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The Nintendo Switch is one of the best-selling home consoles of all time. Its controllers, the Joy-Cons, are well known for their portability, versatility and also for the notorious amounts of stick drift — a problem that still hasn’t been fixed in 2022, five years after the Switch’s release.
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The size of the Joy-Cons also poses obstacles for gamers with larger hands. The world of after-market gaming components is filled with Joy-Con alternatives, but they are not all created equal. Whether you’re looking for larger controllers or you just want a Joy-Con alternative that performs a bit better (and lets you run in a straight line in Super Mario Odyssey), these are some of the best Joy-Con alternatives for Nintendo Switch.
What Causes Joy-Con Drift?
There are two main explanations for what causes Joy-Con drift. The first is that dust and debris make their way into the controller and affect its operation, but this isn’t really the common cause. If it were, dust could easily be removed with compressed air, but stick drift affects many people, even those who take fastidious care of their gaming peripherals. The more likely reason is that the contacts inside the Joy-Con wear down and result in poor operation.
The downside is that Nintendo has not given any official explanation for what causes this problem, but they do the next best thing: Nintendo will repair broken Joy-Cons with stick drift for free. You have to go to the form on their website and fill it out. Unfortunately, this only applies to those that live in the United States or Canada. Anyone outside of these areas must use a local Nintendo repair center.
But outside of repairs, if you’re looking to get your hands on some new or different Joy-Con alternatives for the Nintendo Switch, read on! I’ve found the best of the best for your gaming pleasure.
1. Hori Split Pad Pro
The Hori Split Pad Pro handheld controllers are one of the few officially-licensed-by-Nintendo Joy-Con alternatives on the market. They feature full-sized analog sticks and larger shoulder buttons, a larger size and better support. If you have larger hands, these controllers provide much more comfort during those marathon play sessions.
The Hori Split Pad Pro controllers also include noteworthy features not often seen on modern controllers, such as Turbo functionality. They sport assignable rear triggers, too. Unfortunately, these controllers don’t support motion controls, HD rumble or Amiibo.
2. FUNLAB Cons
Many Nintendo Switch games expect you to play using only the Joy-Cons, like Mario Party or 1-2-Switch. The FUNLAB Cons present a more angular grip that makes them easier to hold over long play sessions, as well as a different button shape. The first time you use these controllers, they must be connected directly to the Nintendo Switch. After this, you can remove them and use them with the back supports.
Like many third-party controllers, the FUNLAB Cons don’t support Amiibo use, but they do rumble and support motion controls thanks to a built-in six-axis gyro. They’re designed with comfort in mind and are described as holding a “wooden boomerang.”
3. Binbok Joypad
The Binbok Joypads are as much fun to use as they are to say. With a bulkier design aimed at providing gamers with a better grip, these Nintendo Switch Joy-Con alternatives have something many of the entries on this list do not: RGB. As all gamers know, the more RGB you have, the more likely you are to win.
Okay, that’s not strictly true — but these do provide a proper D-Pad on the left side and an additional button that can be remapped to act as any other button on the controller. The Binbok Joypads support vibrations, Turbo functionality, and motion control through their six-axis gyroscope.
4. YCCTeam GameCube Design Joy-Con
If you’re of the opinion that the GameCube was one of the single greatest consoles of all time (a correct opinion, by the way), then you’ll appreciate these replacement Joy-Cons from YCCTeam. They have a full D-Pad but also replace the analog stick on the right Joy-Con with the classic C-Stick design of the GameCube. It’s the perfect aesthetic homage to a classic console, with even the face buttons arranged to look like the GameCube.
In addition to their look, the GameCube Design Joy-Con is contoured to better fit the shape of your hands and provides a place to rest your palms and index fingers. They also support motion controls thanks to the six-axis gyroscope and dual motors for rumble. Unfortunately, these don’t support NFC, so no Amiibo functionality.
5. Nyko Dualies
The Nyko Dualies are unique among Joy-Con replacements in that they don’t actually fit into the Switch; in fact, they’re designed for completely hands-free usage. This makes them ideal for backups for guests. The design makes them easier to hold on to and the low price point is much more affordable than picking up a spare set of Joy-Cons from the store.
The Nyko Dualies charge through the use of an include USB-C cable and utilize motion controls and rumble feedback. Again, there is no NFC support, so no Amiibo functionality.
6. Hori D-Pad Controller
This is the second Hori entry on this list, but it’s well-earned. One of the reasons so many users need a set of replacement Joy-Cons is because of left stick drift, a problem that has plagued the Nintendo Switch since its first iteration. The Hori D-Pad Controller is an inexpensive replacement for the left Joy-Con that includes a proper D-Pad, but it comes with a few drawbacks.
First, it’s intended for use in handheld mode only — it does not work wirelessly. It also doesn’t support HD rumble or NFC support. All of these features were left out to keep the controller at the $20 price point, but it’s not all bad. If you play a lot of D-Pad intensive games, such as those found on Nintendo Switch Online, then this is a great way to immerse yourself in the games of yesteryear.
7. Singland Joy-Cons
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If you missed out on the official Animal Crossing Switch, you might want something that kind of fits the theme. These replacement Joy-Cons from Singland fit the bill with their green and orange coloration. It’s not quite the same, but it evokes images of the Nook family.
The Singland Joy-Cons also come in traditional red and blue, as well as grey. They support motion controls and have built-in vibration, along with 20-hour battery life. Like every other entry on this list, though, they don’t support NFC. It’s almost impossible to find third-party Joy-Cons that do.
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