Table of Contents
I’ve been meaning to round up the best Steam Deck accessories for a while now – ambushing Liam with homemade Etsy gadgets is one thing but now that there are literally millions of Decks in owners’ hands, quite literally, it’s time to put a serious face on and consider which accessories genuinely are the best buys.
This guide is keeping separate from the best Steam Deck microSD card list, mainly because a good microSD card is less of an accessory and more of a core essential (especially if you’ve gone for the 64GB Steam Deck model). Still, this guide will cover an array of addons, from alternative cases to thumbstick covers and USB-C docking stations.
Standard RPS hardware guide rules apply here too: nothing gets on the list that I haven’t tried out myself, though instead of benchmarks I’ll be taking a more everyday-use approach. Testing the durability of a case by lugging it around in a satchel, for instance, or getting to know a dock by using it to set up a Steam Deck as a desktop PC. And, naturally, playing some of the best Steam Deck games with these accessories installed.
I’ll also be adding to and expanding this list in the future; given that Valve say a Steam Deck successor isn’t coming anytime soon, we’re still quite early in its expected life cycle, so there’s plenty of time more manufacturers to get involved in making hardware extras for it. For now, here are the best Steam Deck accessories I’ve used.
The best Steam Deck cases
The stock hard case that comes with every Steam Deck is fine – it’s plenty sturdy, and you can’t get a better bargain than free. But it also doesn’t really do anything besides protect the Deck, and is a lot bulkier than the handheld itself, which doesn’t sit so well with the whole portability thing. Upgrade on it and your Steam Deck case could be thinner, lighter, and offer greater functionality, while still acting as a stout shield against bumps and scrapes.
Dbrand Project Killswitch Travel Kit
Here’s one such multitalented Steam Deck case. The Dbrand Project Killswitch wraps around the handheld like an airtight, shockproof gasket, protecting its extremities while adding extra grip to prevent fumbling it to the ground in the first place. The rear also includes a handy twist-on kickstand, replacing the magnetically attaching version that was found to slow down the cooling fan on certain, older Steam Deck models. Whoopsiedoodle. It’s fine now, though, and the turn-to-lock mechanism is nice and firm.
Selecting Project Killswitch’s Travel Kit also gets you some of Dbrand’s Stick Grips (also very good, see below) and a clip-on plastic cover that protects the Steam Deck’s front side. The total package is less bulky than Valve’s own case, and still ably defends the Deck from damage. After a couple of ambulatory hours in my satchel, the Project Killswitch hardware didn’t gain a scratch, let alone the precious cargo within.
(You can alternatively select the Essential Kit and choose the Travel Cover as an add-on, though this totals a measly five cents less than the Travel Kit. You might as well go for the latter and get some almost-free Stick Grips.)
The JSAUX ModCase serves your Steam Deck much like the Project Killswitch Travel Kit, combining compact protection, added grip, and a modular attachments system – all for a lot less cash than the Dbrand version.
You get what you pay for, mind, and the ModCase doesn’t feel quite as locked-down: the front cover is slightly looser than Dbrand’s Travel Cover, and unlike its pricier rival, the ModCase leaves the bottom edges of the Steam Deck’s trigger buttons exposed. Still, it works well enough as a lightweight option. The (presumably unpleasant) experience of jostling around in a bag with a loose earbud case and an empty Diet Coke bottle did nothing to damage the triggers, and the case cover remained unbudged. Easily a pass.
The ModCase’s rail system for rear attachments is also impressively flexible. A kickstand and a strap (for holding, say, a power bank) are included in the box, but if you treat yourself to some of JSAUX’s extras you can slide on a secondary cooling fan or even attach a power bank to the ModCase directly. A good use of the Steam Deck’s limited panel space.
The best Steam Deck docks and USB hubs
While pick-up-and-play-itude is central to the Steam Deck’s appeal, you’re probably not getting the most out of it until you venture into its Desktop Mode. This is where it really starts to get PC-like, allowing for the installation of thousands of non-Steam apps (including game services like Battle.net and the Epic Games Launcher) and even custom boot animations, if you’re so inclined.
