Yokes for Flight Simulator
Microsoft Flight Simulator returns with global revival, packing together mapping data, artificial intelligence, and its cloud empire for a disruptive entry to the genre. Picking up a yoke provides a considerable leap over piloting with a standard joystick, especially when looking to mirror your average light aircraft. Primed and ready for Microsoft Flight Simulator with leading design at a palatable price, the Honeycomb Alpha Yoke & Switch Panel Flight Controls is our top pick in 2020.
With Microsoft Flight Simulator the latest PC hit, many of the best yokes remain hard to come by with instances of price gouging continuing in October 2020. We continue to hunt down the best-priced links where possible.
Best Overall: Honeycomb Alpha Yoke & Switch Panel Flight Controls
Honeycomb is the latest on the scene with its Alpha Flight Controls yoke — and it’s already our preferred flight accessory. It refines upon the foundations of popular yokes, both functional and well-built, while still attaining an accessible price tag. The yoke handles smoothly, also substantial in-hand, and its integrated switch panel extends its worth far beyond roll and pitch control.
High-quality materials convey its first-rate design and durability out of the box. The ergonomic grips feel premium in-hand, with a rubberized, sleek matte black finish across the yoke and exterior housing. The steel shaft also feels sturdy, with smooth 180-degree rotation and push/pull motions, and adequate tension. That results in a noticeable upgrade over the entry-level, with more precise aircraft control.
The yoke is littered in various buttons and switches, all providing a firm, satisfying click when used. It features a joystick, two-way rocket switches, push-to-talk, and other assignable buttons. An integrated panel also sits below, with a further nine labeled switches on the left, and a five-stage ignition switch on the right. The button-mapping capabilities facilitate the essentials, without the need to scramble for a keyboard mid-flight. And if you love your lighting, it has a red LED backlight that shines through its prismatic, honeycomb panel.
Flexibility also comes with mounting this yoke, dependent on your simulation setup. The included plate locks into the device, secured using two bundled steel clamps and fastened with two knobs. The optional suction pad also provides an opportunity to ditch the clamps, using an underlying 3M micro-suction pad, instead. Both keep the device sturdy, with the latter ideal when wrangling a thick or fragile desk.
While Honeycomb demands a small premium over entry-level yokes, the $250 cost comes with those long-term luxuries. The attention to detail and supplementary switches reward buyers far beyond its five-year warranty while feeling great to use. This is the best flight simulator yoke out there, without venturing into overkill (and expensive) enthusiast territory.
The Honeycomb Alpha Yoke & Switch Panel Flight Controls don’t provide a clear upgrade path, unlike rivals with modular instruments and panel lineups. An integrated switch panel comes standard, which in the case of Logitech, would cost an additional $100. Honeycomb does have an accompanying throttle quadrant, priced at $250, but it’s releasing in late 2020. For now, settle on an alternative like Logitech’s $60 Saitek Flight Throttle Quadrant, or balance a keyboard on the side.
- Premium built quality
- Smooth roll and pitch control
- Value is unmatched at this price
- No easy upgrade opportunities
Plot a smooth ride from takeoff to landing
Honeycomb delivers a well-built yoke and switch panel combo that handles smoothly and feels great to use. While cheaper alternatives fulfill the same necessities, added luxuries and small premium elevate this peripheral above the competition.
Best Value: Logitech G Saitek PRO Flight Yoke System
While delving into yokes isn’t as affordable as your traditional entry-level gear, Logitech provides the best balance of price and product with its Logitech G Saitek PRO Flight Yoke System. The full functionality of a yoke and throttle come bundled in a much less expensive package, providing all you need to take your virtual voyages to that next level. With Saitek, an established manufacturer in the space of flight simulator accessories, now under the Logitech family, you’re looking at the go-to for all budding Flight Simulator pilots.
