How To Charge The Nintendo Switch: The Most Effective Way

Since its release in 2017, the Nintendo Switch has become a household name. This intelligent hybrid console has helped revolutionize gaming, and its attracted millions of users in just four years. 

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How To Charge The Nintendo Switch The Most Effective Way

One of the downsides of having a Switch is that the fun doesn’t last forever when you play portably. Soon enough, the battery dies, and you’re left waiting for it to charge up again, so you can get back to your favorite game. 

Like all technological devices, though, battery life CAN be preserved and improved. So if you’re looking for some tips and tricks to keep your switch powered up for longer, you’ve come to the right place. Stick with us to find out how to charge your Nintendo Switch most effectively. 

How Long Does It Take For A Switch To Charge?

According to the Nintendo website, a Switch console takes approximately 3 hours to reach full charge when the console is in sleep mode or powered off. If the console is in use during charge time, this may take longer. 

Once your Switch is fully charged, the longevity of the battery depends on several factors, including:

  • What Switch you’re using
  • What games you’re playing
  • What functions you’re using 

How Long Does A Switch Battery Last?

There are several different Switch models, and each one has different battery life. Let’s take a look at the models and their battery duration below.

  • Nintendo Switch – Serial Number beginning ‘XT’ – 4.5 to 9 hours
  • Nintendo Switch Lite – 3 to 7 hours
  • Nintendo Switch – Serial Number beginning ‘XA’ – 2.5 to 6.5 hours
  • Nintendo Switch – Serial Number beginning ‘XK’ – 4.5 to 9 hours

Nintendo Switch Models: Specifications 

Before we let you in on some tips and tricks to charge your battery effectively, you’ll need to understand the differences between each Switch model. Each model has its own power requirements and battery capacity.

Understanding these differences will help you charge your Switch efficiently. Ready to learn more? Let’s dive in. 

Nintendo Switch – Model Number HAC-001-(-01)

The original Nintendo Switch has a battery life of between 4.5 to 9 hours. It includes the following features:

  • 4” high, 9,4” long, and .55” deep (when the Joy-Con is attached)
  • .88lbs weight with Joy-Con controllers attached
  • 6.2” LCD touch screen
  • 32GB Storage
  • TV Mode, Tabletop Mode, and Handheld Mode
  • Compatible with all Nintendo Switch games
  • Joy-Con controllers, which include HD Rumble and IR Motion Camera
  • Nintendo Switch dock with an HDMI cable 

Nintendo Switch Lite – Model Number HDH – 001

The Nintendo Switch lite has a battery life of approximately 3 to 7 hours. It includes the following features:

  • 3.6” high, 8.2” long, and .55” deep
  • .61lbs weight
  • 5.5” LCD touch screen
  • 32GB Storage
  • Handheld Mode only 
  • Compatible with Handheld Switch games
  • No Joy-Con controllers
  • Not compatible with the Nintendo Switch dock

Nintendo Switch – OLED Model – Model Number – HEG – 001

The Nintendo Switch OLED Model has a battery life of approximately 4.5 to 9 hours. It includes the following features:

  • 4” high, 9.5” long, and .55” deep
  • .93lbs with Joy-Con controllers attached
  • 7.0” OLED touch screen
  • 64GB Storage
  • TV Mode, Tabletop Mode, Handheld Mode
  • Compatible with all Nintendo Switch games
  • Joy-Con controllers include HD Rumble and IR Motion Camera
  • Includes Nintendo Switch dock and HMDI cable 

Joy-Con Battery Life

Joy-Con’s are the game controllers that come with your Nintendo Switch console (except the Switch Lite). Joy-Con’s can be used when attached directly to the console or used wirelessly. 

When you use your Joy-Con’s wirelessly, they each have approximately 20 hours of battery life. Unfortunately, the Switch doesn’t offer a way to charge your Joy-Con’s remotely, meaning they need to be plugged directly into the side of your Switch console to charge.

Thankfully, the Switch doesn’t need to be docked to charge the Joy-Cons, so you can charge them in portable mode. 

However, this can be a problem if your Switch is running low on battery. 

Is There Another Way To Charge your Joy-Con’s?

If you want to play your Nintendo Switch portably, but your Joy-Con’s are running on low battery, this can be a problem. However, there is a solution. 

If you want to play the Switch portably without interrupting your gameplay, you can buy yourself a Joy-Con Charging Grip. 

What Is A Joy-Con Charging Grip?

