Best Racing Wheels: The top five steering wheels for PC, Xbox One and PS4

Racing wheels for PC, Xbox One, PS4 and VR can completely change your racing experience. Ditch the controller and join us for a journey through the finest USB racing wheels money can buy.

If you enjoy realistic racing games such as Gran Turismo, Project Cars or iRacing, then in order to get the full experience of these titles, they’re best played with a proper racing wheel. That’s not to mention some of the amazing racers which are set to arrive in 2017, including Dirt 4, Project Cars 2 and (fingers crossed) Forza Motorsport 7.

In this guide we’ll run you through our favourite five and what to look out for in a racing wheel. Let’s get started.

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What is a sim racing wheel?

What separates a “proper” wheel from toys is “force feedback” technology. Powerful motors inside the wheels simulate what you’d feel if driving a real car.
 driveclub

You’ll have to fight the wheel as you take a corner, and feel the split-second that your tires lose grip. The increase in immersion is immense. Not only that, every time you take a kerb, touch another car or nail a corner better than you’ve ever done before: you’ll know all about it.

It’s important to think about which games are actually suited to a racing wheel, however. True arcade racers often feel better with a gamepad with their drifty, larger-than-life handling at odds with a racing wheel. Whereas games with exacting handling models that respond to minute movements benefit from a wheel. On PS4 this means titles such as Project Cars, Dirt Rally and DriveClub. On Xbox One, Forza Motorsport 6, Assetto Corsa and F1 2016 are worth checking out.

PC gamers have some of the above titles to try, plus some even nerdier racing sims from which they can choose – including iRacing and rFactor 2.

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Assetto Corsa

Thrustmaster and Logitech wheels make up the majority of this roundup, although hardcore race fans may want to check out Fanatec, which produces some terrific wheels, but can easily cost over £1,000. We’ve not ventured that far; our most expensive recommendation comes in at £586.

You have further options, too, if your budget will stretch. SimXperience makes wheels that use a “Direct Drive” force feedback system, where the wheel is connected to the motor without any belts or gears in-between. However, this costs $1,748 without any pedals – out of reach for most of us, then. If you win the lottery, look it up.

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F1 2016 3

Things to consider

First, be sure to check compatibility. While all featured wheels work on PC, you have to choose between Xbox One and PS4 support.

With standard bundles there’s also often a trade-off between the quality of the force feedback and the pedals. Would you rather have stuttery force feedback, or pedals which last a good year or two?

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Thrustmaster’s top budget option: Thrustmaster T150

  • Rubber wheel coating
  • PS3/PS4/PC support
  • Slightly notchy force feedback
  • Belt plus gear motor system
  • Low-quality plastic pedals
  • 1,080-degree rotation

The most affordable of Thrustmaster’s serious racing wheels is the T150. It’s a great wheel for those who want powerful, realistic force feedback but without having to pay a fortune for it. There are no new wheels on the market right now with force feedback that cost less money.

Before we get into how this is a lesser wheel than the T300, let’s tackle the good stuff. It’s sturdy, the force feedback has serious pull to it, and the rubbery wheel coating means it’s very grippy and will stand up to years of abuse. It’s also less notchy-feeling than the Logitech G29.

Now for those reasons why the T150 is cheaper than Thrustmaster’s top wheels. First, the pedals are basic – a two-pedal plastic setup that isn’t as impressive as the wheel. These can be upgraded, however.

Second, the wheel isn’t as smooth as the T300. This is because it uses a “gear and belt” transmission system rather than being purely belt driven. Given the price, though, these sacrifices are fairly easy to swallow.

Buy Now at Amazon.com from $199.99

At time of review the Thrustmaster T150 was available for £159 / $199.

Read the full Thrustmaster T150 review

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The full package on a budget: Logitech G29

  • High-quality pedals
  • High-quality wheel covering
  • PS4/PS3 and PC support (G920 offers Xbox One support)
  • “notchy” gear-driven force feedback
  • 1080-degree rotation

For years Logitech’s G-series wheels were our go-to recommendation for driving-game fanatics. The G29 takes what Logitech made with the G25 and G27 and adds PS4 support.

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If you see scathing reviews of the Logitech G29 online, they’re more than likely from former fans angry that their old (G25/G27) wheel doesn’t work with current-gen consoles. The wheel itself is as good as ever, however, with strong force feedback, an ultra-reliable motor mechanism and a top-quality, leather-topped wheel.  

Of the sub-£200 wheels, the G29 also offers the best bundled pedals; they’re much better than the generic Thrustmaster ones, and you get a clutch pedal.

