You will feel like a true arcade got when you try out one of the best fight sticks we have on this list.
While playing games like Street Fighter, Guilty Gear or Tekken with a gamepad is still effective all the way up to the professional level, using a traditional arcade layout puts the controls exactly where you want them to be. They'll take some getting used to in-game, let alone trying to navigate menus with one, but performing special moves with precise inputs or just mashing the chunky buttons is an experience worth trying out.
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Our selection of the best fight sticks below offers something to all kinds of players, no matter your console or budget. Some of them work with the PS5 and Xbox Series X too, so you won't have to change sticks when the time comes to upgrade to a next-gen console.
What are the best fight sticks?
If you want the cheapest way into fight stick gaming, look to the Hori Fighting Stick Mini for a compact and well-priced offering. On the other hand you want something more luxurious, try Razer's Panthera or Atrox sticks (depending on if you're team PlayStation or Xbox), Qanba's Dragon or Obsidian models, or the Victrix Pro FS.
If you fancy customizing your stick's components or adding a custom artwork layer, then Razer's sticks are well suited to this with their easy disassembly. The Victrix is also convenient for swapping out buttons or the joystick, but its smart metal exterior does mean you can't change the look of the thing like you can with rival products.
Qanba's Dragon is a great stick to choose if you only play fighting games at home. It feels great to use, and its heavy construction isn't such an issue if it's just sat by your couch when not in use. For portability, the Hori Fighting Stick Mini can't be beaten since it's just so small, but if you want to spend a little more, the Qanba Drone and Victrix Pro FS both have travel-friendly dedicated cable storage, with the Victrix also offering slots for attaching a shoulder strap if needed.
The best fight sticks you can buy today
1. Hori Fighting Stick Mini
At just $49, the Hori Fighting Stick Mini is a great option for folks who want to see what fight sticks are all about before throwing down hundreds of dollars. Compatible with PS4, PS3 and PC, this tiny stick is highly portable. The peripheral features a traditional 8-button layout and provides easy access to the PS4's Share button for recording those crazy combos.
2. Mayflash F300 Arcade Fight Stick
One of the most popular cheap options on Amazon, the Mayflash F300 is another great starter stick. This peripheral features turbo functionality for mapping multiple button presses, as well as a switch for making the joystick behave as either a D-pad or an analog stick. It's also popular for its easy modifiability. There's just one catch: When using the F300 on a PlayStation or Xbox, you'll have to plug that console's controller into it to use the stick.
3. Qanba Drone
The Qanba Drone is an excellent middle ground when considering affordability, portability and build quality. This striking yellow-and-black stick works with PS4, PS3 and PC, and has a special lock functionality to keep you from accidentally pausing a match. It's got a front-facing cable compartment for when you're traveling, as well as soft padding on the bottom to keep it from slipping off of your lap.
4. Hori Real Arcade Pro V Kai/V Kai Blue
If you're ready to get serious, Hori's Real Arcade Pro V is one of the most popular premium sticks out there. This slick, extra-wide fight stick features arcade-standard Kuro buttons and metallic accents, with a smart button layout designed to prevent accidental pauses. The V Kai works with Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PC. There’s an attractive V Kai Blue variant available for PS4, PS3 and PC players, as well as a red V Hayabusa option for Nintendo Switch.
5. Hori Real Arcade Pro N
An even more premium stick from Hori, the Real Arcade Pro N (PS4, PS3, PC) boasts slick metallic gold accents and Hori's sturdy Hayabusa joystick and buttons. Like the Real Arcade Pro V Kai Blue, the Pro N features a full touchpad for use on the PS4, as well as the typical turbo and button-assigning features. A well-hidden pause button and Hori's symmetrical "Noir" button layout help this high-end, sturdy stick stand out.
6. Qanba Obsidian
If you're seeking a top-of-the-line stick that will definitely stand out at tournaments, the Qanba Obsidian is a great pick. The Obsidian boasts one of the most striking designs we've seen on a fight stick, with eye-catching aluminum edges that are accentuated by slick blue LED lights. This PS4, PS3 and PC peripheral sports high-end Sanwa Denshi buttons, a PS4-friendly touchpad and all of the extra programming features you'd expect from a modern fight stick.
7. Razer Panthera Evo
The Razer Panthera Evo is the latest version of the company's flagship fight stick, with 8 face buttons that sport the same responsive Razer mechanical switches you'll find in the company's popular gaming keyboards. As with previous iterations of the Panthera, the Evo is built with modding in mind, with a transparent top panel that lets you easily swap in your own artwork as well as a removable bottom panel that lets you open up the stick to swap out parts. Factor in a durable Sanwa joystick lever, an improved case design with a rubber base and a handy headset port for using the cans of your choice, and you've got a dependable premium option built for both performance and customizability.
8. Razer Atrox
The Razer Atrox is the Panthera's Xbox counterpart, offering many of the same features for Xbox One and PC gamers. That means you get the same mod-friendly design, storage compartments and Sanwa buttons, but with a green Razer faceplate instead of a blue one.
9. Qanba Dragon
This monster of a controller sports a striking red-and-black design, complete with a big sturdy base, an LED lighting strip and a flip-up design that allows for easy modding and part replacement. The Dragon sports all of the essential features of a high-end fight stick, including genuine Sanwa Denshi buttons, a dedicated PS3/PS4/PC switch and a 8.5-foot braided cable. You probably won't want to travel to tournaments with this massive stick, but it'll make a great centerpiece to your training area if you have the cash for it.
10. Victrix Pro FS
The Victrix Pro FS is as high-end as fight sticks get. This premium stick packs a stunning, semi-hollow aluminum body, which is curved for wrist comfort and light enough to carry around via its convenient handles or optional strap attachment. The stick's premium Sanwa buttons and removable joystick are built to endure years of competitive play, and you can easily open up the Pro FS to swap in new parts. The stick's customizable RGB lights add to an already gorgeous design, and its handy onboard controls are built to let you conveniently access menus without accidentally pausing mid-match.
Available in PS4 and Xbox One variations, the Pro FS carries a hefty asking price, but serious players just might find the investment worth it.
How to choose the best fight stick for you
Beyond normal device buying tips like keep your budget in mind, here are some pieces of advice that are unique to buying fight sticks.
The first thing to consider is how portable you want the stick to be. Do you intend for the stick to remain plugged into your games console or will you be carrying this around to play at other venues? Let that decision guide you when it comes to picking a size and weight
Another important factor you need to check is platform compatibility. There are third-party products to make fight sticks work with any console you wish, as well as some consoles that have multi-platform support built-in, but it's better if you know you can pair your new fight stick with at least your own console without any hassle.
If you want to get really in-depth, you could also take a look at the button and joystick arrangement. Some sticks place their buttons in two parallel lines, while others have the rightmost buttons offset to emulate a particular arcade cabinet layout. Likewise, some sticks use rounded tops for their joysticks, and others feature a longer 'baton' style top instead. The option to customize your stick is always there if don't mind opening up the fight stick to change the parts over. However if you can, try out some sticks in person before making a purchase to see which set-up you prefer.