The video game industry has evolved exponentially since the early days way back in the 1950s. These days there is a massive range of games, and different consoles and other devices to play on. One of the most important accessories you need to fully enjoy your gaming experience is a joystick.

The range of joysticks available on the market these days is huge. Choosing the right one will mainly depend on how you plan to use it. Do you prefer to play on a console or a PC? Maybe you like to play games on your mobile or tablet. Don’t stress, with this guide we will help you find the joystick that is best for you.

Key Facts

  • It is essential that you make sure the joystick you plan to buy is compatible with the device you want to use it with. It is useless to get the best joystick with all the latest features, if you find out you can’t actually use it. You need to look carefully at the manufacturer’s specifications before making your purchase. If you are interested in a joystick that connects using Bluetooth, check that your console or computer has this technology integrated.
  • The first thing you need to decide is if you want a wireless joystick, or one that connects with a cable. The advantage of a wireless joystick is that it allows you to play without the need for any cables, which always get tangled. However, a joystick that does have a cable can be powered by the console, without needing a battery or to be charged between uses. Both options have their pros and cons.
  • The type of games you intend to play with the joystick is also important to think about. If you prefer to play flight simulators, a classic joystick would probably be the best option. For other types of games, a gamepad (such as a PlayStation controller) is definitely a better choice.

Ranking: The best joysticks on the US market

Choosing a joystick may seem like a simple task, since most models have a lot of similarities. However, it is normal to have some doubts about which one to choose precisely because of the huge range on offer on the market these days. To help you find the joystick that is perfect for you, here is a selection of the four best joysticks available right now.

Best gamepad

No products found.

Experience the console-style gaming you crave on your PC with the Gamepad F310 from Logitech. Simply plug-and-play using a USB port on your PC. Features 8 buttons that are fully programmable. Offers broad game support, and is compatible with the latest titles. The best selling product in its class that comes at a very affordable price. Works with Windows 10, XP and Vista.

Best arcade-style joystick

This is the best joystick for people who love playing classic arcade-style games. It is compatible with PS4 (when used along with a PS4 controller), PS3, XBOX ONE, XBOX360, PC, Android and Ninetendo Switch. It has a great build quality, and a cool retro design that can easily be customized. This is a great product for someone who owns lots of different consoles, and plays games on various platforms.

Best controller for flight simulators

If you love playing flight simulators, and your budget can afford it, this is definitely the controller for you. Designed in the U.S., the Flight Sim Yoke is made of many of the same high end materials that are used in industrial controllers.The large, sturdy base comes with two integrated, adjustable clamps, allowing you to secure the yoke to most desks or tables from 3/4 inch to 2 inches thick.

Best controller for mobile devices

This controller for mobile devices is compatible with iOS, Android, iPhone, iPad, and Samsung Galaxy. It connects using WiFi and has a stand for you to place your mobile device. Can be used continuously for up to 10 hours, thanks to the rechargeable internal lithium battery. Key mapping is easy, just use the app. This is the perfect accessory for people who love gaming on-the-go.

Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about joysticks

If your favorite platform to play on is you computer, you may be tired of always using the keyboard and mouse. Or maybe you are thinking about upgrading the joystick you use with your console. Or perhaps you are someone who likes playing games on your tablet or mobile phone. Whatever your situation, here we tell you everything you need to know about the best joysticks available right now.

Ya sea para emplearlos en ordenador, consolas o dispositivos móviles, los mandos guardan muchas similitudes entre ellos

Wireless joysticks are a big hit with gamers.
(Source: Dolgachov: 51127483/ 123rf.com)

What type of joysticks are available on the market?

Whether they are designed to be used with a PC, console or mobile device, all joysticks have many similarities and common features. However, there are some key differences to look out for, when making your choice. Originally, the term joystick referred to controllers that are used with one hand.

However, these days the name joystick refers to a wider range of gadgets. One of the most popular types has a joystick to use in one hand, and is accompanied with a secondary device, such as an accelerator, for use with the other hand. These are very popular with people who play flight simulator games.

Warren SpectorVideo game designer

“Gamers are everywhere, coming in all ages and genders, and developers have grown up, too”.

In addition to this type of joystick, there is also the classic controller that is used with two hands, known as a gamepad. It is the most common type of joystick these days, and is used with consoles such as PlayStation or Xbox. They are also increasingly being used to play computer games. Some gamepads have a stand where you can place your mobile, for when you are gaming on that platform.

The following table will help you decide which type of joystick should buy depending on your needs:

If I want to I should buy
Play flight simulators. A classic style joystick which has an actual stick.
Play more generic games. A gamepad which is used with two hands.
Play arcade-style games. A retro controller, which is similar to the style found on old arcade machines.

What are the advantages of a joystick?

This is a question that people who mainly play video games on a computer may be asking, as many of these gamers choose to use the mouse and keyboard. The advantage is that a computer already has these devices, however some users prefer to purchase a joystick that allows them enhanced playability.

One of the main advantages of buying a joystick, is that it is usually more intuitive to use than the keyboard and mouse. It will also be more convenient to transport if you want to take it with you. Another advantage is that, depending on the compatibility of the controller, you can also use it with a console or mobile device.

How is a joystick connected?

There are two ways to connect a controller to a device, either using a cable or wirelessly. A cable has the advantage of powering the joystick directly from the console or the computer. This means you never have to worry about recharging or buying batteries.

You must make sure that the connection, usually via USB, is compatible with the device which you are planning to use it with. This is especially true if you want to connect it to a mobile phone or tablet. Wireless connectivity, usually via Bluetooth, is very popular with users these days.

La principal ventaja del modo inalámbrico es que permite alejarse a una mayor distancia de la pantalla.

