How to Charge Your Nintendo Switch

Charge it from your home or on the go

What to Know

  • The Switch charges when connected to the dock, and you can plug the Joy-Cons into the console's side for a recharge.
  • In portable mode, plug a USB-C cable into the USB port on the Switch's bottom and connect the other end to a power source.
  • Use the Joy-Con Charging Grip to turn your Joy-Cons into a single controller with a USB cable to charge the Joy-Cons while you play.

This article explains how to charge a Nintendo Switch and the Joy-Con controllers in console mode and portable mode.

How to Charge Your Nintendo Switch and Joy-Cons in Console Mode

Charging the Nintendo Switch in console mode is easy, though the Joy-Cons can be a challenge. Here's how to charge the Switch and its controllers and check battery life.

When the Switch Console is Connected to the Dock, it's Charging

The best way to ensure that it is properly charging is to verify that you can see the Switch's display on the TV, so if you are docking after playing in portable mode, double-check that it shows up on the TV before leaving the room. 

How to Check the Switch's Battery Levels

You can tell exactly how much power the Switch has by the battery icon in the screen's top-left. On a full charge, the Switch can give you about three hours of gaming. How much specifically will depend on the exact game, but Legend of Zelda: Breath of The Wild, Nintendo's flagship game, hits this three-hour battery life expectancy pretty much dead on. 

How Long Does It Take the Switch to Charge?

If you have the Switch plugged into the dock, it takes about as long to charge as it does for the battery to drain. This translates to about two-and-a-half hours of charge time to get to 100 percent battery life.

Charging the Joy-Cons

They each have about 20 hours of battery life, but if one of them goes dead during a play session, that's a problem.

The Nintendo Switch doesn't come with a way to remotely charge the Joy-Cons, so you will need to plug the Joy-Cons into the side of the Switch for a recharge. The good news is that the Switch itself doesn't need to be docked for the Joy-Cons to charge so that you can use it in portable mode.

But what if your Switch is low on power?

If you don't want your play session interrupted, you may want to invest in the Joy-Con Charging Grip. This accessory is similar to the grip that turns your Joy-Cons into a single controller with one major difference: You can use a USB-C cable to charge the Joy-Cons while you play. 

How to Charge Your Nintendo Switch and Joy-Cons in Portable Mode

If you are playing a game by yourself, charging the switch is straightforward. Plug in a USB-C cable to the USB port on the bottom of the Switch and keep playing. If your Joy-Cons are attached to the side of the Switch, you should be fine.

Charging While Using the Switch's Stand

If you are using the stand on the Switch's back and have your Switch on a solid surface (like a table), the USB port on the bottom of the Nintendo Switch will be a little hard to use. 

Why did Nintendo build it that way? They couldn't put the port on the sides where the Joy-Cons go, so they either had to go with the top or the bottom. The top would be odd for charging while using it as a handheld, so they went with the base. 

How do you get around this annoyance? The easiest way is to grab a few books to place around the Switch so that you can lift the main unit and create a cavity of space for the cable. But this is awkward, so look for third-party accessory manufacturers to offer some solutions in the (hopefully near) future.

How to Charge Your Nintendo Switch On the Go

If you've seen a commercial with a group of friends gathered around the Nintendo Switch in the middle of a park or on a basketball court, you may have wondered what they would do once that 2-3 hours of battery life has run out. The simple solution: portable power.

USB-C battery charger
Photo from Amazon

You can charge your Nintendo Switch by plugging it into your laptop.

Doing this definitely takes longer than a wall outlet, but if you need to extend your game time or want to charge while on a trip, it will do. However, you will need to power down your Nintendo Switch for this to work. When powered on, the Switch tends to charge the laptop instead of the other way around.

But if you are serious about gaming on the go, you can always invest in a battery pack.

In a world surrounded by so many mobile devices, these are easy enough to find, but the key here is to find one that uses USB-C.

How to Charge and Play in Console Mode

There's no doubt that Nintendo Switch games are at their best when seen on a big screen TV.

So what do you do if your Joy-Cons run out of battery and you want to continue playing in console mode?

Joy-Con charging grip
Photo from Amazon

Normally, you would need to switch to portable mode, but this means you won't get the advantage of playing on the big screen.

Alternatively, you can spend around $30 on a Joy-Con charging grip. This accessory is the same as the grip that comes with the Switch, with one major difference: You can charge your Joy-Cons while you play.

You'll need to plug the Joy-Con charging grip into your console with a USB-C cable to accomplish this, but so long as you have a long enough cord, this isn't a stiff price to pay.

How to Get More Mileage out of Your Nintendo Switch's Battery

There's not a lot you can do to your Nintendo Switch to extend its away-from-home lifespan. But there are a few things you can do:

  • Use the Joy-Cons in detached mode. If you plug the Joy-Cons into the sides of your Switch, the battery will drain much faster.
  • Turn off Wi-Fi and Near Field Communications (NFC). Go the Settings > Airplane Mode and turn on Airplane Mode. This mode will turn off Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and NFC. You will need to turn Bluetooth back on to use the Joy-Cons wirelessly.
  • Turn down the screen's brightness. Go to Settings > Screen Brightness to adjust the brightness of the display. You can leave Auto-Brightness on. Move the slider to the left to dial it back.

If you're still having problems charging the console, try these troubleshooting tips for the Nintendo Switch to see if you can solve the problem yourself.

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