Games have now become extremely competitive. Starting from adventure to shooter games, you play it all with small joysticks or packed controls that come with PS4 or Xbox One.
But frame-perfect fighting games will require you to use a more tailor-made controller that can give you the ultimate edge over the competition.
Beyond a gamepad or a keyboard, you need specific gaming controls to make the best out of each frame. The current genre of video games demands swift and sharp gaming inputs for super moves in fighting games.
Using a fight stick, you can easily outclass your opponent with more ease and match the performance of your PC. All these factors make fight sticks perfect for immersive gaming sessions.
Upgrade into a pro gamer with fight sticks and compete on the likes of Street Fighter V with the best players and opponents.
Are Fight Sticks Worth It?
You may wonder if investing in a fight stick is worth it. But the best players out there always use arcade sticks for better execution, especially for games that require accurate movements and combo buttons.
Playing fighting games like Mortal Kombat 11 on a fight stick is more comfortable and simpler than playing on a pad or on a keyboard. These are tailored and designed for the single purpose of helping you beat the best scores and gamers.
These arcade gaming boxes are also built to last, to bear the brunt of multiple gaming hours per day, and are physically more capable to handle the rigors of high octane gaming.
Fight Sticks Vs. Controllers: Which Is Better?
In the world of fighting games, fight sticks vs. controllers is a long-running question.
Controllers, apart from being inexpensive, give you a traditional feel in terms of its looks and gameplay. Most gamers are adept at using a controller and find it difficult to switch to a fight stick. Controllers are also more compatible with different gaming genres.
Moreover, the advantage of using controllers is that they are not very bulky and they fit nicely in your hand so that you can access all the inputs freely. With a controller, you can use either the analog stick or the directional pad for movement and also to input fighting moves such as charge moves, quarter-circle moves, etc.
Fight sticks work better when it comes to execution and comfort in fighting games. Gamers can stay away from sliding while playing since fight sticks have a solid base fixed with either rubber or felt which keeps your lap or floor scratch-free and the stick firmly in place as well.
They also provide precise directional strokes and are easier to use for combo functions. A proper fight stick with high-quality Sanwa buttons offers greater precision and accuracy over a controller.
Furthermore, most fight sticks can be modified with joysticks, buttons, and levers for a more personalized experience.
Buyer’s Guide: How To Choose a Fight Stick?
If you are planning to buy a fight stick, you should consider the 3 main components – the stick, the restrictor gate, and the buttons while making the purchase. Let’s learn more about them.
There are 2 parts, the top, and the lever. The lever is not of any concern since all sticks have the same lever, but the top can differ. Sticks are of 2 types; teardrop and ball top, also known as Japanese stick. Make sure to choose a top that best suits your fit. Ball top fight sticks are more suitable for a 5-finger or in-palm grip whereas teardrops are perfect if you prefer a full-hand grip of the stick.
The Restrictor Gate
The gate is very important in a fight stick since it determines lever movements so that it does not move beyond the buttons and damage the surrounding parts on the board. Gates are of 2 types, octagonal gate, and square gate. The standard one is the square gate which is commonly used in most fight sticks.
Some prefer octagonal because the lever motion in the square gate may reduce execution speed and efficiency. With an octagonal gate, you can perform smooth quarter circular motions without having to restrict the lever with your hand.
With well-built quality buttons, you can experience smoother presses. Sometimes, in case of sub-part buttons, you might get stuck halfway through, when the buttons are pressed, which makes the gaming experience quite uncomfortable. Popular button brands are Sanwa, Hayabusa, and Semitsu. A premium quality fighting sticks should come with buttons from these brands.
It is also vital to consider whether the fight stick’s compatibility with Xbox, PS, or PC or other platforms. While most traditional sticks are compatible primarily with either Xbox or PS, some sticks are compatible with both platforms and others as well. So, check the compatibility options while making a choice.
List Of The Best Arcade Sticks for PS4, Xbox & PC
1. Qanba Drone Joystick
The honey-comb designed Qanba Drone is engineered for portability and efficient gaming performance. The Drone has an easy-to-use joystick and is great for beginners and first-time users.
