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The Need for Speed series of sim racing games has been pumping out incredibly realistic racing simulations since 1994. The franchise is not just one of the best sim games out there, it’s also one of the most successful video game franchises, period. The release of Need for Speed Heat has added a lot of fans to the genre and it’s becoming obvious that sim racing is here to stay. So for you, an avid Need for Speed fan, here are 10 of the best steering wheels compatible with the series to ensure you always have the best lap times.
The Gran Turismo DD Pro Express Version by Fanatec is one of the latest racing wheels for the next generation of consoles. The PS5 and Xbox Series S|X is in good hands as it’s the official Direct Drive wheel for Gran Turismo. Not only that, but the DD Pro Express version is also capable of supporting other games like Forza Horizon Series, or the Need for Speed series of sim racing games. The center of the wheel features a white OLED display as well as a diffused RevLED strip to provide racers with visual information during gameplay.
The wheel is directly mounted to the motor shaft removing the old belt or gear drive features that dilute the Force Feedback effects of some older racing wheels. The racing wheel is made from an all-metal design for a progressive feeling and more realism like never before. Buying this product includes a strong and high-precision pedal set built from steel with precise and durable hall sensors so you can enjoy your sim racing games right away.
Playing Need for Speed: Porsche unleashed is definitely going to be fun when you’re using a full-scale replica of an actual Porsche steering wheel. The Podium Porsche 911 GT3 R Suede by Fanatec is a premium quality replica based on original CAD data that’s built with automotive grade quality. The wheel is made from brushed and anodized aluminum and covered with genuine and premium suede leather making it a joy to play the classic Need for Speed game at the comforts of your own home.
There are multiple inputs, toggle switches, a 2-axis analog stick, a 7-way Funkyswitch, as well as two 12-position switches that can be configured with endless rotary encoders for a wealth of controls right at your fingertips. There’s also a customizable 2.7” OLED display as well as 9 high-intensity RGB RevLEDs and 6 RGB FlagLEDs to surround it. They all work hand-in-hand to display telemetry data layouts with instant access to Force Feedback adjustments using the Tuning Menu button. This racing wheel is compatible with Need for Speed games on PC as well as on PlayStation when combined with a console-licensed wheelbase.
The Podium Steering Wheel R300 is another high-end multipurpose racing wheel by Fanatec made from brushed and anodized aluminum. It’s covered in premium smooth leather and beautiful gold stitching. The total diameter of the steering wheel is 30cm, making it an ideal all-rounder suitable for a lot of Need for Speed games as well as other sim racing games that are popular today. This racing wheel is easily upgradeable allowing for a lot of customizations depending on your budget and preference.
There are also button clusters included that can be aligned and adjusted along the front rails of the Podium Hub to suit your style and wheel rims of different shapes and sizes. It features one of the most advanced paddle systems ever for a sensational feel and unbeatable performance when compared to other brands on the market. This racing wheel is in the mid-tier in terms of pricing making it an ideal choice for beginner racers and seasoned ones. It’s a great investment for a lot of sim racers as the quality of the steering wheel will definitely last for a long time.
The ClubSport Drift V2 steering wheel by Fanatec isn’t just perfect for drifting and Rally driving, it also works just as well for high-octane Need for Speed games such as Need for Speed Payback, Most Wanted, Hot Pursuit, and more from the series. The Wheel Drift V2 is a great product for first-time users and veterans of sim racing as it’s a product bundle of the ClubSport Universal Hub V2 and the ClubSport Wheel Rim Drift. This means you can start right away and enjoy your favorite sim racing games without the long setup time and configurations.
The Wheel Drift V2 is packed with a lot of features like magnetic paddle shifters, adjustable button clusters, and more, as you would expect from Fanatec. But what sets it apart from the rest though is its exchangeable QR1 wheel-side. It’s ready for the next generation of quick-release systems once it’s available making this a great buy for future-proofing your racing rig for the next level of racing games that will come out over the next few years.
For Need for Speed gamers that want to chill out and relax from time to time then the Podium Classic 2 steering wheel is an ideal peripheral for you because of its aesthetics. It’s the perfect steering wheel for driving vintage road cars and historic racing cars of the yesteryears. The thin and large diameter of the rim creates an authentic vibe like you’re in the driving seat of an actual classic car. It adds a layer of realism you never thought was possible with something as simple as using a vintage steering wheel.
The central hub was made from a single piece of anodized aluminum with the space frame design surrounding the electronic components to make it as light as possible for maximum authenticity. As it doesn’t have any button clusters like modern steering wheels, it’s the perfect showcase of vintage sim racing games in its purest form making it an ideal companion for games such as Porsche Unleashed, World, Rivals, and other games from the series that have a lot of classic cars to choose from.
The CSL 320 Steering Wheel by Fanatec is an affordable wheel for racers on a budget. The CSL 320 is multi-purpose, has a fully round design, and is very comfortable to use even during long hours of play. It’s an ideal choice for a lot of games due to its fully rounded design as well as ergonomic grips. The wheel rim is covered with smooth leather and features a light grey stitching as well as a light grey center stripe for easy orientation when racing, especially during tight matches.