The catch is that navigating a desktop UI with the trackpads and onscreen keyboard never feels as natural as using real peripherals. So, why don’t you? A good Steam Deck dock, or even a basic USB-C hub, will make hooking up your favourite mouse and/or keyboard a doddle. And that’s far from their only use: Ethernet ports could make for faster game downloads, and a dock is downright essential to connecting your Steam Deck to a gaming monitor or TV.
Valve Steam Deck Docking Station
Nowt wrong with the official Valve Steam Deck Docking Station, except for its higher price compared to the third-party alternatives. Even so, it’s arguably the best overall where design is concerned. Besides offering a healthy reserve of USB ports (three full-size, one USB-C with power delivery), it has the rare quality of including a DisplayPort video output as well as HDMI.
The Docking Station’s base is also much grippier than that of the Ugreen or Syntech docks below, which helps maintain stability in spite of its relatively short and narrow dimensions. As does the perfectly-measured snugness with which the docking groove fits the Steam Deck. I suppose this has the downside of wraparound cases, like the Project Killswitch, making the handheld just too big to fit, but for caseless Decks this obviously doesn’t apply.
Ugreen Docking Station for Steam Deck
The Ugreen Docking Station for Steam Deck is another unimaginatively named yet high practical Steam Deck dock. It’s more generous with USB-C ports than most – every Deck dock will have at least one, for power delivery, but Ugreen’s throws in a second so that you can use any compatible USB-C peripheral you want while still ensuring the handheld can recharge. This does seem to come at the cost of a third full-size USB 3.0 port, but two is still enough for a mouse and keyboard.
It’s also very aggressively priced for a fully fledged dock, and resists skimping on build quality in the process. This is an all-metal dock, and although it’s not quite as stable as Valve’s or Syntech’s when accidentally nudged, it does include enough rubber padding in its groove to nestle a Deck without any metal-on-plastic scraping hazard. A very well-thought-out dock for the money.
Syntech Docking Station
Also of the cheap ‘n’ cheerful variety, the Syntech Docking Station opts for a bigger, rounded shape that spreads its ports out in a radial pattern. There’s nothing too special about the selection of inputs and outputs here, though having three full-size USB ports could be handy, particularly if you own a power-hungry RGB gaming keyboard that will eat up two of them.
The larger footprint also serves as a stability aid. Although the Syntech is more prone to slipping on smooth desks than the official and Ugreen Steam Deck docks, it is in fact the most resistant to letting you accidentally knock your Steam Deck over, thanks entirely to its wider base. I quite like how well-spaced the ports are on this design, too – there’s no cramped fiddliness when they start to get full.
Euasoo 8-in-1 USB C Hub
Clearly this is not a dock, and so won’t hold your Steam Deck to act as a local multiplayer screen or hands-free video playback device. Which isn’t as fun. However, the Euasoo 8-in-1 USB C Hub does come with all the connections you could want from a top Steam Deck docking station. More than enough to turn it into a makeshift PC, complete with HDMI 2.0 for high-res monitors, lots of USB-A ports, and a USB-C port with power delivery. It even has SD and microSD card readers.
Personally, I’d stick with a dock for simply using the Steam Deck’s Desktop Mode on the Steam Deck itself, mainly because they can prop up the display. But if you’re going to have your eyes on an external monitor, it’s perfectly fine to use a well-equipped USB-C hub like this, especially as it’s so much more compact. A quality that makes it slightly better suited for travelling, too.
The best Steam Deck screen protectors
Even those of us that are completely illiterate in industrial design can see that the Steam Deck has a 7in diagonal weak spot right in its centre. The good news is that unless you have unnervingly gargantuan pockets, your Deck isn’t going to face the same level of screen scratch risk as, say, your phone. Still, glass is delicate, and Steam Deck screen protectors are cheap, so there are far dumber things to add to your accessories arsenal.
A word of warning, though: screen protectors are well suited to the 64GB and 256GB Steam Deck models, but the 512GB model has a fancy anti-glare display, and because all the protectors below are glossy, you’ll lose that non-reflective quality if you slap one of them on the Deck’s top-end variant. I have tested one matte screen protector from JSAUX, but it added a hazy, almost oily effect on top of the existing anti-glare screen, a bit like you’d see on cheap matte-finish laptop screens. As such, it’s hard to recommend. You may feel like the added protection is worth giving up this particular benefit of the 512GB model, but do keep it in mind either way. They’re easy to peel off if you get buyer’s remorse, at least.
