TL;DR — These are the Best Racing Wheels:
1. Thrustmaster T300 RS GT
Best High-End Racing Wheel
The Thrustmaster T300 RS GT hits an almost perfect balance point between performance and price for racing wheels. This model includes a brushed metal steering wheel with central spokes and rubber grips, plus pedals that you could have pulled right off a car. It also offers solid force feedback thanks to its brushless motor and a belt-driven system.
Just be aware that this wheel is only compatible with the PlayStation 4, 3, and gaming PCs, as you might have guessed from seeing the console’s button layout built right into the steering wheel. Rest assured we’ll have picks for the Xbox One soon enough.
2. Hori Racing Wheel
Best Budget Racing Wheel
A decent racing wheel doesn’t have to cost hundreds of dollars, and in fact, this one just costs $100, so it’s one of the more affordable options. The HORI comes in two different configurations: one for PS4 and another for Xbox One.
It only includes two pedals (many others have three, and the vibration feedback is going to be slightly pedestrian compared to more sophisticated setups. But if you want the driving experience in a decent controlling setup without dropping too much cash, this is a great option.
3. Thrustmaster TMX Racing Wheel
Best Xbox One Racing Wheel
If you like the look and sound of the Thrustmaster T300 RS racing wheel but want to get a model that works with your Xbox One, then this is the one to check out. There are amble buttons on the wheel, paddle shifter, a control pad, and can automatically be recognized by the Xbox One.
This kit includes a two-pedal set and a can attach to just about any mount other wheels can, whether that’s a desk or table. The controls also include the Xbox guide button, so you’ll have full functionality to interact with your console.
4. Fanatec CSL Elite Racing Wheel
Best PS4 Racing Wheel
The Fanatec CSL Elite Racing Wheel is a bit pricey at $500, but it’s worth it if you want the best belt-driven racing wheel designed exclusively for the PS4. This racing wheel promises to deliver 6Nm of torque for the most authentic racing simulation experience.
The included rim has a diameter of 30cm and you’ll be able to rotate it up to 1,080-degrees. Rounding out the realistic experience is an integrated revolution meter and just above that on the wheel is a three-digit LED display you can use to monitor your speed or check which gear you’re in. The only thing this racing wheel doesn’t include is a set of pedals.
5. Thrustmaster TS-PC Racer
Best PC Racing Wheel
PC gamers are usually accustomed to the finer things in gaming and there’s no better wheel for this platform than the Thrustmaster TS-PC Racer. Designed specifically for the PC, you get a more authentic array of buttons and a rotary selector—nevermind the D-Pad—for extra authenticity and responsiveness while racing.
This Formula One-style wheel comes attached to a 40-watt brushless motor that delivers nearly 6nm of torque, which is among the highest degree of force feedback you can get from a belt-driven wheel. You don’t get pedals, but the Thrustmaster TS-PC Racer offers a bunch of expansion slots for those as well as shifters and handbrakes or attaching a different rim.
6. Fanatec ClubSport Racing Wheel V2.5 GT
Best Belt-Driven Racing Wheel
The Fanatec ClubSport Racing Wheel V2.5 GT is the crème de la crème of belt-driven racing wheels and for its $999 it damn well better be. Unlike most other racing wheels in its class, Fanatec went with a dual belt system attached to gearing with multiple v-ribs and large ball bearings. The result of all of this reduces drag and eliminated belt slippage, so it’s almost as if you’re playing with a direct drive system.
Although this system doesn’t include pedals, Fanatec ClubSport Racing Wheel V2.5 GT comes with a great steering wheel complete with an integrated speedometer. It’s expensive but it will be a treat for your next race or police chase.
7. SimXperience AccuForce Pro V2
Best Direct Drive Racing Wheel
The only thing better than a wheel that emulates a direct drive experience is the real thing. Typically this type of peripheral can cost thousands of dollars, but the SimXperience AccuForce Pro V2 is one of the most affordable options at $999. As the name might suggest, direct drive wheels connect a large motor directly to the steering wheel.
You get a whopping 13nM of force feedback from the SimXperience AccuForce Pro V2, which is sure to make your hands and wrists sore even after a short circuit race. With all the power you’re definitely going to need to mount this wheel to a sturdy frame, not to mention buy a separate set of pedals as they don’t come with the AccuForce Pro V2.
8. Logitech Driving Force G290
Best Racing Wheel for Beginners
If you’re just looking to dip your toe into the world of racing wheels, the Logitech Driving Force G290 is a good and affordable option. It includes not only a wheel but also shifters and pedals for a fuller racing simulation experience. Best of all the Logitech Driving Force G290 comes in editions that work with both consoles and the PC.
It includes steel ball bearings and stainless steel pedals, giving you the look of a true racing beast. The only drawback is it offers the least amount of force feedback with its dual-motor force feedback. You’ll still feel the steering wheel pull and fight against you that’ll add a dash of realism, but don’t expect to get the strongest sensation that you’re actually driving a car.
What to Look for in a Racing Wheel
One of the first things you should think about when shopping for a racing wheel you should consider how comfortable it’s going to be for you to use. Is the wheel large enough and comfortable enough for you to use. Padded and leather (or pleather) bound add a nice touch of comfort, but you may still want to buy a pair of gloves if your wheel delivers a lot of force feedback.
Speaking of force feedback, there’s three main types out there in the world:
- Gear Drive – In this case the wheel’s shaft is attached to gears that connect with the main force feedback motor. This type of force feedback system helped amplify torque, but it was notorious for jolting imprecisely and being extremely noisy. Gear Drive systems are also among the oldest type of force feedback system used on racing wheels and you can rarely find one aside from the Logitech G25 Wheels you might find on Ebay
- Belt Drive – The most common type of force feedback system used by modern racing wheels. This type of system takes the same concept of translating torque from the haptic motor as Gear Drive, but instead of using gears it uses belts. The resulting experience feels much more precise while being significantly quieter. However, due to the nature of rubber, Belt Drives often absorb some amount of the force feedback before it gets to the wheel and your hands, they also stretch and degrade overtime and require users to replace the belt.
- Direct Drive – Often regarded as the best type of force feedback, this system often has the wheel mounted directly to a large motor. There’s no delay or loss of torque with this type of force feedback system. However, since there aren’t any belts or gears amplifying the haptic force these systems often have to use larger motors. Direct Drive wheels are also the most expensive type of racing wheel you can buy and they usually start at around $1,000.
Kevin Lee is IGN’s Hardware and Roundups Editor. Follow him on Twitter @baggingspam