What You Need to Consider in Ruggedized Joysticks

Ruggedized joysticks are industrial joysticks. They use inductive, photoelectric or potentiometric sensing systems and switches to translate joystick motion into output signals. While they are more sturdy, they are mainly made from nylon, plastic, glass-filled nylon, nylon plastic or stainless steel. There are many types of joysticks for industrial use. The key feature industrial joysticks have in common is that they are designed for use in extreme environments or on heavy-duty equipment such as cranes, excavators, forklifts and hoist devices.

There are also precision joysticks that are used for positioning, steering as well as speed control. They are used on applications like microscope control, wheel chairs, camera controls, optical measurement equipment, surveillance cameras, medical diagnostic equipment and stage techniques. Game joysticks can be used in video games, flight simulators and remote controls. Whatever you need ruggedized joysticks for, here are the main considerations you should make.


You can buy the most expensive industrial joystick on the market only for it to disappoint you because it is not compatible with your system. This is why the most important thing to do is make sure the desktop controllers you are after are designed to work with your system. Pay attention protocol support. The right joystick should be supported by your current operating systems. This is how you can make sure the joystick works smoothly with your equipment.

Still on specifications, you have to consider additional features such as friction hold, number of axes and spring return. The more axes a joystick has the more freedom you will have working with it. However, keep in mind that having more axis is not necessarily a good thing. For example, if what you need is simply to pan or zoom when controlling surveillance cameras, a single axis joystick will be perfect. For more complex tasks, friction hold and spring return to center are features you might require. Compile a list of everything you want a joystick to do before you start shopping for one. 

Type of joystick

There are many types of industrial joysticks. The main ones are:

  • Inductive joysticks. These have a magnetic coil that is connected to the bottom of the grip shaft, directly over 4 other magnetic coils that are mounted on a circuit board in the base. Movement is determined by change in magnetic waveform patterns.
  • Resistive joysticks. These rely on potentiometer that is mounted to a spring loaded bails which are moved by the deflection of the handle. Outputs are change in voltage or change in electrical resistance.
  • Hybrid joysticks. These joysticks combine both resistive and inductive technologies.
  • Hall effect joysticks. These use contactless sensors to detect deflection. The sensors are newer and considered to be more reliable.

How reliable a joystick is will depend on the features it packs. Go for the joystick that has the features you need.

Ruggedized Joysticks