After our research, we´ve found that the Mayflash F300 is the best universal arcade fight stick for the average gamer. It feels comfortable and responsive, can be easily customized with Sanwa Denshi/Seimitsu parts, and can be used on various platforms like PC, PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Nintendo Switch and NeoGeo Mini.
For hardcore gamers, we recommend HORI Real Arcade Pro 4 Kai. It is the best arcade fight stick for PS4 out there which even comes with Sony certification. We also have to mention the Razer Atrox. Arguably the best arcade stick for Xbox One that offers premium build quality, incredible comfort, and is specially designed for modding.
THE BEST ARCADE STICKS 2023
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Win, lose or draw, whatever… It’s just a game that you’re playing for fun.
This is our motto when we are playing fighting games against other people. All we want is to have a good time.
If you want to play at a competitive level where each move of your fingers is important, you should not only perfect your skills but also consider investing in a high-quality arcade stick or fight stick.
Before we present you with the other best fight sticks and arcade sticks you can buy right now, let’s explain basic terms.
What Is An Arcade Stick
In short, the arcade stick is a joystick controller with buttons and some extra functionality. Specifically designed to replicate arcade-like controls for games like Street Fighter, Tekken, Injustice or Soulcalibur, just to name a few.
Playing a fighting game with an arcade stick/fight stick and playing it with a gamepad are two different things.
Is an arcade stick really better than a gamepad? Good question. We like to learn all kinds of moves and combos by sound and execution. This is why we prefer the arcade stick while playing fighting games.
If you do get a stick, buy something decent (not extremely cheap).
We have a guide to help you find the best arcade sticks and fighting sticks of 2021.
BUDGET ARCADE STICKS UNDER $50
HORI Fighting Stick Mini 4 | PS4, PS3
Compatibility: PS4, PS3
Size: 9.8 x 5.9 x 7.9 inches (23 x 17.8 x 11.8 Centimeters)
Weight: 2 pounds (0.9 kg)
Layout: 8 buttons
Can anyone beat HORI Fighting Stick for the price? This is a great entry-level stick for gamers on the budget. The build quality is adequate for the money you need to invest in these gaming accessories.
The stick really is mini, however, it is in no way uncomfortable.
The buttons are maybe small and close to each other, but this distance is not too much close to hitting the wrong buttons. HORI Fighting Stick Mini 4 is in no way a PRO stick, but if you are looking for an arcade stick for emulation purposes, pick it up. It’s a great deal.
FOR: Low price • Compact and light • Good for beginners
AGAINST: Poor build quality • For small hands
➤ HORI Fighting Stick Mini 4
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Mayflash Universal Arcade Fighting Stick | PS2, PS3, PC and USB
Compatibility: PS2, PS3, and PC USB
Size: 9.8 x 9.8 x 2 inches (23 x 23 x 5 Centimeters)
Weight: 4 pounds (1.8 kg)
Layout: 8 buttons
Mayflash Universal is a very basic arcade stick great for beginners, with all the buttons and a circular handle and a square. This universal stick works with almost any platform (except PS4 and Xbox One).
It has a sturdy design and the buttons and the stick all feel nice. Many experience games will say that the stick and buttons are a bit stiff when you compare it to higher-end arcade sticks, but this is a budget item and for the price, Mayflash Universal Arcade Fighting Stick can be beaten.
In short, this is a good stick for its price and you should not expect anything excellent as if you were buying a high-end stick, but you can use the Mayflash Universal for old arcade shooters, side-scrolling games or fighters.
FOR: Affordable • Enough space for hands to rest on • Easy to modify
AGAINST: Loud buttons and joystick • Mediocre play quality
➤ Mayflash Universal Arcade Fighting Stick
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BEST ARCADE STICKS UNDER $100
Mad Catz Street Fighter V Arcade FightStick Alpha | PS4, PS3, PC
Compatibility: PS4, PS3, PC
Size: 11.8 x 6.3 x 9.8 inches (30 x 16 x 24 Centimeters)
Weight: 5 pounds (2.2 kg)
Layout: 6 buttons
The Mad Catz Alpha is another entry-level arcade stick with a more average design, basic functions, and a pretty good build quality.
The higher price is reflected in better build quality. It comes with a square restrictor gate, well-working responsive buttons with slight resistance, and is made up of plastic with some rubber padding underneath that is preventing the arcade fightstick from sliding in the heat of a game.
Mad Catz V Alpha is an arcade stick for beginners and with its lightweight and small size, it is a great accessory for gamers who travel a lot.
