Which HOTAS should I use?


Hey all… As 3.0 approaches I’m looking to invest in a HOTAS as I feel that it’s the only way to really be decent in the game. I, however, have not used a joystick since like… Windows 95? With that in mind, and me having zero experience with Real Life flying. I’m looking for suggestions on which HOTAS I should go with. My budget will be somewhere in the neighborhood of $150-$250. I was looking at the x52 Rhino, but I worry that there’s just too much there and I’d be overwhelmed. I know there are threads in here about how to set all sorts up, and I’d be sure to follow those with whichever one I get, but I don’t want to go too deep and end up over my head. Any input would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you for your time,


To be clear, there are X52 standard and pro versions. There are also X55 and X56 Rhino versions. I’m not aware of (but could be wrong) an X52 Rhino. I can say that my first true HOTAS was an X52. I upgraded quickly from the Saitek AV8R to the 52 and enjoyed it for over a decade. It may seem overwhelming at first but the functionality is a major plus.


Definitely spend within your budget.

As mentioned the buttons take time to get used to. For that matter the whole HOTAS setup takes time to get used to.

Give yourself 20-30hrs of use to really get in the groove and you’ll enjoy it soon enough.


@Keil2841 You are absolutely correct, I was getting tired and mashed a couple different units that I was looking at together lol. Another thing I have noticed as well is that there are a lot of people that recommend using the rudder pedals. I’m wondering though, are they super necessary or can I get by pretty easily without them? If I really should have some of those I’ll have to take that into consideration with my budget for the HOTAS.

@CrueOndanet thank you for that, I knew it wasn’t going to be an overnight 1 hour session to lock it all in, I will just have to jump into one quickly so I can be prepped for when 3.0 releases :slight_smile:


As a user of an X52 (non-pro) I wouldn’t recommend it right now. There are also mixed views on the X56, due to it having the same issues of the X55.

Right now, depending on budget I’d recommend the following:

~$100, Thrustmaster T16000m FCS. Good reviews, solid build, only downside is fewer controls than the others.

~$200-300, X56, but I REALLY don’t recommend it. I personally think your money would be better spent toward a warthog, but then you’d need pedals as well. For this money you could get a T16000m, pedals and TrackIR.

If none of that, I’d just buy a used Saitek X45 for $40 or so on ebay to get by for now and wait for what Logitech and other might put out next year or so. Its also a cheap way to see what you like.


Thank you Nomedias! That’s some very useful info. I’ve heard a bit about track IR, and was wanting to look into that as well. Maybe I’ll go the Thrustmaster route and grab a track IR as well. Worst case scenario if I want to upgrade later I can sell and get what money back out of it I can.


Newer x56es have since been nicely improved.
Mechanically and software-wise.


Sorry for the late reply to the last question, that regarding rudder pedals. I prefer them. Ergonomically speaking, pedals seperate functions between extremeties. You will have one less thing to do whith your right hand. They also lend to the immersion factor.


what is a trackir and why would you need it with a joystick?



Head tracking hardware/software, typically attached to your headset. Used for free look and gimbal aiming while piloting. Also useful for quickly checking your position to friendlies you are flying with.


I bought a T16000 Stick with the TWCS throttle, I am super confused how to map it out. I try doing the BuzzKiller thing but that did not work out well so i could use the help how to get both my stick and throttle working together. Thank you


Maybe a bit late but I’m using this one and like it a lot :slight_smile:


Really appreciate this thread, coming back after a long hiatus and considering different HOTAS set-ups. Do you use TrackIR with your HOTAS setup?


@Corsair22 Yes, although the foip stuff kinda works as well.


Excellent, thank you!