Looking for the best joystick for PC flight simulators such as Microsoft Flight Simulator X and other flying games like War Thunder can be very important. Although a joystick isn’t the most vital of PC peripherals, and you can easily enjoy games without necessarily gripping something resembling a flight stick and wiggling it around like some demented witch stirring her devilish cauldron, if you want the most realistic and immersive flight experience, then a joystick is the way to go.
In order to find the best one, however, you will need to know what you are looking for in a joystick. Are you going to use it religiously and play ONLY flying games that require top-notch accuracy and precision? Do you need ONLY the joystick, or are you looking for an extension to the joystick such as a throttle alongside? These are things that you will need to acknowledge before seeking out a joystick for your computer system.
How to Choose a Joystick?
Here, we’ll go into more detail about these key points before moving on to the big event.
1: How Much Will You Use It?
One of the main things that will decide what joystick you will ultimately purchase is how much you will be using it. If flight simulator games are your bread and butter, and are the ONLY types of games you play, then getting a joystick which is comfortable to hold and is made to withstand a lot of use is the right way to go.
If, on the other hand, you don’t really play any flying games that much, then you would be better off either having a budget joystick that is suitable for entry-level players only, or not purchasing a joystick at all as there may not be any need for one.
2: Do You Need Extensions?
Having extensions with the main joystick is a HUGE thing to consider when you are choosing the right product for yourself. Do you just want the flight stick and nothing else, leaving the controls to the throttling and steering of the plane to, say, your keyboard or a button or two on the joystick?
Or, perhaps you want a throttle lever accompanying the joystick to not only make it easier for you to speed up or slow down your plane, but to also enhance your immersion into the game, and give yourself a better flying experience?
Both of these options will be very different, in terms of price and how much space they will take up in your playing area. At the end of the day, however, this is entirely down to preference and whatever you choose WON’T end up being the correct or incorrect decision.
3: How Much Will You Pay for One?
Finally, we come down to the biggest thing to consider; the price of the joystick (and possible extensions you may have wanted as well). This is a very important thing to consider simply because this will be YOUR money that you will be using to make a purchase, so you will need to be ABSOLUTELY sure that your final decision is the one you are the most comfortable with.
A joystick on its own will, of course, be far cheaper than a joystick with the additional throttle and pedals to control the yaw of your virtual plane, and vice-versa.
Once you are able to answer these questions with confidence, you will be all set to buying the joystick that you will be the most comfortable with. And with that out of the way, let’s get started with the main event!
1 – Thrustmaster T-16000M FCS Flight Pack
If you are on the market looking for a fully bundled flight pack that will effectively immerse you inside your flying games, then this is one that you must consider. The reason I say this is because this amazing bundle consists of a joystick, throttle and rudder pedals, and it won’t cost you as much as you may think it would either.
One of my favourite things about this product is the smooth S.M.A.R.T (Sliding Motion Advanced Rail Tracks) technology that is inside the throttle and pedals. This will make their sliding motion run buttery smooth and will be very precise and accurate; you won’t lose any efficiency with them, which is absolutely vital when piloting a virtual plane.
If that wasn’t enough, you will like that this joystick comes with:
- 16 action buttons which you can program and map to do whatever you want inside your simulator or game. For example, you can easily make one of the buttons activate the wheels when landing the plane or taking off from a runway. The possibilities are endless for you. This is one of the reasons why this joystick is so convenient for you.
- H.E.A.R.T (HallEffect AccuRate Technology) which makes the joystick very precise and accurate with every movement you make with it. No matter how quick, subtle or rough you pitch and roll your plane with the joystick, the HEART technology will accurately follow along to any movement you make. This is yet another reason why this joystick is a must have.
- The entire bundle is compatible with all the modern Windows operating systems, from Windows 10 going all the way back to Windows Vista. If you have any Windows OS in between these generations, you are good to go with using this amazing flight pack. This flexibility and diversity is another reason why you should consider this product.
- The price for this bundle is a very good value with what you get with it. While this may be down to preference, and everybody has a different perspective on what is a good valued product or not, I still believe the price for this flight pack is marvelous for all the items and features you get with it.
And now, we move on to the unfortunate drawbacks to this flight pack:
- You will need to have a LOT for room on your desk or play area for this flight pack. As it comes with 3 separate components, it will take up a pretty large amount of space. If you are going to go with this bundle, make sure you have enough space for it all.
- If you are JUST looking for a simple joystick for your flying games, this bundle may be just a bit too much for you!
