With over 129 million units sold as of June 2023, there is plenty of reason to believe the Switch may very well go on to be one of the best-selling consoles of all time, thanks in part to a huge ecosystem of Nintendo Switch controllers.
While the game library is responsible for a lot of the sales, the ecosystem behind the Nintendo Switch and its incredible set of third-party accessories has helped popularize this console well beyond anyone’s original expectations.
Let’s look at why these 8 Nintendo Switch controllers are helping drive sales of this still incredible home console.
Using Reddit for Nintendo Switch Controller Suggestions
If there is one website available today that you can count on for the best suggestions around for Nintendo Switch controllers, it’s Reddit.
Across the various Nintendo Switch subreddits, you can rely on hundreds of thousands of Switch owners like yourself to provide honest feedback on every aspect of a potential Switch controller.
Everything from comfort, stick drift, wireless connectivity, and comparisons against the original Pro controller are present and accounted for. This means you’ll get brutally honest feedback if you ask a question about anything PowerA, 8bitdo, or even anything Nintendo makes.
Sometimes this feedback will talk you out of a potential purchase, and at other times, you’ll get the exact validation you need to buy immediately.
With this in mind, here are the best Nintendo Switch controllers according to Reddit.
- #1 Best Overall: Nintendo Switch Pro Controller
- Best Premium: 8Bitdo Ultimate
- Best Hall Effect Sticks: GuliKit Kingkong 2 Pro
- Best Joy-Con Alternative: Hori Split Pad Pro
- Best Smaller Size: Hori Split Pad Compact
- Best Customization: Nyxi Wizard
- Best Programmable: PowerA Enhanced Wireless Controller
- Best Compatibility: 8Bitdo Pro 2
#1 Best Overall: Nintendo Switch Pro Controller
- Comes with a charging cable (USB-C to USB-A)
- Includes motion controls, built-in amiibo functionality, HD rumble, and more
- Weighs 12.8 ounces
When it comes to the original Nintendo Switch Pro Controller, it’s arguably the most popular Switch controller of all time that is not named Joy-Con.
Designed by Nintendo directly, the Pro controller’s popularity starts with its fantastic comfort levels. Shaped like an Xbox controller, the Pro controller fits comfortably into your hands and stays that way for both long and short gaming sessions.
However, it’s not just comfort that helps the Pro controller stand out as motion controls and HD rumble are two big bonuses that Reddit users in this thread on r/NintendoSwitch praise. The very first commenter in the thread calls the Pro controller “the best controller I’ve used with the Switch.” This sentiment continues to be echoed across a large number of the 152 comments in the thread.
When you add in Amiibo support, charging via USB-C, and the notion that over the last 6 years, no manufacturer has been able to dethrone the Pro controller, it’s clear why it remains such a popular option.
If there is any downside to the Pro controller, it’s that it can still suffer from the occasional stick drift but it’s less common than is found with the included Joy-Cons.
Check out the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller on Amazon.
Best Premium: 8Bitdo Ultimate
Absolutely living up to its name, the 8Bitdo Ultimate may very well be the ultimate Nintendo Switch controller you can find available today.
Compatible with the Nintendo Switch through a 2.4g adapter that is plugged into the Switch dock, the 8Bitdo Ultimate is just outstanding. Redditors in this thread in r/NintendoSwitch universally agree the benefits of the Ultimate are well worth its premium price tag.
Plenty of praise is passed along inside the Reddit thread around the excellent D-pad, which is often a source of frustration with many third-party Switch controllers. Instead, the Ultimate uses its lengthy experience with manufacturing Switch controllers and delivers a D-pad that is unrivaled to this day.
The same can be said for the Ultimate’s joysticks, which use Hall Sensor sticks and a magnetic effect to avoid stick drift forever. Add in a big overall grip with a textured finish and the Ultimate is arguably more comfortable to use than the Pro Controller.
Last but not least, when you factor in the charging dock for the Ultimate, the ability to use software to remap buttons and have 6-axis motion control makes the Ultimate a big winner.
You can find the 8Bitdo Ultimate on Amazon.
Best Hall Effect Sticks: GuliKit Kingkong 2 Pro
Another popular third-party option that introduces Hall Effect sticks as a popular option, the GuliKit Kingkong 2 Pro is a terrific Switch controller.
If you’re looking for an alternative to both the 8Bitdo and Pro controller, the Gulikit Kingkong 2 Pro makes a fantastic choice. This is echoed throughout this Reddit thread on r/Switch, where many Switch owners call the Kingkong 2 Pro an “excellent controller,” and praise it as being drift stick immune.
Thankfully, avoiding stick drift isn’t the only reason to praise the GuliKit, as its ergonomic feel is equally thrilling to Switch owners. Add in a non-slip design and it’s definitely comfortable for lengthy gaming sessions; plus, the battery on the GuliKit can last up to 25 hours on a single charge.
Built-in dual vibration motors are also available so rumble is definitely something you’re going to experience throughout hundreds of titles in the Switch lineup. The same goes for support for a gyroscope, which is perfect for games like Mario Odyssey, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, and Legend of Zelda.
For first-person shooter titles on the Switch, the GuliKit also stands out with its analog button sensitivity, which drives sensitivity up as much as 600% over competitive controllers.
You can check out the GuliKit Kingkong 2 Pro on Amazon.
Best Joy-Con Alternative: Hori Split Pad Pro
One of the best Joy-Con replacements available, the Hori Split Pad Pro is an excellent way to breathe some new life into your Nintendo Switch.
