Arcade Stick obviously doesn’t guarantee shortcuts. Playing with an arcade stick doesn’t automatically grant you success in the game. It all depends on you and what you feel comfortable with, importantly how much time you dedicate on the controller/stick. Becoming good requires immense patience and talent. In most games it is necessarily not materials equal skill. Those who reach a high skill level are those who strive for perfection. If you really want something and have the willpower then eventually you will reach your desired skill level. Some human beings learn from their mistakes quickly and others keep making them for years and never improve. Once you comprehend the mistakes and you do something about it, that’s when your skills develop for real. If you are looking for the best gaming chair for long-term gaming sessions, we recommend you to read our guide on that.
Our key focus in this guide is whether you should or you shouldn’t buy an arcade stick and which ones you should consider. The guide is specifically intended for video gamers who plays fighting games.
Our list focuses on the best fight sticks available. We prioritize the fight sticks with excellent quality, material manufacturer and quality, button responsitivity, durability, extra functionalities, and design.
|Mayflash Universal Arcade Fighting Stick||Starter Stick||PS2, PS3, PC and USB.||9.8 x 9.8 x 2 inches.||4 pounds.|
|Mad Catz Street Fighter V Arcade FightStick Alpha||Starter stick - Mid range stick||PS3 and PS4.||8.75 x 7 x 2 inches.||5 pounds.|
|HORI Blazblue: Chrono Phantasma Extend Stick||Mid range stick||PS3 and PS4.||18 x 10 x 12 inches.||10 pounds.|
|XBOX 360Arcade Hori Official EX 2||Starter stick||Xbox 360 and PC.||12.5 x 4.5 x 10.2 inches.||5 pounds.|
|F300 May Flash Arcade Fight Stick||Starter stick||Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS4, PS3 and PC.||22 x 13 x 11 inches.||4 pounds.|
|Qanba Q4 Q4RAF Black Arcade Stick||High-End Stick||Xbox 360, PS3 and PC.||16 x 10 x 2.5 inches.||9.5 pounds.|
|Mad Catz Arcade Fight Stick TE2+ (SF V Edition)||High-End Stick||PS3, PS4, Xbox One, and PC.||18 x 13 x 6 inches.||5 pounds.|
|HORI Real Arcade Pro 4 Kai||High-End Stick||PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One and PC.||19 x 11 x 6 inches.||6.7 pounds.|
|HORI Real Arcade Pro 4 Premium VLX KURO||High-End Stick||PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One and PC.||22.4 x 10 x 5.5.||11.9 pounds.|
|Razor Atrox Arcade Stick||High-End Stick||Xbox 360, Xbox One and PC||19 x 14 x 7 inches.||10 pounds.|
|Qanba Fight Stick Drone||Starter Stick - Mid range stick||PS3, PS4 and PC||15.7 x 10.6 x 6.7||4 pounds.|
|Qanba Carbon Fight Stick||Starter Stick||PS3, PC and Android||13.5 x 4 x 10.5||6 pounds.|
Disclaimer: Clicking the specific device names, any images, or images with check price tag on, will redirect you to the appropriate Amazon.com (.co.uk, .de, etc.), where you can check more details about the specific products.
Budget Arcade Stick For PS4 and PS3.
Have you ever asked yourself the question: Which fight stick should I buy? Always begin with a simple starters fight stick. The following section implies for those who haven’t had an fight stick before. Either, you’re probably used to a controller, but you’ve heard somewhere that fight sticks are the most suitable for fighting games OR you’ve played with the controller ever since and you’ve realized that your skill level doesn’t increase anymore. If you’ve reached one of these two points, then it can be a good idea to finally give an fight stick a shot.
Mayflash Universal Arcade Fighting Stick
Pros: Works on many platforms – Inexpensive – Profitable.
Cons: Low durability – Button quality.