This is a marvelous bundle for you if you are looking for something to spice up your flight simulators or flying games and to fully immerse yourself in them; you will absolutely love what this bundle will do for you. But don’t just take my word for it; there are HUNDREDS of reviews for this bundle on Amazon, and a majority of them are overwhelmingly positive. Click below to see them now and find out what other people have to say about it:
2 – Thrustmaster Hotas Warthog
If you are on the market looking for a peripheral to help you control both the directions and the throttle of planes inside a flight game or simulator, AND want it to be a replica of the controls of a well renowned aircraft in real life, then look no further than the Hotas Warthog joystick and throttle bundle by Thrustmaster. The reason why you must consider this pair is because not only are they an exact replica of the controls of the A-10 Thunderbolt, more commonly nicknamed the Warthog, but because this bundle comes with both a joystick and a throttle controller as well.
One of my favourite features of this bundle is the amount of programmable buttons that both the joystick and throttle have; around 55 in total, each fully programmable and able to be mapped to do whatever you want them to do. This large amount of customisation is one of the reasons why this product is one that you must consider if you play all sorts of flight simulators or flying games.
Here are some other features that you may love:
- Joystick and throttle have HEART technology, giving you pin-point accuracy and precision with any direction and amount of throttle you give to your virtual aircraft.
- The base of the joystick can be detached to allow you to install the joystick in a cockpit if you wish. This can be great if you want to save some space in your play area.
- Throttle has a dual system which can allow you to take control of two separate motors on your virtual aircraft. This is great if you want to have further immersion inside your game and another reason why this is a very convenient product for you.
- The control panel the throttle controls are situated on has a friction wheel which can allow you to manually adjust the resistance of the throttle to however you’d like it to be. This is another reason why this bundle is a must have.
Of course, even this product has its drawbacks that we need to address:
- This is a very expensive product, mainly because its a replica of the actual controls of a real aircraft, and with all the features it’s packed to the brim with. Check out the cheaper joysticks on this list if you are more on a budget.
- May be too technical for some people, especially if they’re just looking for a joystick and throttle only, and don’t require extra buttons and switches.
Looking past these drawbacks, however, this is a well-made product and absolutely worth your consideration. You will love all the features it comes with, its customisability and the fact that it is a replica of a renowned and amazing aircraft. There are hundreds of reviews for this product on Amazon, and a majority of them are very positive. Click below to see what other people have to say about this joystick and throttle combo:
3 – Thrustmaster T-Flight Hotas X
While the previous products on this list had the joystick and throttle on separate bases and platforms, this is the only one on this list that has them both on the same base. This is a joystick that you must consider because they are both on the same base, which is great if you need to save space on your desktop or play area in general.
One of my favourite things about this product is the fact that they are both detachable which can save you even more space in your play area, and they can be used with a PS3 as well as a computer with a USB, which makes this product easy to plug in and play on both these systems.
If that wasn’t enough, you will love that this joystick and throttle:
- Joystick has a wide hand space to give your hand an area to rest while you are gripping the stick. This will make it easy for you to control your virtual aircraft as your hand won’t be strained as it will have an area to rest on.
- Are rested on a very heavy base, which will ensure that the base is very stable and won’t move around on your desk or play area without you applying some strong force on it. Because of this, you won’t find yourself losing control of your aircraft as you won’t be trying to hold the base down against your desk. This is another reason why this product is very convenient for you.
- Has a lot of programmable buttons on them, so you will be able to easily map them to do whatever you want them to do inside your flying games. This is yet another reason why this is a must have joystick for your flight simulator needs.
- Also has internal memory which saves all your custom programming even when the joystick and throttle are disconnected from your system. Because of this, you will be able to save your custom settings for a specific game and you won’t have to map them again as the device will have saved them for you when you next start the game back up again.
- This is a very affordable item, so it won’t have too big of an impact on your wallet if you choose to buy it.
Sadly, even this seemingly perfect product has a few cons:
- Although they are together on one base, this is still a very large peripheral, so you will need to make sure you have enough space for this on your desk or play area in general.
- The base may be too heavy for your liking. While this is to stop it from moving around and taking you out of your immersion inside your game, it may be an inconvenience to you, but this all comes down to personal preference.
This is a wonderful joystick and throttle bundle however, and very affordable for you even if you are on a budget; you will absolutely love what this will do for you. Click below to see the hundreds of positive Amazon reviews for it and to find out what other people have to say about it:
4 – Thrustmaster USB
By far one of the cheapest joysticks on the market today, this is a joystick that you really must consider if you are looking for a decent joystick that won’t have a large effect on your bank account, and the reason I say this is not just because of how affordable it is, but also because with how simple it is to connect to your PC.