Redditors in this thread on r/NintendoSwitch are going as far as calling the Hori Split Pad Pro the “best Nintendo Switch accessory for handheld mode.” This is big praise for the officially licensed Hori product as there are dozens of Joy-Con replacements all vying for the same title.
From the moment you put the Split Pad Pro on your Switch, you’ll immediately discover what you have been missing with a full-size Joy-Con replacement that works in handheld mode. It attaches to the Switch in the same fashion as the Joy-Con except the Hori adds a larger grip, better buttons, analog triggers, and a D-pad that far surpasses what Joy-Cons can offer.
Best of all, the Hori Split Pad Pro doesn’t impact the Switch’s ability to dock when attached, so you can leave it on permanently. When attached, you can even assign different functions to two left and right rear buttons for optimizing gameplay.
Find the Hori Split Pad Pro on Amazon.
Best Smaller Size: Hori Split Pad Compact
Answering the call of Switch owners who wanted a smaller version of the Hori Split Pad Pro, the Split Pad Compact is a fantastic alternative.
For Switch owners who find the Joy-Cons uncomfortable after short periods of gaming, the Hori Split Pad Compact is the best handheld alternative. Half the size of the Pro model, the Compact edition still brings a Pro controller experience to your Switch console.
Along with improved ergonomics over Joy-Cons, you also get turbo functionality on both of the two Compact controllers. Plus, the enhanced D-pad is light years ahead comfort-wise of anything the original Joy-Cons can hope to offer.
Things get even better when you factor in assignable button functions and you have a grip that far surpasses many of the similarly-priced controller alternatives on Amazon.
Add in four different colors and compatibility with both the Nintendo Switch and Nintendo Switch OLED, and you have an officially licensed controller that is an excellent choice. Redditors in this r/Switch subreddit call the Compact model one of the most comfortable Joy-Con alternatives they have found.
Get the Split Pad Compact for yourself on Amazon.
Best Customization: Nyxi Wizard
- Joy-pad Switch/Switch OLED
- Gamecube style controller
- Hall effect joystick
- Mechanical trigger
- 6-axis gyro
- Turbo & vibration
Redditors in this thread on r/NSCollectors praise the Nyxi Wizard for being not just great quality, but also fitting snugly with the Switch so as to avoid any wobble.
One of the major highlights Redditors also point out is the Hall Effect joysticks as the days of stick drift and imprecise control inputs are gone. Turning your attention to the ABXY buttons, the Nyxi Wizard allows Switch owners to customize the color effect of each button, so you can illuminate them during gameplay any way you choose. Similar customization is also available with the programmable buttons on the back of the Nyxi, which you can program as any shortcut button of your choice.
Thankfully, there is more to the Nyxi than just customization as each pair includes a 6-axis gyroscope, turbo functionality, and vibration functions. Of course, the mechanical triggers of the Nyxi Wizard are another Reddit highlight, as they ensure rapid-fire accuracy when you are playing online or against a friend.
Check out the Nyxi Wizard on Amazon.
Best Programmable: PowerA Enhanced Wireless Controller
A direct competitor to the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller, the PowerA Enhanced Wireless Controller is a terrific alternative according to Reddit.
According to this thread on r/NintendoSwitch, the PowerA Enhanced Wireless Controller stands above the Pro controller thanks to its programmable back buttons. This is one of the best reasons to make the leap to a third-party option, plus the PowerA costs right around $30 less.
Of course, programmable back buttons are not the only reason to go with the PowerA. The wireless connection makes it easy to play without any cords getting in the way. However, if you want to keep the party going all day and all night, you can plug in the 10-foot cable directly into the Switch dock and keep going without battery life concerns. The good news is that you shouldn’t be worrying about battery all that frequently anyway as the PowerA can deliver up to 30 hours on a single charge.
Another big plus according to Reddit with the PowerA is its outstanding comfort, with a terrific ergonomic feel that enables you to play for hours on end. Plus, motion controls ensure you can play the entirety of the Switch lineup wirelessly.
Find the PowerA Enhanced Wireless Controller on Amazon.
Best Compatibility: 8Bitdo Pro 2
As one of the most popular third-party controller manufacturers, it’s not a surprise another 8Bitdo Controller makes an appearance on this list with the Pro 2.
Redditors in this thread on r/NintendoSwitch are calling it “the best 3rd party Switch controller,” which is a pretty bold claim.
The good news is that the 8Bitdo Pro 2 can back up these claims with outstanding ergonomics and support for not just the Switch but a variety of other platforms like Apple devices, Android, and PC. Using 8Bitdo’s Ultimate Software, buyers of this controller can help personalize the controller’s additional back buttons as well as make custom profiles for use with different games on the Switch.
The enhanced grip has also seen plenty of Reddit praise, as the Pro 2 is one of the most comfortable 8Bitdo handsets the company has released. You can make use of the ergonomics with plenty of time on a single charge thanks to a 1,000mAh battery pack.
Add in extras for motion control, modifiable vibration levels, and adjustable hair triggers and the 8Bitdo Pro 2 is an easy win for Switch console owners.
Check out the 8Bitdo Pro 2 Controller on Amazon.
When it comes to Nintendo Switch controllers, fans of this console have so many great options that it’s quite a challenge to pick which one is right for you. The good news is that you likely cannot go wrong, no matter which controller you select.
Whether you go with the 8Bitdo Ultimate or the official Pro Controller, you are going to find a better experience than with the Joy-Cons and that’s really what matters most.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Mr. Weird/Shutterstock.com.