It is true that when the Nintendo Switch was first launched, there was a lot of confusion about how exactly you were supposed to charge your Nintendo Switch. When we say confusion, we mean any confusion caused by charging your Nintendo Switch aside from using the power adapter that it comes with.
For a whole host of people, the Nintendo Switch was actually one of the first USB-C devices that they owned. Nintendo did not play totally fair in this because they did not actually publish the details on the power draw specification of their Nintendo Switch.
But, we are finally here with all the details on how to charge your Nintendo Switch safely. Right now, we can safely say that we know basically all the essential info on charging a Nintendo Switch.
Here, we will illustrate just how the power is used and how the battery is used, and we will outline the best charges for any model of the Nintendo Switch.
Everything You Need To Know About Nintendo Switch Play Times
So, when it comes to working out the best and the safest charging methods for the Nintendo Switch, it is important to establish the playtimes of the Nintendo Switch.
In fact, it is important to note that there is only one listed change when it comes to battery: this is between the Nintendo Switch and the Nintendo Switch Lite.
The Nintendo Switch will have a battery life that can last 2.5 to 6.5 hours, but, it is really important to note that Nintendo states that the battery life of your Nintendo Switch will depend on the games that you play.
The example that Nintendo specifically uses is The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, saying that this will ensure that your battery lasts for 3 hours.
Everything You Need To Know About Nintendo Switch Lite Play Times
The Nintendo Switch Lite has a battery life that can last for 3 hours right up to 7 hours.
Again, Nintendo states that the battery life of your Nintendo Switch Lite will end up having a dependency on the games that you play.
Again, Nintendo uses the example of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild to illustrate this, but with the Nintendo Switch Lite the battery will last for 4 hours. Yeah, the Lite gives you an extra hour compared to the original Switch.
It is important to note that the original Nintendo Switch and the Nintendo Switch Lite both meet the approximate playtimes that are given by Nintendo. This is true even under the most stressful of playing conditions.
What About The New Nintendo Switch?
When it comes to the new Nintendo Switch, it is true that this does not actually hit the estimate that is given by Nintendo for play under stressful conditions.
However, it cannot be ignored that when it comes to playing times, the Nintendo Switch Lite does have over an hour of improvement on the original Nintendo Switch.
Additionally, the Nintendo Switch Lite is pretty within the estimates given by Nintendo for being used under travel conditions – and this is how the majority of players will actually use their Nintendo Switch Lite.
Another top tip for prolonging battery life is to lower that screen brightness to at least 50%. This can help to extend your playtime on your device.
More Power Savings Tips
As you can see from the singular suggestion that we made before, it really does not take much to improve your battery performance in your Nintendo Switch.
By making even the smallest of changes to your Nintendo Switch you can really optimize the battery life. We have some easy power-saving tips which will extend your Nintendo Switch’s battery life.
So, we said earlier that you should consider lowering the screen brightness so that you can optimize your battery life. Alternatively, on the full-size models, you can just keep the auto-brightness enabled.
Another great way of saving the battery on your Nintendo Switch, you should turn off the Wi-Fit and also the Bluetooth whenever it is feasible for you to do so.
Or in other words, turn off your Wi-Fi and your Bluetooth when you are not using them. You must leave home with your Nintendo Switch and also the Joy-Cons fully charged.
Using A Portable Charger To Charge Your Nintendo Switch
A lot of people will use a portable charger to charge their Nintendo Switch when they are out and about, but, if you decide to do this it is especially important to invest in a high quality power bank.
When it comes to purchasing a power bank that would be suitable to charge your Nintendo Switch, you really need to check reviews on power banks and make sure that they are especially durable.
Additionally, using a shorter cable will be much more efficient than using a long cable if you are planning on charging your Nintendo Switch with a power bank.
When it comes to working out how long you need to charge your Nintendo Switch for, you should disconnect your Nintendo Switch from your portable charger when your battery life reaches 80%.
