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Responsive Gameplay from the Best PC Joysticks

  1. Logitech Extreme 3D Pro PC Joystick
  2. Thrustmaster T.Flight Hotas 4 PC Joystick
  3. Saitek X52 Pro Flight Control PC Joystick
  4. CH Products Fighterstick PC Joystick
  5. Thrustmaster T.16000M FCS HOTAS PC Joystick
  6. Buyer's Guide

Joysticks are game controllers designed with a single stick that (depending on the game of course) typically controls character aim or movement, with one or more buttons for additional input if required. These types of controllers were once extremely common because they can provide a great deal of control and flexibility. While other types of controllers have become popular, these are still great for many games.

When considering a joystick for your PC games, you'll want to know how accurate its movements are as well as options with a good number of buttons for interacting with a wide range of games without the need for additional peripherals. If you want incredibly realistic flight simulation controls you’ll want to consider a PC flight control option, although some of these joysticks featured here may work well for simpler flying games.

We’ve chosen the following best PC joysticks in 2022 because of their accurate, sensitive control sticks for responsive gameplay. They’ve also been designed to have a minimum of 12 programmable buttons and a trigger, which are essential ideal for use in combat-oriented flight and “mecha” games. Stability is also important during play so all of these picks have large, solid bases that keep them in place while you’re are playing. Lastly, these joysticks are all plug-and-play devices that don’t require any software installation to use, although optional software provided with many of them will certainly give you more options for customized setups.

The Best PC Joystick Models of 2022 in Detail

Logitech Extreme 3D Pro PC Joystick - Best PC Joystick Overall

Pretty much everything about this sleek joystick is well designed, and it's clear that this pick was created for easy gaming and general PC use. The stick itself is well-built, though obviously designed for a right-handed user. It has twist sensitivity along with directional control and a comfortable mold that lets you play longer and guide your gameplay with great accuracy. This pick features 12 buttons which should be more than enough for most games, giving you options to program each one with simple commands or complex macros. This makes it easy for you to play with just the joystick and eliminates the need for a mouse or keyboard which may just clutter up your desk. There's even an eight-way hat switch that’s ideal for POV cockpit views and a small throttle controller which is perfect for flight simulators. The trigger button is very sensitive so you can easily strafe your opponents or take your time to line up each shot for picture-perfect kills.

Thrustmaster T.Flight Hotas 4 PC Joystick - Runner Up

Although this model is a bit simple, it also has everything you’re likely to need in a PC joystick. The stick itself is well-made with an ergonomic design that keeps your hand comfortable, plus it responds well so you have precise control over your game. While the trigger isn’t particularly special, you do have four buttons within immediate reach you can program as you see fit. There are 12 additional buttons on the base, along with a switch that lets you configure them in a left-handed or right-handed position. The hat button is rather simple, but it works well and gives you POV control within your favorite game. This joystick also includes a simple throttle control you can use with your thumb and the base of this joystick is heavy with rubberized grips on the bottom to stay in place during use. Overall this is a great, straightforward joystick which is a great option for the casual user.

Saitek X52 Pro Flight Control PC Joystick - Honorable Mention

There is a lot to like about this joystick, but it offers far more features than many PC gamers are probably looking for in a control device. The handle is adjustable to five positions which can accommodate a particular grip style along with a joystick that not only has multi-directional input but includes twist features and a rudder lock if you prefer more traditional controls without twisting. There is a multitude of buttons and switches on this joystick, and even more on the included thrust module. This advanced module even integrates an LCD display that you can use to adjust almost 300 different programmable commands and options on a whim. All of this joystick’s functionality comes together to provide the serious gamer or simulation enthusiast with an unprecedented level of control and functionality. However, this level of control comes at a fairly high price and the multitude of options can be overwhelming, so while perfect for dedicated use, it’s certainly less so for the casual player.

CH Products Fighterstick PC Joystick - Consider

While there’s a lot to like about this PC joystick, a few additional features would make it much better. It's well-built and sturdy, with a solid base for long play sessions, but there are certainly other models which might not move and shift as much with rigorous use. This joystick is designed with a lot of buttons including an eight-way POV hat switch and three four-way hats for great overall control. This is a great joystick that's easy to use and features a throttle wheel on the side. If you are comfortable with using a lot of hat switches for input (rather than standard buttons) then this is a great choice.

Thrustmaster T.16000M FCS HOTAS PC Joystick - Best PC Joystick

If you just want a pretty simple, easy-to-use option, then take a good look at this joystick. While it may not have as much customization or other features as some models on the market, it's still a great pick. The joystick itself is easy to use with 12 programmable buttons, and the ability to easily switch between two different programmed setups. The handle is comfortable and can rotate and move easily, though it's not as precise as some other models like the Logitech Extreme 3D Pro. If you plan on using your joystick for some flight simulators and other games, then this is a good option since it includes a thrust lever that’s easy to use and comfortably built into the large and stable base. This joystick can even work with a PlayStation 3, though it's definitely designed to double as a PC controller.

