What if you want an even more authentic experience than your trusty gamepad can provide? Perhaps you're truly slumming it in PC land with a keyboard?
Worry not, for in this article, we’ll list the best racing wheels we’ve tested, for those who want a more realistic, engaging drive. Keep reading if you fancy sharpening up your skills for esports, or you just want a boost against the usual online competition.
Prices are based on Australian RRPs sourced in April 2020
Should I buy a racing wheel?
Before we go through the best racing wheels you can buy, it’s worth explaining who they’re for and who will get the most out of them.
Of course, you don’t need a racing wheel, but if you’re particularly interested in racing games, they’re worth a look.
Simply put, they unlock another dimension to most good racing games, giving you increased feedback from – and control of – your virtual ride.
They offer more control and provide more information than a gamepad, and that translates to more precise inputs, and ultimately, quicker lap times.
Even if you’re an arcade racing fan, but want to experience another level of interaction, a racing wheel is still worth a look.
How do I use a computer racing wheel?
Finally, it’s best to work out where you’ll put your wheel before you buy it. To get the most out of a racing wheel, you’ll ideally want a racing chair or frame – so you’re in the correct driving position – but wheels can also be clamped on to coffee tables or desks.
Even though pricier wheels can be clamped onto existing furniture, we’d strongly advise getting a racing seat to get the most out of your investment.
Where will it work?
Sadly, there isn’t a racing wheel that works on every platform – so take care checking the wheel you choose is compatible with the products you want to use it with.
Typically, wheels will be compatible with a PC and one console or the other – so it’s either Xbox One and PC or PS4 and PC.
Those who like to switch between Xbox One, PS4 and PC won’t be able to use a single wheel for all three – although third-party products such as the Drivehub promise universal compatibility. We’ll review one of those at a later date.
With that out the way, here’s a look at the best racing wheels for PS4, Xbox One and PC.
Best racing wheels for PS4, Xbox One and PC
Fanatec CSL Elite PS4 Starter Kit - $999 (approx)
Available for both PS4 and PC, the Clubsport series is an impressive midrange offering – and can easily be boosted later down the line.
The PS4 version comes with the same buttons you’d find on Sony’s controller, and there’s even an LED rev-counter to help you nail your gear changes.
The metal rim of the CSL Elite weighs 970g, has a 30cm diameter, and includes snappy, durable shifter paddles.
Under the surface, the CSL uses a brushless server motor, which essentially means force feedback is strong and accurate so you know exactly what the car is doing beneath you.
What’s more, the range of FF and much more is also customisable via buttons on the wheel, so you don’t have to recalibrate all the time.
Pedal-wise, the CSL bundle impresses with a fully adjustable layout. What’s more, there’s the possibility of adding extravagant extras, like a load-cell pedal or gear shifter if you fancy.
A load-cell pedal is a step above a typical pedal supplied with an entry-level steering wheel set-up. Instead of potentiometers, the pedals use automotive-industry spec load cells, which are vastly more linear and sensitive - and they last indefinitely, too.
Prices can vary as the CSL comes in a variety of bundles, so choose which makes the most sense for you. It’s also Xbox One-ready, but be aware that isn’t same as being compatible with the Xbox One out the box. Instead, you'll need to buy an Xbox One compatible rim.
Fanatec CSL Elite F1 set - $999
There are currently two FIA-approved esports championships, GT Sport and the F1 championship. The former uses the Thrustmaster TGT included later in this list, and the Formula One esports championship uses this, the Fanatec CSL Elite F1 set.
As you’d expect, it’s a solid bit of kit, and uses the same ClubSport as the other Fanatec wheels on this list.
However, it also adds the stunning F1 esports steering wheel: designed to look like it just came off a real F1 car, it’s compact and features a rev-counter and LED display – but adds the usual PS4 buttons to the mix.
Thrustmaster T300 RS - $699 (with twin pedal set)
The first official force feedback-enabled wheel for the PlayStation 4, and still one of the most popular, the T300 RS remains a bargain. Take a look at the stats and it won’t be able to compete with some other big hitters on this list, but the T300 RS is a heavyweight at this price.
