I have mixed feelings when it comes to buying protective accessories for my electronics. I don’t believe, for example, in spending $1000 on a sleek smartphone and then slapping a thick, ugly case on it. Modern glass touch screens are scratch proof as far as normal daily use is concerned, which includes minor drops and such. With gaming handhelds, it varies. I have never felt the need to buy cases for any of my 3DS consoles. The clamshell design protects the screen and delicate innards; a few wear-and-tear scratches on the outside don’t bother me. For my PSP and Vita consoles, however, I have always bought pouches, since the screens would be exposed and neither console has the sort of tough screen material that modern phones do.

In the case of the Nintendo Switch, I’m more firmly on the side of using a case and perhaps a cover. Screen protectors are a waste of time, especially if you are using a case. After all, your screen isn’t going to get scratched while you’re playing, and when you stow it in a bag or something it’s in the case. To save costs, Ninendo did not use protective glass for the Switch screen, so it really is prone to nasty scratches. It’s still an expensive piece of kit, though, so a case is pretty much essential if you ever want to take your console anywhere.

Switch covers are useful for different reasons. They aren’t all that protective, but they can seriously improve the comfort of using your Switch in handheld mode. Hey, they can even make it look more interesting and attractive.

The bottom line is: unless your bought the world’s best hybrid console only to use it in docked mode, you’re going to want a case, a cover, or both. So I’ve picked out some of the best choices I could find; every one of which appeals to my wallet in its own way.

AmazonBasics Vault Case for Nintendo Switch

Usually I stay away from “store brand” products. Call me a snob if you like, but in my experience the money you save rarely makes up for the lack of quality. AmazonBasics has been an exception to this rule for me. For the most part, it turns out that products sold under this brand tend to be decent from a quality standpoint. I feel pretty confident buying things like HDMI cables and other accessories backed by Amazon, and that extends to this neat little case.

While this vault case is still more or less the same compact size as the usual items, it has secure, form-fitting padding that will hold the Switch and prevent it from banging around inside the case.

There’s also a neat fold-out flap that houses eight game carts, so there’s no lack of physical game support. The top and bottom flaps are secured with a slider and, as you can tell from the product shots, this case is designed with additional impact protection. With angular buffers to help cushion rough handling, it’s not the prettiest case. It does, however, look professional.

All in all, this case is fantastic value for money, and the only thing I would change is the AmazonBasics logo on the front. OK, I am a bit of a brand snob, I’ll admit it.

Orzly Carry Case

I have no idea how to pronounce “Orzly”, but I have no problem understanding a nice Switch case when I see one.

This case packs a lot more features into the same sort of space that a much more basic Switch case would. It really is very well laid out. It’s only as wide and long as a Switch needs, but with some extra thickness they have found a way to make space for an extra set of Joy Cons, your cabling, and a power bank. There’s no room for the AC adaptor, but that’s not what this case is for. There’s also a flap with eight game cart sleeves, so no worries about taking your physical games along. On the other side of the flap is a microfiber cloth that protects the screen. To top it all off, there’s a small hand strap for carrying it around, which is not something I often see on compact cases like this. It’s a solid alternative to the first-party pack-in cases for the Switch.

Fintie Carry Case for Nintendo Switch

When it comes to the look of Switch cases you usually have the choice of something grey or black, or something officially licenced that features a character like Mario or Link. Most fans would be pretty happy with a licenced case (I use a Mario Odyssey case as my daily driver), but I can also see how some people want some more neutral, yet colorful, choices.

So, from that point of view, Fintie already has a winner on its hands. Its hard-shell case comes in a variety of colors and patterns to suit just about any taste.

The interior of the case is very similar to the first-party Nintendo cases. There’s a microfiber-backed flap that holds ten game carts and a zipper compartment in the top flap where you can put the wrist strap sliders and charging cable. I doubt there’s room for a power bank, though, unless you find one that’s absolutely tiny.

This beats the stick Nintendo case, mainly because of its better level of protection with that hard shell and extra impact foam. The stock case is fine to keep the Switch safe from small bumps and scratches, but if I ever dropped it I’d be a little scared to see what’s happened on the inside. With this, you have just a little more peace of mind. Great value for the money.

Zadii Hard Carrying Case

While the core Switch console was designed to be pretty portable, taking your entire Switch setup (sans TV of course) on the go is not that easy. That’s why this wonderful carry case from Zadii caught my eye.

It’s a fairly chunky, squarish case, which might seem overkill for a Switch carry case. However, when you open her up you’ll see what all that space is for. There’s a precisely-molded foam interior where you can insert all of your Switch stuff vertically.

