Peripherals

Best Fight Sticks For Competitive Esports Gaming In 2020

The use of fight sticks is embedded deeply in old school gamers because of the arcade gaming days. These days, controllers, mouse and keyboard are running wild and are really popular. However, there is a whole world of arcade fight sticks that many are unfamiliar with. Arcade fighting games are designed with the controls of a fight stick in mind. They require quick reactions and button presses because one mistake can end up costing you a lot. Since they can take up a lot of button mashings, these fight sticks are made of high-quality Japanese parts that are made to last a long time.

Owning and getting the best fight stick is not going to improve your skills out of thin air. However, given the fact that these very games are designed with the controls and layout of fight sticks in mind, it is safe to say that you’ll certainly be at an advantage. From highly expensive and premium picks to budgeted ones, there are many fight sticks in the market. So, let’s get right into it and see which ones are the best.

1. Razer Panthera EVO

The Best of the Best

  • Lightweight and very durable
  • Slanted design makes for comfortable long hour use
  • Very high-quality joystick and buttons
  • Honeycomb structure makes for easy modding
  • Panel needs to be unscrewed to open

Button type: Razer Mechanical | Joystick: Sanwa Denshi JLF | Layout: Vewlix | Headphone jack: Yes | Compatibility: PS4, PS3 and PC

Last Update on 2020-06-11 using Amazon Product Advertising API

No matter which side of gaming peripherals you go to, Razer will be there to knock on your door and deliver you something truly phenomenal. The previous model, the Razer Panthera, got a lot of things right and let the users get full control of their fight stick. However, it was very bulky and expensive. With a lighter weight, easily changeable artwork and a more slanted design for better comfort, the Panthera EVO takes the spot for the best fight stick in our list.

The case of the Razer Panthera EVO is very tightly packed and made with high-quality plastic and metal. For its size, the weight of the Razer Panthera EVO is surprisingly light. Enthusiastic players who have their fight sticks in their lap tend to have problems with that, however, the rubber mats at the bottom will help keep it fixed in its place. The top is a glossy surface with Razer’s logo as the stock artwork that is underneath it. With the original Panthera, you could get the panel out with just the press of a button. Unfortunately, getting into the guts of this fight stick is a downer as there are plenty of screws that you need to manually undo.

Anyone remotely familiar with fight sticks knows that Sanwa buttons and joysticks are simply the best out there. Not only do they have the best response time, but they also have a very long life and can survive even the roughest of use. The Razer Panthera EVO has a square gate Sanwa Denshi JLF joystick. With the choice of buttons, Razer opted to go for their own mechanical buttons and they work just as well as the Sanwa buttons. With its honeycomb structure, you can easily change them to Sanwa buttons as well if you only prefer Sanwa. However, be sure to give Razer buttons a try before you bid them goodbye. The layout of the buttons is Vewlix, which is pretty much the standard. Other than the main buttons, you’ll find the extras such as tournament mode, R3, L3, Home and Share in the top panel.

Modding and adding a personal touch to your fight stick is a very important factor in determining how well you like it. The previous model of the Panthera could be opened with just the press of a button however, that’s not the case with Panther EVO. Regardless of that, you can still get to the inside and easily swap out the buttons as you wish because of the honeycomb structure. In addition to that, the artwork is now easily swappable as well. The Panthera EVO is widely used by the professionals as well, so that should give you a sense of satisfaction as to the quality of this fight stick. Looking at all the things that Razer offers with the Panthera EVO, it is easy to admit that this fight stick is the best.

2. HORI Real Arcade Pro N Hayabusa

Favorite of the Pros

  • Price is rightly justified
  • Plenty of room for you to rest your hands on top
  • Hayabusa buttons do not feel mushy and soft at all
  • Plexiglass allows for easy swapping of artwork
  • Noir panel may take some getting use to before you can feel right at home

Button type: Hayabusa | Joystick: Hayabusa | Layout: Noir | Headphone jack: Yes | Compatibility: PS4, PS3 and PC

Last Update on 2020-06-11 using Amazon Product Advertising API

In the fighting game community, HORI has a special place in everyone’s hearts. Old school gamers have stuck with HORI fight sticks as they have delivered high-quality products time and time again. The HORI Real Arcade Pro N Hayabusa is one of the most popular fight sticks used in fighting game eSports events. With a different button layout design and HORI’s Hayabusa parts, this fight stick packs quite a big punch.

The HORI Real Arcade Pro N Hayabusa comes with a very likeable design and artwork. The stock version is available in black colour with gold and silver accents. The rectangular shape of the Real Arcade Pro N Hayabusa leaves sufficient space on top for you to rest your hands on it. With plastic and metal being used for construction, the weight of this fight stick is enough for it to not move around too much when using it. The top layer has plexiglass which can be easily removed should you want to add your own artwork underneath it. It gives your artwork a glossy and premium feel which looks really nice.

