For many of us, there is nothing like the feeling of coming back home and firing up your Xbox or PS4 to enter the immersive world of your favorite games. Who doesn’t like a simulation game right? Flight simulation games are increasingly becoming popular across the world. One among the most played flight simulation games, the Elite Dangerous, has a large fan following.
You probably know already what the game is all about! Powering up your starship to explore the Milkyway and later joining a faction to fight a space war is insane fun for many gaming enthusiasts. For all those serious players of Elite Dangerous, you might already have the best equipment to play the game. The joystick you use to fly your starship becomes crucial for the game as it acts as your primary control for maneuvering your vessel.
To fly a starship the normal joystick that comes with your Xbox isn’t good enough. It is advisable to use a HOTAS [Hands on Throttle and Stick] for playing flight simulation games. HOTAS setup has a throttle lever and flight control stick just like in a pilot’s cockpit. This will help you operate the flight better as it has the crucial controls within the reach of your fingers.
If you are looking to buy a joystick to become a pro at Elite Dangerous, spend money on something that can get the job done. The game demands you to explore a galaxy, therefore, you need a joystick that would aid smooth navigation. To play a game like Elite Dangerous you need to invest in a perfectly programmed controller that supports hardcore gaming needs; one that will help you move up in ranks.
After a thorough probe we have come up with a list of the best joysticks for Elite Dangerous that can bump up your gaming level and is worth your money.
|Product||8-way HAT Switch||Dexterity|
|Thrustmaster Warthog||Yes||Only righties|
|Mad Catz Cyborg V.1||Yes||Ambidextrous|
The Thrustmaster Warthog HOTAS is a replica of the control system of the A10 sea warthog and is the manufacturer’s flagship product. The Warthog is known for its sturdy build and weighs about 6kgs. Between the throttle and the stick, it features numerous controls so you wouldn’t have to take your hands off the HOTAS while you are finishing a quest.
The joystick has 55 buttons, toggles, and switches that can be programmed according to your needs. The stick has four hat switches; two of which are eight-way and the other two are four-way. It also possesses a two-stage trigger, a pinky trigger, and two single-press buttons.
There is an array of switches, buttons, and toggles located on the throttle as well. The throttle is divided into two parts. They can be locked together to control the total engine thrust or can be used separately to control the engines independently. You will find more controls on the base of the throttle.
The throttle also features a dial that lets you control resistance. This ability enables you to move the lever quickly for high-speed, combat-oriented games or at a slow pace for flight simulations that require more accurate adjustments.
The HOTAS, combined with a software called T.A.R.G.E.T. allows you to customize and map the controls, create macros and tons of other stuff. However, figuring out the controls of the software will take some time.
A shortcoming of the joystick is that it has no twist to control the z-axis. You will either have to map the z-axis to the buttons on the joystick or the throttle or you can get a foot pedal. A foot pedal is an easier option as it helps you to control your spacecraft better. The warthog is an expensive product, but it is bang for the buck. This is the best HOTAS product available in the market with the excellent build quality and better controls.
|Controls within the reach of your fingers.|
Throttle has dial to control resistance.
The X52 Pro from Logitech isn’t too far behind in the list of leading joystick products today. When you begin Elite Dangerous, the cockpit controls look just like the X52. This HOTAS joystick can take your Elite Dangerous gaming experience to the next level provided you can afford it since it is slightly expensive. The X52 is a treat for the eyes as well as a treat for your gaming console. Invest in the X52 and you can control your starship better.
The unique selling point of the joystick is the Smart Technology programming software which lets you customize every button on the HOTAS unit. However, this feature only exists for a Windows user.
The joystick of the HOTAS unit has a bunch of controls. It sports two 8-way hat-switches, four weapon buttons, a 3-way mode selector switch, 3 up/down toggles, a dual-action index trigger, and a pinky-trigger. The main trigger features two points of contact. So a slight pull on the trigger will start firing the machine guns of your spacecraft and a full pull will fire up the cannons.
People who have short hands often find it difficult to reach all the buttons on a HOTAS unit. With the X52 both the pinky-trigger and hand base are vertically adjustable so even the smallest of hands can easily reach both triggers as well as the joystick’s face buttons.
The throttle controller also has two jog-wheels, a scroll wheel, two fire/eject buttons, and a single up/down slider. Each is well placed, and the up/down slider is a particularly useful addition for hardcore flight-sims in which adjusting the fuel-air mixture can make a lot of difference.
The throttle unit features a built-in LCD display panel. The display panel shows information like its current mode, the currently selected profile, and some clock/date information. The throttle also has an “i” button in the thumb position on the throttle. Pressing it along with another button on the throttle it will display the assigned role of the option thus selected on the LCD panel.