Dbrand Tempered Glass Screen Protector
The Dbrand Tempered Glass Screen Protector is by far the best of its kind, at least that I’ve seen. Particularly if you’re likely to feel a tad nervous about lining it up perfectly: unlike the JSAUX and Benzacap versions, Dbrand’s screen protectors include removable tabs that you can hold onto while laying it down over the glass. Application still requires a steady hand, but these tabs are seriously useful for lining the protector up properly. I got a first-try perfect finish – no bubbles or fingerprints around the edges – that I couldn’t replicate with JSAUX’s guiding frame method.
Once applied, Dbrand’s protector performed faultlessly, with complete, nonintrusive transparency, no interfering with the Steam Deck’s touchscreen functionality, and excellent scratch resistance. Intentionally rubbing my house keys over it did nothing, so it’s hard to imagine a momentary impact doing much damage at all.
Like most of Dbrand’s wares, it’s expensive next to the competition, but I reckon it’s just about worth the investment. You get much more than the one screen protector, anyway: the package also contains safe alcohol wipes, a microfibre cloth, stickers for picking up leftover dust, a spreading tool to iron out bubbles and – perhaps most helpfully, depending on how wobbly your hands are – a spare protector. In case, to use Dbrand’s words, you “fuck it up on your first try”.
JSAUX Tempered Glass Screen Protector (HD Clarity)
More affordable than Dbrand’s and just as durable, the JSAUX Tempered Glass Screen Protector is as clear as it is tough. The screen protector getting a shanking from my painfully middle-class kitchen knife in that picture up there? That’s the JSAUX model, and said knife didn’t leave the tiniest dot of a visible mark. They should make chopping boards out of this stuff.
Your installation aid with this kit, which includes a spare protector and cleaning materials as well, is a plastic guide frame that snaps onto your Steam Deck and leaves a screen protector-sized hole in the middle. This makes it impossible to fluff the positioning, which is great, though I did get a few more air bubbles that needed ironing out after laying the tempered glass down. Dbrand’s application method is more freehand, but seems to produce cleaner results. Even so, those bubbles aren’t permanent, so JSAUX have still struck a respectable balance between protection performance and ease of installation.
Just make sure that if you choose this one, buy the HD Clarity version and not the Anti-Glare version. Initially I was pleased as peas to try out a reflection-busting screen protector, but it’s visibly less transparent and clean than the glossy, HD Clarity finish. Shame.
Banzacap Screen Protector for Steam Deck
The Banzacap Screen Protector for Steam Deck takes the most DIY-ish DIY approach to installation out of anything in this list, using a set of user-applied “hinge stickers” to lower the protector into place. Stickers are of course hinges in the same way that the gaffer tape in my disintegrating Converse are shoe soles, though in fairness, it did afford my Steam Deck an accurate placement, with only a few small bubbles to squeeze out.
Banzacap’s protector also stands up to more expensive alternatives on protection, proving immune to sharp scratching, and although ultra-close inspection reveals it’s not quite as perfectly air-clear as Dbrand’s, it’s still transparent enough that you won’t notice it while playing normally. No problems with touchscreen sensitivity, either. A good option if you’re looking to minimise your spending.
The best Steam Deck thumbstick covers
The ideal shape, size, and feel of a thumbstick is a highly personal preference, like the density of a pillow or how tall a burger can be before you start thinking the restaurant is just showing off. I can’t account for every taste, but I can share the best Steam Deck thumbstick covers I’ve used that cover a range of designs and shapes.
Dbrand Steam Deck Stick Grips
Maximum tactility is the name of the game for the Dbrand Steam Deck Stick Grips. Every square millimetre of these tall, substantial thumbstick covers is covered in dots and ridges, a design that serves the dual purposes of improving grip and helping you re-orient each thumb if they do end up slipping out of place.
There is a slightly convexed area right in the centre, which I’m not so keen on myself, but the dotted texture and raised edges do well to prevent errant thumbs from tumbling down that little hill. And although I’ve read a couple of comments about these interfering with the thumbsticks’ capacitive sensors, that wasn’t my experience at all: the Steam Deck could still detect my thumb on the right stick, enabling gyro controls, even when it it was only partially touching the edge of the Strick Grip’s raised rim.