HORI opted to not go for Sanwa buttons and joystick with this fight stick. Instead, they use their own Hayabusa buttons which have lived up to their promise. The only problem with the joystick is that it can feel a little loose. The levers in the Hayabusa joysticks are not as resistive as the Sanwa ones. However, you can quite easily get past it and most people might not even notice it in the first place. The buttons follow a Noir layout design rather than the traditional Taito Vewlix design. The slight slant of the Pro N Hayabusa complements that as your hand position is easily adjusted for said Noir layout. In the upper corner, you’ll find the standard PS buttons with the touchpad located at the back.

HORI’s RAP fight sticks are quite easy to explore and get into. You just need to loosen the nuts in the lower panel and you can pull apart the bottom panel. From there on, you can do your magic. Going to the Noir layout from Vewlix might catch you a little off guard. However, the Hayabusa button’s quick responsiveness and this fight stick’s overall awesomeness will certainly make up for that. And as an added bonus, there is also a little section inside in which you can store a few goodies such as extra buttons or cables. From all that this fight stick offers, you can say that it justifies its price tag quite well. Besides, you can never go wrong with a HORI fight stick.

3. Mad Catz TE2+

The Premium Choice

  • Swap between different modes of operation for the joystick
  • Quite easy modding and customization
  • High quality Sanwa Denshi parts
  • Very expensive
  • No headphone jack

Button type: Sanwa OBSF-30 | Joystick: Sanwa Denshi | Layout: Vewlix | Headphone jack: No | Compatibility: PS4, PS3 and PC

Last Update on 2020-06-11 using Amazon Product Advertising API

Mad Catz fight sticks have been around for a long time now. The Tournament Edition 2+ is the fight stick that has stuck with everyone who has ever used it. This one is designed primarily for Street Fighter and hence, the layout and button design is orchestrated towards that. Despite offering high-quality parts, durable and long-lasting lifetime, the Mad Catz TE2+ still leaves the players the option of adding their personal touches by making things easy. However, the question that arises with this fight stick is, is it worth investing that much money?

The weight of the Mad Catz TE2+ is very well balanced. You will not feel a lot of weight resting on your lap while playing games but it still will not move around too much even if you are an enthusiastic gamer. In the bottom, there is a little bit of extra cushion so that you feel comfortable. This fight stick encourages players to customize it at their free will however, that certainly doesn’t mean that the parts are flimsy or weak. It has been carefully engineered to be a durable and sturdy fight stick. Since this stick is primarily for Street Fighter type games, you can find some pretty amazing pieces of artwork that can easily be put on the TE2+.

The Mad Catz TE2+ fight stick uses Sanwa grade buttons and joystick. By now, you should know that these Japanese materials are as good as you can possibly get. Built to last and survive even hardcore button smashing, these buttons and joysticks are very fast. In the top panel, you will find a built-in touch panel, a slider for PS3 or PS4, tournament mode and a bunch of other buttons that have very useful features. Once the tournament mode is turned on, the TE2+ stops any extra buttons from being registered. This is to prevent any accidental presses of buttons that you don’t want interfering with your game.

As mentioned above, the customization is quite easy on the TE2+. In the box, you can find a screwdriver through which you can open up this fight stick and do as you will. Changing the buttons, storing extra ones inside, all of it can be quite easily pulled off by even beginners. Another feature that many versatile gamers will appreciate is that a slider lets you choose between different modes of operation for the joystick. You can have it used as a left and right analogue stick or even a D-pad. However, I can’t let go of the fact that there is no audio jack here. For how much you’re investing in this fight stick, which is quite a lot, a headphone jack should be a given. Unfortunately, not with this.

There is no doubt that the Mad Catz TE2+ delivers and nails the things it sets out to do. For what the money can buy, this fight stick has really good performance and features. But are you really willing to spend all that money into this fight stick? And are you willing to come to terms with the fact that you are not going to get a headphone jack? There are certainly other fight sticks that you can find in this list that can deliver about the same performance and play experience. If easy modding, long and durable lasting buttons and build quality and low input lag is what you’re willing to get for this money, then the TE2+ will certainly be money well-invested. Besides, the TE2+ is known for being one of the best Street Fighter fight sticks to this day.

