Best Overall

CH Products Fighterstick

CH Products produces some seriously sturdy and reliable hands on throttle and stick (HOTAS) products. The Fighterstick (200-571) for $120 is one of these devices that allows for precise input in all supported titles. If you're looking for the best joystick available for PC, you really can't go wrong with this solution by CH Products. It's accurate, reliable and supported by most games you'll be buying it for.

Bottom line: The 200-571 by CH Products is the best joystick. Period.

One more thing: It may feel and look slightly outdated, but looks are deceiving.

Why the CH Products Fighterstick is the best joystick

Sometimes classic products are the best, and if it ain't broke you really shouldn't fix it. That essentially sums up the Fighterstick by CH Products. This is a classic joystick that is clearly showing its age when compared to other, more modern alternatives, but there's a good reason CH has yet to update the Fighterstick — it's an incredible joystick. Should you have just over $100 to spare on a joystick, you absolutely must consider this option.

Interestingly, CH HOTAS products can be purchased as separate units or combined to create the ultimate cockpit experience. For the money (it's easy to spend anywhere up to $400 on a full setup), it may seem odd that these units aren't made of aluminum or some other sort of premium material, but the plastic used is fiber-reinforced nylon polymer. That means it'll last a long time.

There are a few odd features, include the lack of twist support and the fact that potentiometers (commonly referred as "pots") are employed and need to be recalibrated after some time. That said, these are premium components, and the difference compared to cheaper joysticks is immediately noticeable. It also helps that the devices themselves are joined by an excellent software suite.

Best budget HOTAS

Saitek Pro Flight X-56

The Saitek Pro Flight X-56 ($269.95) is a decent mid-range HOTAS solution that offers not only a joystick with a four-spring system but twin throttles, too. Depending on what games you'll be using the system with, you can use both components or rely on the stick alone. Some have had quality control issues with faulty units, but there are fans of the HOTAS who swear by it. There are a bunch of advanced features too, including backlighting, and programmable controls.

Bottom line: The Pro Flight X-56 is a solid HOTAS solution if you manage to get a unit that doesn't have any issues.

One more thing: Some people have had issues with quality control, which isn't good for a product that costs upwards of $300 so your mileage may vary.

Best budget stick

Thrustmaster VG T16000M

The VG T16000M ($50) joystick is an affordable joystick from Thrustmaster that offers four independent axis and a total of 16 action buttons to program functions. Also, there aren't any pots used here. Thrustmaster instead uses magnetic HALL sensors for enhanced reliability. That's not bad for a budget joystick.

Bottom line: The VG T16000M is an excellent budget joystick that doesn't compromise on the experience.

One more thing: It makes use of the company's own Heart technology for the stick and Target suite for management.

Best Premium Stick

Thrustmaster HOTAS Warthog Flight Stick

The opposite end Thrustmaster's catalog of joysticks to the budget T16000M is the Warthog flight stick, which costs $200. Sporting full-metal construction, this joystick offers 19 buttons, as well as a metal dual trigger. It's also incredibly sturdy and heavy at six pounds, making this one stick that shouldn't move around the desk.

Bottom line: The HOTAS Warthog Flight Stick made of metal but houses some cheaper components, though it feels solid in hand.

One more thing: The handle itself is detachable.

Conclusion

Depending on the games you'll be using a joystick with, there are options that will prove to be better than others. No matter what you throw at the Fighterstick by CH Products, they'll handle it extremely well. That said, being on a budget doesn't mean you have to sacrifice much on the overall experience.

Best Overall

CH Products Fighterstick

CH Products produces some seriously sturdy and reliable hands on throttle and stick (HOTAS) products. The Fighterstick (200-571) for $120 is one of these devices that allows for precise input in all supported titles. If you're looking for the best joystick available for PC, you really can't go wrong with this solution by CH Products. It's accurate, reliable and supported by most games you'll be buying it for.

Bottom line: The 200-571 by CH Products is the best joystick. Period.

One more thing: It may feel and look slightly outdated, but looks are deceiving.

Updated on August 03, 2018: We refreshed this list with up-to-date pricing and only the best flight sticks around.

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