Can I use normal controllers with my Switch Lite?

Updated: Sep 11

The Switch Lite is the latest iteration of the Nintendo Switch. Designed for portability, this model of the console forgoes its signature ability to “switch” from playing on the TV to playing on your hands. With the Lite, you can´t use TV or tabletop mode anymore. Only the handheld mode is available, making it a handheld only console.

Because it is an exclusively handheld console, the Switch Lite doesn´t come with detachable Joy-Con. All the buttons and sticks you need are built-in on the console itself. However, this has a glaring flaw. Some games need a Joy-Con (or similar controller) to work, like the Just Dance series or Super Mario Party. Does that mean that the Lite is incompatible with these games? No, all you need is to buy an additional pair of Joy-Con.

You can easily pair the Joy-Con with your Lite.

The Switch Lite is still a fully functioning Switch. Every controller and accessory available to the regular Switch is also compatible with the Lite (The Labo is an interesting exception, the game that comes with every kit will run, but the Lite will not be able to fit the cardboard constructions that you make with each kit). So, if you want to play a game that necessitates the use of the Joy-Con special functions, like the HD-Rumble or the IR motion camera, you can always buy an additional set of Joy-Con and pair them up with your Switch Lite. The same is true if you want to play local multiplayer with someone else.


Pairing the Joy-Con with your console is easy. Just go to the controller menu from the Home Page. Select Change Grip/Order, hold the sync buttons on your Joy-Con and when the light stops blinking, press the L and R buttons.


Of course, playing with a Joy-Con on the Lite is not without complications. The Lite doesn´t come with a dock (as is not compatible with them), nor does it have a detachable port to connect to your Joy-Con. This means that to recharge them, you will need an additional charging station like this one on amazon. Otherwise, your new controllers will be dead on the water.

The other small complication is that you will need something to prop up your Switch Lite, as it no longer has the back stand that the original Switch had. Making sure that your Switch is standing upright is not exactly an herculean task, but if you rather not prop it up with a stack of books and risk it sliding on the table as you play, you can also buy a third-party stand that will hold the console in a perfect position without any risk of falling over. Here´s one such stand on Amazon. It even recharges your console while playing:

The Joy-Con is not the only controller that is available for the Lite. The Pro Controller also works with this console. However, the Pro Controller has some games that it can´t play. Mostly the same ones that aren´t “naturally” compatible with the Lite, (that is to say, Super Mario Party, Just Dance or 1-2 Switch). So if you are buying a Joy-Con to play those games on your Lite, the Pro Controller will disappoint.


The Lite has Bluetooth, meaning that it can also, theoretically, work with any of the wireless third-party controllers for the Switch. However, as there is no guarantee that they will work, or that they are supported by their manufacturers, it is not advisable to purchase them for this model of the Switch. If you want to have a more traditional gaming experience than the one the Joy-Con provides, It would be better to stick with the Pro Controller.


An exception to the Bluetooth rule are keyboards, which will simply not work on the console without and adapter.


And there you have it, you can use any of the official Nintendo controllers with your Switch Lite. Pairing them up is easy, the only issues are propping up the console and finding a way to recharge your controllers. If you want to take a look at all the controllers available for the console, we have a page listing all the different Joy-Con models on over here. We also have one for the Pro Controller. Hopefully, this article had been helpful. If you have another Lite related question, don´t hesitate to leave a comment below.