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Best Fight Sticks (2023): Top Picks from HORI, Nacon, MAYFLASH & More

A fight stick is a popular gaming peripheral used primarily in (you guessed it) fighting games. Its appeal lies in providing players an authentic arcade-like experience. More than that, it also offers superior precision and control over traditional gaming controllers. With a plethora of options available, choosing the right one can be overwhelming, especially for beginners.

However, there are a couple that stand out from the pack. First off, the Nacon Daija is generally considered as the best of the best. Meanwhile, the HORI Fighting Stick MINI 4 is arguably the most compact that still delivers in quality. Then there’s the MAYFLASH F500 Elite that’s compatible with just about any modern platform, as well as the Qanba Drone with its excellent price-to-performance ratio. Lastly, the Hit Box is sort of an outlier in that it takes the “stick” out of the picture. Regardless of whether you’re a casual or competitive gamer, there’s a fight stick out there that can take your game to the next level.

Best Fight Sticks Comparison Chart

NameImageHighlightPrice
 Nacon DaijaBest Fight SticksBest all-arounder fight stickCheck Price at NaconGaming.com
HORI Fighting Stick MINI 4Best Fight SticksBest compact fight stick with the performance to matchCheck Price at HORIUSA.com
MAYFLASH F500 EliteBest Fight SticksBest fight stick with a wide range of platform supportCheck Price at MAYFLASH.com
Qanba DroneBest Fight SticksBest fight stick on a budgetCheck Price at QanbaUSA.com
Hit BoxBest Fight SticksBest fight stick without a joystickCheck Price at HitBoxArcade.com

Nacon Daija

Best fight stick overall.

Best Fight Sticks Nacon Daija
Here are the side buttons of the Nacon Daija.

Impressive even to the most serious gamers, the Nacon Daija is exceptional in that it’s built with quality components. Couple that with a sleek design, and you’ve got yourself a fight stick that’s not only functional but also aesthetically pleasing.

Even to the novice’s eye, it’s clear that the brand spared no expense. This doesn’t come as a surprise, as it’s equipped with Sanma-made parts, which are regarded as the benchmark of fight stick components. Also, its auxiliary controls are positioned on its side. It’s more than just a nice touch too, as it prevents players from accidentally hitting them during a match.

In addition, it’s notable for its customizability, providing gamers with plenty of options to personalize it. Whether you’re looking to replace its face plate or internal components, it gives you the flexibility to make it truly your own.

Thing is, it’s more expensive than most, but it’s easy to see why. Long story short, its design and performance justify its price tag.

HORI Fighting Stick MINI 4

Best portable fight stick money can buy.

Best Fight Sticks HORI Fighting Stick MINI 4
The HORI Fighting Stick MINI 4 features a small and slim profile.

For an affordable and portable fight stick, it’s hard to find one that’s better than the HORI Fighting Stick MINI 4. 

It’s simple to a fault in that it doesn’t have that many features. However, its compact size is what sets itself apart from the rest. For starters, it’s small enough to stow away in a backpack, which makes it easy to take with you to tournaments and such. Despite that, it’s still comfortable to hold, and its traditional eight-button layout doesn’t feel cramped at all. Additionally, its ball top is large enough to get a good grip on.

If there’s anything to complain about, it’s that its buttons aren’t on par with Sanwa components. That’s kind of nitpicky, though. After all, it’s one of the cheapest of its kind around, and even then, it gets the job done and then some. Speaking of, that also makes it among the best for beginners who want to try out fight sticks first and see if they’re up their alley.

MAYFLASH F500 Elite

The fight stick with the best universal compatibility.

Best Fight Sticks MAYFLASH F500 Elite
An overview of the MAYFLASH F500 Elite’s features and components.

There’s a lot to love about the MAYFLASH F500 Elite. To begin with, it features responsive buttons and a precise joystick. That’s more or less expected since it’s using parts from Sanwa. In other words, it’s good on the performance front, but there’s more to it than that. What really makes it distinct is its compatibility. To be exact, it plays nicely with the Nintendo Switch, PC, PS4, PS3, Android, Xbox Series X and S, Xbox One and Xbox 360—all the major platforms. It even extends support to the NEOGEO mini, Sega Mega Drive, Sega Genesis Mini and Sega Astro City Mini.

As for build quality, it’s sturdy to the point that it’s easy to tell that it’s durable when you touch it. Also, it’s designed for modding in mind, allowing you to change things up according to your preferences.

Sure, it may not be the most affordable option, but it’s also hardly the most expensive out there. Besides, it’s an excellent long-term investment since it can be upgraded over time. Not to mention that its wide compatibility means you don’t have to spend on another fight stick for different consoles.

Qanba Drone

Best budget fight stick.

Best Fight Sticks Qanba Drone
A closer look at the button layout and joystick of the Qanba Drone.

If you’re after a budget fight stick, then the Qanba Drone has got you covered. It may not be the most affordable on this list (that honor goes to the HORI Fighting Stick Mini 4), but it offers a lot of bang for the buck.

Design-wise, it sports an eye-catching yellow-and-black color scheme for a distinctive look. In the performance department, it’s got the right stuff too. Out of the box, it uses the brand’s own components, but you can upgrade it with Sanwa parts down the line.

What’s more, it features a Tournament LOCK switch. That comes in handy since it prevents you from accidentally pausing a match and risk getting disqualified in a tournament.

Hit Box

Best stickless fight stick.

Best Fight Sticks Hit Box
The Hit Box scraps the stick, opting for more buttons in its place.

Deviating from the typical fight stick design, the Hit Box doesn’t have a joystick, featuring four directional buttons instead. For the record, all of its buttons are made by Sanwa, meaning they’re responsive and satisfying to click. 

At first, it may take some time to adjust to it, but once you get the hang of it, it can potentially offer more precise controls. This can be useful for complex combos, input-demanding moves and the like.

However, there are a few downsides to keep in mind. For one thing, it’s on the expensive side, but more importantly, it may not be allowed in some tournaments. That’s because some consider fight sticks of this kind as non-traditional that might provide an unfair advantage.

Verdict

There’s always a fight stick for everyone.

Without a doubt, the Nacon Daija, HORI Fighting Stick MINI 4, MAYFLASH F500 Elite, Qanba Drone and Hit Box can go a long way. Each one has their strengths and weaknesses, but regardless of which one you decide to buy, you can’t go wrong with it. On that note, it all boils down to your personal preferences, budget and platform you play on.

FAQs

📌 What fight sticks do pros use?

Professional players use all kinds of fighting sticks, and among the usual brands you’d see include HORI, Qanba and MAYFLASH.

📌 Are fight sticks better than controllers?

While it may be up to personal preference, fight sticks are considered better for fighting games. That’s because they offer more room to execute complex moves, combos and such.

📌 How do I choose a fight stick?

The most important factor to take into account is which platform you’ll be using the fight stick on. However, there are models with a wide range of compatibility, such as the MAYFLASH F500 Elite, which is compatible with the Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox Series X and S and more.

📌 Which is the best fight stick?

In our opinion, the Nacon Daija ticks all the right boxes, making it the best option for most folks. It uses Sanwa parts and offers plenty of features and functionality, but it’s a bit pricier than most counterparts.

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Vincent Lanaria

Senior Editor, researcher and writer passionate about running, cooking, and how technology mixes with the two.