How to Charge Nintendo Switch Controllers

A Nintendo Switch upside down on a white table with Joy-Con around it.
saksorn kumjit/

Nintendo’s little Switch Joy-Cons have impressive battery life, but they’ll eventually need to be recharged. These little controllers don’t have traditional USB charging ports, so how are you supposed to get them back 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 charge.

You can use your Joy-Cons in handheld mode connected to the Switch even if they don’t have any battery left, as they draw power directly from the Switch. However, they will only charge if the Switch is connected to an AC adapter. You can directly connect a USB power source (preferably the official charger) to an unplugged Switch, or dock the Switch with power connected to the dock.

A docked Nintendo Switch with a white background.

Your Switch must also be on or in sleep mode for the Joy-Cons to charge, if your Switch is completely off, the Joy-Cons will not charge.

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Charge multiple Joy-Cons with one charging cradle

Charging Joy-Cons with 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 gaming with groups of friends, so swapping pairs of Joy-Cons on the Switch can be tedious. 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 typically 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 case, you’ll get a Joy-Con grip that turns your Joy-Cons into something that looks more like a traditional controller. That free 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 connected.

Charging Grip Stand for Joy-Con

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

Using one of these grips will also significantly extend your playtime, assuming 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 for charging. You can charge it directly with a Switch wall adapter or USB-C charger. You can also plug it into one of the USB ports on your Switch Dock. There are also special charging docks that can accommodate Joy-Cons and Pro Controllers at the same time.

The Pro Controller has 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 you’re not gaming is much easier to enforce, as it also acts as a kickstand.

There are also other ways to make your Switch life more convenient, 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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