Switches Used in Accessible Gaming

Switches control things that are challenging or impossible to use due to physical limitations. In gaming, switches replace the functions of a game controller or mouse and keyboard.

There are a wide variety of switches, which is great because there are a wide variety of players! Switches come in many shapes and sizes and have different pressure requirements to activate them.

We have tested hundreds of switches over our nearly twenty years of helping players with disabilities, and these are the ones we recommend and some tips on how we’ve seen them used:

Buttons

Buttons (switches) are usually used to replace a single input on a standard controller. For instance, the A button on a controller could be remapped to a button (switch) and placed wherever you prefer. 

An Xbox controller next to large red button. The A button on the controller is circled and an arrow points to the red button.

We do not want to overload you with too many details on each of these switches, so we have added a button to each one that allows you to learn more from the manufacturer. We also share our recommended place to buy it. Unless the link is to the AbleGamers Shop, we do not use affiliate codes.

Light Touch Buttons

Light Touch Buttons require very little force to activate.


 A small, rectangular, black button with one rounded side and three flat sides.

Micro Light Switch

Small switch with a 6-foot cord.

Compatible with the Xbox Adaptive Controller and the Hori Flex.

A small, rectangular, black button on top of a sheet of different colored stickers. There is a green sticker on the top of the button.

Ultra Light 1 HD Switch

Small switch that comes with a long cord. This particular switch comes with different colored stickers for color coding.

Compatible with the Xbox Adaptive Controller and the Hori Flex.

Light Touch switches are very versatile. We have seen them utilized by elbows, toes, and even as a replacement for bite switches.

Light Touch switches make a great replacement for DPAD.

Small / Medium / Large Switches

These switches are durable, requiring a little more force to activate. This allows for a little less accuracy needed. They are also larger, making it easier to press with gross movements. All of these are compatible with the Xbox Adaptive Controller and the Hori Flex.


Small red switch next to a standard soda can. The switch is about half the diameter of the soda can. It has a black wire.

Specs Switch (Small)

The Specs switch includes a strap that can be attached to the base for mounting and multiple-colored caps to color code specific buttons. 

Red Switch next to a soda can. The switch is about the same diameter of soda can. The colored caps are next to it.

Jellybean Switch (Medium)

The Jellybean switch includes multiple-colored caps to color code specific buttons.

A large red button next to a soda can, the button is twice the diameter of the soda can.

Big Red Switch (Large)

The Big Red Switch is very large, and it only comes in red.

The Big Red makes a great foot or head switch.

You can strap the spec switch to your palm or wrist to activate it when force is applied to a surface.

Accessibility Kits

 Four switches placed on a gray board. There is a trigger, a small microlight switch, a large button, and a small button. They are labeled RT, X, A, and B respectively.

Logitech Adaptive Gaming Kit

This kit includes buttons, triggers, and a board for easy mounting. The kit is boxed in accessible packaging. This is an excellent option for the price and quality of the switches included. We highly recommend this kit, although joysticks are NOT included!

Compatible with the Xbox Adaptive Controller and the Hori Flex.

Specialty Switches

There are a lot of switches that are not just various types and sizes of buttons. These are all compatible with the Xbox Adaptive Controller and the Hori Flex.


Three flat, blue, rectangular pieces. Each piece is connected to two intertwining wires.

Twitch Switch

These switches can be placed on a muscle such as a calf or an eyebrow and activated with a small muscle twitch.

These switches are not as common, our recommendation is the Enabling Devices Twitch Switch:

 A black, plastic clamp attached to a black straw. A small clear tube and a smaller clear tube with a green base are also pictured.

Sip ‘n Puff Switch

These switches allow users to perform a sipping or puffing action to activate inputs. 

Sip n Puff switches require strong control of the mouth and breathing, so players with difficulties in those areas or on ventilators will not be able to use these. 

Our Recommendation is the Enabling Devices Sip n Puff Switch:

These should be cleaned regularly! 

A blue rubber square piece attached to a cable. The blue rubber part also extends down the cord slightly.

Bite Switch

Bite Switches are kept in the mouth and activated by biting down.

Our recommendation is the AirTurn Bite Switch:

These should be cleaned regularly!

Three square touch pads. The left one is a large, green one, the middle one is a medium-sized, red one, and the right one is a small, yellow one.

Pal Pads

Pal Pads are durable flat buttons that require extremely little force to activate. We recommend the mini ones, but other sizes are available.

Joysticks

Joysticks come in many shapes and sizes. There are a few options in some categories, and in others, there is not much to choose from. We have listed our recommendation from each category:


A small, black box with a thumb stick on top. There are two green eyes engraved in the box. The box is attached to a rolled-up cord.

External Thumbstick

This is a small joystick that you can use with a finger or other body part. These are very similar to the sticks on a standard controller, just separate from a controller.

Thumbstick Extension gives you freedom to place the thumbstick in any functional position for your mobility needs.

Our recommendation is the Mini XAC Thumbstick.

Compatible with the Xbox Adaptive Controller.

A joystick mounted on a small box, labeled "BJOY". The top of the joystick has a circular indent, surrounded by pads on either side.

Chin Switch

Chin Joysticks are a great way to substitute the analog sticks on a controller. This works especially well with precise actions like aiming a weapon. 

Our recommendation is the BJOY chin switch.

Compatible with the Xbox Adaptive Controller and the Hori Flex.

A flightstick topper with a red ball top on the top and a red button on the inside.

Flightsticks 

These are often used in flight simulator games, but in accessible gaming, they can make a great joystick with triggers and buttons all close together for easy reach.

Buttons on Flightsticks do not work when paired with an XAC.

We recommend the UltraStik 360FS.

Compatible with the Xbox Adaptive Controller and the Hori Flex.

Three joysticks mounted to white boxes. The left one has a standard black joystick top, the middle one has a black, dome shaped top, and the right one has a black, u-shaped top.

Joystick Toppers

These can usually be 3D printed for a fraction of the price.

These handles are great for different hand positions. The U-shaped one is great for your wrist to rest on, the dome one is great for your palm, and the standard joystick handles is good for a sturdy grip.  

Our recommendations are the Ultramarc Ultrastik 360 toppers.

There are many other styles of handles, but these three are the most popular.  

Compatible with the Xbox Adaptive Controller and the Hori Flex.

You can use or mount a standard controller and use the thumbsticks as a joystick!

Thumbstick Toppers

Thumbstick toppers are fitted onto your standard controller’s thumbsticks. These can help with precision and help to alleviate hand pain while gaming.


Two small, black thumb sticks, two medium-sized, black thumb sticks, and two tall, black thumb sticks. The words "Evil Sticks" is printed above, and "Convex & Concave" are printed below.

Evil Thumbstick Toppers 

These are essentially extended standard thumbsticks, effective and simple.

A white PlayStation 5 controller with purple, textured thumb stick toppers.

Kontrol Freeks 

These are different styled, colored, and textured toppers. Some are meant for style or accuracy over accessibility, but they work very similarly.


3D printed solutions are a great alternative! At AbleGamers, we have a state of the art engineering lab equipped with 3D printers. If you have an accessible print and know what you need, submit a ticket and we may be able to print it for you!

Was this article helpful?

Related Articles

Still Looking for Help

The Peer Counseling team is at capacity for this month and unable to take on any more cases; but have no fear! We temporarily close to provide each player with the highest-quality experience possible and will open again on the first Tuesday of next month (June 4, 2024 @ 10am EST). We appreciate your understanding and look forward to hearing from you soon!