This small and sturdy fighting stick comes with an anti-slip bottom pad and authentic Qanba stick and buttons. You can switch the buttons with Sanwa buttons in case you have a preference as otherwise, the buttons are quite sturdy and offer sufficient feedback for comfortable usage. The drone has brilliant LED indicators for Turbo and Mode.
This Qanba product is partnered with Sony implying that it is compatible with other gaming devices and PlayStation systems.
You also get the LOCK button installed in the Qanba joystick to avoid issues while gaming. You can enjoy a hassle-free game by storing the USB cable effortlessly in the front cord pocket integrated within the design. The buttons have ultra-quick response time and produce minimal sound.
Priced under the $70 mark, this is an entry-grade fight stick that offers performance and durability beyond its price – a must-buy for a fight-stick beginner.
Weight: 1.36 kg | Dimensions: 14 x 6 x 9.5 inches | Compatibility: PS3, PS4, PC | Design: Honey-comb, Black | Model Year: 2016
- Affordable price
- Officially licensed by SONY
- Superior build quality
- Ideal button and stick size
- Buttons are noisy
- Short USB cable
- Lever and buttons require upgrades
2. Razer Panthera Street Fighter V
The premium quality Razer Panthera Street Fighter V is custom made with Sanwa components. The 8-way joystick and 10 quick responsive buttons make this a high-end model.
It is also designed as a mod-friendly unit with easy access to the internal platform for customization. You can switch the buttons and the joystick depending on your playstyle or other personalization. The bottom of the internal platform includes an easy screw mount as well.
The internal compartment can be opened up with a touch of a button to reveal dedicated slots to store the detachable and screw-lock cable, a screwdriver, a bat-top joystick, and also, 2 additional buttons.
At around $160, you can get the best Razer Panthera stick and enjoy smooth customized gaming on PS3, PS4, and PC without requiring any converter.
This is one of the best fight sticks you can buy despite the price.
Weight: 3.37 kg | Dimensions: 10.32 x 14.97 x 4.89 inches | Compatibility: PS3, PS4, PC | Design: Printed design, Black | Model Year: 2017
- Premium, incredible feel
- Brilliant design
- Excellent and easy customization options
- Solid build quality
- Expensive model
- No handle to carry the stick
3. Mad Catz Arcade FightStick Alpha
Mad Catz Arcade fight stick includes a 6-action button layout. The design is eye-catching, with a pro-grade appearance while remaining portable and streamlined.
With this Arcade’s tight gaming controls, you can stay focused on your game. The versatile gaming stick is perfect for all kinds of fighting games and it also sports a modifier button that enables it to follow left or right D-pad or analog stick patterns to unlock your game for alternative gaming genres.
Mad Catz Arcade fight stick is perfect for the greatest fighters because the device guarantees a low-latency USB connectivity.
At under $80, the fight stick is ideal for first-time buyers as well who are switching from playing on a controller to a fight stick. But perhaps what makes this fight stick even better is that it sports legendary Sanwa-only buttons.
Weight: 1.36 kg | Dimensions: 9.84 x 5.51 x 8.27 inches | Compatibility: PS3, PS4, PC | Model Year: 2016
- Turbo switch options
- Perfect weight
- Sensitive buttons
- May not work smoothly on PS3
- Stick may tend to break
4. Victrix PS4 Pro FS Arcade Fight Stick
With the fastest response time on console, the Victrix Pro FS fight stick is designed with reliable and authentic Sanwa Denshi components that complement the custom electronics and deliver the smoothest performance.
The Victrix Pro FS is designed for pro-grade gaming, using only Sanwa components throughout. You also get two detachable shafts that make the stick travel-ready and portable without worrying about damaging the stick. The aluminum casing of the fight stick makes a strong and sturdy body.
From designing the ergonomics of the anti-slip pads and the precise angle for your wrists, there is a lot of effort given to develop this into one of the Xbox or PS4 arcade sticks.