I like the vertical approach because it means there’s thick padding between every component and the next closest object. There’s space for the console with attached Joy Cons, two Pro controllers, the dock, AND the AC brick. The lid has a compartment where you can put your HDMI cable and there’s a flap to house several carts. When the case is closed up, you can carry it by a handle or shoulder strap. This is perfect for someone visiting family over the weekend, going to a hotel for business or holiday, or just someone who has to cart their Switch between two locations all the time. You know, like the kid of divorced parents (cough, cough).

In all seriousness, this is one of the nicest Switch accessories I have seen and is, in fact, now on my shopping list. It’s just perfect.

Duck and Cover

You have to take your hat off to Nintendo when it comes to the design of the Switch. They had a pretty big challenge to make a hybrid console that needed to be everything to everyone. Whether they succeeded or not is another question entirely, but you have to respect the challenge itself.

When it comes to playing the system, there have been more than a few compromises concerning ergonomics. The Joy Cons are marvellous devices, but for users with above-average hand sizes or anyone who tends to suffer from cramps or discomfort, these can be a problem during extended play.

A good cover can really improve the tactile experience of using your Switch. It also protects the non-screen surface of the device. There are various reasons to have a protective cover, but regardless of why you want one, these four products all have something attention-grabbing about them and might just be the new face of your Switch console.

JETech Protective Case for Nintendo Switch

This console cover from JETech is what I would consider the best baseline design for the device. It covers just about the whole back of the switch with a nice rubber material, except of course the kickstand, speakers, and shoulder buttons. It makes the device look much more cohesive as a handheld, as opposed to seeing the Joy Con seams so prominently.

The biggest reason to use this cover is, of course, the addition of those lovely grips. The flat design of the Switch is behind a lot of the hand pain players experience; having a nice grip added in portable mode will make playing games like Super Smash Brothers far less taxing on your paws. It does, of course, add some girth to the console, which might make it no longer fit in your current case. Luckily, it doesn’t seem all that hard to remove. Overall, this is a cover that gets little wrong, even if it’s not particularly fancy. And all at a very reasonable price.

Mumba Case for Nintendo Switch

The aesthetics of the Mumba Switch hard cover is not for everyone. It makes the console look rather like one of those ruggedized Caterpillar phones. You’ll also notice that this cover makes it impossible to use the kickstand, so if that’s an issue for you then obviously you need to look elsewhere.

The case is shaped in such a way that you get two indentations that act as grips. They don’t look particularly comfortable, but users seem perfectly OK with them and they are certainly an improvement over the stock experience.

Mumba say that the shape and materials of this cover will provide significant drop protection for your Switch, by channeling the impact away from the device itself. They’ve also added some rubber feet that stop the Switch from sliding off things, such as an airplane tray. You may be thinking that this cover makes the Switch far too bulky to fit in most carry cases, and you’d be right. Luckily, Mumba has designed it to be compatible with their own carry case; if this cover strikes your fancy, you may want to consider buying them as a combo.

The general consensus is that people quite like the look of the case, in that it is comfortable and does do a decent job of protecting the device. However, plenty of people are also saying it’s not that easy to put on or take off. So it’s a better choice for people who never use the dock or may end up working well with a dock extender cable.

eXtremeRate Soft Touch Grip Back Plate for Nintendo Switch Console

In terms of pure looks, this grip back plate from eXtremeRate is probably my favorite so far. It’s very elegant and available in a large variety of designs – from simple, single color options to ones with intricate graphics.

The way it achieves this is by not actually being a cover at all. This is, in fact, an actual replacement for the backplate and Joy Con shells. Obviously this means that you need to remove the existing shells from your console and controllers. That isn’t all that hard, to be honest, but if the idea of opening up your Switch bothers you then you can pass on this product immediately. If you are daring enough to fit one of these to your system, there’s a greater advantage than simply funkier looks.

The material is grippier, more sweat resistant, and nicer to the touch. It doesn’t provide grips, so you might still have to use this in conjunction with a grip cover, which renders it moot. However, if the improved look and feel of this replacement kit is enough for you, it’s a great choice. There’s a decent online demo video of how to do the swap, and the tools you need to do it are included in the kit.

YCCTEAM Comfortable Soft TPU Grip Case

This is another simple grip case cover for the Switch, like the JETech offering but with one big difference – the inclusion of thumbstick grip covers. The grip bulges look a little more pronounced than those of the JETech cover, so if you feel you need something more bulbous this may be a better alternative. The cover is transparent and there are four color options that I could see. This transparency sets it apart from the opaque rubber choices and I quite like being able to see the console inside the cover.

Like other similar covers, you can’t use the dock in conjunction with this. But it comes off in one whole piece so it involves just one extra quick step – one which obviously does not apply to people who will never dock their Switches.