How To Charge Nintendo Switch Controllers

Imagine you’re about to get a hard-won victory against one of the monstrous foes while playing Dark Souls: Remastered on your Nintendo Switch.

Suddenly your Nintendo Switch controller goes off due to a low battery.

I bet there’s a high chance you would bang your controller against the wall out of frustration. I know I would!

But if you do that, you could damage your Nintendo Switch controller and switch irrevocably.

To ensure such a situation doesn’t happen, I recommend keeping your Nintendo Switch controller well changed at all times.

Doing so will ensure the controller doesn’t run out of juice at a crucial time when playing your favorite Nintendo Switch game.

How do you charge Nintendo Switch controllers? There are two types of controllers you can use with the Nintendo Switch. Joy-Cons, which attach on the Switch’s sides, and Pro Controllers that don’t physically connect to the game console and are designed to look like traditional gamepads. There are several ways to charge each of the controllers, but the most common charging methods require you to use the Nintendo Switch Dock, Switch AC Adapter, or accessories like the Nintendo Switch charging grip and charging dock.

Ok, now that you have the short answer, let’s take a look at each of the different ways to charge Nintendo Switch controllers in more detail.

When should you charge your Nintendo Switch controller?

You should charge Your controller before it runs out of juice.

If your controller’s battery is about to run out, you’ll see a flashing indicator on your Nintendo Switch screen warning you of the low battery.

But it would be best if you didn’t wait for the warning to charge your controller.

Waiting until the last minute to charge your controller could abruptly end your gaming session.

Nintendo recommends that you leave your Joy-Cons charging after each gaming session or after 20 hours of use.

Pro Controllers can go for up to 40 hours without being recharged.

How long does it take to charge Nintendo Switch Controllers?

The speed at which your controller charges depends on the equipment you use. But on average, it takes 3-6 hours to fully charge a depleted controller battery.

I will include the time taken to charge Joy-Cons or the Pro Controller using each of the charging methods discussed below.

How to charge Nintendo Switch controllers

As I have mentioned earlier, there are several ways you can charge your Joy-Cons or Switch Pro Controller.

The following is a breakdown of the different controller charging methods:


Using the Nintendo Switch

Use the Switch to charge the Joy-cons.

To charge your Joy-Cons using the Nintendo Switch, you don’t need any cables or accessories.

All you have to do is:

  1. Attach your Joy-Con controllers to the Nintendo Switch by sliding them down on the sides of the screen. Make sure you attach the right controller to the right side and vise versa. When the controllers connect properly, you’ll hear a click.
  2. Turn on the Switch. 
  3. You should see a notification that the Joy-Con controllers are connected to the game console on the screen.
  4. Plug the Switch’s AC adapter or dock into a power socket and turn it on. It is up to you to decide whether you’ll charge your controllers using the AC adapter or the Switch’s dock.
  5. If you choose to charge using the AC adapter, plug the adapter’s USB-C cable into the Switch’s USB port at the console’s bottom. To charge using the dock, place the Switch in the dock to begin charging. Both methods will charge the Nintendo Switch at the same time.
  6. Please note that your Joy-Cons will not charge if the Nintendo Switch is completely off. It needs to be in sleep mode for the controllers to charge. To put the console in sleep mode, press the power button at the Nintendo Switch’s top. 
  7. Using this charging method, your Nintendo Switch Joy-Con controllers should be fully charged in about three and a half hours.

Note, when attached to the Switch, the Joy-Cons can charge even without the console being plugged into a power source. 

They will draw power from the built-in Nintendo Switch battery, but their battery cannot refresh entirely.

The controllers will only charge to about 50% so that the console battery is left with some power.

To see the current charge level of your controls, on the Switch’s main menu, select the Joy-Cons icon, and you’ll see the percentage of charge each controller attached to the Switch has.

Using the Joy-Con charging dock

The PowerA Joy-Con Charging Dock for Nintendo Switch is great option for charging your controllers.

The Nintendo Switch doesn’t come with a Joy-Con controller charging dock. You’ll have to buy one to use this method to charge your controller.

I recommend you buy the PowerA Joy-Con Charging Dock for Nintendo Switch, an official Nintendo licensed product.

This product can charge up to 4 Joy-Con controllers at the same time. 

If you’re a single player, this is perfect because you can buy an extra pair of Joy-Con controllers so that you always have an extra pair of Joy-Cons charged.

To use a Joy-Con dock, do the following:

  1. Connect the device to the Nintendo Switch dock USB port using the USB cable it comes with.
  2. Ensure the Nintendo Switch dock is powered.
  3. Slide the Joy-Con controllers down the side of the Joy-Con dock. Once the controllers are connected to the dock, the individual LED lights at the top of the device will turn red to show each controller is charging.
  4. Wait until each LED turns greens to show all the controllers are fully charged.
  5.  If your controller’s battery is fully depleted, it will take 5-6 hours to recharge fully.

Using a Charging Grip

If you don’t want to attach your Joy-Cons to the Switch to charge, you can use this method, which also requires you to get a Nintendo Switch accessory. 

In this case, you can get the Nintendo Joy-Con Charging Grip. Other third-party retailers sell charging grips, but I prefer this one by Nintendo. You can get this device from Amazon.

