First, let’s start with the obvious FGC backed blanket statement. Best Arcade Stick, joy sticks, or fight sticks to some, are not for everyone. If you’re thinking, “Do arcade sticks make you better at fighting games?”, The answer is “No! not at all”. You can learn the same level of execution on any device, a stick, a pad, a controller, a dance mat, a hitbox, a keyboard, it doesn’t really matter. So why use a arcade stick over a controller? I’ll discuss that in a different article if you’re interested, but the short version is, it’s more fun. Now to Rank the best and top 4 arcade sticks of the 2018 year for fighting games.
1. Razer Panthera
The Panthera from popular PC peripheral company Razer is surprisingly thee absolute premium stick on the market right now. Razer has perfected it’s take on the arcade stick, picking up where MadCatz left off. The perfect mix of size, sturdiness, easy modding, luxury, and killer looks. The Panthera sports a full Sanwa setup, both stick and buttons are smooth responsive Sanwa parts. If Sanwa is not your cup of tea, or you wan’t to change the square gate, or buttons, it could not be easier with this stick. At the simple press of a button, the Panthera reveals its clean interior, which also features space for tools, extra cables, and buttons. There are two primary styles available, the normal beautiful cool blue version, and the SFV version featuring amazing artwork of Akuma, and Ryu squaring off. For extra features, the Panthera features a tournament mode. When enabled the tournament mode prevents competitors from accidentally pausing the game or bring up menu’s disqualifying them from a match. The stick has a nice wide base perfect for playing on your lap, and a no-slip rubber base for resting on surfaces. The Razer Panthera is compatible with PC, Steam, PS3, and PS4.
- Beautiful art, and aesthetics
- High quality Sanwa parts
- Easy modding and internal access
- Razer Warranty / Support
- Extra cable
- Sturdy lap, and table use
- Artwork hard to change
- Heavy weight when carrying around events
2. Qanba Obsidian
The Obsidian from Chinese company Qanba, doesn’t differ too much from the classic style created by the MadCatz TE sticks of past. The Obsidian model has a authentic Japanese Sanwa JLF arcade stick, and Sanwa OBSF buttons. The Best Fight Stick also features a anti-slip base, PS4/PS3/PC, Steam Compatibility, turbo modes, and LED lighting. The obsidian doesn’t do much to set it self apart from past models, The led lights are very nice looking however, and the stick is not difficult to mod in anyway to make it more uniquely yours. For the same price it’s hard to choose the obsidian over the Panthera, landing the Obsidian in second place.
- Modern edge aesthetics, and LED lights
- High Quality Japanese Sanwa
- Easy to mod
- Full PS4 Support
- Sturdy base, and weight
- Lacking Unique Features
- A bit boring
- Same price as Panthera
3. Hori Real Arcade Pro 4 Kai – HRAP4
The Real Arcade Pro 4 Kai from Hori is a solid mid-range arcade stick. Hori has been in the arcade stick game for a long time, longer than any company on this list. Hori has been perfecting there designs and products for a long time, their hard work shows off in the HRAP series. The standard HRAP4 Kai comes with their own manufactured Hayabusa brand joystick and buttons. The Hayabusa buttons are softer, less mechanical or clicky than Sanwa buttons. Most who purchase the HRAP are content with the Hayabusa setup, but some choose to mod in a Sanwa setup, or buy the HRAP purely for the Cheaper base to put their own custom Sanwa colors and artwork on. HRAP4 has full PC, Steam, PS3, and PS4 compatibility.
- Less expensive than Sanwa sticks
- Modifiable with some effort
- Hayabusa buttons are more quiet than Sanwa buttons
- 4 colors to choose from
- Hayabusa button switches are softer, giving a cheap plastic feeling to some
- Modding is not hard, but not easy either due to design choices
4. Qanba Drone
Last on our list is the Qanba Drone, a affordable budget friendly arcade stick that won’t break the bank, but doesn’t feel too cheap either. The drone is small, and light weight making travel easy. As expected this cheaper price and lighter weight don’t come without a cost to the quality or feeling of the stick. The drone features Qanba engineered buttons and joystick, which as the Hayabusa brand, also have softer switches than the typical Sanwa setup, some users preferring this, and some modding them out. The bottom of the stick has a anti-slip rubber coating. Qanba’s Drone works with the PS3, PS4, PC, and Steam.
- Priced significantly cheaper than other sticks
- 50% lighter than most other sticks
- 4 inches shorter than most sticks
- Travel friendly, light weight
- Qanba buttons are more quiet than Sanwa buttons
- Small, difficult for lap balance
- Feels light/ less sturdy
- Qanba buttons are soft, some dislike this