Flight Sim Yoke Vs Flight Sim Joystick: Whats The Best Flight Simulator Control?

yoke ys joystick

If you’re interested in playing flight simulation games or building your own cockpit, one of the biggest questions you’ll have to ask yourself is if you’ll use a yoke or joystick.

The one you choose will make a huge difference in your gaming experience so it’s important not to choose one without first considering a few important factors. 

What are yokes and joysticks?

A yoke is an instrument that looks a bit like a steering wheel, while a joystick is sometimes called a “sidestick” and can be just as accurate and realistic. Both are vital to giving you greater control – and more comfortable usage – during flights.

Before we go any further, let’s just point out that there’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to choosing between a yoke or joystick.

Some simmers insist on using a yoke, while others are joysticks all the way – there are tons of conversations on internet forums looking at the very flight sim yoke vs. flight sim joystick topic. Both have pros and cons to consider, so let’s check out which one you should invest in. 

What’s The Real Difference Between A Flight Sim Yoke And Flight Sim Joystick?

yoke mounted on desk

You might be wondering if there’s really much of a difference between yokes and joysticks when it comes to flight simulation.

After all, if you don’t know much about them, they might seem to be the same thing. But they’re not. Let’s look at some important differences between the two so you can figure out which one is best for you, starting with price.

Price

If price is one of the biggest concerns you have when it comes to becoming a simmer, the question of choosing joysticks or yokes will obviously be influenced by their price tags.

The bottom line is that flight simulator joysticks generally tend to be cheaper than flight sim yokes. If you want a force feedback yoke, which adds more realism to your flights, you can expect to pay more.

In case you don’t know, a force feedback yoke helps to make your flight as realistic as possible because a traditional yoke doesn’t allow the neutral position to move through various stages of flight, such as speed during flight and your landing, and this can cause you to lose realism, as PJRC reports.

Force feedback yokes allow you to feel that all the elements are much closer to what you’d experience in real life.

What You Want To Fly

flight sim joystick

The whole point of flight simulation is to have an immersive experience, and one that feels realistic. That’s why one of the most popular simulators is X-Plane.

It’s so realistic to play that it’s even being used to train people to fly real planes. So, don’t underestimate the realistic feeling that you want to achieve when flying planes in your home.

A yoke will give you a highly realistic experience because in real-life aviation it’s an instrument that’s used in many aircraft types, such as airbus jets and even helicopters.

That said, smaller leisure airplanes, such as the ICON A5, will be best controlled with joysticks. 

It’s clear to see that what you’re hoping to fly is a big, if not the biggest, factor to consider in the flight sim yoke vs. flight sim joystick debate. It really boils down to your flying preferences.

Practicality

Now, you might wonder if you can just use a joystick instead of a yoke and be down with whatever happens. You can! In fact, you might find that you don’t need anything else.

This is because joystick design has come a long way over the last few years and when it comes to flight simulation you can find joysticks that have been ergonomically designed as well as completely programmable to make them even more up to the task of flying planes.

There are two main types of joysticks, though. The universal type has a modern and sleek appearance and it’s also much better than the other type – the realistic joystick – when it comes to ergonomics, so it’s a solid choice to consider.  

Joysticks can also be a bit more practical than yokes when it comes to your lifestyle. Not only are they a bit more budget-friendly, as we mentioned earlier, but they can also make it easier to use them in small spaces because they’re smaller than yokes.

Besides knowing what planes you’re most interested in flying, as that will obviously influence your choice between the yoke and joystick, it’s important to think about whether you want to build your own flight simulation cockpit or just play at a desk.

If the latter sounds more like what you’d be interested in, then you probably won’t need more than a joystick because it’s cheaper and smaller, so it’ll fit right in with your current gaming setup.

Throttles

HOTAS setum for flight sim

HOTAS (Hands On Stick And Throttle) is becoming more popular for flight simulation because of how it can work on various airplanes, including sci-fi spaceships and fighter planes, thus giving you an edge and greater versatility, so consider this when choosing the best equipment for your gaming hobby. 

The bonus is that the throttle is included so you don’t have to remove your hands from the throttle and stick during gameplay. With yokes, on the other hand, you can find ones that have throttles included whereas others will require you to purchase the throttles separately.

Bear in mind that throttles are an important part of flight simulation. If you don’t have a throttle, then you won’t be able to give your plane’s engine the power and force you want it to achieve. Some throttles allow you to control flight functions, the rudder, and the in-game camera, as well as other features, giving you a variety of ways in which to feel in control while customizing your experience.

So, when choosing between yokes and joysticks, pay a bit of attention to the throttle so that you get the best deal.

Ease Of Flying

It’s been said that using a joystick for flight simulation feels easier than a yoke. It’s true that yokes can be a bit more complicated. This makes joysticks better for you if you want to feel that it’s simple and easy to fly a plane, especially if you’re a beginner.

Who knows? You might start out with joysticks and stay there, or move on to yokes in the future. But if you’ve never played flight sim before and feel a bit overwhelmed by all the options, a joystick is probably a good choice.

What About The Pedals?

home setup with pedals

While you’re thinking hard about joysticks and yokes, you should also take some time to think about purchasing pedals.

These are sometimes seen as an “add on” purchase, but they’re actually really crucial – whether you use a yoke or joystick. Pedals are what control the rudder and they help you to steer. While you’ll really feel their benefit when you take off, they can also help you to land while giving you a smoother flying experience overall.

If you’re keen on building your own cockpit at home, make sure you read “How To Set Up A Flight Simulator Cockpit: A Step-by-Step Guide” to find out what you need and where to get it.

Related Questions

What is the “trim” in flight simulation?

The trim is a flight control feature that ensures your plane stays level so you don’t always have to adjust your flight stick. A throttle that has a dial on it can help you achieve it. 

Can you use a mouse and keyboard in flight simulation?

While they can be used, they’re not going to give you the realistic experience of flying a plane. However, here’s a list of all the keyboard controls you need for Flight Simulator 2020.

Conclusion

If you want to get into flight simulation, you’re going to have to figure out if you want a joystick or yoke. This is not a question you should take lightly.

Even though there aren’t that many differences between yokes and joysticks if you consider that they’ll both enable you to better enjoy flight simulation, some people are on Team Yoke while others are on Team Stick for life!

This just proves that the instrument you choose will impact how satisfied you feel with flight simulation games.

In this article, we’ve looked at some of the most important differences between the two to help you make the best decision. Of course, there is a third option – you could always buy both!

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