A smooth brushless motor will be a revelation to wheel newcomers, and it’s also very precise for the money.
Like other wheels on this list, you’ll find dedicated buttons on the front of the rim, along with solid paddles on the rear, and you also get metal pedals to go with it. Plus, it has 1080 degrees of rotation.
Of course, this T300 RS also serves as platform for further upgrades; a range of rims can replace the eleven-inch, 1.2kg one supplied, and you can add a gear shifter.
Thrustmaster TX - $699
Like the look at the T300 RS, but have an Xbox One rather than a PS4? Try the Thrustmaster TX. It offers the same features as the T300RS for an equally reasonable price but provides Xbox One buttons rather than PS4 ones. A three-pedal set is bundled with the TX, though you can upgrade them if you wish.
Logitech G29 - $499
Those familiar with PC peripherals will already be aware of the Logitech name – for everyone else, it’s a very established brand in the accessory market.
Simply put, the Logitech G29 is a simple, solid piece of kit: well-built, packed with features and favourably priced.
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It’ll only rotate 900 degrees but it uses a dual-motor for strong force feedback, and there’s also a neat wheel-mounted rev-counter so it’ll never be blocked by the position of the wheel.
Elsewhere, there's a trio of metal pedals along with a non-linear brake pedal, and you’ll find all the PS4 buttons on the wheel face, so you can zip through menus. It works on PC, by the way.
Logitech G920 - $499
This is simply a version of the G29 for the Xbox One and PC, the G920 is pretty much identical to the G29.
There’s only one real difference; the G920 loses the nifty shift lights we enjoy on the PS4 and PC wheel, which is a pity.
We’ve got one as a long-term tester from Logitech, and it’s the wheel we use for all of our game reviews.
Want to know what we really think of it? Read our Logitech G920 review here.
Thrustmaster TGT - $1499
Heard of esports? Heard of Gran Turismo? Heard of Igor Fraga, or Mikal Hizail? If so, then you’ll already know what this wheel is, and the pedigree it comes with.
Simply put, this is the official wheel of GT Sport, one of the biggest, most important racers on the PlayStation platform – and by extension, the official wheel of the FIA-approved GT Sport championship.
It’s also purpose-built for the latest version and future versions of Gran Turismo. The TGT is expensive – but you get a lot for your money.
Thrustmaster has effectively thrown the kitchen sink at this collaboration with Polyphony Digital, and it shows after just a few minutes use.
Take a look at the wheel and you’ll see it features the same buttons as your standard DualShock 4 pad, but it also adds four rotary dials for parameters such as traction control and brake bias, echoing what you see on screen.
A 40-watt industrial-class brushless motor is able to directly convey what’s happening in-game, while remaining 100 per cent proportional to the intended forces.
In addition, a technology called T-DFB adds vibration effects along with suspension feeling to the steering column, giving you even more information about the road. Oh, and the wheel rim is leather.
Throw in three sturdy, adjustable pedals, two metal paddle shifters, along with the ability to upgrade the wheel rim – though we can’t see why you’d want to – and this is an impressive bit of kit.
Pedals and racing seats
Pedals are just as important as a wheel, and the bundles here tend to use more basic ones. If you want something a little more exotic, we’d suggest load cell pedals. These emulate the feel of racing car brakes, trading pedal position for pedal pressure.
After dialling this new method your muscle memory, it’s possible to be far more accurate with load cell pedals. It’s also easier to pull off trail or cadence braking.
Thrustmaster have just released the fully adjustable T-LCM and Fanatec also has a load cell kit to adapt existing pedals.
A seat is also important for getting the absolute most out of your set up. Pricing ranges from less than $200 for a simple t-shaped stand that needs you to supply a seat, through to a minimum of $600 for a stronger frame/seat combo that is capable of handling the loads of heavier-duty wheel/pedal combos.
However, when you consider how much the rest of your racing setup costs; monitor, console or PC, steering wheel and pedals – it’s worth bringing it all together and getting the very best experience out of it.