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How Much Power Bank Does the Nintendo Switch Really Need?

Updated: Sep 11, 2020

Guest post by Paul at Helping you find the right charger for your iPhone, Android, Nintendo Switch, and other USB-C devices.

The Nintendo Switch is the hottest portable gaming system on the market. But like our phones and laptops, it has a finite amount of battery life. And fewer energy saving options.

A power bank can greatly extend your playtime away from home. But how much energy you need for the Nintendo Switch depends on your model and travel plans. Here we’ll go over the various options, including recommendations for most Switch traveling needs.

Capacity - Only Carry What You Need

More capacity generally means more playtime, but you can end up with too much capacity. If you use 50% or less of a power bank then you’re carrying more weight than needed. And likely paid more than necessary too.

A table comparing the capacity of diferent Switch chargers, their weight, and how much play time they give you

For most travel, I recommend a 10,000mAh power bank. Including the Switch’s own battery, you can get 6.5-9.5 hours (depending on your model Switch) total. This is more than enough for domestic travel.

For overseas flights, a 20,000mAh may be more appropriate. Or if you plan to keep several devices up and running over several hours.

More than 20,000mAh is overkill for most people under most conditions. We’re talking 13-22 hours of running your Switch without access to a power outlet. Maybe it is useful if you want to reduce how often you need to recharge your power bank. But that trade-off is at the expense of a heavier and pricier portable charger.

Power Output - Fast Charging Your Nintendo Switch

With the right cable, you can connect almost any USB power bank to the Nintendo Switch and have it draw power. How quickly it charges depends on the power output specs of your power bank. Making it as important of a specification as its capacity.

USB Power Delivery

The Nintendo Switch supports USB Power Delivery over USB-C. USB Power Delivery (USB PD) is a fast-charging standard. Like Quick Charge, but not cross-compatible. As such, the Switch will always charge at a better rate with a USB-C PD power source.

18W USB-C PD: Charges all model Switches near their max rate in handheld/tabletop mode. For the updated Switch and Switch Lite, all 18W chargers are equal. For the original Switch, chargers supporting 9V or 15V, but not 12V are best.

The original Switch underdraws power from 12V. But still more than enough to charge while you play.

30W USB-C PD: Guarantees that all model of the Nintendo Switch charge at their max rate, as it supports 15V. But 30W is not required to charge while you play. Anything above 30W will not perform any better for a Switch in handheld mode.

Get a USB-C to USB-C 2.0 cable with a USB-C PD power bank.


Regular USB-C should offer up to 15W output. It isn’t as fast as USB-C PD, but it is enough to charge the Switch while you play. Get a USB-C to USB-C 2.0 cable with a USB-C power bank.

A USB-A power bank offering 5V/2A (or more amps) output can keep up with the updated Switch and Switch Lite’s demands. But the original model Switch may continue to drain at a reduced rate. For best results, plugin while the Switch’s battery is near 100%. Get a USB-C to USB-A 2.0 cable with a USB-A power bank.

A USB-A power bank only offering 5V/1A will only charge the Switch while it is asleep. And quite slowly at that.

If you already own a regular USB-C or USB-A power bank you can give it a go. But if you are buying a new power bank stick with USB-C PD. They are the best value long term.

Recommendations - My Favorite Power Banks for the Nintendo Switch

10,000mAh USB-C PD

Cheaper and lighter. More than enough capacity for a commute and most domestic travel.

  • Anker is the market leader in power banks.

  • Pricier, but includes USB-C to USB-C cable ($8-10 value) and travel pouch.

  • USB-A port offers normal charging for your phone, but using it disables fast charging when Switch is also connected.

  • Licensed by Nintendo for use with the Switch, one of only two such power banks.

  • Higher capacity at 13,400mAh.

  • USB-A port can be used without affecting Switch’s charging speed.

  • Reduced availability, get it soon if you are interested.

  • AUKEY is a leading power bank brand

  • Offers USB-C PD for Switch, Quick Charge on USB-A, and Qi wireless charging.

  • Lower capacity to make room for wireless charging pad, down to 8,000mAh.

  • Not the best Switch only option, but a strong choice for Switch and phone.

  • Ready for the outdoors if you take your Switch camping.

  • Dustproof, waterproof, drop resistant, sturdier build.

  • Same fast charging for Switch as more delicate options.

20,000mAh USB-C PD

Best capacity if you need to keep your Switch going for a couple of days. Or plan to support the Switch and a couple of other devices on a long flight.

Anker’s lowest cost 20,000mAh USB-C PD power bank

  • Limited to 18W, but the Switch doesn’t need more than that.

  • Includes USB-C to USB-C cable ($8-10 value)..

  • PowerIQ 2.0 on USB-A port will fast charge iPhone, Samsung, LG, and Motorola phones

  • One of the cheapest 20,000mAh USB-C PD power banks on the market.

  • 27W output fast charges Switch and can even support a 12-inch laptop with USB-C.

  • Unique LED matrix display that shows the charge status with numbers and animations.

26,800mAh USB-C PD

A 26,800mAh/99.16Wh power bank is legal to fly in the USA. But other countries have tighter restrictions. Check with your airline before taking one on an international flight.

  • RAVPower is a leading power bank brand.

  • Older model, but still useful tech and fast charging available.

  • Lower price than many competitors, and includes a USB-C to USB-C cable.

  • It can also support a small laptop with USB-C.

  • A high output, high capacity power bank from an USA founded company (although the power bank is made in China, like all the others).

  • Overkill for Switch alone, but 45W output supports 13-inch laptops with USB-C.

tl;dr - How much power bank do I really need for the Nintendo Switch?

Several different power banks will work well with the Switch. Just look for these key specifications:

  • Minimum: 15W USB-C output

  • Recommended: 18-30W USB Power Delivery output

  • Don’t buy USB-A only, but okay to use one you already own

  • 10,000mAh for an extra 4+ hours

  • 20,000mAh or more only if traveling far or powering 3+ devices

  • Included USB-C to USB-C cable is nice, otherwise budget an extra $10

  • Anker, AUKEY, and RAVPower are the biggest brands. But there are other good ones. As well as some not so great ones. Always check reviews, on and off Amazon.


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