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After a hard day at work, racing games are the perfect way to kick back and unwind. When playing Forza or Need for Speed, you can choose from a ton of sim racing wheels. Sim racing gear can vary wildly in quality. Always keep in mind that in any wheel that you are going to purchase, it is very important to get the ones that suit your criteria. If you are on a tight budget, we can help you choose the best budget racing wheel available in the market. Read on to find out more.
To help you pick the best budget racing wheel, we compiled a list of gamer-approved items while taking into account the price, features, performance, and style. Surely after reading this article, you’ll know what to buy to improve your in-game driving experience using the best budget racing wheel.
ClubSport offers a more compact and lightweight steering wheel for gamers who want faster steering inputs when playing Gran Turismo. The wheel rim has a diameter of 275 mm and has a silver plus red color scheme. It’s equipped with Fanatec’s usual bells and whistles to make you feel totally in control as you launch the game. You still have to connect it to a PlayStation-licensed wheelbase if you want to use it for Gran Turismo though.
The R300 V2 steering wheel is an ideal multi-purpose wheel if you play Gran Turismo as it has a stylish look to bring your gameplay to the next level. It’s a bundle of the Podium Wheel Rim R300 and the ClubSport Universal Hub V2 retaining all the features like magnetic shifters, adjustable button boxes, and 7-way FunkySwitch to give you total control as you play. It’s a great alternative for people on a budget as it’s not as pricey as other Fanatec products but still has all the features you need to win the race.
ClubSport Steering Wheel BMW GT2 V2
This steering wheel is another officially licensed wheel by BMW that bears its logo without reducing the diameter of the wheel size. In addition, it has a revised internal design that reduces its overall weight by 30% for better precision driving and smooth inputs. The BMW GT2 V2 uses genuine Alcantara leather to improve your sensations while playing with it. It’s also easy to clean and looks cool with a lot of features and customizations that you can configure anytime. The only drawback of this wheel is that it needs a PlayStation-licensed wheelbase for it to work for Gran Turismo.
Built for the Playstation but is also compatible with the PC, this wheel’s difference with other Thrustmaster models that will be mentioned in the succeeding parts is its 1080° rotation and Touch Sense technology. These features allow the player to have a realistic experience with regards to the track’s relief, loss of tire grip, braking, bumps, and impacts, etc.
Moreover, the wheel contains D-Pad and ABXY keys with shift paddles. The footpad has a huge space for rest and the pedals are inclination adjustable. Another feature for immersive gameplay is the brake pedal’s progressive resistance. Like the other Thrustmaster wheels within the same price range, this model is also available for upgrades with pedal add-ons and shifters. If you can spend a few extra bucks in exchange for that realistic feel of gaming, T150 is a great choice.
PXN V900 Racing Wheel
Next on the list is the PXN V900. It boasts its 900° rotation and dual vibration. The wheel also has a D-pad, ABXY button, function setting, and mounted shifter. With its compatibility with a huge number of games, it is great for an entry-level racing wheel. Numerous gamers encountered a dead zone on its steering but it is part of its 3-mode steering that you need to manually adjust on its setting. It is also ideal for long-term use if you don’t plan on upgrading or making a huge investment in racing wheels. Its plastic build is sturdy and stands the test of time for most of its users.
DOYO R270 is one of the lesser-known sim racing wheels but offers a lot for its cheap price. It is equipped with responsive gears, with moderate rotation resistance that allows you to feel every detail of your driving. Unlike the first mentioned wheels, R270’s shifter has a dedicated stick on the right-hand side of the wheel. The foot pedals can also be adjusted to different angles, customizable sensitivity, and with suction pads to hold them in place. It is not as fancy as other listed racing wheels, which makes it recommended for casual gamers just starting to try racing games. Overall, its price is worth its feature. It is definitely better than using a controller or a keyboard while driving.
Another budget sim racing wheel from PXN is its V3II model. It comes with much simpler features than other models from its brand but still gives a great driving experience. Its notable feature is the dedicated shift stick on the right side of the wheel and a wheel design that offers 180° rotation, dual-motor feedback driving force to provide a realistic gaming experience. Additionally, it has intelligent auto-adjust vibration levels that adapt to different driving scenes. Included with this are its basic accelerating and braking pads that can handle a beating even with its simplicity. It might look a little outdated. Moreover, we can’t say that the feel is of the highest quality. However, if you are simply looking for a cheap pc racing wheel as an entry-level option, then the PXN V311 is a good choice.
