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Many gamers enjoy being able to take their entertainment with them in the form of portable systems. This can be a great way to have some fun when you’re out and waiting for important appointments or other things. While it can provide a great distraction, it is usually separate from computers or console games that people like to enjoy at home.
Nintendo decided to try to bridge this gap with the Switch. The Nintendo Switch is mainly a handheld system, but it is one that you can hook up to a larger monitor, such as a television. The dual nature of this functionality means that players can enjoy the convenience of handheld technology and the immersive nature of console technology all in one system.
The Switch does come with its own charging dock, and some players might wonder if you are able to charge the device without using the special dock. We will cover this in our article, but we will also go over whether you might be able to use phone chargers to accomplish the same task.
In doing so, we will cover which chargers might be best to use, which ones might have safety concerns if you do try to use them, and whether they have different properties from the dock that the Switch has.
How Do You Charge a Nintendo Switch Without the Dock?
The Switch uses a USB-C protocol for its charging. You can find this port on the bottom of the device. Although it is meant to pair with the docking station, the nature of the USB-C technology means that, theoretically, you should be able to use any power source that can plug into the same kind of port.
The options here can vary quite a bit, and you might be able to use hubs, computers, battery packs, or even other devices to give power to the Nintendo Switch as needed.
Because you are not using the docking station in this case, you will need an appropriate cable to make the connection between the Switch and the source from which you would like to charge it. A cable that has inputs for USB-A to USB-C charging protocols should work well here.
It provides enough wattage for most users to charge the Switch at a decent rate. Further, it is possible that you might be able to both charge and play your Nintendo Switch at the same time using this method.
Any cable should do the job, but it is best to go with a reputable brand that has at least mid-range cables. Because cables are so ubiquitous, even ones of decent quality should be relatively inexpensive for your needs.
Can You Charge the Nintendo Switch With Any Phone Charger? Is It Safe?
You can charge a Nintendo Switch with almost any kind of phone charger out there. However, some chargers run on different specifications than those of the Switch. This means that they may not work as effectively for charging purposes. There could also be some risks to the console itself involved, although this might depend on precisely which chargers you are planning to use.
In a technical sense, any phone charger with USB-C should be compatible, but that doesn’t mean you should use just any charger you come across with this form factor.
What you have to be careful about here is the voltage level. Different chargers can output various voltages, and how they do it could cause some damage to the Switch. The dedicated Switch dock itself should charge the device using about 15 volts of energy. Although this is true for the official dock, it doesn’t mean that you should necessarily use a charger that is capable of the same output.
It might be best to go with a charger that doesn’t exceed 5 volts. This is because some chargers might have unexpected voltage changes that can feed different levels of power into the Switch.
These sorts of things are one of the main ways you could risk bricking the device for good and needing a replacement. To avoid this, it is best to stick with compatible phone chargers that don’t do other voltages.
On a related note, our article is specific to using third-party phone chargers only as an alternative means of charging the Nintendo Switch.
There are third-party docks available, but we do not recommend those as a means of charging the Switch. There can be significant voltage or other problems when using these docks, and damage to the unit itself is not uncommon in these cases.
Although phone chargers can work, docks are risky. If you would like to keep charging the Switch at 15 volts using a dock, it is best to get an official Nintendo replacement dock for your device.
It is possible that this was the result of a particular firmware update that interacted with third-party docks in a strange way. Regardless of the reason, it is best to stick with official docks only.
Will the Nintendo Switch Charge With Samsung Fast Charger? Is It Safe?
Samsung’s fast charging is meant to deliver all the power your devices might need to get their batteries back up to full in only a short time. Additionally, the company’s fast charging protocols are meant to be adaptive.
This means that they are supposed to know when to shut off in order to not overcharge the batteries on things. Overcharging isn’t necessarily harmful to the device itself, but it can shorten the overall life of the battery and take away some of its charging cycles.
That said, you can use a Samsung fast charger to charge up your Switch in a pinch. Furthermore, it should present no problems for the device. However, there is a possible downside here. It is best to use this type of charger for the Switch only while the device is turned off. If it is still on, even something like a fast charger may not be quick enough to charge up the battery to its full potential.
Instead, you’ll be left with a Switch that drains the battery. It should do so at a much slower rate than normal thanks to the charger giving it some juice. However, it is probable that it would still lose some charge slowly over time, making it ineffective unless you first turn off the console.
Can You Charge the Nintendo Switch With MacBook Charger? Is It Safe?
Yes, you should be able to charge a Nintendo Switch with a MacBook charger. It should also do so safely. However, as we touched on, output voltage is crucial here. You don’t want to go too high, or you might find that your Switch has problems.
It is always a good idea to check what the voltages are for the types of chargers you are using. That said, most USB-C chargers will connect to USB-C ports without issue, and many modern chargers or connectors have hardware that should make it okay to use them within the acceptable voltage range.
All chargers should be labeled with what voltage profiles they support. You know that the Switch uses 15 volts, but how many amps it pulls can also tell you about how it will charge. MacBook chargers on the market today should all be trustworthy enough to charge the Switch without incident, although some may have glitches that make this harder to do.
The Switch should only draw what it needs in order to get power, and most MacBook chargers can give what the device needs in order to get up to a full charge. You may need to put the Switch to sleep or turn it off for best results, however.
Why Does the Nintendo Switch Charge So Slowly?
The rate at which the Nintendo Switch charges can vary greatly depending on the specifications of the charger that you are using. The dedicated dock should charge the Switch fairly quickly, but other units might not be so fast.
Since we’re discussing which kinds of chargers you can use in lieu of the dock, we’ll talk a bit about why the Nintendo Switch might seem to charge so slowly. Some of that may have to do with the settings on the Switch itself, too.
Your Switch may seem to charge slowly if it is turned on. The unit may be drawing some power. In this case, the charger you are using can still give power to the battery, but it will not be fast enough to seem like it is charging quickly. This effect could be exacerbated if you are actually playing a game on the Switch. Doing so would drain it further.
Some chargers with enough voltage and amps to pull could charge the device fast enough to notice an increase in battery life while you are engaged in a game. However, many will not do this, and you might see a gradual decrease in battery life even with the device plugged in and charging while a game is going.
In short, the Switch may need to be completely off to get the best efforts of some chargers. With sufficient power transfer, you may be able to leave it on, though. On a related note, powerful chargers with high outputs need thick gauges for safety reasons.
Avoid buying cables that have thin wire gauges. Even if you can use them to connect the Switch to the charger, you could face some problems with the amount of energy going into the device. Purchasing thick, mid-range cables from reputable brands can help you mitigate this issue.
Does the Switch Charge Faster in the Dock?
The dock is a great way to change the Switch while it is in console mode. It should also charge the device quite fast. It may not be as fast as using the Switch’s dedicated adapter. However, this would also depend on the type and specifics of the power source you decide to pair with said adapter.
Some chargers with fast capabilities might charge the device faster than when it is docked, but probably only when it is powered off or asleep. There’s also a limit to how much power the Switch can pull at once.
The Nintendo Switch is a big innovation in the world of gaming, but it comes in a relatively compact package. A dedicated charging dock keeps it ready for you, but there might be times when you don’t have that accessory. In these situations, you can use other chargers to get the job done. Just make sure that they are rated at proper levels that can provide enough power to the device without damaging it.