Top 10 Best Hotas Joysticks Reviews 2018 and Buying Guide
Do you love playing video games? Then, you might already know how useful joystick controllers are. They make playing the game not only easy but also very enjoyable.
But then again, joysticks aren’t created equal. Some models are pretty good and useful like those models with have suction cups on the base to make them more stable when you’re gaming intensely, while others are plain annoying.
The more advanced models are even able to react to action within the game, for instance by vibrating.
So, regardless of the video game you want to play, it’s essential that you weigh your options and go for a joystick that will serve you appropriately. This post examines some of the best hotas (stands for hand-on throttle and stick) on the market and explores tips on finding the best models.
Let’s dive in.
If you don't have time to read the whole article, you can choose any Joystick from the table below. From my experience, I can assure you that you will be highly satisfied.
1. Thrustmaster T-Flight Hotas X Flight
If you need a simple, inexpensive but effective option, the Thrustmaster T-Flight Hotas would be the best hotas joystick for you. This device has been a top choice for gamers over many years because of its accuracy, affordability, and comfort, and we’re positive that you will find it very useful.
What we liked most about the Thrustmaster T-Flight Hotas is the fact that you can take it out of the box and start playing immediately without having to configure anything. It comes pre-configured and ready for immediate use.
This hotas is all about comfort, and in that regard, it’s designed with a wide hand rest so you don’t get too tired playing over extended periods. The unit is detachable and the throttle control is designed ergonomically for optimal comfort.
The Thrustmaster T-Flight Hotas features a rapid-fire trigger, which is ideal for a military flight, and there’s also a trigger for brakes, which is great for a civil flight. Apart from that, there’s a multi-directional hat for panoramic view.
With this joystick, convenience is high-level, as you can quickly switch between functions using the mapping button. The reset button allows you to quickly switch from one program to another.
One of the best features of a hotas joystick is the ability to program the unit. Now, the Thrustmaster T-Flight Hotas has 12 buttons and five axes, all of which are programmable. The best part is that the joystick has an internal memory, which ensures that your settings are saved even after switching off the device.
2. HTC VIVE Virtual Reality System
The best thing about this one is that when you get it, you are given a 2-month free trial on Viveport. That means that you get exclusive access to numerous games on the internet, and for those who don’t know what Viveport is, it’s sort of like Netflix, only that it’s about gaming and virtual reality.
The graphics that this joystick presents are just amazing, mimicking real life optimally. There’s directional audio as well as HD haptic feedback. You also get freedom to discover the virtual world, with ability to explore a space of 15 by 15 inches.
The hotas incorporates SteamVR, which in turn provides precision tracking for your motions to the millimeter with a 360°coverage. An even more amazing feature is the Chaperone system, which issues a warning when the boundaries of the playing area are reached.
When it comes to comfort, the HTC VIVE Virtual Reality System is pretty good. First, the system is wireless so you can assume any position while playing. You also get a set of headsets so you enjoy all the audio without disruption from the outside noise.
Note, if you’re planning to use this joystick with a PC, the PC needs to have a RAM of at least 4BG and the CPU needs to be Intel Core i5-4590 or AMD FX 8350 or something more advanced.
3. Thrustmaster T.16000 M FCS HOTAS
If you really want to get the best hotas, you can never go wrong Thrustmaster; the brand is widely recognized and respected because of the quality it provides.
Thrustmaster has been around for over 25 years, dedicating resources to the development of state-of-the-art flight simulation. In short, we have lots of faith in its hotas products.
The T.16000M FCS is made up of a flight stick and a weapon control system throttle. The entire system is excellently designed for realistic control, replacing the need to use the keyboard and the mouse.
This device is ideal for any computer with Windows Vista and above, with 16 action buttons for all gaming functionalities.
Regarding the precision, the hotas is incredible, with its Hall Effect 3D technology; there are magnetic sensors in the joystick, which ensure the precision is surgical-grade. There’s also a helical spring in there, providing linear, smooth, and firm tension.
Additionally, there’s a tightening screw that lets you customize the friction level of the throttle just the way you like it.
4. Thrustmaster 2960720 Hotas Warthog
Many of you might already have heard of this one. The Thrustmaster 2960720 Hotas Warthog is designed to replicate the joystick of the U.S. Air Force A-10C, and so can bet how interactive it is.
