Before there were PC gamepads and DualShock controllers, the input method of choice was the humble joystick. Today, joysticks and flight sticks are a relatively niche product for flight sim enthusiasts, but they add a level of immersion that you’ll never get with a mouse and keyboard or controller.
With the release of Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 late last year, there’s been a renewed interest in the genre. Of course, that also means that flight sticks are harder to find than they have been in a long time. To help you join in on the fun and get your pilot’s wings, we put together a list of the best flight sticks on the market for PC, Xbox One, and PS4!
Best flight sticks:
Editor’s note: We’ll regularly update this list of the best flight sticks as new ones launch.
1. Logitech G X56
We kick off our list of the best flight sticks with this premium offering from Logitech designed for use with VR. It features an eye-popping 189 customizable controls. It features a full six degrees of freedom and an adjustable tensioning system to give you complete control over your aircraft.
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The included twin throttles are smooth and perfect for controlling two engines independently. The only downsides (apart from the price) are the size and somewhat awkward placement of some of the buttons. This is one of the very best flight sticks you can buy if you can look past that. The Logitech G X52 Pro is also a great option for those on a budget or with limited desk space.
2. Thrustmaster Hotas Warthog
This is the first of many great Thrustmaster flight sticks to make our list, and it’s the company’s most premium offering. Rest assured, you’re more than getting your money’s worth. The stick and panel designs are ripped from an authentic A 10C aircraft from the U.S. Air Force (hence the name Warthog). When you first get your hands on it, the full metal design and weighted base will make you feel like you’re truly piloting a military-grade aircraft.
The hefty joystick features 19 buttons and impeccable precision. The full kit weighs more than 14 pounds, so you’ll never need to worry about it slipping off your desk during intense dogfights. As with other Thrustmaster flight sticks, it comes with full access to the T.A.R.G.E.T advanced programming software. This lets you fully customize the inputs or use preset options for some of the most popular games.
3. Thrustmaster T16000M FCS HOTAS
If the Thrustmaster Hotas Warthog is a bit too pricey, but you still want a premium flight stick experience, the company makes another model that’s an excellent value proposition. The Thrustmaster T16000M FCS still has a full six degrees of movement, and many other features only found in flight sticks that cost more than twice as much. That earns it a spot at the top of our list.
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For left-handed users, this is the best flight stick on the market. This model has a fully ambidextrous design, so you can quickly switch the joystick between right- and left-handed use. Or, if you’re an absolute madman, you can pilot your craft with a joystick in each hand. Just make sure the game supports it before you buy.
4. Thrustmaster T-Flight Hotas One
Thrustmaster’s T-Flight Hotas series is well known as one of the best budget flight sticks on the market, and for a good reason. It provides convenience with a simple plug-and-play interface and deeper customization options for all 12 buttons and 5 axles.
There are three different models of this product, one for PC, one for the Xbox One, and one for the PS4. The console versions are a bit more expensive but will work on your PC as well. Each is among the best flight sticks for their respective platforms, and you won’t regret picking this up as a new or experienced pilot.
5. Thrustmaster USB Joystick
The final item on our list is a true entry-level flight stick for those just looking to get their feet wet. Coming in at less than $65, there truly is no cheaper way to take to the skies in style.
The Thrustmaster USB Joystick doesn’t include a throttle panel or twist yaw control, but it does have an ergonomic design and an eight-way “point-of-view” toggle, which is rare for entry-level flight sticks. Due to its simplicity, it’s also compatible with various titles, including classics like Tie Fighter and Wing Commander, making it perfect for retro gamers and casual users alike.
That’s it for our list of the best flight sticks. Check out some of our other gaming buyer’s guides below.