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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 gaming habits, travel plans, other devices, and budget. 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. A power bank can extend that up to 13+ hours, depending on its capacity. Common uses for a power bank include:

  • 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)
  • Too lazy to get out of bed
Are Power Banks Safe?

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 system 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. All but the lowest output power banks can work with the Switch. How well each will work for you depends on your gaming habits.

Connection TypeMax Switch Draw, PlayingMax Switch Draw, AsleepCharge Time,
0-100%
While Playing
USB-C PD, 9V/15V18W10.5W2.5-3 hours
3.5 hours while playing
Charges under all gaming conditions
USB-C PD, 12V12W10W3 hours
4+ hours while playing
Charges under all gaming conditions
USB-C, 5V10W9.5W3-3.5 hoursCharges under most gaming conditions
USB-A, 5V7.5W7W4+ hoursCharges under some gaming conditions

With the most demanding games, max screen brightness, and Wi-Fi enabled the Switch uses ~8.75-8.9W. Any USB-C power bank can match and surpass that. Meaning the power bank will drain first. The higher the power draw of the Switch, the faster the Switch’s battery will recharge while you play. A regular USB-C charger can add less than 10% in an hour. A USB-C PD can add ~25% with the same game and time.

USB-C PD

USB-C PD gives you the fastest charge under all conditions. It also future proofs you the best, as more USB-C devices enter our homes.

USB-C

Regular USB-C (5V/3A) will slow charge the Switch while you play, and almost as well while it sleeps. If your play sessions are under 3 hours and you recharge while the Switch sleeps, then it may be the better buy for you. In exchange for a slower charge rate it gives you a bit more playtime, and sometimes a lower cost.

USB-A

An older USB-A power bank (5V/1.5A or better output) can also work, but with some conditions. Plugging it in while the Switch is at 100% gives the best result. I was able to play Super Mario Odyssey for 4.5 hours with an Anker PowerCore 10000. After 4.5 hours the power bank ran out, but the Switch had only lost 2% of its own charge. Doing the same test, but with the Switch at 50%, gave worst results. The power bank ran out 15 minutes sooner, and the Switch lost 11% charge. Together that was a loss of 35 minutes potential playtime.

Reducing screen brightness and disabling Wi-Fi help reduce the Switch’s power usage.

tl;dr
  • USB-C PD is fastest, but not required to play and charge
  • USB-C can be a good balance between performance, endurance, and cost
  • Your current USB-A may be good enough, if you remember to plug it in immediately. You will need a USB-C to USB-A cable.

You can read more about how Nintendo Switch charging works.

Capacity

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

But all things are not equal. The faster the charge the less actual capacity you’ll have. The larger the capacity, the bigger the difference.

CapacityExtra Play TimeTravel SizeGood For
10,000mAh
USB-A, USB-C 5V
4.4-5 hours"Pocket sized"Commute, domestic travel
10,000mAh
USB-C PD, 12V
4.3 hours"Pocket sized"Commute, domestic travel
20,000mAh
USB-A, USB-C 5V
9.5 hoursFits in most Switch carrying cases,
taking up most of the accessory pocket
Domestic and international travel
20,000mAh
USB-C PD, 15V
8.5 hoursFits in most Switch carrying cases,
taking up most of the accessory pocket
Domestic and international travel
26,800mAh
USB-A, USB-C 5V
12 hoursNeed to carry separately from SwitchAll day play
26,800mAh
USB-C PD, 15V
10-11 hoursNeed to carry separately from SwitchAll day play

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

Play time based on 3 hours per full Switch charge. Longer with less demanding games.

Airline Battery Regulations

In the United States FAA rules govern what kind and size batteries you can bring on a commercial flight.

  • Any device with a lithium battery (phone, laptop, Switch, power bank) must be in your carry on bag. Do not put them in checked luggage. Do not gate check a bag without first removing them.
  • You may carry any number of power banks up to 100Wh (27,027mAh) each. The Switch and most power banks are within these limits.
  • AmericanDeltaSouthwest, and United all allow you to carry up to two 160Wh (~42,000mAh) batteries. For other airlines you’ll need to check their policy.
  • If flying overseas contact your airline to check on the lithium battery limits for all flights. If they give you a limit in watt hours (Wh) use this converter to find that in milliamp hours (mAh). Use 3.6 for the voltage.

