- The best arcade-style fighting sticks for PC in 2024 include the Razer Kitsune, Qanba Drone, Mayflash F500 Elite, HORI Fighting Stick Alpha, and Mad Catz The Authentic EGO Arcade Fight Stick.
- Leverless arcade-style fighting sticks like the Razer Kitsune offer a unique button-based design that can improve execution and performance in fighting games.
- When choosing an arcade-style fighting stick, consider factors such as gate selection and switch selection to suit your preferences and needs.
- Using an arcade-style fighting stick provides a better platform for executing combos and dominating opponents compared to a gamepad.
What are the best arcade-style fighting sticks around? Fighting games are back in a big way. Titles like the upcoming Tekken 8, Street Fighter 6, and the recently released Mortal Kombat 1 have all shown that fighting games are alive and well. If you’re looking to move past the gamepad and experience a fighting stick, then you’re in luck.
I’m an avid fighting game fan, I’ve been playing Street Fighter at a semi-serious level since somewhere around 1998. These are my personal choices for the best fight sticks you’ll find on the market today. Just about any of these are usable for Windows machines, some even have the bonus of being usable with consoles. You’ll want that functionality for playing at local events with your friends.
- Best Leverless: Razer Kitsune
- Best Budget Option: Qanba Drone
- Best for Xbox Fans: Mayflash F500 Elite
- Best for PlayStation Fans: HORI Fighting Stick Alpha
- Best for Windows: Mad Catz The Authentic EGO Arcade Fight Stick
- Best for Nintendo Switch Fans: 8BitDo Arcade Stick
Best Leverless: Razer Kitsune
Leverless arcade-style fighting sticks like the Razer Kitsune aren’t new by any means. The Hitbox proved the concept certainly had its merit. Rather than use a joystick as you’ll find on most fighting sticks, you’ve got buttons. This can help with execution and performance when playing. You do not have to rely on the motion of your wrist as each direction is a finger.
Leverless arcade-style fighting sticks aren’t going to be for everyone. However, I’m a long-time convert. Depending on your preferred main in a fighting game, you might find it a great fit. Grapplers and Rekka-oriented characters benefit from the lack of a joystick. You might find issues if you prefer charging characters, however. Check out the Razer Kitsune All-Button Arcade Controller on Amazon.
|It’s a fast method of executing combos and special moves.
|Leverless sticks aren’t for everyone.
|It is great for grappler characters like Zangief and Potemkin.
|There is a massive learning curve compared to a regular stick.
Best Budget Option: Qanba Drone
- Compatible with PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, and PC
- USB wired connection
- Officially licensed Sony peripheral with authentic Qanba buttons and stick
- Antislip bottom pad
- LED indicators for Mode and Turbo
- Tournament Lock switch
If you’re looking to get into fighting games without spending a fortune, the Qanba Drone is a worthwhile choice. It acts as a great modding platform. The low cost of this arcade-style fighting stick makes it worth exploring. The switches and gate wouldn’t be my first choice by any means. However, they’re all easily replaced.
You could realistically build this stick around your needs as you want. At this price, it costs less than getting all the DLC for something like Street Fighter 6. You’ll have overall better control when compared to something like a Dual Sense controller. Check out the Qanba Drone Joystick on Amazon.
|The stick offers a great platform for modding.
|It has low-quality switches and gate.
|It’s affordable compared to other fighting sticks.
|The stick shape wouldn’t be my first choice.
Best for Xbox Fans: Mayflash F500 Elite
Mayflash went from budget to high-end in no time at all. The F500 Elite is a fantastic X-input arcade-style fighting stick. No expense has been spared when looking at the F500 Elite. You’ve got a fantastic set of Sanwa mechanical switches. The work surface is also massive, making for a stable platform for modding.
I can’t think of many areas where modding might be needed. Having the option is great, however. The F500 Elite is fairly priced compared to some of the options on this list, and that’s fine. If you’re going to locals where Xbox consoles are used, this is the only real option you’ll have. Check out the MAYFLASH Arcade Stick F500 Elite on Amazon.
|It comes with Sanwa switches.
|The default joystick configuration can have too much play.
|This stick can be used with Xbox or PC.
|Octagonal gates might rub some users the wrong way.
