Best Microsoft Flight Simulator Seats and Cockpits in 2020

— 14 minute read

You bought a painstakingly expensive flight simulator, and then you went all out to buy the best PC to support that game. And when it's all done, you finally get to live your dream of flying an aircraft across Western Europe all while you SIT ON A PEWDEPIE CHAIR USING A KEYBOARD (For real Dude?!)

If you are going to navigate the sky, you ought to do it in style! You need a cockpit including but not limited to a comfy chair, Yoke, and a Throttle System. And while some people may consider it an inessential luxury, I say that you literally owe it to the pilot in you!

Hence, we list down the best Flight Simulator Chairs and Cockpits available in the market today. But before we begin...

best flight simulator seats and cockpits 2020

What is a Flight Simulator? permalink

Flight simulators are virtual reality systems that enable you to experience the sensation of flight first-hand, consequently satisfying your desire for flying adventures. Over years, simulator games have improved drastically owing to technological innovations. Slowly but steadily, they have wriggled ever-so-close to reality. None more so than Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020, which by the way has frequently been described as the 'best-looking game on the Planet'.

Flight Simulators are often used for pilot training or recreation/gaming. Hence, you may end up using one either because you got into Aviation School or because you didn't 😢! (See what I did there?).

Flight Simulator Chair Buyer's Guide permalink

A simulator system consists of a powerful PC, Displays, an Audio System, and Control Devices. All of these work collectively in simulating a realistic experience. But we are forgetting something, aren't we? A PILOT NEEDS TO SIT!

Hence**,** taking center stage is the Flight Simulator chair because let's face it, an office chair just won't do it! These are specially designed to accommodate your peripherals and to hide wiring details (in most cases). Unsurprisingly, they increase the quality of your experience, by adding comfort, and convenience.

Note: When we talk about Simulator chairs, we find ourselves in a particularly grey spot. They can either refer to minimalistic chairs that can accommodate control devices, or to complex flight simulation platforms with in-built controls and displays. Hence, this guide will deal with them separately.

With hundreds of brands and thousands of said products competing in the market, choosing the right one for you is a work of diligence. And while it is no rocket science, you need to account for a few things before you finally make your decision. Most of these are pretty generic, so we won't dig too deep, but we won't shy away from a succinct list either.

Price permalink

Some of these bad boys can rise as high as 3000 bucks or even higher. Such seats are inclusive of technology and in-built system. Some are even accompanied with displays. Cheaper alternatives include solitary seats with pre-drilled attachments for add-ons of your choice. In case you are looking for something professional, there are seats that replicate actual jets. These comply with rules, controllers, and even the interior of specific aircraft. Unsurprisingly, these cost a fortune (quite literally).

The first thing that you need to consider is the use of the flight simulator seat. If you are buying it as part of recreation and gaming, you don't need to go berserk. A standard mid-tier or even a low tier seat will serve you well.

Specifications permalink

The product you end up with needs to have characteristics that you want. If its features are in-line with your requirements, the simulator will guarantee convenience, and enhanced performance.

Here's a list of things that you make want to check out before you make your choice.

Compatibility

Is the Product compliant to the rules and requirements? Is it compatible with the controllers of your choosing? Seats must come with pre-drilled attachments and armrests to ensure convenience and compatibility with Flight Simulator games.

Simplicity and Ease

Is it easy to use? If you only want to play games, you might want a system that is easy and convenient for use. In case you are a novice, and just getting started with flight simulation, this should be at the top of the pecking order.

Aesthetics and Comfort

Self Explanatory! I must admit that these are more important to some people than they are to others.

With the metrics established, it's a good time for us to list down the best Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 Chairs in the market today.

Best Flight Simulator 2020 Seats permalink

Before we move on to simulator seats with an in-built system, we must cover the basics. Such flight sim seats are comparatively cheaper-not as cheap as office chairs though-and can accommodate add-ons of our choice.