FOR: Compact • Good build quality • Can be modified
AGAINST: Weak buttons • Made of cheap parts
➤ Mad Catz Street Fighter V Arcade FightStick
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Mayflash F300 Arcade Fight Stick Joystick | PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PC
Compatibility: PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360 And PC
Size: 22 x 13 x 11 inches (55 x 33 x 28 Centimeters)
Weight: 4 pounds (1.8 kg)
Layout: 8 buttons
The Mayflash F300 is aimed especially at beginner players who want to own a universal fight stick. It provides an 8-button layout, with extra buttons on the top of the device for turbo and changing the input of the arcade fight stick.
You can even upgrade the internals down the line with parts like Sanwa buttons and joysticks to get an authentic arcade-style experience.
Best cheap fight stick? Honestly, Mayflash F300 is the best fight stick on this list which is ideal for casual players and a good plug-and-play arcade fight stick for the money.
If you are a more experienced gamer, you should replace at least the joystick for Sanwa, but for beginners this model is great and the buttons, although just clunky, will do just fine for now.
FOR: For all platforms • Good weight • Solid construction • Easily modifiable
AGAINST: For Xbox, you need a wired 360 controller
➤ Mayflash F300 Arcade Fight Stick Joystick
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Qanba Drone Joystick | PS4 PS3 and PC
Compatibility: PS4, PS3, And PC
Size: 15.4 x 10.4 x 6.6 inches (39 x 26 x 17 Centimeters)
Weight: 4 pounds (1.8 kg)
Layout: 8 buttons
Another good option for those who don’t want to spend a lot of money for a decent fight stick. A very light and compact device you can easily fit into your bookbag without any space issue.
Qanba Drone Joystick is somewhere between budget and high-end arcade stick, so you can expect a solid quality with very responsive buttons without any drops in inputs.
The best part of the Qanba Drone is its customization options. If you are planning to replace a few parts in it to make it more to your liking, Qanba Drone Joystick has good value for the money.
It is still cheaper, in the long run, to customize cheaper fight stick to your happiness than buy one of the more expensive fight sticks.
FOR: Officially PS4 certified • Tournament mode lock switch • Authentic arcade feel
AGAINST: No closed cord compartment
➤ Qanba Drone Arcade Joystick
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Mayflash F500 Arcade Fight Stick | PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC, and Android
Compatibility: PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC, And Android
Size: 14.2 x 2.4 x 9.2 inches (36 x 6 x 23 Centimeters)
Weight: 6 pounds (2.7 kg)
Layout: 8 buttons
Made up of a solid piece of metal with rubber feet and a good amount of weight. All this makes Mayflash F500 a durable and solid fight stick.
As well as many other devices on this list, F500 is great when it comes to modding. Each of the 8 buttons can be replaced and the joystick is no exception either. Just unscrew 6 bolts at the bottom, and then you have access to everything inside.
This basically larger version of Mayflash F300 is not a premium quality arcade stick by any means but it is also not a cheap budget device either. Mayflash F500 is compatible with all main gaming platforms and works well with most games.
We think Mayflash products are great for what they are – high-quality copies of more expensive devices.
You have an option, pay $300 for a stick with premium Sanwa parts that works only on one platform and give you the professional experience, or you can pay around $100 and get Mayflash that can be used on multiple systems with a bit worse gaming experience. And if you spend another $20 on extra parts, you get an ultimate arcade fight stick.
FOR: Universal fightstick • USB compartment • Size is great for lap or table to use • Easy to modify
AGAINST: Buttons feel cheap
➤ Mayflash F500 Arcade Fight Stick
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BEST ARCADE STICKS UNDER $200
Razer Atrox Arcade Stick | Xbox One, PC
Compatibility: Xbox One, PC
Size: 19 x 14 x 7 inches (48 x 35 x 18 Centimeters)
Weight: 10 pounds (4.5 kg)
Layout: 8 buttons
Now we are in the premium category. A lot of Razer products aren’t of very high quality, but Razer Atrox does not suffer from this issue. It is a premium quality product with Sanwa Denshi components which is designed to be easy and accessible to customize.
The joystick and all the buttons are easily swappable, so it is only on you how much you modify this arcade stick – you also get a screwdriver in the box just to make it easier to modify. The Razer Atrox looks awesome with the typical green color scheme and design this brand is known for.
It has a very simple yet effective layout with a lock switch and Xbox button in the top left panel, 8 buttons on the face, stick and the select/start buttons on the right side of the device. The Razer Atrox is the best Xbox One fight stick we found,
FOR: Premium parts (real Sanwa parts) • Rubber padded bottom • Easy to modify
AGAINST: Only for Xbox 360 and PC
➤ Razer Atrox Arcade Stick
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HORI Real Arcade Pro 4 Kai | PS4, PS3, and PC
Compatibility: PS4, PS3, and PC
Size: 23.6 x 11 x 15.8 inches (60 x 28 x 40 Centimeters)
Weight: 7 pounds (3 kg)
Layout: 8 buttons
What to say about HORI Real Arcade Pro 4. Probably the best-selling arcade stick of all time and used by many professional gamers. Premium design, high-quality build, and customization made HORI a well-known brand.
