Sanwa Denshi is headquartered in Tokyo, Japan. Their parts have become the industry standard since the dawn of time. Top of the line fightsticks usually come readily with Sanwa parts or at least boast about being compatible with them. Players often do not mind well rounded fightsticks that are only lacking in the joystick and/or buttons department because they know that they can go with Sanwa parts instead. Some players are even willing to buy a bad fightstick because they know that they can switch its parts to Sanwa. Clearly, this brand is different.


Sanwa joysticks are known for their flexibility and precision. Some joysticks are too flexible to the point of sacrificing precision, and the opposite is also true, but that is not the case with Sanwa. A Sanwa joystick accurately hits each edge as intended and snaps back into position after each input when let go of. Expect a smooth experience doing techniques from Zangief’s spinning piledriver in Street Fighter to Mishima wave dashing in Tekken.


The buttons are responsive to the point that the slightest touch triggers them, but simply resting your fingers on them should not cause an accidental trigger. That is all because of the genius travel distance implemented by Sanwa. Also, simultaneous button presses register well in addition to pianoing. You can expect to use the same Sanwa buttons for up to a decade or even more before noticing that a button has gotten lazy, so they are durable.


Sanwa is simply a complete package that is also affordable. As a monopoly, perhaps the only other contender besides Seimitsu, GamerFinger, SuzoHapp, Sanjuks, Taeyoung, Myoungshin, Fujin, and Samducksa (Crown) is Hori with its Hayabusa or Falcon buttons, which are featured, for instance, in the Real Arcade Pro N and Real Arcade Pro VLX respectively. Notable brands, such as Mad Catz, have willingly chosen Sanwa as their go-to parts provider, raising Sanwa’s name even higher as a result and making it an A-lister. Our favorite Sanwa fightstick is the Mayflash F500 Elite.