Perhaps the Nintendo Switch’s biggest selling point, other than its growing catalogue of superb games, is its portability. The Japanese gaming giant’s latest creation is a fusion between the home console and the handheld, the likes of which we’ve never seen before.
One of the only drawbacks to Nintendo’s groundbreaking and highly innovative creation is that, when not docked, it is particularly battery hungry. This is no great surprise. The Switch boasts a gorgeous, vibrant 6.2 inch screen and, when combined with Wi-Fi and other features, it isn’t a shock that the battery life will typically only hold out for between 2 and 3 hours of gameplay.
We’ve been receiving a steady stream of enquiries about charger options for when you’re on the move with your Switch. The console does come bundled with a USB-C wall charger, however most will be using this with their dock and may not want to keep disconnecting it every time they venture outside.
We’re here to answer some of the most common questions around Nintendo Switch chargers.
What should I look for in a second wall charger?
- Ensure the charger is USB-C. This is the type of connection the Switch uses to charge. Micro or Mini USB connections will not work.
- Aim for a USB-C to USB-C cable. If you’re buying a wall charger with a separate cable, ideally look for a wall connector that will support a USB-C to USB-C charger. A USB-A (a classic looking USB) to USB-C will still work, though not as efficiently.
- Power. The power of your chosen charger will play the crucial role in how effectively a certain charger will work with your Switch. Broadly speaking:
- Anything with an output labelled 9V or above should keep your Switch charging pretty quickly even while it’s on and being used.
- USB-C to USB-C chargers marked with 5V 3A can provide the Switch with around 10W of power. This should be enough to keep it charging while playing, and should top the battery up quite quickly when the Switch is powered down.
- Chargers labelled 5V 1.5A or USB-A to USB-C chargers generally marked 5V can typically charge your Switch when it’s turned off, but will likely only provide an on-going top up when the Switch is on and being used rather than adding significantly to the battery.
- Chargers marked with 5V < 1A will typically only provide a slow charge when the Switch is turned off. They may slow battery usage when the Switch is being used, but they won’t have enough power to make a positive difference to the battery percentage.
- Reviews. We at Console Deals are all about finding you the best ways to save money. However, when it comes to buying chargers, cheaper isn’t always necessarily better. Be sure to try and find some reviews for the charger or cable you’re looking at. With USB-C technology still being relatively new, there are a lot of products out there that won’t work as well as they should.
Can I use my laptop/ computer to charge my Switch?
You can, although laptop and computer USB ports are generally very weak in terms of power. In most cases, you’ll get a slow charge when the Switch is turned off and a slow down on battery usage (but not a positive increase in battery percentage) when it's on.
If you have a newer laptop or computer with a USB-C port, using a USB-C to USB-C cable will give you a bit of an advantage over a USB-A to USB-C cable that most devices will support.
Are there any car chargers powerful enough to charge the Switch?
Yes! There’s been plenty of posts on social media of people using inventive solutions to play their Switch while in the back of a car on a long journey. However, to do this of course you’re going to need a charger. There are several examples out there of USB chargers that plug straight into your car’s power outlet, some of which come with an attached USB-C cable. The same power guidelines outlined above for wall chargers generally applied to car chargers.
Are there any battery packs powerful enough to charge the Switch?
Again, yes! A battery pack is a great way to keep your Switch powered up for long spells away from a wall outlet. Once again, the same power criteria as laid out above applies, as does the rule of thumb about chargers that come with USB-C to USB-C support being better at reliably charging than those with a USB-A connection.