Last updated on January 7, 2018
While you can get through any video game with a simple controller or mouse, they have always been problematic when it comes to racing games. Not only can you not get the best performance from the game with just a controller, but you also can’t get the best performance from the car. However, purchasing a racing wheel can be a daunting task with so many makes, models, and mock-ups of real-life wheels as well as set-ups that don’t exist in the real world.
If you need a place to start, you’ve come to the right article; we’ll cover everything from why buy a racing wheel all the way to racing wheel reviews in this one article. Sit down, get comfy, and prepare to walk away fully informed and prepare to buy your first (or tenth) racing wheel.
Table Of Contents
The Best Racing Wheels Reviews
Let’s review some of the best racing wheels for different platforms.
Best Xbox One Racing Wheels
The Thrustmaster TMX is designed for Windows and Xbox One. While both Microsoft consoles, we’re still waiting for Playstation to see this model. Some features that this particular wheel boasts include the following:
- Pedals included
- 900-degree force feedback base
- Progressive resistance brake pedal
- Realistic competition wheel design
The foot pedals are included with the wheel itself, so there’s no need to shop for anything else that would be needed to start using your racing wheel. The wheel itself does come equipped with a motor so feedback is available and the wheel is able to turn a whole 900 degrees, which increases the amount of realism that the wheel can offer.
Pros of the Thrustmaster TMX
This gaming wheel is compatible with more than one system, which makes it useful if you intend to use it on more than one platform. In addition, this racing wheel was designed with competitive gaming in mind, so you’ll be able to easily maneuver whatever car you choose in whatever game you decide to play- which makes this wheel an incredibly versatile controller. It also, again, comes with foot pedals included.
Downsides of The Thrustmaster TMX
The foot pedals don’t include a clutch, which is really only an issue if you wanted a clutch. However, it’s still perfectly suited to racing even without the third pedal. Clutches can be touchy in terms of preferences of the performance. However, I don’t believe this particular model is affected by the clutch – it works perfectly, and the performance isn’t affected in any way.
Best Racing Wheels for PC
Logitech is a well-known name when it comes to anything tech, and this steering wheel lives up to their name exceptionally well. Some features that this racing wheel boasts include the following:
- Pedals and Clutch included
- Force feedback
This racing wheel comes with everything you need to get started, like the pedals, a clutch, the shifter, and of course the wheel itself. It comes fully equipped with a force feedback motor as well, so it’s capable of simulating a driving experience as realistically as possible. Having a 6-speed option at such high-quality is almost rare to find, in my humble opinion, and the inclusion of the clutch and pedals are just added bonuses. Logitech is a very well-known brand that’s attractive in quality and style, and they knocked in out of the park with this one.
Pros of The Logitech G27
One major advantage is the clutch, even if you don’t know when to shift. This wheel comes fully equipped with RPM LED lights that tell the user when they should shift gears (based solely off of tack, of course) so there is still a little bit of a learning curve if you don’t know how to drive a standard very well. In addition, this steering wheel effectively simulates traction loss. This racing wheel is compatible with PC and PS3.
Downsides of The Logitech G27
This racing wheel has a clutch, which again, could be an advantage if you’re willing to learn how to use a clutch. Again, the wheel does come with LED lights that indicate when to shift and the shifter has a push-down reverse (much like most standards) so you can easily and quickly find your gear.
Best Racing Wheels PS4
The ThrustMaster T150 is compatible with three different gaming platforms (PC, PS4, and PS3). Highly talked about amongst the community, features of the ThrustMaster T150 include the following:
- Pedals included
- 1080 degree turning radius
- Force feedback
- Realistic feedback
The realism of the racing wheel’s feedback allows the user to not only feel the resistance of the wheel, but also the feeling of loss of traction, regain of traction, bumps, crashes, etc. The racing wheel’s ability to switch from platform to platform makes it highly versatile and the racing wheel’s turning radius is the highest on this list, further adding to the realism.
Pros of The ThrustMaster T150
The T150 offers unparalleled realism between the feedback, the wheel rotation, and the various sensations it can offer the user. It’s also a highly versatile wheel that can be used in a variety of racing games, as well as on a variety of platforms, offering the user more value for their money. The brake pedal also offers progressive resistance, further increasing the realistic feeling of driving a real car.
Downsides of The ThrustMaster T150
Similar to the G27, one potential disadvantage is the lack of a clutch. However, it can still be used just as effectively without a clutch and it’s more a matter of preference than functionality or performance. As you can imagine, this doesn’t affect the performance of the product whatsoever, but it does affect certain things if you have personal preferences.
Racing Wheel Buying Guide
Why Even Buy a Racing Wheel?
Like we touched on above, controllers simply don’t hack it when it comes to racing games. You lack the control of a full rotation, a clutch, and the ability to shift at the optimal time, which can seriously hinder your gameplay.
I think it’s safe to assume that if you like playing car racing games, you probably like fast cars and the thrill that comes with them- minus the legal implications and dangers of real-life racing. With a gaming wheel, it’s completely possible to feel the thrill of a fast car safely to the fullest extent that you can! Unless, of course, you’re a professional racer with a full-blown track in the back of your house.
That’s the whole reason we play video games, right? The addition of a good gaming wheel, or good gaming wheels, can increase how fun the game is.
What to Look for When Buying a Racing Wheel
Rotation, style, and size
While these three things are entirely different, I felt that they’d do best being put into one category. The rotation of the wheel is important; the more rotation that the wheel allows, the more real the game-play will feel. The size of the wheel is also important because, while it’d be difficult to play with a fully-sized steering wheel in your living room, it’d also be hard to play with a steering wheel that looks like it belongs in a RC car. And on a similar note, the style of the wheel is also important if you want to feel like you’re driving a real car. Although all of these are a matter of personal preference, they’re important preferences to think about when selecting your wheel.
Vibration and feedback
While most gaming controllers do vibrate, it’s not a guarantee. So if you have a preference, it’s still very important to look and make sure. In addition, while most controllers do vibrate, not all of them offer feedback. Feedback simply means that there is a motor inside that offers some form of resistance to the wheel, which is useful in increasing the realistic aspect of gameplay.
While some gaming wheels do come included with pedals, most of them don’t. It would be wise to consider finding a bundled set to ensure compatibility and save money. Without the pedals, the steering wheel is essentially useless for gameplay.
Consider if you want to use a clutch or not. While a clutch does offer more control over the vehicle and the ability to shift the car into whatever gear you choose to, whenever you choose to, it can offer an addition distraction if you’re familiar with how to shift. Although it is relatively easy to learn (especially when you don’t have to worry about your car stalling!) it can still be a frustrating or distracting experience nonetheless and is simply a matter of preference.
Some wheels are only compatible with a PC, while others are compatible with PC and PS, or any other sort of combination. It’s important to ensure compatibility between the racing wheel and your preferred platform. It would also be wise to consider compatibility between all of your gaming consoles if possible (which it isn’t always possible!) But if you play on one or more platforms it would probably be in your best interest to see if you can use one wheel interchangeably to get the most for your money.