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Friday, June 21, 2024

Best Fight Stick for Fighting Games 2023

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When you're trying to smash your opponents and pull off the ultimate combos, you'll want a fight stick as good as the Mad Catz Ego, our number 1 fight stick for fighting games. Even the best Xbox Series X and PS5 controllers likely won't do if you're trying to pull off sick combos in Street Fighter 6. A fight stick can be your best friend in fighting games. The best fight sticks have trusty joysticks that let you put your whole hand and arm into each movement, not relying on just your thumb to pull off the complex and quick movements of arcade fighting games. A nice ball-top joystick can make the difference between reliably pulling off quarter circles and never figuring out the near-ubiquitous move.

TL;DR – These are the Best Arcade Fight Sticks:

You'll find a wide variety of fight sticks on the market. A good many are made for serious play with quality mechanical switches and the same Sanwa parts you'd find in an arcade cabinet. Some offer a similar feel but are more affordable. You can even snag models that offer up a bit of RGB lighting to tweak to your liking. We'll guide you through our top picks so you can find a quality fight stick, whether you want it for casual play or high-level tournaments – and click here to see them in the UK.

1. Mad Catz Ego

Best Fight Stick

Mad Catz EgoMad Catz Ego This multi-platform fight stick is kitted out with a quality Sanwa Denshi joystick and action buttons, while an easy open door makes it simple to swap components.

The Mad Catz Ego is a fight stick that’s simply ready to go. What do we mean by that? It’s a fight stick that breaks through the absurd platform-compatibility divide, stands out with quality parts, and is geared up for gamers to tinker with at their leisure. Coming in just over $200, it's also fairly affordable for a fight stick in a market of many pricier options.

The Mad Catz Ego works seamlessly with the PCs and Nintendo Switch. As for the Xbox or PlayStation, all you need to do is plug the respective controller of that platform into the Ego. It'll even work with the PS5 if you connect a DualShock 4 controller to this fight stick. It’s a serious boon to find something that can work for all of the platforms. The Mad Catz Ego comes kitted out with Sanwa Denshi ball-top joystick (seated in an eight-way gate) and action buttons. If those quality parts aren’t your personal favorite, the Mad Catz Ego is easily customizable and it even comes with a screwdriver to let you easily open it up.

2. Qanba Drone

Best Budget Fight Stick

Qanba DroneQanba Drone Offering a PlayStation button layout, tournament lock switch, and moddable Qanba controls, this affordable fight stick is ready for action.

Fighting games are a lot easier on fight sticks, but you might not want to pay the price of a brand new game console just to get an edge in a few games. The Qanba Drone lets you get in on the button-mashing, quarter-circle action of fighting games for just over $100. That’s only a little more than you’ll pay for a game, especially with all the game deals out there, and pretty well in line with the price of other game controllers.

The Qanba Drone has a decent bit of flexibility, offering X-Input and Direct Input support to use with Sony consoles and PC, though its button layout is for PlayStation games. Qanba is using its own arcade buttons and joystick, but you can mod the platform if you decide you want to go with the ever-popular Sanwa parts later on. The Qanba Drone is ready for you to take with you to tournaments, too. It has a storage compartment for the USB cable, and it includes the crucial Tournament Lock switch to keep you from accidentally hitting a single button that gets you disqualified.

3. Mayflash F500 Elite

Best Xbox Series X/S Fight Stick

MAYFLASH Arcade Stick F500 EliteMAYFLASH Arcade Stick F500 Elite A tournament-grade fight stick with responsive Sanwa buttons and a precise joystick that’s compatible with most game systems, including the Xbox Series X/S.

For whatever reason, the Xbox has more or less been left out in the arcade fight stick market in recent years. A lot of the really good options only support PlayStation, and that leaves Xbox gamers with only a few solid options. Fortunately, the MAYFLASH F500 Elite supports Xbox Series X and has the incredible build quality you want in a fight stick.

On the MAYFLASH F500 Elite, you'll find all the controls you need for your favorite fighting games. The high-end Sanwa components make for buttons that are impressively responsive and the joystick is perfectly precise, so you will be able to maintain peak performance game after game. It is even made for modding out, so you can fiddle around and get everything to your liking. Overall, this is a solid, tournament-grade fight stick perfect for all your gaming needs.

