Best Joysticks and Flight Joysticks in 2023

Best Joysticks and Flight Joysticks in 2023

Games like Microsoft Flight Simulator have been a revelation in recent years, allowing the travel-hungry to immerse themselves in a different world.

However, while these titles are a great way to see places far from home, they’re also, at their core, pretty realistic simulations. As such, playing with a keyboard and mouse can be a bit difficult, while a normal game controller isn’t much better.


So that you can get an overview of some of the joysticks that can take your gaming experience to the next level, we’ve rounded up some of the best around.

Best joysticks 2020: Incredible sticks for mastering Flight Simulator photo 11
Plush pocket

Turtle Beach VelocityOne Flight

1. Best Overall

Ideal for flight simulator

If you really want to fly airplanes, you can’t go wrong with the VelocityOne. It has everything you need in a sturdy, easy to use package.


  • Complete and accurate control set
  • Built-in display makes setup easy
  • Versatile mounting options
The inconvenients

  • Status indicator panel not working yet (to be added in future firmware)
  • Only designed for airplanes

The Turtle Beach VelocityOne Flight Control System is about as realistic as Flight Simulator peripherals. It’s a snap to set up and the handy built-in display can be set to remind you what all the different buttons, levers and dials control.

It’s specifically designed for airplane flight, so it might not be as versatile as some of our other picks, but as far as Flight Simulator goes, it’s the crème de la crème.

The yoke works smoothly in all axes, the buttons are plentiful and easy to remap, and we particularly liked the inclusion of an adjustment wheel. As a bonus, the RGB illuminated buttons make it look especially stylish in a dimly lit room.

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Thrustmaster TCA side handle

2. Better for authenticity

Great all-rounder

An amazing stick that packs loads into a small package at a great price.


  • 1:1 scale replica of the real Airbus mini-stick
  • Clever modular design
  • Good price
The inconvenients

  • Mode 2 throttle operation not great
  • Can get expensive if you add more components to the TCA ecosystem

As far as gamepads go, this is simply one of the best choices in flight sims – you get incredible directional control to play with, along with handy shortcut buttons.

The best part is a small throttle control just below the stick – making it a great all-in-one solution since you can control all key functions without needing more peripherals.

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Hotas Saitek G X56

3. Ideal for dual throttles

Premium dual throttle control

If you want more controls and don’t mind paying, Saitek has a setup for you.


  • Optimized for 6 degrees of freedom
  • Dual throttle control and switch loads
  • RGB lighting and metallic accents
The inconvenients

  • The dead zone is quite large
  • Only works with PC

If you fancy a slightly more complicated setup, this deck from Saitek has more controls and its own dedicated dual throttle control. That means it can be a complete two-handed situation that will feel like you’re riding for real.

It’s a lot more expensive, therefore, but you get superb build quality to match. This one is perfect in combination with a keyboard, the throttle can sit on the left and the joystick on the right, leaving the keyboard accessible for anything that can’t be mapped to buttons.

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Thrustmaster T.Flight Hotas X

4. Ideal for double action

Feature-rich budget option

A great, more affordable way to fly with more control.


  • Removable throttle for ergonomic flights
  • Twist rudder with lock function
  • Trigger for combat simulation
The inconvenients

  • Not as well finished as other options
  • No lighting

If you want throttle and joystick control in one package but don’t want to break the bank, Thrustmaster has an attractive solution in the form of this deck.

The essentials are taken care of without splashing too much, and while there aren’t countless extra buttons to choose from, you’ll still enhance your flight experience.

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Logitech Extreme 3D Pro Precision Joystick

5. Best value for money

Reliable and affordable

A really solid joystick for its price, it will suit most people.


  • Affordable and well made
  • 8 position hat switch
  • Plug and Play on Windows
The inconvenients

  • Thumb throttle isn’t the most comfortable
  • No console version

This joystick is the most affordable on our list, but it’s still well-made, well-designed, and will get the job done for most people.

It’s pleasant to use, and a decent selection of buttons and throttle control mean you have access to the main essentials you’ll need.

How to choose a controller

Finding the best flight stick for you is no easy task. So with that in mind, we’ve put together a quick list of things to consider before making your next joystick purchase.

What are you going to steal?

Although we’ve focused largely on Flight Simulator for this guide, there are plenty of titles that can benefit from a good joystick. In particular, space combat games like Elite Dangerous or Star Citizen. If you also want to play one of these games, a solid all-purpose joystick might be the best bet rather than something Flight Simulator specific.

Even if you’ll only be playing Flight Simulator, it’s important to think about which planes you prefer to fly. Different joysticks attempt to replicate the controls of different aircraft, for example, the Turtle Beach VelocityOne controller has a layout similar to a Cessna cockpit while the Thrustmaster TCA series replicates the controls of an Airbus.

Where is your simulation platform?

If you’re lucky enough to have a dedicated space in which to build your simulator setup, you can get away with giant bulky peripherals; but if, like most of us, you work with limited space, you’ll want to think carefully about what devices you choose and where they will live.

A simple flight stick can easily fit in a drawer when not in use, but something more substantial, like a flight yoke, can be more difficult to live with. It all depends on your space and how you plan to use it, far be it from us to tell you that you can’t have a full sim rig built around the living room TV.

Knobs, switches, levers and more

While most Flight Simulator setups still use keyboard and mouse to some extent, it’s important to think about your most used functions and how you want them mapped to your chosen controller.

A throttle is a priority for many virtual pilots, but everyone’s needs are different. Flight Simulator makes it easy to remap controls so you can make any button on your flight stick control whatever you want. So, take a good look at the buttons on offer and think about how they might work best for you and if you would need them to be toggles, sliders, dials, or switches.


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