The Best Capture Card for Switch Streamers

The Nintendo Switch has exclusive access to some of the most epic games ever made. You can only explore Hyrule or battle Bowser with a Nintendo Switch, as Mario and the Legend of Zelda are Nintendo exclusives. 

Those who wish to share their gaming skills via live stream need a capture card. Here are the best capture cards for Switch Streamers.

Do You Need a Capture Card for Switch?

Most Switch Streamers will need a capture card. Nintendo did not make any built-in options for streaming content directly from the Switch to streaming websites like Twitch.

While Xbox and Playstation have programs that allow you to stream your gameplay directly from the game console to any online website, the Switch lacks this capability. 

Therefore, you will need a capture card for Switch streaming.

Can You Stream from A Nintendo Switch Without a Capture Card?

There is one tiny workaround to needing a capture card to stream with the Nintendo Switch. I have a friend who hooked his Nintendo Switch up to his Xbox One and used the Xbox’s streaming capabilities to live stream his Nintendo Switch gameplay.

This workaround was obviously not intended by the makers of either system, but his streams do work. You can make it work if you are creative and have both consoles. 

However, that you can do something doesn’t mean you should. Since it’s not an intended function, getting the capture card is probably best.

How Does a Capture Card Work on Switch?

Capture cards are input devices that grab the game footage from your console and transfer it to your computer. It converts the signals into digital data, which your computer can encode. The encoded data can then be recorded or streamed to another platform.

It’s a video capture card – it “captures” the video and transfers the data from the video elsewhere for use.

The mechanics of how it works are extremely technical, but we don’t need to know that part. We only need to know that if we hook up the HDMI input cable from the console to the capture card and the HDMI output from the capture card to the computer, we can record and stream our video content. 

Each capture card connects a tiny bit differently, so follow the instructions on the box when you hook it up for proper functioning.

The Best Capture Card for Switch Streamers

Internal vs. External Capture Cards

Before getting into the best capture card for Switch streamers, we must answer an important question. 

Are you streaming from a laptop or a desktop PC?

If you are streaming from a desktop, you may already have a capture card built-in, called an internal capture card. 

Check the specifications of your PC to find out if you have one. If you don’t, you can get an internal one and install it yourself or an external one with a relatively easy setup. 

Internal capture cards are usually faster, but external capture cards are easier to set up.

You will need an external capture card if you are streaming from a laptop.

The Best External Capture Card for the Nintendo Switch

Elgato Game Capture HD 60S

The best capture card for Switch streamers is the best capture card for everyone, and that’s the Elgato Game Capture HD 60s. This card has built-in software to help you get up and running and can capture up to 60 fps (frames per second). It also has a recording speed of up to 1080p, so it can capture almost anything.


It is also the capture card that reports the fewest problems. Most of my streamer friends swear by it and wouldn’t use anything else.

The Runner Ups

Razer Ripsaw HD

Although the Razer Ripsaw also boasts recording speeds of 1080p and a frame rate of 60 fps, it does not have its own streaming software. However, if you use Streamlabs or OBS to stream, this probably won’t cause many issues.


The biggest problem with Razer is that it can be particular. I typically stream using the Razer, and although it always eventually works, it sometimes takes some convincing.

I’ve had to unplug it and replug it numerous times to get it to work or completely restart my computer. Sometimes I have to reload the scene to get it to work. It’s impossible to tell if these issues arise from the card itself or from other streaming variables (computer settings, network speed, connectivity, etc.). 

Despite the difficulties with set up, the Razer Ripsaw is a solid capture card and perfect for streamers who don’t want to spend the big bucks for an Elgato. Those more technologically savvy than I would like have less problems with it. 

AVerMedia Live Gamer Portable Plus

If the Elgato and the Ripsaw are too expensive, you can use the AVerMedia Live Media Portable Plus capture device. This card has the exact specifications as the other two but doesn’t have brand recognition and isn’t used as often. However, it’s still a solid card and worth your consideration.


The Cheapest Capture Card for the Switch

Y&H HDMI Game Capture Card

If you are new to streaming and want to get started as cheaply as possible, you can use the Y&H HDMI video capture device. It offers basic live stream capture and the standard 1080p recording. It’s the only capture card available for less than $100, so it’s a perfect option for new streamers just getting started.


After you’ve been streaming for a while, you will likely want to upgrade to an Elgato. If you can afford it, starting with an Elgato is probably better. 

Still, it’s understandable that you’d want to lower the costs as much as possible to see if you enjoy streaming and can make it profitable, and those just streaming for their friends and family may not want to go all out with the tech. The Y&H comes in handy in these cases. 

The Best Internal Capture Cards for the Switch

Elgato Game Capture HD60 Pro

Elgato also tops the list for best internal capture cards for the Switch. It’s a solid brand well-known in the streaming world and consistently makes top-of-the-line hardware. If you have the money, an Elgato should be your top choice.


The HD60 pro captures at 60 FPS, just like the external cards. It also includes an h.264 hardware encoder and only takes up one PCIe port, which is excellent for folks who love to custom-build PCs. 

The encoder is said to take pressure off your CPU, but I can’t verify that it is true without knowing exactly how the inner workings of motherboards and internal computer systems work.

AVerMedia Live Gamer 4K

The AverMedia Live Gamer 4K is a monster of a capture card. It can capture at a frame rate of up to 240 FPS! The human eye can only see up to 60 FPS, so you don’t need this advanced capability if you are just going to be live streaming.


However, if you will be using the capture card for video recording in addition to live streaming, this might come in handy. 

With such an advanced frame rate, you can do more with your video editing software. It can help you create slow-motion effects for Youtube videos. 

 However, if you aren’t going to get fancy with video editing, AverMedia Live Gamer is probably beyond the scope of what you need.

What Else Do I Need to Stream from the Switch?

A capture card isn’t all you need to be a successful streamer. Invest in a good microphone and a webcam as well, so people can see and hear you correctly. 

Next, you must download streaming software, like OBS or Streamlabs OBS. These programs are free, and they allow you to create nice overlays for your stream. 

For more information on what you need to start streaming, check out our guide to starting a Twitch stream. It will walk you through all the hardware and software you need to get started.

Happy Streaming!