Alternative Joy-Con | The best of 2022

Alternative Joy-Con | The best of 2022

Have you decided to buy Nintendo Switch lately and are you looking around for alternative joy-con? In this case, first of all, you should know that you do not necessarily have to choose a device produced by Nintendo, also considering that the Kyoto house, in the four years of the Switch's life cycle, has so far produced essentially a single model of joy-con, varying just the colors and patterns (there are an infinity of them on the market). Opting for an alternative joy-con can be a good idea in case you want to have access to features different from those of traditional mini-controllers, perhaps with some ergonomic or functional feature not available on the basic models, or simply to save something at the time of purchase. In this case, the only solution is to rely on the third-party market, and here the possibilities of choice are quite a lot!

Among the joy-cons customized by this or that company, in fact, you may indeed find something that can be as useful to you as and more than basic joy-con, in terms of functionality, ergonomics and convenience or even if you are looking for specific compatibility with certain video games. In the list below, for these reasons, you will find quite varied solutions: each product on the list, as you can easily guess, has its own identity and different features that differentiate it from all the others. Before starting, if you are interested in other Switch-themed guides, we point out the one on the best cases, the one on the best accessories and the one on the best covers and skins.

Alternative Joy-Con, the best

Hori Split Pad Pro Hori joy-con with D-Pad Controller Joy-Con Wireless ergonomic eXtremeRate Cover Joy-Con

Hori Split Pad Pro

The first controller that we propose (actually a couple) is the Hori Split Pad Pro, a perfect solution to solve most of the problems of those who like to play often in handheld mode. It is a pair of controllers specifically designed to work in this way, which give up various functions (for example, they cannot be used via Bluetooth technology, detached from the console) to optimize others: using them you can immediately perceive the difference with the joysticks. with originals in terms of comfort. From that point of view they are a unique product, or almost, since there are very few alternatives as valid on the market.

It is, on the whole, one of the best alternative joy-con on the market, device perfect to be combined with the standard ones, which, despite being more versatile, fail to excel in one aspect in particular as the Split Pad Pro does. To mention, among other things, the presence of two programmable rear buttons and one turbo function on both sides. Positive is also the fact that the two "mega controllers" of Hori adapt without problems to the shape of the Switch dock, which allows you to insert the console in its base to recharge it without necessarily having to detach them. The Hori Split Pad Pro is available in many different colors and variants, some of which are branded with a Pokémon or Monster Hunter theme like the one shown in the image on the side.

» Click here to buy Pikachu Black & Gold's Hori Split Pad Pro

» Click here to buy Pac-Man's Hori Split Pad Pro

Hori joy-con with D-Pad

Also in this case we are talking about a product of Hori, that is the alternative joy-con made by the well-known manufacturer of Switch accessories. These too, like the Split Pad Pro, are officially licensed by Nintendo. The biggest difference that distinguishes the joy-con with D-Pad by Hori compared to the original ones of the Kyoto house is in the D-Pad, which in this case is composed of a real directional cross instead of being divided into four buttons. independent. Its presence translates into a nice advantage for all fans of certain genres of video games, and in general for all those people who are not necessarily interested in using the left joy-con as a single controller, preferring instead a better experience in mode. portable.

The Joy-Con with D-Pad do not have some advanced functions such as bluetooth connectivity, vibration and accelerometer, but they have the advantage of being quite cheap, costing about half the price. their official counterparts. You can find them in different customized editions dedicated to Mario, Pikachu and The Legend of Zelda.

» Click here to buy Pikachu's Hori Joy-Con with D-Pad

Ergonomic Joy-Con Wireless controllers

This type of joy-con are among the most popular among the customized ones: sold under different labels several times over time, they are conceptually almost always the same product, which can vary in colors and in some secondary functionality. What makes these alternative joy-con more appreciated is their ability to combine portability and comfort: the dimensions, in fact, are rather small (especially in width), but the ergonomics, thanks to the lateral and rear camber (which makes " "These joy-con from the back of the console) is of the first level.