It is true that charging your Nintendo Switch from 80% to 100% is much less efficient for your battery.
Also, when it comes to using the power bank you should really think about using the USB-A port. This means that if you are someone who owns a USB-C to USB-A cable then you should use the power bank’s USB-A port.
This will mean that your Nintendo Switch will charge so much more efficiently, even if it will be a lot slower.
How Much Power Does Your Nintendo Switch Use?
Your Nintendo Switch’s power usage will ultimately have an effect on the duration of time that you can use your Nintendo Switch away from a wall outlet. This also must be taken into consideration alongside the size and the capacity level of its battery.
So, it is true that the amount of power that the Nintendo Switch will need in order to function will vary by the settings of the Switch, the game that you are playing, and also the point that you are at in the game.
The newer Nintendo Switch has hardware revisions that have focused on much better energy efficiencies. Additionally, the Nintendo Switch Lite has these same improved energy efficiencies too.
The Nintendo Switch Lite has much lower power demands because of its much smaller screen and also because of its lack of removable Joy-Cons.
Testing The Power Usage Of The Nintendo Switch And The Nintendo Switch Lite
So, it is pretty obvious that there are some power savings with the new Nintendo Switch and the Nintendo Switch Lite. These power savings are pretty impressive, especially when high-demand scenarios are taken into consideration.
In fact, the Nintendo Switch Lite and the newer Nintendo Switch share the same basic hardware, but the Nintendo Switch Lite benefits from a much smaller screen. It is important to note that the Nintendo Switch Lite also gets hotter a lot quicker which in turn prompts fans to run and therefore use power.
If you compare this to the original Nintendo Switch, this needs up to 30% more power and this does account for the difference in the expected play times.
This is also why the original Nintendo Switch charges much slower when it is in use. When the original Nintendo Switch is subjected to a large power draw it will turn on its fan as it is hotting, but the newer Switch will actually remain quiet and cool – because it draws much less power.
Moving On To Charging Your Nintendo Switch Safely
Aside from power usage, it is true that how well the Nintendo Switch draws power is also a factor in the length of time that your Switch takes to charge.
So, the original Nintendo Switch will draw power at different rates and this is all to do with the different charger specs. This can be very frustrating for anyone who is attempting to work out what the best charger to use is.
You will be pleased to know that the new Nintendo Switch along with the Nintendo Switch Lite has improved draw rates, and this makes them much more in line with how we generally expect USB power delivery devices to function as a whole.
By gaining an understanding of these power rates we can actually work out the fastest chargers through this.
The Maximum Power Draw Rates
So, like any kind of electrical device, the Nintendo Switch has a maximum power draw rate and it will not go beyond that no matter what the available charger is.
The maximum power rates for the Switches are as follows: the original Nintendo Switch and the newest Nintendo Switch is 18W. The Nintendo Switch Lite is 13.5W, and by knowing this we can actually learn how the different types of USB chargers work with each model of the Nintendo Switch.
It is pretty clear that the original Nintendo Switch has a pretty unusual power draw rate, especially for a USB power delivery device. In fact, it is pretty common for the power draw to be that bit less than what the charger actually offers. That is if both operate at the same rate.
There will always end up being some power lost across the connection, but, the original Nintendo Switch will underdraw power from the majority of charger specifications. Your original Nintendo Switch will not be able to reach its maximum power draw rate until you reach a typical 30W USB-C PD charger.
You should know that any of the USB-C-based rates are more than enough to charge your Nintendo Switch while you are playing on it.
The original Nintendo Switch actually has a maximum power usage of 10W but this is an extremity. In the majority of cases, your Nintendo Switch will use less than 9W, so the extra power is actually able to go to the battery.
What About The New Nintendo Switch And The Nintendo Switch Lite?
The newer Nintendo Switch has an 18W maximum power draw, and it is pretty obvious that its power draw rates have improved along with its power usage rates improving.