4. Victrix Pro FS

Best PS5 Fight Stick

Victrix Pro Arcade FS Arcade Fight StickVictrix Pro Arcade FS Arcade Fight Stick Sanwa Denshi buttons and a precise joystick reside in a sturdy aluminum frame ready for gaming on the PS5, PS4, or PC.

PlayStation gamers have a real winner on their hands with the Victrix Pro FS. While there are plenty of hefty fight sticks they could game on, the Victrix Pro FS is a tank. It's built on sturdy metal chassis that immediately makes it stand out from the crowd, not to mention the purple glow that comes out on each side.

Victrix has built a super-solid fight stick here, and it didn't stop at that metal frame. You'll find all quality Sanwa parts here, from the eight front buttons to the stick. The compartment to access components is a bit tight but does provide an open door for tinkering, and it'll let you quickly stow your joystick when you're taking this fight stick on the move.

5. Hori Fighting Stick Alpha

Best PC Fight Stick

Hori Fighting Stick AlphaHori Fighting Stick Alpha The Xbox layout of this option, which has eight well-spaced buttons and a sensitive joystick that can be modded out, makes it ideal for Xbox or PC.

A lot of the best fight sticks seem to get made for PlayStation, and even though many will still work on PC, it can take a bit of mental gymnastics to press the correct controls on the fight stick when presented with on-screen prompts for Xbox controls in PC games. Fortunately, Hori has introduced the crème de la crème of fight sticks for Xbox and, by extension, PC.

The Hori Fighting Stick Alpha has a sleek and sturdy design, and it comes fitted with top-notch components, namely Hori's Hayabusa buttons, switches, and lever. The Alpha has an eight-direction joystick and is highly sensitive, letting you get a quick response to your actions. The eight main buttons also have a bit of wiggle room around them, helping ensure they don't jam up against the sides of their slots and ruin any of your combos. And, if for some reason Hori's Hayabusa parts just aren't your cup of tea, the interior of the fight stick is readily accessible, so you can swap out the stock parts with the arcade components of your choice.

6. 8BitDo Arcade Stick

Best Nintendo Switch Fight Stick

8BitDo Arcade Stick8BitDo Arcade Stick This budget-friendly arcade stick delivers additional macro buttons and a turbo function, while wireless connectivity via a USB dongle or Bluetooth is handy for use with the Switch, PC, or mobile.

Plenty of great fighting games have come over to the Nintendo Switch even though they face the fierce competition of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. If you're all smashed out and want to enjoy those other fighting games to the fullest, a fight stick can make your experience better and make it easier to control with the precision these games require. 8BitDo has made an excellent arcade stick that's perfectly at home on the Nintendo Switch.

The 8BitDo Arcade Stick has awesome, retro NES styling. It also has illuminated button labels that show you exactly which Switch controls each button represents, and it can even change to a second set of illuminated button labels for PC controls. The buttons are easy to mash away, and the joystick is satisfactorily clicky. There are even macro buttons and a turbo function. And, let's not forget that the whole thing works wirelessly with a USB dongle. It also supports USB wired and Bluetooth connections. The 8BitDo Arcade Stick works just as well on PC and mobile as it does on the Switch, letting you get extra value out of the already fairly affordable arcade stick.

7. Hit Box

Ditch the Stick

Hit BoxHit Box An all-button fight stick that replaces the joystick with a set of four buttons in an ergonomic arrangement ideal for fighting games.

Don't like the stick and just want all buttons? The Hit Box has you covered there. This controller replaces the joystick with another set of four buttons designed to work like WASD on a keyboard. With this control scheme, your left fingers rest over left, right, and down and then you can trigger up with your thumb.

It's an interesting controller layout for sure, but it essentially gives you the precision of a D-Pad, but ergonomically arranged for fighting games. Best of all the Hit Box uses 100% authentic Sanwa Buttons so you know you're getting the best and most responsive experience out of this controller.