#1. Best Overall: Playseat Air Force permalink

Playseat Air Force Flight Simulator Chair

ProsCons
Sturdy DesignLimited Backward Recline
Compatible with most throttle and yoke setsA tad bit expensive
Adjustable Steering Wheel ColumnLacks Lumbar Support
Adjustable side support plates
Finger-tip controlled reclining mechanism

Quality and Comfort

Playseat Air Force is extremely well-built with a leatherette finish, ensuring durability and elegance. It is sturdy and can last thousands of gaming hours. The absence of lumbar support, however, does mean that the seat isn't conducive to gaming marathons. As far as the capacity is concerned, the seat can accommodate people weighing up to 270 lbs and measuring 42 inches at the waist. To be honest, I am not really a fan of this. I have a reason to believe that the seat is unnecessarily narrow. They could have conveniently added a couple of inches without interfering with the throttle or the stick. The reason I didn't include it in the Pros and Cons section is that I find it a bit too subjective. With a 48 inch waist, and weighing 280 lbs, I am probably an outlier.

Compatibility permalink

Featuring a fighter plane cockpit-style design, Playseat Flight Seat is compatible with Play Station 2, Play Station 3, Play Station 4, Play Station 5, Xbox, Xbox 360, PCs, and Wii, and WiiU gaming consoles. The seat is also compatible with most Throttle and Yoke Sets in the market today (from Logitech, Thrustmaster, MadCatz, and Saitek), so that isn't an area of concern for you.

Ease of Gaming

During the testing stage, I found the positioning of the steering wheel column optimal. One can easily adjust the depth of the column to his convenience. The side plates can be adjusted vertically and horizontally, so ease of gaming is guaranteed. The problem, however, is that the backward recline is limited. As someone who sprawls frequently, I would have preferred if the seat offered a bit more flexibility in this regard.

View / Check Price on Amazon


#2. Best Value: GTR Simulator-CRJ Model Flight Simulator with Adjustable Seat permalink

gtr simulator crj model flight simulator seat

ProsCons
Can support up to 3 monitorsInferior Build Quality
Offers great value per Dollar
Adjustable Seat
Comfortable

Quality and Comfort

Compared to Playseat Air Force, this one has a slightly inferior built quality. Then again, it is fairly cheap and you can't expect extraordinary quality at this price. Not that the chair is poorly built-not by a long stretch. It has a leatherette finish ensuring a stylish look. The chair is padded, so comfort won't be a problem. So if you have severe back pain, this is the one you should be looking to buy. The chair is adjustable, i.e. can be moved back and forth. Standing 6'4, I was a bit skeptical at first with all the frames involved, but surprisingly, I had no major inconvenience.

Compatibility

CRJ Model Flight Simulator is compatible with most Yoke and Throttle Sets in the Market. Saitek Controls, though, work best. The monitor stand can accommodate as many as three 24 inch (or a single 40 inch) displays. If you intend to integrate larger displays, you should opt for Large Size Monitor Stand that can fit three 39 inch (or a single 70 inch), monitor.

Ease of Gaming

The Yoke stand is adjustable and so is the reclining seat. The throttle can be mounted on either side as per your convenience. Padded seat ensures that you can go for hours and hours of gaming without needing a break.

All in all, with all these features and a relatively cheap price, this is quite a bargain! And that's one reason why it is one of the best flight sim seats available in the market today.

View / Check Price on Amazon


#3. Best Multi-purpose Seat: Volair Sim Universal Flight or Racing Simulation Cockpit Chassis permalink

volair sim universal flight cockpit chassis

ProsCons
Can Mount up to 3 MonitorsRickety Tray and Table
Can be used for Flight and RacingLack of Channels to Route Cables
Pre-drilled left, center, and right side stick mounts
Compatibility
Sturdy
Fully Adjustable

If you intend to buy a chair that will serve multiple purposes, this is the one for you. It can be conveniently used for flight as well as gaming.

Quality and Comfort

The seat is solid and comfortable. It is very well-built and has a classy demeanor. As per branding, the seat can accommodate people who weigh up to 260 lbs and stand anywhere between 48'' and 80'' inches. My experience with the chair contradicts that claim. I am 76'' inches tall, and my knee was constantly banging the keyboard holder. Other than that, the seat is padded and quite cozy.

Compatibility

The chair is compatible with almost all yoke and throttles available in the market. The universal work-table has been pre-drilled for Saitek Pro Flight yoke and avionics, while the left and right shifter mounts have been pre-drilled for Saitek throttle quadrants, HOTAS Warthog, Logitech, and Thrustmaster Shifters. You can mount as many as 3 monitors between 19'' and 32'' inch diagonal length. Or you can just mount 1 monitor with a diagonal length of 50'' inches.

