How long does a Fightstick last?

Decent-quality fightsticks are generally designed to last a long time. This makes sense considering how expensive they can be.

So how long does a fightstick last? The answer is it depends. If we’re talking good quality fightsticks with Sanwa or Semitsu parts, they will typically last about 5-6 years without maintenance and a decent amount of use.

Now that’s if you don’t do anything to the stick and play it for 5-6 years. That’s pretty good, considering you would probably get through 2-3 controllers in the same amount of time — at least, I know I have.

With proper maintenance of the stick, however, a fightstick could potentially last forever.

But why are fightsticks so durable? Considering the abuse they might take, what makes them last such a long time? Also, why would a Fightstick break down?

In the post, I hope to answer these questions and give tips on how to maintain a fightstick properly so that it lasts forever. Let’s go.

Why are fightsticks so durable?

Fightsticks are solid machines. To understand why fightsticks/arcade sticks are so durable lets first examine what a fightstick is and what it is made of.

A fightstick or arcade stick is a case of metal, wood, plastic, or plexi.

Inside is a PCB, which is just a circuit board that all components connect to.

Wires go from the PCB to the buttons and joystick, and the wires are either screwed or soldered.

A fightstick with Sanwa or Semitsu parts is of high quality and is designed to last a long time.

These parts are usually the buttons and joystick. They are the same parts that go into arcade cabinets; hence they are designed to take abuse.

Why would a fightstick breakdown

When I say break down, I don’t mean fully break down. Usually, what you’ll find, even on a decent-quality stick, is that parts of the stick will start to break down after a while.

Again, this is dependent on how the stick is used and how it’s maintained. But generally, it might be that a button starts to give in or the joystick isn’t working properly.

On cheaper sticks, your PCB soldering may be badly done, causing inputs to lose connection. In addition, if your Fighstick experiences a lot of heat, this may cause problems with the PCB too.

The connector cable which connects the fightstick to a console or PC might also get damaged. These cables can become torn, bent, or loose if not stored properly.

The other potential issues with cheaper sticks might be the buttons and joystick. These can fill with debris, dust, skin flakes, and other nasty stuff, which can affect the use of these devices.

Despite these issues, I want to stress that these problems only occur with cheaper fightsticks that don’t have quality parts.

Good quality fightsticks with Sanwa or Semitsu parts, and with proper maintenance, will indeed last a very long time. Even if they get these issues, you can easily fix them with minimal effort.

4 Tips on Making a fightstick last forever

Luckily fightsticks aren’t that hard to maintain and, with a bit of technical know-how, can last forever,

Here are some general tips:

1. Buy a good quality fightstick

Let’s start with the basics. Choosing a good quality stick with the right parts means you will have to do less in the future.

If you have a stick that doesn’t have good-quality buttons or a joystick, don’t worry. You can easily swap these out for Sanwa or Semitsu parts; they aren’t that expensive.

Once you have high-quality parts for your stick, you’re already pretty much there in terms of making your stick last longer.

You can do just a bit more to ensure your stick lasts a lifetime.

2. Swap out the buttons or joystick when they break

When the buttons or joystick on your stick start to give, don’t just give up and get a new one. Instead, you can easily find quality parts online to replace any broken ones.

Swapping out buttons on a fightstick couldn’t be easier. Don’t be intimidated by this, it’s a lot easier than you think, and there are plenty of tutorials online that show you how to do this.

You won’t have to swap out parts that often if you have a good-quality fightstick. But I think it’s good to know that you won’t have to get a new one if you start having problems. You can just easily modify the stick if you have to.

3. Clean the fightstick

This is usually a neglected part of the maintenance, but it’s important. For example, I’ve had sticks that I thought had broken down, but after giving them a deep clean, they magically started working again.

The reason for this is because, after a long time playing, usually after a year or so, there is a lot of dust, debris, and skin flakes that can get trapped in the buttons and joystick.

This can cause buttons to stick or the joystick not to respond properly.

Cleaning a fightstick isn’t that hard. I have a post that shows you exactly how to clean a Fightstick.

Just give the fightstick a deep clean every year or so and dust it off every week — that’s it.

4. Treat it properly

As I said, these sticks are designed to take abuse, but that doesn’t mean treating them like a pinata. Don’t be unnecessarily rough or abusive to your fightstick.

Avoid dropping your fightstick for obvious reasons. Instead, keep fluids like water, coffee, etc., away from the stick.

Also, make sure you store it properly. There’s no problem keeping your fightstick out in the open like you would a console, but make sure the wiring isn’t exposed — keep it tidy.

Illustration of a smiling man with long hair and beard sitting in a gaming room with computer equipment in the background.
Mike "The Destroyer" Johnson

Bio: Mike got hooked on fight sticks after a jaw-dropping arcade visit back in high school. Since then, he's spent countless hours perfecting his moves and combos, constantly pushing himself to improve. With his relentless drive, Mike has become a force to be reckoned with in local and online tournaments. He's now dedicated to sharing his expertise and passion for fight sticks with the world. Favorite Fight Stick: Razer Panthera Evo Favorite Games: Street Fighter V, Tekken 7