We purchased the The 4 Best Flight Sticks so our expert reviewer could thoroughly test and assess it. Keep reading for our full products reviews.
When playing games like Microsoft Flight Simulator and Star Wars Squadrons, a good flight stick makes all the difference. Even if you have the best gaming mouse and keyboard, it won’t feel as realistic as a flight stick, because the accessory gives you the feeling of actually flying a vehicle.
When it comes to choosing a flight stick, you have a few options depending on how much play space you have and how realistic you want your setup to be. You have the option of using a basic joystick or a more advanced HOTAS setup (hands on throttle-and-stick). To make your setup even cooler, you can attach a flight stick to your chair and add other accessories like pedals.
We tested a number of flight sticks and found the Logitech G X56 HOTAS RGB Throttle to be the best. It comes with a variety of customization options and is ideal for flight and space simulation games. If the Logitech G X56 isn’t the best flight stick for you, we’ve also included our recommendations for the best flight stick for PS4 and the best budget flight stick.
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Best Overall: Logitech X56 H.O.T.A.S.
Look no further than the Logitech G X56 H.O.T.A.S. RGB Throttle () for the pinnacle of flight sticks. The stick and throttle have a good feel in the hand, and there are several toggles and switches that provide realistic feedback. With over 189 programmable controls, there’s probably more customization than you’ll ever need.
The black and grey color scheme complements other accessories, and the RGB lighting looks fantastic in a flight setup. Logitech also included something called six degrees of freedom, which gives you analog sticks to help you in flight games with multiple axes of control. The X56 has multiple springs, allowing you to fine-tune the tension of your sticks to your liking, and the included software assists with all remapping.
For games that require you to control multiple engines, the throttle stick has two independent twin throttles, as well as a throttle lock for single-engine games. Most popular PC flight games have plug-and-play compatibility, making setup a breeze. The X56 is a truly exceptional flight stick, earning our top recommendation for pilots looking to improve their skills.
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Best Value: Logitech X52 Pro
Our runner-up for best overall flight stick comes from the same Logitech family as our top pick. The Logitech G X52 Pro () is a little less expensive than the X56, but it still has a lot of features and precise controls. There are 19 programmable buttons with different functions and colors, as well as programmable axes, HATs, and a micro mouse stick, so you can customize not only your setup but also the appearance of your stick.
With compatible games, the thruster’s LCD screen can provide you with high-quality real-time data, which is a very useful feature. There are also markings on the thruster to indicate whether you’re idle or using afterburners. The stick has a dual spring centering function to assist you in bringing the stick back to center, as well as 3D twist rudder control for improved control in space games. For more traditional flight games, however, this can be turned off.
To make it more comfortable in your hand, the X52 has a five-position handle with grip adjustment. The included software allows for simple customization, but it also includes more advanced features for those who want to go even further. This stick performs admirably in all areas.
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Best for PS4: HORI PS4 HOTAS
The HORI PS4 HOTAS () is the right stick for you if you’re looking for a flight stick and you’re only a PS4 pilot. It’s a simple stick with few bells and whistles that may or may not be necessary for console gaming.
The stick is matte black in color, with minimal branding, no lighting, and buttons labeled similarly to the DualShock controller. The HORI PS4 HOTAS has adjustable joystick sensitivity, allowing you to fine-tune your controls and avoid dead zones. If you have heavy hands, you can also adjust the throttle resistance to avoid accidentally giving too much afterburn.
The SEIA has officially licensed the HORI joystick, so you can buy it with confidence that it will work with your PS4 games and console. There is PS3 and PC compatibility as well, but this is clearly a Playstation game, with a PS home button on the thruster controls. The vibration feedback works well because it is so well integrated with Playstation, which is a great addition. This is a good option for those who don’t want to deal with the more complicated sticks, or for those who just want to plug, play, fly, and have a good time.
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Best Budget: Thrustmaster T16000M FCS Flight Pack
Thrustmaster has been a trusted name in flight simulator controllers for over 25 years, so it’s no surprise they can deliver a decent flight stick for under $150. Despite its low price, this flight stick is not without its luxuries. It’s designed in a stylish orange and black color scheme with orange lighting to add some flair. The T16000M FCS () is an ambidextrous stick with 16 buttons that have braille-like identification so you don’t have to keep checking them.
The rudder control on this Thrustmaster stick is controlled by twisting the stick, which has four independent axes. Thrustmaster’s patented H.E.A.R.T technology is included in the T16000M, providing the same high-level pinpoint precision as higher-end flight sticks. The included T.A.R.G.E.T advanced programming software gives you all the tools you need to create custom profiles for each game, allowing you to customize everything exactly how you want it before flying.
This is a very comfortable stick to use, and it performs well in games. You can also combine this with other options later in the same line to create a HOTAS configuration or add rudders, depending on how far you want to go. The T16000M FCS allows you to enter the world of flight simulators and flight sticks without blowing your budget.