Very basic arcade joystick for starters, with all the necessary buttons and a circular handle and a square. Budget-friendly, yet reliable and perfect for the first arcade stick or other arcade games. Simple black look with great responsive buttons and firm resistance. Although it is noticeable that the buttons are of low quality but passable.
A universal stick that works with almost any platform except Xbox one and PS4. The stick has a turbo option for a variety of speed. Also includes rubber feet, to hold the fight stick in place. Designed to play any fighting games on a casual level. Although not a stick you can keep for years since the durability is questionable depending on how well you handle your materials.
Size: 9.8 x 9.8 x 2 inches or 24.9 x 24.9 x 5 centimeters. Weight: 4 pounds or 1.8 kilograms. Platforms: PS2, PS3, PC and USB.
Mad Catz Street Fighter V Arcade FightStick Alpha
Pros: Great quality – Perfect for a starter stick – Mobile.
Cons: Small for an arcade stick – 6 Buttons.
A more aesthetic version of a simple arcade joystick. A bit more pricey however slightly better quality and smaller than most sticks. The small stick turns out to be very convenient for travelers and those who wants to play at their friends’ house. The quality is definitely a spot on for being a plastic stick. It comes with a square restrictor gate. The buttons are very responsive with a slight resistance to it. The stick comes with extra functionality, like a button that locks all control buttons entirely. Unfortunately, It contains 6 buttons, which limits the number of advantages in the different games. The 6 button layout are mostly meant for games like Street Fighter.
Size: 8.75 x 7 x 2 inches or 22.2 x 17.8 x 5 centimeters. Weight: 5 pounds or 2.2 kilograms. Platforms: PS3, PS4.
HORI Blazblue: Chrono Phantasma Extend Stick
Pros: Durability – Stable and precise – Stays put in most surfaces.
Cons: 6 Buttons – Slightly expensive.
A solid fight sticks for players who want to step up their gaming. The stick comes with a well-crafted square restrictor gate. (For more information about restrictor gate scroll down)
The stick is considered a mid-range fight stick with turbo functions and USB connection.
Comes with a neat look to it and art from Blazblue: Chrono Phantasma. Durable, well-crafted and great quality. For being a budget Arcade stick it is slightly more expensive, but worth the price if your economical situation isn’t poor.
The buttons are less responsive targeting the audience who wants to click harder in order for the buttons to react, note that it also comes with 6 buttons and not 8. A stick that can hold longer than most starter sticks.
Size: 18 x 10 x 12 inches or 45.7 x 25.4 x 30.48 centimeters. Weight: 10 pounds or 4.5 kilograms. Platforms: PS3, PS4.
HORI Arcade Stick Mini
Pros: Very cheap and profitable – Easy to store and transported – Long cable
Cons: Bad stick for big hands – Extremely small and lightweight – options and share buttons too close.
Horis smallest arcade stick and yet ridiculously great for a starter stick. Extremely cheap and for being a very small arcade stick it offers great aspects. Firstly it is easily transported from place to place making it very mobile, and it can fit almost anywhere and everywhere. Secondly, the stick is well-crafted and quality-wise it is average, although comparing it to the prize and size the quality is remarkable.
The buttons are elegantly flat with great width, and the handle is comfortable and combined with a square restrictor gate which provides reasonable responsitivity and flows back naturally. The bottom is a rubberized feet grip that is holding down the stick firmly in place on most surfaces. Note that the stick is very lightweight and can easily break.
Overall a great stick for beginners but decidedly not something you can keep for years.
Size: 9.8 x 5.9 x 7.9 inches or 25 x 15 x 20 Centimeters. Weight: 2.2 pounds or 1 kilogram. Platforms: PS3, PS4 and PC.
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There are more details to take note of when buying an arcade stick but, if this is your first arcade joystick, then you shouldn’t really go in depth with it. The intention of a starters arcade stick is to appropriate the habit of adopting the fight stick into your hands and mindset. It is no doubt that you won’t get the hundred percent advantage by using a cheap stick, but it gives the consideration of getting a better once.