Ease of Gaming

The chair is fully adjustable. You can slide it forward or backward. Also, you can adjust the rudder pedals, Yoke Controls, and even padded keyboard and mouse tray at your convenience.

This is beyond doubt one of the best multi-purpose flight simulator seats in the market.

View / Check Price on Amazon


Best Flight Simulation System/Platforms permalink

And while seats are all you need to enjoy a realistic flight simulation, some people want more. That's where simulation systems come in. These replicate controls and movements of aircraft. Some products even imitate the interior of the aircraft. Unsurprisingly, these are expensive and extravagant (to say the very least).

#1. Best Overall: DOF Reality H3 Consumer Motion Simulation Platform permalink

dof reality h3 flight simulator cockpit 2020

ProsCons
Multi-purpose (Racing + Flight)Movement isn’t smooth
Relatively Cheap
3-dimensional movements
Full Platform moves
Compact
Quiet

DOF Reality H3 is revolutionary in the sense that it offers uncanny performance at a relatively menial price. It may be expensive, but it is still much cheaper than other simulation platforms.

Performance

Reality H3 is compact and powerful. It delivers 3-D movements-Pitch, Roll, and rear traction loss/Yaw. It is way more realistic than other platforms because unlike other platforms, the whole system moves. Personally, I would have preferred smoother movements, but that's just a minor drawback. The platform can provide:

CharacteristicValue
Speed50cm/s (86o/s)
Torque25n/m
Acceleration0.7G T/ 0.5G L
Motion Range20 o

Compatibility

The platform is compatible with PCs and consoles. It can over 100 simulator games including Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020. If you are into VRs, you ought to buy Reality H3, because it offers VR support as well. As far as Pilot weight is concerned, it can support up to 330 lbs or 150 kg.

Convenience

The platform is compact and easy to assemble. Also, it is surprisingly quiet. The only noise you will hear is that of cooling fans and that too at 20 dBA. This alongside minimum space requirements means that you don't need to dedicate a room for your gameplay.

With all these features, it is hardly surprising that it racks up as the best Flight Simulation Platform in 2020.

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#2. Best Value: DOF Reality Full Motion Simulator Platform H2 permalink

dof reality h2 cockpit for flight simulator 2020

ProsCons
Multi-purpose (Racing + Flight)Movement isn’t smooth
Relatively Cheap
3-dimensional movements
Full Platform moves
Compact
Quiet

Coming from the same company, similar characteristics are hardly a coincidence. In case you can't afford Reality H3, you can always settle for Reality H2. And then later when you can dedicate some cash, you can upgrade to Reality H3 using Consumer H2 to H3 Upgrade Kit.

Difference between DOF Reality H3 and DOF Reality H2

Unlike Reality H3, H2 doesn't offer rear traction loss/Yaw. It delivers movement in 2 dimensions only --Pitch and Roll. So in this regard, H3 offers more realism than its predecessor. This also, however, means that H2 consumes lesser power (1000 Watt) than its counterpart (1300 Watt).

H2 also has a narrower footprint than H3. So it occupies lesser space and is easy to accommodate. I would like to reiterate that H3 is very compact; it's just that H2 is even more compact!

Another huge difference is the price. If you opt for H2 instead of H3, you can save 600-700 bucks. And when I say that, I am not accounting for power savings. Hence, the question is, "Can you compromise on realism for monetary savings?"

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Conclusion permalink

Flight Simulator Seats and Cockpits undoubtedly enhance your flight experience. They add realism that you can definitely not achieve by using an office chair. So if you can spare some cash, you should buy one as soon as possible.

Talking about the enhancement of experience, having your chair replicate aircraft movement can't hurt. Just imagine pairing 3-D movement with Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 and its revolutionary graphics. GOD! Just the thought of it gives me Goosebumps!

Over the course of this article, I narrowed down your choice to 5 products in two categories. Flight Simulator seats come without any equipment, while Flight Simulator Platforms have an inbuilt system. Now, it's up to you to decide!

While you are at it, make sure to leave your feedback in the comments section. Also, stay tuned for more pieces on Simulator Hardware and accessories.

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