The Joy-Con charging grip allows you to keep playing your Switch while charging your controllers, even with your system docked. 

The Joy-Con charging grip is essentially a plastic shell that holds your Joy-Con controllers in place. Once inserted into the body, your Joy-Cons will look a little like a Playstation controller. 

To charge your Joy-Cons, you’ll need to connect your Joy-Cons and insert your supplied charger into the back of the shell. 

The Joy-Con charging grip is not supplied with the Switch, so you’ll have to buy it separately. These can cost you anywhere between $11.99 and $20. 

How To Charge Your Nintendo Switch

How To Charge Your Nintendo Switch

Before we take a more in-depth look at the exact specifications and efficiency of each Switch model, let’s explore the best charging solutions for your Nintendo Switch. 

There are five main ways to charge your Nintendo Switch. These include:

The Nintendo Switch Charging Dock

If you’re using a classic Nintendo Switch, you’ll have the option to power it up via the Nintendo Charging Dock. 

You can use the dock to charge up your Switch while you’re playing on a TV or while your Switch is in sleep mode. The Nintendo charging dock also comes with an extra three USB ports, so you can charge other devices simultaneously. 

When you dock your Nintendo switch, the power input requirements change drastically. Although the console accepts most compatible USB-C and USB-A chargers, the dock requires a USB-C PD with 15V/2.6A (or above).

If you use anything below this, the dock will not charge the Switch or its external USB ports. 

When docked, a Switch will require a minimum of 39W from its charger. However, it doesn’t actually USE that much. The Switch console only draws around 18W.

The 3 USB ports require 9.5W, and all the other electronics inside only need around 0.5W. On averages, there’s around 11W of power unused. 

While that may seem like a lot, we suspect Nintendo was concerned about charging efficiency and wanted to guarantee the best user experience possible. 

You can charge your dock with most other 45W USB-C PD chargers, so if you lose your charger, you can opt for a cheaper alternative rather than an original one, and this won’t interfere with the power supply. 

Using the dock to charge your Switch will take around 3 hours. If you’re gaming, this may go up. 

The Nintendo Switch AC Adapter

Every Nintendo Switch model uses the same AC adapter. Although this adapter supports power delivery profiles of 5V/1.5 and 15V/2.6A, it doesn’t fare so well when charging other devices such as phones and laptops. 

The AC Adapter has a USB-C type input, which traditionally, should offer 5V/3A. However, the Switch adapter only provides a profile of 5V/1.5A, which is underpowered. Although this works efficiently for the Switch, it does mean the charger will not work well with other devices. 

There’s no real difference in charge time between charging directly via the AC adapter or the Switch dock with the AC adapter.

However, as seen with other charging methods, you can expect slower charging times when gaming. Although the Nintendo Adapter doesn’t work well with other devices, you can use other USB-C adapters to charge your Switch. 

Charging Case

If you want to play on the go without the restrictions of cables and docks, a charging case is an excellent option. 

In need of some inspiration? We recommend this 10000mAh charging case by YOBWIN. This charging case includes a built-in 10000mAh rechargeable battery that can extend your playtime by up to 8 hours. 

It also provides fast-charge features thanks to its USB-C input of 18W, and you’ll be given a USB Type C charging cable with the case. It also features some designated, detachable Joy-Con grips with curved palms, so you can play in comfort on the go. 

What’s more, the Joy-Con grips include an additional card slot, so you can store extra game cards in the grip when you’re gaming on the go. You’ll also benefit from over-current protection, over-load protection, over-voltage protection, and short-circuit protection, so you can game in peace. 

Car Charger 

The biggest benefit of owning a Switch is the ability to play portably. If you’re traveling long distances, this is a great prospect… until you realize your battery might not make it. In these instances, you could make use of a charging case OR a car charger.

Most car chargers also come with long cables, so you don’t have to worry about squeezing into the front so you can game. 

If you’re thinking about investing in a car charger, why not check out this Switch car charger from the FYOUNG store? This Switch car charger is compatible with the Switch OLED, the Classic Nintendo Switch, and the Switch Lite.

This charger comes with an extra-long 6.5ft cable and connectors and a 15V/2.6Amp voltage. It’s also capable of charging your joy-cons when they’re attached to your Switch. 

This charger also comes with built-in temperature control and additional safety features to protect your Switch against overheating and overcurrent. 

Note: This charger does NOT charge the Nintendo Switch dock, only the console. 