This is of immense help because the presence of so many buttons makes it tough to remember the assigned roles of each one of them. One simultaneous click of the ‘’i” button and any other button, will fetch you immediate information on the function of the button. You can avoid memorizing a long list of controls which can be frustrating especially for a flight sim game.
Another added advantage on the throttle is the blue nub placed behind the “i” button. The nub will let you make menu selections without switching hands and using the mouse.
|Smart Technology programming software to customise button functions.|
Dual action index trigger.
Another HOTAS joystick from the Thrustmaster is the T-Flight HOTAS X. It is the best joystick to buy if you are under budget restrictions. Thrustmaster has managed to keep the price low by making the HOTAS unit entirely out of plastic.
The joystick is quite sturdy considering the material used in its manufacture and the metal foundation at the base of the stick makes it stronger. The buttons on the unit are considerably less compared to the Warthog. You will have to make use of your keyboard for extra controls. The access to the keyboard is made easier by the detachable throttle, the coolest feature of the HOTAS unit. The joystick and the throttle can be split into two or can be attached to be used as a single unit.
The throttle has a single axis with a central neutral setting. Four thumb buttons are located in the front and another three are situated at the base. At the back of the throttle, there are two buttons and two interconnected shoulder triggers.
The joystick features a twist axis and can rotate 360 degrees. It has z-axis rotation for rudder control. There are two buttons on the front placed next to the thumb pad. A single trigger is located at the back alongside a secondary button. It also has an 8-way hat switch.
All the buttons are neatly placed so there is no need for you to shift your hands while flying the vessel. However, you will hear creaks of plastic moving while handling the HOTAS unit.
|Fewer controls on the unit.|
Logitech Extreme 3D PRO Joystick is a flight stick that’s quite economically priced. Featuring only one stick and no throttle, Logitech says that the Extreme 3D Pro was built as a custom twist-handle rudder to help in advance flying missions.
This joystick is different from all the conventional HOTAS units. This flight stick has the throttle resting at its base. A trigger, a thumb-controlled button to the left, an 8-way hat switch, and four other buttons are placed on top of the stick.
The hat switch is designed to precisely collect specialized flight inputs for flight sim games. Besides, you can use it to change weapons or shift between viewpoints in games like Call of Duty and GTA respectively.
All the commands on the joystick are easily reachable. It includes 12 buttons that can be configured according to your preferences. Controls can range from single one-time commands to complicated macro commands that might involve multiple keystrokes, mouse clicks, etc.
People with short fingers might find it hard to easily reach all the controls. The joystick is also designed for a right-handed person so we suggest all the lefties to avoid buying this joystick.
Specially designed for air combat games.
|Difficult to use for people with short fingers.|
The Pro Flight Yoke Joystick from Saitek gives you a real cockpit experience. The system accompanies a yoke which features a handlebar that acts as the flight stick and a throttle quadrant. The system is a table mount and is known for its durability and ease of use.
The yoke and the throttle quadrant come as a pair. The system is quite big and requires considerable space for the setup. The yoke has a protruding handlebar. The left handlebar has one button on the top and an eight-way hat on the rear. The right handlebar features three buttons on top and a rolling wheel on the rear which helps you change the mode of the game.
The handlebar also features an LCD panel which displays the mode. You can also initiate a stopwatch to keep track of how long you take to finish a quest. Behind the handlebar lies a series of switches including magneto switch, master switch, fuel pump and light switches for beacon, and navigation. Besides, there is a landing gear for when you take off or land the spacecraft.
To help your takeoff, there is a throttle quadrant bridged with three levers. The throttle quadrant can be programmed according to the type of vessel you are planning to use in your game.
The build quality of the console is excellent and can survive some rough conditions. It is one of the most popular products among gamers as it has multiple controls and the aesthetics of the system contributes to an immersive experience.
The only shortcoming is the price of the system. It also lacks warranty but that is not a big deal as the product has managed to accumulate good user reviews and is one of the highly-rated joysticks on Amazon.
Additional throttle quadrant.
Logitech’s Wingman Attack 3 is an ambidextrous single piece joystick. The joystick is known for its easy rotation and quick response. The weighted base of the stick feels heavy and sturdy which prevents you from knocking it over. Attack 3 is also known for its durability. Many Wingman Attack 3 owners have praised the joystick on gaming forums because for most of them it has lasted for more than 3 years.
