Power Bank Buying Guide for the Nintendo Switch


A power bank is a portable charger for USB devices, including the Nintendo Switch. They allow you to recharge your devices on the go and away from an outlet. This flexibility makes them useful for daily commutes, travel, and all day outings. You could even replace a wall charger on overnight trips.

The right power bank for you depends on your Nintendo Switch gaming habits, planned travel, and budget. Other USB devices are also a consideration. You can narrow down the options by deciding on the charge speed, capacity, and other features you need.

Do You Need a Power Bank?

The Nintendo Switch’s internal battery can last for 2.5 to 8 hours. It depends on the game you’re playing and other settings. You will need a power bank if you wish to play for longer and you will be away from a wall outlet.

  • Long commute
  • Travel, both on the plane and waiting at the airport
  • Road trip, unless you get a car charger
  • Outdoors/camping
  • Power outage
  • Gaming convention (multi-playing opportunities)
Are Power Banks Safe?

In a word: yes.

There have been no confirmed reports of any charger or power bank damaging a Switch. There have been problems with third party docks. But those issues involve the power transfer within the dock. Some cases used the official AC adapter while others used third party chargers.

You can read more about safely charging the Switch. Check out my safety ratings and find which level you feel the most comfortable using.

Charge Speed

Different connection types and protocols offer different charge speeds for the Switch. The most important number is 8.75W. That is the most amount of power the Switch will use during game play. If a power bank can offer more power than that, then it’ll keep up with the Switch. The more power it offers above that, the faster it’ll charge the Switch’s battery while you play. You can read more about how Nintendo Switch charging works.

Connection TypeMax Switch DrawCharge Time,
0-100%
While PlayingCost Considerations
USB-C PD18W2.5-3 hours
3.5 hours while playing
Charges under all gaming conditionsFastest charge, but at the highest cost.
USB-C10W3-3.5 hoursCharges under most gaming conditionsCheaper, but no included cable. After cable about same as USB-C PD.
USB-A7.5W4+ hoursCharges under some gaming conditionsIf you already own then cheaper to buy USB-C to USB-A cable. Otherwise buy USB-C PD.

Available amperage can be higher without concern.

Not all USB-A power banks are equal. Check the print details on the power bank for its power output. If it is 5V/1A or less it will not charge the Switch unless asleep. This includes most sub-10,000mAh models.

Capacity

All things being equal, more capacity = more playtime. Too little capacity and you’ll run out early. More capacity also means bigger, heavier, and more expensive. Too much and you’ll overpay and carry more weight than necessary.

The faster the charge the less “actual capacity” you’ll have. It usually isn’t a big enough difference to affect your buy decision. Unless you need to maximize your uptime.

Milliampere hours (mAh) is the measure of a battery’s capacity. The Switch’s battery is 4310mAh.

CapacityExtra Play TimeTravel SizeGood For
10,000mAh4.5+ hoursFits in most Switch carrying casesDay trips, domestic travel
20,000mAh7.5+ hoursFits in most Switch carrying cases
Takes up most of accessory pocket
Domestic and international travel, replacing a wall charger for overnight stays
26,800mAh10+ hoursNeed to carry separately from SwitchAll day play, long international travel

There are limits on power bank sizes for air travel. In the U.S. you can carry up to a 26,800mAh power bank on any flight. You can carry up to 43,000mAh on a flight with American, Delta, Southwest, and United. With other airlines you’ll need to check their policy. Always check lithium-ion battery limits for international flights.

Other USB Devices

If you travel with other USB devices you want a power bank that can service them and the Switch.

Smartphone

  • iPhone: USB-A port on the power bank
  • Android w/micro-USB: USB-A port on the power bank
  • Android w/USB-C: 5V/3A or 9V/2A output on USB-C to fast charge. You can also use USB-A, but it’ll be slower.

Laptop

Apple, Dell, Google, and other laptop makers are using USB-C for power as well as input. Microsoft Surface products are also moving in that direction. How much power you need depends on the size of the laptop.

  • 12-inch: 15V/2A (30W) or higher
  • 13-inch: 15V/3A or 20V/2.25A (45W)
  • 15-inch: 15V/3A or 20V/2.25A (45W) – This isn’t ideal, but power banks don’t currently output more than 45W
Recommended Power Banks

You should now have a good idea of the type of power bank you want. It is time to find the exact power bank for your needs. Here are power banks I recommend, as they well work for most Switch owners.

AUKEY PB-Y13 10000 USB-C PD | Review

  • The smallest USB-C PD power bank on the market
  • Charges the Switch faster than regular USB-C, but not as fast as other USB-C PD models
  • Requires a USB-C to USB-A cable, not included
  • Fits in Switch carrying case

Anker PowerCore 13400 Nintendo Switch Edition | Review

  • The smallest 15V USB-C PD power bank on the market
  • Licensed by Nintendo for use with the Switch
  • Charges handheld Switch as fast as any other option
  • Includes a 3 foot USB-C cable
  • Fits in Switch carrying case

ZMi QB820 | Review

  • One of a few USB-C PD 45W power banks, capable of powering the Nintendo Switch dock
  • Charges handheld Switch as fast as any other option
  • Includes a 20 inch USB-C cable
  • Has a USB hub feature for laptops, connect USB-A devices to power bank and it shares with the laptop over USB-C

RAVPower XTREME 26800 PD | Review

  • Charges handheld Switch as fast as any other option
  • Includes a 3.5 foot USB-C cable
  • Largest capacity you can take on U.S. flights without permission from the airline

If none of these work for you please check out my list of Switch friendly power banks.

Don’t forget to get a USB-C cable if one isn’t included.