JoyCon vs Pro Controller: Comparing Nintendo Switch Control Options

Steve Ireland

Nintendo Switch on black surface

When deciding between the Joy-Con and the Pro Controller for the Nintendo Switch, players have a choice that influences their gaming experience. Joy-Cons, which come with the Switch, offer a unique way to play thanks to their ability to detach and allow for local multiplayer games. They are known for their portability and also include motion controls which some games utilize for added gameplay features.

In contrast, the Pro Controller is favored by many for its traditional design that resembles classic controllers from older gaming systems. It has a comfortable grip and larger buttons which may be more suitable for extended gaming sessions. Additionally, it boasts a longer battery life compared to Joy-Cons, which can be a significant advantage for frequent players.

Picking Your Perfect Nintendo Switch Controller

Ergonomics and Comfort

The Pro Controller shines in comfort for extended gaming sessions. Its larger size and ergonomic design fit naturally in your hands, reducing fatigue. Joy-Cons, while versatile, can feel cramped for larger hands during long playtimes.

Motion Controls and HD Rumble

Both Joy-Cons and the Pro Controller feature motion controls, adding an immersive layer to compatible games. The Joy-Cons also offer HD Rumble for nuanced vibration feedback, enhancing the sensory experience. However, the Pro Controller’s rumble isn’t as refined.

Versatility and Flexibility

Joy-Cons win in the versatility department. They can be used attached to the Switch console, detached for handheld mode, or split for multiplayer fun. The Pro Controller, while excellent for solo play, lacks this adaptability.

Battery Life and Charging

The Pro Controller boasts a significantly longer battery life, lasting up to 40 hours on a single charge. Joy-Cons, however, last around 20 hours, requiring more frequent charging. Charging Joy-Cons is also less convenient, requiring the Switch console or a separate charging dock.


Joy-Cons typically come bundled with the Switch, making them the default option. The Pro Controller is a separate purchase, often costing around $70.

Comparison Table

FeatureJoy-ConPro Controller
ComfortSuitable for short playtimesMore ergonomic for extended sessions
Motion ControlsYesYes
HD RumbleYesBasic rumble
VersatilityHigh (multiple modes)Low (single controller)
Battery LifeUp to 20 hoursUp to 40 hours
ChargingVia Switch console or dockVia USB-C cable
PriceIncluded with SwitchAround $70

Key Takeaways

  • The Joy-Con controllers are versatile for multiplayer and portable gaming.
  • The Pro Controller provides a traditional gaming experience with comfort in mind.
  • Pro Controllers have a longer battery life than Joy-Cons.

Comparing Nintendo Switch Controllers

Choosing the right controller can enhance gaming on the Nintendo Switch. Each type caters to different preferences and situations.

Design and Ergonomics

The Joy-Con controllers are small and light, making them easy to hold for people with smaller hands. They can be used separately in each hand or connected to the Joy-Con grip for a more classic feel. The Pro Controller, on the other hand, resembles traditional gamepads and is better suited for larger hands due to its wider grip and fuller shape.

Functionality and Performance

Both controllers include motion controls, HD rumble, and Amiibo support. The Joy-Cons have additional features like an IR sensor. The Pro Controller offers a longer battery life of about 40 hours, precision controls with its larger joysticks, and a built-in NFC reader for Amiibo.

Connectivity and Compatibility

Joy-Con devices connect to the Switch via rails in handheld mode or wirelessly in TV mode. The Pro Controller uses Bluetooth for a wireless connection. Both work with the PC and other devices, offering versatility outside the Switch ecosystem.

Gaming Experience

The Joy-Cons allow for immediate multiplayer gaming. A single set can become two controllers for games like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. The Pro Controller is built for a traditional gaming experience with a comfortable grip and better button layout for intense games, like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

Pricing and Value

Joy-Cons are more expensive due to their versatile design and the technology they pack. As a package, they offer multiple play styles. The Pro Controller is a bit cheaper and seen as a better value for solo players who want precision and comfort.

Durability and Repairability

Users have reported issues like Joy-Con drift, but Nintendo offers fixes. The Pro Controller is known to be more robust and reliable due to its simpler one-piece design, making it a more durable choice in the long run.

Customization and Accessories

Joy-Con controllers come in various colors and can be customized with skins. The Pro Controller has fewer color options but includes cases and grips from third-party providers like Hori and PowerA.


Gamers must weigh personal preferences against each controller’s distinct features. Whether opting for the versatile Joy-Con or the ergonomic Pro Controller, both enhance the Nintendo Switch experience.