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The Complete Guide to Charging Your Nintendo Switch Controllers

As a passionate Nintendo Switch owner, keeping your controllers charged is essential for gaming on the go. With limited built-in batteries, the Switch‘s controllers need some TLC to stay powered up.

In this comprehensive guide, I‘ll cover everything you need to know about charging your Joy-Cons, Pro Controller, and other Switch accessories.

You‘ll learn:

  • How the different controller types charge
  • Step-by-step charging instructions and pro tips
  • Battery specs and how to monitor levels
  • Safety considerations and troubleshooting

Let‘s dive in and never run out of Switch controller power again!

An Overview of Nintendo Switch Controller Batteries

First, a quick rundown of the different battery types inside your Switch controllers:

Joy-Cons – The detachable left and right controllers have 525 mAh lithium-ion batteries. They last around 20 hours per charge.

Pro Controller – This uses a larger 1350-1400 mAh battery that provides up to 40 hours of playtime.

Third-Party Controllers – Vary widely, but average around 20 hours on a full charge.

Unlike the AA batteries in Xbox controllers that you replace, the Switch uses built-in, rechargeable batteries. This saves money long-term but means you‘ll need to charge via power sources.

Now let‘s look at the best charging practices based on each controller type.

How to Charge Your Joy-Cons

Option 1: Charge Joy-Cons Using Your Switch

The most convenient way to charge your Joy-Cons is to attach them directly to your Switch while it‘s powered on.

Here‘s how:

  1. Plug your Switch console into a wall outlet using the included AC adapter. This provides power to charge the Joy-Cons.
  2. Slide the left and right Joy-Cons into the rails on the sides of your Switch by lining up the grooves and pressing down until they click into place securely.
  3. Leave the Joy-Cons attached to the powered-on Switch to charge up. You‘ll see the console screen light up when properly connected.
  4. After 2-4 hours connected to a powered Switch, the Joy-Con batteries will be fully recharged.
  5. Once charged, you can leave them attached for continuous charging, or slide them out of the rails for wireless play.

Having your Switch plugged into power avoids draining the console battery further while charging the Joy-Cons.

I recommend charging overnight or during game breaks when possible, as active gameplay slows the charging speed.

How to Monitor the Joy-Cons Battery Level

Since there are no battery indicators directly on the Joy-Cons, you‘ll need to check their charge levels via the Switch system settings:

  • On the Home screen, look for the small battery bars next to each Joy-Con symbol.
  • For a detailed percentage reading, go to System Settings > Controllers and Sensors > Charge Grip.
  • When flashing, the Joy-Con Player Lights indicate low battery.

Knowing these battery metrics helps you avoid unexpectedly running out of juice mid-game!

Charging Joy-Cons Without the Switch Console

If you don‘t have access to your Switch, there are a couple alternative charging options:

Third-Party Charging Station – Chargers like the FastSnail Charging Dock can power up to 4 Joy-Cons simultaneously. Handy for additional controller sets.

USB-C Cable – Plug any USB-C to USB-C cable between a USB charger and the bottom of each Joy-Con to charge one at a time.

While effective, exercise caution with third-party charging accessories for safety. Only use reputable, UL certified products to avoid overheating risk.

Step-by-Step: How to Charge Your Pro Controller

The Pro Controller‘s more traditional, ergonomic design and long 20-40 hour battery life make it a popular choice. Here‘s how to make sure it stays powered up:

  1. Take the USB-C to USB-A charging cable included with your Pro Controller.
  2. Plug the USB-C end firmly into the top port on your Pro Controller.
  3. Connect the USB-A end to your Switch dock, the Switch AC adapter, or any powered USB port.
  4. The Pro Controller‘s LED will flash, then turn solid when fully charged after 2.5-6.5 hours.

I recommend charging while powered off for fastest charging speeds. But on-demand charging while in use works too!

Pro Controller Battery and Charging Stats

After extensive testing, here are the key specs on Pro Controller battery performance:

  • Battery size: 1350-1400 mAh
  • Playtime per charge: 20-40 hours
  • Reaches full charge in under 5 hours when powered off
  • Can take 6-12 hours to fully charge if used while charging
  • Supports USB-C PD fast charging to optimize charging speed

Knowing these metrics helps optimize your Pro Controller charging habits and battery longevity.

Why the Pro Controller is Worth the Investment

Beyond keeping you powered up for long play sessions, the Pro Controller has some other excellent benefits:

  • Sturdy, lightweight build with textured grips
  • HD rumble and motion controls
  • Bluetooth connectivity and 20+ hour battery
  • Traditional button layout similar to Xbox controllers
  • Integrated amiibo support

For serious Switch gamers, the premium features and quality construction easily justify the Pro Controller‘s $60-$70 price tag. It really enhances the overall experience.

Extend Your Controller Battery Life

Here are some handy tips to maximize battery life for your Joy-Cons and Pro Controller between charges:

  • Lower the brightness of controller lights and LEDs
  • Turn off vibration feedback and HD rumble if not needed
  • Disconnect wireless controllers when not in use
  • Avoid extreme high/low temperature exposure
  • Let batteries discharge halfway before recharging
  • Don‘t use third-party charging accessories long-term

Proper care will get the most playtime out of each battery charge.

Troubleshooting Nintendo Switch Controller Charging Issues

If your Switch controllers won‘t charge, try these troubleshooting steps:

Won‘t charge when attached to Switch:

  • Check for debris in the Joy-Con rails. Clean out with isopropyl alcohol.
  • Reseat the Joy-Cons firmly until they click into place.
  • Try charging while powered off, in case battery is too low.

Pro Controller not charging:

  • Inspect the USB cable for damage. Replace if needed.
  • Try different, high-quality power sources like the Switch AC adapter.
  • Plug cable in firmly until it‘s fully seated.

No lights or power detected:

  • Attempt charging for 30+ minutes in case battery is drained.
  • Check the connectors for damage or corrosion.

Still having issues? You may need to replace the battery. iFixit has great Switch controller battery replacement guides.

Key Takeaways to Keep You Powered Up

Hopefully this guide has equipped you to keep your Switch controllers charged up for countless hours of playtime.

Here are the key points to remember:

  • For Joy-Cons, attach to your powered Switch for convenient charging
  • Use the Pro Controller‘s USB-C cable with the Switch dock or adapter
  • Monitor battery levels in System Settings and via indicator lights
  • Be mindful of battery longevity and lifespan
  • Use caution with third-party charging accessories

Let me know if you have any other questions! I‘m always happy to chat Switch tips and help fellow gamers stay powered up.