Best flight stick for Flight Simulator: Joysticks for PC & Xbox (2024)

Best flight stick for Flight Simulator: Joysticks for PC & Xbox (2024)
Amaar Chowdhury Updated on by

Video Gamer is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Prices subject to change. Learn more

With the best flight stick for the Microsoft Flight Simulator, you can improve the realism of the game and your flying ability in it.

Trying to fly with a keyboard and mouse is frustrating, to say the least – there’s little question as to why mechanical keyboards aren’t used in Boeing 747s.

And, if you’ve read our guide on the best racing wheels for Forza, you know just how important the right apparatus is in enjoying simulation games as much as possible. After you’ve settled on the best flight stick, you might then be interested in the best monitor for Microsoft Flight Simulator to completely immerse yourself in the game.

Using a flight stick for these games is therefore highly recommended, and we’ll walk you through picking the best one.

Best flight sticks for Microsoft Flight Simulator

We are actually trying to answer two different questions in this article. There’s the case of finding out what is the best flight stick available for Microsoft Flight Simulator, but that is not actually what most people are looking for. The best of the best also tends to be the most expensive. Price isn’t the only consideration either, some people prioritise realism, while others have a preference for specific design features.

To make this article as useful to as many people as possible, we’ve got top picks in a range of different categories, ensuring that there should be something suited to your specific needs. Let’s get into it.

1. Thrustmaster HOTAS Warthog Flight Stick – Best realistic flight stick for Microsoft Flight Simulator

Thrustmaster Hotas Warthog

Controller Type

Flight Stick



  • Realistic looks and feel
  • Solid design
  • Weighted base for stability
  • You may not need all the buttons

If you know your military aircraft, you’d be forgiven for thinking this flight stick was stripped from the cockpit of an A-10 Thunderbolt. It’s essentially an identical replica.

Designed to recreate the tactile experience of handling an aircraft, this flight stick is unforgiving and the experience will push you far out of your comfort zone.

Due to its realistic specificity, we deem this flight stick unsuitable for beginners. The price is hardly inviting either, though if you’re a seasoned veteran of the flight sim community, you’re likely to be aware of the cost of enjoying this pleasure.

Regardless, if you’re prepared to spend big, and prepared to take the time to learn the controls, this flight stick’s realism and accuracy are huge factors weighing in favor of it.

Another compelling argument for the Warthog is the T.A.R.G.E.T interfacing software, allowing you precision and freedom in calibrating a control set best suited to the vehicle, or game, that you’re simulating.

2. VelocityOne Flight Control System – Best joystick for Microsoft Flight Simulator on Xbox

Turtle Beach VelocityOne Flight Universal Control System


Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Windows 10/11 PCs

  • Responsive controls
  • Customizable
  • On board display
  • Expensive

VelocityOne is a very consumer-friendly product. Noticeably, the flight stick has a much more digestible interface than the Thrustmaster Warthog.

Rather than a singular joystick, the VelocityOne’s controlled by a 180° yoke handle, providing what we think is a much more comfortable and enjoyable experience to flight sim with.

To the right of the handle is a modular throttle hub, allowing the user to customize and calibrate the physical controller to the needs of the vehicle.

Another hugely welcome feature is the dash panel behind the controller, allowing users to receive live, physical updates on the condition of their simulated vehicle.

And then, perhaps the best design addition, there is a 320 x 230 px display on the handle. The Flight Management Display is used for, as the name suggests, flight management, and so a useful handful of information lives there.

For a more in-depth review, click here.

3. Logitech G X56 – Best HOTAS for MSFS

Logitech G X56 H.O.T.A.S Throttle and Joystick





  • Reasonable price
  • Realistic look and feel
  • 189 Programmable Controls
  • Quite light, so may need mounting

At an affordable price, you can grab yourself a great HOTAS flight controller in the Logitech G X56.

Unlike the Gladiator NXT Evo, the G X56 is ready to play MFS straight out of the box. This is a huge benefit as it reduces the tedious technical floundering before you get to enjoy the sim experience.

