How to Charge a Nintendo Switch Without the Charger

Though a dock is the easiest way to charge a Nintendo Switch, it’s also possible to plug the device into any USB outlet (or USB-compatible device) to regenerate its battery.

I have owned and played with every Nintendo console on the market. I love the company and have a vast knowledge of their systems. That qualified me to properly break down each section covered throughout this guide.

Here, I analyze the different ways to power a Nintendo Switch without a charger by going over alternatives, looking at how they work, and seeing which ones are the most effective. 

Key Takeaways

  • The Switch has an incredible amount of portability thanks to its versatile charging system that can be powered through any USB port.
  • A USB cable or strong AC adapter allows you to charge your Switch using any outlet or powerful portable electronics device.
  • Switches charge much faster and much more effectively in standby mode than when they’re being used. Some larger or more graphic-intensive games may even use more energy than what’s being pumped into the device. 

The Switch’s Unmatched Portability 

When it comes to portable gaming, nothing beats the Nintendo Switch. The handy machine is easy to take on the go, comes with a long battery life, and runs without any issues. Not only that, but it’s incredibly easy to charge as well.

The system’s dock is the best way to make sure the device has enough power at all times. However, that’s not always an option. If you bring your Switch on the go, lugging around the entire system with all of its wires and attachments can be quite the hassle.

Not only that, but the battery only gives you a couple of hours before needing to be recharged. That’s where the portability comes in. The Switch is a device made for travel as much as it’s made for at-home use. Its charging system reflects that.

Unlike other systems that are much more stationary or constrained to a single outlet, the Switch can be charged in a few different ways. 

Charging Your Switch

The first and most convenient way to charge your Switch on the go is with the official Nintendo AC adapter. The small box gives you enough power to quickly boost the device, especially if it’s in standby mode, and it’s easy to throw into a bag or backpack.

You can also use a third-party AC adapter, though they aren’t quite as reliable or quick-charging as the official models. Beyond that, you need a USB Type-C cable. That doesn’t come included with the system, but there are many on the market. 

The wires run somewhere between $10 and $20, and they will give you plenty of ways to fully charge your Switch. That’s because they enable you to connect the system to a portable battery, wall outlet, or charging device.

Using a cable and adapter, you can plug your switch into a phone/tablet wall charger, any airport outlet, as well as devices like laptops and tablets. If it has a charge, it will have no issues lending some much-needed energy to your device.

Picking the Right Charging Method

Typically, a Switch takes about three hours to charge back to full power. However, that number varies greatly depending on a few important factors. The first is standby mode. If your Switch is off, it’s going to charge more quickly than if you’re using it.

Also, note that your system may not charge if you’re playing a particularly heavy or graphics-intensive game. If you’re using up a lot of juice, you want to upgrade to something that’s made with power in mind (like a USB-C laptop charger).

Going that route means you need to carry around more items when playing on the road, but it’s a key tradeoff for those who don’t want to wait too long while their device powers back up.

Another option is to use a strong USB-A-to-USB-C cable (though the maximum power on those is capped at 7.5 watts) or a USB-C-to-USB-C cable with a high wattage power source/AC adapter to increase the charging rate. 

The system needs a minimum power source of at least 5 volts (7.5 watts) to charge the machine while you play a game. However, the more volts you have at your disposal, the faster the device will boot up. Always check your power adapter to see its output.


These are some of the most common questions Nintendo users ask about charging their Switch.

Can I Use a Phone Charger to Charge My Switch?

Yes. Though there are other, more effective ways to charge the device, a phone or tablet charger works as well. Just try not to use the Switch when charging on that method, as it will give you much better results when in standby mode.

Why Won’t My Switch Charge with USB-C?

If you’re experiencing issues with a USB-C, it’s likely due to a faulty element. That means the outlet you’re using has a burnt fuse, or your Switch’s port is either dirty or damaged. You may need to repair it in that case.

How Long Does a Switch Take to Charge?

While it depends on location, outlet, and charging device, most Nintendo Switches take roughly three hours to charge back to full battery. 

Final Words

There are various ways to charge a Nintendo Switch. While the official AC adapter is the best method, any USB-C cable does a good job too. The ability to plug it into almost any outlet is one of the biggest bonuses of the device, and a reason so many prefer it over larger systems.

Have you ever had to charge a Switch without the dock? Why did you need to charge it, and what did you use? Let us know in the comments below!

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