Nintendo Switch: Charging Specifications

Now, let’s take a closer look at the Nintendo Switch charging specifications you need to know. 

Charging Port 

All Nintendo Switch models, including the Lite, come with a USB Type-C input for recharging. The Switch is the first console manufactured by Nintendo to support this technology. 

What Is A USB Type-C Input?

A USB Type-C input is a newer connector that features a much smaller connector shape. It’s also reversible, so it can be plugged into your switch facing either up or down.

USB-C cables are also much faster than their predecessors, so they can even charge high-power devices like laptops. Their transfer speed is also significantly quicker, averaging at 10 Gbps. 

The classic Nintendo Switch can charge over USB-C, which automatically optimizes its charge time and battery health. The Nintendo Switch Lite also uses an identical USB-C charger to the classic Nintendo Switch. 

Original Nintendo Switch: Docked Vs. Undocked Power Tests

If you’re curious to know the power consumption of an original Nintendo Switch (docked vs undocked), take a look at the following tests. (Statistics cited from AnandTech)

Undocked Power Consumption: Original Nintendo Switch

Switch Only (Maximum Brightness)

On (Fully Charged): 8.9W (14.8V @ 0.6A)
On (Discharged): 16.1W (14.6V @ 1.1A)
Charging (Sleep): 9.8W (14.8V @ 0.66A)

Switch Only (Minimum Brightness)

On (Fully Charged): 7.1W (14.8V @ 0.48A)

Switch with Joy-Cons

On (Fully Charged) 8.9W (14.8V @ 0.6A)
On (Discharged) 17.7W (14.6V @ 1.21A)
Charging (Sleep) 12.1W (14.7V @ 0.82A)

As you can see, using the original Nintendo Switch display at minimum brightness when fully charged brings the power consumption down from 8.9W to 7.1W.

Clearly, like most technological devices, using your screen on maximum brightness increases battery consumption. Although this isn’t a significant difference, it all adds up if you’re looking to maximize your battery life. 

When the Switch is charging and asleep, there’s quite a big difference in power consumption when the Joy-Cons are attached. Power consumption increases from 9.8W without Joy-Cons, to 12.1W with them.

The key takeaway here is that if you want to preserve battery life when you’re not using your Switch – disconnect your Joy-Cons!

Note: The Original Nintendo Switch will try to avoid charging the Joy-Con controllers unless the Switch is also being charged. For this reason, when the Switch is running off of its internal battery, the impact on Joy-Con runtime will be minimal. 

Nintendo Switch Lite Power Consumption Tests

Nintendo Switch Lite Power Consumption Tests

Now, let’s see how the power consumption of the Nintendo Switch Lite compares to the Nintendo Switch original. (Statistics sourced from switchchargers.com)

Points To Note

Before we dive into the analysis, there are a few things you should know. 

First off, the Nintendo Lite has a smaller battery than the classic Nintendo Switch. The classic Nintendo Switch (both new and old models) has a 4,130mAh battery. The Lite has a 3,570mAh battery. 

The classic Switch is compatible with docking stations and offers TV Mode, Tabletop Mode, and Handheld mode. On the other hand, the Lite only provides a handheld mode and is noticeably smaller and much lighter.

Despite having a smaller battery, the Nintendo Lite does offer better power efficiency. According to Nintendo tests, it reaches a maximum of 7 hours of playtime when used efficiently (essentially, low-brightness and low-demand games).

If you’re playing consistently on high brightness, you can expect this to decrease to as low as 3 hours. 

The Nintendo Lite has a smaller screen and is not compatible with Joy-Con controllers – these are the two key components that help improve battery life. 

Note: In the tests below, ‘Classic Nintendo Switch’ refers to the Nintendo Switch, model number HAC-001-(-01)

Nintendo Lite Power Usage Results

Note: The following data was collected when playing ‘Zelda: Breath of the Wild’ on 100% brightness, and with WiFi and Bluetooth on. 

Nintendo Switch Lite

Average Power Usage: 5.9W
Max Power Usage: 7.26W

Classic Nintendo Switch (Latest Model)

Average Power Usage: 6W
Max Power Usage: 7.95W

As you can see, the differences in power consumption between the classic Switch and the Switch Lite are notable. The improved efficiency of the Lite is apparent in the reduced average and max power consumption, even when performed under stress.

The only real factor that may have an impact on the efficiency of the Switch Lite is that it lacks an auto-brightness option. If you don’t change the brightness manually, you may reduce your battery life. 