The main flight stick has four buttons situated on the top. On the rear of the stick is a trigger which has been configured for quick responses. Right down the stick on the front is the throttle lever, which you will have to probably use your other hand to control the lever. There also lies four buttons on the base.
The controls are known for fast responses and you can program the buttons as per your need. You can use it for laser fire, precision toggle, target nearest missile, and numerous other roles.
The number of buttons on the joystick is less and as a result, you will have to resort to your keyboard for setting up more controls. This might be a pain for hardcore gamers who would want all the controls at their fingertips.
|Controls have fast responses.|
|Lesser controls on the joystick.|
The Thrustmaster T16000 FCS Flight pack is rather well known for its build quality. The outer parts are made of plastic and the moving parts are made of metal, which makes it a sturdy joystick. The buttons are also firmly placed which makes you feel like you are riding a real starship.
The flight stick can be easily handled by a right-handed person or a southpaw. The stick is fitted with Thrustmaster’s Hall Effect Accurate Technology (H.E.A.R.T.), which helps track movements and gives accurate responses. This technology makes the joystick the best fit to play Elite Dangerous.
The side of the flight stick has three programmable buttons. The base also has a bunch of buttons, 12 in total, all of which are customizable. The stick also features an 8-way hat switch.
The throttle will help you control the speed of your starship by moving it back and forth. While your handle is on the grip of the throttle, you can place your pointer on the analog stick, which will give you a second axis for a variety of controls. The right side of the joystick has a small scroll wheel that can modify the third axis. The other side features four buttons and the rear has two digital buttons and a switch.
The slider on the throttle controller was found to be stiff even when the resistance was modified after unscrewing a nook in the bottom. However, the response time of the joysticks makes the slider resistance easy to manage.
|Quick response time.|
Hall Effect Accurate Technology to give accurate responses.
|Slider on the throttle is stiff.|
The CH Fighterstick is a favorite among flight sim gamers. Although you may have to buy the throttle and Pro Pedals manufactured by CH Products to ensure the Fighterstick functions at its full potential, this HOTAS setup has been hailed as one of the best setups for flight sim games. CH Products seems to have found the middle ground when it comes to quality, build and functionality.
The Fighterstick features its throttle at the base and has X and Y-axis calibration. The throttle of the device is rather stiff, making it difficult to maneuver and doesn’t make the gaming experience great. The rear of the stick has a light pull trigger and a pinkie button. The top has two four-way hat switches, one eight-way hat switch, and a single action switch. There is also a thumb controlled four-way hat switch right next to your thumb.
The problem with the fighter stick is that it gets very noisy while moving which is a terrible distraction. Also, the movements of the Fighterstick could have had better precision.
Since the throttle on the Fighterstick isn’t reliable, it is advised that you buy CH Products Throttle Pro USB. The Throttle Pro USB helps control your aircraft better. It also has a series of controls including an eight-way hat switch, two four-way hat switches, and mini-joystick. It is better to avoid using the mini-joystick on the throttle controller because it lacks resistance and has less precision.
You can use the CH Products Pro Pedals along with the throttle and the fighter stick to make your flight sim console complete. The Pro pedals will help control the nose wheel and the rudder on the back of the plane.
All these products together can be pretty expensive. However, considering Elite Dangerous needs the best console, CH Products HOTAS unit is worth the effort and money.
|Lots of easily accessible controls located on the flight stick.|
Good axes control.
|Fighterstick can function at its full potential only with the CH Products throttle controller.|
The VKB Sim Gladiator Mk.II is a single piece setup and is a World War II-themed flight stick with its pitch, roll, and yaw bearing strong resemblances to a typical German-made KG12 Grip. The main flight stick features low resistance and is smooth to operate. The ergonomics of the flight stick is excellent, as it is designed to provide maximum comfort while gaming.
Coming to the controls of the device, the base is equipped with an eject button and a start button. There are another six buttons, including the mode button, located at the base to the front of the device. The rear of the stick features a trigger and a pinky switch. The trigger is a smooth action but gets too loud. The top of the stick features one button and to the left side right below the top is a thumb controlled four-way hat switch.
The controls will let you calibrate axes, tweak axes resolutions, and create dead zones. Unlike other controllers, the flight stick doesn’t have controls jammed into it. The hat and mode switch can carry out 29 functions. The programmable buttons are in different colors and shapes and placed in separate rows. This allows you to easily remember the configuration and press the right button during intense space combat. The Gladiator MK II is also equipped with onboard memory which helps load and store profiles.