One of my favourite features of this joystick is the miniature throttle controller on the side of the small base. With your thumb, you will easily be able to control the throttle of your virtual aircraft. This extra level of control for this budget of a price is amazing, and a reason why this joystick is convenient and a must have for you.
If that wasn’t enough, you will love that this joystick:
- Has 4 buttons and 1 trigger. These buttons can be programmed and mapped to do whatever you want them to do, which will be very useful and convenient for you if you need a specific button to control something important within your game.
- Comes with a specific “point of view” button which will change the camera view of your aircraft within the flight simulator or game you are playing. This is a very helpful and useful button as you won’t need to find this button on your keyboard as it will be on the joystick ready for you to press if you need a change of view.
- Base contains non-slip rubber pads which will hold the base in place on your desk or play area while you are using the joystick and throttle control. This will ensure that the base won’t suddenly slide off in one direction while you are flying, and distractions are the last thing you need while you are concentrating in trying to land your metal bird.
- This is a very affordable joystick, which you will be able to afford no matter how tight your budget is. This is a perfect entry-level joystick if you are new to flight simulators and want to see what all the fuss is about.
Now we move on to the cons of this affordable joystick:
- Don’t expect this joystick to be durable or be packed with a lot of features.
- The thumb-controlled throttle control may be too small for some people to use effectively.
Although it has some pretty serious drawbacks, this is a wonderful joystick, and definitely one that you must consider if you are on a budget or not. As an entry-level joystick for you to test the waters of flight simulators with, this is the perfect choice. But don’t take my word for it; there are HUNDREDS of reviews for this joystick, and a majority of them are very positive. Click below to see what other people’s thoughts are about it:
5 – Speedlink Phantom Hawk
Moving on from joysticks by Thrustmaster, we come to the Phantom Hawk by Speedlink. This joystick is one that you must consider if you are on the market looking for an affordable joystick that will completely immerse you inside any flight simulator or game of your choice on your PC. The reason why I say this is because of the force vibration feedback that this joystick has, which will allow you to be able to feel the vibrations of your aircraft as it battles turbulence. It also won’t cost you an arm and a leg to buy either.
One of my favourite features of this joystick is the 12 fully programmable buttons embedded onto the device. You will easily be able to map these buttons to do whatever you want them to do within your games. Want a button to quickly and easily lock on to an enemy aircraft? You can program one of these buttons to do just that.
If that wasn’t enough, you will absolutely love that this joystick comes with:
- Strong suction discs at the bottom of the base can allow you to steadily secure the joystick to any surface. You won’t have to worry about the base sliding off to the side while playing, which is the last thing you need while in the middle of an intense mid-air dogfight.
- Integrated throttle controller to allow you to easily increase and decrease the throttle of your aircraft. You won’t need to find space for a separate base for the throttle as it is integrated into the compact base of the joystick. This is one of the reasons why this joystick is so convenient for you.
- A 4-way digital D-pad which you will be able to use to easily navigate through the menus of the game you are playing. You will also be able to map these buttons to do whatever you want.
- A hand rest for right-handed use which you are able to use to rest your hand onto while playing. You won’t have to worry about straining your hand by holding it up in place as you will be able to rest it comfortably.
And now, we move on to the cons of this joystick:
- Joystick is for right-handed use only. If you are more dominant in your left hand, you may have a lot of trouble using this joystick.
- The strong suction discs may lose their suction after a while. Once they do, you may need to find an alternative to secure the base to your desk or general play area.
Nevertheless, this is a very competent and very affordable joystick and a must have if you are on the market looking for one. If you want to see what other people have to say about this product, click below to see the hundreds of reviews for it from Amazon, with a majority of them being overwhelmingly positive:
6 – Thrustmaster T-16000M
This is the last Thrustmaster joystick on this list, I promise! Anyway, this is a joystick you must consider if you are on the market looking for an affordable joystick which will fit the needs of many people. The reason why I say this is because this joystick was made for ambidextrous people; you will be able to use this effectively whether you are left-handed or right-handed. Plus, this joystick won’t leave a huge crater in your bank account either.
One thing about this joystick which I really love, and I think you will love as well, is the built in HEART technology which will give you precision levels far greater than other joysticks on the market. The sensors will detect how far you have moved the stick in any direction and will accurately input that into the game you are playing; the aircraft you are controlling will accurately follow your every movement precisely. This is one of the reasons why this will be convenient peripheral for you.
Here are some other features of this joystick that you will love:
- Ambidextrous design to allow anybody to use this joystick, whether they are left or right-handed. This level of flexibility is one of the reasons why this is a must have if you are looking for a great joystick for your flying games.
