When most people picture peripherals for flight simulators they picture joysticks. However, unless you’re planning on flying a war plane, what you’re actually interested in are yokes. From commercial airliners to smaller planes, most fixed-wing aircrafts utilize yokes to control the plane. We’ve researched the top ones available today and made a handy list for you to look over before you purchase anything.
It should be noted that, unlike steering-wheels in racing, choosing the best yoke is a lot more subjective. For us, the three most important factors when choosing a yoke are realism, customization, and price.
Top Pick: Logitech G Pro
It’s no surprise that the G Pro Flight Yoke is a mainstay in many flight sim setups. It’s reliable, it’s authentic and it’s affordable.
- Beautiful design
- Separate throttle quadrant
- Great value for money
The Logitech G Pro Flight Yoke is not a new addition to the flight sim family, but it by no means signifies that it has lost any of its appeal. It’s a high quality yoke, and it feels and looks the part too. The LED display which shows, and allows you to interact with, flight times is a welcome addition. Other than the fact that aesthetically, both to the eye as well as the touch, it looks great, it’s also very accurate too. If you plan on using flight sims not only to play, but also to train, then the G Pro might very well be a welcome addition to your set-up. It’s incredibly similar to the yokes you’d find in planes such as the Piper PA-38 Tomahawk. Also included in the package is a separate throttle quadrant. This extra accessory is by no means necessary, but it will go a long way to further increase your immersion, especially if you plan on simulating flights on multi-engine planes. As a final note, we shouldn’t forget about customisation. Once again Logitech proves that they lead the field in many simulation peripherals, as the G Pro has 75 different custom controls you can set-up in order to tailor your flight experience to your preference.
All these great features come at a very reasonable price, making this not only an ideal choice for beginners, but for all which are looking for a top quality yoke.
Runner Up: Honeycomb Alpha
For a small price increase, the Honeycomb is a step up from the Logitech G Pro.
- Best affordable yoke on the market
- 180° rotation with no dead-zone
- Aerospace grade competence
The fact alone that the Honeycomb has an aerospace grade competence should clue you in to the high quality of the product. It’s made of the highest quality materials and will yield the highest quality flight experience. It features a solid steel shaft with dual linear ball bearings to provide you with a smooth feeling and high levels of control throughout all of its 180° rotation. This means no dead zones nor centre detent. When flying with this yoke it’s about as close to the real thing as you can get without having to spend upwards of thousands of dollars. It doesn’t have the same level of customization as the Logitech, but all the switches and buttons it has are intuitive and in the right place. The ignition switch is a great small addition for that extra degree of realism. All in all the fact that this yoke was designed by real pilots and engineers shows, both in feel and accuracy. There are plenty of other small features we haven’t mentioned, such as the adjustable cockpit backlighting, and all of them have clearly been given a lot of thought. The sole reason why the Honeycomb is second on the list is because it comes at around 100 more dollars than the Logitech. If you have the money to spare then definitively opt for the Honeycomb, otherwise the Logitech remains a safe bet.
Third Place: CH Products Eclipse
A great yoke overall, especially customization wise, but it doesn’t scratch the itch as well as the Honeycomb or Logitech.
- Incredible customization range
- No dead-zones
- Solid build quality
If what you’re searching for the most in your yoke is customization then the Eclipse is what you crave. It has 240 different programmable functions meaning that, if you’re willing to spend the time, you will customize it your exact preference. Few accessible yokes allow for such levels of personalisation. All of this is packaged in a plug and play yoke, meaning that you won’t have to download any third party software to fiddle around with in order to get this yoke to work with your Mac or PC (yes, it works on both!). It also feels pretty solid when flying with, the rotation is smooth and there are no dead zones. Although made out of plastic, it’s a solid build and doesn’t feel cheap at all.
That being said, it does come with some negatives. The included rudder pedals are awkward to use due to their small size, and the throttle quadrant too is similarly very small. The biggest criticism however is a criticism by comparison. Compared to the Honeycomb or the Logitech it simply does not feel as realistic as the other two. If this is your first purchase you will not encounter this problem, but if you’re switching to the Eclipse from one of the other members on this list you may face some remorse. At full price it usually goes around the same as the Honeycomb (in which case buy the Honeycomb), but it is often discounted by quite a bit, making it a potentially attractive buy.
