These peripherals are designed to replicate the experience of driving an actual car by putting a steering wheel in your hands and a set of pedals at your feet. Depending on how complex you want to go with your racing sim setup, this is the closest you can get to sitting behind the wheel of a Formula 1 racer or supercar, without actually being behind one.
Here’s what you need to know about picking up a racing wheel, along with a few recommendations.
What do you need to know before buying a racing wheel?
Before you commit to buying a racing wheel, make sure it’ll actually work with your gaming platform of choice, as some of these peripherals are only available for specific consoles. Most come in separate PlayStation and Xbox models, which also usually have some form of cross-compatibility with PCs.
If you take a quick look at the range of racing wheels, one thing will become instantly apparent: these things are expensive. If you’re a big racing gamer, then it’ll be a worthwhile investment, but if you’re maybe a bit more casual, dropping a few hundred dollars might be a bit harder to validate. Most of our recommended racing wheels sit within the $400 to $500 range, so budget accordingly.
What you want is a good steering wheel that doesn’t fly off while you’re driving. Most racing wheels come with a clip that allows you to secure them to the edge of a table so they won’t move when you use them, but that also means you need an available table for your set-up. This is a bit easier if you’re a PC gamer because you’ll already have a desk at the ready, but maybe a bit trickier if you’re using a console. Do your back a favour and don’t just clip the wheel to a low coffee table that you need to hunch over to use.
Depending on how advanced you want to go, you’ll also need to factor in space for a gearstick. There are dedicated cockpit frames that you can buy for your racing wheel, but again, you’ll need to account for available space to set one up.
You’re buying a racing wheel because you want to replicate the actual experience of driving a car, and the accuracy of that experience firmly rests on the controller’s ability to provide force feedback. This feedback is designed to pull against you while you’re driving, which will allow you to better understand the road you’re on and help stop you from over or under-steering through corners and bends – just like a real car.
Not all force feedback is equal, however. The overall accuracy and price of the racing wheels depend on the complexity of the internal mechanics.
What racing wheels do we recommend?
This 7:10 replica of the Ferrari 458 Spider’s steering wheel is a good entry-level controller, and certainly the cheapest way to get behind the wheel of a Ferrari. This wheel uses a “bungee cord” mechanism to provide force feedback, with up to 240-degrees of rotation. This steering wheel also includes a two-pedal set, which uses progressive resistance to replicate braking.
The Logitech G923 might be expensive, but there’s a reason it frequently appears on lists for recommended racing wheels. With its premium build quality, which includes brushed metal and stitched leather, this steering wheel makes use of Logitech’s TrueForce to provide one of the most realistic driving experiences possible.
This Logitech steering wheel also has a 24-point selection dial that will let you adjust traction, torque, brake force, along with a programmable dual-clutch to help you get off that starting line faster.
The Thrustmaster TMX Pro uses a mixed belt-pully and gear system to provide realistic force feedback, and has an adjustable rotation angle from 270 to 900-degrees. The pedal system uses progressive resistance to replicate the feeling of accelerating and braking, and allows for full adjustability when it comes to spacing and angle.
Platform: Xbox One, Xbox Series X, PC
If you haven’t noticed yet, when it comes to racing wheels, Logitech has firmly established itself as the go-to brand. The G29 steering wheel uses a dual-motor system to help provide precise feedback, so you’ll feel every tire slip, change in terrain or impact while you’re gaming. The wheel has a 900-degree lock-to-lock rotation, and uses helical gears that are modelled off the ones used in automotive transmissions to help create smoother feeling steering.
The G920 is to the Xbox as the G29 is to the PlayStation. It features a lot of the same mechanics, minus some buttons on the steering wheel’s face. Like the G29, the G920 also uses a pressure-sensitive brake system, while providing a more accurate performance by replicating the response and feel of braking.
While the box’s of these steering wheels may only list the Xbox One, PS3 and PS4 as compatible consoles, Logitech has confirmed that the G29 wheel will work with the PS5 and that the G920 will work with the Xbox Series X/S.