The dual throttle control panel and the attack styles are just like those of the Air Force A-10C, and these features are absolutely enjoyable.
The unit uses the HallEffect 3D magnetic sensors to make sure the precision of moves is absolutely over the top.
Even though the joystick is mostly made of metal, the unit is pretty comfortable to grip and weighs in at just 14 pounds, making it only suitably heavy; 14 pounds is stable but portable too.
There are two 4-direction hat switches as well as 55 actions buttons on this hotas, and these are fully programmable. And, the hat switches are designed with a push button, making it not only convenient but also super easy to use the joystick.
On the Thrustmaster 2960720 Hotas Warthog, everything is designed to give you the most realistic experience ever. For instance, there are LED lights and the buttons need pressure identical to than of a real plane.
Although this device is a bit pricey, going for over 400 bucks, we believe it’s a pretty good choice for those looking for truly exceptional quality.
5. Thrustmaster T.Flight Hotas 4
Need a hotas for a PC (windows XP or higher) or a PS4? The Thrustmaster T.Flight Hotas 4 might just be what you’re looking for.
We found it especially handy for space adventure and aerial combat. With the stick resistance being adjustable and the throttle being detachable, use is both comfortable and convenient.
Some other features that make this device so easy and comfortable to use include the huge hand rest and the dual rudder system, which allows you to use either the tilting lever or the rotating handle. The base is weighted, increasing the stability of the setup.
The flexible joystick, which is able to adapt to virtually all kinds of flights, is very helpful. No matter the flight game you’re playing, the hotas is likely to be helpful.
The unit is a comprehensive flight gear with 12 action buttons and 5 axes, and apart form that there’s a multi-directional hat for easy navigation and a rapid-fire trigger for quick attacks.
To make the game even more enjoyable while using the Thrustmaster T.Flight Hotas 4, you can purchase the Thrust master TFRP Flight Rudder Pedals and integrate them into the system.
The only issue with this hotas is that the stick squeaks a lot but we believe the device is still a great choice.
6. Thrustmaster HOTAS Warthog – PC
This hotas is a lot like the 2960720 Hotas Warthog, and it’s a replica of the U.S. Air Force A-10C, only that it lacks a few features on the 2960720 Hotas Warthog.
If you loved the 2960720 Hotas Warthog but need a less expensive option for your PC, then the Thrustmaster HOTAS Warthog would be a fine selection.
The hotas is almost entirely made of metal, making it robust and capable of withstanding your rough movements over many years. The handle is detachable for desk or cockpit style use, and this gives you freedom to assume your desired position while playing.
There are 19 action buttons on the stick, a PoV hat with a push button, and some triggers for ultimate control over your airplanes and space crafts. These buttons and triggers provide you with outstandingly realistic pressure.
For stability, the joystick is weighted with a load that weighs in at more than six pounds.
Apart from that, the unit uses the HallEffect technology for surgical precision and 16-bit resolution for better graphics, making the playing experience fantastic.
This gadget is compatible with TARGET. Now, TARGET is a handy software that you download that lets you test and program the controllers with varying programming levels. So, don’t worry because even if you even if you’re not very good at programming, there’s a basic level for you.
The only issue with this unit is that the stick is high and unsuitable for a desk. It is meant for sitting on the floor.
7. Extreme 3D Pro Joystick for Windows
The Extreme 3D Pro Joystick for Windows is all about precision. With the advanced controls and the twist handle rudder that this joystick presents, you’re able to launch better attacks than before.
The stick stays stable, thus facilitating long-range assaults and ensuring you dominate the enemy all the time.
This hotas includes 12 buttons that you can program as you please. There’s also an 8-directional hat switch for panoramic view; it also helps you capture specialized inputs particular to flight simulators.
When you’re confronted with too many enemies, there’s no worrying, as you can quickly turn to the unit’s rapid-fire trigger.
We loved the level of comfort this gadget offers. The hand grip is comfortable and even after hours of flying a mission plane, you don’t feel very exhausted; at least not as you’d expect.
Your joystick sliding all over the place as you play can be very frustrating. It not only reduces the performance drastically but also leaves you feeling quite exhausted as you try to stabilize your motions.
As a solution, the Extreme 3D Pro Joystick for Windows has a weighted base that ensures the joystick is stable, allowing you to focus on your missions.
8. Thrustmaster VG 2960773 T16000M FCS for PC
Here’s another one from Thrustmaster, and it’s a perfect choice for PC gamers.
