The Best Nintendo Switch Emulators for Windows

The portability of the Nintendo Switch makes it convenient, but what if you prefer to play its games on a Windows PC instead?


nintendo-switch. emulator

The Nintendo Switch is currently one of the most sought-after gaming consoles available. Its popularity stems from its unique features, such as its portable nature and the option to dock it for a home gaming experience. Many prefer the Nintendo Switch over the Xbox and PlayStation due to these advantages. Additionally, the console boasts an impressive collection of highly acclaimed games, further adding to its appeal.

For Windows PC users, there is an opportunity to enhance the gaming experience by downloading a Nintendo Switch emulator. This allows players to enjoy their favorite Switch games with improved graphics and performance. Moreover, some of these emulators can be configured to work seamlessly on portable Windows gaming devices.

If you’re in search of the finest Nintendo Switch emulator, we’re here to provide assistance and guidance to help you make an informed choice.

Are Nintendo Switch Emulators Legally Allowed To Be Used?

nintendo switch cover

Emulator Legality: To clarify, using emulators for downloading and running games is legal. However, sharing copyrighted ROMs is strictly prohibited and considered illegal. So, as long as you are using a Nintendo Switch emulator without any illegally obtained games, you are abiding by the law.

Technical Challenges: Although emulator usage is legal, there are some technical complexities to overcome. Older consoles like the NES or PlayStation 1 are relatively simple to emulate due to their straightforward coding. However, the Nintendo Switch, being a newer and more recent console from Nintendo, presents more difficulties in the emulation process.

Hardware and Graphics Requirements: To ensure a smooth gaming experience, you need to carefully select the right emulator and have a capable PC that can handle the hardware emulation and the games you wish to play. It’s important to note that different games have varying graphics requirements, so keep this in mind when choosing an emulator.

System Specifications: Before downloading any emulators, it’s recommended to verify that your computer meets the minimum requirements. Ideally, your PC should have at least a 6th generation Intel Core i3 processor or Ryzen 3 and a minimum of 8GB of RAM to load games smoothly without any lag or freezing. For the best performance, having 16GB of RAM is recommended. Additionally, it’s advised to have an NVIDIA GTX 1060 graphics card or a Radeon RX 470.

Game Ownership: Lastly, it’s highly recommended to purchase a physical copy of the game to avoid any legal concerns. Remember, emulators solely replicate the console and not the game itself. Owning a legitimate copy of the game you wish to play remains the optimal approach to ensuring a hassle-free experience and avoiding any privacy issues.


Yuzu Android interface.
Yuzu Android interface

Yuzu, developed by Citra, one of the most renowned 3Ds emulators, marks the inception of Nintendo Switch emulation. As an open-source emulator, Yuzu is freely available for Windows users to download.

Built with C++, a versatile programming language that facilitates high-performance applications across different platforms, the Yuzu emulator may encounter compatibility issues and performance challenges with certain Switch games.

It is advisable to consult the list of compatible games before proceeding with the Yuzu emulator. Games rated as “Great” or “Perfect” typically run smoothly on most PCs. However, if a game is rated as “Okay,” it might be worth exploring alternative emulators for optimal performance.

Remarkably, popular gaming titles like Super Mario Odyssey, Legend of Zelda: BOTW, and Mario Kart 8 exhibit commendable performance on this platform. As Yuzu’s development progresses, it is likely that more games will continue to enhance their compatibility with this emulator.

One crucial aspect to bear in mind is that Yuzu has a moderate learning curve, especially for novice users. Nevertheless, once you become familiar with it, playing your beloved Switch games will be a breeze.

The Yuzu emulator is compatible with both Windows and Linux operating systems. Owing to its popularity and functionality, it serves as a foundation for other Nintendo Switch emulators featured on this list. If your PC supports 4K resolution, Yuzu can leverage it to deliver an optimal visual experience for your Switch games.

Moreover, it supports both NVIDIA and AMD GPUs, allowing you to enjoy demanding Nintendo games on your computer with minimal issues.


Ryujinx emulator
Ryujinx emulator

Ryujinx is an alternative emulator designed for Windows operating systems. Similar to Yuzu, this emulator can be freely downloaded without any cost.

Written in C#, this open-source Nintendo Switch emulator offers improved gaming performance and precise emulation when compared to other emulators. It also boasts a user-friendly interface, making it easier to navigate and operate.

Like Yuzu, Ryujinx is compatible with both Linux and Windows. However, one advantage of Ryujinx is its compatibility with macOS-based systems as well.

With its diverse range of features, this emulator ensures that new users can easily explore and utilize its platform. While it may not support every Nintendo Switch game, Ryujinx has an extensive library of functioning games, including many popular titles.

Ryujinx provides a webpage where users can check the compatibility of games. Although most Pokémon games are playable, titles such as Animal Crossing and Mario Kart are still not accessible.

The developers are actively working to enhance the performance and accuracy of game titles, so with patience, it may become possible to play these games in the near future. In the meantime, there are numerous free-to-play games available that users can try out.

For users seeking a straightforward setup without extensive technical requirements, Ryujinx is the ideal choice. Its intuitive interface allows for easy navigation, and it can run games at a smooth 60 frames per second. Additionally, the gaming experience closely resembles that of playing on the console, even when using a desktop computer.


NSEmu emulator
NSEmu emulator

If you’re a tech-savvy individual on the lookout for a Nintendo Switch emulator, it’s worth considering giving NSEmu a shot. With its potential for customization, you can tailor it to cater to your preferred games.

NSEmu, an open-source emulator, is available for free installation. Once installed, you’ll get to experience its smooth performance, accompanied by high-quality graphics and sound. Despite not being the real thing, NSEmu boasts a commendable interface with minimal lag.

It’s important to note that NSEmu is still a work in progress. With ongoing updates from developers, the emulator is expected to improve over time. For now, it’s recommended to primarily rely on Yuzu and Ryujinx. However, NSEmu deserves recognition as it’s rapidly becoming more playable.

Moreover, if you possess technical expertise, you can even contribute to the development of NSEmu on GitHub.

Top-Quality Emulators for Nintendo Switch

tilizing Nintendo Switch emulators is entirely permissible as long as you refrain from downloading any ROMs for games that you do not own. It is recommended to verify the compatibility of the desired games before installing an emulator, enabling you to select the most suitable one for your needs.

The legality of using Nintendo Switch emulators is upheld, provided that you do not engage in the unauthorized acquisition of ROMs. By ensuring compatibility with your desired games prior to emulator installation, you can optimize your gaming experience with enhanced graphics. Furthermore, as emulator development progresses, an increasing number of games will become accessible for play.