Best Nintendo Switch Controllers to Buy in 2021

Which controllers will best suit your style for gaming on Nintendo's hybrid console?

by Elliott Gatica

nintendo-switch-key-art

The Nintendo Switch is a system with seemingly endless accessories and peripherals. It’s the perfect system to make a lot of accessories for, given its sleek design and personality. However, this hybrid console does present owners with controller options.

There are so many different games on the system that utilize different controls. Sometimes we opt to play handheld, giving us more of the Joy-Con options, while those who play docked will want a more standard control option. Here are the best controllers to buy for your Nintendo Switch.

The best Nintendo Switch controllers to buy in 2021

Power A series controllers

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Power A makes a plethora of controllers that basically mimic the design and feel of the Nintendo Switch Pro controllers. They also come in a multitude of designs ranging from different colors and patterns to licensed Nintendo characters like Mario, Link, and Samus. These controllers can either come in the wired variants or wireless, of course with the latter option being priced higher.

There are also Power A GameCube-style controllers that come with the same wired and wireless options. These specific controllers also implement an additional Z-button on the left, giving this ZL button functionality for games that require additional buttons. The GameCube variant controllers also have the Plus, Minus, Home, and Capture buttons in place of the start button on a standard GameCube remote.

HORI brand controllers

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HORI is a solid brand for third-party controllers. They make all sorts of accessories for gaming peripherals, including controllers. Personally, I’d recommend getting a standard HORIPAD, the Plus version, BattlePad, or Split Pad Pro controllers from this brand.

If you want a controller that’s somewhat cheaper and a good alternative to the Pro Controller, go for that HORIPAD or the Plus. They have gyroscope functionality and are rechargeable. It may not have the 1-to-1 quality, but it’s something that even your guest player won’t mind holding. If you really want to, you could opt to get the mini versions of these, but they can feel a bit weird to hold, especially for people with larger hands.

Nintendo-Switch-Hori-Battle-Pad-Controller

If you want something close to a GameCube controller, the BattlePad is your go to piece of hardware. That controller will be more than serviceable to get your fight on for a game like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. It also adds a ZL button, making this viable for Switch games that utilize most or all the buttons on a typical controller for the system.

If you want something more on the beefy side of things because of ergonomic reasons or having large hands, the Split Pad Pro is your best bet. It’s for people who will ideally play with their systems in handheld mode. This peripheral will essentially give you the nice feel and bulkiness of something like a Pro controller, but on each side of the Switch’s screen. Joy-Cons do tend to cramp up your hands after long play sessions, so this can fix that issue.

8BitDo series controllers

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Chances are if you have been looking for third-party alternative controllers for the Nintendo Switch, you have seen or heard something about 8BitDo. This company makes some very high quality controllers that feel like faithful, modern day recreations of controllers like the Sega Genesis 6-button pad, Super Nintendo “dog bone” controller, and even the NES rectangular controller.

They have Bluetooth functionality and work very well for most 2D platformer titles, which the Switch has an overwhelming amount of. There are also models that have dual joysticks like the Pro 2 and SN30 Pro controllers if you want to play more than just 2D games. All of these have rumble and motion support built in and should mostly work right out of the box.

Nintendo-Switch-8BitDo-SN30-Pro

If you like the retro style of controllers for gaming on the Switch, especially with their extensive lineup of NES, SNES, and soon Nintendo 64 and Sega Genesis titles, you have to get a controller from this brand.

Official Nintendo Switch Pro Controller

Nintendo-Switch-Pro-Controller

The Nintendo Switch Pro controller is your best bet for something reliable. It’s basically both Joy-Cons consolidated into a modern piece of hardware that gets the job done on basically the entire Switch catalogue, aside from a few motion-required games. First-party hardware is always going to have the least issues and will more than likely be the optimal choice for gaming on your platform. They may more likely than not be pricier, but they are the most reliable.

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