Every “normal” (Lite excluded), Nintendo Switch comes with a dock. The small stand is responsible for recharging the console ( along with its Joy-Cons) and allowing you to play on the TV via an HDMI cable. They are reliable and easy to use. But let´s say you lost your dock, or maybe it broke, or you just find it uncomfortable to have around. In that case, can you use your Switch if you don’t have a dock? Can you recharge it?
The answer is yes, with a caveat. As said before, the dock has two main uses: Charging and connecting to the TV. If you don’t have a dock, you will need another accessory to replace it. Which one? Let´s find out.
(As an aside, if you have a Switch Lite, then your console doesn’t come with a dock. It comes with an AC adapter for charging, but there´s no (official) way to connect your Lite to the TV).
The most important use of the Dock is to charge your Switch. Without batteries, the console might as well be dead. So, how can you give your Switch energy without a dock? Well, the Switch already comes with an AC adapter, you can use it to recharge the console by connecting it directly to the Switch and then to a power socket.
If you don´t have the AC adapter, you need a USB Type-C cable. You can use that cable to connect your Switch to a power source, like a computer or a socket (as long as it is plugged to an adapter, like the ones that smartphones use) and it will charge up.
It´s important to have the right cable for the job. Not all USB cables are alike, you will need a Type-C specifically. If you decide to go to the store and buy any USB cable, there is a chance it won't work. Here´s one such cable that you can use to recharge your Switch.
Do note that charging directly with a cable might be slower than usual. For some games, it might not be enough to keep pace with the battery drain.
Additionally, there is another way. You can buy a Power Bank like this one. Power banks are similar in concept to a battery. You charge it up, connect it to your Switch, and then the Switch will recharge off it. Power Banks are normally used to make sure that you don’t run out of batteries while playing away from home, but they can also be used as a roundabout way to charge your console. You can check wich power banks are available for Nintendo Switch in our page listing the console´s accessories right here.
Connecting to a TV
Connecting your Switch to the TV without a dock is a bit harder than charging it. For now, the only way to play in your TV without using the official dock is to buy a multiport hub, like this one on Amazon.
These devices allow you to connect both your AC adapter and HDMI cable to your Switch. They serve the same function as a dock, but are a lot more portable, as their size is about 2x2.3 inches (not counting the cables).
You might wonder if you can use this adapter to connect the Switch to your laptop or computer monitor. The answer depends on the machine itself. Most modern computers have HDMI output ports, not input ports. What does that mean? It means that you can use these ports to project your computer onto a projector or a TV screen, but not the other way around. If your computer only has an output port, it will not work. If it has an input port, it should work.
So there you have it. Owning and playing a Switch without a dock is possible, but it will still require you to buy at least an additional cable to keep the console charged. However, the dock itself still works fine and, barring some exceptional circumstances like losing the dock or having to travel constantly, there aren´t many reasons to look for a way to live without it.
If something happened to your original Dock, or you want to browse the hubs that serve as alternatives, we have a more extensive list of the accessories on our page here.