There are a variety of different joysticks available on the market, we recommend finding the one that best suits your needs.
(Source: Vadim Guzhva: 40996540/ 123rf.com)(Source: Vadim Guzhva: 40996540/ 123rf.com)

The main advantage of wireless joysticks is that they allow you to move further away from the screen. Normally, they have a range of around 30 feet. The connection is established either via Bluetooth or a USB receiver, which is connected to the console or computer. These types of controllers are powered either by a rechargeable battery, or disposable batteries. Have a look at this table:

Bluetooth joystick Joystick with a cable
Advantages Disadvantages Advantages Disadvantages
In general, they are compatible with all devices that have this technology integrated. Has a limited battery life. Must be recharged. Without the need of batteries, the play time is unlimited. The distance you can be from the screen is reduced.
No more messy cables. Some models work using batteries, which can be annoying. You need to be sure that the connection is compatible.
Allows greater distance from the screen (up to around 30 feet).

Are all joysticks compatible with all devices?

The fastest and most simple answer to this question is no. This is why it is necessary to pay careful attention to the manufacturer’s specifications before you buy a new joystick. Most products clearly state which devices they are compatible with. Reading these instructions can avoid a nasty surprise when your joystick arrives.

Some joysticks are specifically designed to be used with a computer. Some of these are only compatible with either Windows or MacOS. Other controllers are only compatible with consoles, but not necessarily with all of them. However, there is a wide range of universal joysticks that work with both computers and consoles. These are a great option for someone who wants a controller to use on several devices.

If you have a PS4 and want to buy a joystick, click on the following link to read about controllers specifically designed for this console:

https://www.thegoodestate.com/gaming-ps4-controller/

How are joysticks configured?

The process you need to follow to configure a joystick is very simple. In the case of wireless devices, you just need to establish a Bluetooth connection and the controller will be ready for use. For joysticks that are connected via a cable, simply plug the USB connection into the corresponding port.

However, sometimes controllers can cause compatibility problems, especially computer joysticks. If this is the case, you may need to use the installation program that usually comes with the product, or can be downloaded from the manufacturer’s website.

Satoru IwataFourth president of Nintendo

“On my business card, I am a corporate president. In my mind, I am a game developer. But in my heart, I am a gamer”.

It is important to remember that some wireless joysticks require a USB receiver to be connected to the console or computer. If you have any issues with the drivers or making a connection, try contacting the technical service department of the manufacturer.

Shopping Criteria

Choosing an awesome joystick that you love is super important for any gamer. After all it is something that you are likely to spend hours playing with. Compatibility, design and the battery used are key factors that you need to keep in mind. Here we list all the most important criteria you need to consider when choosing the joystick that is perfect for you.

  • Compatibility
  • Design
  • Connectivity
  • Budget

Compatibility

This is the first factor that you should take into account when purchasing a new joystick. If your console or computer is not compatible with the device, it will be completely useless. Don’t worry though, if you see a model that you like, you will surely be able to find something similar that is compatible with your gaming platform.

Sometimes, you may need to follow an installation process or download drivers when connecting to a PC. However, most joysticks are compatible with the majority of computers, so just connect it and you are ready to go. Manufacturers design their products to connect easily to your platform, so that you can start playing straightaway.

Es importante tener con carga siempre los joysticks

Bluetooth joysticks are very popular with gamers.
(Source: Olena Yakobchukt: 55379472/ 123rf.com)

Design

The design is a very important aspect to consider when choosing between different joysticks. This is more a question of personal taste, and there is something out there for everyone. More important than the appearance of the controller, is how comfortable it is for you to use, which will be influenced by the weight, size and button layout.

The buttons are another factor to consider in relation to the design. The most common controllers have triggers, as well as the classic layout with four buttons similar to those made by Sony for use with the PlayStation. Some models have backlit buttons, which are perfect for playing in low light. The ergonomics of the controller is also very important.

Connectivity

These days Bluetooth technology allows the user to sit at a greater distance from the screen and avoid the hassle of the cable. These controllers usually have a range of around 30 feet. On the other hand, some players still prefer to connect their joystick using a cable. This basically comes down to personal choice in the end, since in terms of price there is no big difference between these options. Always make sure that the controller is able to connect to the device you plan to use it with.

Neil DruckmannVideo game designer

“I want studios that make story-based games to start taking their stories more seriously. And that doesn’t mean hiring a big shot writer from Hollywood; it means that story becomes integral to making your game”.
Elegir un buen mando no es en absoluto un asunto secundario en el mundo del videojuego.

Some joysticks require batteries.
(Source: Katarzyna Białasiewicz: 93322030/ 123rf.com)

Budget

These days you can get really great joysticks at very affordable prices. Regardless of the type of joystick you are looking for, you can find one at a very low cost. If you are looking for something of higher quality, there are lots of very interesting options. Everything will depend on the outlay you are planning on making.

The good thing about the availability of very affordable controllers, is that it allows you to purchase more than one. This is great if you often play with other people, or if you want to have different types of controllers, with different characteristics, for different games. You might be thinking of buying one joystick to play flight simulators and another for platform games.

Summary

What makes a great joystick will depend on the needs of each individual gamer. However, there are some aspects that are important for all users. Comfort and the design of button layout are features that you should consider, and you will need to choose between a wireless device, or one that uses a cable.

Decide whether you want a joystick that has a rechargeable battery integrated, or if you will need to buy batteries separately. Taking into account all the factors we covered in this article, you will easily find the controller that is best for you.

We hope you have found this article useful. If so, please be sure to leave us a comment and share it around with your friends.

(Source of the featured image: Igor Stevanovic: 59482111/ 123rf.com)

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