Budget Arcade Joystick For XBox.
When comparing a PS controller with an Arcade stick it is quite challenging, however comparing a Xbox controller with an arcade stick is a different scenario. The XBox controller is NOT suitable for fighting games. It is playable and passable but decidedly not for competitive gaming. This is due to the controller design of the Xbox. The handle is too wide making the hands stretch out more in order to reach all the buttons. The buttons offer other disadvantages as well. They are too resistant and slightly defiant, making them go all the way down and stay there for a fraction of a second. The problem is the height of the button compared to the diameter. Playing fighting games requires big buttons that are not tall, and the Xbox controller isn’t convenient for that. If you also notice on a Xbox controller, there are two analog sticks, and they simply force you to use the one on the left side, since it is dominant for the left thumb. This definitely lowers a number of combos you can execute. All these reasons combined, you’ll want to go with the stick when playing fighting games on the Xbox 360/one.
XBOX 360 Arcade Hori Official EX 2
Pros: Satisfying size and layout – Elegant with great quality – Colored layout making it easier for starters.
Cons: Lower durability, can’t tolerate high pressure and force on the buttons.
A very basic yet strong arcade stick for the Xbox 360. Inexpensive and includes everything you need for your first arcade stick. Quality wise it is decent however for semi-intense use it won’t hold over a year. The EX 2 has six face buttons as a traditional Japanese arcade design. The main action buttons on top with a start, select, left button and right button, that can be customized. This type of layout makes it convenient for games like Street Fighter, since it is dependent on 6 buttons and not 8. The buttons have great responsitivity and almost no resistance. The buttons are also very small heigh-wise. The stick is small in size and can easily be transported in a bag. It also comes with a gate for headphone users. The stick is small in size and can easily be transported in a bag. It also comes with a gate for headphone users. The handle is also comfortable with a square restrictor gate. The stick is small in size and can easily be transported in a bag. It also comes with a gate for headphone users.
Size: 12.5 x 4.5 x 10.2 inches or 31.75 x 11.43 x 25.9 centimeters. Weight: 5 pounds or 2.27 kilograms. Platform: Xbox 360 and PC.
May flash Xbox One Arcade Fightstick F300
Pros: Multiplatform – Great and simple starters stick – 8 buttons with indications.
Cons: Awfully boring design – If using for PS4 or Xbox One a controller is needed.
A big brother of Mayflash Arcade stick, same manufacturers and same design. Arcade sticks for Xbox One are generally expensive, and this stick seems to be the only reliable for its price. It is compatible with almost any device and is designed for any type of games. The only thing to be aware of is that this is the closest you can get to a starter stick. You won’t be able to use this stick for a long time since it doesn’t tolerate intense-handling.
The quality is mediocre and the buttons are tolerable. The true greatness of this stick lies in the compatibility, especially on the PC, since it can run windows 7/8/10. Another great thing about the arcade stick is that it has an adequate heft with rubber feet to hold the stick firmly in place. When put together the stick is just passable and decent for a starters stick. The stick is great for playing other arcade games.
Size: 22 x 13 x 11 inches or 55.9 x 33.02 x 27.94 centimeters. Weight: 4 pounds or 1.8 kilograms. Platform: Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS4, and PC.
High-End Arcade Stick Xbox 360/Xbox One/PS4 and PS3
If you haven’t tried an arcade stick before, we recommend you to look for a starters stick above. The following section is targeted for players that are experienced at fighting games, and players that are willing to pay some extra cash to develop their skills and reach to another level. We expect you to have an in-depth knowledge of your fighting game (FPS of certain moves, punishment, wall advantage and so on) before looking for a real fight stick. Here are our recommended and best Arcade Sticks for the PS, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One. Always keep in mind, there are no things such as ‘The Best Arcade Stick’, since arcade sticks are personal.
