Best joysticks for flight simulators [2020 Guide]


Radu Tyrsina
by Radu Tyrsina
Founder & Editor-in-Chief
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As you may know, Flight Simulator can be played using a variety of controllers. However, if you want to replicate the feeling of flying a plane, then you will need to use a joystick.

Joysticks have been around for some time, but have been steadily replaced by controllers, and now most of the joysticks that exist are for flying games anyway.

That is where they got the monickers of “Flightsticks”, and we’ve decided to make a list of what we think are the best joysticks that you can use for flight simulators.

Note: Deals are subject to change. Keep in mind that the price tag often varies. We recommend going on the vendor’s website to check the price. Some of the products may be out of stock by the time you’ve made your purchasing decision. So, hurry up and hit the buy button.

What are the best joysticks for flight simulators that I can buy?

1

Extreme 3D Pro

Extreme 3D ProIf you’re looking to turn your flying games such as Flight Simulator or War Thunder feel like the real thing, then getting the Extreme 3D Pro is a good starting step.

It is a universally acclaimed joystick and comes with plenty of buttons for you to bind commands and make flying feel like an adventure.

Pros:

  • 12 action buttons
  • An eight-way hat switch
  • A rapid-fire trigger
  • Button customization and multiple controller configurations
  • It’s USB driven

Cons:

  • Is a bit stiff

Check price

2

Thrustmaster T-Flight Hotas X

Thrustmaster T-Flight Hotas XUltra-simple to install, and ultra-simple to use for an ultra-fast flight session, the Thrustmaster T-Flight Hotas X not only looks the part, but it also acts the part of a flight stick.

It can store your settings so you can always log in with your preferred profile anytime anywhere, and the detachable throttle control will make you feel like your actually controlling a plane high in the sky.

Pros:

  • Wide hand-rest for optimal comfort
  • Programmable: the 12 buttons and 5 axles are entirely programmable
  • Dual-system aerodynamic control
  • Internal memory
  • High-precision joystick with adjustable resistance
  • Detachable, real-size, ergonomically-designed throttle control

Cons:

  • Feels cheap at times

Check price

3

Thrustmaster T16000M FCS HOTAS

Thrustmaster T16000M FCS HOTASIf you want to know what it feels like to hold a real flight controller in your hands, then getting a Thrustmaster T16000M FCS HOTAS will bring you pretty close to that feeling.

Not only is it ergonomically designed to fit into your hand perfectly, but the programmable buttons are great for flying games where fighting is an option.

Pros:

  • 16 action buttons with braille – style physical button identification
  • Exclusive precision
  • 4 independent axes, including twist rudder
  • 14 action buttons + 8-way POV hat

Cons:

  • The occasional quality control issues

Check price

4

Thrustmaster HOTAS Warthog

Thrustmaster HOTAS WarthogIf realism is what you seek when playing Flight Simulator, or any other flying game, then the Thrustmaster HOTAS Warthog is the joystick you should be looking towards.

It is a joystick replica of the U.S. Air Force a 10c attack aircraft flight stick and comes with 19 action buttons so you can always have your most-used keybinding at hand.

Pros:

  • Joystick replica of the U.S. Air Force a 10c attack aircraft flight Stick
  • Detachable handle crafted entirely of metal
  • 19 action buttons in total + one 8 way
  • Metal dual trigger
  • 2 x Push buttons and 2 x Pinkie push buttons
  • The USB connector and upgradeable firmware

Cons:

  • The price tag
  • No Z-axis rotation

Check price

5

Logitech G X56 HOTAS

Logitech G X56 HOTASLogitech G X56 HOTAS is the latest in a long series of flight sticks that were created for users to enjoy flying games in a more authentic way.

It feels right in the hand, and the RGB backlight make it a wonder to behold during gaming sessions, while still maintaining a  certain degree of authenticity thanks to the design and ruggedness.

Pros:

  • Military-grade space and flight sim precision
  • New mini analog stick control surfaces
  • RGB backlighting
  • Ideal for VR
  • Fully featured HOTAS

Cons:

  • Suitable for big strong hands

Check price

Closing thoughts on joysticks for flight simulators

As mentioned before, flight simulators can be played with pretty much any type of controller, or even using a mouse and a keyboard.

But for those of you that like authenticity, going for a good old-fashioned joystick is a huge step forward. It will allow you to feel just what it’s like to control a 5-ton machine that is flying miles up in the sky.