I have giant hands with the dexterity of a toddler and arthritic thumbs, so it didn’t take long for me to grow painfully frustrated with the Nintendo’s Switch Pro Controller’s larger size is the answer for me, because not only is it more comfortable but it has bigger buttons and full D-pad to compensate for my clumsiness (some of it, anyway). It’s great, but it’s also between $60 and $70 to buy and that was before shortages.‘s tiny Joy-Con controllers. The
There are third-party Switch Pro-like controllers, however, offering more comfortable gaming for less money. We tested several of them and, honestly, none offered the same comfort and button feel that we appreciate about Nintendo’s official controller. But there are ones that come close.
Going with a third-party Switch Pro controller does have some advantages aside from a lower price, too. For example, some have a Turbo button for faster firing rates or mappable buttons to make certain commands easier to trigger. Plus, a few here can be used with Windows, MacOS and Android, too.
The PowerA comes closest to the feel and design of Nintendo’s Pro controller and it normally sells for $40 to $50 depending on the design from Amazon, Best Buy and more. The PowerA doesn’t have rumble, IR or Amiibo NFC support like the Switch Pro Controller does, but it does have motion controls.
Its one added feature is two extra buttons on the bottom of the controller that can be mapped on the fly. It runs on AA-size batteries, too, so you don’t have to worry about running out of power as you play a game and you can always use rechargeables. Also, since the battery isn’t built-in, you don’t have to trash the controller once the battery stops holding a charge, unlike some other controllers.
Many of the third-party controllers leave out some of the Nintendo Pro Controller’s features such as NFC Amiibo support, vibration or motion controls. The Beboncool has them all and a customizable Turbo button — and it’s about half the price. I’m not a fan of the separate buttons for the D-pad and the buttons are a bit mushy in general, but the performance and overall quality is fine for the money.
If you like to customize, this controller is for you. Using its Ultimate software, you can remap buttons, adjust stick and trigger sensitivity as well as vibration control and easily create macros for complicated button combinations. The left-hand controls are flipped so they’re more like a PlayStation controller, but everything feels good and responsive. It works with the Switch, Android, Windows and MacOS. Another nice feature: Its rechargeable battery pack can be easily swapped out for a new one.
Want something a little more retro? The full-featured ergonomic design of the SN30 makes it a more travel-friendly Pro controller alternative. And there are no mushy buttons here: Everything feels firm and responsive. It can be programmed for use with Android, Windows and MacOS, too.
Like the 8BitDo controllers above, the RegeMoudal’s sticks are both at the bottom. If that doesn’t turn you off, this lightweight controller is a good choice thanks to an adjustable Turbo button, long battery life and three levels of vibration.
It’s wired, but the $20 Horipad is one of the more comfortable controllers we tested and its buttons and sticks feel nice, too. But, while it does have a Turbo button, it lacks vibration and motion controls. Its D-pad isn’t a true pad, but a plastic piece that snaps on over four discrete buttons. It works fine, but might be a deal breaker for some.
The Insten falls under “you get what you pay for” for me but, for what it’s worth, it’s the favorite of my 8- and 10-year-olds. It’s just a basic wireless controller with aggressive dual-shock vibration. It’s comfortable but feels cheap and flimsy. To be fair, though, the controller did survive a high-velocity altercation with my TV and I can’t say the same for the TV. The best part about the Insten is the price: You can pick up a two-pack for about $40.