The device works perfectly on any platform, there is a small switch on the side that will help to change between consoles and OC. The Hayabusa joystick itself moves very smoothly around and Hayabusa buttons are very responsive and feel, once pressed, pretty smooth. You get all the features of a high-end fight stick at a reasonable price.
For the money, HORI Real Arcade Pro 4 Kai is the best Sony-licensed arcade fight stick out there. Easy to customize, add another $20 and you have any buttons/joystick you could want.
FOR: HAYABUSA stick lever and new HAYABUSA buttons • Integrated touchpad • Turbo toggle
AGAINST: Not easily modded
➤ HORI Real Arcade Pro 4 Kai
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BEST PROFI ARCADE STICKS UNDER $300
Qanba Dragon Arcade Stick | PC, PS4 and PS3
Compatibility: PC, PS4, and PS3
Size: 22.7 x 15.5 x 7.2 inches (58 x 39 x 18 Centimeters)
Weight: 11 pounds (5 kg)
Layout: 8 buttons
The Qanba brand has been associated with the finest joysticks loved by professional fighting game e-athletes worldwide for many years.
This model is amazing.
It weighs almost 12 pounds, feels solid and heavy. The body is made out of an aluminum alloy, got an elegant design and also provides an outstanding gaming experience and maximum possible comfort. Qanba Dragon Arcade Stick is equipped with premium Sanwa Denshi buttons, a handle and square restrictor gate. Of course, all these parts can be easily modified.
Qanba Dragon is ideal for long gaming sessions thanks to its ergonomic design. And for those who are open to spending $300 on a stick, the Dragon absolutely delivers where it matters, possibly more so than any other stick on this list.
You are getting what you pay for with this arcade fight stick, and while there are other high-quality products, no one gets the job done with quite the class and prestige of the Dragon.
If you’re serious about fighting games and you have the extra money to spend, the Qanba Dragon Arcade Stick is what you really want. It is perhaps the best fight stick for PS4 available.
FOR: Premium Sanwa components • Solid build • Turbo function • LED lighting
AGAINST: Command console difficult to use • a Non-detachable USB cable
➤ Qanba Dragon Joystick
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Mad Catz Street Fighter V Arcade FightStick TE2+ | PS3, PS4, Xbox One, and PC
Compatibility: PS3, PS4, Xbox One, And PC
Size: 18 x 13 x 6 inches (45 x 33 x 15 Centimeters)
Weight: 5 pounds (2.2 kg)
Layout: 8 buttons
First look at Mad Catz fight stick TE2+ tells you one thing. That’s what quality looks like. Madcatz TE2+ is a tournament edition made for professional e-gaming and the best fight stick for Street FIghter on the market.
Made of metal, glass, and plastic, with rubber for a good grip while playing. Non-slip foam padding coincides with where the controller rests on your legs during lap-mounted gameplay. The handle itself is a flexible, durable, and accurate Sanwa JLF ball-top that is combined with a square restrictor gate. It features sensitive buttons with slight resistance, an 8-button layout, and control buttons located on the top of the touchpad.
Do you want to customize it? Just press a button and the case opens for you. The internal of this item also provides a dedicated storage compartment that gives you space for your tools and parts.
Overall, Madcatz TE2+ is an amazing tool you need to crush your opponents. Durable, reliable, and designed for custom artwork, this high-end arcade stick is worth every penny for both passionate and competitive players.
FOR: Smooth and responsive buttons • Very easy to modify • Foam padding-bottom
➤ Mad Catz Street Fighter V Arcade FightStick TE2+
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FIGHT STICK BUYING GUIDE AND FAQs
When it comes to fighting sticks aka arcade sticks, it is all about getting used to it. There are some questions you should have before you buy a fighting stick and at the end of this Top 10 Best Arcade Sticks (Fight Sticks) Of 2019, we have created a buying guide, where we show you which features are good to know before you invest into the arcade stick.
Is Arcade Stick Better Than A Gamepad?
This is a good question. Is it because buttons are bigger and easier to push?
Sticks are something that takes time to get used to. People can argue that an arcade stick makes your thumbs less tired and gives you more freedom with button combinations. You are able to use all five fingers to access the buttons instead of only relying on the thumb, index, and middle finger.
But this fact is becoming less true as manufacturers make more ergonomic pads. Now you can pick what fits you best.
We personally think that it is also more satisfying to hit big colorful buttons with your fingers rather than press tiny ones with your thumb on a pad.
The answer to this question is hard to find. It is just a matter of preference. Anything that can be done on an arcade stick can also be done on the pad.
How To Choose The Best Fight Stick For You
PLATFORM – Probably the most important thing you should know before purchasing a fight stick is to decide on which platforms it will be used.
