The Nintendo Switch revolutionized gaming with its ultra-convenient design and docking capabilities. Owners can take their Switch with them almost anywhere and game for hours on a full battery. So naturally, you might wonder how long yours takes to charge.
Typically, a Nintendo Switch takes about 3 to 3.5 hours to charge fully from a depleted battery. However, this time varies depending on your Switch model, the age of your console, and the type of charger. Charging your Switch also fills the battery of attached Joy-Cons in the same amount of time.
Below, we’ll dive into everything you should know about charging your Nintendo Switch.
Can You Play Your Nintendo Switch While It Charges?
You can safely play your Switch while it charges. And it doesn’t matter whether you do so while it’s plugged in via charging cable or on the dock.
Although, playing power-intensive games may cause your battery to take longer to fuel up. Particularly 3-D titles with long draw distances, such as The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Here’s a list comparing charge times for games for reference.
Nonetheless, playing while charging or docked is an excellent idea. Doing so allows your Switch to run at its best performance without worrying about battery life.
If you play your Switch handheld while it charges, you may notice it feels warmer than usual. Or you may hear the internal fan turn on. But don’t worry — these things are completely normal.
How Long Does a Switch Need to Charge to Turn On?
Your Switch needs to reach a 1% charge to turn on. If your battery is completely depleted, it takes about 10 or 15 minutes to get to that point.
As a result, you may not be able to activate a dead Switch immediately after plugging it in or docking. If that happens, wait another 10 minutes and try turning it on again.
When your Switch says it has 1%, the battery is actually often more full than that. For example, it takes longer for the Switch to go from 1% to 0% than it does 2% to 1%. This is because the Switch holds reserve power for booting up and saving game states.
Additionally, your Switch will warn you when you’re at 1% so that you know it’s time to charge. Once you see that prompt, you have 7 to 9 minutes of playtime left.
What Is a Nintendo Switch’s Battery Life?
Charging a Nintendo Switch will ordinarily take 3 to 3.5 hours. However, how long that full battery lasts varies depending on the Switch model.
Nintendo has released three different versions of the Switch, each with their own expected battery life. Furthermore, the base Switch model comes in two forms: the original release version and the improved new standard edition.
If you’re unsure which you have, you can check the first two letters of the serial number. They’re in parentheses below.
Here is how Switch battery life compares according to Nintendo:
- Nintendo Switch Release Model (XA): Approximately 2.5 to 6.5 hours of gameplay
- Nintendo Switch New Standard Model (XK): Approximately 4.5 to 9 hours of gameplay
- Nintendo Switch OLED Model (XT): Approximately 4.5 to 9 hours of gameplay
- Nintendo Switch Lite Model: Approximately 3 to 7 hours of gameplay
Even though the battery life varies quite a lot, the charge time doesn’t. All Switch consoles take around 3 hours to replenish their batteries.
Are There Other Ways to Charge a Nintendo Switch?
You likely know your AC Adaptor and dock can both charge your Switch. That being said, you may wonder if there are any alternatives.
As it turns out, the Switch can charge on any USB-C charger. So if you have a spare phone charger lying around, it may work for your console.
However, there are some downsides to using an alternative charger.
For one, USB-C cables don’t have the same wattage as Nintendo’s proprietary charger. While the AC adaptor provides 39 watts of continuous charging, other USB-C wires average closer to 10 watts. As a result, phone chargers take twice as long or more to replenish your battery.
Furthermore, only the AC adaptor works with the Switch dock. So you can’t use a phone charger to play on your television.
When Should You Charge Your Nintendo Switch?
Ideally, you should charge your Switch whenever it gets to around 50%. And when you do, it’s best to let the battery reach 100% before unplugging or undocking.
You might wonder why, considering the console is a portable device. And the reason is that keeping your Switch charged fully extends your battery’s lifetime.
Allowing your Switch to reach 0% can cause the Switch to lose total charge potential over time. An older Switch may say it’s at 100% but only provide 80% of gameplay time compared to when you bought it.
Keeping your console above 50% helps mitigate this problem. As does charging it entirely instead of halfway.
If you want to get the most bang for your buck, store your Switch somewhere cool. Doing so can preserve the longevity and total charge of your battery.
It generally takes 3 to 3.5 hours for a standard Nintendo Switch to charge. However, the battery life depends on the specific console model and which games you play during the charging process.