The Best Arcade/Fight Sticks – Reviews and Buying Guide

Fight sticks have been used basically since the dawn of gaming — gamers across the world everyday mash their “attack-button” while enjoying a number of games. You want to make sure you are buying the right fight stick, so that’s why we’ve to review the best possible fight sticks today.

This guide was written with the sole purpose of getting you the best possible fight stick available today, for this we’ve purchased dozens of different arcade stick models as well as reviewed them in person while playing real games (which you will be doing with them anyway). Consider this to be one of the best reference guides for getting a good fight stick available on the internet today.

BTW, the platforms compatible section have the platform that the Amazon page indicated, it’s really quite possible that you will be able to configure a model to work with a platform not listed, however.

NameHORI Real Arcade 4 Pro KaiQanba ObsidianQanba DroneRazer PantheraMayflash F500
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PlatformsPS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PCPS4, PS3, PCPS4, PS3, PCPS4, PS3, PCPS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PC, Android
ClassAdvancedAdvancedStarterAdvancedStarter
Price$$$$$$$$$$$$
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How to find the Best Fightstick for you?

First, you’ll need to know the platform. Different fight-sticks will be better designed for one platform vs. another one. For example, the HORI Real Arcade 4 Pro V Kai is probably the best fight-stick for Xbox One. The second thing you’ll need to know is if the fight-stick is easily modified — if you wish to upgrade the fight stick from a budget model to a more advanced model in the future, you’ll have to make sure it’s compatible with your desired modifications.

The second thing is you’ll need to be aware of what specifications you want — what fight stick do you want? What features do you want? Jot these down and look at the potential choices.

The third thing you’ll need to pay attention to is the pricing; if you are just getting started you won’t want to shell out so much money. You can start out with a cheaper model like the Mayflash F500 or Qanba Drone. if you just want an enthusiast grade product right off the bat, just get something like the HORI Real Arcade 4 Pro Kai (it works with every major platform).

The Best Fight Stick for 2018

HORI Real Arcade 4 Pro Kai

Here we have the most flexible model available in terms of compatibility. It’s compatible with practically every single possible platform you can think of: The PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and the PC. Like the HORI Real Arcade 4 Pro V Kai, the Pro Kai substitutes Sanwa Joystick and buttons with their own Hayabusa model joystick, We haven’t gone out and tested whether the claims of 10%+ input lag reduction or faster response times are true, but we can say with confidence that it feels very comfortable while gaming.

The buttons are quite well made, with a convex shape to fit the natural contour of your finger and in an ergonomic Vewlix-style. It worked great for games like Street Fighter V — the response time was great, and the stick felt comfortable playing with for an extended period. The arcade stick should probably work well with pretty much any game that you can throw at it.

All in all, this is the best fight stick we’ve been able to find. It’s compatible with practically all different platforms and works well in our actual tests. It’s an excellent choice for those who have the money to buy it.

PROS: 

Compatible with many different platforms

Feels very comfortable while gaming

Well-made ergonomic buttons

Works well with practically any game that we’ve played with it

CONS:

Quite expensive

Best Fight Stick for Xbox One

HORI Real Arcade 4 Pro V Kai

The first feature that probably stands out is the flexibility. It’s compatible with the Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PC all at the same time. Our Windows 10 system and Xbox immediately recognized and installed the drivers without much effort on our part as soon as we plugged it in. The model is different from most other models on the market as it doesn’t have a Sanwa Joystick since it actually comes with the in-house Hayabusa as a substitute. Although HORI has given its Hayabusa very generous amounts of praise, I cannot deny that it did feel quite smooth and enjoyable while playing.

The price is not at all unreasonable for the build quality, ergonomic friendliness, and overall great value of the HORI Real Arcade V Kai. Make sure to check this model out on Amazon.

PROS:

Compatible with 3 different platforms

Works well on Windows 10 without any installation software

Easily customizable

Smooth and enjoyable while playing

CONS:

Difficult to modify internals

Somewhat pricey

Best Fight Sticks for PS4

Qanba Obsidian

The Qanba Obsidian is probably the most aesthetically pleasing arcade stick on our list; it has a nice gray-black color scheme along with side-panels that are lined with a blue LED ring that can be customized to flash based on in-game input or stay constant. The entire body of the fight stick is constructed of aluminum, giving it a very attractive premium feeling. We felt that the overall shape of the stick was fairly ergonomically friendly, including several rubber strips meant to prevent the stick from sliding around on your lap. It was very easy to use, and worked well in extended gaming sessions.

