With the evolution of game consoles, fighting games had a resurgence. Ever since the launch of the Xbox One and PS4, classic fighting franchises have returned, like Tekken 7 and Street Fighter 5. In addition, new franchises hit the market, like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and Dragon Ball FighterZ. Even genre mainstays are launching revolutionary titles, like Guilty Gear Strive.
As more fighting games appear, new competitions launch, and new streamers start playing them. If you look at professional players and streamers, you’ll notice they use different controllers than you have at home. So, you may ask yourself: which controllers work best for fighting games? Well, we have an excellent list of contenders for beginners and pros alike!
Updated July 29, 2022, by Chris Sanfilippo: Since this article’s original publication, fighting games have continued booming. Several hit fighting games launched in the past two years, including titles like Guilty Gear Strive, KOF 15, and DNF Duel. Other titles, like Capcom Fighting Collection, re-launched classic games for a new generation. And as we keep playing great fighting games, we’re discovering old and new controllers that work great for the genre.
18 8BitDo SN30 Pro
One might think that 8BitDo’s take on the classic SNES controller would be a bad fit for fighting games, but that’s not the case. Instead, the SN30 Pro (and its Super Famicon-inspired SF30 equivalent) are superb for beat-downs, thanks mainly to an excellent D-Pad.
Pulling off fighting game moves is a thing of beauty thanks to the manufacture of the controller. This controller has a top-notch, reliable build quality, excellent Bluetooth connectivity, and dual trigger sets/analog sticks for newer games! As a result, you have one of the most versatile controllers on the market.
17 8BitDo M30
Sega’s classic six-button controller (first introduced in the Genesis era) is an absolute masterpiece. 8BitDo tried their hand at a replicated version, and the results are just as stunning.
Fighting game enthusiasts loved the classic 6-button pad for its arcade-style button layout. The M30’s universal support for smartphones, game consoles, and PCs makes it an excellent dedicated fighting gamepad for the masses. It’s hard to top that button layout!
16 Victrix Pro FS
Tournament fighters might want to look at the Victrix Pro FS, especially if they’re constantly on the go. Though high-priced, it boasts many features for fighting enthusiasts who need quick response time, precise controls, and durability.
Programmable buttons, a 5ms input latency time, and compatibility with PC, Xbox, and PS4 make the Victrix versatile and handy in a fight! It even has a removable storage lid to access swappable components or store the joystick when not in use. Nice touches, all around.
15 Brook Sniper Converter
And now, we present the Brook Sniper Converter for something completely different! Although primarily aimed at bringing mouse/keyboard functionality to console FPS titles, fighting game fans can also take advantage of it when it comes to tournament play, especially if they’re more comfortable with the control scheme.
Brook isn’t the first company to promise mouse and keyboard functionality in home consoles, but it has been getting rave reviews from gamers who have tried it out. Perhaps the mystery has been solved?
14 Mayflash Magic NS Converter
The Nintendo Switch is not the most accessible console regarding fighting games. While playing fighting games on the go is alluring, the joy-con controller is awkward to handle. Of course, there are gamepad-like third-party joy-cons and pro controllers on the market. But what if you already have the perfect fighting game controller that you wish to use on your Switch?
Mayflash’s Magic NS Converter remedies this problem, allowing one to convert various controllers to play on the Switch. The Magic NS works with Playstation Dualshock controllers, Xbox controllers, PC controllers, and even NEO GEO mini controllers. Plus, the Magic NS has Bluetooth functionality, allowing you to continue using your favorite controllers wirelessly.
13 Mad Catz Street Fighter V FightPad Pro
PS4 Fighting game players have been rocking out with the Mad Catz FightPad for a while, and Mad Catz refined the controller with the Street Fighter 5 Pro edition. This 6-button pad tacks R1 and R2 onto the face of the controller for traditional arcade-style play, similar to the classic Sega Genesis six-button pad.
While these gamepads are nothing new, Mad Catz’s focus on ergonomics and a wicked D-Pad makes it a fan favorite among fighting enthusiasts. Plus, it comes in a nice assortment of colors and styles!
12 Street Fighter 15th Anniversary Gamepad
As you can see, there is no shortage of modern controllers designed after the heroes and villains of the Street Fighter series. However, if you’re a dedicated fan looking for a collector’s item, then Nubytech’s Street Fighter 15th Anniversary Gamepad is for you! These rare beauties launched in 2006 for PS2 and Xbox.
This retro controller has several unique features. With a classic design made famous by the Sega Genesis, Nubytech’s controller features a six-face button layout, a deep directional pad, and two shoulder buttons. However, its most attractive feature is the holographic decal in the center, featuring exclusive artwork from Udon comics! Of course, you’ll have to purchase a converter to use this controller on modern consoles, but this seems like a low price for a piece of fighting game history.
