One of the consistently most popular pages here on PC Guide is our Best Free Addons for Microsoft Flight Simulator article such is the way Microsoft’s beautiful time killer has infiltrated all walks of PC life. It’s about to do the same for the console generation too with the imminent launch of the Xbox version.
While it is undoubtedly fun to enhance the game with scenery and addons that make things even more realistic, there can be no denying that a particular paid peripheral greatly changes the way you play the sim. The flight yoke (and indeed pedals) add that little bit of extra realism that means you can control your aircraft in a similar way to a real-world pilot, ratherthan faffing around with a game controller, so adding one to your setup may not be something you have thought to do if you are new to the world of flight sims, but once you do you will never look back.
Worldwide peripheral shortage
Weirdly, like GPUs and CPUs there has also been a worldwide shortage of flight simulator yokes. Put down in main to the release of Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 in August 2021. This coupled with manufacturing issues and silicon shortages due to Covid has meant a frustrating time for any budding pilots looking to get hold of a flight simulator yoke. Thankfully stock seems to be returning, albeit at a slow pace, and we even have a new yoke about to launch that we will cover here also.
So if you are in the market for the best flight yoke system for Microsoft Flight Simulator, or indeed any other flight simulation, best check out our recommendations below.
And when you have finished you might as well have a look over our Best Rudder Pedals for Flight Simulators too.
It’s not like we are spoilt for choice when it comes to buying a flight yoke system so we have had a look at what is available in the market, and also a sneak peek at one that that is upcoming in order to find the best yoke for flight simulator.
Best Yoke for Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 (plus X-Plane, DCS World)
Fantastic build quality
New kid on the block so support is on point
Integrated switch panel built in
Difficult to get hold of
Throttle costs another $250!
Honeycomb Aeronautical arrived on the scene and shot to the top of most people’s favorite flight sim yoke list almost overnight. Starved of any new real peripherals for many years until Flight Simulator 2020 came along, simmers had bumbled along with the Saitek offering (see below) in whichever flight sim they were playing, be it X-Plane, DCS World, War Thunder, or whatever.
Suddenly there was a, albeit considerably more expensive, well-built, more modern looking piece of flight equipment to snap up. And snap it up they did, so much so it is still pretty hard to get hold of even now and there are plenty of waiting lists on the go if you don’t want to pay inflated eBay prices.
Granted the throttle quadrant doesn’t come with it as per the Saitek/Logitech system but one is available for another decent chunk of your cash but there can be no doubt Honeycomb Alpha is the best out there at the moment and is unlikely to need upgrading any time soon.
How deep do you want to go?
If you are just dipping your toes into the world of flight simulator peripherals you might not want to go all-in from the off with a cash outlay more than twice than what you can pick up the Saitek for. if you don’t mind you certainly won’t regret it. If you get into swimming in a serious way you will only wish you bought this in the first place, but you could also flog your Saitek further down the line and upgrade.
You can still always spend more by trekking into the ‘enthusiast’ market but in terms of mainstream peripheral manufacturers this is an amazing piece of gear that is unrivaled right now.
Affordable beginner option
Sturdy steel shaft and plastic construction
No 180 degree rotation
Banking can feel a bit 'scratchy'
The option on offer from Logitech G Saitek is a slightly different beast from the above. there is no doubt the quality is not the same, although it is still a sturdy unit made of plastic that clamps easily to the desk. Where the bonus of picking up this yoke is the fact that it is more of a complete system. This yoke is almost an entry point into Logitech G Saitek’s world of flight sim extras. Pedals, extra quadrants, even instrument panels to add to the sim experience all fit nicely here. Of course, you can use them with other yokes too, but when everything matches with such ease, it’s an attractive proposition.
The Logitech G Saitek yoke has been around the block and has been available for a while so a remarkable number of flight simmers have it and made the leap from a standard joystick and never looked back. I actually had a slight nightmare getting it installed in Windows and it kept saying the drivers were incompatible with my version of Windows and it took a bit of Google-Fu to find a driver that installed flawlessly. This is a bit rubbish when you consider how long both parts of that equation have been on the scene, but after this initial frustration, it has worked flawlessly.
It doesn’t have the full 180-degree rotation of the others on this page which is a point of criticism for some, but if you are unsure as to whether splurging out on a very specific peripheral to play, let’s face one or two games, might not be for you, then this is a more palatable option when you look at the price point. There are plenty of assignable action buttons and knobs to take it beyond ‘gamer’ and into serious usage/play too.
And in case you were wondering about the manufacturer’s name, Saitek has been producing flight sim products for many years and has no come under the loving arm of Logitech, a move that wasn’t always warmly greeted by its fans.
Can use on Xbox as well as PC
Very nice looking
Not available immediate. Pre-order available.
Right, let’s get this out of the way at the start. The Velocity One from Turtle Beach – a company mainly known for gaming headsets on consoles isn’t out as yet. You can pre-order it on the website and it will cost you $350 to do so, so more expensive than the Logitech and just slightly less than the Honeycomb. With Flight Simulator 2020 arriving on the Xbox in July, the USP of this unit is that it works on both the console and the PC. It’s billed as a full flight system (you can read more about it at Turtle Beach’s website. What we do know about it at the moment is that it is going to be a contender – not in the Xbox space – it has no competition there so it is the natural champion, but in the PC flight sim space. Already simmers on Reddit and YouTube are waiting expectantly to see how it stacks up when it is eventually released.
Featuring a modular quadrant and a light-up status indicator panel the Velocity One already comes with things you might want to add to your system further down the line.
It also has rudder controls built into the yoke so pedals aren’t needed to get the same effect comfortably which is a nice touch (if obviously aimed at the console kids.) We will be keeping a close eye on this one but we expect it to be great!
Things To Consider
When looking for the best yoke for flight simulator it’s important to remember that a yoke and throttle system is not a small peripheral. It’s not like a gamepad you can just throw behind your keyboard when not in use, it requires clamping to a flat surface – usually, your desk unless you go the whole hog and purchase a stand specifically made for flight sims.
While not a difficult procedure, clamping stuff to your desk and removing it later is not something you will enjoy if you just want a quick 10-minute buzz around the skies. of course, when you play Flight sims it’s generally something you might be doing for a decent period of time, but bear it in mind. It’s also worth double-checking that you actually have enough space in the first place. They are bigger than you think!
Power and USB
You will also need to have a spare power socket and USB port (sometimes two) available nearby in order to hook it up and get everything to work
What's the best yoke for DCS World?
In the main DCS World is a warplane simulator so a HOTAS joystick system is generally preferred. If you want to keep the number of peripherals you have lying around, however, then any of the yokes listed here in our Best Yoke for Flight Simulator article will do just fine.
What's the best yoke for X-Plane?
X-Plane was the king of flight sims for a while and remains popular. Once again we would suggest that anything on this page will do you proud but the best remains the same, The Honeycomb Alpha is what you should be looking for.
The yoke from Honeycomb wins the day here by a decent margin. I like the Logitech Saitek don’t get me wrong but there is just an overall more pro feel to the Alpha. It feels like it will last forever and if you are serious about flight simming this is the way to go. If you aren’t sure you want to dive so deep the Logitech is a fine choice, but if you like the Logitech you will end up wanting the Honeycomb Alpha, although the ability to easily add rudder pedals and instrument pedals is an advantage Logitech has over Honeycomb.
That’s a fact of life. It’s simply the best yoke for Flight Simulator out there today.