I can’t count the amount of times I’ve been asked: “whats the best racing wheel to order”, and I can never give anyone a straight answer. That’s because there are so many different variations, preferences and budgets you have to deal with when choosing the right racing wheel. So I figured I’d take the time to help narrow this down here.
When it comes to racing simulation, and even flight simulation, people are deadly serious about the right equipment to choose from and so they should be. Some of this equipment is not cheap, you’re looking to simulate a sports car, it’s by no means a cheap hobby, but so, so worth the experience.
Why listen to us?
Our company Exooto Media, specializes in racing wheels & flight simulation products. We offer an abundance of items, but this particular set of products is what sets us apart from our competition. We have a wide variation of different racing wheels and joysticks for every type of gamer. We have the professional gear, and even the entry level equipment for gamers. We are genuine experts in this field.
Today we are going to guide you through choosing a racing wheel for the ultimate simulation experience. What to look for, and what to stay away from.
The racing wheels and items we recommend throughout this article can be used with different racing games such as Project Cars, Gran Turismo, The Crew, Forza and many more.
Racing wheel simulation is often overlooked in the gaming industry. Understandably as it can cost upwards of $500 for a decent gaming wheel. The typical gamer is often reluctant to spending that kind of money on a racing wheel.
Having said that, the true racing simulation enthusiasts would beg to differ as there is a huge difference from racing with a dualshock controller as opposed to that hands on leather force feedback with your racing wheel. Now today, you even get the added experience of Playstation VR or the Oculus rift.
But what you get with your racing wheel is more than just a way to navigate your vehicle. You get the benefit of precise control, high speed tension, and multiple racing wheel resources as you experience a simulation like no other.
If what you are looking for is to begin exploring the racing simulation world, you’re in the right place. This brief comprehensive racing wheel guide will have you setup in no time. Let’s get into the details.
Choosing The Right Brand For Your Wheel.
We’re not going to dwell on this topic too much as it’s an over argued factor for some people and really it should just be a matter of preference.
Two of the biggest brands in the racing wheel simulation industry have to be Thrustmaster and Logitech. Both very comparable brands in pricing, engineering and quality, but our personal preference is Thrustmaster.
Why Thrustmaster? It’s not that Thrustmaster is necessarily better than logitech. It’s merely a preference. I also feel that Thrustmaster offers more variation to the industry, but like I said before when it comes to pricing and the quality of the units they are both extremely comparable brands.
I veer towards Thrustmaster simply because I’m accustomed to their brand and products, and feel that Thrustmaster is slightly a bigger brand in this particular niche while logitech do have a strong presence in the racing wheel industry they also have many products elsewhere. While Thrustmaster is strictly gaming and simulation being the leaders in flight simulation also.
Summary: We recommend Thrustmaster.
What’s The First Thing To Look For When Choosing a Racing Wheel?
Between all brands, and versions of racing wheels the entire process can become quite overwhelming. There aren’t many large technical differences, and that’s because there aren’t many changes or breakthroughs you can make to a racing wheel as they are all similarly shaped with some minor exceptions.
The biggest thing you need to look for when choosing a racing wheel has to be those minor yet very important details. This is what ultimately effects the quality of your racing wheel. Details such as:
- Assembly requirements
- Ergonomics of the wheel
- Programmable buttons
- The material
- The design/look and feel
We’ll explore some of those features below, but before we do that read this important section.
One thing I’ve seen a lot of is people who are trying to save money by buying from china. Now don’t get me wrong saving money is never a bad thing, but when it comes to racing simulation, if you skimp on quality you’ll actually lose money in the long run. With companies like mine you can get some great consumer discounts, but don’t forget that this is an expensive hobby and there aren’t many ways around it so just be weary when buying from Chinese suppliers.
There’s no doubt it can be a dramatic difference in cost, but at the same time you’ll have a dramatic difference in quality. While the Chinese racing wheels do have their cost benefits, you’ll often find that it’s a waste of money, and end up having to buy a real racing wheel. Most of the consumer offers for racing wheels made in china are merely knock offs and not engineered by the true manufacturers and simulators. I’m all for saving money on cheap items from china, but when it comes to electronics 9 times out of 10 you’re wasting your money .
You can often tell right away from the quality of material in the assembly of your wheel. If it’s cheap plastic, then you can bet that it’s not of high quality, also keep an ear out for rattling sounds.
A good racing wheel will feel sturdy and strong and it doesn’t take much to figure that out. Any major rattling sounds will be a strong indicator of keeping your money where it is.
Most major racing wheel manufacturers know that including buttons on the wheels so you don’t have to reach elsewhere while driving is imperative to the design success of the wheel.
Too many buttons can be overwhelming and a distraction, but just enough programmable buttons will make it easier for you when using your gaming racing wheel.
I’d say choose a racing wheel with 5-10 buttons on the wheel. It’s not a necessity but it helps make the wheel more user friendly.
Now sensitivity of the wheel does come to down to preference again, but typically the best racing wheels offer the most sensitivity. What you need to do here is dive into the actual game settings and optimize the wheel to your sensitivity needs.
There’s no other way around this, if you purchase a high quality wheel you’ll get the desired sensitivity. All you need to do aftet this is adjust your game settings for your own preference.
Angle of rotation
There’s a huge debate online about what is the optimal angle rotation of the racing wheel. The standard angle rotation of the racing wheels used to be 240-270 degrees not so long ago.
