What's a rudder pedal?
Well, it's like your car's gas and brake pedals. This is used to control an airplane just like gas and brake pedals are used to steer a car.
And in case you're a flight simulator junkie (in that case you already know this though), you can use such rudder pedals to up your Microsoft flight stimulator game and get more and more closer to the real-life pilot-like feeling.
And in case you want to know what rudder pedals do, when you press the left rudder pedal, for example, this makes the rudder move to the left side which results in the plane moving to the left side.
This is a review of the top 4 rudder pedals for the Microsoft Flight Simulator. I picked these products based on their popularity on Amazon, different features, and their rating/reviews on Amazon.
Best Rudder pedals for Microsoft Flight Simulator
In case you want to stop your search right here, click a link, go to Amazon and buy the best ever set of rudder pedals that you can get your "feet" on, here's the name:
Saitek Pro Flight Rudder Pedals
What makes these rudder pedals better than the rest, you might wanna ask. Well, aside from the big number of positive reviews and very positive ratings, these rudders are considered ideal because of how many tweaks you can make and the kind of functionality you can enjoy.
More on this in the relevant review.
4 Best Rudder Pedals for Flight Simulator 2021 permalink
A little detail about the reviewing process.
I have used one or two of them at different times, but I cannot possibly have used all of them. For the rigs that I never tested/used/owned, I trust experts' opinion and I definitely take into account the reviews given by the verified customer of such products on Amazon.
The review framework is based on features, pros and cons, and a general understanding arising out of the answers to the FAQs about these products.
Without any further ado, here are the reviews.
1. Saitek/Logitech Pro Flight Rudder Pedals permalink
Saitek's Pro Flight Rudder Pedals are hands down the best rudder pedals that you can find on Amazon or in a store. I'm not saying that there cannot be any pedals better than these, it's just they're one of the best rudder pedals out there, if not THE best rudder pedals.
- Self-Centering Pedals: These rudder pedals were designed to work exactly like real-life rudder pedals. Those pedals come back whenever you relieve the pressure off them. This is called a self-centering. They come back to the default position. This lets you push hard and easy -- whichever way you like without having to worry about their positioning. Another good thing about these pedals is that they are self-damping. What does that mean? Well, this is a little technical detail, but let me try and explain it. The self-damping rudders are connected with the gyroscope of your simulator and when they get a signal from it, they move accordingly. In simple words, this means more enjoyment and less hassle.
- Adjustable Footrests: The footrests of this rig are amazing. They have non-slip grooves (deeper than mere patterns) due to which your feet will not slip. Also, the material used in those parts is a non-slip one. Plus, the way the lower part of the footrest sort of cradles your heel, you can never lose control of these things.
- Easy Control: The rudder and brake controls are 100% customizable. Use the big silver dial right in the mid of both footrests and you can increase or decrease the tension with ease. Move it clockwise and this will increase the tension; move it anti-clockwise and this will decrease the tension. Increased tension means you'd need more power to use rudder and brake -- perfect for those who want a challenging experience like Captain Sully.
- Durable: In terms of construction and the choice of materials, this rudder pedals set is very durable. The construction is half metal and half plastic (industrial grade), due to which it has a longer life than plastic-only pedals.
- Adjustable Gaming Experience: Other than the adjustable footrest size and the adjustability that the dial brings to your overall flight experience, there is Saitek's Smart technology programming software that lets you configure everything from controls to your favorite gaming style to other details.
- Easy Connectivity: This thing comes with a USB 2.0 connectivity. You can easily connect it with all versions of Microsoft Windows.
- Rudder and Toe Brakes Control: Just for the sake of clarity -- this setup helps you control two things -- rudder and toe brakes.
|Adjustability||Drivers Cause Operating System Instabilities|
|Rudder + Toe Brakes Control|
View / Check Price on Amazon
2. Trustmaster TFRP Rudder Pedals permalink
This is the second-best item on my list. This set of rudder-pedals is amazing because of its compatibility. It can be used with a lot of different setups. Then there are some other reasons too; however, this is one of the best flight simulator rudder pedals.
- Compatibility Off the Charts: One of the top reasons why I added this rig to my review of top rudder pedals for Microsoft flight simulator is it's off the charts compatibility with many different setups such as PC, PS4, and Xbox. Not only it easily works will these 3 main setups, but it is also fully compatible with all sorts of joysticks in the market too -- that are made to be used with the PC. And in case you prefer PS4, do know that this rig is fully compatible with Trustmaster's Hotas joystick too.
- Ergonomic Design: When it comes to rudder pedals, it's not only the technical details that matter. There are other details too -- for example, how easy the pedals are on the user's feet? These pedals have an ergonomic design. You can put your entire foot on the pedal -- irrespective of your age. The heel rests can be removed or adjusted as per the situation. You can either let the pedals feel the pressure of your entire foot or just let the ball of your footrest at mid-pedal ready to tackle any situation.
- Differential Braking: And this is not all. First of all, let us understand what differential braking is. In the case of your car, you just apply pressure to the brake and that applies equally to all of your wheels. In the case of an airplane, there is a thing called differential braking; you can apply different pressure to each brake. And these brakes utilize Trusmaster's proprietary technology known as S.M.A.R.T; basically, your pedals move on 4 aluminum rails.
- Slide Rails made of High-Quality Material: Speaking of those industrial-grade aluminum rails, it is important to mention you do not get a perfect, real-life pilot-like feeling, without these sliding rail rudders that allow you more action in little space.
- Advanced Calibration: Trustmaster's Advanced Calibration Software lets you calibrate your experience as per your preferences. For example, you can adjust the dead zones on the rudder axis and you can calibrate the differential brakes.
