If you’re a big fan of fighting games and play them competitively, you should seriously consider investing in a fight stick. Arcade fight sticks provide users with great access and replicate the experience of playing on an arcade cabinet.
They’re the weapon of choice in fighting game tournaments. Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, Tekken – you name it. The best players will be using some of the coolest fight sticks in existence.
Best Fight Sticks Reviewed
Fight sticks are not only coveted for how well they replicate the old school arcade cabinet experience, but they also offer a major advantage in fighting games over contemporary console controllers because of their design and button layout.
There are plenty of fighting sticks to choose from, but we feel these five ones are the best currently available in the market. Be sure to read our buyer’s guide for some insight on what you should look for in a fighting stick and what important factors to consider before buying one.
Great Price and Build
The Mayflash F500 is compatible with PS4, PS3, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PC, Android, and NEOGEO mini. This arcade stick is highly customizable and comes with a fantastic price tag.
Solidly built, highly customizable, and having wide compatibility, the Mayflash F500 is an excellent platform fighting stick for both beginners and pros to customize.
The Holy Grail Fighting Stick
The Razer Panthera is one of the best fighting sticks money can buy. It is compatible with both PC and PS4, and features a fantastic 8-way joystick and premium built buttons.
If you’re looking for the best of the best, the Razer Panthera deserves serious consideration for its performance and reliability.
The Mayflash F500 combines great affordability with excellent performance. It also has incredible multiplatform compatibility; you can use this fight stick with PS4, PS3, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PC, Android, and NEOGEO mini.
This arcade stick is not only almost universally compatible, but it is also fully customizable. Not happy with the buttons or the joystick after a while? You can always buy Sanwa ones and slap them on this bad boy.
These major factors make the F500 our top overall pick. Is it outright the best fight stick money can buy? Not quite – we’d give that one to the Razer Panthera. However, the combination of platform compatibility, great price, good initial construction, and customizability make the F500 our overall favorite fight stick.
- Great value
- Compatible with just about every platform
- Great quality build
- Very easy to mod
The Razer Panthera demands a premium price tag, but it is arguably one of the most coveted fight sticks by competitive gamers. Originally designed for the PS4, the Razer Panthera also works on PC. This monstrous arcade stick has it all. You get high-quality Sanwa hardware on this stick. There’s a fantastic 8-way joystick, coupled with 10 premium grade buttons.
The ability to mod this stick is also a huge bonus. Although the majority will be happy with the fantastic quality of the components on this fight stick, you can swap out both the buttons and joysticks for whichever ones you prefer without voiding the product’s warranty.
- High grade buttons
- Fantastic quality joystick
- Can be modded with ease
- Excellent build quality
If you’re not a fan of the modern looks of most fight sticks and prefer the classic, Nintendo-inspired designs, the 8Bitdo N30 may be right up your alley. It has a simplistic yet appealing design that doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb.
The 8bitDo has 8 buttons and is highly customizable thanks to its mod friendly design. The joystick is well made for the price you’ll pay for it, and replacing it with higher quality parts in the future shouldn’t be any problem.
You can use the N30 with Mac, PC, Nintendo Switch, and even Android. The N30 arcade fight stick is Bluetooth compatible. However, this fight stick doesn’t have any support for Xbox or PS4, which is rather strange.
- Great value
- Minimalistic design
- Highly customizable
- Has Bluetooth connectivity
- Doesn’t work on PS4 or Xbox
- Doesn’t work while charging
Beautiful design and fantastic performance make the Qanba Obsidian an essential consideration for any PS4 or PC owner looking for a high-end fighting stick. At nearly $200, this beast is asking quite a bit from your wallet, but it’s well worth is at this is a standout performer among fighting sticks for PS4 or PC.
You won’t even need to mod this beastly arcade stick all that much because it comes with high-quality Sanwa parts. This makes it a fantastic choice for anyone who wants a reliable experience out of the box and will never look to mod their fight stick.
If for whatever reason you do choose to mod it though, expect some challenge. This thing is closed up and isn’t designed to give the user easy access. However, this also gives the Qanba Obsidian robustness. It will stand all kinds of abuse for the longest time.
- Excellent build quality
- Incredible durability
- High quality Sanwa components
- Classy design
- Difficult to mod
The Hori Real Arcade Pro V is one of the “premium” fight sticks and a weapon of choice for many competitive gamers. It has a slick, extra-wide design that makes it easy for the user to rest their palm on it.
On this arcade stick, you get special Hayabusa buttons and stick with a smart button layout to prevent accidental pauses. The parts used in this fight stick are also used in Japanese arcades which get used for hundreds of hours every month, so you know they’ll withstand the test of time.
The Hori Real Arcade Pro V is designed to be compatible with Xbox One, Xbox 360, and PC. It is also very easy to mod despite its seemingly closed up design.
- Excellent durability
- Wide design
- Highly responsive controls
- Only works with Microsoft platforms
- Cable compartment door is flimsy
You can’t buy a fighting stick without knowing which platform you’ll use it on. Most fighting sticks restrict their compatibility with one or two platforms, while there are a few that can run on all major gaming platforms available.
You need to decide beforehand which platform you’ll be using your arcade stick for. Only then should you go on the hunt for the best one that fits within the budget you’ve allocated for it.
The build quality right of the box of a fighting stick isn’t very important if you plan on modding it, but it’s still an essential factor. This is because while you can swap out the joystick and buttons for higher grade aftermarket ones, you can’t do much about the chassis and functionality.
Generally, heavier fight sticks are better built as they use higher grade material. This does make them a little cumbersome to carry around – especially if you participate in a lot of tournaments, but you don’t want a fighting stick with a weak chassis that will break.
Fighting sticks get a lot of abuse while being used. You’ll be mashing those buttons hard, stressing that joystick plenty, and moving it around everywhere with you. Make sure the arcade stick of your choice can withstand all that and more.
For enthusiasts, modding is one of the most important factors. For others, not so much. The great thing about most modern fight sticks is that their main components (buttons and joystick) can be swapped out for a higher quality one.
It may sound intimidating, but the majority of fighting sticks make it very easy to mod. Some like the Razer Panthera even comes with a dedicated screwdriver so you can open the arcade stick and swap out parts.
There are however some fighting sticks that are either shut tight or simply very difficult to open up. If you don’t care about modding, you might opt for one of those. However, make sure the build quality is top-notch and the components are of very high quality.
The golden standard brand for aftermarket brands is Sanwa Denshi. Other brands like Hori Hayabusa are close seconds and offer excellent quality and tactile feedback as well. Be sure to see if modding will void the warranty of the fighting stick as well; not all manufacturers are openminded about consumers tinkering with their products.
A fighting stick is almost essential if you are a competitive gamer. There is an inherent advantage of playing with fighting sticks instead of regular console controllers. The joystick is specifically designed for executing moves in fighting games, and the buttons are laid out in a fashion that makes them far more accessible with all your fingers as opposed to a regular controller.
Can I use an arcade stick for genres other than fighting games?
Yes, you can. You can use fighting sticks to play games like Metal Slug 3, Puzzle Fighter, Ikaruga, and many more.
Should I buy a fighting stick even if I’m not a competitive gamer?
It depends. If you play fighting games extensively, then we do recommend buying a fighting stick for the sheer experience itself. You don’t need a very expensive one if you’re not a competitive gamer in the genre and only play occasionally.