Although you can add anything from Radio Panels to Rudder Pedals, most people start out by adding a flight joystick to X-Plane.
We recommend checking out our guide to the best flight simulator controls to see what else you can add to make X-Plane even more realistic.
Windows users can use any joystick with X Plane but Mac users have to be a bit more careful.
Here then is our list of the best joysticks for X-Plane which work on both macOS and Windows.
1. Logitech G Saitek X52 Pro Flight Control System
- Magnetic non-contact X and Y axis sensors provide enhanced longevity and improved accuracy. A dual spring centering mechanism provides a progressive, smooth movement that further aids your control.
- Multifunction LCD Display affords even greater control of your navigation within Flight Simulator X, thanks to direct control of the simulation’s radio panel functionality.
- 3D Twist with Rudder Lock, essential for simulation control. For those that already have rudder pedals, you can lock off the axis in order to prevent accidental activation.
- 5-position Grip System: Maintain excellent ergonomic comfort with no need to stretch to reach buttons
- 282 Programmable Commands over 3 modes: Have all of the commands in Elite Dangerous or Star Citizen under your fingertips with no need to switch back to your keyboard
2. Logitech Extreme 3D PRO Joystick
- 12 action buttons, an eight-way hat switch, and a rapid-fire trigger
3. ThrustMaster T-16000M FCS
- The T.16000M FCS is compatible with PC via USB in Windows 10, 8, 7 and Vista (32-bit and 64-bit).
- The T.16000M FCS offers you a precision level greater than current systems, which will not decrease over time, thanks to the joystick's H.E.A.R.T technology (U.S. patent US08471815).
- Fully ambidextrous joystick: 3 removable components allow the joystick to be perfectly tailored for left-handed or right-handed use.
- The joystick includes 16 action buttons with braille style physical button identification and one 8-way Point of View hat switch and 4 independent axes including twist rudder
- The T.A.R.G.E.T software allows you to load and create specific mapping profiles for each game.
4. Attack 3 Joystick
- Product Description Logitech Attack 3 Joystick - joystick Device Type JoystickConnectivity Technolog
- Buttons Qty 11 Features Trigger, programmable buttons
- Cables Included 1 x USB cable - integrated
- System Requirements Apple MacOS 9, Apple MacOS X 10.x, Microsoft Windows 98/ME/2000/XP
- Manufacturer Warranty 1 year warranty
5. ThrustMaster T-Flight HOTAS
- Officially licensed by Bandai Namco Entertainment, Xbox One and Windows.
- Official joystick for the Xbox One system with built-in buttons for the Xbox One console (guide/menu/view)
- Realistic ergonomics adapted to all flight simulations in Ace Combat 7 Skies Unknown and other flight games (space adventures, modern combat, warbirds, civil flight) for PC and Xbox One.
- The joystick mapping is integrated in the Ace Combat 7 game for enhanced use and easy start-up.
- Suitable for use in virtual reality: The throttle lever is detachable even in virtual reality.
6. Gladiator MK II
- Flight Simulator Joystick - works on any Flight Sim
- Sturdy feel and construction
- Contactless MaRS sensors (X, Y, Z axes) with High Resolution
- 32-bit ARM Controller
- 17 Programmable Buttons
How To Configure a Joystick for X-Plane
Whichever joystick you choose, it has to be specifically configured for use with X-Plane.
X-Plane will automatically detect your joystick when you connect it but you have to configure it manually from the Settings Menu.
When you configure it for the first time, we recommend giving your setup a name because different planes require different setups.
You can find full instructions about how to configure a joystick in X-Plane here.