Ez Sim Racer is audience-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.
As you play your favorite sim racing game, do you ever have the feeling that the buttons on the steering wheel aren’t quite enough? On occasion, do you want to further immerse yourself in your sim racing fantasies by having some additional buttons that make you feel like you’re really driving the vehicle you’re racing?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you’ll most likely be looking at button boxes. There are quite a few ways to utilize button boxes. If you’re feeling challenged, you can go the old-fashioned DIY route. Otherwise, you can always get the pre-built options, some of which we highlighted in this post.
What are button boxes?
A button box, in a larger sense, is a piece of hardware that functions similarly to the consoles seen in real-world racing vehicles. It may be used for a wide range of purposes. In the world of sim racing, it may also be used to tie additional instructions to a variety of buttons, switches, joysticks, and knobs. They may then be assigned to certain actions, instructions, or even execute scripts in another application! Streamers may use one hand to run transitions on their feed while using the other to turn hot laps.
What does a sim button box do?
The usage of a sim button box improves gaming immersion as well as user utility. No more searching for a key on a computer to alter your automobile; instead, use one of our sim racing button boxes to manage all parts of the vehicle. Each button, encoder, and toggle should be assigned to a specific automobile function. By turning a toggle, you may adjust the brake bias on the go or switch on wipers or headlights. It’s as simple as clicking a button to see race numbers; everything is there at your fingers.
Even though many sim racing wheels come with a large number of buttons and rotary encoders, a button box makes the overall sim experience more smooth, and probably most significantly, it seems more real.
Why should you buy a button box?
You may be thinking that buying a button box is pointless if you already have a steering wheel with several buttons on it. That’s acceptable if you just want to compete in one category, such as Formula 1, since F1 rims contain all the buttons you could need.
But what if you go from an F1 car to a vehicle that utilizes an oval wheel rim, and your oval wheel rim doesn’t have the same buttons as your F1 car’s oval wheel rim? In essence, you no longer have the same control over the automobile as you had with the F1 rim.
Another advantage of button boxes is how tactile and lifelike they feel, which is particularly useful for sim racers who want to use gloves. Changing your brake bias, camera mode, or anti-roll bar settings, to mention a few, will become second nature after you become used to which button controls which function.
What should I look out for when buying a sim racing button box?
Button boxes are widely available, and they come in a variety of forms and sizes. There are button boxes for every possible playstyle and configuration, but if you don’t know what you need, you’ll have a hard time finding one that meets your requirements.
Because prices vary, it’s crucial to pick one that checks all the boxes, from comfort to usefulness, because you don’t want to waste your money on something that isn’t tailored for your specific setup. You should also consider the button box’s compatibility since most versions will only operate with select consoles and even games.
There are a variety of brands to pick from, each with its distinct look and feel. There are carbon fiber button boxes and simple plastic button boxes to select from, and you’ll have to decide which one you believe would look best with the rest of your sim racing gear.
What are the advantages of using a sim button box?
The first and most apparent reason to get your hands on a button box is the amount of personalization it can offer to your sim racing experience. Normally, you’d have to map in-game choices to buttons on your steering wheel or controller, then cycle through the options menu to choose ones that don’t fit on your wheel.
This takes time, and it’s not always achievable while you’re in the thick of a race. Button boxes enable you to assign controls and choices, as well as pit tactics, to the box’s toggles. This puts them within easy reach while racing, allowing you to quickly swap cameras, adjust fuel ratios, and do pretty much anything else without pausing the game.
You can truly tweak your button box to your playstyle with this adjustment, which may lead to much more efficient racing since you’ll have quick access to the controls you need the most. In tight racing conditions when every millisecond matters, this might be the difference between a victory and a defeat.
The last advantage of employing a sim racing button box is that it can give your system a very nice racing appearance. There are several good options for making your sim racing rig inside appear and feel like a high-performance automobile interior, complete with buttons and switches that would be found in a real race car. Some even include key switches for a more immersive racing experience.
However, you must examine if a button box is appropriate for your playing style and budget. A button box may not be necessary if you are inexperienced and don’t utilize many of the other in-game choices anyhow. An inexpensive button box, on the other hand, might be a terrific method to incorporate some of those extra features, even if you’re a newbie.
How much is a sim button box?
With all of the advantages, the typical sim racing button box isn’t cheap, but it also isn’t prohibitively expensive. There are various brands to pick from, each one with its own set of button boxes to pick from, as well as its price and appearance.