It’s no surprise that this yoke is among the most widely used on the market. Logitech’s latest yoke boasts sturdy plastic construction, fortified with a premium stainless steel shaft to control your aircraft’s attitude. The set provides over two dozen assignable buttons and switches, with three throttle knobs, delivering the expected granular control of an enthusiast setup. The design also includes a handy LED display, ideal for showing flight timers. Two rubberized screw-in clamps avoid the yoke drifting across your desk.
While opting for a higher-end yoke may provide a smoother flight experience with added luxuries, Logitech provides an astronomical leap over a simple flight stick. There’s a high value on offer when looking to keep costs low, without sacrificing reliability and build quality. That proposition has remarkable weight considering its product category primarily dominated by more expensive, enthusiast-geared alternatives.
You’re also looking at a modular setup, with this bundle the gateway into the full Saitek lineup. The manufacturer also sells supplementary throttle quadrants, pedals, interchangeable components to assemble a custom instrument panel — the Logitech G Aircraft Switch Panel and Instrument Panel, our favorites. While higher-priced alternatives will bolster functionality, what’s on offer here impresses, nailing to essentials at its palatable price.
- Amazing value when compared to cost of many rivals
- Full yoke and throttle functionality
- Generally robust construction
- Pitch control isn’t always smooth
- Better quality elsewhere
Get started with flight simulators in minutes
When gunning for the full flight experience with budget considerations, the sheer value can’t be missed. Logitech provides what you need to get started at a reasonable price, with a ton of options for further upgrades.
Best Budget: CH Products Flight Sim Yoke
When in the market for an entry-level yoke at the lowest available price, few hit the mark with execution like the CH Products Flight Sim Yoke. The tried and tested design hasn’t evolved much in recent years, but it’s an affordable, trusty, one-piece package for your flight essentials. The all-plastic design incorporates a yoke, integrated throttle, and even a handful of switches, only just surpassing $100.
Opting for this wallet-friendly peripheral won’t provide the full Microsoft Flight Simulator experience. It’s basic, but not bad. If you pick up a yoke but watch your bank balance, it will cover your journey with steady handling and the fundamental hallmarks.
The design embraces lightweight plastic, without the comfort or additional bonuses seen on other options. The yoke includes two rocker switches, four buttons, and an eight-way joystick, coupled with two flip switches on the housing. CH Products also engineered integrated throttle, prop, and mixture levers up top, compacting a traditionally separate throttle quadrant into the same unit. And as with any recommended yoke, two clamps keep this tied down to your flight station.
What you see is what you get. It’s an ideal buy for the casual buyer headed into Microsoft Flight Simulator or learning the ropes of virtual aviation. There are limitations, and any serious flyers will likely upgrade with time, but it’s all you need to make that first leap from a controller or joystick.
- Covers all the essentials
- Smooth handling for the cost
- Mediocre build quality
- No defining thrills and luxuries
Earn your wings on a budget
While CH Products doesn’t deliver the best quality or performance in PC yokes, it’s ideal for first-time flyers.
Yokes provide the next immersive step beyond the best PC joysticks for civilian aircraft, with some even at affordable prices. These represent just the baseline available for Microsoft Flight Simulator, with enthusiast-geared models also available, far surpassing $1000. But if you’re dropping that cash on hyper-specialist hardware of that tier, you likely don’t need our input to find which yoke is for you.
But when in the market for new accessories for the latest Microsoft Flight Simulator, the Honeycomb Alpha Yoke & Switch Panel Flight Controls provides one of the best experiences you will find at that price range. The device costs a small premium over alternatives for substantial quality-of-life adjustments, whether the comfort of its high-quality design or easy handling. But when looking for long-term value from your setup, this yoke guarantees a smooth experience throughout any virtual flights.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Matt Brown is a staff writer at Future for Windows Central. Following years of professional consumer technology and gaming coverage, he’s focused on the world of Xbox and Windows PCs. You can follow him on Twitter @mattjbrown.
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