Overall, these make a very fine addition to the Steam Deck, and are pleasantly easy to install as well. By some way, the easiest out of any that I’ve tried – you literally just sit a Stick Grip on top, press it down, and it pops on securely. Nice.
JSAUX Steam Deck Thumb Grip Caps
By contrast to the Dbrand grips, wrapping the JSAUX Steam Deck Thumb Grip Caps around each thumbstick is a minor nightmare. I ended up having to use the pointy part of a ballpoint lid to hook the shirts around the sticks’ undersides, lest they pop straight back off.
Once they’re on, however, they work marvellously. Their smooth finish and concave shape make them feel like a more natural expansion of the Steam Deck thumbsticks themselves, only better for large hands and considerably grippier. These may not be covered in dots and ridges, but their rubbery texture and deep indents still feel like they reduce slippage.
They’re perfect for fans of the Steam Deck’s gryo controls, too. I admit I don’t understand how this works but touching pretty much anywhere on JSAUX’s Grip Caps will activate the capacitive sensor in the sticks, so you don’t have keep your thumb near the middle to – for instance – enable gyro aiming in an FPS. As you would with most thumbtick covers or, indeed, a completely naked thumbstick. It’s like these caps extend the sensor’s effective range.
Sadly, the cheapest way to get a pair of these – JSAUX’s grip stickers package – has very, very recently gone out of stock. You can still get them by buying a set containing a full-size Steam Deck vinyl skin, but that’s overkill for just the stick caps. Hopefully they’re be back in stock soon.
NinjaPrint3D Steam Deck Thumb Grips
Yes, you may have seen these in that Steam Deck Etsy accessories video, which was primarily a means of vexing our video producer for entertainment. But I do honestly, genuinely like the NinjaPrint3D Steam Deck Thumb Grips. As much as the hard, almost sandpaper-like texture of 3D-printed polyurethane may feel unconventional at first, their loop design forms a sort of thumb barrier that very effectively blocks your digits from sliding out of place. Especially if they’re on the smaller side, though it works for my orangutan thumbs as well.
If you do stray to the edges, there’s enough grip on the outside of each ring to help keep you in control, and I can’t report any interference whatsoever with the capacitive sensors. If you’d prefer a more compact set of thumbstick grips for your Steam Decks, these are absolutely worth considering. They’re also easy to install and are cheap, too, despite technically being bespoke.
The best Steam Deck accessories: FAQ
That’s a lot of accessories. Which should I get first?
Assuming you already have a decent microSD card, which is the most important Steam Deck companion of all… it depends on how you’re currently using your Deck. The fact that it comes with a hard carry case as standard makes the need for a new one less urgent, though if you’re constantly taking it out and about with you, a more compact or utility-rich case could make life easier for you.
A dock or hub can be vital too, and not just if you intend to turn your Steam Deck into a makeshift desktop PC. You’ll need some kind of USB-C hub to connect a mouse and keyboard, which are both crucial to both playing certain types of games and incredibly useful when tinkering in SteamOS’ desktop mode. While Proton, Valve’s compatibility layer, does well to make Windows-based games and apps run on the Steam Deck, some might still not work with its trackpads or onscreen keyboard. Physical peripherals, connected via a dock or hub, shimmy around this shortcoming.
Or, just maybe, you don’t like the Steam Deck’s thumbsticks and want them to feel bigger or grippier. That’s fine too. Point is, don’t feel like there’s a hierarchy of Steam Deck accessory importance that applies to everyone – you’ll have the best knowledge of what you personally need.
Should I get tools for my Steam Deck?
You don’t need any tools to get the most out of your Steam Deck, at least not in the sense that every self-respecting desktop PC owner should have a crosshead screwdriver. Especially not if you’re following Valve’s advice that fiddling with the Deck’s internals should be left to professional repairpeople.
Althoooooough… were you to open up your Deck, you’d mostly just need a small crosshead driver, as Valve haven’t used any fancy specialist screws to hold the backplate on. A plastic pry bar might also be useful for jimmying open the casing – don’t use anything metallic or too sharp for this, as it will damage the Steam Deck’s bodywork.