The Qanba Obsidian features a Sanwa Denshi Joystick and Sanwa Denshi buttons, components universally regarded as being the top-standard for fightsticks. If you wish to upgrade them, it can be somewhat tricky (unlike the Dragon) to modify as it requires a screwdriver instead of being toolless. However, once opened, the buttons can be replaced quite easily and handily. This, however, comes at a price of the product’s warranty.

The Obsidian also includes a touch-pad, a tournament lock, and several other different ergonomically friendly features.

PROS:

It’s compatible with the PS3, PS4 and PC all at the same time

Quite aesthetically pleasing

Features high-quality Sanwa Denshi buttons

Qanba PCB’s at this price are usually top-quality

CONS:

Expensive

When opened for modification the warranty is voided.

Razer Panthera 

The basic premise of the Razer Panthera is that it’s essentially a better version of the Razer Atrox, with most of the visual design of the Panthera as well as many features being essentially the same as the Atrox. The main differences between the two models are the better build quality and a revamped control panel area, including a touchpad like the Mad Catz Street Fighter V, on the Panthera.

The build quality is vastly different from the Atrox — many of the issues that gamers complained about have been remedied or fixed entirely. The top cover is now more durable with the addition of extra plastic to the top cover, as well as a USB connector using an updated connector similar to the Mad Catz Tournament Edition Pro. It suffers from far less accidental disconnects and failures than the old outdated cable system that the Atrox had.

The most standout feature that the Razer Panthera has is the modding capability. Similar to the Atrox, the Panthera has been made with modding capability in mind; the internals are easy to take apart, and the wires have been color-coded to make it even easier than it already is. Several online guides, as well as an included written guide make it trivially easy to take apart and mod the Razer Panthera.

The Razer Panthera also includes a tournament mode which makes it easy for someone to set up a tournament with multiple players. It deactivates buttons that are not usually used in a tournament making transition between players easy and allowing for a much more realistic and immersive experience.

PROS:

Easy to mod

Included Tournament lock

Great build quality

Great upgrade from the Razer Atrox

CONS:

Quite expensive

Best Fightstick for PS3

Mad Catz Street Fighter V Arcade Fightstick TES 

The first impression of the Mad Catz Street Fighter V is the great build quality — they really did go the extra mile to ensure that the model will endure long gaming sessions without too much trouble. The included Sanwa Denshi parts (which you don’t have to go out of your way to mod in) can sustain multi-hour gaming sessions for years without issue.

This is probably the best choice for gamers on the PS4 or the PS3, as it seems to be custom made for the Sony PlayStation platform. We played six different games in our tests and all of them worked amazingly on the Mad Catz Street Fighter V. The button placements were extraordinarily intuitive and well-thought out, and also included is a touchpad that allows you to do a lot more than just the buttons do. Despite putting the Mad Catz Street Fighter V through a lot of pressure (several multi-hour gaming sessions), the buttons and joystick didn’t show any signs of letting up.

All in all, this is probably one of the best fightsticks you can get for the PlayStation platform. If you only game on the PlaysStation you should definitely consider the Mad Catz Street Fighter V.

PROS:

Very intuitive button layout

Already has Sanwa Denshi parts included

Quite durable

Works well with a lot of games

CONS:

Pricey

Best Fightstick for PC

Qanba Crystal

For the most part, the Qanba Crystal is pretty similar to most other Qanba Joysticks on the market. It uses a simple 8-button + Joystick Layout, similar to the Qanba Obsidian. There are rubber strips on the bottom of the fightstick that are used to prevent it from sliding off your lap while gaming. It’s similar to the Obsidian in that it only has support for PS4, PS3 and PC — which is still quite a lot of platforms, but not as much as the Hori Real Arcade 4 Pro Kai.

The best aesthetic feature of this product are the light-up blue LED’s that glow per push or vibrate. It adds a nice aesthetic feature to the product but unfortunately in our experience, the buttons a bit sticky.

Unfortunately for modders, modifying the stick voids the warranty of the product. It also doesn’t come default with Sanwa Denshi parts meaning that anyone who just cannot play without them has to, unfortunately, avoid this particular fightstick.

PROS:

Supports PS3, PS4 and PC

Configurable light-up LED’s

Qanba PCB’s at this price have been known to run extremely well

CONS:

Expensive

If modified the warranty is voided

Best Fightstick for Nintendo Switch

HORI Real Arcade Pro V Hayabusa

The first fightstick on our list that is designed for the Nintendo Switch, it basically is a HORI stick that has been configured for the Nintendo Switch. It uses the same HORI Hayasuba parts that are on all other HORI Fightstick models. Similar to other HORI fightsticks, it doesn’t include Sanwa Denshi parts, only including the HORI in-house Hayasuba parts that are pretty good anyways. For those that see it as a sticking point, you can switch them out any time you want.

