Best controllers for The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom

Joel Loynds
Tears of the Kingdom Zelda game with controllers falling from the sky

Looking for the best controllers Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom on the Nintendo Switch? There are many options, but these are some of the only ones worth your time.

The Nintendo Switch has quite a few options available for those who don’t find the use of Joycons comfortable over a long period of time. With the new Zelda title, Tears of the Kingdom, causing you to lose hours of your life, it’s best to not get repetitive strain injury from just enjoying yourself.

Some of these options might help you get quick access to the abundance of new tools available to you now. With so many options, an additional set of buttons might just be the ticket through those first tricky early hours.

1. 8BitDo Ultimate Controller

8bitdo ultimate controller charger
  • MSRP: $69.99

Our current favorite Switch peripheral is the 8BitDo Ultimate Controller, and it has taken us through multiple shrines and even a of couple temples in our trek across Hyrule. Featuring a familiar layout, great feature set, and 2.4GHz connection make this not only an excellent plug-and-play option but just outright one of the best controllers to play Tears of the Kingdom with.

The massive draws of the 8BitDo Ultimate are the inclusion of “Hall-Effect sticks”. These use magnets to prevent any kind of drift over prolonged use but also offer a slightly more accurate response time when using them in the game.

Backing this is two rear buttons, similar to the Dualsense Edge or Xbox Elite Controller. While not as in-depth as Microsoft’s flagship, they can be altered to do whatever you want. Using an app on your phone, you can map the buttons however you like.

Currently, we have the two weapon menus assigned to it, so we’re not stretching our hands across while aiming an arrow to blind a bunch of Bokoblins.

The app can also restrict the main triggers’ active zones, so lighter presses for faster access to combat options.

Budget alternative: 8BitDo Ultimate C Controller

  • MSRP: $29.99

The 8BitDo Ultimate C controller is best for those who might be on a tighter budget. While it’s not quite out yet, this controller ditches the hall-effect sticks for a much more affordable overall package. You not only get the benefits from the comfort of the Ultimate controller but things like a 2.4GHz connection for a super quick connect-and-go style of controller.

If you don’t have $69.99 to drop on a controller but still want to upgrade your game, the Ultimate C controller seems to be one of the best budget options coming up later in May.

2. Nyxi Wizard

Nyxi Gamecube Wizard
  • MSRP: $79.99

The Nyxi Wizard comes in the form of a Gamecube controller, offering an ergonomic throwback to better times. If you’re used to your Zelda games coming in the flavor of Wind Waker and Twilight Princess, or want something that feels a little more familiar if you’re a Smash Bros. player, the Nyxi Wizard might be for you.

Tears of the Kingdom’s latest adventure could see you needing to head off to bed, or other areas of your house, for a little more time. Instead of defaulting back to the Joycons as soon as you undock, the Nyxi Wizard splits into two for that portable experience.

The Nyxi Wizard not only offers that retro look, but it has benefits, too. Nintendo’s Gamecube controller is comfortable in almost any hand, and having that on the go or while docked is a massive benefit at all times. It even has dual paddles at the back for those same tricks you can pull off with the Ultimate controller as well.

3. Hori Split Pad Compact

Split Pad Compact
  • MSRP: $49.99

For those who want a more comfortable alternative to the JoyCons while out and about, the Hori Split Pad Compact should be your port of call. Sporting an additional back button for those finicky controls in Zelda, you should have no problem whatsoever using these with your Switch undocked.

Though you should note that you cannot use these separately, you have to connect them to your switch in order for them to work, and you do lose out on Gyro support, as we mention in our review. Featuring ergonomic grooves on the back and a slightly wider grip than standard JoyCons, this controller has been essential in our adventures in the world of Hyrule.

We find the sticks and buttons to be much more comfortable than Nintendo’s official offering, and while they might not be perfect, we couldn’t ask for anything better while playing Tears of the Kingdom in bed.

4. Switch Pro Controller

Tears of the Kingdom Pro Controller.
Zelda Tears of the Kingdom has its own Pro Controller.
  • MSRP: $69.99

Yes, it’s not the most exciting option we’ve ever come up with, but there are not a lot of options that can best Nintendo’s official offering. It’s one of the only “Pro” controllers available that can also give you access to Amiibos, if that’s your style of play.

Tears of the Kingdom’s control scheme just feel much more pleasant to play on the Switch Pro controller and its counterparts. Being able to relax your hands from the Joycon grip, and spend time leaning into your chair while hiking up a massive mountain in the rain.

While we do still fully recommend the 8BitDo Ultimate, if you’re a stickler for having the full feature set of a game with you at all times, the Switch Pro controller is the one to go for.

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About The Author

E-Commerce Editor. You can get in touch with him over email: He's written extensively about video games and tech for over a decade for various sites. Previously seen on Scan, WePC, PCGuide, Eurogamer, Digital Foundry and A deep love for old tech, bad games and even jankier MTG decks.