Switch Lite Vs Classic Switch: Charge Times

There are also some notable differences in charge time between the Switch Lite and the Classic Switch. Let’s take a closer look below. 

Nintendo Switch Lite

Charge Time: Sleeping – 2hrs 59mins
Charge Time: Gaming –  2hrs 55mins

Nintendo Switch Classic

Charge Time: Sleeping – 3hrs 14mins
Charge Time: Gaming – 2hrs 58mins

Evidently, the Switch Lite has a quicker charge time than the classic Nintendo Switch. On the Switch Lite, sleeping charge time is 15 minutes faster than the classic. However, the classic actually beats the Lite on gaming charge time.

However, the differences between charge times are minimal and probably not a strong enough factor to make a purchasing decision alone. 

Nintendo Switch OLED Model Battery Life Tests

Now, let’s take a look at how the Nintendo Switch OLED model compares to the Lite and the Classic Nintendo Switch. (Statistics sourced from tomsguide.com)

Note: These tests were performed with brightness at 100%, volume up to 50%, playing a high-resolution video with a lot of motion.

Nintendo Switch OLED

Battery Life: 5:00hrs

Nintendo Switch Classic

Battery Life: 4hrs 40mins

Nintendo Switch Lite

Battery Life: 3hrs 19mins

Although the Nintendo Switch Lite is praised for its efficiency, its battery only lasted for 3 hours under maximum stress in these tests.

The Nintendo Switch OLED came out on top here, lasting for 5 hours under maximum stress, and our beloved Classic Switch came out in the middle, at 4 hours and 40 minutes, not too far off the impressive five-managed by the OLED. 

How To Improve Your Nintendo Switch’s Battery Life

Now you know the charging specifications, power consumption, and features of each model and charging solution, let’s take a look at some more general tips for optimizing your battery life. 

Turn Your Brightness Down

I know we’ve discussed this, but we really cannot stress it enough. Turn your brightness down! Although this doesn’t drain your battery as quickly as other factors, it all adds up. If you’re not using the Switch Lite, you can use the Auto-Brightness option.

To do this, head into settings > screen brightness and ensure it’s switched on. If you’re using the Switch Lite, follow the exact instructions, but turn your brightness down manually from the menu. 

Turn Of WiFi And NFC

Turn off your WiFi and Near Field Communications (NFC) if you don’t need to use them. Near Field Communications (NFC) allows users to make transactions, exchange content, and connect their electronic devices.

However, it’s not always necessary. If you’re not using this feature, turn it off (and your WiFi) to preserve battery life. 

To turn of WiFi and NFC, head over to settings > airplane mode, and turn Airplane Mode on. Turning Airplane Mode on will also turn off Bluetooth, so if you do this, you won’t be able to use your Joy-Cons wirelessly. 

Use Joy-Cons Wirelessly

If you’re not using Airplane Mode, use your Joy-Cons wirelessly. When attached to your Switch, Joy-Cons drain power directly from the Switch’s internal battery, so it won’t last as long. 

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, there are a few factors that will affect your battery performance. These include:

  • The console model you’re using
  • Your charging method
  • Whether your Joy-Cons are attached 
  • Your internal settings, such as brightness levels

To charge your Switch optimally, it’s important to understand the different specifications of each model, their power outage, and charging capacities.

Now that we’ve explored these in detail, you’ll have a firmer idea of which models perform more effectively and the options you have to improve battery life. 

In a nutshell: the classic Nintendo Switch and the OLED Switch tend to have a much longer battery life than the Lite, but they take longer to charge.

Although the Switch Lite is praised for being more ‘efficient’ (mainly because it doesn’t have Joy-Cons to drain its power), it may drain quicker under stress than other models. 

However, ALL models’ battery life can be improved when using the right chargers, low-demand games, and tweaking your internal settings. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Will Using A Different Charger Ruin My Switch?

Using an alternative charger with the correct voltage should be safe to use with your Switch. However, it must meet the exact power profile of your Switch model, or you risk damaging the console. 

What Charger Will Work With Nintendo Switch?

Any USB Type C or Type-A cable should charge your Nintendo Switch. 

What Is The Difference Between Nintendo Switch And Nintendo Switch Lite?

The Nintendo Switch Lite is a handheld console only. The Nintendo Switch can be used as a handheld device, but it can also be used in TV and Tabletop mode and comes with Joy-Cons and a dock. 

Brett Jones