So, with any USB-C PD charger, the newer Nintendo Switch will be within 1.5W of its maximum charge rate.
A charger that is offering a mere 12V or 15V output will actually charge your Nintendo Switch quicker than a charger that is offering 9V – but this is not something that you would particularly notice.
The Nintendo Switch Lite really performs a lot better, and it reaches its maximum power draw rate with practically any USB-C PD charger.
In fact, the Nintendo Switch Lite does underdraw with the regular USB-C charger, but it is still enough for your device to be able to keep up with the most demanding of gaming.
Can You Get Away With Using The USB-A Charger For The Nintendo Switch?
Yeah, you most certainly can get away with using the USB-A charger for the Nintendo Switch. This will actually work to varying degrees and this all depends on your Nintendo Switch’s model and also it depends on your Nintendo Switch’s charger’s specifications.
It is true that the original Nintendo Switch will cope the worst with a USB-A charger, and it has a much lower power draw limit with them along with much higher power needs.
For instance, if you plug in when the Nintendo Switch’s battery is at 100% then you will ultimately get the best experience but you will still see your Nintendo Switch drain over several hours.
What About The New Nintendo Switch And The Nintendo Switch Lite?
If you are considering using a USB-A charger then you should know that this is a lot more doable for the new Nintendo Switch and the Nintendo Switch Lite, but it is still not completely optimal for either of these.
The improved power efficiencies and draw rates will allow a USB-A power source to be able to work better. What does this mean?
Well, this is referring to keeping up with demand under most conditions if you are also charging the battery too. Or, if you are not charging the battery which would be likely to be a more regular occurrence.
In summary, for your Nintendo Switch, you will still need a USB-A charger that offers 7.5W – you would not be able to use an iPhone charger to do this because you ultimately will not get the same results.
Where Do Joy-Cons Come Into All This?
So, when it comes to thinking about Joy-Cons and taking into consideration how much they will have an effect on your Nintendo device’s charging you need to understand how the Joy-Cons work.
So, the Nintendo Switch will actually charge connected Joy-Cons from its own battery only if they are below 50% charge. Apart from this, the Nintendo Switch will only charge the Joy-Cons once the console actually has a power supply.
It is key to note that there is no power savings advantage between keeping the Joy-Cons connected to your Nintendo Switch or using your Joy-Cons with Bluetooth.
How Fast Will Your Nintendo Switch Charge?
You will not be surprised to learn that the speed at which your Nintendo Switch charges will depend on a whole host of factors.
Some of the factors that the charge times depend on are the model, and also the charger, along with the game that you are playing, and also the settings that you have your Nintendo Switch at.
What this ultimately means is that the power draw minus the power usage of your Nintendo Switch is what determines the charge time.
We can say as a general rule that any USB-C charger will actually end up charging any model of the Nintendo Switch under pretty much any condition.
Let’s Talk Charge Times
So as you might have already guessed for yourself, the new Nintendo Switch and the Nintendo Switch Lite both charge much faster than the original Nintendo Switch.
In fact, the new Nintendo Switch has the same power draw rate as the original Nintendo Switch, but it uses much less power.
The Nintendo Switch Lite has a much lower power draw than the original Nintendo Switch, but it also has a much smaller battery – and no leeching Joy-Cons.
In all cases, the Nintendo Switch will charge much faster while playing as opposed to when it is asleep.
Your instant thoughts might be that this sounds pretty counterproductive because this way, the Nintendo Switch would ultimately be using much more power. Let’s break this down.
This is all to do with the power draw difference when the Nintendo Switch is active or when the Nintendo Switch is asleep.
The full-size Nintendo Switch models draw up to 12W when they are asleep, but under stress conditions, they can draw 18W. So, here we can see that the difference in power usage is much smaller than the difference in the power that is drawn.
Ultimately, more power will end up going towards the battery – so you should really charge your Nintendo Switch while it sleeps instead – unless you are actually playing on your Nintendo Switch.