- T.A.R.G.E.T: This is another software that you get with the deal. What this one basically does is it lets you bring your rudder pedals, HOTAS Warthog, T16000M and MFD Cougar pack, etc., into unison. You sync them with each other and your system recognizes all this hardware as one USB device.
- USB Connectivity: And you can connect this rig with your system of choice (PC or console) via USB connection.
|Highly||Sliding Mechanism is not Very Durable|
|S.M.A.R.T||Not very Advanced|
View / Check Price on Amazon
3. CH Products Pro Pedals permalink
In case you're done with traditional-looking rudders, you want something more minimalistic and you want something different, CH Products' Pro Pedals would not disappoint you. They are very clean, simple, and minimalistic looking rudder pedals with amazing performance.
- 3 Axis of Control -- So, the way this set of pedals arrange the features and functions that you are aware of, is simply different. X and Y axis are allocated to the left and right toe brake controls respectively, while the Z-axis serves a self-centering mechanism -- the kind that you must have noticed in the case of Saitek Pro Flight setup. The purpose is to bring your flight simulation experience as closer to the professional and real stuff as possible.
- Realistic Differential Braking System -- Speaking of realistic and professional flight experience, what differentiates a plane's rudder pedals set from a car's accelerator is mainly this differential braking. The heel-toe braking system of this setup, just like in the case of the one above, allows you to apply brakes differently.
- Locking Rubber Axis for Racing Games -- You can enjoy the gas/brake emulation with the locking rudder axis that can be used while playing car racing games. However, this thing is only compatible with CH USB devices, which means your old racing rig will be useless unless that is from CH Products.
- Large and Sturdy Base -- These rudder pedals do not shake or move a lot because they rest on a large, sturdy, and somewhat heavy base. Heavy is good in this case because you'd prefer a heavy, but unshakable rig to a lightweight but shaky one. This thing is controlled with feet definitely; you want it sturdy. It can be connected to your system via a 7 feet USB cable that comes with it.
- Plug n' Play Functionality -- This thing comes with a plug n' play functionality. Unlike many other rudder pedals' sets -- especially a few of those made by big names in this industry, this one does not require this driver or that software in order for you to run this thing smoothly. All it takes is a USB connection.
- Extreme Compatibility -- And just like connectivity, the compatibility is also amazing. This rig is 100% compatible with all Windows -- even Microsoft Windows 98. And it can also be connected with Mac.
- Advanced Software -- You do not need any drivers or software to run this thing the way it should run, but CH Products offer an optional advanced programming software that you can use to enjoy absolute control over and calibration of all CH USB devices that you use with your simulator.
|3 Axis of Control||Electronics can be Glitchy at Times|
|Plug n' Play Functionality||Design-Wise Irregularities|
|Simple and Minimalistic Design|
|Extreme Control on Your Simulation|
View / Check Price on Amazon
4. Redbird Alloy RD1 Rudder Pedals permalink
In case you are sick and tired of these new, half plastic and half-metal rudder pedals that do look like they belong on a jet, but not an old-fashioned and famous one. And in case you want some heavy, sturdy, and all-metal rudder pedals, the kind that belongs on some classic, some retro, and some old-fashioned jet-like Boeing 737, these rudder pedals are made for you.
- Retro Design: As I said design-wise they look like they belong to 737 or another commercial jet of that era. The style is retro and old-fashioned, but they exude durability, style, and authenticity. I mean in case you want to bring your whole flight simulation set up a few more notches closer to real-life setup, this thing will help -- not only in terms of experience but in terms of the look and feel too.
- Rugged All-Metal Built: The second thing that you notice, about the base as well as the pedals, is that they have a rugged and tough profile. It is not all about the look and feel of this thing; plastic could also make a flight sim rudder pedal look like this one. But these ARE actually made of industrial-grade metal: the pedals as well as the base -- hence the whole look and feel.
- Self-Centering Axis: These rudder pedals have a self-centric axis which is why you enjoy an even more realistic pilot-like feel. As I have explained earlier -- self-centering means that your pedals automatically come back to the center of the axis without you having to worry about them. Push hard or soft, you'd see them coming back to the same point.
- Differential Toe Brakes: The brakes are controlled with toes and your set allows you to enjoy differential braking with toes. As explained earlier, in the case of a car, braking applies to all the tires at once, but in the case of a jet, it can be applied differently to each of them. Toe braking of this rig brings you just another step closer to a real pilot-like experience.
- USB Connectivity: This thing relies on a plug n' play sort of USB connectivity. Whether you have only this one rig from Redbird or you have The Jay and Redbird TD/TD2 setup, or any other devices or software, you can connect this thing to them via USB.
- Real-life Flying Experience: It is all metal, it is retro-looking, it has self-centering and differential braking -- it is one of the best USB rudder pedals flight simulator can work with. The whole purpose behind making it the way it is, is to allow the user to feel like the pilot of a real commercial or fighter jet.
|Retro Design||Compatibility Issues with Windows 7|
|All Metal||The pedestal is a little Higher|
|Differential Toe Braking|
View / Check Price on Amazon
How important are the rudder pedals? Well, you know how important are your car's gas or brake pedals.
These things control the plane and help the pilot easily move it because they're connected with the rudder. And then there is differential braking too.
So how important are they? Well, that boils down to the kind of flight simulation junkie you are.
If you aren't too deep into that thing or you have a limited budget, a joystick can be enough.
Definitely, you won't enjoy the kind of "immersive" experience that you'd otherwise have with all the much-needed equipment -- including rudder pedals, but you can "play" a flight simulator to pass time.
For those who have time, money, and devotion to feeling as closer to a real-life flight situation as possible it is (because of flight simulators like Microsoft Flight Simulator), this is a must-have equipment.