4. Qanba Drone

Budget-friendly Pick

  • Portable friendly
  • Very good value for money
  • No Sanwa buttons or joystick
  • Warranty is gone if you remove the artwork
  • PC compatibility is not very good

Button type: Qanba Buttons | Joystick: Qanba Joystick | Layout: Vewlix | Headphone jack: No | Compatibility: PS4, PS3 and PC

Last Update on 2020-06-11 using Amazon Product Advertising API

Whichever type of market you’re talking about, there are always two sides of a coin. People that can afford and are willing to buy the very premium of the products and others who just want something that can get the job done. The Qanba Drone is a budgeted pick that offers a good middle ground for all. It cuts back on some high-end features and Sanwa-grade buttons and joysticks and gives the gamers a mediocre option. For those that are just starting out and want to familiarize themselves with the mechanics of a fight stick, the Qanba Drone is a great option.

The metal and plastic used in the making of the Qanba Drone feel great and heavy to the touch. That gives the reliability that this fight stick too can take a beating. Its size is not nearly as large as the Razer Panthera and HORI Real Arcade Pro Hayabusa. Rather, it is a medium-sized fight stick that makes it easy to carry around and use. The stock version is available in a honeycomb artwork but you can change that too. In fact, there are plenty of templates available for the Qanba Drone through which you can make your own design. However, a catch to that is that once you remove the artwork, the warranty is rendered null.

Being a budgeted pick, you don’t get the Sanwa buttons and joystick with the Qanba Drone. Instead, you have Qanba’s own buttons and joystick. These buttons can get a little loud and sometimes, feel mushy. You want the buttons to give good feedback and be very responsive so that they are registered instantly. For a fight stick with of this price, it’s not too bad. With the Vewlix layout, you have the 8 keys laid out in the centre. On the top panel, you have the Options, PS Home, Turbo Mode, L3 and R3 keys. This panel seems a little too close to the main buttons but with the tournament mode switched on, you can have them disabled.

The Qanba Drone is a medium-sized budgeted pick for the new gamers who are not ready to spend the big bucks. With that in mind, this fight stick is one of the best-budgeted picks that you can find. There are many professional Tekken players that started out with this stick and still use it to this day. It is officially licensed by Sony so you can safely put your trust into it. It can be used with PS4 and PS3 quite easily but getting it to run on a PC can be a bit of a drag. There are certain drawbacks with this fight stick but those on a budget can surely come to peace with them.

5. HORI Fighting Edge Mini

The Small Companion

  • A very cheap option
  • Buttons hold up to their standards and perform better than you'd expect
  • Mushy buttons
  • Smaller buttons make for less feedback
  • Weight makes it harder to control when used on laps

Button type: Qanba mini-buttons | Joystick: Qanba mini joystick | Layout: Vewlix | Headphone jack: No | Compatibility: PS4, PS3 and PC

Last Update on 2020-06-11 using Amazon Product Advertising API

When comparing the Qanba Drone to the other 3 fight sticks mentioned above, it looks small in comparison. But the HORI Fighting Edge Mini is a different case. This miniaturized fight stick’s main selling point is its ability to be carried around anywhere quite easily. However, with the low price and size, HORI has cut down on quite a lot of things. Even for a starter’s kit, this fight stick is barely passable.

With just 8 inches in width and an inch in height, the chassis of the HORI Fighting Edge Mini is quite small. It is just pure plastic which does not really give any assurances as to whether it will be durable or not. In addition to that, due to its low weight, the HORI Fighting Edge Mini also has trouble staying in your lap. For the best results, you’re better off trying to keep it steady on a table or a fixed flat surface. To cut down on the sizes, HORI has made not only the ball of the joystick small but the buttons are smaller as well.

Normally, the fight stick buttons are about 30mm however, HORI Fighting Edge Mini’s buttons are just 20mm. The buttons are laid out in a Taito Vewlix pattern which is fairly standard. Despite their size, they will be more responsive than you’d imagine. The buttons did not disappoint. The joystick has a square gated lever which, surprisingly works quite decently. The lever is not loose and the resistance is just right. The buttons on the other hand, are just bare bones. Due to the smaller size, they don’t give off that much actuation and feedback. There isn’t much input lag however, the mushy and spongy feeling of the buttons over time doesn’t leave a good taste. In the top panel, you have the PS Home, Options and Share buttons along with a slider for choosing between PS4 or PS3.

Summing up our list for the best fight sticks, we have the HORI Fighting Edge Mini down at the very last. For even the fresh beginners who are thinking of trying out their hands on a fight stick rather than a controller or a keyboard, this one can be a bit challenging. Its size and button quality might not be very encouraging. However, there are occasions where you can make use of a small fight stick that you can carry around in your pocket. For friendly competitions and having your gaming weapon on the go, the HORI Fighting Edge Mini is your man.

Blair Lee

A naturally curious mindset and a keen passion of keeping in touch with all the worldly trends, Blair Lee has put two and two together to find a way that has combined the two things he just can't stay away from- writing and computers!

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