A good joystick more accurately emulates the flight controller found in real aircraft, offering more precision than a mouse and keyboard, and even a controller. If you are serious about your flight sims, then check out the joysticks below.
The Logitech Extreme 3D Pro is the best budget flight sim controller. Its small footprint and single-handed control make it an ideal choice for fliers that are comfortable using a keyboard and mouse in their free hand.
While it is inexpensive, it is an excellent choice for those who don’t need frills. This controller gives you similar levels of control as found in more expensive joysticks but has less feedback, fewer buttons, and it is constructed for cheaper plastics.
Despite its fewer features, you still get 12 programmable buttons, an eight-way hat switch, a weighted trigger, a rubber grip, and a sturdy base.
If you are on a tight budget or new to the flight simulator genre, this is an excellent choice for getting started.
The Thrustmaster T.16000M FCS HOTAS includes a joystick and thruster control add-on. This pairing allows you to control the movement of your craft while adjusting thrust without the need for a mouse or other peripherals.
Thrustmaster has more than 25 years of expertise in flight sim controllers, making it one of the defacto devices for this genre of game. This is a mid-range joystick for beginners to grow into and for more intermediate players that need greater accuracy and quick-access buttons not found on some lower-end joysticks.
The primary controller features a helical spring for realistic tension during motion, plus a 16-bit resolution for greater precision during flight. The stick also features four independent axes, including a twist rudder, 16 action buttons with identifiers, an eight-way POV hat switch, and trigger.
Best of all, the controller is accented with orange and backlighting, which is perfect for any RGB computer setup.
The Logitech G Pro Flight X56 Rhino HOTAS is a professional-level flight joystick designed specifically for VR gaming but can still be enjoyed on a traditional monitor.
This is an updated version of the existing X56, and now features a new black and gray finish, easier plug-and-play interfacing, and greater controlled fine-tuning.
This controller includes purpose-built mini analog sticks at the thumbs to control four axes, with additional quick access buttons. The flight stick also contains contact-free HALL effect sensors within the 16-bit aileron and elevator axis, plus an adjustable spring tensioner system to give users control over their sensitivity needs.
Users also get to take advantage of twin throttles with a friction adjustment to provide better control of dual-engine aircraft or spaceships. There is more freedom to customize the controller how you want. All 13 axes, 5 HATS, and 31 buttons over three modes are adjustable in the included software and are supported by most flight sim games.
No matter what joystick you go with, you will find that playing your favorite flight simulator game is more engaging and enjoyable!
By the way, after selecting your joystick, consider the benefits of purchasing a good pair of gaming glasses as well.