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The 7 Best Arcade Sticks on the Market

What is the best arcade stick on the market today? It depends on the hardware and which platform you want to use it with. This can make choosing one a tricky exercise. We’ve rounded up some of the best arcade sticks you can get your hands on.

Also helpful: if you love the nostalgic feel of playing arcade games with an arcade stick, you may also be interested in these top arcade cabinets.

1. Best Overall: Monoprice Dark Matter

  • Price: $119
  • Compatibility: PC, Android, Nintendo Switch, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5
  • Connectivity: Wired
  • Stick and Button Type: SANWA joystick and buttons
  • Mod Support: Yes

Finding the “best” arcade stick can be a frustrating exercise, as there are almost always gaps in compatibility with all of the different consoles and platforms on the market today. Luckily, the Monoprice Dark Matter Arcade Stick works with everything.

The Monoprice Dark Matter stick works with PC and Android devices in addition to virtually all consoles. The Monoprice Dark Matter even works with the notoriously finicky PlayStation 5 (with some caveats).

The Dark Matter arcade stick is sold under a variety of names. However, the Monoprice version retails for the lowest amount. They’re all identical products, so you’re not missing out on anything if you choose not to pay for a more expensive name brand.

2. Best PlayStation 5 Arcade Stick: PDP Victrix Pro FS

  • Price: $399.99
  • Compatibility: PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, PC
  • Connectivity: Wired
  • Stick and Button Type: SANWA Denshi joystick and buttons
  • Mod Support: Yes
Arcade Sticks Victrix Top

Finding a fight stick for the PlayStation 5 can be a bit of a chore. Unfortunately, many of the arcade sticks on the market don’t support the PS5. Thankfully, PDP partnered with Sony to make the officially-licensed Victrix Pro FS arcade stick.

In addition to its plug-and-play capabilities, the Victrix Pro FS is a premium fight stick with impressive features. The body is made from a single piece of aircraft-grade aluminum, making it highly durable. With integrated carry handles and cable organizers, the Victrix Pro FS is made for competition travel.

The Victrix Pro FS is outfitted with SANWA buttons and their patented Link 2 joystick. A control bar for easy button remapping and tweaks is on top of the stick. Furthermore, the Victrix features button lighting and side lighting in a design flourish not seen in many other competitors. Finally, the backplate is easily removable, giving users access to the insides of the stick and enabling easy modification.

3. Best for Xbox Series X/S: Mayflash F500 Elite

  • Price: $149.99
  • Compatibility: Xbox Series S/X, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Windows, macOS, Raspberry Pi, Steam Deck, Android, mini consoles
  • Connectivity: Wired
  • Stick and Button Type: SANWA 4-way joystick and buttons
  • Mod Support: Yes
Arcade Sticks Mayflash F500 Top

As the name implies, the Mayflash F500 Elite is a truly elite arcade stick. It boasts compatibility with almost every platform and has an excellent, polished build quality. This arcade stick also provides a dizzying range of compatible media, including every iteration of the Xbox (except the original) and mini consoles, like the Sega Genesis Mini and the PSClassic!

The Mayflash F500 Elite is a beast, boasting a solid, all-metal build with an acrylic top plate. In addition, the F500 Elite utilizes a high-quality SANWA joystick and buttons. The bottom panel of the F500 Elite is easily removable. This makes swapping out hardware super easy.

The F500 Elite is the current leader in arcade sticks and deserves its place on that throne. Since it isn’t officially licensed by Sony, getting it to work with PlayStation consoles is a bit of a pain. PS5 compatibility seems to be largely dependent on the specific game you’re trying to play.

4. Best Nintendo Switch Arcade Stick: 8BitDo Arcade Stick

  • Price: $89.99
  • Compatibility: Nintendo Switch, PC (Windows)
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth and Wired
  • Stick and Button Type: 8BitDo joystick and buttons
  • Mod Support: Yes
Arcade Sticks 8bitdo Top

The aesthetics of the 8BitDo Arcade Stick scream nostalgia, thanks to its old-school NES styling. Additionally, the assignable macros and programmable turbo buttons strike the perfect balance between fighters and other game genres, as it handles “beat ’em ups” and platformers just as well.

The 8BitDo’s PC compatibility makes it an excellent choice for emulation, as the additional control options make it versatile across various games. Furthermore, the Turbo function can save you from developing carpal tunnel syndrome in games that require repetitive motion.

