Video game console maker Nintendo finds itself in a very interesting position. Weeks ago, it finally released the highly-anticipated Nintendo Switch console. As it’s made for enabling the likes of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild to be played anywhere, many weren’t too thrilled that they could only expect around 3 hours of battery life when enjoying Nintendo’s most high-profile titles. Naturally, everyone’s inclination is to address this shortage of battery life with the best Nintendo Switch battery packs and chargers that they can find.
Battery packs have allowed us to extend the life of our smartphones and tablets for years now. Sometimes they’re form-fitting; there are iPhone battery packs that run along the contours of the device and don’t add too much bulk. Others battery packs don’t attach to your smartphone or tablet but do pack huge batteries with a port for every commonly used device in your life. The Nintendo Switch uses a USB Type-C port for charging with its included cable and connecting to televisions through its dock.
No doubt you’re very, very tempted to buy a Nintendo Switch battery pack or charger. It may seem like a good idea to grab one on Amazon or your local gaming store. The Nintendo Switch isn’t your average mobile device, though. Nintendo is great at making video games and designing video game consoles. It’s not the best at publicizing need-to-know information about them. The giant mess surrounding charging cables and battery packs is a great example of that.
Don’t Use Old Battery Packs as a Nintendo Switch Battery Packs
Battery packs are so popular these days that they’re practically handed out at every event as party favors. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you’ll get away with reusing the battery packs that you may already have laying around your home. Chances are that it won’t be powerful enough to work correctly.
The Nintendo Switch has some very specific power requirements, requirements that even go above and beyond what the average device maker requires. The charger that comes in the box has support for two profiles. One is a profile with 5 volts and 1.5 amps. The other is 15 volts and 2.6 amps. Though the physical USB Type-C plug looks a lot like the plug on your Android smartphone, the Nintendo Switch requires just a cord that can deliver a higher charge than what most cords are able to.
If You’re Determined to Buy a Nintendo Switch Battery Pack, Look for USB Power Delivery
Power standards should make things easier for everyone. Device makers can build their products and accessories knowing that they’ll work flawlessly. Buyers can hit store shelves looking for those standards and get the thing that they need without worry.
The Nintendo Switch uses a standard called USB Power Delivery, according to Gtrusted. USB Power Delivery guarantees energy hungry devices get the amount of power they need so that you can use them and charge them at the same time. If you have a phone that uses fast charging, you might be familiar with other charging standards. Many Android phones have Qualcomm Quick Charge technology, for example.
USB Power Delivery is a new standard. Because it’s so new, lots of accessory makers aren’t yet including support for it in their chargers and docks. Without the standard and a matching cable, it’ll be hard for any battery pack or charger to supply the Nintendo Switch with enough battery power to offset the amount of power it consumes during something like Splatoon 2 or Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.
The Best Nintendo Switch Battery Packs
Because things are so confusing with standards, it’s pretty hard to cultivate a list of the best Nintendo Switch battery packs.
Nintendo doesn’t make any battery packs for the console at all. It’s partners, who nicely fill in the gaps of the Nintendo Switch’s accessory ecosystem for other things, aren’t making any battery packs either. Of all the power adapters available on Amazon, only the Anker PowerCore+ 20100 claims to work with the Nintendo Switch. It costs $65.99.
New company SwitchCharge is hoping to offer a Nintendo Switch battery pack that’ll improve the gaming experience in big ways. The project, which is currently seeking funding on IndieGoGo, has a battery big enough to charge the Nintendo Switch while playing games for up to 12 hours. Additionally, SwitchCharge has a kickstand so that gamers can stop using the awful kickstand that comes built into the console. SwitchCharger is $85 to pre-order right now. Those that pre-order the accessory can expect it to arrive sometime in August of this year.
The Best Nintendo Switch Chargers
Until other companies can adopt the lofty standards of the Nintendo Switch, you’re left with three options for charging your device.
The Nintendo Switch Power Adapter matches the power cable that comes with your Nintendo Switch system. This cable has a USB Type-C port on one end and a wall plug on the other. Nintendo smartly sells these on their own for $29.99. It is available at Target, GameStop, Best Buy and Amazon. They’re a little hard to find; everyone is looking for a spare charging cable.
Your second option is to pick up the Nintendo Switch Dock Set. This is the $89.99 package that includes a power cable and the Nintendo Switch Dock that connects the console to a television set. Unfortunately, it’s been delisted from online stores because Nintendo didn’t have enough on hand. It’s still listed on the Nintendo Switch Accessories page. When there are more to sell, Nintendo will post links there.
For cars, there’s the Hori Nintendo Switch Car Charger. Available on Amazon for $43.01, it’s Nintendo approved and uses the rapid charging technology that’s included in the console itself.
Good luck finding Nintendo Switch battery packs and chargers. Hopefully, Nintendo teams up with accessory makers to introduced a line of certified battery packs for the console.