This is whether you can charge your Nintendo Switch with a cell phone charger.
Yes, as long as it’s USB-C.
So if you want to know in detail how to charge your Nintendo Switch with a phone charger, then you’re in the right place.
Let’s jump right in!
Table of Contents
- Charge Your Nintendo Switch With Your Phone Charger
- Can You Charge a Nintendo Switch With a Cell Phone Charger?
- Charging a Nintendo Switch Through the USB-C Port
- The Math for Charging Your Nintendo Switch With a Phone Charger
- Why Does the Switch Have a USB-C Hub?
Charge Your Nintendo Switch With Your Phone Charger
Uh oh. You’re on the run with your Nintendo Switch, your battery power is running low—and you forgot your charging dock!
Can you use a cell phone charging cord to charge your Switch? And should you?
This article looks at how charging with a different device’s charger will affect your Switch.
Let’s get right into this.
Can You Charge a Nintendo Switch With a Cell Phone Charger?
The short answer is yes.
However, you’re not going to get a good charge. It will be painfully slow, and you probably will not be able to charge while using the device as you would if you were using the official Nintendo Switch AC Adapter that comes with the device from the factory.
The Nintendo Switch package contains:
- 1 Joy-Con™ (L) controller, 1 Joy-Con™ (R) controller
- 2 Joy-Con™ wrist strap accessories
- Nintendo Switch AC adapter
- Nintendo Switch console
- Joy-Con grip accessory
- Nintendo Switch dock
- HDMI cable
If you’re not using the dock and AC adapter as recommended, then your Switch will charge much slower than it is designed to.
Charging a Nintendo Switch Through the USB-C Port
The Nintendo Switch is manufactured with a USB-C port. And, yes, it can be used to charge the device in a pinch when you have no other better choice.
You can technically charge your Switch with any powered USB-C cord. The power source could be a cell phone charger, tablet charger, a PC, or a battery pack with USB-C capabilities.
The power source used to charge your Switch will determine how fast yours charges. Nintendo says that a full charge should take about three hours, but that is assuming you’re using the official AC adapter that comes with both the Switch and Switch Lite.
If you’re not using the Nintendo adapter, then you should expect far slower charging rates.
To understand why that’s true, we need to dig a little deeper into the math of the situation. Take a breath. It’ll be fast and painless.
The Math for Charging Your Nintendo Switch With a Phone Charger
OK, so a Nintendo Switch is an electronic device, right? Electronic devices function via specific amounts of electricity.
Not all devices have the same electrical needs. Some devices require more, and others less, to operate optimally.
Makes sense, right?
So, as it goes, any quality USB-C charging cable WILL provide enough power to charge a Nintendo Switch or Switch Lite.
However, the Switch is designed to accept a maximum of 7.5 watts with this charging method. 7.5 watts input is enough to power the Switch, allow playing, and charge simultaneously.
However, that is not the fastest rate that charging can occur while playing the device. To get the fastest charge, you need to put the device in sleep mode and use the official Nintendo AC Adapter that came with the device.
That’s what it’s for! Nintendo engineers are pretty smart fellas, and they say that the charger they designed is the best one for playing and charging at the same time.
The Nintendo Switch also supports a fast-charging mode that requires higher wattage electrical input. It requires a USB-C to USB-C high-wattage cable, like the 61-watt charger cable used for a MacBook Pro, for instance.
Here’s an example based on a basic formula of electricity that states:
A (amps) x V (volts) = W (watts)
That’s pretty simple, right?
OK, so every charging cable you can buy should have a little sticker somewhere on it that states its electrical rating. For instance, one might display Output: 5V/2A.
That means that the cable has an output of 5 volts at 2 amperes of current, which results in a total power output of 10 watts. That would be more than enough to keep you playing and charging, even though it would be charging at a slow rate.
In the formula, that’s 2 (amps) x 5 (volts) = 10 watts of power.
So, a charger with a 5V/2A output would be able to power a Switch while playing and charging at the same time.
However, this is not the optimal amount of current, and it will not charge your Switch as quickly as a higher-wattage charging cable would.
Why Does the Switch Have a USB-C Hub?
That’s a good question. But, unfortunately, the answer lies in the future.
Nintendo intended the Switch’s design to be futuristic and lead the evolution of gaming devices for many years to come. They wanted to give other manufacturers – like Sony and Xbox a real run for their money, so to speak.
The USB-C port makes the Switch more flexible than its competitors, at least in terms of charging-on-the-run capabilities.
That’s the purpose of the USB-C port on the Switch: to serve as a secondary “in-a-pinch” battery charging method. It isn’t intended as the primary charging vehicle. That’s what the Nintendo Switch dock and official AC adapter are for.
The Nintendo Switch charges with the intended charging equipment via the USB-C port at 15 volts/2.6 amps, translating into about 39 watts of power.
That’s the optimal charging rate. However, the Switch is flexible and can utilize a broad range of charge inputs.
Here’s an example: If you use a common cell phone charger to charge your Nintendo Switch, you might generate up to about 12 watts.
That is less than ⅓ of the optimal charging rate that would be achieved with the recommended Nintendo equipment.
Note that Nintendo Switch devices are not compatible with any Quick Charge 2.0 or Quick Charge 3.0 technologies used on most cell phones now. However, the Switch is compatible with the newest Quick Charge 4.0 tech.
Here’s the thing about that, though. Even if you used one of the newest cell phone chargers with Quick Charge 4.0 features, you would still only achieve a charge input of about 20 watts, which is only about half of what the Switch was manufactured to accommodate.
Can you charge a Nintendo Switch with a cell phone charger? Sure, you can, but it isn’t the best way to go about it.
It’s always best to use the Nintendo Switch dock and AC adapter as intended by the engineers. It’s sort of what they do.