What is Ball-top vs. Bat-top? (Explained by an Expert)

Ball-top and bat-top are two common designs for the top handle of a joystick used in arcade and fight sticks. Each type offers a distinct feel and grip style, catering to different player preferences and comfort levels.

Ball-top: A joystick features a spherical handle, allowing for a versatile grip and smooth movement in all directions. This design is common in Japanese-style arcade sticks, such as those manufactured by Sanwa and Seimitsu. Many players appreciate the ball-top design for its ease of use and comfortable grip, particularly when executing circular or diagonal motions in fighting games.

Bat-top: A bat-top joystick, also known as a “tear-drop” or “club” handle, has a long, cylindrical shape that tapers towards the top. This design is more common in American-style arcade sticks and is often associated with the iconic Happ and Industrias Lorenzo (IL) brand components. The bat-top design provides a different grip experience than the ball-top, with some players preferring the feel of the larger handle and how it rests in hand.

Choosing between a ball-top and bat-top joystick is personal preference and comfort. Some players may find one style more suitable for their playstyle or the specific games they play, while others may prefer the aesthetics of one design over the other.

Many arcade sticks and fight sticks allow for easy swapping of the joystick handle, enabling players to experiment with both types and find their ideal fit.

Illustration of a smiling man with headphones next to an arcade machine, conveying a casual and playful vibe.
Chris "Iron Fist" Thompson

Chris stumbled upon the world of fight sticks after being mesmerized by the precision and technique of professional players in live streams. He soon picked up his first fight stick and quickly rose through the ranks of competitive gaming. With his unyielding determination, Chris has managed to achieve success in both local and national tournaments. Today, he's all about sharing his experience and passion with fellow fight stick enthusiasts.