While it may be too detailed for some, Microsoft Flight Simulator, whether it’s on PC or Xbox Series X, is a great technological feat that lets you fly around the world from the comfort of your own home.
However, like Flight Sim and other titles as it is a great way to see areas far from home, they are also, at the core, visually appealing. As such, playing with a keyboard and mouse can be a little difficult, while a general game controller it’s not all good.
So you can get a glimpse of some of the fun things that can get you into your game, we’ve rounded up some of the best ones right here.
Turtle Beach VelocityOne Flight
1. Best flight stick ever
Best of Flight Simulator
If you’re serious about flying, you can’t go wrong with VelocityOne. It has everything you need in a powerful and easy-to-use package.
- Full and accurate control
- The built-in screen makes the configuration easy
- Various installation options
- Display panel not working yet (to be added in future firmware)
- Designed for airplanes only
The Turtle Beach VelocityOne Flight flight control system is as realistic as Flight Simulator peripherals get. It’s a breeze to set up and the default helper block can be set to remind you of the various buttons, levers and control dials.
It’s designed for flying planes, so it may not be as versatile as our other options, but when it comes to Flight Simulator this is the crème de la crème.
The yoke works well on all axes, the buttons are plentiful and easy to rewind and we really like the trim wheel included. As an added bonus, the RGB lighting buttons make it look like it’s in a bright room.
Thrustmaster TCA Sidestick
2. The best true flying stick
$70 $90 Save $20
An amazing rod that packs a punch in a compact and affordable package.
- 1:1 scale replica and authentic Airbus model
- Smart modular design
- Good price
- Mode 2 throttle operation is not ideal
- It can be cheaper if you add other tools to the TCA environment
As far as fun goes, this is one of the best choices when it comes to flight simulators – you get an amazing steering wheel to play with, as well as quick buttons.
The best part is the little control under the stick – which makes it a great solution because you can control all the important functions without the need for many peripherals.
Saitek G X56 Hotas
3. Excellent little twin-throttle stick
Double sided control
If you want more controls and don’t mind paying, Saitek has you covered.
- Decorated with 6 degrees of freedom
- Dual controls and multiple switches
- RGB lighting with a metallic tone
- Deadzone is quite large
- It works with PC only
If you prefer a more advanced setup, this deck from Saitek has more controls and a dedicated controller. This means you can have two hands that will feel like a real experiment.
It’s a very good price, for that matter, but you get a very high-quality look to go with it. This is a perfect combination of the keyboard, the throttle can be on the left and the joystick on the right, leaving the keyboard accessible to everything that cannot be mapped to the buttons.
Thrustmaster T.Flight Hotas X
4. The best double action flight stick
A full budget option
$65 $65 Save $0
The best, cheapest way to fly is to be more streamlined.
- Fast speed for ergonomic travel
- Steering wheel with locking function
- Start wrestling practice
- Not as well finished as other options
- There is no lighting
If you want control and fun in one package but don’t want to break the bank, Thrustmaster has a great solution like this scale.
It has the essentials taken care of without splashing out too much, and while there aren’t a lot of buttons to choose from, you’ll be loading up on the details of your flight.
Logitech Extreme 3D Pro Precision Joystick
5. Best flight stick price
Reliable and affordable
$34.99 $39.99 Save $5
A solid hobby for its price, it will be good for many people.
- Cheap and well made
- 8-way hat switch
- Plug and play on Windows
- Running a toe is not so easy
- There is no console version
This hobbyist is the least expensive on our list, yet it’s well-made, well-designed and will get the job done.
It’s easy to use, and the good selection of buttons and power controls mean you can get what you need.
How to choose a joystick
Narrowing down the best fly rod for you is no easy task. So, with that in mind, we’ve put together a quick list of things you should consider before buying any more cosmetics.
What will you be flying?
Although we have focused on Flight Simulator in this guide, there are many themes that could use the fun feature. Especially, space combat games like Elite Dangerous or Star Citizen. If you would like to play one of these games as well, then this multiplayer game would be the best choice instead of the real Flight Simulator.
Even if you’re playing Flight Simulator, it’s important to think about the planes you like to fly. Different hobbyists try to replicate the controls of different aircraft, for example, the Turtle Beach VelocityOne controller has a similar design to the Cessna Cockpit while the Thrustmaster TCA series takes controls from Airbus.
Where is your sim rig?
If you’re lucky enough to have a dedicated space in which to build your own test machine, then you can get away with large peripherals; but if like most of us you are working with limited space, then you will want to think carefully about the peripherals you choose and where they will be located.
A simple escape stick can be tucked away in a cupboard when not in use but something larger, such as an escape yoke, can be difficult to carry. It all depends on your location and how you want to use it, don’t be far from us to tell you that you can’t have a sim rig built around the living room TV.
Buttons, switches, levers and more
Although most Flight Simulator configurations still use a keyboard and mouse to some extent, it’s important to consider the most commonly used functions and how you’ll want to place them on your chosen controller.
A rudder is a must-have for most pilots, but everyone’s needs are different. Flight Simulator makes it easy to remap the controls so you can make any button on your joystick whatever you want. So, take a good look at the buttons on offer, and think about how they will work best for you and whether you want them to be toggles, sliders, dials or switches.