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Fanatec and Thrustmaster are two of the most recognizable manufacturers of steering wheels in the world of sim racing games. The two brands are popular to many and each offers the same high-quality products but differ in some ways that opinions will definitely be split. We’ll break down the key differences of each brand to help you make a better choice on which racing wheel you’ll invest in for your games.
Fanatec vs Thrustmaster: Which one should you get?
If you’ve done proper research or are already an experienced sim racer, Fanatec offers the most high-end racing equipment for your racing games. Their wheels are silent, smooth, and easy to calibrate. Thrustmaster meanwhile is more accessible as their products are more budget-friendly. Their products target players who are just starting their journey in the world of sim racing.
Fanatec: At a glance
One of the pioneers of steering wheels with a genuine lifelike driving experience, Fanatec started offering their products as early as 1997. Their steering wheels come with Force Feedback functionalities. Fanatec is also one of the few brands that has their own direct drive steering wheels. Fanatec bundles a lot of other peripherals like pedals, wheelbases, and other racing equipment.
Thrustmaster got its start selling flight simulator equipment when it was founded in 1990. They went on to create peripherals for sim racing games and have since become one of the more popular brands for budget-friendly gamers. Aside from wheels, Thrustmaster also sells pedals, wheelbases, and other equipment that are cheap and affordable.
Steering Wheels Comparison
The Podium F1 Racing Wheel by Fanatec is the best gaming equipment your money can buy. This racing wheel utilizes the direct drive system which, in layman’s terms, makes your gaming sessions feel as real as they can get. It has a more detailed force feedback effect when compared to the belt or gear-driven wheels giving you the most authentic experience for your sim racing games. The wheelbase also uses wireless data transfer which means you should expect no lag or delay when using this gaming peripheral.
This racing wheel is compatible across all platforms and absolutely works on the latest consoles like the PS5 and Xbox Series X|S. It’s used in professional eSports competitions and is also officially licensed by Formula 1 and PlayStation. The Podium F1 racing wheel is backed by the biggest names due to its compatibility and quality.
The T150 RS racing wheel by Thrustmaster utilizes a 1080-degree force feedback base which features Touch Sense technology. This adjustable feedback lets you feel every detail when playing with your favorite sim racing games. It allows you to feel the track’s relief, loss of tire grip, braking, bumps, impacts, and more. The ergonomic design of the T150 is totally adaptable to all types of games like Rally, F1, NASCAR, and even GT.
Buying this product includes a 2-pedal set that works well under any circumstances. It is PlayStation certified and works for current and next-gen consoles as well as other platforms like PC. The price is budget-friendly so if you’re just starting out, this is a good product to test the waters.
Why should you get a racing wheel?
For starters, controllers don’t let you feel the bumps in the track. This influences your overall playstyle as not feeling these important factors affects your handling of the cars especially for braking or turning through corners. As modern games are now laser-tracked, it’s now more important than ever to actually be able to feel the bumps that these scans implement into racing games.
Having a rig for your racing games lets you understand the physics of the car. This in turn helps you improve your lap times and can actually make you a better driver. It’s also worth keeping in mind that professional and even amateur drivers use simulators during the offseason for training to keep their skills sharp. As long as budget is not an issue, it’s always a good choice to assemble your own racing rig as the improvements in performance are worth the money.
Other things to consider
Now that you have your racing wheel of choice, it’s time to complete the arsenal with different add-ons to finish your setup. Fanatec and Thrustmaster offer peripherals like gear shifters and hand brakes to assist you during games. Both manufacturers use high-quality construction that choosing between the two is mostly on personal preference and your own budget. As noted earlier, Fanatec products are still more expensive than average when compared to other brands. While this is the case, Thrustmaster add-ons are not the cheapest either as some of their products range from $200 and up.
You can actually make a full setup with just one brand as their ecosystem features a considerable amount of products across all types of games. It’s also worth noting that while both brands have online, chat, and telephone customer support, Fanatec tends to be more helpful and responds quicker than Thrustmaster. That being said, Fanatec is a bit more expensive so all of these are expected.
Both Fanatec and Thrustmaster are two of the most trusted and reliable brands when it comes to racing peripherals. Thrustmaster is popular for beginner and intermediate gamers as they offer budget-friendly racing wheels for all levels of experience. Fanatec meanwhile allows you to set up the coolest and really high-end rigs that will make your competition envious. In fact, they would probably want one for themselves. Fanatec is also one of the few manufacturers right now that offers direct drive steering wheels. Their products always have a premium feel and are made of high-quality materials that are built to last. Most Thrustmaster products have rubber coatings so it may give them a cheap feel at first glance.
In conclusion, Thrustmaster is recommended for people who want to start their journey in the world of sim racing games while Fanatec is better for experienced gamers or people who don’t mind spending a couple more bucks to set up the best gaming rigs.