You’ve probably come from a Google search looking for guides and reviews on fight sticks. We don’t want to waste your time with a useless intro so let’s get into it.
Here are some basic guidelines you should follow when buying a new fightstick.
- Please research
- Get a fightstick that is compatible with your platform to spare yourself troubles later
- Fightsticks are, for the most part, very subjective since there’s no objective benchmark to compare different sticks.
- “Cheap” sticks aren’t actually that bad if you’re a casual gamer
- Definitely do your research on modding and parts if you plan to mod – this will affect your choice of stick as well
- If you’re planning to really get into this it’s probably a better idea to get a decent fightstick instead of a cheap starter stick that you will end up replacing in a few months
- There a sticks that are a great value for their price but don’t expect for a $80 stick to get you the same quality components as a $200 stick.
Here is a table with a few of our recommended sticks at various price ranges, but this not a comprehensive selection of good fight sticks. It’s just a quick overview of sticks that are universally regarded as decent for their price.
|Name||Qanba Obsidian||Razer Panthera||HORI RAP4||Qanba Dragon||Mayflash F500||Qanba Drone|
|Platforms||PS4, PS3, PC||PS4, PS3, PC||PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PC||PS4, PS3, PC||PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PC, Android||PS4, PS3, PC|
Best Fightstick for PS3/PS4
The Razor Panthera is one of the best sticks on the market today, and is both a good choice for both modders and non-modders as well.
The design of the Razer Panthera isn’t anything to call home about. The body is basically a black box, kind of like a oversized PS4 with buttons and a lever on it. The stick has some heft to it, so you shouldn’t worry about the stick slipping around. The faceplate comes with a design on it, the Razer logo. This means that you might want to pick up this stick if you don’t plan on modding. If you are a modder, the Panthera is an amazing choice for modding because the stick opens up with the click of a button using a neat hydraulic pump, revealing all the buttons and levers. However, if you really like having custom artwork, you might have to look for something else since the stock artwork can’t be taken out and replaced.
In terms of features, this is really where the Panthera shines. It comes with all-Sanwa components – the gold standard in fighstick parts. The Panthera’s command console contains all the buttons you would expect a fighstick to have, and also a touchpad – A nice bonus for a 200 dollar stick. The stick also comes with an American style battop if you don’t like the pre-installed battop.
PROS:Sanwa buttons and lever Opens internals with one button Includes touchpad Excellent performance
CONS:Quite expensive Cannot replace artwork
The Qanba Obsidian is very similar to the Razer Panthera, both in terms of price and features. At 200 dollars, you find basically everything you would ever want in a fightstick here. There are a few more pricier fighsticks, but the only thing they offer over the Obsidian is bells and whistles – and basically nothing in terms of actual gaming performance.
If you’re a sucker for design, the Obsidian is a great choice. Qanba has a reputation for high build quality and general good ergonomics. The body is constructed out of brushed aluminium and hard plastic. On the sides of the stick are two very pretty blue LED rings.
The stick is slightly harder to open because you need screw drivers, but you can replace the faceplate art on the Obsidian, unlike on the Panthera. The Qanba Obsidian uses the same Sanwa levers and buttons as the Panthera, and has a touchpad as well.
Opening it requires a screwdriver
Best Fightstick for XBox
Unfortunately, the demand for an Xbox stick isn’t very high, so Xbox players have fewer options compared to PC and PlayStation users. The HORI RAP Pro.V is one of best options available today if you’re looking for a Xbox fightstick.
Hori’s naming scheme for their fightsticks is weird, but the “V” does not stand for the roman numeral “5”. Instead, it stands for the Vewlix button layout. The “Kai” stands for the layout of the stick in relation to the buttons. However, in the end all of this naming terminology doesn’t matter. The Hori RAP Pro.V is essentially the same stick as the Hori RAP4, except that one is for the XBox and the latter one is for the PS4.
PROS:Good build quality Good high-quality Hayasuba buttons Decently modifiable
Best Fightstick for Nintendo Switch
The first fightstick on our list that is designed for the Nintendo Switch, it basically is a HORI stick that has been configured for the Nintendo Switch. It uses the same HORI Hayasuba parts that are on all other HORI Fightstick models. Similar to other HORI fightsticks, it doesn’t include Sanwa Denshi parts, only including the HORI in-house Hayasuba parts that are pretty good anyways. For those that see it as a sticking point, you can switch them out any time you want.
The base of the model has stickypads that make it good for gaming on your lap and the hollow Hayasuba buttons are also a great addition.The build quality is on par with other HORI fight-sticks, and the overall conclusion is that this model is basically a generic HORI fight stick but made for Nintendo Switch instead. It is still compatible with the PC through Xinput as well.
PROS:Good build quality Good high-quality Hayasuba buttons Decently modifiable
Best Budget Fightsticks
The Qanba Drone is one of the two budget fightsticks made by the Chinese company, with the other one being The Qanba Joy. Like most other budget sticks, the Qanba Joy is light, measuring 14″ x 9.5″ x 6″ and weighing three pounds. The entire stick is made of a black glossy plastic. The stick comes with an interesting yellow and black color palette, with the artwork being a honeycomb pattern.
The buttons are generic Qanba buttons, but they work quite well. The stick is usable but feels flimsy.
The control console on the top of the stick is very close to the buttons, so the lock switch is really useful on the stick.