You also get customizable lighting, audio, programmable button, and a smooth access door for switching components. The fight stick includes built-in handles, a cable organizer, a removable stick, and diecast metal to strap-in attachments as well.
Priced at $350, this is one of the best fight sticks you can buy, designed for and used by pro gamers.
Weight: 5.8 kg | Dimensions: 22.05 x 15.75 x 7.87 inches | Compatibility: PS4, Xbox ONE | Model Year: 2019
- Removable joystick
- Well-designed power cable
- Built-in handles
- Sanwa arcade components
- No PS4 touch pad
- Inadequate storage space
- Heavy weighted and expensive
With the Hori Real Arcade fighting stick, you are upgrading to one of the best arcade sticks you can buy. Switch between platforms with just a flip of a button and play comfortably on PCs as well. This state-of-the-art fight stick features a stylish and sleek designed faceplate and chassis with metallic accents.
The buttons and the joystick are authentic HORI Hayabusa components. The Hayabusa lever of the stick is designed with a bold V-cut structure that increases the response time and reduces input load.
The matte-finished Hayabusa buttons have round edges and a slimmer profile. HORI Hayabusa proprietary parts are commonly used in Japanese arcades and popular in the arcade gaming community.
Gamers from all around the world consider these cutting-edge arcade components for their high-reliability and ultra-responsiveness. You can get this real arcade experience for around $150, and also have sufficient USB cable storage within the stick for easy portability.
Weight: 198 grams | Dimensions: 17 x 9.4 x 4.5 inches | Compatibility: Xbox One, Xbox 360, & Windows PC | Design: Printed Metallic/Matte Black | Model Year: 201
- Responsive buttons and stick
- Long USB cord
- Easy switch between Menu and View modes
- Multiple stick modes
- More bottom-grip required
- Small wrist rest area
- Flimsy door for cord storage compartment
6. MAYFLASH Universal Arcade FIGHTSTICK F500
With MAYFLASH Universal arcade fight stick you can transform your wireless controller into a wired controller by connecting a USB cable.
The size of the 8 functional and 1 Start super-quality buttons is the same as Sanwa buttons model OBSF-30 and OBSF-24. Similarly, the MAYFLASH joystick can also be replaced with Sanwa joystick model TP-8YT.
This fight stick has a replaceable acrylic top cover paper. You can customize the top cover and also the buttons by downloading a template from the official MAYFLASH website.
Other than customizations, this MAYFLASH Universal Arcade has 2 pieces of metal panes; the metal base and metal cover, which increases the weight of the stick but offers a solid and secure feel.
If you want one of the best budget fight sticks that will last years of stringent gaming, you should go for this MAYFLASH Universal Arcade stick priced at under $90.
Weight: 3 kg | Dimensions: 14.17 x 2.4 x 9.17 inches | Compatibility: PS4, PS3, Xbox ONE, Xbox 360, PC, Android, Switch, NEOGEO Mini, SEGA MEGA Drive, SEGA Genesis | Model Year: 2016
- Proper feedback
- Comfortable wrist strap
- Sleek appearance
- Short USB cable
7. Qanba Dragon Joystick
The Qanba Dragon joystick is designed to offer unparalleled style and superior performance. Professional arcade gamers across the world have claimed the Dragon to be one the best arcade sticks available.
The Qanba Dragon is equipped with high-quality Sanwa pushbuttons, OBSF 30’s, and joystick for the perfect gaming experience. These components provide the highest precision and guarantee durability other than superior performance.
The device provides maximum compatibility with other platforms in PS systems because it is officially partnered with Sony. You can switch parts in the Qanba Dragon stick courtesy a mod-friendly design typical of Qanba.
This is also rated as one of the best fight sticks for PC, offering easy compatibility. The Dragon perhaps offers the largest number of preset gaming functions and you can change in between easily while keeping an eye out with its red LED display up top.
At just under $300, this is one of the priciest but also one of the best arcade sticks around. It is built to last and if you buy one of these, you may not need one for more than a few years to come.
