In the small world of video games, the racing wheel is surely the accessory that can improve overall immersion in the best way. Playing a racing game with a joystick can be very nice, but when you taste a good steering wheel, then you often don’t want to go back.
The gaming experience is greatly improved, provided you equip yourself with the right equipment. Here, I invite you to discover what is best, in price ranges that remain accessible to the general public. You will find force feedback models offering the best value for money, and entry-level racing wheels much better than a simple joystick or keyboard.
The best racing wheels in comparison
If you want to avoid going through all those problems, you should look for a model that offers force feedback, with which you can capture the sensations of the road as if you were really driving. You can also feel the resistance of the racing wheels of cars.
Apart from that, if your computer car games or consoles are racing, you will need a model of about 13 inches because they require fewer movements to pass the curves. If it is for other types of PC games such as truck simulators, then the larger models are better because they allow more drastic turns. If the racing wheel comes with pedals, it is important that you can adjust the pressure sensitivity of the pedals, as well as the height and position. Another good feature is that it is compatible with various platforms such as computers, Xbox and PS4.
In the following comparative list, you will find that and much more.
1. RWA Racing Wheel Apex controller for PS4 and PS3
This racing wheel easily wins our prize for the best racing wheels at low prices. Overall, the racing wheel is very classic: a few touches of colour here and there and matt black everywhere else. But it is precisely the use of this matt black that makes the racing wheel-less cheap than what its price might suggest. The crankset is visually in line with the wheel and the base, since here too a matt black material was used. It is more precisely rubber, allowing a certain grip of the feet.
Everything is very well thought out, the buttons are well placed, the paddles respond well and the pedals (there are only two here) have adjustable sensitivity, allowing to adapt the sensations to our driving habits. The only elements that can work against this racing wheel are the lack of vibration and force feedback. But again, you have to keep in mind that this racing wheel is very affordable and that it does not skimp on the overall quality. Finally, the racing wheel is fixed with a set of suction cups. We know the advantages and disadvantages of such a system: it works, but it is difficult to remove.
2. Speedlink Trailblazer Racing Wheel for PlayStation 3, PS4 and PC
In the field of low-cost racing wheels, it seems that Speedlink is starting to get a little handy. The TRAILBLAZER racing wheel is by no means a high-end steering wheel that will bring you the greatest precision ever, nor the best quality of manufacture. If the plastics used are of quality, we are still far from what the RWA racing wheel offers in terms of overall characteristics. The sensations are not extraordinary, but it probably comes from the lack of force feedback and so far, it is excusable.
What bothered us the most here is above all the obligation to have an official controller to play on the console since you will have to connect it to a USB port on the racing wheel to use the latter on PlayStation 4 or Xbox One; the console will also think that you are playing with the joystick, which is a bit disabling for the sensations. Only the PC recognizes the product as a racing wheel and that’s good since we are talking about PC racing wheels in this selection. However, PC drivers do not allow any particular adjustment.
3. Fanatec CSL Elite Racing Wheel
The first thing that stands out from this model, apart from its attractive and modern design, is the fact that it has an official license of PS4 and the Pro version, so you have the guarantee that it will work perfectly well. It uses a system of servomotor without brushes that allows fast and precise turns, the drive Single Belt Drive and system DirectSensor in the steering axis.
It also has a steering stop of 1080º and, although it does not include an accelerator and brake, it is compatible with brand pedals, different levers and hand brakes.
4. Thrustmaster T300 RS steering wheel
This racing wheel is simply magnificent. The quality of manufacture is very serious, with an aluminium wheel and an outline covered with a rubbery material very pleasant in hand, which avoids slipping. The grip is perfect, you immediately want to press the accelerator. That’s good, the all-metal pedals are just as robust, and even if the original model only has two pedals, it will do the trick to manage braking or acceleration precision.
All buttons are perfectly integrated and well placed. The overall ergonomics are excellent. When we start playing, we immediately discover the effects of force feedback and vibrations, which give us the impression of really undergoing surface changes, skids or stalls.
The gaming experience is clearly increased tenfold with this racing wheel, which turns our racing games into real simulations. If you are looking for a quality accessory for your PS4 or PC, then this Thrustmaster T300RS will simply be ideal. It remains in an accessible price range, even if it will gradually buy a gear lever and a pedal 3 pedals for even more realism.
5. Logitech G29 simulation racing wheel
We are talking about one of the best gaming steering wheels voted by users, who consider it high quality and convenient because it comes with pedals and because it comes with a lot of buttons and functions. Apart, it is compatible with Windows, PS3 and PS4 and connects via USB 2.0.
It includes force feedback, silent motors and gears, gear shift levers and LED lights to make the changes more precise and easy. The brake pedal is non-linear and is made of stainless steel and stitched leather. It has a rotation of 900º and is compatible with simulation booths.
