Gaming has evolved tremendously over the past two decades to a competitive level where each move crucial. The arcade/fighting style is one of the most popular competitive genres and many players spend their days honing their skills. Many of them opt to use an arcade stick as their weapon of choice. This is a joystick controller that offers extra functionality.
While getting the best PS4 arcade stick won’t make you a gaming expert overnight, it can provide added flexibility and comfort. Some high-end models provide tactile feedback, allowing you to hone your skills. This guide reviews the 10 best arcade fight sticks for varying skill levels and gaming needs.
What Is An Arcade Fight Stick?
An arcade fight stick is an old school joystick that replicates the arcade like controls that you’d play back in the days of playing fighting games on big arcade machines. It comes with a stick and a variety of buttons that allows the user some extra functionality. These arcade fight sticks are specifically designed for games like Tekken, Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, Injustice, Soulcaliber and many many more fighting game titles.
For myself, I prefer playing fighting game with an arcade fight stick rather than a gamepad. You get to execute more complex moves and combos with a fight stick, which in turn improves your fighting skills.
When you do go to buy your arcade fighting stick, be sure to buy quality. Many go for the cheapest option, which in reality is the most expensive in the long run as they tend not to last and you end up having to buy another one. Fight sticks take a lot of abuse, so buy one that will last.
ConsumerExpert’s Run Down Of The Best Arcade Fight Sticks
This is a great budget choice that offers a decent quality to price ratio. The ball top stick is compatible with all major platforms including PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Android and PC. It also supports Dinput and Xinput when used on PC. You will need a Sony PS4 controller when using this fight stick on a PS4 game console and a Xbox One or Xbox 360 controller when using an Xbox One or Xbox 360 console.
Mayflash designed and placed the buttons and lever on the same layout as an arcade style. There are considerable heft and rubber feet, thus ensuring good stability when placed on hard flat surfaces.
You can use this on Windows 10 PC as well. I play fighting game titles like Killer Instinct, Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter V and Mame.
Compatibility: PS2, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Android and PC USB
Size: 55.9 x 33 x 27.9 cm
Weight: 1.81kg ( 4 pounds )
Layout: 8 buttons
Batteries: Lithium ion batteries required.
Good value for your money
Compatible with Sanwa Denshi Buttons
Affordable price tag
Not the best for satisfying desires of committed gamers
Officially design by Sony for PS4, PS3 and PC, the Hori Real Arcade Pro 4 Kai has a lot to offer the addicted gamer. The design is based on the original Hayabusa and seeks to deliver great response times, good aesthetics, as well as durability. The Kiro buttons are slim, thus allowing for smooth spring action to ensure increased agility. They also have beveled edges, which aid in response time and comfort. There is a subpanel that makes it easy for you to customize the button control assignments. The control panel is well positioned for easy access to the turbo function not to mention the touch pad on the opposite side.
Easy to customize
Based on the Hayabusa model
Difficult modding process
Designed as an upgrade of the Mayflash F300, the F500 has great features that gamers will appreciate. Such include a solid metal body with rubber feet and decent amount of weight for durability. The unit is designed with modding in mind and comes with 8 buttons, each of which can be swapped out with genuine Sanwa parts to suit the player’s liking. Its stock experience of this arcade is not bad, considering that the buttons are light and slightly convexed. The joystick is quite response and like the buttons, can be swapped out.
Components can be replaced based on player preferences
Great stock quality
Budget value and affordable pricing
Aesthetics could benefit from improvements
Heavy gamers will need to upgrade with better parts
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The Arcade FightStick TE2+ is one of the advanced fight sticks offered by Mad Catz. It features Vewlix-style design with 8action buttons. The chassis hinges open for easy access to the inner parts. A removable top panel and bevel make it easy to decorate with custom artwork. This unit has turbo and control buttons at the top. Also included are extra L3 and R3 buttons as well as a touch pad. Because the interior of the stick allows for storage of parts, modding isn’t difficult at all. It is compatible with PS3, PS4 and PC.
Increased mobility thanks to metal posts
Advanced features that are ideal for competitive gamers
Easy to mod
Has genuine arcade layout
This is an entry level arcade stick that’s compatible with PS3 and PS4. It offers decent build quality and basic functions that are easy for beginners to figure out. The fightstick is made of plastic and has rubber padding on the bottom to prevent slipping. Its compact size and lightweight design make it a good option for anyone who travels a lot. The main downside is that it doesn’t come with Sanwa Denshi buttons. In addition, the parts are soldered to the board and this makes it impossible modify like other models on this list.
