The Nintendo Switch is technically a portable console. It can be pulled out of the dock, taken with you to the bathroom–or anywhere else–and played in handheld mode. But it’s not the most comfortable portable experience. Even Nintendo seems to agree, with a smaller, handheld-only version of the Switch releasing on September 20. Considering how often my hands cramp or fall asleep while holding my launch Switch, this is a godsend, as I’ve grown tired of shaking the feeling back into them.
However, there is a solution to that tingling hands problem that makes the original Switch model more comfortable to play in handheld mode: a grip case. These work much in the same way as protective cases do, except they add a little something to grab on to, turning them into something that feels a lot more like a controller. Handheld mode is my preferred method of playing the Switch, and after using a grip case I knew I could never go back to playing without one.
Now, while there are a couple of grips we absolutely love, not all of the ones we tested were winners. RDS Industries’ Goplay Grip put my hands in an awkward position for most games, while the Orzly Comfort Grip didn’t provide enough of a handle to hold comfortably. Most grips fell somewhere between these two.
But there are a few standouts, and you can read on for an overview of the best Switch grip cases we’ve tried and can vouch for. Note that all pricing indicated below is subject to change–Amazon slashes prices all the time, so you may see a discount when clicking through. Of course, we’ll keep this article updated if we try out any new Switch grips worth buying.
Skull & Co Grip Case
$19 | $40 with carrying case
- Extremely comfortable, ergonomic design
- Interchangeable grips to help you find the best fit for your hands
- Easily removable
- Not very dock friendly
- Right-stick positioning feels a little awkward
The Skull & Co grip case is exactly what I was looking for for my Switch. It’s a slip-on case just like the one you’d put on your phone, except it also turns your Switch into something that feels a bit more like a proper controller–a much more ergonomic handheld device. The case comes with three pairs of interchangeable grips so you can decide which shape best fits your hands. The Snap Grip is the smallest of the three options, equipped with rounded edges. The Plus Grip is a bigger version of the Snap Grip that protrudes much further out. Lastly, we have the Trigger Grip, which is my personal favourite as it feels the most like a normal controller and fits my hands perfectly. It also has a little hooked peak for your middle finger to rest in, which makes your Switch very easy to hold onto, even with one hand. The Skull & Co grip case is a huge improvement over the flat and gripless Switch, especially for Super Mario Maker 2, which previously gave me constant cramps while making levels.
In addition to the handles, the Skull & Co grip case covers everything but the front of the Switch. This means the shoulder buttons are covered as well, requiring you to press on the case’s button covers to press the L, R, ZL, and ZR buttons. However, the distance between the button cover and the button itself is so small that it doesn’t feel much different from just pulling the trigger.
I don’t want to play my Switch in handheld mode without this grip case. However, that doesn’t mean it’s perfect. I found the shape made it slightly more difficult to position my thumb and use the right analog stick. It’s not an insurmountable issue, but I did feel a little soreness in my joint while playing certain games that rely on the right stick a lot.
Skull & Co claims this grip case is “dock friendly” and doesn’t need to be removed for TV mode. However, there tends to be a slight bend in some people’s docks, causing it to have a slightly smaller opening. The slight difference is enough to keep this case from being completely dock-friendly. While I was able to force my Switch into the dock and get it to output to the TV, it took a considerable amount of time and the Switch would sometimes undock itself. I can’t recommend this grip case enough when it comes to playing in handheld, but if you want to output to your TV, be sure to take it off before sliding it into your dock. | Mat Paget
$26 | $48 with carrying case
- Comfortable, ergonomic design prevents cramping
- Doubles as a sturdy stand with room for charging cable
- Bonus thumb tabs for extra grip and customization
- Doesn’t fit in many carrying cases
For a long time, I shied away from taking my Switch out of its dock, and that’s largely because I’ve always found playing Switch handheld to be incredibly uncomfortable. The long, slender tablet forces your wrists into a cramped, unnatural position, and it weighs just enough that I always find myself gripping it too hard to keep from dropping it. I’ve spent a few months with the Satisfye grip, and I can honestly say I’ll never go back to playing the Switch without it.
First of all, the Satisfye grip is extremely lightweight–it doesn’t make the console feel any heavier when I hold it (in fact, because it makes holding the Switch so much easier, it almost feels lighter). The Switch slides into the grip easily but firmly, and it hasn’t left any scuff marks on my Joy-Cons, as some Amazon reviewers have mentioned. The bottom of the grip has two hooks for additional console support, and they also allow the Switch to stand securely upright on its own with enough room for the charging cable to run underneath.
While the change in hand positioning takes some getting used to, the grip features a more ergonomic design that fills your palms and keeps your thumbs in their natural resting positions. There’s a nice little spot on top of both handles for your index fingers to rest when you’re not using the triggers. The handles are also rubberized on the back, which helps you grip them even better. Plus, it’s way easier to use the buttons, as your thumbs have more space and support to move around. Additionally, the Satisfye grip comes with four bonus thumb tabs. I don’t personally use them, but they’re intended to add extra grip to the analog sticks.
At this point, I’ve traveled cross-country multiple times with the Satisfye grip, and even though I store my Switch in a protective case when I travel, the grip was easily transported in my backpack without any damage. (Note: Satisfye also offers a bundle with the grip, protective case, and USB charging cable for $48.) Now, it feels weird when I play without the Satisfye grip, and I’d recommend it to anyone who currently finds handheld play a bit uncomfortable. | Jenae Sitzes