If you’re a flight simulator enthusiast, you’re probably familiar with the awkwardness of traditional control schemes. Console-style controllers, for example, are excellent for shooters like Call of Duty or action titles like Red Dead: Redemption. But they don’t provide enough inputs for a flight simulator. Oftentimes, this means you’ll end up scrolling through menus or moving your cursor around with the thumbsticks. Needless to say, this is not ideal. A mouse and keyboard are a bit of an improvement. But when you’re trying to manage a flight simulator’s numerous movement axes, even a high-end gaming mouse falls short.
To get the most out of your flight simulator, you need the right set of controls. A yoke, throttle quadrant, and/or a joystick are all excellent choices. But sometimes, two hands just aren’t enough to do everything that needs to be done. Sometimes, you need to bring your feet into the action as well, just like a real pilot. To help you out, we’ve decided to review some of the best rudder pedals for flight simulators.
Today, we’ll review the Logitech G PRO Flight Rudder Pedals, the CH Products Pro Pedals, and the Thrustmaster TFRP Rudder. All of these pedals are highly rated, and each one brings a lot of value to the table. But there are important differences, as well. Depending on the type of simulator you’re playing and your own playstyle, you’ll probably have a preference. Read on, and we’ll walk you through all of the features and benefits.
Logitech G PRO Flight Rudder Pedals
First up are the Logitech G Pro Flight Rudder Pedals. These pedals are 6.6 inches high, and are mounted on a 12.2 x 15.9-inch platform. The set weighs 5.18 pounds, which is fairly heavy. However, that’s mostly due to the high quality of the materials. While the pedals themselves are plastic, the platform and supports are metal. This makes them very durable. They’ll stand up to years of gaming, along with the odd accidental bump or kick.
The foot pedals have an adjustable length, with an inner tension screw inside a slot. To adjust them, simply loosen the screws and slide the front half of the pedal forward or backward. When you’re satisfied, tighten the screws again to lock the length in. The tops of the pedals are ribbed, which provides a non-slip design. There’s also a small lip at the back, which will keep your heels from dropping off during quick movements. When the pedals are pressed, they will automatically move in inverse directions. This simulates the feel of real airplane pedals, and adds to the realism of your experience.
The G PRO has self-centering pedals. When there’s no pressure being applied, they will automatically return to the center position. This does mean you’re always pushing against light tension, though, which can be good or bad depending on your preferences. That said, there’s an easy-to-use tension adjustment knob on the center of the base. Depending on your settings, the pedals can be fairly tight or virtually free-floating. There’s also a power indicator LED light on the base. The G PRO does not draw its power from USB. Instead, it uses an AC/DC adapter. There’s one included in the kit, complete with a generous 5.9-foot cord to help you reach the nearest outlet.
Connectivity & Configuration
The Logitech G PRO connects to your PC via USB 2.0. You can either plug it in directly, or via the Logitech G PRO yoke if you’re already using one. Since the G PRO does not rely in the USB cable for power, you can also use any USB hub. The pedals are plug and play, and do not require any drivers. They’re compatible with all versions of Windows from XP forward. They’re also compatible with Mac OSX, although depending on your system you might need to download appropriate Mac drivers.
The G PRO pedals will work with most popular flight simulators right out of the box. Just adjust the pedal length and tension, plug them in, and you’re ready to start flying. That said, you may want some customization options. In that case, consider downloading Logitech’s Saitek Smart Technology configurator. This software is 100 percent free, and allows you to customize your G PRO pedal layout. Change axes, adjust the sensitivity, or even configure them for a racing game if you so desire.
For multiplayer flight simulators, good communication can be the difference between a successful mission and an embarrassing failure. If you’re in the market for a good headset, take a look at the Corsair HS series of headsets. We’ve reviewed all three, so you’ll have plenty of options.
CH Products Pro Pedals USB Flight Simulator Pedals
The CH Products Pro Pedals are a minimalist pedal set that weighs only 1.7 pounds. But just because they’re lightweight doesn’t mean they’re short on performance. They’re designed like genuine airplane pedals, with inverse motion. They also have a differential brake control in the toes, which allows for more realistic handling. The base measures 14.2 inches square, and the pedals themselves are just under 6 inches tall. They’re not adjustable, but they’re generously sized, with large heel supports. They also have a textured, rubberized finish that keeps your feet from sliding around.
The base is very stable, and won’t easily get pushed around during normal operation. Indeed, the whole design is very well engineered, with military-grade plastic construction. This is the same material CH Products uses to manufacture their industrial controllers. As a result, they’re exceptionally durable even though they’re made of plastic. They also come with a 2-year manufacturer’s warranty, which makes us confident that CH Products will stand behind them.
