Games are now played at a competitive level where each move counts and is crucial. One of these competitive genres is the fighting/arcade style. Many players spend day and night to perfect their skills in fighting games. Many of these players opt for an arcade stick or fight stick as their weapon of choice in the fighting world. Well, what is an Arcade Stick? An arcade stick is a joystick controller with buttons and extra functionality, just like you will find on arcade machines.
Now, attaining an arcade stick/fight stick won’t make you some expert in any particular game overnight; there is no shortcut to working hard. Instead, arcade sticks are for the player’s comfort and flexibility, especially when playing fighting games. arcade sticks provide players with many extra features and satisfies the tinkerer in them, as these sticks allow players to modify them to their own comfort and taste. Everything from the buttons to the artwork can be changed. Most players choose to play and practice on these sticks, as a stick provides more tactile feedback, and to some, is a nod to the classic fighter games of arcades.
So, whether you are a professional looking for an upgrade, or just a beginner looking to start out on arcade sticks, here are the 10 best Fire Sticks for fighting games you can buy:
1. Mayflash F500 (PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One)
The Mayflash F500 is the successor to the Mayflash F300. It is made up of a solid piece of metal with rubber feet and a good amount of weight to make it a durable fight stick. The F500 is an 8-button arcade stick with a reasonable joystick. Mayflash has designed the F500 with modding in mind. Each of the eight buttons can be swapped out to the player’s liking, even with genuine Sanwa parts, with the joystick being no exception either. The stock experience of the arcade stick is not bad either with the buttons being slightly convexed and light, and the joystick being responsive.
With it being $89 on Amazon, it does lack some amenities such as Sanwa Denshi Buttons, but the compatibility is exceptional. The arcade stick is compatible with PCs, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One.
Buy: Amazon ($89)
2. Madcatz Alpha (PS3, PS4)
The Madcatz alpha is an entry level arcade stick with basic functions and a decent build quality. The arcade stick has a small form factor and is made up of plastic with some rubber padding underneath to prevent it from sliding in the heat of the battle. The Madcatz Alpha is more aimed towards beginners looking for a starting point rather than professionals and comes in at around $80. This arcade stick is ideal for people who travel a lot due to it being lightweight and small in size. The Alpha does not come with Sanwa Denshi Buttons, but the normal buttons are decent when you get the hang of them.
If you are looking for the ability to mod this stick, then you will be disappointed to know that the parts are soldered to the board, and hence cannot be modified as easily as some other arcade sticks. The Madcatz alpha has limited compatibility, as only PS3 and PS4 are supported, but offers decent overall performance.
Buy: Amazon ($80)
3. Qanba Q4 (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)
The Qanba Q4 is one of the best arcade sticks out there and retails for around $170. This arcade stick is a high-end fight stick and is preferred by many professionals. The durability is exceptional. It’s made of a tough plastic which makes it light and easy to travel with, along with a metal base that makes it durable. The arcade stick caters to both 8-button players and 6-button players, as there is a button lock to lock two of the eight buttons present on the Q4. Apart from the 8-buttons and the stick, this arcade stick offers a start button on the right and four other buttons on the top for navigation and turbo.
The buttons and the joystick are of exceptional quality being original Sanwa parts. The buttons are extremely sensitive, and can be triggered with a minimum force, and are easily swappable, making the Qanba Q4 a treat to modify. The Q4 is also ideal for long gaming sessions, as it is ergonomic; the base contours slightly to give players adequate and comfortable room for their wrist. The Q4 is compatible with consoles as well as PCs, and you can switch between them via a slider.
Buy: Amazon ($170)
4. HORI Real Arcade Pro 4 Kai (PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360)
The HORI Arcade Pro 4 Kai is another highly used high-end arcade stick, with many features to back up its comparatively lower price of about $145. This arcade stick is beautiful while maintaining a light weight despite the bottom being metal. The joystick is an original Hori Hayabusa, providing very fast and accurate inputs once mastered. The Arcade Pro 4 ditches Sanwa buttons in favor of Hori Kuro buttons, which are harder to master than Sanwa, but when mastered provide remarkable durability and response.
The arcade stick is an 8-button stick with a start button on the right and L3 and R3 buttons on the side. The Arcade Pro 4 Kai also has a precise touchpad, and a turbo functionality as well. Like many other high-end arcade sticks, the Hori Arcade Pro 4 Kai can also be modified quite easily, and the buttons can also be replaced by Sanwa buttons. The Arcade Pro 4 also has good compatibility, covering the PS3 and PS4 in consoles, and PCs as well.
Buy: Amazon ($145)
5. Mad Catz Super Street Fighter IV TE:S (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)
The Mad Catz Super Street Fighter IV TE:S is a high-end stick that offers one of the best arcade experiences of any fight sticks. This arcade stick retails for about $150 and is well worth the price. The TE:S is a sleeker version of the normal Tournament Edition arcade stick while maintaining the same faceplate layout. It is an 8-button layout with genuine Sanwa Denshi buttons, which are extremely responsive and sensitive, allowing for fast-paced moves and combinations. The Madcatz SSFIV TE:S also has a headset plug on one of the sides, as well as a button for turbo, and a switch for locking buttons. The TE:S is also really easy to mod. Each part can be changed to the player’s liking without many technical skills.