What holds back the Logitech G29 slightly is the feel of its force feedback, which is “notchy” compared with the more expensive Thrustmaster T300 RS. This is because it uses gears to deliver its force feedback rather than rubber belts.

Still, for the money, it’s the best-value complete wheel and pedal set around.

Buy Now at Amazon.com from $355

At time of review the Logitech G29/G920 was available for £179 / $399.

Read the full Logitech G29/G920 review

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Best all-rounder for PS4: Thrustmaster T300RS

  • PS3/PS4/PC support
  • Rubber-coated wheel
  • Belt-driven force feedback
  • 1,080-degree rotation

If you have a decent chunk of money to spend and want the most advanced-feeling wheel around that comes in under £500, our top recommendation is the Thrustmaster T300RS.

Its highlight feature is very smooth and powerful force feedback, giving it a more realistic sensibility than the Logitech G29 or the cheaper Thrustmaster T150. This is all down to the way the motors inside deliver that unmistakable pull against your turns. It uses a brushless, full belt-driven system, which has a much less clunky feel and is relatively quiet.

In the T300RS’s early days there were some concerns about its reliability, stemming from the new belt system. However, it appears that Thrustmaster has largely fixed those issues in later batches.

There are just a couple of reasons why some of you might want to consider the Logitech G29, apart from the most obvious of it being significantly cheaper. First, the rubbery wheel doesn’t feel as luxurious as the leather one that Logitech uses, and the included pedals aren’t great. Although they have metal foot-plates, the rest of the set is plastic.

There’s plenty of scope to upgrade, however. Fall in love with racing wheels and you can add the excellent T3PA metal pedals, a separate gearbox, and even switch the wheel itself for a leather or Alcantara one.

Buy Now at Amazon.com from $381

At time of review the Thrustmaster T300RS was available for £250 / $399.

Read the full Thrustmaster T300RS review

Score

Top Xbox One pick: Thrustmaster TX Racing Wheel Ferrari 458 Italia Edition

  • Rubber-coated wheel
  • PC/Xbox One support
  • Belt-driven force feedback
  • 900-degree rotation

If you own an Xbox One rather than a PS4, the wheel to look for is the Thrustmaster TX. Ultimately, it’s very similar to the T300RS, but is designed to look like a slightly shrunken Ferrari car wheel. It even has the engine starter button.

The Thrustmaster TX wheel also has all the buttons of an Xbox One pad, but since there’s no D-pad, you’ll want to keep a controller handy while you play. It works with PC too, of course.

With the same excellent force feedback as the Thrustmaster T300RS, the Ferrrari 458 Italia Edition feels quite smooth, and has the power to make controlling your car a satisfying struggle. The one drawback over the T300 series is that the TX has only 900 degrees of rotation, rather than the full 1,080.

As can be the case with the other higher-end Thrustmaster wheels, some of you may end up wanting to upgrade the rubbery wheel and the just-okay two-pedal board. However, it all depends on how serious you want to get; for most, the Thrustmaster TX will be more than sufficient to satisfy.

Buy Now at Amazon.com from $299

At time of review the Thrustmaster TX Racing Wheel Ferrari 458 Italia Edition was available for £279 / $399.

Read the full Thrustmaster TX Racing Wheel Ferrari 458 Italia Edition review

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Key features:

  • Customisable wheels
  • Full pedal set
  • Xbox One and PC support

You might not believe it from the price, but the CSL Elite is the most accessible wheel and pedal combination the Fanatec has released since 2009.

At a rather steep £586 (at the time of our full review) for the cheapest wheel and pedals, most people will immediately be priced out of the Fanatec ecosystem. But those looking to step up their sim racing career (and who might possibly have another wheel they can sell when their Fanatec arrives), it’s a very tempting prospect.

 It’s the best racing wheel we’ve ever tested, with a smooth, powerful force feedback action, great styling, super-customisable settings and a modular wheel hub that lets you upgrade the wheel without replacing the base. The force feedback is driven by a single belt connected to a brushless motor, which means there’s none of that notchy feel you’d get from a cheaper wheel. It’s also super quiet, although its internal fans will kick up after some use.

Even better, the pedals have customisable feel, with three different brake weight settings available for all strengths and tastes (up to 90kg).

Don’t worry if you don’t have a proper cockpit setup; there’s a desk mount in the box so you can get top-quality sim racing action without having to dedicate an entire room to your new kit.

It’s extremely expensive, but the CSL Elite is the best racing wheel you can buy for under £1,000 and a worthwhile upgrade for any hardcore hobbyist.

At the time of review the Fanatec CSL Elite was priced at £586 (converted from Euros).

Read the full Fanatec CSL Elite review