If you’re using windows Vista or better, you might find the Thrustmaster VG 2960773 T16000M FCS very useful. This hotas provides you with excellent precision, giving you an edge over the enemies, and this is made possible through the HallEffect technology.
Something unique about this joystick is that it is ambidextrous. That means that you can use it comfortably whether you are right or left-handed. You only have to detach a few components and tailor the joystick for left-hand use.
There are 16 action buttons on the joystick. These feature braille style identification, making it very easy for you to operate them and launch your attacks accurately.
Apart from the action buttons, there is an 8-directinal hat switch for comprehensive view as well as four axes and a twist rudder. All these are meant for superior ease of use and accuracy, and if you’re looking to be complete your missions successfully, then you will find the joystick very helpful.
With this hotas, you have access to TARGET, the software that facilitates loading and creation of special mapping profiles for the games.
9. Saitek PS28 X52
If you’re looking for something that is physically imposing and one that offers you exceptional programming freedom, then the Saitek PS28 X52 would be very suitable.
This hotas employs a cool LCD display to help you access over 280 commands that you can program as you deem fit.
Have you had joysticks that were too uncomfortable because the throttle just would fit in your hand? Well, things will be very different with the Saitek PS28 X52’s adjustable handle.
You can customize it to fit your hand perfectly. Moreover, there are contours on the handle where your digits sit comfortably.
Employing a highly-precise center mechanism, the stick returns to the neutral position easily when you want it to. A spring force within the throttle further enhances control.
The unit’s twist rudder adds a whole control dimension but if you like the conventional control better, there’s a switch for disabling the twist capability and confining input to the axes.
There’s a tension customization dial that allows you to select your preferred throttle resistance.
This hotas is compatible with the Saitek Pro Flight Rudder Pedals, which you can purchase separately.
10. Mayflash F300 Arcade Fight Stick Joystick
If you have many gaming devices, say Xbox, PS3, PS4, Android, Switch and a PC, then you need a hotas that’s compatible with them all, like the Mayflash F300 Arcade Fight Stick Joystick.
The F300 is not only a low-price solution for those who are on a budget but also a great product with regards to the ease of use and modification. If you’re a first timer, YouTube should help you through the modification process.
Another benefit is that you can use the F300 with Sanwa Denshi buttons, and this allows you to customize the unit the way you like.
Then again, while using it on PC, the unit supports the DINPUT and XINPUT.
And if you love speed, then you might be pleased to learn that the hotas supports the turbo settings.
A most cool feature is that you can change between the x/y analog axis mode and the d-pad.
It appears the manufacturer of this hotas understood all too well how much of a vital factor stability is. With regards to that, the stick has rubber feet and significant weight, which are both intended to stabilize the controller.
Things to Consider Before Buying Hotas Joysticks
Here are some of the most important factors to consider when looking for a hotas joystick that will serve you well.
This is perhaps the foremost consideration you should make. Before you even start examining the joystick’s features, you want to first ensure that the gaming device you’re using will support the joystick.
Some joysticks can be used only with a PS4, others need a PS3 at least, and so on. If it’s a computer, examine the system requirements. Some joysticks require more advanced features (RAM, speed, graphics, and so on) than others.
Some joysticks come with comfy grips and other soft-touch materials to better your experience, yet there are other joysticks that are so hard that within a few minutes of gaming, your hands are all red with bruises.
There are models that are built with wide hand rests so your hand doesn’t get too weary.
Still under comfort, another aspect to consider is the hand you’re accustomed to using. If you’re left-handed, be sure to get a left-handed model.
The bottom line is, comfort features are especially important if you plan to game for lengthy periods.
There are both wired and wireless joysticks on the market for both game consoles and PCs. The wireless units are obviously more expensive but they offer you more flexibility while gaming and they’re normally more comfortable. But again, you should go for what you’re more comfortable with.
Isn’t it obvious that the higher the price, the better the quality? Yet, there are a few inexpensive models that perform excellently. In case your budget is limited, look for the best-performing, most inexpensive model. Our review above has a few of these.
5. Easy Use and Programming
The best joysticks don’t need you to download any drivers or software to be able to use them. Again, they’re designed in a way that is self-explanatory.
You should be able to program the buttons and axels based on your preference, deciding which one you want to use for shooting, driving, and other actions.