HORI Racing Wheel Apex
This wheel is Amazon’s Choice for this list with its full 11” wheel size for realistic gameplay. It comes with 180° Quick Handling Mode rotation along with full 270° rotation and other modes. Apex racing wheel also offers an immersive D-pad, ABXY, and functionality buttons on its wheel that are fully programmable. The shifter is mounted on the wheel that is enveloped by a comfy textured rubberized grip which also adds control. The steering setting offers a comprehensive dead zone and sensitivity to fit every gamer’s driving style. If you think that’s all, its foot pedals also have something for you with their own customizable input sensitivity and retractable footrest. This surely is a quality gaming peripheral within budget.
This next wheel is the unique one on this list as it can support a wide range of gaming devices including mobile phones! Importantly, it is compatible with the PC and can support most popular games. It has a slightly smaller wheel size compared to real-life racing wheels and operates with a stick shifter. Its rotation can be brought to a full 180°. Aside from D-Pad, ABXY, and function buttons, it has additional programmable keys. The foot pedals for acceleration and breaking are basic pads but give a smooth control. The main takeaway for this wheel despite its simple functionality is that it can be used for mobile gaming which is a plus for a lot of gaming enthusiasts who also play with their mobile devices.
Another model from Thrustmaster is its TMX which is relatively pricier compared to other items on this list. However, its value lies in its 1:1 ratio of wheel size to real racing wheels. It can do a full 900° rotation and ensures accurate in-game reproduction of all-wheel movements. It has a belt-pulley system that is responsible for its Force-Feedback. TMX also brags its 100% metal shift paddles that give a different feel on perfectly changing gears. And in case you are planning to upgrade your gaming peripherals, this wheel is also available for an upgrade of the gearbox shifter. Its foot pedals also come with a textured design for grip and suction so it stays still. If you are looking for a mid-range driving wheel that can be upgraded in the future, this one is right for you.
Thrustmaster T80 Ferrari 488 GTB
The Thrustmaster T80 Ferrari 488 GTB is the 8:10 scale replica of the Ferrari 488 GTB racing wheel licensed by Ferrari and Playstation 4. It is compatible with PCs with OS such as Windows 7/8/10. It features a wheel-based Bungee Cord mechanism that permits linear resistance regardless of the rotation angle. This in turn leads to an ergonomic and intuitive driving control. The wheel also includes 11 action buttons and wheel-mounted shifters. Its large pedal set of accelerating and breaking input has an adjustable angle and inclination to suit your reference gameplay.
The Thrustmaster T80 is a great starter wheel for anyone who wants to play sim racing. Of course, it suits F1 fans, too! There is nothing that will make you feel more on the road other than the replica of the Ferrari 488 GTB. Some games initially do not support it so make sure to check its compatibility first with the games you want.
Last but not the least, Numskull Pro makes its mark on the list as one of the best cheap pc racing wheels. It can steer up to 270° rotation with vibration technology that allows you to feel every tire slip and terrain change. The four buttons on the wheel might not be enough that is why they have designed a separate place for D-PADs and programmable buttons on the left-hand side of the wheel. Another great addition is the anti-slip pads on the pedals. As a bonus, if you are uncertain whether you prefer wheel-mounted shift paddles or gear shift sticks, good thing it has both!
One of the most significant aspects that might help you improve your game experience is your sim racing wheel’s rotation. A good quality wheel should rotate at a rate of at least 270°. A quality one can go for 1080°. If you buy a cheap pc racing wheel, it will have a rotation range that is less than that of real automobiles. Purchasing pricier wheels will provide you with the same experience as driving a real car.
You need to consider the wheel size of your racing wheel. When it comes to purchasing racing wheels, the majority of gamers make a huge mistake. Always remember that a wheel with a diameter of 13 inches is standard, and most players desire this size. This is a fantastic size for your racing game because it is a familiar size especially if you drive real cars. If you’re considering purchasing a new wheel for your game, be sure it’s one that you’ll be comfortable with.