As with other Fanatec steering wheels, the rim is made from brushed and anodized aluminum giving it that authentic feel you expect from a Fanatec product. It’s also one of the lightest steering wheels available on the market right now making it the perfect wheel for racers who like playing for hours. It’s affordable, packed with a lot of features, and has a very neat appearance making it a great addition to your racing rig.
The CSL Steering Wheel BMW is one of the most affordable wheels from Fanatec’s line up but it doesn’t compromise on durability and performance. It has a really cool eye-catching design with the BMW logo in prominent display across the front face and rim. It’s 300 mm in diameter which is perfect for a lot of vehicle types and the lightweight construction ensures the Force Feedback settings are retained even at low torque settings when playing your favorite sim racing games.
The wheel is covered with a durable polymer casing with a rubberized grip to provide just the right amount of friction making it comfortable to use for longer sessions. It works well for everyone, even people with sweaty hands so that you always perform at your best. There’s also an integrated 3-digit LED strategically positioned at the top of the rim making important data visible in your eye line while driving. There are 12 buttons on the face of the wheel that is positioned in a way they’re reachable at your fingertips so you can always press the buttons you need by muscle memory.
Logitech G29 Driving Force
The G29 Driving Force from Logitech is a great racing wheel for your favorite racing games like Need for Speed, Gran Turismo, Forza Horizon, Assetto Corsa, and more. It simulates realistic steering and pedal action for the latest racing titles thanks to its dual-motor Force Feedback effects. You’ll be able to feel every turn and type of the terrain so you can always respond with precision for smooth and tight control in whatever racecourse you find yourself in.
The game controls are all easily accessible right at your fingertips. The D-Pad, buttons, paddle shifters, and LED indicated lights are all conveniently placed within your reach with a +/- buttons for you to fine-tune your driving preferences according to your own driving style. The G29 mounts easily to any table or racing rig with its built-in clamps or screw mounting points making it one of the best choices for a lot of gamers looking for the best steering wheel for their favorite sim racing games.
THRUSTMASTER T300 RS Racing Wheel
The T300RS Racing Wheel by THRUSTMASTER is one of the well-received racing wheels you can buy right now that features 1080-degrees of turning radius to simulate the feeling of driving an actual car when playing your sim racing games. It’s the officially licensed racing wheel for Gran Turismo but it surprisingly works well with select Need for Speed games and other popular sim racing games on the market today due to its compatibility.
The T300RS is 28 cm in diameter with brushed metal central spokes and reinforced rubber texture for a comfortable feel when using it. Buying this product includes an adjustable metal pedal set so you can start playing right away. It’s a nice investment for beginners and pro-racers to improve their racing performance as it works across multiple platforms and the latest games out today.
HORI Racing Wheel Apex
The Racing Wheel Apex steering wheel by HORI is a great peripheral for players of Need for Speed and other sim racing games that are more arcade in nature because of its quick handling mode. You can switch between 180-degrees quick handling mode or 270-degrees simulation mode anytime with ease. The wheel rim is covered with a textured rubberized grip for control and comfort while racing and has a stylish design for immersive realism.
There are fully programmable buttons in the center and on the sides of the wheel as well as pedals and paddles. This racing wheel is officially licensed by Sony for use on their current and next-gen consoles but it also works for PC. It’s one of the most affordable racing wheels you can buy right now if you’re on a budget which makes this a great choice for first-time players wishing to ditch the keyboard, mouse, and controllers in place of an actual wheel while playing sim racing games.
There are a lot of steering wheels available on the market right now and it’s easy to get confused on which wheel to buy for your games. It’s pretty frustrating when booting your game and the wheel is not compatible with it or the configuration is hard to set up. The 10 steering wheels we’ve provided in this article are mostly plug-and-play, easy to set up and let you start racing right away especially if you’re a fan of the Need for Speed series of sim racing games. There are other options you can find online which are great in their own right but proper research is always recommended so that you won’t waste your hard-earned money.
Force Feedback Effects
Direct Drive Force Feedback effects are regarded as the best type of Force Feedback but be prepared to spend more on them than belt or gear-driven wheels as they’re the most expensive among the bunch. This is because Direct Drive steering wheels have no delay or loss of torque making them the most realistic peripheral you can use for your sim racing games. Belt and gear-driven wheels have their own pros and cons and the choice will still depend on your level of comfort especially during intense gameplay.
Playing sim racing games with a steering wheel requires a good set of pedals. They can be a 2 or 3-pedal set depending on your preference and are usually supplied along with the steering wheel to complete your rig. There are advanced models with load cells you can buy separately from third parties to enhance your experience but these pedals alone usually cost more. Evaluating your budget before upgrading your usual pedal set is important to maximize your enjoyment.
What’s the difference between playing with a steering wheel and on a controller?
The Need for Speed series of sim racing games feels more like an arcade game than a realistic driving simulator. As such, it’s sometimes much easier to play with a controller than an actual racing wheel as the controls are more fine-tuned for casual gamers. This doesn’t mean that playing with a steering wheel is more difficult as there are a lot of steering wheels available right now that can bring a whole new experience to your favorite games.
What is your recommended Need for Speed games?
There are a lot of Need for Speed games to try out across multiple platforms. We especially like vintage games like Porsche Unleashed, Most Wanted, and Hot Pursuit. Need for Speed Heat, which is the latest from the series, is also a fun game to flex your sim racing skills so be sure to check the latest game out.