Stick to 26,800mAh or smaller power banks and you won’t have an issue in the U.S. Overseas the limits are different, as is enforcement. China has been known to confiscate larger power banks.

Other USB Devices

You want a power bank that can service your phone and other devices, as well as your Switch.

Smartphone

  • iPhone: USB-A port on the power bank. Some USB-C ports can fast charge with Apple Lightning to USB-C cable.
  • Android w/micro-USB: USB-A port on the power bank.
  • Android w/USB-C: USB-C to fast charge. You can also use USB-A, but it’ll be slower.
  • Quick Charge: If your phone supports Quick Charge then consider power banks that also support it. Quick Charge has no affect on the Switch.

Laptop

Apple, Dell, Google, and other laptop makers are using USB-C for power. 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 few power banks currently output more than 45W
Budget

You should now have a good idea of the type and size of power bank you want. But does what you want fit within your budget? If what you want is too expensive then go to a slower connection type. It is usually better to have a slower charge than run out of power early.

Power Bank ModelPower Bank CostCable CostTotal Cost
10,000mAh
USB-A
$27$7$34
10,000mAh
USB-C
$30$9$39
10,000mAh
USB-C PD
$26$9$35
20,000mAh
USB-A
$47$7$54
20,000mAh
USB-C
$54$9$63
20,000mAh
USB-C PD
$67Often included$67
26,800mAh
USB-A
$62$7$69
26,800mAh
USB-C
$56$9$65
26,800mAh
USB-C PD
$80
$120 bundled with wall charger
Often included$80-120

Prices based on average MSRP at time of this post.

Recommended Power Banks

Price ranges include cost of power bank and USB-C cable.

$30-50 USB-C Power Banks
Top: AUKEY PB-Y13. Bottom: RAVPower 10000 USB-C.

Top: AUKEY PB-Y13. Bottom: RAVPower 10000 USB-C.

AUKEY PB-Y13 10000 USB-C | Review

  • “Pocket sized” and fast
  • Commute, domestic travel
  • Among the smallest USB-C PD power banks on the market
  • Supports iPhone fast charging and Quick Charge
  • USB-C to USB-C cable not included
RAVPower 10000 USB-C | Review

  • “Pocket sized,” prefer endurance to speed
  • Commute, domestic travel
  • USB-C to USB-C cable not included
AUKEY PB-Y14 20000 USB-C | Review

$60-80 USB-C Power Banks
Anker PowerCore 13400 Nintendo Switch Edition with Nintendo Switch.

Anker PowerCore 13400 Nintendo Switch Edition with Nintendo Switch.

Anker PowerCore 13400 Nintendo Switch Edition | Review

  • Licensed by Nintendo for use with the Switch
  • Commute, travel
  • Supports iPhone fast charging
  • Smallest 15V USB-C PD power bank on the market
  • Includes USB-C cable
AUKEY PB-Y15 26500 USB-C
RAVPower XTREME 26800 PD with Nintendo Switch

RAVPower XTREME 26800 PD with Nintendo Switch.

RAVPower XTREME 26800 PD | Review

  • Cheaper than competitors as it doesn’t include a USB-C wall charger
  • All day play
  • Supports iPhone fast charging
  • Includes USB-C cable
ZMI QB820 | Review

  • 45W output, supports Switch dock and laptops
  • Commute, travel
  • Supports iPhone fast charging
  • USB hub feature for laptops
  • Includes USB-C cable
$100-120 USB-C Power Banks
Anker PowerCore+ 26800 PD with Nintendo Switch.

Anker PowerCore+ 26800 PD with Nintendo Switch.

Anker PowerCore+ 26800 PD
  • Includes 30W USB-C wall charger, good for recharging power bank and Switch
  • All day play
  • Supports iPhone fast charging
  • Includes USB-C cable
Jackery Supercharge 26800 PD
  • Includes 45W USB-C wall charger, good for recharging power bank and Switch
  • 45W output, supports Switch dock and laptops
  • All day play
  • Supports iPhone fast charging
  • Includes USB-C cable

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

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