Nintendo USB AC Adapter

In mid November Nintendo quietly released the Nintendo USB AC Adapter in the USA. It has been available in the UK for over a year. Unlike in the UK, retailers in the states are listing it for the Nintendo Switch. But it is not intended for use with the Switch console, nor would it be a great of a charger for the Switch.

Nintendo USB AC Adapter

Nintendo USB AC Adapter

Confusing Listings

The Nintendo USB AC Adapter is meant for the NES Classic and Super NES Classic. They include an AC adapter, so this is a replacement or second charger. Nintendo has been selling this charger for a while as a replacement part. Now they’ve put it on shelves in a nice retail box.

You can also use the Nintendo USB AC Adapter to charge the Pro Controller, Joy-Cons, and Poke Ball Plus used with the Nintendo Switch. To charge Joy-Cons you’ll need the Joy-Con Charging Grip, sold separately. This charger won’t charge them any faster than the USB ports on the Switch’s dock. And any USB-C charger you use on the Switch will also work on those controllers.

Nintendo lists the Switch as not being an intended use of this charger. Unfortunately Amazon, Best Buy, GameStop, Target, and Walmart list it as “for Nintendo Switch” in their product titles. Nintendo is right to not advocate this charger for the Switch. It isn’t unsafe, but rather a poorer user experience than Nintendo wants. And not worth your money for the Switch.

Performance With the Switch

Let’s look at the Nintendo USB AC Adapter’s specs:

  • Port: USB-A x1
  • USB Output: 5V/1.5A
  • Power Input: 100-240V, 0.2A, 50/60Hz
  • No cable included

It is a USB-A charger, not USB-C like the Switch uses. With USB-A the Switch draws less. It may not draw enough to keep up with demanding games, so the Switch’s battery drains. Albiet at a reduced rate. It is an okay charger for the Switch while asleep. But still not as fast as USB-C or USB-C PD. A USB-A charger isn’t a bad option if you already own a good one and don’t need to power the dock. But it isn’t worth buying new.

As a USB-A charger the Nintendo USB AC Adapter is mid-range. Phone chargers are 5V/1A. The faster chargers are 5V/2.4A. As it happens 5V/1.5A is the max draw of the Switch over USB-A. So it would at least be as good as any other USB-A charger with the Switch.

The lack of a cable cinches it as a poor value buy for the Switch. To use on the Switch you’d need a USB-C to USB-A cable. You want a good quality one to prevent issues. So charger and cable together will cost you up to $17. For $20 you can get this USB-C charger. It’ll fast charge the Switch, power the dock, and includes the needed USB-C cable.

The Pro Controller, Joy-Con Charging Grip, and Poke Ball Plus need the same USB-C to USB-A cable with this charger. But they include such a cable, which is safe to use on them or the Switch.

Conclusion

Can this charge the Nintendo Switch?

Yes, but at a reduced rate. And only in handheld mode. And you may still drain the battery, depending on what you’re playing.

Is this meant for the Nintendo Switch?

Not by Nintendo, and I wouldn’t recommend buying it for that purpose either. You can get better value for only a few dollars more with a USB-C wall charger. Cable included.

What is it good for?

NES Classic
Super NES Classic
Pro Controller
Joy-Cons, with the Charging Grip
Poke Ball Plus

The Classic consoles include an AC adapter. The Switch controllers charge as well with the dock’s USB ports or any other USB-A or USB-C charger.