The pair of Joy-Con controllers that come with the Nintendo Switch serve their purpose. You can use them in handheld mode, like a portable console. You can also put them in that doggy-shaped holder or as individual tiny controllers when docked or in tabletop. But if you want to take your gaming experience to the next level, you need more Nintendo Switch controllers.

Now, for certain games, the Joy-Con controllers are absolutely necessary. That's how you do all the motion stuff, for example, and you'll need them for the Labo kits too. And as great as the official Pro Controller might be, it's also comparatively quite expensive.

What's a budget-minded consumer to do?

Thankfully, you've got several options when it comes to cheap Nintendo Switch controllers. While I wouldn't be so quick to jump on some no name brands we've never heard of, especially if wireless is involved, there are some very viable options for $25 or less.

You might not need these to watch YouTube on the Nintendo Switch, but you'll definitely want to have a few more controllers kicking around for when Super Smash Bros. Ultimate drops next month.

       

Hori Pokken Tournament DX Pro Pad

The Pokken Tournament DX Pro Pad was understandably first released specifically with Pokken Tournament DX in mind. That's why it doesn't have the two analog sticks, and it only has one trigger button on each shoulder (ZL and ZR are in the middle instead).

But you know what? This also makes it perfect for all sorts of retro titles, like those NES titles that come with Switch Online. It's also great for a variety of fighting games, like Street Fighter and all those Neo Geo ports. And yes, it doesn't have home or screenshot buttons, but considering that this pad is only $12.97, those are sacrifices I'm willing to make.

GameCube Controllers for Switch

Okay, so we all know that Smash Bros. is coming out next month. (I can't stop talking about it. Sorry.) And we all know that Smash purists will say the GameCube controller is the only way to go. There's an official re-release from Nintendo, but that one will probably be in short supply.

And if you want to save a few bucks, there are alternatives from PDP (yellow Pikachu above), Hori (red Mario above), and PowerA (black above). They are all $24.99 each and offer the same fundamental functionality with the traditional NGC layout and design. You might remember when we heard about the Hori one back in July.

In all cases, you will need to pick up a GameCube adapter for the Switch, the official one of which is $19.99. That'll support up to four wired players. Alternatively, you can pick up the 8BitDo wireless adapter, but that's only good for one GameCube controller on the Switch.

PowerA Breath of the Wild Edition

Do you want a Pro Controller-like layout in a far more affordable (albeit wired) package? The PowerA wired controller might be one of your best options. The Zelda: Breath of the Wild edition controller is quite the looker, though it's also available in a red Mario theme if you prefer.

This controller is officially licensed by Nintendo and comes with an 8-foot removable USB cable. It sells for $24.99 and is far more comfortable to use than the Joy-Cons, especially for regular adult hands.

       

Hori Horipad Wired Controller

The Hori Horipad was perhaps one of the very first wired Nintendo Switch controllers offered by a third-party manufacturer. Like the PowerA controller, this one is also officially licensed by Nintendo. One neat feature is that the d-pad part can be removed to reveal four distinct buttons if you prefer too. There's also a turbo function.

The trade-off, just like the PowerA controller, is that the Horipad does not support NFC, vibration feedback or motion controls. It does include a turbo function though. Best of all, it's currently selling for only $15.97, literally a quarter of the price of a Switch Pro Controller. It's at least a quarter as good, right?

Mayflash Magic-NS Adapter

Granted, the Mayflash Magic-NS isn't technically one of the cheapest Nintendo Switch controllers you can get. The truth is that it's even better. Basically, it's a USB adapter that allows you to plug in almost any USB controller (or even wireless controllers) to play on the Switch. You can even use the provided USB-C to USB-A female adapter to play in tabletop mode (with a stand)!

I've personally used this adapter with my Xbox 360 wired controller, as well as a couple of arcade sticks, and it's an absolute joy. Especially if you're into fighting games and want a fight stick, this opens up a world of possibility. And it's usually around $20 or so, making for a versatile and affordable option.

MoKo Grip for Joy-Con

And finally, these are technically Nintendo Switch controllers either, but they're some of the best money I've ever spent on the console. The MoKo Grip envelopes your Joy-Con and turns it into a controller with a much more comfortable, ergonomic design. It's almost like a DualShock. Sorta.

The grips on the side make the Joy-Con far less awkward to use as a regular controller, which is great for everything from Mario Kart to Mario Tennis and everything in between. These little plastic shells are surprisingly well made with an almost soft-touch plastic (ABS resin). They come in red and blue (as shown), black, pink and green, or neon yellow.

A pair of MoKo Grip accessories goes for $8.95 to $9.99, depending on the color option.


Do you have a favorite controller or accessory for the Nintendo Switch? Do you stick only to the first-party peripherals for the optimal experience, or do you try to save a few bucks with third party alternatives like the ones listed above? Let us know on social or via the comments below!

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