Some pc games were just made to be played with a gaming joystick , especially for first-person shooter (FPS) games, arcade-style games and flight simulators. Sometimes controlling your PC games with a mouse just isn’t enough. A good joystick can improve responsiveness, allowing you to react to in-game events more rapidly; faster reaction times can give you an edge over your rivals.
There are countless joysticks for your pc on the market, from the simplest two- or three-button models to sophisticated aircraft control replicas that simulate the resistance of G-force. The cheapest and most basic models typically cost under $10, while high-end units can command prices of several hundred dollars.
When you’re choosing a joystick, the first thing to remember is handedness. Most sticks are optimized for right-handed players, with ergonomic molding that doesn’t accommodate the left hand and controls that are impossible to operate unless you’re holding the stick right-handed. Many left-handed gamers put up with a sub-optimal gaming experience before discovering the alternatives. Ambidextrous joysticks aren’t uncommon – these are symmetrical, with controls that are the same on both sides. Some manufacturers also offer an inverted version of their standard stick for left-handed players.
Best All-Round Joystick for Pc : Logitech Extreme 3D Pro Joystick
For general gaming use, this is a very good model at an extremely reasonable price; depending on the seller, you can find one for $25 to $30. The Extreme 3D pro has a rapid-fire trigger mounted at the front, plus 12 action buttons and an eight-way hat switch. The controller supports multiple configurations and button customization.The action is smooth and responsive, picking up even small and subtle movements and reproducing them accurately in the game. It’s a well-made unit with solid-feeling controls – no cheap rattling buttons or loose switches. The hand-grip is molded for comfort (only for right-handed players, however).
Best High-End Yoke: Logitech Flight System G940 Force Feedback
Rather than trying to replicate a particular aircraft’s controls, the Flight System G940 attempts to present a realistic experience for both commercial and military simulations by providing a more general control. The design is broadly accurate across a range of different aircraft.The G940 justifies a rather alarming price (over $600, in the case of new units) with some very tempting features. As well as offering the very best in control technology for a smooth, convincing flight sim experience, it is equipped with a range of programmable buttons and comes with dedicated software that allows you complete customization.The G940 yoke’s main claim to fame is a motorized system that replicates the effect of G-forces on the aircraft by providing mechanical resistance. The G940 Flight System provides not just a yoke and two-part throttle but a set of foot pedals.
Before buying, consider what you want from your controller and what features are most important to you. If you play a lot of first-person shooters, for example, a programmable joystick with extra buttons and switches can streamline your gameplay. A programmable joystick lets you assign commonly-performed actions, such as opening your inventory and selecting a new weapon to your preferred buttons, this can shave valuable time off reloading, healing, using power-ups and so forth. For gamers who are interested in flight simulator games, a more authentic airplane-style controller can add extra verisimilitude to the experience.
Best Mid-Range Yoke: Saitek Pro Flight Yoke with Three-Lever Throttle
Whether you’re involved in a gripping dogfight or piloting a light aircraft over the Pyramids, the PZ44 is intended to give you the most convincing flight possible.The yoke itself is made from stainless steel. Precision bearings provide smooth operation for precise control of elevators and ailerons. The yoke features 14 button controls plus a three-position mode switch; a HAT switch allows you to switch point of view. The separate three axis lever throttle provides extra realism and control.The PZ44 has a USB connection. The three-port USB hub has an adapter for computers that lack USB (this needs to be powered; the power connector is sold separately).
Best High-End Flight Stick: Thrustmaster Hotas Warthog Joystick
For those who like realism, the Hotas Warthog offers a replica of a real U.S. Air Force joystick: the U.S. USAF A-10C attack aircraft’s, to be exact. The joystick, dual throttle system and control panel faithfully replicate those found in the A-10C.
The joystick uses magnetic sensors for greater precision. There are no gimbal joints to break down or wear out, meaning that the stick is more durable. With 19 programmable buttons, the Hotas Warthog can be adapted exactly to your preferred configuration for any of your favorite sims. The base is weighted for extra stability, so you won’t knock over the stick in the heat of the moment. It’s also detachable, allowing you to install the joystick in an alternative base or a cockpit if desired.The throttle component has a push-pull system with two independent motors. Both throttles can be fixed together or operated separately.The control pane includes a “trim wheel” along with 15 action buttons, along with five programmable LEDs. This allows you to assign different functions to the buttons and use the LEDs to signal different in-game events.For those who want the maximum customizability, the Hotas Warthog comes with T.A.R.G.E.T., a proprietary software suite that allows you to program the Warthog and other Thrustmaster controllers.At upwards of $430, the Hotas Warthog is not cheap; however, if you’re looking for an extremely featureful and realistic flight stick, it is definitely worth the extra money.
Some joysticks are part of a detailed replica of the controls used in a particular aircraft, including the throttle and other elements. Other units are more generic. You can find sets that include the joystick and throttle as separate units; some also include foot peddles. Arcade fans may find that a standard joystick detracts from the experience. For more authentic arcade-style fun, you can find units that offer a basic arcade-style stick along with a panel of programmable controls – the perfect complement for your emulator classics.
Best Mid-Range Joystick for Pc: Saitek X52 Flight Control System
The Saitek X52 is another flight stick/throttle duo. A single glance will tell the buyer that it’s not designed to replicate any particular real-world control; however, at under $120 it’s more affordable than the Hotas Warthog and has some similar features. These include no-contact technology, programmable illuminated buttons and proprietary software that lets you program your joystick for any game you want.
Best Arcade Stick: GamePad Controller
If you want the complete arcade experience, this is the controller for you. While it’s not a particularly flashy item, this GamePad Controller provides plenty of scope for recreating the controls of most arcade games.
As well as the arcade-style stick there are eleven programmable buttons, allowing you to assign the controls in the perfect configuration. At under $20, it’s a lot of fun for a very little price.