The only problem we could find was that the controller offers pitch and roll but no twist. Therefore, rudder pedals are needed for twist movement. Apart from that, the VKB Sim Gladiator Mk.II is a reasonably priced model with excellent precision suitable for flight sim enthusiasts as well as casual players.
|Doesn’t offer twist movement.|
Here’s a cool product designed to be ambidextrous and is also reasonably priced, so it can be a great choice for starting with a flight simulation-oriented joystick. This is the best choice for left-handed gamers as this is one among the few flight sticks in the market that are designed to be ambidextrous.
The joystick boasts an easy setup and has a wide base. But the controller isn’t too large and is quite easy to store and use. The pitch roll and yaw are quite steady and firm allowing you to make the tiniest of movements with the joystick by applying just a meager amount of pressure.
The highlight of the unit is the hat switch which allows you to look around the cockpit. The stick has 5 buttons located on top along with a four-way switch. On the rear of the stick lies the trigger and the pinkie switch. The pinkie switch can act like a normal control or you can customize it as the shift button to increase control functions.
At the base of the stick lies the throttle lever. The stick is also equipped with twist-action rudder control for accurate maneuvering during your spacefaring missions. The only problem was the LED light that shines from underneath the buttons and the four-way switch placed on top of the joystick. The LED light can reflect off your computer screen causing a distraction.
|Hat switch to look around the cockpit.|
|LED light beneath the buttons on the top of the joystick is a distraction.|
1 .What is the best joystick for Elite Dangerous?
The best joystick for Elite Dangerous would be the Thrustmaster Warthog. The Warthog is equipped with a series of buttons so you wouldn’t have to switch to the keyboard for controls, which can be very frustrating while playing a game. The Warthog is the best when it comes to combat or navigation.
2. Why You Need Specific Controllers For Elite Dangerous?
Elite Dangerous is a flight simulation game. All the flight sim games can be played easier with much more precision using a HOTAS unit, which has both a flight stick and a throttle which makes controlling your spacecraft simpler. Additionally, since Elite Dangerous requires multiple controls to navigate the ship or combat against other factions in the game, the throttle and the flight stick provides a more realistic experience of a pilot from a cockpit.
3. How to setup joystick for elite dangerous?
Most HOTAS units come with a long USB cord and others are wireless with inbuilt WiFi. Therefore, you can either connect the stick and the computer via WiFi or using the cord.
4. Will my joystick remain compatible with Windows after I upgrade it?
Sometimes users complain about their joystick not being compatible after a Windows upgrade. There are several remedies to this problem. The easiest thing you can do is to troubleshoot hardware and devices and see if the issue persists.
The second solution is to download the driver from the manufacturer’s website. Right-click on the driver setup file and click on ‘properties’. Click on the ‘compatibility’ tab and select the box ‘Run this program in compatibility mode for’ and select your operating system. Once this is done, restart the computer.
You can also try removing the device from the devices and printers option on the control panel. Then physically remove it from your computer and try connecting it again.
5. Do I need pedals for Elite Dangerous?
You don’t necessarily need pedals to play Elite Dangerous. However, a rudder pedal makes things much easier. It takes one function away from your hands and distributes it to your legs. Foot pedals help control nose wheel and rudder of the spacecraft.
6. Should I get a pro-level joystick as I’m still a beginner at this?
Pro-level joysticks like the Warthog have 55 buttons which would be hard to handle for a beginner. Therefore, we advise a simple and reasonable HOTAS unit like the Logitech Wingman Attack 3 for beginners.
7. How many active buttons do I need for Elite Dangerous?
Elite Dangerous is better played with more controls than limited controls. Therefore, as many active buttons, you have the more it will help you to speed up your gaming skills.
8. Is a multi-direction hat necessary?
The main purpose of a multi-direction hat switch is to change viewpoints. For a flight sim, a full view without changing the path of your aircraft is crucial. Hat switches differ from game to game. Some games use it to navigate in-game menus and make selections. They also take the place of directional pads found on some joysticks. Hat switches can also be programmed as per your needs.
Elite Dangerous is a multiplayer online game which takes place in a scientifically accurate model of our Milky Way galaxy. While it is an interesting idea to explore the vast Milkyway Galaxy what befuddles the gamers is what you do once you get there. Therefore, make sure you know the game and your controller well.
Select a controller based on your budget and gaming needs. Pro gamers will prefer using high-end HOTAS units like Saitek X55 Rhino, the Thrustmaster Warthog, or the Saitek Pro Flight Yoke Joystick system. But the game can also be played with models like Thrustmaster T-Flight HOTAS X. We suggest using the Thrustmaster T-Flight HOTAS X as this will go easy on your pocket and has enough controls to tackle Elite Dangerous.
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