The build quality is also exceptional, as it is with many high-end sticks. The front plate has a Street Fighter artwork on it, while the base is made up of metal for added durability and support. This arcade stick comes in two variants, a PS3 variant, and a Xbox 360 one. Both offer support for PCs, with the difference being in the layout and color. On the PS3 version, the 6 main buttons are blue, and the L1 and L2 buttons are white. On the 360 version, the four buttons correspond to the colors found on the Xbox 360 controller, and the other 4 buttons (RB, RT, LB, and LT) are white.
Buy: Amazon ($150)
6. Madcatz Arcade FightStick TE2+ (PC, PS3, PS4)
Madcatz cover all the different budgets, and the Arcade FightStick TE2+ is certainly one of their high-end fightsticks. With a price tag of $230, this arcade stick is surely made for the enthusiasts who will utilize all the features this fightstick comes with. The Madcatz TE2+ is a tournament edition fight stick made for competitive gaming. The build quality of the TE2+ sets the bar high, with the fightstick being constructed of metal, plastic, and glass, with rubber for a good grip on the surface. The fight stick features an 8-button layout, like many other high-end arcade sticks with high-quality parts. Both the buttons and the handle are Sanwa Denshi parts, with the buttons being extremely responsive with a little resistance to make it ideal for fighting games.
The TE2+ also features turbo and control buttons on the top, along with a well-made touchpad, as well as extra L3 and R3 buttons. Modding this fightstick is no difficulty at all, with the internal of the stick also offering a storage for parts. Overall this arcade stick is an amazing work of art in which no corners have been cut, with compatibility for PC, PS3, and PS4.
Buy: Amazon ($230)
7. HORI Arcade Stick Mini (PS4, PS3)
The Hori Arcade Stick Mini is a great starter stick, compatible with the PS3 and PS4. It is extremely affordable, coming at about $40, and the overall experience is more than decent. This arcade stick is made up of plastic and has rubberized feet to prevent it from moving. Its build quality is remarkable for the price, with corners being cut at the right places for the reduced price. The plastic construction makes for an extremely light and portable arcade stick, which makes it great for traveling gamers. The footprint of the Arcade Stick Mini is also small, as implied by its name. The buttons are flat and wide, which offer good responsiveness and the handle is quite comfortable, albeit a little too small for people with large hands.
It is an 8-button arcade stick and also comes with turbo functionality. To sum things up, the Hori Arcade Stick Mini is a great bang-for-the-buck arcade stick, despite its low durability.
Buy: Amazon ($40)
8. Mayflash F300 (PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One)
The Mayflash F300 is the predecessor to the Mayflash F500 but it’s still an amazing arcade stick, especially for beginners aiming to use it with multiple devices. The F300 comes in under $60 and offers a great experience. For the price, you are getting a nice 8-button layout, with some extra buttons on the top for turbo and changing the input of the arcade stick. The F300 hosts an all plastic body with rubberized feet for added stability. The affordable arcade stick is well constructed and does not feel cheaply made, although the buttons are a compromise here, as they are not Sanwa parts out of the box, with some modding, you can replace the stock buttons to any button of your choice – even Sanwa buttons. The buttons do provide an adequate response, with the handle being light.
The Mayflash F30 does not offer longevity, but the true beauty of this arcade stick is in its compatibility. It is compatible with every popular console out there, including the PS4, PS3, Xbox 360 & Xbox One, along with PCs running Windows 7 to Windows 10.
Buy: Amazon ($60)
9. Qanba N1 (PC, PS3, Nvidia Shield, Android)
While the Qanba Q4 is a high-end stick, the N1 is a mid-end fight stick ideal for people looking to break into the fight stick world. The Qanba N1 costs only $60 and offers great value for money. Like other budget arcade sticks, the Qanba N1 also dons a full plastic construction, but also caters to ergonomics, as it is curved slightly at the top with wrist rests to help with fatigue. The build quality is decent, and the N1 offers a unique translucent top, which gives you a view of the internals as well.
The arcade stick is a little tough to mod, as with many other budget oriented arcade sticks, but the stock buttons are decent enough. The handle is a ball top handle, with the buttons being convexed for better comfort, in a 6-button layout. It also features five more buttons for control and turbo. The Qanba N1 is also quite light, making it easy for transport, and also has a wide range of devices which it can work with. It is compatible with PCs, PS3, Nvidia Shield, and even Android devices.
Buy: Amazon ($60)
10. MadCatz Soul Calibur V Arcade Stick (Xbox 360/PS3)
The MadCatz Soul Calibur V edition arcade stick is a work of art. The front plate has a beautiful art of Soul Calibur with a translucent finish, along with a Namco Noir button layout. It’s a high-end heavy fight stick one with a metal plate and rubber feet for stability. The buttons are all Sanwa Denshi parts with the superb responsiveness, and the clicking noise is minimal. It has an 8-button layout and has the start button on the side to prevent accidental presses.
The Soul Calibur V also comes with control buttons such as the turbo button, and the controller lock/unlock switch, which deactivates the buttons you do not want to use. This arcade stick can also be modified easily and packs in internal storage as well. The Soul Calibur V Arcade stick is a pretty stick with high-quality parts which makes it great in both form and function. The only drawback being that it is only compatible with either Xbox 360 or PS3 depending on the model.
Buy: Amazon ($250)
The Best Fight Sticks and Arcade Sticks You Can Buy
If you are looking for an entry-level fight stick or a tournament edition stick, we have covered everything and then some. Choose the one stick that you like and play with it until you can pull-off every move in your favorite game. When it comes to fight sticks aka arcade sticks, it’s all about getting the hang of it. Also, feel free to mention your favorite fight sticks in the comment sections below.