These Joystick Replacements Might Fix Your Joy-Con Drift for Good

Photo:  DionVideoProductions (Shutterstock)
Photo: DionVideoProductions (Shutterstock)

There is no doubt the Nintendo Switch is one of the most popular gaming consoles ever. Its games are great, and the portability is a plus, but it’s controllers...well. Controller failure—dubbed “Joy-Con drift” for the way the problem will cause your controller to register movements you aren’t actually intending—has been a mark against the system for years. But now, GuliKit, a company that makes controller and controller accessories, says it has a solution to prevent your Joy-Cons from ever drifting again.

It’s not the first time the company has made such a claim. You might know GuliKit from its KingKong Pro 2 Switch controller, which was advertised as a drift-proof controller as well. The difference here, as reported by Gizmodo, is GuliKit isn’t selling a new controller, it’s selling a fix for the Joy-Cons themselves.

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Why Joy-Con drift occurs

There are multiple factors that might contribute to Joy-Con drift, but the fatal flaw seems to be related to the potentiometers found in many controllers on the market, even on the PS5's DualSense contoller. Over time and use, these potentiometers can wear out, tricking the system into thinking the joystick is positioned in a certain direction when it’s really not. That’s why you might boot up a game of Breath of the Wild, only to find Link running to the left before you even touched the controller.

If you’re under warranty, you can send your Joy-Cons off to Nintendo for a free repair, but that takes time and, worse, it merely a band-aid solution: The issue is hardware related, and since Nintendo isn’t changing the design during its repairs, it’s possible you’ll experience drifting again on the same controllers over the long run.

In cases like these, many have turned to DIY workarounds. We’ve covered one such hack in the past, but GuliKit has something they think is even better: The Hall Joystick for Joy-Con.

How Hall Joysticks fix drifting

Hall Joysticks are total replacements for the sticks on your Joy-Cons. You remove the joysticks Nintendo made, install Hall Joysticks, and presto: no more drifting. GuliKit’s sticks use the same tech as their KingKong Pro 2 sticks, which lean on “Hall effect sensing” magnets to detect joystick activity. There are no potentiometers or other critical moving parts rubbing against each other and wearing down over time, which means, in theory, drift worries shouldn’t apply. The company even sells a similar solution for the Steak Deck on Amazon.

You can typically pick up two of GuliKit’s Hall Joysticks for $30, or four for $53, but they appear to be sold out on Amazon right now. Once they’re back in stock, iFixit has a great video walkthrough for installing them on your Joy-Cons. Just remember that this type of repair voids your Joy-Cons’ warranty, so only attempt it if you’re outside that window, or if you like to game dangerously.


JoyCon Drift Fix! How to Replace the Nintendo Switch Left Joy-Con Joystick

You may need to recalibrate your new Joy-Cons when you finish installing the Hall Joysticks. You’ll find that option in Settings > Controllers and Sensors.

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