11 Hori Fighting Commander
The controller is available for PC, Xbox One and PS4. It is perfect for the gamers that grew up with the classic PlayStation controllers since they are not used to a fight stick. Hori’s Fighting Commander is a gamepad option optimized for playing fighting games.
The controller has a regular D-pad and six face buttons instead of the standard four. This configuration makes it easier to do combos very fast and establishes the fight pad as one of the best on the market.
10 Standard Xbox One Or PS4 Controller
Many top fighting game players worldwide decided to use the traditional controllers included with the PS4 or the Xbox One. They did not upgrade to fight sticks or hitboxes.
Many modern games play better with a pad, and the standard controller even works for games like Dragon Ball FighterZ. With the newest Dualshock4s, the experience is even better due to lower latency and a small light strip on the touchpad.
9 Original PlayStation Controller
When fighting games came back and became popular again, the original Dualshock PlayStation controller made it easy to do combos and play the games well.
While it is rare to use the PS1 controller, and an adapter is mandatory to pair with a PlayStation 4, those that use it do well at tournaments. The Brook PS2/PS1 converter is preferred to connect to the PS4 and is mandatory to play modern fighting games.
8 Mayflash Arcade Stick F500 V2
Mayflash’s universal arcade stick, the F500 V2, is a fantastic quality controller for new and intermediate players. The controller is a sinch to use, with functionality for practically every console on the market. Furthermore, you can customize this controller easily, with swappable circle and octagonal gates plus a removable acrylic panel for artwork. There’s also an extended storage container for the controller’s wires.
Additionally, the F500 V2 offers other detailed features, such as a switch for D-Pad vs. X/Y Axis mode for the joystick and a Turbo button. Plus, you can buy accessories to deepen your gameplay experience with the stick, such as an attachable wristband with a vibration function. So, considering how much this controller offers for its price, it’s clear that the Mayflash F500 V2 is a fantastic mid-range option.
7 Hori Fighting Stick Mini 4
The Hori Fighting Stick Mini 4 is compatible with PC, PS3, and PS4. Its main advantage is the price tag since it is much cheaper than other fight sticks on the market. The controller does not have a smooth gate or fancy buttons, but it is perfect for beginners since it is portable and light.
Professionals do not like its diminished shape, preferring broad areas instead. However, if you need a controller for learning how fight sticks work, the Mini 4 is a solid choice.
6 Razer Panthera
The Razer Panthera, considered serious hardware for dedicated gamers, is compatible with PC, PS3, and PS4. Many professionals use and recommend it because of the ample room offered, the Sanwa Denshi buttons, the board, and the gate.
Razer Panthera is customizable, and the manufacturer consistently offers updates. The only problem with the controller is that you cannot easily change its art.
Furthermore, if you want to use the Xbox One, Razer offers the Atrox, a Panthera option for the console. However, the Xbox option is more expensive.
5 Qanbra Drone
Qanbra Drone is compatible with PC, PS 3, and PS4. It is popular because it is cheap and very effective for beginners that want to get used to the fight stick. The stick will feel loose at an affordable entry price, but the quality is high enough to become competitive in fighting games.
Use the Qanbra Drone when you want to try playing with a fight stick, but you have no experience. If you have experience with fight sticks, you will most likely want to use something of better quality.
4 Logitech Gamepad F310
Casual gamers prefer standard console controllers, while elite and veteran players prefer gamepads. Logitech’s Gamepad F310 is a perfect controller for those that prefer gamepads. In addition, it works on almost any platform as it is not exclusive, like the controllers for Xbox or PlayStation.
The connection is through USB, and the buttons are customizable. Users can take full advantage of an eight-way D-pad (programmable) and ten programmable buttons.
3 Qanba Dragon
Qanba Dragon works on PC, PS3, and PS4. It is expensive compared to other fight sticks, but many love its appearance. In addition, Qanba Dragon is sturdy, weighing in at ten pounds.
The Qanba Dragon’s weight and durability make it a controller that will not break down, even after several hundreds of hours of play. In addition, the fight stick is fully customizable.
2 Hit Box
The Hit Box controller is one of the best for fighting games and works well with PC, Xbox One, PS3, and PS4. It is an arcade box that is instantly familiar for nineties gamers as it is stickless. Instead, three buttons are dedicated to right, left, and down. In addition, an extra-large jump button sits below the directional buttons. This modification makes it much easier to perform complex fighting game combos.
Hit Box is trendy among PS4 users, with stocks often running out as sales are very high.
Mixbox has a unique design, taking the arcade board to a new level. Unlike the Hit Box, gamers use Cherry MX key switches. These are similar to the keys on a mechanical keyboard and get used for character movement. The rest of the controller is standard.
Mixbox is perfect for the gamers that started playing fighting games on a keyboard with titles like Mortal Kombat. At the same time, the button layout is better since it is the standard one that became popular in the arcades.