Also, there should be adequate internal memory on the hotas so you can save your configurations; you don’t want to program the joystick every time to switch it on.
Types of Hotas Joysticks
Originally, joysticks were used in airplanes, especially helicopters, for various functions like flying. When game developers came up with flight simulators, gaming joysticks were created to make the action more realistic, and these joysticks have since grown into popular controllers for video games. Let’s explore some of the most common types of joysticks.
1. Digital Joysticks
Also known as Atari-style joysticks, these are the most common type, utilizing simple commands including up, down, right, left, and the firing command. They were first used with the Atari 2600 video game, hence the term “Atari-style”.
2. Paddle Joysticks
These are made of one firing button and a knob for controlling the game. They are among the oldest type of joysticks.
3. PC Analog Joysticks
This is a simple joystick with button arrayed around it, and usually connects to the computer through a USB port.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. What is a joystick?
A joystick is a form of input gadget comprised of stick pivoting on a base. The stick controls another device by reporting its direction or angle to it. In the gaming world, joysticks are used as cursors, transmitting their coordinates to various elements, like attack planes, on the gaming screen.
Normally, a gaming joystick has one or more buttons, whose state the computer can read.
2. What does hotas mean?
Hotas is just an abbreviation for hands-on throttle and stick. It refers to dual control, where you rest one of your hand on the throttle and use the one hand to control the stick.
3. Why do I need a hotas?
With a hotas, you have greater control over your aircrafts or space ships than a mouse or computer keyboard would offer you. A hotas makes it much easier for you to pitch, yaw, and roll your crafts, making it easier to launch attacks and dominate the enemy.
It’s just like comparing the experience you have playing a race game on a computer keyboard and the one you have while playing the same game with a gamepad. Isn’t it obvious that a gamepad will give you a much better experience?
The same case applies to using a joystick to control an airplane or space craft. A hotas makes it much easier to control the craft and gives you better chances of completing your missions the victor.
4. Aren’t hotas joysticks very expensive?
Not precisely. There’s something for everyone, although you might have to skimp on a few cool functionalities like the ability to use the stick with any gaming device or the aesthetics or some other important feature.
You can get a low price hotas joystick for as little as 60 bucks. For instance, the Mayflash F300 Arcade Fight Stick goes for less than $60. But, if you want a high-quality model like the Thrustmaster 2960720 Hotas Warthog Flight Stick, which has virtually all the aspects you’re looking for, like superior comfort and increased precision, you might have to part with over 400 bucks.
5. How many buttons should be on the hotas?
You need at least 4 buttons arranged around the joystick. If your budget allows, go for a stick that has a trigger for rapid fire and a hat switch for panoramic view.
Some PC users make the mistake of assuming that their keyboard will make up for the missing buttons, only to discover later that the whole setup presents lots of inconveniences; don’t make the same mistake.
6. What else should I consider when buying a hotas joystick?
3D movement. Traditional sticks feature only the x and y axis controls, otherwise known as the pitch and roll, where you’re moving only in four ways – forward, backward, right, and left.
But that’s very limiting. With 3D movement, you’re able to move the stick clockwise and counterclockwise as well, and this can be very helpful when controlling a space craft.
3D control is vital for accuracy especially when chasing and attacking enemies in a dogfight.
7. Are hotas joysticks hard to use?
As with any other venture, using joysticks can be a little tricky for rookies. If you’re used to controlling your crafts using the keyboard and mouse, you might find it fiddly to get to a new way of controlling them.
Nonetheless, with time, you will adjust just fine and actually come to appreciate the hotas as a much better and easier way of playing your games than through the keyboard and mouse. Don’t be afraid of crushing for first few times. After all, isn’t it a virtual life?
Depending on the game you’re playing as well as the hotas model you’re using, you might need to do some modification on both the hotas and the game for things to go smoothly. But, for ease of use, and to avoid such mods, we’d encourage you to go for a plug and play model like the Thrustmaster T-Flight Hotas X Flight.
Looking to have the best simulator experience? You got to stop relying on that keyboard and mouse or that gamepad and invest in a really fine joystick.
We’re quite certain you will find one that suits you on our list of the best hotas in the market. No matter the size of your budget, there’s something on there that you will find helpful.
Don’t forget to drop us a comment below, telling us what you look for in a hotas joystick or sharing with us your fascinating gaming tales. We’d sure love to hear them!