It’s like shooting oneself in the foot by buying a sim racing wheel that doesn’t have force feedback. The idea of simulating races is to make you feel like you’re really in the driver seat and that can’t happen until your steering wheel reacts to what’s going on in the game. Force feedback sim racing wheels are designed to transmit haptic information from the simulator to your wheel. It’s because of this that sim racing feels like you’re driving a real engine. The force feedback should ideally be as swift and smooth as possible, with no lag between what you see and what you feel from every tire slip and terrain change. This not only feels more realistic, but it also helps you to play and react with greater accuracy.
Type of Wheel
Three types of sim racing wheels vary depending on the experience they offer. Low-end racing wheels are gear-driven wheels that are not as accurate as other types of racing wheels in terms of force feedback. They have weak and slow feedback from in-game factors. The next type of racing wheel is the belt-driven wheel that uses a system of pulleys and belts that supports the motor in terms of performance, creating much smoother force feedback. The third one is the direct-driven wheels which is the latest technology used in today’s sim racing wheels. It is considered the most superior because of its realistic force feedback. This makes it the top-tier type of wheel as it uses larger and stronger motors which in turn make you feel like driving a real engine.
Another important part of a sim racing wheel that you need to consider is its pedals. What’s the point of buying a steering wheel and aiming for something realistic if you don’t have foot pedals to drive or brake? Along with the wheels, manufacturers usually provide a set of pedals. However, different brands and models offer varying attention and detail to their pedals that may entice or dismay their customers.
This is another crucial component of any vehicle, and you can’t fathom playing sim racing games without it. It provides you with the most realistic gaming experience possible. The wheel-mounted shift may do the work but some players go for shift sticks and even gearbox shift type.
Warranty is significant since it acts as a guarantee for the product’s quality. In the event of a defect, it expresses the manufacturer’s commitment to repair or replace the product. As a result, whenever you buy something, always check the warranty.
The number of items that are incompatible with one another is astounding. You must consider all of this when determining what to buy, whether it’s a wheel that only works on a specific console, supports limited games, a rim that won’t fit, a shifter, or a rig (we sometimes say rig, other times we say sim rig, they mean the same thing) with pre-drilled holes for specific manufacturers.
The majority of sold sim racing wheels start at around $150, high-end wheels start at $800 and go up to well over $2,000; a mid-range sim setup starts at $500, and extra upgrades may cost at least $100 each! When you add it all up, you’ll see that you’ve spent a lot of money! You want to make the best use of your money and get the equipment that is perfect for you, rather than wasting money on things you don’t like.
How long do sim racing wheels last?
Many things determine the longevity of a sim racing wheel, including how much you use it, what material it is made out of, and what brand it is. Three years of use is the very minimum you should expect from a wheel before it needs to be replaced but it can be replaced earlier if you want to upgrade your wheel to a more immersive level.
Why are sim racing wheels expensive?
Sim racing wheels are pricey for the simple reason that they are often composed of high-quality materials and use cutting-edge technology. When you’re first going into sim racing, there are a lot of options to explore, and there are a lot of things to think about before you buy one. The better and more realistic the experience of the wheel, the higher it will cost. This is also related to what type of wheel you are buying (gear-driven, belt-pulley, or direct drive). The more complex the mechanism, the costlier it is to develop.
What is force feedback in Sim Racing?
Force feedback wheels are designed to transmit haptic information from the game to your wheel. It’s because of this that sim racing makes you feel like you’re driving a real vehicle. The force feedback should ideally be as rapid and smooth as possible, with no lag between what you see and what you feel. This not only seems more realistic, but it also helps you to respond more precisely, resulting in better performance. Force feedback is provided in sim racing wheels in three ways: gears, belts, and direct drive. Each of these technologies offers a distinct amount of power and smoothness. The greater the price, the more power and smoothness you can expect to receive.
Is it better to play racing games using a wheel?
Racing games are unquestionably better when played with a steering wheel. They have a more realistic feel to them and will assist you in improving your performance. If you’re serious about sim racing, you’ll need a good-quality rotation and force feedback wheel.