Flight simulator enthusiasts know that rudder pedals are essential for maximum enjoyment and to simulate a proper flight setup.
Not all rudder pedals are made equal, though. Great flight simulator pedals should ideally be realistic, comfortable, and allow for a wide range of customization.
Here are the four best tried and tested options depending on your needs.
4 of the Best Flight Simulator Rudder Pedals
Best Overall: Thrustmaster Pendular Rudder Pedals
The Thrustmaster Pendular Pedals comfortably provide the most realistic flying experience with their incredibly smooth motion and feel.$599.99
The Thrustmaster Pendular Rudder Pedals are the best and most realistic pedals money can buy. Considering that the company sought feedback from commercial and military pilots, this doesn’t come as a surprise.
What makes the Thrustmaster Pedals so great is their suspended mechanism that delivers a smooth motion and realistic feel. Additionally, the sensor system is unique to this model and creates an ultra-precise and fluid flow of each pedal – just like what you would experience inside the cockpit of a real plane.
Clearly built to last, the pedals’ 15-pound all-metal construction speaks to their durability. They are also highly customizable and can be adjusted into five positions, at angles between 35° and 75°
The Thrustmaster Pendular Rudder Pedals may not be as cheap as other options, but if you’re looking for the most realistic experience no other model compares.
Best Value: Logitech Pro Flight Rudder Pedals
Flight sim fans who want to enjoy a realistic experience at a affordable price will love the Logitech Pro Flight Rudder Pedals.$169.97
Leave it to Logitech and their considerable resources to design a set of rudder pedals that strike just the right balance between performance and price.
Due to their adjustable spring tension, the Logitech Pro Flight Rudder Pedals do an excellent job at replicating the feel of flying an actual plane thanks to responsive and precise rudder and braking control.
Comfort won’t ever be an issue for those long sessions either, as the footrests adjust to accommodate a wide range of sizes and include non-slip materials to help keep the pedals grounded.
If you’re a flight sim fan who appreciates customization, no doubt you will love the Logitech Pro Flight Rudder Pedals’ adjustment tension dial. It allows you to set the resistance to match your preferences, so you can apply as little pressure or exert more force to get the pedals to respond. This can also add to the realism when flying different planes.
Easiest to Use: CH Products Pro Pedals USB Flight Simulator Pedals
Simplicity is the name of the game with the CH Products Pro Pedals.$177.22
The CH Products Pro Pedals are a great choice if you’re all about simplicity. Just plug into the USB port and you’re ready to go.
Don’t be fooled by the pedals’ simple design, though. They still manage to deliver a smooth and realistic flying experience with their accurate forward and backward sliding motion to control yaw axis – and with impressive feedback too.
Weighing just 1.7lbs, the CH Pro Pedals are much lighter than others on this list yet they are durable thanks to their military-grade plastic and manage to remain grounded.
Budget Pick: Thrustmaster T.Flight Rudder Pedals
The Thrustmaster T.Flight Rudder Pedals manage to provide a comfortable flying experience at a friendly price.$129.99
Thrustmaster may make the best flight simulator rudder pedals we’ve ever seen, but they haven’t forgotten about the lower-end market. The T.Flight Rudder Pedals are an excellent choice for flight sim fans who want a reliable, enjoyable experience without breaking the bank.
The Thrustmaster T.Flight isn’t quite as realistic as other pedals due to the way in which they are angled towards you, though this has the benefit of allowing for a comfortable flying experience.
The heel rest can also be removed, which means that you can control the rudder with a part of your foot other than your heel. Again, this isn’t particularly realistic, but it sure is comfortable.
Despite the pedals’ impressive comfort, what makes them a great choice is their S.M.A.R.T (Sliding Motion on Aluminum Rail Tracks) system that ensures a smooth sliding motion every time. The self-centering rudder axis delivers a nice balance between smoothness and resistance is another great addition and very welcome too.
Do You Need Rudder Pedal for Flight Simulators?
While you do not need to use rudder pedals for flight sims – i.e. the game will work perfectly fine without them – many people ultimately decide to buy a pair due to the improved experience and enjoyment they provide.
For most people just starting out, it makes sense to hold off investing in a pair of rudder pedals until they’re sure that they are into flight sims for the long haul. It can also depend on the type of planes you want to fly.
What to Look For When Buying Flight Simulator Rudder Pedals
For some Flight Simulator fans, only the most realistic experience will do – and here at Executive Flyers, we can hardly blame you. There’s nothing quite like being able to simulate the experience of flying a real plane in the comfort of your own home.
If you want the most realistic virtual flying experience, be prepared to pay more for the privilege as the Thrustmaster Pendular Rudder Pedals very much indicate.
A realistic pair of rudder pedals are great and all, but if they aren’t comfortable to use they ultimately won’t be of much use. Fortunately, it’s possible to enjoy both a comfortable and realistic flying experience, especially if you’re willing to spend more.
Typically with lower-end products, as is the case with the Thrustmaster T.Flight Rudder Pedals, there is often a trade-off between realism and comfort.
Some flight simulator enthusiasts like to be able to customize everything from the pedal layout and pedal resistance to every little control; others are happy with minor customizations or with just using the pedals in their stock form.
If the former sounds like you, the Logitech Pro Flight or Thrustmaster Pendular are your best bet.