- Base is weighted, so you won’t find the joystick moving to the side while you are using it. It would take a lot of force to move it, and this will be very convenient for you as the last thing you’d need while flying is your controls slipping away from you.
- Joystick has a wide hand rest to give you hand somewhere to rest upon while you are using the joystick. You won’t have to worry about straining your hand by holding it up or anything as you will already have some place to put it.
- You can control the rudder on the back of your virtual aircraft by rotating the joystick in either direction. This will be far easier than using other controls for it, and another reason why this joystick is so convenient.
Sadly, even this seemingly flawless joystick has flaws:
- Some buttons of the joystick can be very hard to access, particularly if you are holding the joystick in a specific way. This may be an inconvenience to some.
Nevertheless, this is an amazing product as you can see, and a perfect entry level joystick if you are looking to test the waters of flight simulators. But don’t just listen to me; there’s more than a hundred reviews on Amazon for this joystick, and a majority of them are overwhelmingly positive. If you want to see these reviews and find out what other people’s thoughts are on this joystick, click below now:
7 – Speedlink Dark Tornado
Here’s another dirt cheap joystick on this list that should be a big consideration for you if you are on a very tight budget and are looking for a great joystick to test the waters of flight simulators or flying games in general. The reason why I say this is because it has an easy to connect USB wire which you can simply plug in to your PC and it will be fired up and ready to go. Plus, this joystick won’t cost you an arm or a leg to buy either.
One of my favourite things about this joystick is the 8 programmable buttons embedded within the stick and base. With these buttons, you can map and use them to control just about anything you want inside your games. Want a quick way to lower the landing gear without going over to your keyboard? You can use one of the buttons on the joystick to do exactly this quickly and easily.
Here are some other things about this joystick that you may like:
- Has a throttle controller at the back of the joystick which you can use to easily control the power of your virtual aircraft. There is no need for a separate throttle control with this joystick, and you can save yourself a lot of space because of this.
- You can adjust the amount of vibration feedback of this joystick. If it gets too distracting for you, but you want to keep the immersion it gives, you will be able to lower the intensity of the feedback, keeping the immersion intact.
- Base has suction cups at the bottom to allow it to grip to any surface. You won’t find yourself averting your concentration from the intense dogfight by keeping the base steady or in one spot as the cups should keep it securely in place.
- This is a very cheap and affordable joystick. If you are looking to test the waters of flight simulators or want to be more immersed in your plane games, this is a perfect joystick for that.
And now, we move on to the cons of this joystick:
- As this joystick is very cheap, you shouldn’t be expecting it to be very technical and smack bang with all sorts of amazing features.
Nevertheless, this is an amazing budget joystick, and absolutely one that you must consider if you are looking for one to test the waters of flight simulators with. You will really appreciate what this joystick will do for you if you decide to get it. But don’t just listen to me; there are hundreds of reviews for this product on Amazon, and more than half of them are overwhelmingly positive. If you want to see what other people’s thoughts are on this joystick, then click below:
8 – Logitech Extreme 3D Pro
If you are looking for an affordable joystick with a possibility for a lot of programming on the market, this is one which you must consider. The reason I say this is because it has 12 programmable buttons, which if you are using this on a computer you will be able to map any action you want from the game onto one of these buttons. Plus, this joystick is very affordable no matter how much of a budget you’re on.
One of my favourite features of this joystick is the rudder control embedded in the joystick. You simply twist the joystick in any direction and that will act as the rudder for your virtual aircraft. You won’t have to pay out an extra £50 or so just to have separate rudder pedals which may take up precious space inside your play area.
Here are some other things about this joystick that you will appreciate:
- Joystick is on a weighted and very stable base, meaning that you won’t have to worry too much about it sliding off into a random direction while you are using it, which is the last thing you’d want while in an intense dogfight high in the sky.
- The buttons at the top of the stick can allow you to quickly change camera views of your aircraft, and switch through the different weapons you have as well. Of course, as they are programmable, you will be able to bind them to do something if you wish. For example, one of them could toggle the landing gear down and up if you really wanted.
- The joystick has been build with sculptured curves, which naturally support the shape of your hands. You will be able to use this product for hours at a time without feeling any discomfort, though playing games for a few hours straight without a break is bad for you… 😉
- The fire trigger is very precise and durable. No matter how fast or hard you pull it, every pull will register and your virtual plane will fire its rockets or bullets. This is just another reason why this joystick is so convenient for you.