As for the functionality sector, these are almost" premium "devices as endowments, thanks to the turbo function and the presence of vibration, of the gyroscope and wireless connectivity. Present (small "gem") also a slot for Nintendo Switch cartridges, cleverly placed on the front of the guide to keep the two controllers together. Compared to traditional joy-con only HD Rumble and NFC are missing, but the advantage of a very low cost: between 30 and 40 euros per couple.

eXtremeRate Joy-Con Cover

What if we told you that with a little effort and the right tools could you transform the joy-con you already have at home, making them the color you like best? And we're not talking about simple skins to stick on them, but a real kit that allows you to completely replace the external plastics of Nintendo's small controllers. The solutions proposed in this sense are many, and those of eXtremeRate are undoubtedly among the most varied. In the choice you will literally have something to indulge yourself, with dozens of different possibilities. In this case these are modifications that at the end of the fair are mostly aesthetic (although there are also sets with D-Pad included), but which have an additional positive side at the base: learning to disassemble your joy-con, in fact, you could also protect yourself from any drifting problems, which have always plagued the small Nintendo controllers, by replacing the analog sticks on your own!

Important disclaimer, but if you have read this far you will already understand: these kits DO NOT include joy-con, but they allow you to customize yours!

How to choose the best alternative Joy-Con for Nintendo Switch

There are many reasons why a person might look for alternatives to the traditional Nintendo Switch Joy-Con. The Joy-Con were designed by Nintendo to be as handy as possible in every mode of use of the console, without sacrificing the innovations introduced by the remote control of the past Nintendo Wii: in fixed mode these controllers can be detached and used separately or combined into a portable dock to form a kind of gamepad; in portable mode, on the other hand, they can be kept attached to the screen to enjoy the hybrid console as if it were a sort of small tablet.

The cost, the shape or more simply the aesthetics of traditional Joy-Con can be an obstacle for gamers' hands or pockets. This is why some companies, renowned or not, have come to the rescue of these needs by presenting valid alternatives to the traditional Joy-Con for Nintendo Switch on the market. Let's analyze in detail the main elements that could represent a valid reason for preferring an alternative type of Joy-Con to the other: layout of the buttons, ergonomics and additional functions.

Layout of the buttons

In order to succeed in its intent to create small manageable controllers able to be usable even in portability, Nintendo has tried to concentrate all the keys in the little space available, ending up making the handling of the controllers difficult for those with larger hands or simply longer fingers. , like myself who is writing this guide for you! This is why some companies like Hori have invented the very comfortable Split Pads, useful for playing in portable mode, with more space between the keys, or why less famous companies have thought of ergonomic controllers that offer good comfort even with a more homogeneous distribution of the keys. on the body.

Another question regarding the keys concerns that of the D-Pad, a configuration of the directional buttons which for some types of gamers is more preferable than the traditional directional cross. Hori herself comes to their rescue, but also pay attention to the eXtremerate solutions which, while involving screwdrivers and alternative covers, allow the application of comfortable D-Pads.


Always remaining in the comfort field, if on the one hand the Joy-Con kept separately from the console seem an extension of one's arm, on the other hand in portable mode, especially for those with large hands, they can be uncomfortable after several hours of play. If you are prone to pain and cramps in your fingers after a good gameplay session in portable mode, the best solution is definitely the Hori Split-Pad: a traditional gamepad that is exactly split in half, in order to adapt to the portable screen. The only flaw of this alternative is that it is not usable outside of portability.

Other valid alternatives are all those ergonomic solutions that return to fill the online stores cyclically, even if they only offer some of the many features available of Joy-Con. Typically these Joy-Con emulators have reinforced grips and shapes more adaptable to relaxed handling. In any case, you could take home fully functional controllers that can be used in all Nintendo Switch modes: portable, stationary and tabletop for a lower price.

Additional features

Some of the products that we have proposed to you in this guide to the best alternative Joy-Con offer more functionality: the same Hori Split-Pads, for example, install extra buttons on the back of the controllers that allow you to apply turbo and macro modes, in order to make easier actions that would be repetitive. Other products, such as those grouped in the "ergonomic controllers" category, have functions that may vary from product to product such as improved vibrations and plastic supports to facilitate the grip of the controllers when adapted as a gamepad.

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