The base of the model has stickypads that make it good for gaming on your lap and the hollow Hayasuba buttons are also a great addition.The build quality is on par with other HORI fight-sticks, and the overall conclusion is that this model is basically a generic HORI fight stick but made for Nintendo Switch instead. It is still compatible with the PC through Xinput as well.

PROS:

Good build quality

Good high-quality Hayasuba buttons

Decently modifiable

CONS:

Pretty expensive

Best Budget Fightstick

Mayflash F500

The Mayflash F500 is a great choice if you want something better than a budget fightstick but want something less than an expensive Qanba or HORI model. It comes with acceptable stock components, but it can be easily upgraded to a better fightstick with the addition of Sanwa Denshi components which this model is extremely compatible with.

Similar to its budget counterpart the F300, the Mayflash F500 is also compatible with basically every platform: the PS4, PS3, Xbox One and Xbox 360. It’s noticeably much heavier than the F300, however, which makes it feel more comfortable and secure in your lap. The casing is larger which, gives space for your hands to rest on.

The value that this stick brings is huge; it’s mod-friendly, it’s compatible with basically every major platform, and it’s also quite ergonomic and easy to use. It’s also a good stick to use as a beginner before upgrading to a better one. After a simple update, the F500 also supports the Nintendo Switch making it a great buy for multi-platform gamers.

The only downside is that it’s quite aesthetically bad compared to other sticks.

PROS:

Stock components can be switched for better ones

Compatible with every major platform

Comfortable to game with

Good value for its price

CONS:

Quite ugly looking

You eventually have to upgrade it if you want more than a beginner stick

Mayflash F300

This is one of the budget options on our list, but it’s quality and value aren’t terrible. It’s compatible with Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS3, PS4 AND Windows — practically every major platform is supported by the Mayflash 300. During our testing phase, practically every game we’ve played works well on it: it’s fast, responsive, ergonomic and great for beginners.

Because of the lower price point, one thing we did notice is that the casing can be a bit flimsy at times, especially when compared to the HORI models we’ve reviewed. The build quality was obviously much worse but there is only so much that you should expect from the Mayflash 300 considering the ultra-low price point.

Obviously this stick is only for beginners and anyone who wants more value in the long run will need to upgrade. But for an entry-level gamer who is unsure if they will enjoy using fightsticks, definitely look into the Mayflash 300

PROS:

Great value

Not expensive

Entry-level model

Usable with Sanwa Denshi buttons

CONS:

Will need to be upgraded eventually

Build quality worse than better models

Qanba Drone Joystick

If you decide to skip on the Mayflash 300 model, the Qanba Drone is another budget model that works quite well as an entry-level fightstick. It’s a great model that has quite a lot of customization and modding capability that you can build off of. When you are ready to make the next leap you can upgrade to a better model such as one of the HORI models on our list.

The design and build quality is a bit inferior to more expensive models. It’s construction material is a lightweight plastic shell that feels flimsy at times but held up quite well even after long gaming sessions. The stick is decently fast but the buttons were often quite loud and annoying to use, though everything in general felt fast and responsive.

The most redeeming quality of the Qanba Drone is the value; it’s very cheap compared to what it provides. Other great qualities include the fact that you can upgrade and mod, meaning that you can stretch out the usage value of the Qanba Drone for a long time when you decide to go beyond casual gaming with ugrades.

It’s probably one of the best choices for a budget arcade stick out there.

PROS:

Budget Friendly

Durable

Great value for the price

CONS:

Loud Buttons

Shell is a bit flimsy

Conclusion:

This wraps up our fight sticks buying guide. We sincerely wish that this guide has helped you in your decision to buy a fightstick. To sum our review up very briefly, we believe the best fight stick overall in terms of compatibility, usability and value is the HORI Real Arcade Pro V. The best budget fightstick is probably the Mayflash F500.

Obviously don’t take our word for it. It’s mostly just our own personal opinions and biases that are taken into account in our rankings. Most fightsticks, especially at the top of the price spectrum, all perform spectacularly. At that point, it’s very hard to tell if is A is better than B and a lot of it is based solely on personal preference. Be sure to look at many other online reviewers. and especially online communities like Reddit before you make a final purchasing decision.

Please leave feedback in the comments or email the admin at admin@gamingchair.io, if you happen to see any errors in the article or wish to inform us of a new product or update please contact us.

This article was last updated March 4th, 2019.

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