Sadly, we must now move on to the drawbacks of this joystick:
- Isn’t compatible with Mac or Linux systems, so you will need to find a joystick that IS compatible with them if you have either one of those systems.
- The controls may feel a little cheap in places to some people, but this boils down to personal preference.
In the end, however, this is a wonderful budget-based joystick, and absolutely one for you to consider whether you are simply testing the waters of flight simulators or using a joystick for your flying games. This may even be a worthy joystick for even the veterans of flight sims too, especially if you don’t have the funds of a full-blown bundle. But don’t just take the words of silly old me here; there are hundreds of reviews for this joystick on Amazon, and more than half are overwhelmingly positive. If you want to see what other people have to say about this joystick, click below:
9 – Logitech G Saitek X52 Pro
We return to both a joystick AND a throttle controller with this product, the G Saitek X52 Pro by Logitech. This joystick and throttle are a pair that you really must consider if you are looking to greatly immerse yourself inside your flying games on your PC, and the reason why I say this is because this comes with both a joystick and a throttle controller which will make you feel as though you are twisting and turning your aircraft through the virtual sky much more accurately than you would be using a mouse and a keyboard.
One of the things that I really love about this product, and one that you will really appreciate, is the centering mechanism (basically a spring) which returns the joystick back to its default position when you need it to. This makes it really easy for you to quickly level out your aircraft when you need to.
Here are some other features of this product that you’ll like:
- Joystick can be twisted to control the rudder of your plane. With this, there is no need for you to get a separate rudder controller which may take up precious space in your play area.
- You can adjust the resistance of the throttle controller. You will be able to make it move quickly without any resistance, or slowly with a lot of resistance. Whatever resistance you set it as is all down to personal preference.
- Throttle controller has a multi-function LED display, which you can program to read out vital information about your aircraft in specific games such as Microsoft Flight Simulator X. This is yet another reason why this product is so convenient for you.
- The handle of the joystick can be adjusted to fit a wide range of hand sizes. You won’t have to worry about having hands too big or too small with this joystick.
Of course, it’s now time for us to turn our attention to the cons of this product:
- This product is pretty expensive, and definitely not the one for you if you are on a budget.
- The joystick and throttle are on separate bases, which may not be ideal if you have a compact play area. Check out the Thrustmaster T-Flight Hotas X earlier on this list for both a joystick and throttle controller situated on the same base.
This is a very decent joystick, however, and definitely one which you should have as a consideration if you are looking to play a flight simulator the way it was meant to be played. There are less than a hundred reviews for it on Amazon, but a majority of them are very positive. Click below to see what other people have to say about this product:
10 – Trust GXT 555 Predator
The last joystick on our list is going to be the GXT 555 Predator by Trust. This joystick is one that you must have as a consideration if you are looking for an affordable joystick to help you get better at flying games, or if you want to simply use a budget joystick just to see what all the fuss is about.
One of my favourite features of this joystick is the vibration feedback that it has. You will be very immersed inside your game as the vibrations will feel real and possibly even trick your brain into thinking that you are actually inside the aircraft.
If that wasn’t enough, you will like that this joystick comes with:
- A high precision twist rudder control to allow you to control the rudder of your aircraft by simply twisting the joystick. This can save you a lot of space in your play area as you won’t need a separate controller to do this.
- 12 programmable buttons which you can use to map any action you want from the game. Want a quick way to lower your landing gear or turn on the lights when it gets dark? You can use any of these buttons to do just that.
- A throttle lever to allow you to control the throttle of your aircraft by turning the lever forwards and backwards. Just like the rudder control, this eliminates the need for a separate controller to do this, saving you tons of space on your desk or play area. This is just another reason why this joystick is so convenient for you, especially if you are limited on desk space.
- A weighted base with rubber feet makes the joystick stable and less likely to move around. You won’t be finding yourself constantly setting the joystick back in front of you because of this.
Of course, nothing is perfect, and the same can be said about this joystick. Here are its cons:
- The joystick is only usable for right-handed people, so if you are left-handed you may have trouble using this joystick. Check out the Thrustmaster T-16000M if you want a joystick for ambidextrous players.
Nevertheless, this is an amazing budget joystick, and absolutely one that you must consider if you are in the market looking for one. But don’t take my word for it; there are only a few reviews on Amazon for this joystick, but all are very positive. Click below to see them and find out what other people have to say about it:
And that marks the end of this post! Thank you so much for reading, and if you have any questions or have a joystick of your own that I missed that you think deserves to be on here, please don’t be too shy to write a comment down below in the comments section.
Once again, thank you for reading, and have a wonderful day!