By doing this your Nintendo Switch will generate much less heat and this is ultimately much better for your device.
Which Nintendo Switch Is Most Susceptible To Overheating?
So, when it comes to working out which Switch is the most likely to overhear – we have found that the Nintendo Switch Lite is much more likely to overheat.
This is all to do with taking the charge times into consideration. The Nintendo Switch Lite has a much slower than expected charge time while gaming.
This is most likely to occur when you are playing on your Nintendo Switch Lite in especially stressful gaming conditions.
When it comes to seeing which Nintendo Switch devices produce the most heat – it is true that the Nintendo Switch Lite generates much less heat than the original Nintendo Switch.
However, the Nintendo Switch Lite does not have the same amount of space to be able to cope with heat increases. Once the Nintendo Switch Lite hits a certain temperature then it will really ramp down the power draw so that it can cool down.
When your Nintendo Switch Lite is sufficiently cool it will then go back to its full power draw – and ultimately, under either condition, the Nintendo Switch Lite will be charging the battery while you are playing.
This is what you really want to see in your portable device because the Nintendo Switch Lite is ultimately monitoring and then subsequently protecting itself.
What is great about the Nintendo Switch Lite is that it does all of this in a way that barely impacts the user experience.
Result! You can plug in the Nintendo Switch Lite and you can play with the sound knowledge that the device will be able to take care of itself. While doing this, the Nintendo Switch Lite will not interrupt your gameplay in any way, and we would call this a win for sure.
The Nintendo Switch Dock
When you have docked your Nintendo Switch, then the power input requirements will be completely changed. In fact, the actual console itself is pretty versatile in terms of the kinds of USB that it accepts.
The Nintendo Switch dock will accept the majority of USB-C or USB-A chargers that offer 10W or more. But, when your Nintendo Switch is docked it requires USB-C PD with a power profile of about 15V.
When it is underpowered the dock will not actually charge the Nintendo Switch, therefore the Nintendo Switch will not be able to output any kind of video, or the Nintendo Switch Dock will ultimately not be able to power its USB ports.
What Is The Actual Power Usage Of A Nintendo Switch Dock?
Let’s break this down: a Nintendo Switch Dock will require 39W or more from its charger, but it does not actually draw that much power. In fact, the Nintendo Switch console will ultimately adhere to its 18W limit.
The Nintendo Switch dock itself will require extremely little power, up to 9.5W across all three of its USB ports to be exact. It also requires less than 0.5W to power the other electronics inside.
So, as a whole, the Nintendo Switch dock needs no more than 28W to be able to perform to its full capacity.
Overall, it is not difficult to charge your Nintendo Switch safely – but there is also a lot that you can do to protect the battery of your Nintendo Switch.
This will ultimately help with the listed playtimes that Nintendo has given each of their Nintendo Switch devices. You can improve your playtimes by lowering your screen brightness on your Nintendo Switch, and you can also turn off the Wi-Fi and the Bluetooth when you are not using them.
Ultimately, you can even invest in a power bank which will really help you to prolong the time that you are playing on your Nintendo Switch for.
On the whole, it is pretty clear that the new Nintendo Switch and the Nintendo Switch Lite both have pretty improved power usage and also power draw when they are compared with the original Nintendo Switch.
Both of these have long-lasting battery power, and they charge much faster and work a lot better with a wider variety of USB-C chargers. Having said this, pretty much any USB-C charger will let any model Switch charge and also play simultaneously.
It is true that a USB-A charger will ultimately have pretty mixed results, and if you are forced to use one then you should plug it into the Nintendo Switch when the battery is still at 100%. This will ultimately give you the best results.
To charge your Nintendo Switch safely you can use the Nintendo Switch dock as this has pretty specific requirements.
When you are not using the Nintendo Switch AC adapter you will need a 45W or a 60W USB-C PD charger, or the dock will not be able to function or charge your Nintendo Switch.