Best for PlayStation Fans: Hori Fighting Stick Alpha
- For PS5, PS4, and PC
- Officially Licensed by Sony
- Hayabusa buttons and joystick
- Platform opens for customization and maintenance
- Replaceable artwork on top-panel
The HORI Fighting Stick Alpha is an arcade-style fighting stick oozing with quality. It might not feature fan-favorite switches from Sanwa or Seimitsu, but you’ll hardly notice the quality of the Hori Hayabusa hardware. The Fighting Stick Alpha was built with the PlayStation 5 in mind. However, you can also use it to dominate the competition in Windows fighting games.
I love the modding capabilities of the Fighting Stick Alpha. I don’t use levered fighting sticks anymore, but my last few were all Hori models. They work well, and function as you would expect when playing a fighting game. Check out the HORI Fighting Stick Alpha on Amazon.
|You can replace the top-panel artwork easily.
|Build quality can feel a bit cheap on some models.
|Adjustable settings can be found in the Hori PC app.
|It’s somewhat bulky and heavy compared to other fighting sticks.
Best for Windows: Mad Catz Ego
- For PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC
- Sanwa Denshi joystick and action buttons
- Ball-top 8-way joystick can be configured to replicate the left or right thumbstick or D-pad
- 8 customizable action buttons and 2 additional programmable buttons
- Key lock switch and Turbo function
The Mad Catz Ego is built for success. It comes with cross-compatibility for both Xbox and PlayStation consoles thanks to some handy tricks. If you’re looking for the best arcade-style fighting stick for Windows platforms, this might be it.
You’ve got Sanwa parts all through the stick, which I adore. The gate is also high-quality and responsive. Sanwa switches are some of the best in the business. This is a fighting stick that is built for customization, not that it’ll need it. Check out Mad Catz The Authentic EGO Arcade Fight Stick on Amazon.
|It is easy to mod.
|This stick requires some funky workarounds to function with other consoles.
|The stick has a spacious work surface for modding as needed.
|It is on the large side.
Best for Nintendo Switch Fans: 8BitDo Arcade Stick
- Wired USB-C, Bluetooth, and 2.4G connectivity
- Compatible with Nintendo Switch and Windows PCs
- Moddable arcade stick
- Two dedicated macro buttons
- 1000mAh rechargeable battery
Nintendo fans aren’t left out of the proceedings. The 8BitDo Arcade Stick is an affordable arcade-style fighting stick that works with Windows and Nintendo Switch consoles. While most locals aren’t likely going to be running on the Nintendo Switch, there are plenty of stellar fighting games on the console.
Titles like the Street Fighter Anniversary Collection and Dragon Ball FighterZ are well worth playing at their absolute best. The 8BitDo is a lower-quality stick than most of the ones featured. However, the switches and joystick feel great in the hand. You might want to replace the gate, but I say that about most fighting sticks. Check out the 8Bitdo Arcade Stick on Amazon.
|The low cost is great for users looking to try a fighting stick.
|Overall construction feels cheap.
|Works splendidly with Nintendo Switch fighting games.
|Bluetooth connectivity can be a bit spotty.
How to Pick the Best Arcade-Style Fighting Sticks: Step by Step
There is no one fit for an arcade-style fighting stick. You are likely going to want to change things around to suit your needs as your level of execution grows. For most beginners, I’d suggest sticking with stock components until you run against the limitations of using them. You don’t need to go modding a stick without trying it for a few hundred hours.
The gate is important to any levered arcade-style fighting sticks you’ll find on the market. You want a gate that is responsive to your needs. I prefer square gates, but you may prefer something like an 8-way gate. At any rate, try a few under actual play conditions before making your decision.
Switch selection is huge on arcade-style fighting sticks. You want something that isn’t going to ghost and pick up your inputs. I like Seimitsu and Sanwa switches, as do most users. Before replacing the switches, I recommended playing a few matches and using the playback to see if you’re dropping inputs or buffering them.
What to Know Before Picking the Best Arcade-Style Fighting Sticks
Picking the best arcade-style fighting sticks can be a daunting task. Get one that fits your budget and your hands. You can customize the rest as you need later on. Not every stick makes for a great modding platform, but all the ones I’ve chosen for this guide are.
Using the Best Arcade-Style Fighting Sticks: What It’s Like
Using an arcade-style fighting stick is quite the adjustment. I figure most fighting game players are used to using gamepads at home. As someone who remembers and went to arcades, they are the only real way to play fighting games. You’ve got plenty of room to execute your favorite combos and dominate an opponent. However, it does help if you learn the platform. It takes time to learn how to use an arcade-style fighting stick, but it is a far better platform compared to something like a gamepad.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Daniel Fung/Shutterstock.com.