The 8BitDo also provides Bluetooth and 2.4 GHz wireless connectivity. This stick will work with everything from RetroArch on your PC to your favorite emulator on your mobile phone.

5. Best All-Button Arcade Stick: Hit Box Arcade

  • Price: $249.99
  • Compatibility: PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, PC
  • Connectivity: Wired (detachable braided USB cable)
  • Button Type: SANWA Denshi
  • Mod Support: Yes
Arcade Sticks Hitbox Top

It’s no secret that fighting games enthusiasts prefer the D-Pad over an analog stick. The D-Pad is more responsive and accurate, which makes it easier to pull off special moves. The Hit Box Arcade aims to give fighting fans this performance advantage by ditching the joystick entirely in favor of more buttons.

At first glance, the Hit Box looks a bit strange. The all-button design makes it look less like a controller and more like a constellation of plastic stars. However, the buttons are configured in an intuitive way that can provide an advantage over the competition – at least once you get used to it.

The index, middle, and ring fingers rest on the buttons that actuate Left, Right, and Down directions for your playable character. Meanwhile, the thumb rests on another switch that acts as the Up function. This configuration can reduce stress and fatigue and provide greater control.

6. Best WASD Arcade Stick: Mixbox Universal Edition

  • Price: $369.99
  • Compatibility: PlayStation 5 (with add-on), PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, PS Classic, Nintendo Switch, Xbox Series S/X, Xbox One, Xbox 360, NEOGEO mini, MD mini, and Wii U (Pokken Tournament only)
  • Connectivity: Wired
  • Button Type: Cherry MX Mechanical Keys, SANWA buttons
  • Mod Support: Yes
Arcade Sticks Wasd Mixbox Top

If you’re a PC gamer, your fingers will feel right at home with the Mixbox controller. This fight stick eschews the joystick in favor of four keyboard keys. On a standard keyboard, these keys would be labeled with the letters W, A, S, and D, traditionally used as directional controls in video games as up, left, down, and right, respectively.

The advantage to using the WASD keys instead of a joystick is that directional controls can be input much faster. The Mixbox uses Cherry MX red linear switches to ensure the fastest performance possible. These switches boast a mere 4mm of travel, making them one of the top choices among the gaming community.

Furthermore, the Mixbox utilizes SANWA Denshi buttons, so you can rest assured that they’ll take a beating while remaining responsive. The Universal Edition of the Mixbox is compatible with virtually everything from various home consoles to PCs.

7. Best Budget Stick: Mayflash F300

  • Price: $62
  • Compatibility: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch, Windows, Android, mini consoles
  • Connectivity: Wired
  • Stick and Button Type: Mayflash joystick and buttons
  • Mod Support: Yes
Arcade Sticks Mayflash Top

Mayflash manufactures several well-received fight sticks. However, the Mayflash F300 Arcade Fight Stick deserves special mention for its rock-bottom price and impressive wide-ranging compatibility. If that doesn’t scratch your gaming itch, it is compatible with macOS, Windows, Android devices, and many mini consoles, including the NEOGEO Mini.

The F300 utilizes Mayflash’s in-house joystick and buttons and may not be to everyone’s liking. Thankfully, if you don’t like their feel, you can swap them out with the ones you prefer. This makes the stick completely modifiable, negating the need to buy an entirely new arcade stick.

The F300 may not be as premium as some of the other arcade sticks on this list, but it’s super affordable and compatible with a wide range of gaming hardware. In addition, you can adjust it to your preferences with the ability to modify it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there an advantage to using an arcade stick instead of a controller?

Many fighting games were designed for traditional arcade controls. This includes the joystick and the large button layout. If you’ve ever seen tournament play, you’re bound to spot arcade sticks. It all depends on personal preferences. Whatever feels best to you is the best control method for any game, especially fighting games. If you are curious, try a variety of PC gamepads and arcade sticks before settling on just one.

Are arcade sticks only useful for fighting games?

No, you can use arcade sticks for most controller-based games. Games that are linear or two-dimensional will work well. Besides fighting games, other genres that can particularly benefit from the arcade stick experience include platformers, shoot-em-ups, and beat-em-ups.

What are SANWA buttons?

You may have noticed that many of the arcade sticks in this list use SANWA buttons and joysticks. This is because SANWA hardware is the gold standard in arcade machines. They were used in virtually every Japanese arcade cabinet due to their responsiveness, accuracy, and durability. The buttons and joysticks will take a literal beating with meager failure rates for years.

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

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