8. Mixbox Universal Edition

Best WASD Fight Stick

Mixbox Universal EditionMixbox Universal Edition This WASD fight stick supplements a traditional lever input with mechanical keyboard keys, plus it’s equipped with eight Sanwa Denshi buttons.

Yup, you read that right, the Mixbox Universal Edition is the best WASD fight stick. In a similar way to how the Hit Box replaces the joystick with more buttons, this arcade fight stick supplements its traditional lever input with mechanical keyboard keys. Now, this makes more sense than you might expect as this type of setup gives you an extremely tight grouping of the four directional buttons. This spacing allows you to easily go through the motions of pulling off hadoukens and other special attacks. And since this controller uses Cherry MX red switches you're pretty much getting the fastest input with its linear action.

The mechanical keyboard aspect aside, this Mixbox controller comes equipped with eight Sanwa Denshi buttons. Also as the universal edition, this arcade fight stick works with the PS5(upgrade kit required), PS4, PS4 Pro, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Nintendo Switch, and even the Wii U if you still have it kicking around.

9. Etokki Omni Arcade Stick

The Korean Fight Stick Option

Etokki Omni Arcade StickEtokki Omni Arcade Stick With a durable metal chassis housing a Korean Taeyoung Fanta stick and a set of Sanwa buttons, you’ll enjoy responsiveness and precision in every game.

If you're looking to stand out or just want a different feeling stick you might be interested in the Etokki Omni Arcade Stick. Rather than using a Japanese Sanwa stick, this controller comes equipped with a Korean Taeyoung Fanta stick for a tighter and more responsive feel. It also features a circular silicon gate that might make hitting the corners easier for you. You also get a full set of Sanwa buttons for punching in combos.

The Etokki Omni is also built like a tank with a full-metal chassis that weighs 7.27 pounds. It'd definitely on the pricey side, but a fight stick that feels this good and is this well made is worth it. If you go for the universal edition, you'll also get compatibility with many gaming systems helping to justify the price.

10. Qanba Pearl

Best High-End Fight Stick

Qanba PearlQanba Pearl A Sanwa joystick and Sanwa buttons come in a sleek, well-spaced layout, though components can easily be customized using a screw-open door.

You get a super solid fight stick with the Qanba Pearl. As a premium option, it comes packing the best parts with a Sanwa joystick and Sanwa buttons. These controls are all spaced apart a bit more than your usual fight stick, so you should have fewer mispresses during a game. The buttons themselves are slightly curved with a satisfying input, and the joystick offers smooth control. You’ll love the feel of this fight stick and it works great with PS4, PS3, and PC.

The form factor of the Qanba Pearl screams quality with a clean white coloring and sleek layout. There’s even some fun LED accent lighting to add ambiance to your gameplay. Plus, this fight stick is further customizable with a door that easily screws open letting you change out components.

Where to Get the Best Fight Stick in the UK

Mayflash F500 EliteBest Xbox Series X/S Fight StickMayflash F500 Elite £121.00Hori SERIES X Fighting StickBest PC Fight StickHori SERIES X Fighting Stick £184.99 Mad Catz Ego Mad Catz Ego £213.12 Qanba Drone Qanba Drone £89.53MAYFLASH Arcade Stick F500 EliteMAYFLASH Arcade Stick F500 Elite £121.00Hori Fighting Stick AlphaHori Fighting Stick Alpha £184.99 8BitDo Arcade Stick 8BitDo Arcade Stick £69.98Qanba PearlQanba Pearl £410.00

What to Look for in an Arcade Stick Controller

Finding the right arcade stick controller for you is all about getting the best lever and buttons for your budget.

When it comes to the stick of a fight stick, you pretty much only have the option of going with either a Japanese- or Korean-made parts. Sanwa is going to be the most prevalent name you hear while shopping for a controller in this segment. It's a Japanese company that produces arcade buttons and sticks, the latter of which features square gate and mild resistance.

Comparatively, Taeyoung Fanta and other Korean-made fight sticks usually come sporting a circle-shaped gate and rubber grommet. You'll want this type of stick if you want a lever that springs back to neutral after every motion.

Kevin Lee is IGN's Hardware and Roundups Editor. Follow him on Twitter @baggingspam

Danielle Abraham is a freelance writer and unpaid music historian

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