Qanba Q4 Q4RAF Black Arcade Stick
Pros: Excellent quality – Finest Sanwa materials – Practical Details – Multiplatform – Beautiful layout and wide.
Cons: Extreme sensitivity of button (con for some) – Turbo functionality on some games – Too heavy for some.
The Qanba Q4 is one of the most preferred Arcade sticks ever. The handle is very light on the wrist made of a strong and robust plastic. The stick comes with Sanwa JLF joystick and 8 OBSF-30 clear buttons, and two button blockers for 6 button users. Note that the buttons are extremely responsive and a minor force can trigger it. The stick includes 4 control buttons at the top of the stick, home, turbo, mode and select button. Exclusively the stick comes with a slider, that has the option to switch between Xbox 360 or PS3/PC. The stick is heavy constructed which makes it highly durable and it can hold for a very long time. It also tolerates intense use.
The stick can easily be modded. All of the parts are effortlessly replaceable and straightforward. The Qanba Q4 comes with a square restrictor gate, but as mentioned easily customizable.
The entire stick comes in simple colored design with no art details. On the side of the stick, it has a cable compartment with enough space for the entire cable. The Q4 comes with a handle making it a mobile arcade stick and easily transported. Lastly, the bottom is a metal case with 4 rubber feet that are robust and hefty, staying put on almost any surface.
Size: 16 x 10 x 2.5 inches or 40.6 x 25.4 x 6.3 centimeters. Weight: 9.5 pounds or 4.3 kilograms. Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3 and PC.
Mad Catz Arcade Fight Stick TE2+ (SF V edition)
Pros: High-quality Sanwa parts – Extra L3 and R3 buttons – Effortless modding – Excellent design.
Cons: The position of the select/start button – Too squarish (con for some)
The Mad Catz fight stick TE2+ version raises the bar for all the arcade sticks. At first apparent you can tell that this arcade stick is truly quality and contemporary. Both on the outside and inside. The manufacturers made it clear that they didn’t cut any corners building this.
The Arcade stick comes in a Vewlix-style and Denshi design. The handle is a flexible, accurate and durable Sanwa JLF ball-top, combined with a square restrictor gate. The 8 action buttons are OBSF-30 Sanwa parts. The buttons are sensitive with a slight resistance to it making it perfect for fighting games. The control buttons are located on the top of the stick, with a well-made touchpad. To the right from the touchpad, they exclusively added an extra L3 and R3 buttons. On the other side, the buttons for switching between PS3 and PS4 are situated.
Very easy to mod simply by pressing a button and the case opens ready for you to customize it. The internal access also provides dedicated storage for your excess materials. The bezel is also removable to gain you access to your own unique artwork.
The case is excellently built with a combination of metal, plastic, glass and rubber. All combined makes an extraordinarily durable case. The case comes with a heavy metal with an entire foam padding, which means it doesn’t have rubber feet, but these can be self-made.
Size: 18 x 13 x 6 inches or 45.7 x 33 x 15.2 centimeters. Weight: 5 pounds or 2.6 kilograms. Platforms: PS3, PS4, Xbox One, and PC.
Click here for the Xbox users.
The TE2+ version is indeed expensive but it is worth every penny for competitive and passionate players. If you’re interested in the same layout but less expensive you can take a look at Mad Catz TE edition.
Hori Real Arcade Pro 4 Kai
Pros: Very strong once mastered – Durable and elegant – Amazing return gate – Profitable – Better touchpad.
Cons: Hard to master the Kuro buttons – Handle is too small for big hands – The buttons feel stiff compared to other buttons.
The elegant and conservative looking Hori is a hefty and reliable arcade joystick. It is easily the best-selling arcade stick of all time and used in competitive gaming constantly. Inexpensive compared to other sticks and yet quality-wise outstanding.