Button boxes for sim racing can range in price from $50 to $250, with each price point having its own set of benefits and drawbacks. In a nutshell, the less costly ones are smaller and have fewer features and functions. The more expensive ones are bigger and have more buttons and customizing options.
You may expect to gain from roughly 5-10 buttons or functionalities at the lower end of the range, which is generally adequate for individuals who wish to improve their sim racing experience without spending too much money. Because they’re smaller, they’re suitable for those who have temporary or semi-permanent racing setups.
More functionality and typically a lot more buttons may be found for button boxes costing between $100 and $200. Typically, 10-20 button states are present, with key switches and other toggles becoming increasingly frequent. They are generally a little bigger and are ideal for people looking to improve their sim racing experience.
On the other hand, you may anticipate 32 or more button states on the highest end of the range, providing you with complete control over your racing experience. Every choice you want is normally accommodated, and they are usually built of a high-quality material such as carbon fiber. This may make them appear pretty fantastic in your racing setup, and they’re aimed toward the more experienced sim racer.
The number of buttons or switches is usually the biggest difference between price points, however, pricing will also influence several other aspects of the button box. Some may only function with certain layouts and consoles, while others may be attached directly to your driving wheel or stand. For each setup, there is a button box. You’ll be able to locate one for a fair price with just a few buttons, but a key switch is an essential requirement for the realistic feel of a racing vehicle. If you need a lot of functionality but aren’t too concerned with appearances, you’ll be able to locate something that meets your needs without breaking the bank.
Should I DIY a button box?
You may be thinking about whether you should create your own button box instead since the cost is frightening. There are many methods and advice available for people who wish to take on the task of making their own button box, but keep in mind that it is not necessarily the most cost-effective solution.
The biggest benefit of making your own button box is the almost limitless customization options. You may create it as large as little as you wish, with as many buttons and switches as you like. You may also choose the materials you wish to utilize, as well as the form of each component.
This clearly takes time to construct, but as you add additional materials and components to the mix, you must also consider growing costs. If saving money is your primary motivation for making your own button box, you may rapidly run out of options for materials and usefulness.
A DIY button box may be a terrific addition to any racing setup if you aren’t bothered about the cost and just want to take on a fun and functional project of your own. It’ll need some basic electronics and DIY skills, but it’s a terrific method to obtain precisely what you want from a sim racing button box.
Sim Button Box for PC
Add the true sensation of a real racing vehicle to your simulator cockpit to make you feel like you’re in one. This horizontal programmable sim button box adds realism to your sim racing setup by being inspired by the dashboards of genuine race cars. The device has a metal shell with race-car-style buttons, toggle switches, and a clickable rotary knob with tactile dents. It also comes with a 6′ USB cord and up to 32 functions.
With the front face of the button box featuring a black design, this button box lets you map different game functionalities to any button, switch, or knob on the panel. Simply choose the function you want to map, such as engine start, from the in-game controller’s setup page, then drag the button, switch, or knob you want to assign it to, and voilà, that button now starts the engine.
Sim Button Box For PC with Toggle Extensions
This is a superb piece of plug-and-play equipment that comes with 32 functionalities. It has four clickable rotary knobs and toggle switches, each of which provides a pleasant firm click when activated. It also includes a 6-foot USB cord. This button box is a wonderfully crafted solution with high-quality components that provides you with all the buttons and switches you could ever need, constructed from a robust casing.
The placement of the buttons is crucial. With this button box, the buttons are arranged in clusters in a certain sequence so that the racer may make changes to the vehicle or execute a pit strategy without diverting their gaze away from the screen.
If you’re short on space, this button box will come in handy! The dimensions of these boxes are 8 x 3 x 5 inches. It may be installed in a variety of ways. This button box will be a great match whether you use a traditional desk, a handmade setup, or a pro-style sim gear. Finally, this sim button box is ready to use right away since it is plug-and-play.
Button Box for PC with Safety Covers
A sim racing button box is basically a control panel that connects to your computer through USB, enabling you to bind all of those buttons and switches to a driving simulator and therefore have greater control over your vehicle without the need for additional hardware. And this button box does just that, and more!
It comes with four clickable rotary knobs and up to 32 functionalities, all at a low price. With a tiny movement of the finger, you may modify things in-game as well as out of it, making these functions seamless. Toggle switches and push buttons are also incorporated in this handy piece of equipment. This button box can readily be used as it is plug-n-play with a 6′ USB cord.