Thrustmaster HOTAS Warthog
Thrustmaster HOTAS Warthog

Best flight stick

The Thrustmaster HOTAS Warthog was created to be an exact replica of the throttle and flight stick found in an actual A-10C Warthog airplane, and reviewers say the effort has translated into the best flight stick available. Praised for its metal-bodied durability, unparalleled accuracy and flexibility, this joystick and throttle combo has reviewers raving and gamers completely devoted. The powerful software included with the HOTAS Warthog allows users to completely remap every button and switch on the device, so you're able to use it for flight sims featuring other aircraft as well -- though some say it doesn't work quite as well with other aircraft. If you want to save money or aren't interested in owning a Warthog-specific replica, the older Saitek X52 Pro Flight Control (*Est. $150) still garners high accolades from reviewers.
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*Est. $500 Estimated Price
Thrustmaster T.Flight HOTAS X Flight Stick
Thrustmaster T.Flight HOTAS X Flight Stick

Budget flight stick

Although the Thrustmaster T.Flight HOTAS X Flight Stick is less realistic and accurate than its much more expensive sibling, the Thrustmaster HOTAS Warthog, it still offers everything you need to get off the ground, though not much more. Users love this affordable flight stick, recommending it for gamers who want to enhance their flight experience with a well-performing peripheral but aren't seeking the utmost realism in flight simulation. While the stick features 12 buttons, five axles and a removable throttle, you won't find force feedback or advanced configuration options, and a couple of users note a small but noticeable "dead zone" when the stick is in the center position. The controller is also compatible with the PlayStation 3.
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Razer Onza Tournament Edition
Razer Onza Tournament Edition

Best gamepad

With the Onza Tournament Edition, Razer builds upon the highly successful model established by the Xbox 360 controller. While the only noticeable change at first glance is two additional shoulder buttons (which are mappable), Razer also made alterations to the physical design of the controller that reviewers say make this controller even more desirable than the Microsoft peripheral it imitates. These include responsive, clicky-feeling backlit buttons, longer and more accurate control sticks that include a tension control for custom levels of precision, and a non-slip surface. The positive reviews are overwhelming, but some critics dislike the "sliced-pie" D-pad for fighting game maneuvers, and a number of Amazon.com users report defective hardware. The controller also works on the Xbox 360.
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Logitech G27 Racing Wheel
Logitech G27 Racing Wheel

Best steering wheel

With 900-degree wheel rotation, a six-speed gear shifter and a clutch, the Logitech G27 Racing Wheel is the hands-down favorite PC steering wheel among reviewers. In addition to being a top performer, reviewers say that it's easy to set up and use the wheel, and the addition of six buttons on the wheel-face makes it easier to control games while keeping your eyes on the road. While the overall build quality is durable and exceptional -- with the gearbox said to be the best around -- some say the pedal board is too light and slides on the floor when the brake is pressed. Additionally, some question the value of the wheel when compared to the older, cheaper Logitech G25 Racing Wheel, which is now discontinued. The Logitech G27 Racing Wheel also works on the PlayStation 3 console.
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Mad Catz Street Fighter IV FightStick Tournament Edition
Mad Catz Street Fighter IV FightStick Tournament Edition

Best arcade joystick

Fighting games might not be as popular as they once were, and new arcade sticks are more and more difficult to find, but experts and users both love the build and the feel of the Mad Catz Street Fighter IV FightStick Tournament Edition. The controller uses the same hardware found on the actual Street Fighter IV arcade machines, which helps to deliver an arcade experience that's unparalleled by any other controller. Auxiliary buttons such as the Xbox 360 guide button are situated far away from the main portion of the controller, and can even be disabled if desired. Both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 version work on the PC, but the PS3 model only works with chipsets that still support the old USB version 1.1 standard, such as Intel and VIA chips.
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Razer Hydra
Razer Hydra

Motion-based controller

Gamers who have pined for a PC version of the Wiimote can find the first capable performer with the Hydra, Razer's foray into motion-based controls. Reviewers say the level of accuracy provided by the Hydra can't be matched by any other PC Wiimote-style peripheral, although it still can't compete with the sheer precision of a keyboard and mouse setup. Performance with the bundled version of "Portal 2," which is optimized for the controller, is second to none, but using it with other games isn't as seamless. Reviewers recommend picking up the Razer Hydra if you're a big motion-control fan and willing to wait, but in general users may want to wait until more titles come around that are built for the peripheral -- especially considering its $140 price tag.
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