I like the Nintendo Joy-Con Charging Grip for two reasons:

  • It joins the right and left Joy-Con to form a larger gaming pad.
  • You can continue gaming on TV while using the charging grip to power up your controller’s battery.

To use the Charging Grip to charge:

  1. Attach your Joy-Cons to the charging grip. Do this by sliding them into the charging grip from the top of the device.
  2. Connect the charging grip to the Nintendo Switch dock or directly to the Switch’s AC adapter using a USB cable. Ensure the dock or adapter is plugged into a switched-on power source.
  3. Your controls will begin to charge. The battery should be fully charged in about 5 hours if fully depleted.

Note that the standard Joy-Con grip your Switch comes with cannot charge your Joy-Cons.

Nintendo Switch Pro-controller

There are more ways to keep the Pro-Controller battery fully charged than they’re for Joy-Cons.

Here is a rundown on how to charge this game controller.

USB fast charging

When you buy a Nintendo Switch Pro-controller, it comes with a USB-C charging cable. 

This is a fast-charging cable that you can plug into the Switch’s dock to charge the gamepad. To do that, follow these steps:

  1. Plug the Nintendo Switch AC Adapter into a power socket, then connect it to the Switch’s dock.
  2. Connect the Pro Controller to the Nintendo Switch dock using one of the USB ports on the dock’s front.
  3. When connected, an orange light will come on on the controller to show it is charging. After it is fully charged, this light will turn off.

When charging the Pro Controller via USB, you can still use it to play in TV mode.

The Nintendo Switch console also doesn’t have to be docked for the controller to charge.

By the way, another way you can use the USB C charging cable to charge your controller is by connecting it to any USB wall charger.

Charging the Pro Controller with the Nintendo Switch AC adapter

This is one of the easiest ways to charge your Pro Controller.

All you have to do is connect the Switch AC adapter to a power socket, put it on, then directly connect its power cable to the Pro Controller using the USB port at the top of the game control.

If your controller’s battery is out, it will take approximately 6 hours to charge fully.

The orange LED light next to the USB port that stays on when the Pro Controller is charging will turn off when recharged.

This is an excellent way to charge your Pro Controller if you want to continue gaming as it refreshes. 

All you have to do to continue gaming is plug the AC adapter into a power socket close to where you’re playing.

Third-party Pro Controller chargers

There are many third-party charging docks that you can use to refresh your Pro Controller battery.

But be careful not to buy just any charging dock as a poor quality one could damage your controller.

I recommend you buy the PowerA Joy-Con & Pro Controller Charging Dock Nintendo Switch

This is an officially licensed Nintendo Switch accessory that has a lot of 5-star reviews on Amazon.

I particularly like this charging dock because it can charge both the Pro Controller and Joy-Cons.

To charge your Pro controller using this product:

  1. Attach your Pro Controller to the charging dock. The dock comes with a USB C dongle that allows you to place your gamepad on the dock for charging easily.
  2. Connect the dock to the Nintendo Switch dock using a USB cable.
  3. Check to see if the Switch’s dock is plugged in.
  4. If plugged in, the Pro Controller will start charging.
  5. The charging dock has LED lights at the top. When the controller is charging, the light will be red. When fully charged, this light will turn green.

Joy-Cons Vs. Pro Controllers

If you’re wondering which controller to use between Joy-Cons and Pro Controllers, here is some info to help you decide:

  • If you enjoy playing your Nintendo Switch in handheld mode, it would be best if you stick to using Joy-Cons. If you like playing on TV mode, Pro Controllers would be more fun to play with.
  • When fully charged, Joy-Cons have at least 20 hours of play. The Pro Controller has about 40 hours of use. I prefer playing with a Pro Controller because it has the most extended battery life.
  • Joy-Cons take about 3.5 hours to charge if the battery is totally dead. The Pro Controller takes 6 hours to charge fully.


Your Nintendo Switch controller running out of charge is a surefire way to halt the fun when gaming.

Thankfully, Nintendo has made it possible to charge your Joy-Cons or Pro Controller in several ways.

You can connect and charge your controller using the Nintendo Switch AC Adapter, Switch Dock, controller charging grip, or controller charging dock.

You can choose the best way to charge your controller depending on whether you want to continue playing your favorite Switch game or are taking a break from it.

Whichever way you choose to charge your Joy-Cons or Pro Controller if the battery is totally drained, the controller should be fully charged in 3-6 hours.

To ensure you prolong your controllers’ battery life, always leave them charging after a gaming session. Also, do the same for the Nintendo Switch to ensure you find it charged later.

What Next?

How do you clean the Nintendo Switch charging port? Cleaning the Nintendo Switch charging port can be done with a few simple tools. Check out my article here to see how it’s done. 

How do I clean the Nintendo Switch’s vents? The vents can be cleaned easily with compressed air, a vacuum cleaner, and some antistatic brushes. However, it is possible to damage the Switch if you are not careful. Check out my article here to see how to clean your Switch’s vents.  

What was that adapter you mentioned? The adapter I used for my own Nintendo Switch and for the method in this article is the RREAKA USB-C adapter for Nintendo Switch

Nick Sinclair

Nick Sinclair, a gaming aficionado since the Commodore 64 era, studied Creative Computer Games Design in university before founding his own gaming company. Discovering a passion for content creation, Nick now helps gamers squeeze every drop of fun out of their favorite gaming hardware

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