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A player uses a pair of Joy-Con wireless controllers with the Nintendo Switch. Credit: Neilson Barnard / Getty Images

The Best Nintendo Switch Consoles of 2022

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A player uses a pair of Joy-Con wireless controllers with the Nintendo Switch. Credit: Neilson Barnard / Getty Images

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Product image of Nintendo Switch with Neon Blue and Neon Red Joy‑Con

Nintendo Switch with Neon Blue and Neon Red Joy‑Con

It’s not the most powerful console on the market, but its incredible library of games makes the Switch a great addition to any household. Read More

Pros

  • Incredible games catalog
  • Playful, ingenious design

Cons

  • Thumbstick drift is common
  • Lacks 4K output
Product image of Nintendo Switch with Gray Joy‑Con

Nintendo Switch with Gray Joy‑Con

This simple gray variant of the standard red-and-blue “neon” Switch offers all the same fun and versatility in a somewhat less exciting package. Read More

Pros

  • Incredible games catalog
  • Playful, ingenious design

Cons

  • Thumbstick drift is common
  • Lacks 4K output
Product image of Nintendo Switch Lite

Nintendo Switch Lite

The Switch Lite comes with a couple notable compromises, like a smaller screen and less battery life. But it offers portability and years of fun. Read More

Pros

  • Incredible games catalog
  • Simple all-in-one design

Cons

  • Thumbstick drift is common
  • Pretty small screen
Product image of Nintendo Switch Animal Crossing: New Horizons Edition

Nintendo Switch Animal Crossing: New Horizons Edition

Currently
Unavailable

Tom Nook and company deliver plenty of charm with this Animal Crossing-themed Switch. It’s a design worthy of the console’s vast games catalog. Read More

Pros

  • Incredible games catalog
  • Playful, ingenious design

Cons

  • Thumbstick drift is common
  • Lacks 4K output
Product image of Nintendo Switch with 256GB Memory Card

Nintendo Switch with 256GB Memory Card

You might pay a little too much for a Nintendo-branded memory card, but this bundle has everything you need to store a massive catalog of games. Read More

Pros

  • Incredible games catalog
  • Playful, ingenious design
  • 256 GB of extra storage

Cons

  • Thumbstick drift is common
  • Lacks 4K output

A fun, flawed piece of hardware with a wonderful library of games, the Nintendo Switch is a great addition to any home. There have been subtle iterations on the hardware over the course of its four-year history, but they all run the same games (more or less) and have similar pros and cons. That could change down the road—the upcoming OLED Model just adds a bigger, slightly better screen—but Nintendo isn’t making any huge leaps with its hardware line for the time being.

All the Switch consoles currently on the market either output a 1080p resolution to your TV in docked mode or run at 720p while used as a handheld. The Switch Lite, however, has no television output. Whether you’re looking to play The Legend of the Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Mario Kart, Animal Crossing, or the next big Pokémon release, any one of the Nintendo Switch consoles below will get you where you want to go.

Editor's Note

The recommendations in this guide are based on thorough product and market research by our team of expert product reviewers. The picks are based on examining user reviews, product specifications, and, in some limited cases, our experience with the specific products named.

Product image of Nintendo Switch with Neon Blue and Neon Red Joy‑Con
Nintendo Switch with Neon Blue and Neon Red Joy‑Con

Nintendo’s flagship Switch model, largely unchanged since its launch in 2017, looks best with a splash of color. You can find it in this red-and-blue “neon” version, a more muted “Gray Joy-Con” variant, and in a number of limited-edition designs pegged to big game releases. Since summer 2019, the standard Nintendo Switch has gotten closer to nine hours of battery life—a big upgrade from the original six-and-a-half-hour battery.

The big selling point for the hardware continues to be its playful versatility: You can play it on the go as a handheld by taking it off the dock. You can play it on your television with a controller; you can share one of your Joy-Con with a friend and enjoy hassle-free “couch co-op” in games like Mario Kart and so on. You can also use the built-in stand to prop it up for use as a shared screen when you’re playing multiplayer away from your TV.

