How We Tested
My name’s Seamus Bellamy. I’m the fella responsible for Reviewed’s guide to the best rechargeable batteries. I’ve got an excellent understanding of how various rechargeable battery technologies work and what to look for when shopping for portable power solutions. I’m also an avid gamer and have been for most of my life. I love the Nintendo Switch for the fun it brings into my life and its adaptability. I’ve got a vested interest in finding a great external battery pack to use with it and want to share what I’ve learned with you.
There are scores of external battery packs out there. Not all of them are a great match for the Nintendo Switch. While researching which batteries I should call in for testing, I considered the following:
- Whether its manufacturer has a reputation for providing quality products and decent customer service.
- If the price of the battery felt reasonable when its capacity is taken into consideration.
- Whether the battery had garnered an unusual number of online complaints about its build quality, functionality or other issues.
- If the battery came with the same power output rating as the Nintendo Switch’s 15V/26A power adapter.
- Whether or not the external battery pack’s capacity was high enough to fully recharge a Nintendo Switch at least once.
Using these criteria, I whittled my initial list of potential test candidates down from just over 20 battery packs down to eight contenders. Before testing each battery, I drained it completely by recharging my smartphone, digital camera, tablet and drone—whatever I had on hand that needed a little juice. I then recharged each external battery pack, paying attention to how long it takes to fully recharge. Once each was fully recharged, I checked it to ensure that the battery’s true mAh rating was the same or close to what its manufacturer claimed it to be.
Next, I turned my attention to my Nintendo Switch. It was terrible but, in the name of science, I forced myself to play hours upon hours of my favorite video games (thank you for your sympathy) in order to repeatedly drain the console’s internal battery. As I recharged my Switch using each of the eight battery packs in my test group, I looked for the following:
- Whether the battery allowed me to charge my Switch and play, simultaneously.
- How many times I could recharge my Switch before the external battery itself needed to be recharged.
I also paid attention to how well each battery was designed, whether or not it appeared capable to standing up to bumps, being dropped and other casual abuse and what other functionality, aside from the ability to recharge a Nintendo Switch, it was capable of providing.
What to Know When Buying an External Battery for Your Nintendo Switch
Power & Play: The whole point of investing in an external battery pack to use with your Nintendo Switch is so that you can keep on gaming, even when you’re not able to plug the console into a wall to charge it. As such, you’ll want to think about finding a battery that has the same output rating as the USB-C charger that the Switch ships with: 15V/26A, or 18 watts. An external battery pack with this rating will allow you to charge the Switch’s internal battery with enough juice left over to simultaneously give Pikachu the beatdown he so richly deserves in Super Smash Brothers Ultimate. Charging while you play will take more time than if you were charging your Switch while it’s in sleep mode, but you’ll get there. When charging your console in sleep mode with a 15V/26A-rated battery, you can expect it to be fully juiced in three hours or less.
Capacity: There’s no sense in carrying an external battery pack to charge your Switch if it won’t actually, you know, charge your Switch. Be sure that any battery you purchase has a capacity of at least 4310 mAh: the same number of milliamp hours as the Switch’s internal battery. That said, more power is better, for a number of reasons. If you plan on playing while you charge, a 1:1 charging ratio won’t allow you to fully charge your Switch: some of your battery’s power will need to go towards running the console. Also, you know what’s better than being able to charge your Switch while on the go? Being able to recharge it multiple times on the go. The higher your external battery’s capacity, the more playtime you’ll be able to enjoy.
** Weight:** Your Nintendo Switch is a portable device: The external battery you pair it with ought to be, too. As the number of milliamp hours goes up with a rechargeable battery, so does its heft. Additionally, while buying portable gear that can stand up to casual abuse in a backpack or purse, or even the occasional fall is smart, buying hardware that’s overbuilt to withstand more abuse than you’ll likely subject it to means that you’ll be carrying around unnecessary extra weight. When shopping for a battery pack, try to strike a balance between power capacity, build quality and weight.
Legacy Ports: Your Nintendo Switch charges via USB-C: A fabulously versatile port that’s becoming more common with every passing day. But as it’s still a relatively new standard, there’s a good chance that many of the devices you own, such as your iPhone or Bluetooth headphones rely on older connections, such as Apple’s proprietary Lightning connector or micro USB to recharge. To ensure that your external battery can be used to power these devices as well, think about buying one that comes equipped with a legacy USB-A port. If you ever wind up away from home with a dead smartphone, you’ll be glad that you did.
Other Portable Batteries We Tested for the Nintendo Switch
If you’re shopping for Nintendo Switch accessories, check out our guide to the Best Nintendo Switch Cases.