You might have noticed the cable you use for your Nintendo Switch is a little different from most of the other USB cables in the world. This new kind of port is called USB-C and it has a somewhat unusual set of rules you need to follow when using it. Some things use USB-C for simple quick charging, but your Nintendo Switch uses this port for high-speed data transfer, video output, and rapid charging all at the same time. That means you need to use high-quality USB-C cables, like the ones included with your Switch to get the best results.

If you are in need of a few extra USB-C cables for your Nintendo Switch, this guide breaks down which cables you are going to want and why.

Reliable workhorse

Anker Thunderbolt 3 USB-C Cable

The Anker Thunderbolt 3 Type C cable was designed to simultaneously deliver power and data for desktop graphics cards or more. That’s considerably more power than what your average USB-C cable is asked to do. This cable can handle video out and power simultaneously, making it a very special cable for anyone eager to experiment with their Nintendo Switch and an external monitor without the Nintendo-made dock.

$30 at Amazon

The Basic option

Amazon Basics 9ft USB-C Cable

You don’t frequently see a USB-C cable longer than 6ft, for a couple of reasons. First, the price of the cable typically goes up considerably after the 6ft mark. Second, and really more important, longer cables attenuate and frequently cause things to charge slower. The Amazon Basics USB-C cable comes in a handy 9ft option to help deal with this and does so without breaking the bank.

$10 at Amazon

Good looks and function

CableCreation braided USB-C cable

Each of these cables is a fabric braid on the outside, giving it a nice texture that is easy to wind up and stick in a bag without having to worry about a bunch of knots ruining the cable. Best of all, this braided design comes in five colors! Choose from Blue, Rose Gold, Hot Pink, Gold, and Space Grey. Either way you go, your cable will stand out and be much easier to find when lost.

$10 at Amazon

Quick Note: NEVER use USB-A to USB-C cables with your Nintendo Switch

Before we get too deep into which cables I like, it’s important to warn you against some of the cheap cables you’re likely to find in stores and on Amazon. It’s easy to find long, braided USB-C cables for cheap. At first glance, these cables look nice and feel like they were made to last. The biggest problem with these cables is the connector at the other end. Many of these cables have the standard rectangular USB-A cable at the end, the port you usually see in laptops and cheap battery backups. If you can avoid it, you should never use these cables.

USB-A is an older kind of cable, destined to be phased out over the next couple of years. Put simply, the tech inside this cable can’t keep up with what a cable with USB-C on both ends can do. As a result, these hybrid cables will charge slower and will never be cable of features like video output to a secondary display. These cables also frequently break down faster, due to a cheaper design.

The only cables I recommend in this guide have a USB-C port on both ends and have been tested to safely deliver the kind of power needed to keep your Switch up and running. Using anything else would not be advised.

iMore – The #1 iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch blog