Every Switch available right now is at risk of developing the same “Joy-Con drift” problem, caused by a defective thumbstick design, but Nintendo has promised free repairs for Joy-Con controllers that stop working properly. Having a Joy-Con fail certainly isn’t ideal, but it’s a risk worth taking for a console with exclusives like Super Mario Maker 2, Pokémon Sword and Shield, and Breath of the Wild.

Pros

  • Incredible games catalog

  • Playful, ingenious design

Cons

  • Thumbstick drift is common

  • Lacks 4K output

Product image of Nintendo Switch with Gray Joy‑Con
Nintendo Switch with Gray Joy‑Con

The Gray Joy-Con version of the Switch is identical to Nintendo’s neon-colored system, provided you’re not buying a console that was manufactured prior to summer 2019. So you can expect the same 6.2-inch touchscreen, nine-hour battery life, and 32 GB of internal storage. The gray Joy-Con aren’t quite as fun as the red-and-blue ones, but they still look and feel great.

It really comes down to your personality or—speaking from personal experience—which color options happen to be in stock at a given retailer. Like the Neon Blue and Red variant, this standard Switch does everything you want a Switch to do (except 4K), and is generally easy to find at the retail price of $299.

Pros

  • Incredible games catalog

  • Playful, ingenious design

Cons

  • Thumbstick drift is common

  • Lacks 4K output

Product image of Nintendo Switch Lite
Nintendo Switch Lite

Priced at $199 or less, the Nintendo Switch Lite is an elegant, all-in-one solution to the problem of wanting to play the latest Animal Crossing or indie-game sensation and not having a Switch. It’s a gorgeous, sturdily made system that plays almost any game—the exception being that you can’t remove the controllers from the handheld configuration, so motion controls and other features are somewhat limited.

Otherwise, the other main compromises you’ll find are its somewhat smaller screen and lack of TV (“docked”) mode. And its battery may not hold up quite as long as the larger, standard Switch. It’s available in a fun array of colors: turquoise, yellow, coral pink, indigo blue, gray. You’ll find yourself wanting to play this all the time, wherever you go, and it offers the same 32 GB of storage as the regular Switch, expandable with any standard microSD memory card.

Pros

  • Incredible games catalog

  • Simple all-in-one design

Cons

  • Thumbstick drift is common

  • Pretty small screen

Product image of Nintendo Switch Animal Crossing: New Horizons Edition
Nintendo Switch Animal Crossing: New Horizons Edition

Nintendo’s limited-edition Animal Crossing Switch is pretty special. Like the hard-to-find Mario Red & Blue Edition, it’s the same machine as the standard Switch underneath, but there’s some real character to this one. It’s got a playful island-villager design etched into the underside and an adorable illustration of Tom Nook and his boys printed on the dock. The pastel blue-and-green Joy-Con are really attractive, as well.

For the Animal Crossing fan who wants something with a little more charm than the typical gray Nintendo console, this special-edition Switch is on par with the Wind Waker Wii U released back in 2013.

Pros

  • Incredible games catalog

  • Playful, ingenious design

Cons

  • Thumbstick drift is common

  • Lacks 4K output

Product image of Nintendo Switch with 256GB Memory Card
Nintendo Switch with 256GB Memory Card

This bundle comes with the flagship Switch model as well as a Nintendo-certified, 256 GB MicroSD card. Switch games are pretty small, on average, so that’s a lot of extra storage for your digital library and save data. The upside of buying a Mario-themed card is that you know it’s fast enough for gaming. But you can certainly find similar (or even better) MicroSD cards for less than what you’re paying here.

Pros

  • Incredible games catalog

  • Playful, ingenious design

  • 256 GB of extra storage

Cons

  • Thumbstick drift is common

  • Lacks 4K output

Meet the tester

Alex Kane

Alex Kane

Sr. Editor, Search & Updates

@alexjkane

Alex Kane is a senior editor at USA Today’s Reviewed and the author of the Boss Fight Books volume on Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. He has written for Fangoria, PC Gamer, Polygon, Rolling Stone, StarWars.com, and Variety. He lives in west-central Illinois.

See all of Alex Kane's reviews

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