Power Bank Buying Guide for the Nintendo Switch


A power bank is a portable charger for USB powered 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.

Which power bank is right for you depends on your gaming habits, planned travel, and budget. Narrow down the options by deciding on a connection type (charge speed) and capacity (playtime). Then adjust according to your budget.

Do I Need a Power Bank?

You need a power bank if you’ll be away from a wall outlet and want to play for longer than the Switch’s battery can handle. The Switch’s battery is good for 2.5-8 hours, depending on the game and settings. On average you should assume ~3 hours.

Situations where you’ll find a power bank handy:

  • Long commute
  • Travel – On the plane, waiting at the airport
  • Road trip – Can also get a car charger, but power bank will work away from the car
  • Outdoors/camping
  • Gaming conventions with Switch multi-playing opportunities
What power banks are safe?

There have been no confirmed reports of any charger or power bank damaging a Switch. Most Switch owners fall into one of three safety ratings.

My ratings are not an endorsement or review. It is a reflection of the device’s specs in comparison to known factors of charging a Switch.

★★★★★ – Nintendo Produced/Licensed

★★★★☆ – USB-IF Certified, USB-A

  • There are no USB-IF certified power banks on the market. Lack of USB-IF certification does not make a charger unsafe. In many cases certification is forgone to support extra standards. Such as Apple/Android fast charging.
  • Several Nintendo support sites and agents have suggested using USB-A power banks. Use a USB-C to USB-A cable with a 56k Ohm resistor or USB-IF certification.
  • For Switch owners who want convenience, but also reassurance.

★★★☆☆ – USB-C with Standard Power Profiles

  • USB-C chargers with power outputs that follow USB-C or USB-C PD standards. Use a USB-IF certified USB-C to USB-C cable.
  • For Switch owners who are comfortable with third party products. They feel safe based on the fact there hasn’t been a confirmed issue with a third party power source and Switch.

Anything matching these ratings is safe to use for the Switch in handheld mode. None have shown to be safer than others. There has been no good evidence of real world issues. See Safely Charging the Switch for more details.

Connection Type: USB-C PD vs USB-C vs USB-A

USB-C PD – Superb

  • USB-C PD: 15V/2.6A
  • Recharges Switch in 2.5-3 hours while asleep, 3.5 hours while playing
  • Can power a docked Switch (not recommended)
  • Will charge a handheld Switch at the fastest rate
  • Charges Switch under all gaming conditions
  • Power bank drains before Switch’s internal battery
  • Large capacity options
  • Capacity doesn’t go as far due to increased output
  • Most expensive
  • May or may not include needed USB-C to USB-C cable

USB-C PD – Great

  • USB-C PD: 9V/2A, 12V/1.5A, 15V/1.2A
  • Recharges Switch in 2.5-3 hours while asleep, 3.5 hours while playing
  • Will charge a handheld Switch at the fastest rate
  • Charges Switch under all gaming conditions
  • Power bank drains before Switch’s internal battery
  • Medium to large capacity options
  • Capacity doesn’t go as far due to increased output
  • More expensive
  • May or may not include needed USB-C to USB-C cable

USB-C PD and USB-C have the same physical connection type. USB-C PD uses the Power Delivery standard to provide more current.

USB-C – Good

  • USB-C: 5V/3A
  • Recharges Switch in 3-3.5 hours while asleep
  • Charges Switch under most gaming conditions
  • Power bank drains before Switch’s internal battery
  • Medium to large capacity options
  • Best value
  • May or may not include needed USB-C to USB-C cable

USB-A – Good Enough

  • USB-A: 5V/1.5A
  • Recharges Switch in 4+ hours while asleep
  • Charges Switch under some gaming conditions
  • Worst case can extend playtime by a few hours
  • Both power bank and Switch’s internal battery drain, extending playtime by ~5 hours
  • Small to large capacity options
  • Least expensive
  • Will not include needed USB-C to USB-A cable

See How Switch Charging Works for more details on these ratings.

Capacity

All things being equal, more capacity = more playtime. Size, weight, and cost also go up as capacity goes up. Too little capacity and you’ll run out early. Too much and you’ll overpay and carry more weight than necessary.

Naturally, all things are not equal and you’ll get a differing number of Switch charges with different types of power banks with near equal advertised capacity. In general, the faster the charge the fewer number of charges you’ll get. You can read more about power bank capacity.

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

5,000mAh

  • Recharges the Switch >1 time
  • USB-A options only
  • Fits in your pocket
  • Good for day trips

10,000mAh

  • USB-A & USB-C: Recharges the Switch 1.5 times
  • USB-C PD: Recharges the Switch <1 time
  • Fits in most Switch cases
  • Good for day trips, most domestic travel

20,000mAh

  • USB-A & USB-C: Recharges the Switch 3 times
  • USB-C PD: Recharges the Switch 2.5 times
  • Fits in most Switch cases, but takes up most of the accessory pocket
  • Good for domestic and international travel, replacing a wall charger for overnight stays

26,800mAh

  • USB-A & USB-C: Recharges the Switch 4.2 times
  • USB-C PD: Recharges the Switch 3.3 times
  • Need to carry separately from Switch
  • Good for domestic and international travel, replacing a wall charger for overnight stays
  • Largest capacity you can take on flights without needing permission from the airline
Choosing Your Power Bank

You should now know what connection type and capacity you want. Next, shop and see if what you want meets with your budget. If what you’re finding is too expensive then step down on either the connection type or capacity to reduce cost. Don’t forget to account for the USB-C cable if one isn’t included.

List of Switch friendly power banks – Sort by connection type and capacity

Stand Out Power Banks

Anker PowerCore 10000 | Review – A small, USB-A power bank that takes up little room in most Switch cases. Keeps the Switch going for most domestic travel.

RAVPower 10000 USB-C – One of the smaller USB-C power banks you can get. It is long and wide, but thinner than most other 10,000mAh power banks. It fits in a Switch case and leaves room for another thin accessory.

AUKEY PB-Y13 10000 Power Bank with PD – A USB-C PD power bank with the usual long, wide, and thin design. It fits in a Switch case and leaves room for other thin accessories. It is the smallest 9-12V USB-C power bank on the market.

Anker PowerCore 13400 Nintendo Switch Edition | Review – One of two power banks licensed by Nintendo for the Switch. This is the smallest 15V USB-C PD power bank on the market.

ZMi QB820 | Review – With many ports and 20,000mAh add a cable for your phone and it’ll keep all your devices running all day. If you have a USB-C laptop this has a hub feature. Connect it to the laptop, then any device connected to the power bank’s USB-A ports will appear on the laptop. Hub functions transfer data at USB 2.0 rate.

RAVPower 26800 USB-C PD – Fast charge speed for the Switch and huge capacity. This is what the biggest power banks for the Switch look like.