Lightweight and compact
Good for beginners
Doesn’t have room for customization
While it isn’t the most premium fighting stick you will find on the market, the Hori Mini 4 packs a serious punch with its low price point. Many beginners and casual gamers will have an easy time using this arcade stick. It features the same layout you’ll find on traditional fight sticks, only with higher quality joystick and buttons. The quality of the buttons isn’t on par with Hayabusa or Sanwa Denshi models but considering how you pay, you get the worth of your money.
Good quality to price ratio
Stock quality is good enough for casual gamers and beginners
Build is surprisingly good
Not the best fighting stick for competitive gamers
It’s not as good as premium fight sticks
The Razer Panthera Evo arcade fighting stick was made specifically for the PS4 as well as the PC, releasing on Nov 1, 2018. It was made a couple of years after the original Razer Panthera (released December 3, 2016). The Panthera Evo has a sleek, lightweight build. This makes it easier to carry the fighting stick when traveling to other places. Using mechanical buttons, it helps the player have a great response time when in a match. The Evo version has a mic jack for headphone usage for players with headsets. It has very good cable management meaning that there is a small built in storage to hold the device’s cables out of the way. This device is also great for changing out the buttons and the joystick. The player can then customize the colors and unique buttons depending on what they desire. The graphics on the Panthera can be changed out as well.
When using the Panthera Evo, it can be difficult to get inside the device if the player wants to perform maintenance or changes. The Panthera has a lot of screws on the device and only a special size screwdriver is needed to open the fighting stick. It was easier to access the inside with the original Panthera than with with Panthera Evo. Also, the more you play with it, the more likely your buttons will tend to stick or jam. The Evo is not compatible with Xbox One and any last generation consoles including PS3.
This is a high quality arcade stick featuring Sanwa Denshi components. Despite feeling quite flimsy and light, the frame is very sturdy and doesn’t buckle when subjected to hours of gaming. Customizing this unit is easy since all you need to do is jimmy the front panel by pushing a button. The wires are even color coded to make the job easier. It is compatible with Windows 10 computers, although you will have to download the Xbox app. The internal storage components allow for convenient transportation while the honeycomb structure on the inside ensures easy screw mounting.
Mod friendly construction
Features Sanwa Denshi buttons
High quality build
Good value for money
Case feels like it’s hollow and could break easily
The Obsidian is one of the latest releases from the Qanba series and its performance doesn’t disappoint. Like most models in its price range, it has advanced features including Sanwa Denshi components. Combine that with maximum comfort and the ultimate gaming experience and the end result is a high-end device that popular among competitive gamers. The modding is easy with a button that opens the case. This unit is also equipped with signature aluminum alloy bevels that add a stylish look to the glossy black case. The bottom of the device has padding that prevents slipping.
Clickable touch pad on back
Equipped with precise and accurate Sanwa Denshi components
Functional and stylish
Buttons are too close up top
From an aesthetics standpoint, the Razor Panthera looks a lot like the Atrox reviewed above. It borrows some innovations from the older model and the frame is more solid than that of the Atrox. The joystick and buttons utilize Sanwa Denshi components, hence durability and precise movements. Mod capability means that disassembling and customizing this device is easy. the tournament mode is helpful as it allows you to deactivate non-essential controls and buttons for a more immersive gaming experience.
Has a tournament mode
Good build quality
Built with modding in mind
Durable Sanwa Denshi components
Wiring on the interior appears loose
This fighting stick is a work of art with advanced features that pro gamers will appreciate. The front plate features a Namco Noir button layout and a Soul Calibur art with a translucent finish. Mad Catz incorporates a metal plate and rubber feet for stability. All of the buttons are Sanwa Denshi components for improved durability and responsiveness. This device also offers internal storage and can be modified easily to suit the player’s preferences. The main concern is that it has limited compatible.
Has beautiful art of Soul Calibur
Controller lock/unlock switch deactivates non-essential controls
High quality components
Functional and stylish
Compatible with few devices
Arcade Fighting Stick FAQs
You might be thinking about buying an Arcade Fighting Stick but still have a few questions that remain unanswered. In this section, I aim to provide you with all the answers you need to help you make an informed choice on what fighting stick to purchase.
Arcade Stick or Gamepad? Which one is better?
My personal opinion is, it depends what you’re using it for. Fighting games like Street Fighter or Tekken, an arcade fighting stick is by far the best option. Fifa or other sport type games I find the gampad is better.
Arcade Fight Sticks takes a bit of time to get used to, but for me they make my thumbs less tired and gives me the ability to launch into complex combos when playing fighting games. You also have the option to use all five fingers to hit the buttons instead on being limited to just 2 fingers on a gaming pad.