Can You Charge Joy-Cons Without Switch Or Dock?


The easiest way to charge your Joy-Cons is to connect them to a Nintendo Switch or charging dock. However, there may be an instance where you need to charge your Joy-con without a Switch or Dock, such as if you are using them in TV or Tabletop mode or if you have an extra pair of Joy-Cons that you also need to charge but can’t connect to your Switch.  

If you need to charge your Joy-Cons with something other than a Switch or a charging dock, then your best choice is to use either a charging grip or a charging station. A relatively cheap charging grip allows you to continue using your controllers while they charge. You can also get a battery pack that uses regular batteries you can change when they run out. 

Keep reading to learn which option is best for an alternative to charging through a Switch or dock and what drawbacks to expect from these alternative methods so you won’t find yourself with a dead battery in the middle of a game. 

How to Charge your Joy-con Without a Switch or Dock

You can either get a charging grip or a charging station to serve as a stand-in for a charging dock. This is especially true for Joy-Con Lite because they aren’t compatible with the standard charging dock. However, you can avoid using chargeable batteries altogether by getting a battery pack and using regular batteries. 

Charging Station

A charging station is a cheap gadget that plugs into your controllers and charges them. It’s also a convenient place to keep your controllers when you aren’t using them, as you can leave them hooked to the charging station, so they are always fully charged when you use them. All you have to do is connect your controllers onto the station, much like a charging dock and wait.

Charging Grip

The grip that comes with the Nintendo Switch does not have a charging feature, but you can buy charging grips from Nintendo or other third-party providers. Slide your Joy-Cons into the grip’s sides the same way you would with the Switch itself. Use a USB cable or AC adaptor to charge the grips according to the manufacturer’s guidelines. 

Some charging grips have lights to indicate what level the Joy-Cons’ battery is. Regardless, you can continue to play and use the controllers while the charging grips are charging your Joy-Cons which is a significant advantage for investing. Charging grips can cost as low as $29.99. 

Battery Pack

If you want to avoid charging the batteries, you can get a battery pack accessory that will let you use regular batteries and change them when you need more power. Most of them use AA batteries, and the battery life is usually only about 60 minutes of playtime. Another drawback is that you will also need new batteries on hand to replace the previous ones that run out. 

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How Long Does it Take for Joy-Cons to Fully Charge?

It takes about 3.5 hours for Joy-Cons to charge fully, but this time can vary depending on what alternative method you are using, as this estimate is from using a charging dock or Switch. In the case of using a battery pack, there will be no charging time, whereas charging grips will take time to charge your controllers fully, but you can still use them as they charge. 

How Long Does a Fully Charged Joy-Con Last?

If you use the rechargeable battery that comes with the Joy-con controllers, then a fully charged battery should last for about 20 hours of playtime. However, this playtime can vary depending on what software application you are using and your functions. 

How do You Know When Joy-Cons Finish Charging?

How you know your Joy-Cons finish charging depends on which method you’re using to charge them. The controllers themselves don’t have a way of signaling that the battery is full, so you will need to get a charging device with an indicator light if you want to know how much battery life is left. Charging docks have a light at the top, turning green when charging is complete.

How to Check the Battery Level of Your Joy-Cons

If you don’t have an indicator on your charging method itself, you will have to check the battery level in the Switch itself. There isn’t another way to get around this unless you have a charging station or dock, so if you’re without a Switch, you’re going to have to guess or be okay with suddenly losing your controllers in the middle of a game.

If you do have access to a Switch long enough to check your battery levels, then you can check them by:

  1. Opening the Switch’s Home Screen and selecting “Controller” on the bottom screen.
  2. Ensure you choose “Change Grip/Order” to be able to see your battery life. On the left side of the new menu, you will see a graphic that shows the battery levels for both Joy-Cons and the Switch itself in the middle. Keep in mind that the battery life from a full charge is 20 hours to estimate how much playtime is left. 
  3. Tap “Close” to exit out of this menu. 

Can You Overcharge Joy-Cons?

You might want to invest in a charging station to leave your controllers there to charge whenever you aren’t using them, but you might worry about overcharging them. The good news is you can’t overcharge your Joy-Cons. Once the battery reaches 100%, it will stop taking power from the charging station or dock.

Final Thoughts

The best way to charge your Joy-Cons without a Switch or charging dock is to get charging grips because they work to charge your controllers as a dock would, and they also allow you to continue playing while they charge. If that isn’t an option, you can get a charging station for a total of 20 hours of playtime or a battery pack for 60 minutes of playtime.

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