The Pro Pedals have three axes of control. The X and Y axes are controlled by pitching your feet forward or to the sides. To adjust the Z axis, you push the pedals forward or backwards along the sliding tracks. The inverse motion ensures easy operation along this axis. The pedals are also self-centering, which ensures that they’ll return to a neutral position whenever you’re not pressing them. However, the Pro Pedals include an adapter in the kit. This adapter will eliminate the inverse motion. As a result, the Pro Pedals can easily be converted into racing sim pedals with a realistic automotive feel.
Connectivity & Configuration
Connecting the CH Products Pro Pedals is quick and easy. They connect via USB, and a generous, 7-foot USB cable is included in the kit. Be aware that they require a powered USB connection. As a result, you’ll need to plug them directly into your PC. A yoke won’t provide enough power, nor will most USB hubs. That said, a powered USB hub will get the job done if you need it to. Once you’ve plugged in, the Pro Pedals are ready to go with any version of Windows since Windows 98. It’s also plug and play on Mac OSX. You won’t need to download any drivers.
The Pro Pedals will work with virtually any flight simulator, without the need for any changes. However, the default controls might not be the best choice for everybody. If you want to customize your controls, you can download CH Products’ Control Manager software. It’s available for free on their website, and allows for total customization of every control. The only downside is that the Control Manager is only compatible with Windows operating systems. If you’re using a Mac, you’ll be stuck with the default controls.
If you want a suitable flight sim controller but you’re not crazy about a yoke, there are other options. For example, the GameSir VX AimSwitch Combo is an excellent choice. It’s a half keyboard and mouse combination, that allows for easy control without taking up a lot of space.
Thrustmaster TFRP Rudder
If you want the most realistic set of rudder pedals possible, the Thrustmaster TFRP is tough to beat. This little beast weighs just under 5 pounds, with a rugged plastic construction. The hinges and slides are made of steel and aluminum, which makes them exceptionally durable. The base measures 14 inches wide and 12 inches high, with 8-inch-high pedals.
The entire base is angled towards you, which allows for easy, ergonomic operation. The heel rests are low and understated, but they get the job done. They’re also removable if you prefer a different position. Just take the heel rests off, and you can put the balls of your feet on the middle of the pedals. This allows for a variety of operating positions. Granted, it’s not the most realistic position. But it can be more comfortable, particularly if you’re flying for long periods of time.
The slide rail system is incredibly durable and impressive. Thrustmaster calls it the Sliding Motion Advanced Rail Track (S.M.A.R.T.), which is a little bit of a marketing gimmick. Still, it’s very easy to use. There are dual aluminum rails under both pedals, which ensures exceptionally smooth sliding motion. They also automatically re-center themselves, which ensures that they’ll never be out of place. The 15-degree angle is comfortable and ergonomic as well. However, one thing the TFRP doesn’t offer is tension adjustment. This was a bit of a disappointment, considering the otherwise excellent quality of construction. Nonetheless, operation is very easy, and the default tension is comfortable, with mild but firm resistance.
Connectivity & Configuration
The Thrustmaster TFRP is compatible with all major flight simulators right out of the box. It’s also compatible with all current joysticks. Be aware that it requires a powered USB connection. As a result, you’ll either need to plug it directly into your PC or use a powered USB hub. Speaking of PCs, it’s only compatible with Windows machines with Windows Vista or newer. It will not work with your Mac, so if you’re using a Mac, you’ll need to look elsewhere. That said, the TFRP is compatible with the Playstation 4, so you can also use it with your console. You can even use it along with Thrustmaster’s Flight Hotas joystick.
Thrustmaster also offers calibration software to customize the TFRP’s performance. You can adjust the TFRP to adjust where the dead zones are, or eliminate them altogether. You can adjust these settings separately for each axis of movement. This is a significant benefit. It’s especially helpful if you’re using the TFRP with the heel rests removed. As a result, you’ll have a 100 percent customizable experience, with ergonomics that fit your own needs.
All of that being said, what good is a flight simulator if you’re not getting the complete experience? To get the most out of your game, you’ll want to fully upgrade your cockpit. The BraZen Pride 2.1 is an advanced gaming chair, with built-in Bluetooth surround sound. It’s a great choice both for flight simulators and for racing games.
So, which one of these rudder pedals is the cream of the crop? As usual, it depends on what you need. The Logitech G Pro Flight Rudder Pedals are ideal if you want something that just works. To be sure, there are plenty of adjustment options. But you can plug it right into your PC or Mac, and it will be ready to go. More to the point, it’s a Logitech. That’s a brand with a serious pedigree, and they manufacture several other flight sim accessories to complete your kit.
The CH Products Pro Pedals are the best choice if you want a versatile pair. Specifically, we’re talking about the ability to convert them into racing pedals. That’s a significant benefit if you play multiple types of games. CH Products also manufactures a full spread of flight simulator gear, including yokes and throttle quadrants.
Meanwhile, the Thrustmaster TFRP pedals are an ideal choice if you want pedals that are as durable as possible. They’re also ergonomic, with plenty of adjustment options. Unfortunately, they’re not compatible with Mac. But if you’re running a Windows PC, you’ll appreciate the comfort and customization.