Sometimes you are on the go and need to charge the battery of your Nintendo Switch, but you don't have your dock with you. Whether you're playing the Switch while charging or leaving it in Standby mode, here's how you can charge in no time ̵
The official way to charge a switch without a dock
Both the Switch and the Switch Lite include an official Nintendo Switch AC Adapter in the box with purchase. Most people use this adapter to power the dock, which in turn powers the switch. But you can also disconnect the AC adapter from the dock and plug it directly into the Switch.
The official Nintendo Switch AC adapter provides enough power to charge the Switch in the fastest and most efficient way. It also provides enough power to charge the battery while you play, although the charging speed will be slower than letting the Switch charge in Standby mode.
So, if you know you will be using your Switch on the go, take the Nintendo Switch AC Adapter with you or buy a second one for traveling. You can also try a third-party Switch AC adapter, like this one from AmazonBasics.
According to Nintendo, it takes about three hours for all models of the Switch console to be fully charged in Standby mode while using the official Nintendo Switch AC adapter.
Charging a Nintendo Switch with a USB cable
All Nintendo Switch models use USB-C for the charging port on the bottom of the unit. So you can charge it in no time with any USB-C cable connected to a power source, such as a tablet / smartphone charger, battery, PC or USB hub. The speed at which the battery charges (and whether it actually powers the Switch to play) varies greatly depending on the power source.
As for cables, any well-made USB-A to USB-C cable will work with enough power to charge the Switch. However, this method limits the maximum power to 7.5 watts due to the switch's design. That's enough to play and charge at the same time, but not at the fastest speed.
The switch also supports a higher wattage charging mode that charges the battery much faster. However, it requires a high-power USB-C to USB-C cable (such as a MacBook Pro 61-watt USB-C charger) or a specially made Switch AC Adapter.
- Minimum Requirements to Charge While Playing: To charge your Switch's battery (even if it is slow), you need a power source of at least 5 volts and 1.5 amps while playing a game (or 7.5 watts) can supply power. More amps are better for faster battery charging.
- Minimum requirements for charging in standby mode (without dock): Nintendo does not provide an official lower limit of power required to charge the switch in standby mode. Our own tests show that the switch will charge from a power source that can only produce 5 volts at fractions of an amplifier (such as 400mA / 0.4A), but charging will be slow.
In general, the more Available amps, the faster the switch charges. The ideal output for standby charging via commonly available USB adapters (like the ones you'd find in a supermarket) is about 5 volts and 2 amps.
Any special USB power adapter or battery should have a small label with the power rating. It says something like "Output: 5V / 1A", which means it can deliver up to 5 volts at 1 amp current or 5 watts of power. Those are the numbers you are looking for.
The technical details about charging via Nintendo Switch
The technical details on how each Switch model is powered and charged in different modes goes well beyond what most people should know. However, if you want to dig deeper or want an optimal way to charge the Switch as you play, someone on Reddit created a complex graph that explores the different options. Informal studies have also been conducted into the power consumption of the switch in various scenarios. Since these studies are not official, you naturally want to take them with a grain of salt.
What it boils down to? For best results, stick with the official Nintendo Switch AC adapter. It provides the optimal amount of power to play and charge, and it works with both the Switch and Switch Lite. It's not as portable as grabbing a USB cable and hoping for a good power supply on the go. Still, you know that Nintendo's official adapter can handle anything the Switch throws at it.