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If you take your fighting games or beat ’em ups seriously, you’ve probably noticed using your controller can feel limiting. They’re great for most types of games, but the D-pad on a standard controller just doesn’t offer the precision of an arcade stick.
You might even have looked online for arcade sticks, also known as fight sticks. That can be a daunting process since there are just so many choices. We’ve put together a few selections to help you narrow it down, and find the best arcade stick for you.
Overall Best PS4 Arcade Stick:
Hori Real Arcade Pro Kai
If you don’t want to think about it and just want to know the one to buy, this is it. The Hori Real Arcade Pro Kai is officially licensed by Sony and has everything you’ll need to start upping your game in Tekken 7. Even the packaging makes it look like a first-party Sony product.
This isn’t the most expensive arcade stick, but Hori didn’t cheap out, using its own Hayabusa stick level and buttons. Unlike some other arcade sticks, you get the PS4 touch panel and buttons included, so you can easily navigate the PS4 interface without reaching for your controller.
Best PS4 Arcade Stick for Modding:
Razer Panthera Evo
Razer makes a point of emphasizing how easily moldable its Panthera Evo fight stick is, but you might not even need to mod it. Out of the box, it comes complete with a Sanwa eight-way joystick and Sanwa buttons. Considering many players upgrade their sticks to use Sanwa parts, this saves you time right away.
If you want to swap the square restrictor gate for an octagonal gate, you get easy one-touch access to the internals. You also get plenty of storage, with room to keep the 9.8-foot detachable cable and even a spare bat top for the Panthera Evo’s joystick.
Best Affordable PS4 Arcade Stick:
The Qanba Drone might cost you less than the other two PS4 options on this list, but the build is anything but cheap. This is an officially licensed Sony product, like the Hori Real Arcade Pro Kai, and it shares the same honeycomb structure used by the Razer Panthera Evo.
If you’re not sure that a fight stick is right for you, this is a great way to test the waters. Not only is it affordable, but it also has a smaller footprint than most sticks. If you don’t want a bulky arcade stick taking up precious space, the Drone is a nice compromise.
Overall Best Xbox One Arcade Stick:
Victrix Xbox One Pro FS
While plenty of fight sticks on this list work on various platforms, the Victrix Xbox One Pro FS was built from the ground up for Microsoft’s console. If you’re the type that gets annoyed looking at Sony-style button icons on your stick while you’re gaming on the Xbox One, you don’t have to worry about that here.
This stick comes in a fully metal enclosure meaning it can stand up to anything you throw at it. The metal build also means you don’t have to worry about it moving too easily. It uses Sanwa parts throughout, so while you can open it up and swap parts, you certainly don’t have too.
Alternate Best Xbox One Arcade Stick:
HORI Real Arcade Pro.V Kai
The HORI Real Arcade Pro.V Kai might seem familiar. It should because this is the same stick listed above for PS4. The difference is that this one is built for the Xbox One. This means it uses Xbox-style icons and it will work flawlessly with your Xbox One and Xbox 360 games. This is officially licensed by Microsoft, and the packaging resembles a first-party Microsoft product.
The pros are the same as those listed above. You can use Hori’s well-loved Hayabusa joystick and buttons, as well as the ample space for cable storage. That helps make this stick easily portable, which is handy if you’re planning on bringing it to a tournament.
Best Affordable Xbox One Arcade Stick:
Mayflash F300 Elite
The Mayflash F300 stick is a great fight stick for beginners, but the F300 Elite is a good pick if you want a better starting point. In most ways, this is exactly the same as the standard Mayflash F300. The key difference is that this comes out of the box with Sanwa parts.
Those parts are a major upgrade, and well worth it. That said, if you decide you don’t like them, the Mayflash F300 Elite is easy to modify. If you want good parts out of the box but want to keep your options open for modding, this is the best of both worlds.
Overall Best PC Arcade Stick:
DRAGON SLAY Universal Arcade Fight Stick
The DRAGON SLAY Universal Arcade Fight Stick is a sight to behold. Not only is the artwork stunning, but the feature set is impressive as well. If you want a fight stick for PC gaming but also want the flexibility to use it with any console of your choice, this is a great pick.
Out of the box, you get a Sanwa Denshi joystick and Sanwa buttons. You also get a removable 9.8-foot cable that has its own storage compartment for easy portability. Don’t like the artwork? No problem. Not only can you swap it out for your own, but DragonSlay has even included a hex wrench to make it easy too.
Best PC Arcade Stick for Modding:
Most picks on this list are easy to mod in one way or another. That said, you may not want to buy a pricey, feature-packed fight stick to use as a modding platform. The Mayflash F500 is perfect for this.
You get easy access to the internals; all you need to do is remove a few screws. You can also replace the artwork with whatever you like. Mayflash even has a template on its website to make printing new art a breeze. This doesn’t ship with the greatest hardware, but it’s a great place to start working on your ultimate personalized arcade stick.
Best Affordable PC Arcade Stick:
If you’re new to the world of arcade sticks, it makes sense that you might not want to spend a ton of money at first. That’s what makes the Mayflash F101 a good pick. It’s enough to test the waters, and if you discover you don’t like using an arcade stick, you didn’t break the bank to find out.
You’re not going to find Sanwa parts here, but if you like the stick, you can always upgrade to them later. The F101 is also compatible with the Nintendo Switch and PS3, so you’re not limited to only using it with your PC.
Want to Know More About Arcade Sticks?
People use a lot of different terms when talking about fight sticks. Between various manufacturers and the different types of gates, it’s easy to get confused.
Reading up on what some of these terms mean can help you better decide which stick to buy. For a starting point, take a look at our guide to everything you need to know about arcade sticks.