However, as technology has evolved and you do want the most realistic experience there is. 1080 angle rotation is the best in my opinion, there is a huge debate about it all, but 1080 is what you want if you want our advice.
There’s no debate here that Force Feedback is a must. Most modern day high quality wheels offer force feedback. If they don’t save your money!
For anyone who doesn’t know what that is, the force feedback gives you a shock shake when your car bumps or hits something in game with the aid of the built-in vibrating motors.
As most racing wheels have force feedback, it’s not necessarily something you need to worry about. However, if you want the best force feedback then you need a wheel that has a separate power supply. Not a USB powered racing wheel! The usb racing wheels simply don’t have enough juice to give you the same feeling. So avoid them at all costs.
Transmission and Pedals.
Now if you want the ultimate racing experience. You’re going to want transmission pedals. Some wheels offer 2 pedals for the brake and gas, while others offer 3 pedals with the clutch as the additional pedal.
So depending on your driving style it is obviously your choice. Of course the 3 pedal system will provide the most realistic experience and is the most preferred pedal choice, but it’s not a necessity.
Having said that, we do have a lot of users that prefer the 2 pedal set as it’s a great entry level choice for gamers who can’t drive with a 3rd pedal.
Now that we’ve gone through some of the most important details, it’s time to move on to choosing an actual wheel. We tried to make this guide as simple as possible so you wouldn’t be left asking a bunch of questions, and we didn’t want to overwhelm you with information at the same time, but by all means if you still feel lost at the end of it. Shoot us an email: [email protected] we don’t mind helping you out. Completely free to email us for a recommendation even if it’s not from our website.
3 Examples of High Quality Racing Wheels For You To Choose
After looking at other reviews and product recommendations online here’s the best wheels we could find focusing on all scales of budgets. We narrowed it down to 3 wheels just to make life a little easier, but remember you’re not limited to these 3 racing wheels, these are merely recommendations we know you’d be happy with.
Wheel #1 – Thrustmaster T300 GT Racing Wheel
The Thrustmaster GT300 Racing Wheel is a prime example of quality in a racing simulation wheel. When you get to use this wheel. You immediately feel how strong and comfortable it is.
This particular racing wheel is our best selling wheel. It’s our number 1 recommended wheel to customers and we’ve yet to have a return on the item. It’s a high quality wheel for serious gamer racers for Playstation 4 and PC. This is well within peoples budgets and is better than an entry level racing wheel. It includes both the Gran Turismo licensed wheel and the pro pedal set with 3 adjustable pedals. It has all the features you need with any racing wheel, and it’s the wheel we recommend the most.
- Detachable Racing GT Style Wheel
- 2 Large, Wheel-Mounted Sequential Paddle Shifters
- T3PA – GT Edition Pedal Set
- Industrial-class brushless servomotor
- 1080° dual-belt system
- H.E.A.R.T HallEffect AccuRate Technology
If you’d like to learn more about the GT racing wheel you can view the product page by clicking here.
Wheel #2 – Thrustmaster TX Racing Wheel Ferrari 458 Italia Edition for Xbox One
This is the Xbox One counter part for Thurstmaster. The TX Racing Wheel that replicates the Ferrari 458 Italia wheel for an authentic racing experience. Developed in close collaboration with Microsoft, this 7:10 scale replica of the emblematic Ferrari 458 Italia wheel is fully dedicated to Xbox One, including Binder ID and Xbox One Guide button. Designed for true racers, it features metal gas and brake pedals, and gear sequential paddle shifters
Features of the wheel
- 900° Force Feedback Servo Base Featuring an Industrial-Class Brushless Motor
- Compatible with Xbox One Consoles
- Detachable 7/10 Scale Replica of the Ferrari 458 Italia Wheel
- 2 Large, Wheel-Mounted Sequential Paddle Shifters
- Ferrari-Style Pedal Set
- Industrial-Class Brushless Servomotor
- New Dual-Belt System
Wheel #3 – Thrustmaster T-GT Licensed Racing Wheel – Playstation 4.
Last not but not least is the most dominant racing simulation wheel out there. Now by no means is this an entry level product, its our most expensive gaming wheel we sell. At the same time it’s the most comprehensive and innovative gaming wheel we have used. It’s the Gran Turismo Sport racing wheel licensed for Playstation 4.
This GT racing wheel offers a gamer experience like no other, it’s a powerhouse of highly innovative technologies resulting from in-depth research into all of the sensations required for an ultra-realistic racing experience.
It’s a concentrate of technologies meant to meet the expectations of highly demanding drivers and e-sports racers. Equipped with the new T-DFB tech, leather wrapped wheel with fine smooth leather to facilitate driving maneuvers, and a 1080 force feedback base with an industrial class brushless motor.
This is probabaly one of the best wheels around, but also one of the most expensive too. You can learn more about the Thrustmaster T-GT on the product page.
Features of the wheel
- The T-GT offers accurate sensations to virtual racers to allow them to adapt their driving and enable them to improve their performance
- T-DFB is a new and exclusive technology developed for Gran Turismo Sport
- Technologies, meant to meet the expectations of highly demanding drivers and e-sports racers
- Realistic 3D perception of the environment are the key points of the T-GT Servo Base
- The 1080-Degree Force Feedback base features an industrial-class brushless motor
- Licensed for PS4
- Ultra realistic racing performance
- Smooth textured leather racing wheel
- It provides 50% more dynamics, 4 times greater stall force, and heat dissipation via monophasic cooling.
- 3 pedal set