Why are Fightsticks so expensive?

Fightsticks are cool but expensive. You might wonder whether it’s worth forking out your hard earned money on, what is essentially, a controller.

Well, let me tell you right here, decent quality fightsticks are expensive for a reason, and if you’re serious about fighting games, you should definitely consider getting one.

But I’m not here to tell you why you should get a fightstick. I’m here to tell you why they are so expensive.

So why are fightsticks so expensive? Fightsticks mainly consist of a joystick and buttons. Expensive fightsticks are made up of high-quality Sanwa or Siemitsu parts. These parts are used in Arcade cabinets and are built to last a long time. They are also more precise and respond better to cheaper parts.

Let’s explore a bit deeper and actually explain what a Fightstick is made of.

What is a fightstick made of?

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

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

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

A fightstick with Japanese Sanwa or Seimitsu parts are of high quality and are designed to last a long time.

These parts are usually the buttons and joystick.

Many of the more expensive fightsticks have Sanwa or Seimitsu parts installed in them.

What are Sanwa/Seimitsu parts?

Sanwa/Seimitsu components are used in arcade cabinets. They are built to last.

The difference between Sanwa and Seimitsu joystick is mainly the throw distance and spring strength.

In other words, the throw distance is how far you can push the joystick before you get a response.

The buttons also feel different on a Sanwa Stick compared to a Seimitsu.

In my opinion, a Seimitsu fightstick is considered to be better for fighting games. A Sanwa Fightstick feels a bit too responsive for my liking.

Why are they so expensive?

Sanwa and Seimitsu parts are expensive to source because, as I mentioned, they are also used in Arcade Cabinets.

But the benefits of using such quality parts are many. Firstly, the longevity of the fightstick is greatly increased.

On cheaper sticks that use cheaper parts, you’ll find that the stick will break down after a short while.

A quality Sanwa or Seimitsu stick will indeed last a long time. Potentially a lifetime if maintained properly.

Another reason is just the general feel of the stick. Quality parts feel a lot better. If you have a quality stick and a cheap stick side my side and you hit the buttons at the same time, you’ll notice the difference straight away.

The response, feel and accuracy of a Sanwa/Seimitsu stick is a world above other sticks.

Fightstick Enclosures

Enclosures are the cases which house all parts of the stick and can be made of wood, plexi or plastic.

They are usually made of plastic and finished with plexi. This, in addition to the artwork, means a high-end stick can get pretty expensive.

Again, these enclosures are built to last and can withstand a lot of abuse, hence the hefty price tag.

Should I get a cheaper Fightstick?

If you’re a casual fighting game fan who is thinking about learning a Fightstick but is hesitant on spending a lot of money, then I recommend beginning with a cheaper stick.

You don’t want to be in a situation where you’ve invested in an expensive stick but your passion for fighting games fades and you don’t want to play anymore.

If, however, you’re serious about getting a good quality Fightstick but can’t afford the more high-end ones, fortunately, there are options.  

1. Build your own fightstick

Building your own fightstick can seem intimidating at first, but it really isn’t. There are plenty of useful tutorials online that show you exactly how to build a good quality fightstick.

It basically involves buying or building the enclosure and then buying the parts to fit inside the closure. You can even attach your own custom artwork to the stick and really make it your own.

Building a fightstick often comes out cheaper than buying a ready-made Fightstick and it also a lot of fun!

2. Modify a cheap or broken fightstick

This is similar to building a fightstick except you have the advantage of an enclosure already made for you.

You can buy a cheap fightstick and simply swap out the parts for Sanwa or Siemitsu joystick and buttons. You can also do this with broken fightsticks from sites like eBay.

I know people who have bought expensive fightsticks like a Razer Panthera at extremely discounted prices because previous owners had issues with them. They simply swap out the parts for new ones and the sticks are as good as new.

3. Buy a Fightpad

Fightpads are considered the middle ground between a default controller and a fightstick.

They are significantly cheaper than high-end fighstick and are of pretty reasonable quality as well.

If you’re on the fence about getting a fightstick then maybe try out a Fightpad? These days there are plenty of Fightpad players who are also professionals in their respective games.


Good quality Fightsticks are expensive but are a worthwhile investment. You’re investing in your skills and your ability to become a better player.

Getting an expensive fightstick will ensure it will last a long time.

If you can afford to get a high-end fightstick then I would highly recommend doing so. You won’t regret it.


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