In terms of appearance, this flight controller is my favourite of the bunch. With a sleek, matte finish, you really feel like you’re holding a quality product in your hands.

Clean bevels are finished by RGB ring lighting. This means that you can still use the controller in the dark – an optimum environment for enjoying flight simulation games. Further enhancing the realism are the metal knobs and dials, really emphasizing this flight stick’s attention to detail and life-likeness.

Boasting over 189 different controls, this joystick really packs a remarkable amount of quality into an incredibly affordable product. Performance-wise, controlling the stick is smooth and comfortable. What’s more, reaching all of the buttons and triggers isn’t a difficulty due to the ergonomic design.

4. Thrustmaster T.Flight HOTAS One – Best budget flight stick for Microsoft Flight Simulator

Thrustmaster T-Flight Hotas One


Xbox Series X/S, PC

  • Great price
  • Adjustable resistance
  • Some buttons are positioned awkwardly

If you’ve read our best racing wheels for Forza guide, you’ll know that Thrustmaster is a bastion of quality when it comes to simulation controllers.

Both high-end and budget-friendly, they offer a varied product range. What’s more, they are a trusted brand. This means that this HOTAS controller, which boasts an attractive price range, should probably be snapped up.

Ergonomically designed, the throttle can be detached from the joystick with relative ease. This is handy if you’re trying to be economical with desk use, which we highly recommend when playing simulation games.

The controller has been designed with Xbox consoles in mind, and so contains their proprietary buttons. The stick itself moves across five different axes, which is a sufficient range for Microsoft Flight Simulator.

Another great aspect is it belongs to the Thrustmaster ecosystem, which means this can be configured with Thrustmaster rudder pedals, further enhancing your experience.

5. Thrustmaster TCA Sidekick Airbus Best branded joystick for Microsoft Flight Simulator

Thrustmaster TCA Sidestick Airbus Edition



  • Authentic design
  • Reasonable price
  • Light, plastic construction

You’d think we were trying to sell something, the number of times we’ve sung the name Thrustmaster in this list.

Regardless, the TCA Sidekick Airbus is an extremely affordable yet useful controller. The fact that it costs a few dollars less than the game shows that it is a great beginner option. Anything more is overkill for now.

This controller is ultra-simplistic, simulating the experience of flying an Airbus rather than a fighter jet. However, that is not to say that flying an Airbus is simple.

With a price and design such as this, it is understandably aimed at beginners simply interested in the simulation experience.

Handling the joystick is a simpler experience than other complicated HOTAS controllers. This makes the trade-off welcome, depending on the type of in-game flying you expect to do.

As with the VKB Gladiator NXT EVO, this flight stick has a thruster wheel embezzled into the base, rather than a dedicated thruster. Saving on space, you are sacrificing a core component in the simulation experience.

If you do decide to go for this extremely budget-friendly option, you can guarantee an absorbing experience without having to faff around with technicalities.

How do I set up a flight stick controller with Microsoft Flight Simulator?

After plugging in your flight stick to your computer or Xbox, you will likely have to configure it. This may have to be done both in a software interface for the controller and in the game.

Is Flight Simulator better with a joystick?

Yes – not only is the game more realistic, and allows you to feel more immersed in the simulator, but it is also designed to be played with one.

What to consider when buying a flight stick?

Flight sticks come in many different shapes and sizes. Some are based on realistic flight controllers, and others are instead abstracted to the demands of video gaming.

Ranging in price, a flight stick’s simplicity might benefit the casual pilot. On the flip side, a veteran flyer may opt for more control, and thus, more complication.

Throttle Control

It’s important to decide on what type of throttle you would like. A dedicated throttle controller (H.O.T.A.S) may benefit those with an eye on realism, though a more casual pilot may choose a joystick with integrated throttle control.


You may be wondering what this acronym means: Hands-on throttle and stick.

This is important as a dedicated H.O.T.A.S. system is more complex than an integrated throttle and joystick.