[UPDATE October 2020: The coronavirus pandemic has had drastic implications for retailers and online shopping. Among other things, consumer demand for video games and consoles such as the Nintendo Switch has soared as schools remain closed and people restrict activities due to stay-at-home orders. The Nintendo Switch has been virtually sold out nationwide for months, and other gaming systems are often very hard to come by. Starting in late September, though, Nintendo Switches have been more likely to be in stock at stores — though discounts have been basically nonexistent and shoppers can expect to pay full price.]
You'd think that Nintendo Switch deals would be pretty common by now, considering that the incredibly popular gaming console first hit the market in early 2017. Video game consoles, like most tech items, generally see lower prices and more discounts as time passes and the early buzz fades. But unfortunately for shoppers, truly good Nintendo Switch deals still remain quite rare.
Retailers tend to stick to the standard list price (it's been right around $300 since the original launch) and almost never offer straightforward discounts. Instead, what you are more likely to find are Nintendo Switch deals that include extras — typically, gift cards, or console bundles with games or accessories — at no extra charge, or at least with a significant discount compared to what you'd pay separately.
The best Nintendo Switch deals around Black Friday and Cyber Monday of last year were bundles that included a console and a game (often, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe) for $299. The best Switch games (like Mario Kart) normally cost about $60, so buyers basically got a $60 discount (or bonus, depending on how you look at it).
The other big category of Nintendo Switch deals to look for is the gift card bonus. Periodically, retailers have been known to throw in a free gift card — perhaps $30 at Target, or a $35 credit to spend at Nintendo's e-shop, where you can buy digital games— with the full-price purchase of a Nintendo Switch console.
We will update this story with the latest and best Nintendo Switch deals as they surface — plus all the latest deals on Nintendo Switch games and Switch Lite consoles too.
The Best Nintendo Switch Deals Right Now: Updated October 2020
This list of Nintendo Switch prices and promotions is valid as of October 2020.
Nintendo Switch Console With Neon Blue & Red Joy-Con
• $299.99 at Best Buy (sold out)
Refurbished Nintendo Switch With Gray Joy-Con
• $279.99 at Best Buy (sold out)
Nintendo Switch Lite Deals
Should you buy a Nintendo Switch or Switch Lite? The latter is Nintendo's cheaper alternative to the Switch — the Lite console is about $100 less expensive — introduced to the market in the fall of 2019. Bear in mind that the Nintendo Switch Lite is meant only for portable gaming; it cannot be connected to a TV for the classic widescreen experience. Think of the Switch Lite as a Game Boy or DS that allows you to play Nintendo Switch games on the go.
Nintendo Switch Lite in Yellow, Turquoise, or Gray
Nintendo Switch Game Deals
Whereas Nintendo Switch console deals are quite rare, discounts on Switch games are pretty common. For example, in mid-February Target and Amazon both had a "buy two, get one free" sale on books, DVDs, and video games — and several Switch games were included in the promotion.
To find Nintendo Switch video game deals, browse the weekly circular of retailers like Target and Best Buy, and periodically scope out the latest discounts at Amazon and Walmart.com. Remember: When one of these retailers has a sale, its competitors often match prices — so you probably can snag the same deal from whichever store you prefer. If necessary, request a price match from Walmart or another retailer that has the game you want in stock online.
Here are the best Nintendo Switch game deals we've seen lately, with the caveat that prices and promotions are always subject to change:
• NBA 2K20: From $29.99 at Amazon (list price $59.99)
• Mortal Kombat 11: $27.89 at Amazon
• The LEGO Movie 2 Video Game: $19.99 at Amazon
• Mario Kart 8 Deluxe: $49.94 at Amazon (list price $59.99)
• LEGO Harry Potter: Collection: $23.45 at Amazon
• Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020: $48.99 at Amazon (list price $59.99)
Nintendo Switch Buying Guide: Where to Get the Best Deals
So what's the best place to buy a Nintendo Switch? Big retailers tend to match prices and promotions for popular items like the Switch. So there often isn't much difference in how much you'll pay for a video game console at Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart, Target, or anywhere else. If you want to buy a Nintendo Switch online, free shipping deals are available from all of the retailers just listed. However, Best Buy, Walmart, and Target will give you fast free shipping (generally two days) without any membership fees, whereas Amazon only offers free one- or two-day shipping for Amazon Prime subscribers, who typically pay $12.99 per month or $119 per year for the service.
If you have a retailer credit card with good rewards — such as a 5% discount or 5% cash back on purchases at Amazon or Target — that could also help you figure out which is the best store for you to buy a Nintendo Switch. All other factors being equal, at least you could save 5% (or $15 off a $300 purchase) by making the purchase with the right credit card from the corresponding retailer.
Another way to save some money is to buy a refurbished Nintendo Switch — one that was bought and returned because of some misfunction, and then fixed for resale. Best Buy, for example, routinely sells refurbished Nintendo Switch consoles for $279.99, or $20 off the price of a brand-new Switch. Similarly, refurbished Nintendo Switch Lite consoles are often sold by Best Buy for $174.99, or $25 off the $199.99 list price. Best Buy says that its "Geek Squad Certified" refurbished electronics have been "repaired and restored to a like-new state," but it's up to you to decide whether the $20 or $25 savings is worth the tradeoff of worrying whether the console is really as good as new. Our take is that you're probably better off waiting for retailers to promote Nintendo Switch deals that include gift cards or free video games as bonuses — which generally represent better value than getting a flat $20 off a console that has already been demonstrated to be flawed.
No matter where or in what condition you're buying a Nintendo Switch, take a close look at the console's battery life. One of the reasons the Nintendo Switch is so popular is that it can be used as a traditional gaming console connected to a TV, or it can be unplugged and played with as a console on the go.
So the Nintendo Switch's battery life is very important, and you should be sure to read the fine print before buying anything. The newer Switch console features a battery life of 4.5 to 9 hours of play time, whereas some older models — which are still being sold, especially if you're browsing pre-owned or refurbished Nintendo Switches — may only last 2.5 to 6 hours per charge.