Weight: 5.26 kg | Dimensions: 12.5 x 20 x 5 inches | Compatibility: PS3, PS4, PC | Model Year: 2016
- High-quality Sanwa joystick and buttons
- Solid and strong build
- Easy modding
- Top-notch performance
- Size and weight
8. Razer Atrox Dragon Ball Fighter Z
The Razer Atrox Dragon Ball Fighter Z is crafted with superior Sanwa components – 8-way joystick and 10 functional buttons. It is ideal for modding enthusiasts who keep on switching between buttons and joysticks to find that perfect gaming experience.
The internal storage space is easily accessible with the tap of a button. Use it to store a detachable screw-lock cable, a screwdriver, 2 additional buttons, and a ball-top joystick.
The stick is perfect for gaming tournaments as it allows easy deactivations of Select/Share and Start/Options and PS buttons.
The wide profile Razer Atrox, priced at around $200, offers extensive compatibility with other popular arcade games.
The weight of the stick is quite comfortable and balanced for your lap that minimizes strain and the anti-slip rubber pad lets you play without hassle-free.
Weight: 3.37 kg | Dimensions: 18.3 x 14 x 12.9 inches | Compatibility: Xbox One | Design: Printed Design, Orange-Black | Model Year: 2018
- Great Sanwa stick and buttons
- Perfect for high-level gaming
- Visually beautiful and unique design
- Adequate storage space
- Cable tends to break
- Compatible with Xbox only
9. MAYFLASH F300
Unline the Razer Atrox, MAYFLASH Arcade F300 fight stick works on both PlayStation and Xbox consoles. The stick can be easily molded according to the gamer’s preference. This stick comes with 8 buttons and 1 Start button, all of which can be personally customized with ease.
The arcade comes with a long USB cord along with storage features inside. The ergonomically designed MAYFLASH arcade stick is perfect for first-time buyers and the buttons and lever are placed on the exact layout you will find in the arcade style.
At around $60, you can get this amazing MAYFLASH F300 Arcade Fight Stick Joystick, containing considerable rubber feet and heft that firmly hold the stick in place, on flat surfaces. It is one of the best budget fight sticks you can buy today.
Weight: 1.8 kg | Dimensions: 22 x 13 x 11 inches | Compatibility: PS4, PS3, Xbox ONE, Xbox 360, PC, Switch, NeoGeo mini | Model Year: 2015
- Budget buy
- Easy modding capability
- Excellent for beginners
- Small and pulpy buttons
- No Sanwa components
- Complicated setup and extra wires
10. PXN 0082
Last one our list is the PXN 0082 fight stick that comes with excellent macro and turbo functions. The game stick contains 1-button release combo skill, macro, and turbo functions. The ergonomic design is crafted in such a way that offers comfort to the players without compromising the performance of the game.
The stick features 8 round control buttons and a spherical smooth metal joystick for high performance, precision, and smooth gaming operations. It is compatible with several gaming platforms including PS, Xbox, PC, and Android TV.
Depending on the kind of game, you can switch between D-pad and direction stick with the switchable joystick. The long 2.2 m USB cable is a convenient add-on.
For under $40, you will also get an anti-slip rubber base that tightly sticks to any surface and secures the joystick in its place. This is one of the best budget fight sticks. Just plug-and-play and you are good to go.
Weight: 1 kg | Dimensions: 9.84 x 6.89 x 4.13 inches | Compatibility: PlayStation, Xbox, Android TV, PC | Model Year: 2019
- Budget buy
- Long USB cable
- Works with Android TV
- Looks cheap and dull
- Small in size
Choosing the best fight stick for you is all about knowing the best buttons and lever based on your budget. When it comes to the lever and the button, you will get superior quality components from Sanwa and Hayabusa.
Before buying an arcade stick, choose a platform on which you are planning to play the game. If you buy a stick which is incompatible with your system, you may need to invest extra for a converter adapter. The type of arcade stick you choose should also depend on the configuration or layout type you want on the arcade stick unless you are interested in further modifications.
There are different layouts, including 6 or 8 functional buttons and the different joystick styles. Among all these factors, keep in mind that pricing is also a big factor that can determine build quality and the components of the arcade stick.