-Con Replacement Makes the Switch More Comfortable in Handheld Mode

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