The joystick is an original Hori Hayabusa, that allows very fast and precise inputs. The joystick is using a square restrictor gate. The return rate on the spring is excellent as it bounds back in a more natural and agile way. Uniquely the joystick ball is situated closer to the base of the arcade joystick simply making it slightly narrow height-wise. The 8 action buttons are Hori Kuro buttons. They are designed to be extremely slim with an incredible response, actuation, and durability. The buttons require a little force to it before it triggers. This makes it harder to master however extremely deadly against your opponents once mastered. The buttons often get switched with Sanwa buttons, due to the heavy adaptability of the Hayabusa buttons.
The position of the control buttons is situated just next to the action buttons. On the side of the case, we have an extra L3, R3 buttons, and a turbo functionality. The stick also comes with a well-made touchpad.
The modding of this stick requires a bit effort compared to other sticks nowadays. You have to manually open the case and fortunately, from there, it is straightforward.
The case is wider than most sticks and the buttons are situated slightly higher, making it somewhat unique. The bottom is metal with two layers of rubber pattern. They are perfect for the knees and great on other surfaces.
Size: 19 x 11 x 6 inches or 48.2 x 28 x 15 centimeters. Weight: 6.7 pounds or 3 kilograms. Platforms: PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One and PC.
For the Xbox one/ Xbox 360 users click here.
You can also check out Hori Real Arcade Pro 4 Premium VLX Kuro It reminds a lot about the Hori Arcade Pro 4 Kai however in better shape and quality. Other than that it is also bigger and heavier.
Arcade Stick VS. Controller
As we mentioned earlier, comparing an arcade stick with a Xbox controller is straightforward. The arcade stick is victorious almost any time due to the design of Xbox controllers. Comparing a PS controller with an Arcade stick is rather more complicated.
Arcade sticks for some are beneficial but not all. The biggest advantage is that all the buttons that would be on a controller are perfectly laid out from left to right on one side of your stick. This will by no doubt be an advance for those who play games that require heavy-timing execution and long combos. Games like Street Fighter is depending on a certain motion with your thumb. Involving you in rolling your thumb from down to right (quarter circle) on the controller. That specific motion is a lot painless and effortless on a fight stick. Using a controller for this movement is not difficult, but it is hard to master and on the long term it becomes painful for your thumb.
For games like Tekken, it somehow matters if you use the Mishimas. The Mishimas clearly depend on the EWGF combo (Electric wind god fist) and wave-dashes. The EWGF requires immense pressure on the thumb and is even harder to master on both sides. Many find it easier to execute these wave dashes and EWGF’s on an arcade stick, once you get the hang of it. Another benefit with the arcade stick in Tekken is, that you can easier press all buttons at the same time that you would on a controller. Other than that it is really just practice, patience, and talent that makes you a good player.
In the end, it doesn’t really matter if you use arcade joystick or controller. We are humans and we can adapt to anything, as long as we dedicate the time to it. There is a lot of competitive players who use a pad and there are a lot who uses an arcade stick, although there is no question that the top players of all time use an arcade stick. If you feel as if you’re not improving at the game and you feel stuck at a certain level, you could try a starters stick Mayflash arcade stick. Remember that you’re probably not used to the arcade stick, so give it, at least, a month before giving up on it.
The restrictor gate is situated on the root of the arcade stick handle. It is attached to the base or the board of the arcade stick. The restrictor gate is perhaps the most crucial part of the arcade stick. Before purchasing the fancy looking arcade stick, make sure you know how the restrictor gate is shaped, and, more importantly, can you switch the restrictor gate?
The photo to the right displays a restrictor gate. Notice the yellow part of the restrictor gate. The shape of the restrictor gate is in the center. It is shaped like an octagon. Most arcade sticks are manufactured in a square form and it might not be optimal for your preference, that is why it is so important for your arcade stick to be customizable. There are three shapes of a restrictor gate. The octagon, the circle and the square form. They are all different from each other and their output varies a lot. You can’t predict which type of restrictor gate you perform best with until you’ve tried them all.