Luxury Pick: HW-FFB-CSN
If you’re ready to spend a fair amount, the HW-FFB-CSN will have you reeling at its incredible precision.
- Ultra precise
- Great build quality
The HW-FFB-CSN is an absolute beauty to use. The build quality is sensational, with metal parts and special made gears to make it as precise as the real thing. It’s expensive, but built to last. The most attractive feature however can’t but be its unparalleled precision. The force-feedback technology which has made racing sim players ecstatic finally makes the leap to flight sims, and nowhere does it do it as elegantly as with this yoke. As you pilot your plane you will feel all the gusts of wind, the air resistance, even the small bumps on the runway as you take off and land. As expected it has a 180° turn so as to not detract from the authentic feel.
All these benefits come at a cost, and no cheap one. If you do plan on purchasing the HW-FFB-CSN you have to be sure to spend a lot of time dedicated to flight simulators. Ironically for something that has to do with flying and transferring passengers, shipping is also not included in the price, and can be an expensive addition due to the weight of the fully metal yoke.
Also Excellent: Brunner CLS-E NG
A cheaper alternative to the HW-FFB-CSN, this yoke offers great force-feedback and feeling for all flight sim enthusiasts
- Incredible variety of simulated effects
- High-resolution position feedback
Choosing between this and the HW-FFB-CSN as first pick was as close to a coin toss as possible. The Brunner is a beloved model and brand amongst flight sim pilots, and it’s very easy to see why. The CLS-E NG simulates effects for the ground, the engines, autopilot, real trim, stalling and turbulence as well as many others. Using this yoke will truly make you feel like a professional airline pilot. It doesn’t have a wide variety of buttons to personalize, but the 5 programmable functions and 8 direction Hat Switch should suffice for an incredibly immersive experience when coupled with everything else it offers. It’s as faithful as piloting a real plane as you can get, and the fact that it’s very quiet is a welcome bonus as you can get lost in the (much more immersive) noises the flight sim outputs. This plug and play force feedback yoke is by no means cheap, but it is considerably cheaper than the HW-FFB-CSN (by almost 500 dollars). If you’re ready to make the leap in quality, but don’t want to spend insane amounts, the Brunner is what you’re looking for.
Budget Pick: CH Products Flight Sim
This very precise and relatively inexpensive option is a great choice for all at the expense of a slight loss in build quality.
- Great levels of control
- Precise flying
The CH Products Flight Sim Yoke is a budget pick, but by no means a bad one. The five analogue 10-bit axes give you control over aileron, throttle, propeller pitch, elevator, fuel mixture, and rudder movement. If that shouldn’t be enough you also have a total of 144 programmable functions (though you will have to download the CH proprietary software) and this yoke works both on PC and Mac. This yoke has very high sensitivity and no dead zone. It flies incredibly precise. It’s overall a fundamentally good yoke, and for its price offers a great value to anyone, whether beginner or expert.
The most notable issue is the build quality. It’s not awful by any stretch of the imagination, but it feels flimsier than the other products on this list. This is not a complete deal-breaker, but if you’re used to products like the Honeycomb you might not enjoy the feeling of the CH Products Flight Sim Yoke.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Do you need a yoke for flight simulators?
You don't need a yoke for most flight simulators, but having one will definitely improve your experience. Not only does a yoke improve accuracy, but it also provides significant immersion. Moreover, a high quality yoke will allow you to use a flight sim for training.
- Do yokes have force-feedback?
Not all yokes have force-feedback. However, it's a very welcome feature which will add plenty of immersion. Unfortunately, most force-feedback yokes cost more than a thousand dollars.
- Should I purchase a yoke for airplane fighting games?
You should not purchase a yoke for airplane fighting games. Yokes are used for steering civilian aircrafts and do not replicate the feeling of fighter planes or bombers. Instead, for those simulators, look at joysticks.
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