There are … a lot of video game controllers this day. Gone are the days of each console having one official controller and a handful of third-party knockoffs. If you grab a Switch, you’ll have both Joy-Cons and the Pro Controller to choose from. Xbox owners can grab a standard Wireless Controller or an Elite Series 2. Sony has its new DualSense, which renders old DualShock accessories useless. Then there are cloud services like Google Stadia that have their own controllers and a whole mess of PC-compatible gamepads. Don’t even get me started on VR controllers.
All of this is to say: It’s a pain in the ass to charge controllers nowadays. It feels like each controller is slightly different, just out of pure spite. You can charge the Joy-Cons on the Switch itself, though that’s not ideal for multiplayer fans looking to charge multiple pairs at once. The DualSense can be plugged into the PS5, though that means you’ll have to leave the energy-guzzling system in sleep mode to charge. Microsoft’s latest controller uses AA batteries on the other hand, which is just cruel.
Considering the wave of new hardware, it’s a good time to take stock of the myriad of controller charging docks out there. While there’s no “one size fits all” pick that’ll fit everything you have at once, there are plenty of good, compact charging options to keep your gaming space tidy and fully powered.
Let’s address the most dire situation first. The new Xbox controllers are sinful. They require AA batteries, which means you can’t just plug them in to the console and charge them up like the DualSense. You’ll need some form of rechargeable batteries if you don’t want to be replacing batteries every few weeks. Even then, you’ll be swapping those in and out to keep them charging.
The best solution I’ve seen so far is HyperX’s ChargePlay Duo. The charging station comes with rechargeable battery packs and custom battery windows that allow you to charge them. Just pop those in, place the controller on the charger, and you’re done! This station charges two controllers at once and will work with Xbox One controllers too. If the Series X’s battery problem has you raging, grab this and never worry about it again.
The best charging solution for the PS5’s DualSense is also the hardest to come by. Sony released its own DualSense Charging Station, which charges up to two controllers at a time. Its design is subtle, sharing the same black-and-white aesthetic as the PS5. You’ve gotta hand it to Sony for really sticking by a unified color scheme with all of its PS5 products. The only catch here is that it’s perpetually sold out. Yep, even though no one can get a PS5, these are still hot items. Go figure!
You can try your luck with some third-party DualSense chargers if you’d rather not wait. There are plenty of knock-offs out there that look pretty similar, albeit with some extra visual flair. A lot of these tend to be cheaper as well, which is probably appealing. That said, going directly with Sony here is still going to be your best bet. Plug your DualSense into your PS5 to keep it charged until you can track down the real thing.
The best Nintendo Switch controller charger depends on how much you’re looking to charge. If you’re just looking to charge your two Joy-Cons, snap ‘em onto the console, ya fool! But if you want to charge more than two at a time, that’s where a third-party option comes in. There’s the Switch Pro Controller to consider too, which requires its own solution. Some might argue you’re overthinking it at that point, but forget the haters.
There are plenty of options out there for every scenario, but we’re taking the all-in-one approach. FastSnail’s Switch charger is a versatile little station that’ll handle everything at once. You can toss four Joy-Cons on it, or two Joy-Cons and a Pro Controller. You can even charge the Switch itself on the dang thing if you really want to get wild with it. Of course, you can always go with PowerA’s alternative if you don’t need all that, but having the option is always nice.
You know what? Let’s get the Switch Lite in here! It might not need any controllers since it has no detachable Joy-Cons, but doesn’t that just make the system itself one big controller? Since the Switch Lite can’t be connected to the TV, you don’t have the usual charging dock you get with a regular Switch model. So you’ll either need to plug this sucker into a wall or get creative.
You can always grab the standard Switch charging stand to get the job down, but we’re going to go with something that has some extra personality. Antank’s dock looks like a knock-off Pokeball and I’m here for it. We’re not just picking this for aesthetics though. It has a soft backrest that’ll make sure your system doesn’t scratch and a non-slip rubber bottom so it doesn’t fall over. Did I mention that it’s cute? Oh, I did? Great!