The Nintendo Switch is one of the best selling consoles of 2020. Despite next-generation consoles flying off store shelves, Nintendo’s hybrid console is still the sales leader. While it may be a technological marvel, though, the Switch has one nagging issue. Its Joycon controllers are likely to suffer from what the internet is calling “joycon drift”. In a nutshell, one or both of your Joycon sticks drift when they continue registering a direction even after they’ve returned to a neutral position.
If you’re visiting this page, you may be one of many people currently dealing with this issue. Solutions out there exist but they either require you to open up your Joycons or to clean them with an air pressure can. The former may cause damage to your expensive controllers while the latter is not a permanent solution.
But fret not. A good way to carry on gaming on your Switch is with a new controller that is more reliable than your Joycons, and we’ve got one recommendation for every need.
Best Overall: Terios Wireless Pro Controller
For the Switch owner who wants the best balance between performance and price, the Terios Wireless Pro Controller is the king. While not the longest-lasting battery on this list, at 550 mAh capacity you will still be getting up to 12 hours of continuous getting before requiring a charge. The haptic feedback system’s intensity is adjustable to fit your personal taste. You no longer need to merely choose between rumble and no rumble. The baked-in NFC connectivity also allows for quick pairing with your Switch so you can get right into your game hassle-free. The trigger buttons are just what you need for FPS games and battle royales like Fortnite.
All of these features while also including the same features as an official Pro controller minus the price. The Terios’s comfortable grip, asymmetric stick placement, 6-axis gyroscopic sensor and connected D-pad will give you a premium level experience, minus the price tag of the official controller.
Good for Handheld: Gioteck JC-20
Enjoy your Nintendo Switch in handheld mode? Then the Gioteck JC-20 replacement Joycons are what you’re looking for. They include almost all of the same features as the official Joycons while still being cheaper and with additional features. The best thing about these replacement controllers for the Switch is their size and shape. The official Joycons are flat and uncomfortable, especially if you have large hands. The Gioteck JC-20s, however, are wider in shape which will give you a better grip and angle, especially if you have large hands.. Their analogue sticks are slightly taller which can improve your accuracy in FPS and other shooting games. The only feature that is missing compared to the official Joycons is the IR receiver which you won’t miss if you don’t play Nintendo Labo and Ring Fit Adventure.
The Gioteck JC-20s come with a few caveats. For starters, you won’t be able to fit your Switch into most cases due to them being larger than the official controllers. The D-pad on the left controller, while it does register inputs cleanly, cant a bit stiff to the touch Finally, the overall construction feels cheap due to the plastic casing of the controllers.
It’s a good choice if you are mostly wanting to play in handheld and you don’t play games that require complex motions on a D-pad.
Pricey But Official: Nintendo Pro Controller
The official Nintendo Switch Pro Controller has been dubbed by gamers as one of the best controllers ever made. Its design is clearly inspired by the Xbox controller, as it sports asymmetric stick placement and large face buttons for better accuracy. As it is an official controller, you can expect it to have full compatibility with your Switch console.
The big downside of the Pro controller is in its finer features. For starters, the trigger buttons are smaller than other offerings on the market. If you’re an FPS player especially, you’ll likely want buttons that feel like actual triggers. Also, the Pro Controller’s D-pad can be incredibly stiff and unreliable with diagonal inputs often times being skipped during intense game moments.
Generally speaking, it’s a fine choice if you’re willing to pay the price as it’s one of the most expensive non-elite level controllers on the market.
Big and Sturdy: Hori Split Pad Pro
You might bulk at the sight of this pair of beast-like Joycon replacements and we wouldn’t blame you. The Hori Split Pad Pro wasn’t designed for travel. Still, as a handheld mode player, you might find this option intriguing if all you prefer a larger controller in your hands. It’s got incredible sticks for FPS and other aim-based games. Its D-pad has also been highly praised by fighting game players who need something that can reliably input complex motions. All of this for a price slightly higher than the Gioteck JC-20s.
However, the Split Pad Pro foregoes a lot of the Joycon features, such as rumble and haptic feedback. It also doesn’t have wireless connectivity, meaning that you’d have to use these exclusively in handheld mode. Finally, if you do care about taking them on the go, you’ll have to pick up Hori’s case that fits a Split Pad Pro fitted Switch in it which comes at an extra cost.
Nostalgia Trip: 8BitDo SN30
If you’re a big Nintendo fan who misses the classic controllers of SNES then this may be a fun choice for you to pick up. The 8BitDo SN30 is a decent quality controller that brings the Super Nintendo design to the present. It may not sport the majority of features like other controllers on this list. It does, however, have a well-sized battery, comfortable grip and a connected D-pad. The shoulder buttons are slightly better than those on the official Pro controller and the facing buttons have the same look and feel as those of the classic Nintendo controllers.
Stick placement is up to your own taste as 8BitDo have gone with a side-by-side choice similar to the PlayStation’s DualShock 4.
The Bottom Line
One of the biggest criticisms with Nintendo’s Joycons is the asking price. For a controller so prone to failing, the Big N charges a pretty penny. Performance and quality, however, need not be acquired by paying a leg and an arm. The above options are all solid picks in their respective classes and will give you the best bang for your buck.