6. Thrustmaster TX Servo Base
We have already seen several models for the PlayStation 4 and the time has come for this game for car games officially licensed for the Xbox and Windows computers. It is made with metal and hand-sewn leather and has a double strap mechanism that prevents friction and better operation.
It includes a set of 3 pedals with adjustable resistance and also comes equipped with a LED connection indicator with Kinect. Its rotation capacity is up to 900º, it comes with internal memory, feedback and a brushless motor.
7. Logitech G920 Gaming Steering Wheel
This racing wheel is a model of its kind. It is sold under the reference G920 for Xbox One, but it is also available for the Playstation in G29. It is a beautiful 28 cm wheel covered with very good quality leather, on a three-spoke aluminium axle. It is heavy and very solid, there is no doubt about it. The steering wheel exudes robustness and it also has a great look, very modern, it’s a great job from the Swiss manufacturer.
The paddle shifters are made of metal, strong enough not to change speed without doing it on purpose, but flexible enough to offer very short reaction times. The flywheel has a proven dual-motor force feedback. The effects are powerful, sometimes brutal, and with the vibrations, we really get closer to reality. The immersion is therefore perfect, and we do not sulk our pleasure with this steering wheel in our hands.
The crankset is the best on the market in this price range. It has 3 pedals, and we can then adapt it with a gear lever to further increase the simulation. The pedals are adjustable as we wish, and the progressive resistance of the braking always gives us more precision.
Why do you have to play with a racing wheel?
I think I don’t even need to answer this question. If you like motorsport and driving, then necessarily the racing wheel will be more exciting for you than a joystick or a joystick. The simulation is more real, the immersion much more complete, and suddenly the pleasure of play is increased tenfold.
It is also a better way to improve our performance and pulverize our lap times. All the best players are on the wheel, and it is easy to understand that the joystick or worse, the keyboard, quickly show their limits. It is not for nothing that the steering wheel of a real car is not replaced by a joystick. It is more practical, more precise and therefore allows us to gain efficiency. Whether it is for cornering, braking or acceleration, we are more precise, and the performance gain becomes significant.
If a few years ago, the steering wheels had too much latency and lacked responsiveness, today they react as quickly as a controller, and it even appeals to real racing drivers. The greatest champions no longer hesitate to train on PC, admitting that the game steering wheels give them the possibility of revising the tracks, at full speed, without risk for them or for the car, and in very close conditions reality.
This degree of immersion, of course, appeals to all enthusiasts, who thanks to the best racing wheels can feel the shocks, stalls and skids in the corners, but also the roughness of the road. In short, we immerse ourselves in a virtual universe in the best possible way, and we transform a game into a real simulation.
How to choose a racing wheel?
The importance of force feedback
When you decide to buy a racing wheel, there is of course multiple information to consult, many criteria to check. The presence or not of a force feedback system seems to us to be one of the main elements to watch as it will condition many other things, starting with the price of the kit. In fact, force feedback is generally what separates entry-level products from more ambitious models.
As much to be clear from the start, a steering wheel without force feedback loses a good part of its interest and the sensations once on the track are greatly affected. However, this is not an obligation and it is still possible to have fun even without this option. That said, opting for a force feedback product is not an end in itself. There are actually almost as many ways to see the return of strength as there are products available on the market.
Thus, there are powerful motors capable of giving you pain in the forearms and much more delicate models. The latter will obviously be cheaper, but also less convincing in terms of immersion. Another consequence to bear in mind: a powerful motor is generally noisy because it is accompanied by a fan capable of dissipating the heat generated. A detail that should not be overlooked at the time of purchase, especially if your racing wheel is to be in a room shared with other people.
In order to simplify things for you and since Clubic is first of all a site for PC users, all the models selected in this folder work perfectly on a machine equipped with Windows 10 and in the majority of cases also on Mac OS . On the other hand, the question of compatibility nevertheless arises, because, as you will see, things are already much less simple when we look at the case of consoles.
Without it being known very well if a manufacturer is more to blame than the other, there are no racing wheels capable of functioning as well on PlayStation 4 as on Xbox One. At the time of purchase and if you plan to put your steering wheel between your PC and your console, it is therefore necessary to be very careful. Fortunately, the majority of manufacturers have models officially recognized by Microsoft and Sony with PC compatibility each time.
From the choice of the crankset
When we talk about a racing wheel, we are perhaps fixing a little too much on the single steering wheel block. Admittedly, it is of importance if only by the presence of the wheel and by its role of central connection. He is not alone, however, and you will see that many interesting products, at first sight, are seriously handicapped by a less well thought out crankset.
For example, you should not neglect the weight of this pedal unit, which must be able to stay in place even when you use it violently with your feet. You must also take into account the presence of two or three pedals depending on what you want to consider as a simulation. Finally, and this is undoubtedly more important than for the racing wheel unit: it is preferable to opt for a customizable model on which we can modify the spacing, the height and the orientation of the pedals: we do not have all the same morphology and this is felt much more in the legs/feet than in the arms/hands.