Some sticks are specially designed for Xbox, some are exclusive for Playstation. Fortunately, not all fighting sticks are made exclusively for one platform, you can always pick up a universal arcade stick such as Mayflash F300 or if you are a PC user, you are able to use Xbox or PlayStation sticks immediately after plugging in or with a help of software.
PRICE – More money = better parts, better quality. Cheap arcade sticks offer the basics and have basic functionality. We include a few budget options on this list, but if you are looking for premium sticks, their price is usually between $140-$200.
With a premium stick, you get higher build quality, as well as a better accessible interior for repair and modding.
PARTS – Controllers are not the same. There are many differences: button layouts, number of buttons (6 vs 8), joystick-style (baseball bat vs lollipop), and joystick gate ( square vs circle vs diamond vs octagonal). Gamers often modding their fight sticks with new buttons, gates, and other parts.
How To Use A Fighting Stick
So, your fightstick has already arrived, and you’d love to learn how to hold it properly and get used to it. You probably heard that there are different ways to hold it, but you have no clue which one to pick.
Don’t worry, we will help you with this simple guide.
Before we start, we should mention one important fact. There is no right or wrong way to hold a fighting stick. If you find a grip that is comfortable for you, go for it.
Let´s get started with a fact where should you place your fight stick. On your lap or any flat surface?
Lap – The lap is great for larger fightsticks, because they tend to move around a lot. Playing on the lap also helps to rest your arms more easily on the stick compared to a table or desk.
Flat surface – When we speak about flat surfaces we mean table, desk, TV stand or floor. The main reason to choose a flat surface is the stability for the stick it offers.
How To Grip Your Joystick
There are pretty much only three most common ways to grip a joystick and it’ll have more to do with your comfort than the game you play.
Wine Glass Grip – Also called “Asian” grip. You grip the down of the ball, the rod being between your middle and ring finger
Broomstick Grip – Also known as the classic full hand grip or “American” grip. To execute it, hold the joystick with your fingers and palm. Your thumb can rest over the ball. An ideal grip for straight joysticks.
Hybrid Grip – The hybrid or “European” grip is very similar to the wine glass grip, and provides more control of the joystick. Just grip the ball with 3 or 4 fingers, putting the strength into the tip of it.
Still not sure, which grip is the best for you? The easiest way to find it is to try the following steps:
- Make sure your left hand is planted on the stick.
- Now try the different grips we mention above and make sure you can hit every direction consistently without feeling too weird.
- Graduate to qcf/qcb/half circle motions with the grip. If you can do all of this consistently, and it doesn’t hurt you to do, you just found your grip. It is all about comfort.
It is also worth mentioning that it needs time to get used to an arcade stick. You will need at least a week, possibly a month if you put the time in.
Why Are Arcade Sticks So Expensive?
Perhaps you already found, that most arcade sticks are sometimes more expensive than actual game consoles. You can easily spend around $300 on a new stick.
Honestly, is so expensive fight stick worth the price?
Simply put, the price is sometimes so high, because their components and the overall quality make them expensive.
We aren’t speaking only about a joystick and a few buttons. Better quality and better parts lead to a higher price.
In fact, there is no reason to spend $300 for an arcade stick unless you want to play fighting games on a professional level. Just buy a less expensive one with quality parts that is easy to mod.
Do You Want To Make Your Own Fight Stick?
We picked up a few videos that should help you with this easy task.
Make your own PS4 fightstick the easy way!
- DIY Arcade Stick, Make it Extreme
- How To Build A Pro Arcade Stick – Easy Way, Aabyssx
- Do you need NEW BUTTONS? [Arcade Stick Mod], NihongoGamer
Arcade fight sticks are way more fun. We agree.
Sticks came first, and most of the fighting games got started on sticks. Can you play and beat people with a gamepad? Yes. Is a stick better? It is all preference.
No, it is mostly preference. You can do just fine with whatever controller you prefer, regardless of the game.
The Best Fighting Game Esports
Although esports are mostly under the control of shooters, MOBAs, and battle royale games, there is still a large community of dedicated players of fighting games. Here are the top 5 of the best fighting game esports you should know about.
More Example Of Fighting Game Esports: Injustice 2, Guilty Gear Xrd REV 2, Project M, Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite, Brawlhalla
If you enjoyed this best fight stick review, you’ll probably like our other gaming guides as well. Here are some popular resources from the Nechstar:
- Best Gaming Headset
- Best Gaming Desks
- Best 144Hz Gaming Monitors
- Best Mouse For MOBAs, and other games
- Top 5 Best Fighting Game Esports – Smash Bros, Street Fighter & More, Elecspo
- An Introduction to Watching Fighting Games as Esports, The Esports Observer
- How to use Arcade Stick, Reddit
- Most common stick grips, Reddit
Main photo by Sean Do
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*All prices mentioned above are at the time of publishing.