Buyer's Guide

There are several types of joysticks that vary depending on the console you play on. For example, when you use a Play Station, the joystick will come within the box itself. Therefore, you won't be able to use it with an Xbox console or another version of PlayStation. Similarly, when you want to play games on your computer, you need to purchase a joystick compatible with the PC.

But, as usual, picking out the most appropriate controller is not an easy task. It wouldn’t be shocking if you get intimidated by looking at the endless number of joystick controllers available on the market. That's why we have compiled a complete list of factors to help you get your hands on the best PC joystick.

What Are the Factors You Must Consider to Have the Best PC Joystick?

Joystick Type

The first thing you need to think about is the type of joystick for your PC. If you are playing the games only on the computer, you can go with any PC joystick. But, if you want to integrate another gaming console with your computer, you need to check whether the joystick is compatible with the third-party gaming console or not. In addition, joysticks are available in two forms— flight controller sticks with a fixed base connection and handheld joysticks. Make sure you are selecting the most suitable type based on your preferences and the games you play.

Consider the Games

Some joystick controllers can be used for playing any game. At the same time, there are a few products that are compatible with certain video games only. So, before you proceed further, you need to know two important factors— whether or not the game needs a joystick for playing and if the controller type is compatible with the game. Also, make sure you are getting the right number of joysticks needed to play the game.

Connectivity Options

You cannot integrate the PC joystick into the system unless you are establishing a proper connection. For this, most joysticks come with a USB cable which is supported by most of the I/O ports present in the PC. However, if the joystick's cable has a different port than your PC, you will need to use an HDMI adapter.

Also, if you are leaning towards choosing the hand-controlled joysticks, you can look for wireless connectivity options. Several controllers can be operated via Bluetooth, which reduces the wiring mess and eliminates distance restrictions.

Joystick Programs

One of the most important things you need to consider is the features of the joystick. For example, the flight controller sticks have throttle for thrust applications, while the handheld controllers lack this feature. Similarly, you will get navigation buttons on the handheld joysticks. But if you have flight controllers, navigation needs to be done using the stick itself.

Ease of Use

You will be spending quite a good amount of money on buying a quality joystick, so you need to ensure that the controller is easy to use and doesn't feel complicated. This will help you in gaining better control of the PC's navigation system without any hurdles. Also, the control buttons must be within your reach so you don't have to waste time finding the button or switch for any action.

Why is Using a Joystick for PC Important?

Before you buy a joystick, you need to understand in what ways the device is going to be helpful for you. In this section, we have put forth the major benefits of using a joystick PC controller.

  • The controller can help you play games on the PC without using the keyboard.
  • Flight controller joysticks are perfect for playing high-end games, mainly action ones.
  • You can even program the joystick in a way that can be used as a temporary mouse.
  • Most flight controller joysticks come with innumerable control options for navigating between pages and apps on your PC.

Final Words

Each joystick has its own characteristics that make it ideal for certain games and gamers. For example, in a few products, the stick's connection to the base is looser, while in some, it's a little bit restricted. With so many varied features, it can be daunting to choose one. But since we have discussed the dependable factors for choosing the best PC joystick, you won’t have to face any roadblocks. All you need to do is follow our guide carefully, take a look at some recommended products, and find your favorite PC joystick that ticks all your boxes.

PC Joystick FAQ

Q. Can I use the joystick as a mouse?

A. Yes, it is possible to use a joystick as a mouse. First, you need to connect the joystick USB with your computer and then install the application. In the app, you will be able to add different key functionality to the joystick buttons. You can even change the key functionality as per the task.

Q. Is a Bluetooth joystick worth the money?

A. Yes, indeed, Bluetooth joysticks are amazing. For example, let's say you want to play a video game from the couch placed far from the computer. In such cases, you won't be able to connect via USB. This is why you may need a Bluetooth joystick, which sets you free of any distance or wiring limitations.

Q. Can I play all video games with a single joystick?

A. With so many games out there today, you likely won't be able to play all games with a single joystick. Usually, joystick controllers are used for heavy thrust and flight games with lots of action in it. When you browse through the different controller sticks, you can see enough information regarding the types of games that can be played with the joystick so that you can make an informed decision.

Q. Do I need a battery to operate the joystick?

A. No, you won't be needing the batteries to power the joystick and use it as a PC controller. The connection will be done either via a USB cable or Bluetooth.

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