Tiering Arcade Sticks

You get a lot of posters coming in here asking what stick they should get, which is better than which, why shouldn’t I buy this, the whole whack. If we had a tier list of all/most of the comercial arcade sticks, it would be good for posters like these to just look at the list and get a general idea of the quality difference in sticks, price range, that sort of thing. That way when they look at it they can see the different tiers of sticks and also how much they cost. So you can see where you’re being ripped off, what’s a bargin, cheapest top tier stick, most expensive bottom tier stick, it would be a useful piece of information, no matter how opinion based it is. If they then have further questions they can just ask in the same thread and whoever wants to reply can reply.

I don’t have the knowledge to do this my self, so I was wondering. Would it be of interest for anyone to write up a definative list of comercial sticks, ranking them in tiers? It shouldn’t be too hard for someone with decent knowledge as you should know what the sticks are like buy looking at them.

I searched and found nothing related to tiering in the hardware forum at all and I thought it was worth mentioning, so I’m posting it. Just talk about anything related to the 3 words in the title basicaly.

top japanese IMO

  • that Sega Saturn Astro City twin stick - get the fuck outa here
  • HORI Real Arcade Pro (mirror/green) - $100
  • HORI T5 stick JAP (white/red/black) - $80
  • HORI T5 stick USA (black/red) - $50
  • Namco stick (grey/yellow) - $50
  • Agetec (grey/green/white) - $40
  • SCII / Tekken 4 stick - $40?

better to spend some money on a stick that you will use, then spending money on multiple crap sticks.

decided to not include the HRAP2, HRAP SE, HRAP SA, CFJ HRAP, SCIII HRAP. blah

HRAP modded with Sanwa buttons ftw.

Japanese T5 stick is basically a HRAP (green/mirror) without the turbo switches.
mod a HORI T5 stick and you got yourself a HRAP. (get yourself a dremmel)

i have big hands, so i prefer big sticks. :bgrin:V

I’m not much of a poster on srk but this forum post sorta caught my attention. Ive actually started to get into the whole joystick thing awhile back and yea a tier listing of joysticks would be a great idea. I remember the time when i finally got off my butt to finally get a joystick (this came after the release of tekken 5, im kinda late in the joystick game haha)

I myself took awhile to search around the forums and google to figure out the best stick to buy. I ended up going with an HRAP off ebay for like 140ish. But anyway a tier listing would be nice and it would help out those who are new to getting a stick to find the info they need in one nice neat thread. With my limited knowledge of sticking right now I’d say my current tier list of the commercial sticks will be…

  1. HRAP/HRAP2 <- This imo is one of the best stock sticks on the market. I believe at the srk store on vgonetwork its running at around 90ish which is an insanely good price for the quality it offers. It comes equipped with sanwa stick and really nice hori buttons. The base is also very solid and has a nice light but weighty feel to it. Its definitely a good first stick imo. Upgrade to sanwas and youll have a god tier stick ;). Also can be upgraded with an octagonal restrictor plate for those who like a more rounded feel.
  2. T5 stick (the ones that come bundled with the T5 collectors package) <- Runs for around 40-50 on ebay and its definitely quality. Has a nice solid base and the hori stick and buttons feel pretty nice. The feel is very much like the HRAP but at half the cost! A great investment if you cant afford an HRAP.
  3. Namco stick <- I recently got one off ebay for like 50ish and it has a nice feel. Comes stock with hori stick/buttons and even though its really small it definitely can take a beating!

I guess to sum it all up…get an HRAP if you can!!

any comments on the tekken4 stick ???

top tier: sanwa and sanwa customations
high tier: perfect 360s, xbox hori, dc green goblin
mid tier: competition stick,
lower mid tier: stock hori, super stick
low tier: ultimate stick
bottom tier: x arcade, cheap knockoffs

I remember seeing a thread like this before… lemme search.


HRAP 2 with sanwa parts and the 2 last buttons replaced with button covers is the best stick hands down.

Seimitsu is right beside sanwa in the top tier.
how about the Korean sticks?

re: SC2 and T4 sticks.

parts-wise, they’re EXACTLY the same. Hori stick, hori buttons. they suck compared to sanwas and seimitsus, but they’re definitely better than chinese knockoffs. the buttons die pretty easily, too.

Hori T4 sticks may have rather gay PCBs though. some sticks will disconnect themselves intermittently, which means you won’t be able to play a game with it unless you change the pcb.

there are two versions of the Hori SC2 stick, but they only have internal differences. one version has a different stick base but performs exactly like the other version. one also has a better PCB, with an IC labeled “HORI”. this version works on Xbox converters while the other doesn’t.

i don’t recommend them, but they’re probably good enough for those who can’t afford real japanese arcade parts.

So…what about American sticks?

I can tell you what -NOT- to buy based on my own … unfortunate personal experiances.

DO NOT BUY - X Kombat stick. I don’t even know what company makes this, and it is complete trash. Everything is made out of horribly cheap plastic, and the ball shape is just retarded, for lack of a better word. It’s wireless, but it shorts out alot and is very inaccurate. As a matter of fact, mine stopped working after about two weeks. Cost me $30 …

DO NOT BUY - Pelican Universial Stick. Unless you plan to mod it. Even though I don’t see how you would get it apart since there are no visable screws, This stick is definatley alot better than the first one I mentioned, but the buttons feel non responsive, and the stick is alot too tall IMO.

– Get a Hori T5.

I have a Pelican Universal and it was easy as shit to mod. The screws are under the rubber soles. Just peel them off and take the screws out and you’re ready to mod. Easy as hell mod there man… But yeah, the stick still sucks out of the box.

Japanese stick tiering IMO (from those that i know about or own)
in order.

high quality custom stick.
high quality MOD of a commercial stick.
shit that comes with Sanwa and Seimitsu sticks by default.
(HRAP, PS2 Virtua stick??, upcoming Sega A-Stick)

Namco Stick
Agetec Dreamcast stick (AKA Green Goblin)
Hori SC2 stick
Hori HFS2
Hori Tekken 4
ASCII Optical sticks (ASCII FT series)

PowerStick2 (perfect for modding!!)
Hori Mini Stick
Hori Fighting Stick PS / Fighting Stick SS

edit: ASCIIWARE sticks are JUNK.

What’s the difference between a stock HRAP and one modded with Sanwa parts?

Be honest is there a big difference or is it just cool/hardcore to mod them out?

BTW I’m a noob at Jap sticks :sweat:

Sanwa buttons are better than the stock Hori ones, sometimes Hori buttons get sticky/stuck, Sanwa feels smoother when you click on it, and I find them more responsive.


responsiveness and Button life. Hori buttons die fast.

Ok, got it.

One more question, how do the actual sticks themselves compare? Are the Sanwa’s less ‘clicky’

actually, i think the sanwa sticks are more clicky, compared to the HORI stick.

one thing i do know is that the HORI stick dies fast. the life on the thing just doesn’t compare with the sanwa.

another thing. i noticed that the sanwa sticks that come with the HRAP seem to be less “clicky”. it just seems overall more silent and loose, compared to the sanwa sticks you would purchase from himura, ebay, etc.

a different model maybe?

Noticed that too.
Also the spring seems to be weaker.
I think its a new revision of jlf tp 8y,as the circuit on these ones has a
"3" on it.

What’s the difference between an HRAP and other Hori sticks like the US Tekken 5 stick for example?

the HRAP has a real Sanwa JLF-TP-8y-SK on it, while the other Horis just have Hori sticks. (The HRAP has hori buttons though,)

something weird i noticed: some arcade Jap stick players can’t qcf at all on a Hori for some reason.