In terms of modding, it is fairly straightforward. Unscrew the screws from the bottom panel and the stick and the body opens up. Replacing the buttons is easy, but the joystick replacement is more difficult.
PROS:Reputable brand Pretty design Easy to mod and replace stock components with upgraded buttons and lever Good components for a stick of this price
CONS:You’ll probably want to upgrade eventually in the future
The F300 is probably the cheapest fightstick on this list. The Drone only costs a few dollars more, but the F300 is probably one of the cheapest fightsticks that functions at a reasonable level. Everything about the F300 is basic, but the stick does everything you would want to find in a fightstick.
There was zero effort put into the design of the F300, and the design of the F300 and all the other Mayflash fighsticks is very generic. The proprietary buttons and lever on the F300 are about as good as you would expect for fightstick for 50 dollars. They are perfectly workable and aren’t actually bad, but Mayflash has made the F300 compitable with Sanwa parts.
One of the biggest pros of the F300 is the massive flexibility when it comes to compatibility. The F300 is compatiable with the PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox 1, PC, Switch, and Android. If you want a cheap little fightstick that comes with a lot of modding versatility and cross-platform compatibility, the F300 is a good beater stick.
PROS:Very affordable Compatible with massive array of platforms Can use Sanwa Deshi components
CONS:Boring, uninspiring design Built with cheap materials
If you are like the concept for the F300, a fightstick designed with value and functionality in mind, the F500 is a good upgrade option if you want everything on the F300 but better.
Like the Mayflash F300, the previous budget fightstick on this review, the F500 is compatiable with basically everything you would want to use it with: PS4, PS3, XBox 1, XBox 360, Nintendo Switch, PC, Android … etc.
Despite being a upgrade to the F300, The F500 is just as plainly designed as the F300. The F500 is even more boxy than the F300, because there is no angled offset from the front to the top plate on the F500 as found on the F300. However, you can actually change the artwork on the F500 as it suppots custom artwork under the plexiglass panel. Just pop off the panel and add in whatever artwork you want.
However, one major difference between the F300 and the F500 is the size and weight of the stick. The F500 is substantially larger and heavier, which is a big plus in terms of ergonomics especially if you have big hands. Because the F500 is larger, there is also a USB cable compartment, something that the F300 does not have. The F500 also has a headphone jack.
Overall, the F500 is larger and more premium version of the F300, but is it still basically functionally the same as the F300 because it appears that the buttons and lever are the same.
PROS:Upgraded version of Mayflash F300 Compatibility with many many many platforms Customization artwork Easy to mod and customizable with Sanwa components
CONS:Boring design Same parts as the cheaper F300
Best Midrange Fightstick
The MadCatz TES+ is one of the cheapest fightsticks with a full set of Sanwa parts. If you’re comparing this stick to the similarly priced Hori RAP4, the TES+ edges out the RAP4 in terms of the lever and buttons because the Hori stick comes with the Hayabusa parts – but many people like the Hayabusa stick more because it offers more resistance.
In terms of size and design, the Mad Catz TES+ is relatively compact, mostly constructed out of hard plastic with the top being made of shiny plexiglass. The stick is easy to mod, but the artwork is not replaceable. If you want to be able to replace the artwork, consider getting the slightly more expensive Mad Catz TE2+ or something like the Qanba Obsidian.
One thing that might kill this stick for many of you is the fact that Mad Catz has stopped making fightsticks, so you won’t get any warranty support for any Mad Catz stick you buy. If it breaks on you, you’ll have to resort to third-party replacement parts. This is a real shame because the TES+ and TE2+ are great fightsticks.
PROS:Switchable between 4-way and 8-way stick modes Fast PCB One of the cheapest sticks with a full set of Sanwa parts
CONS:RIP MadCatz no more warranty and support Has a reputation for reliability issues
Best Premium Fightstick
The Qanba Dragon is the fightstick you want to get if you like impressing people. It’s massive, measuring at 20″ and weighing 12 pounds. The construction quality is excellent, as you would expect from a stick that costs 300 dollars. To open up the stick, you just need to press down on two levers to reach the internals.
In terms of actual performance, it doesn’t have too much over the Qanba Obsidian. It uses the same Sanwa buttons and lever in the same configuration as the Obsidian.
All in all, there isn’t much the Dragon has over the Obsidian when comparing performance. The Obsidian even has a slightly faster PCB. But if you really like having an ultra-premium feel and heavy weight, that might justify the higher price.
PROS:Top of the line construction quality Sanwa components Massive size – dwarfs all other fighsticks Very good set of features
CONS:Size makes it hard to lug around Expensive but doesn’t perform any better than the Obsidian
Thanks for reading our updated guide on the best fightsticks of every function and price point you can get in 2018. The fightstick market moves pretty slow, but it’s still a good idea to keep everything new and updated.
This is by no means a comprehensive list, as we have tried to cram in the best options for every type of fightsick in an post that is less tahn 2,500 words long. There are a lot of fightsticks that we have left out, especially on the lower end of the price spectrum.
In the end, our favorite fightsticks on this list are probably the Qanba Obsidian, Qanba Drone, and Razer Obsidian. Take that for what you will.
Take note that we based our ratings of each fightstick is larged based on the price of fightsticks we see on the market at the time the review is written. Sales of fightsticks happen a lot, so shop around and look at lots of different models. You might get lucky and find a Dragon for under $250!