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If you are a die-hard fan of racing games such as Assetto Corsa, Project CARS 2, Dirt Rally 2.0, or Forza Horizon, then you know that having a proper steering wheel is a must if you plan to fully enjoy in these games. Not only does a steering wheel provide better driving experience compared to a gamepad or a keyboard, but it also enables you to pull out special driving tricks, and even simulate the pull and resistance of the virtual surface you are driving on.
But before we take a look at our list of the best steering wheels in 2021, let’s briefly talk about features and advantages of a steering wheel over other types of input. Nowadays almost all racing games offer native support for steering wheels, which is why getting one is highly recommended. Great thing about sim racing is that it can be quite accessible. You don’t really need to spend $1,000 to get a fun experience out of sim racing. Most budget and mid-range steering wheels will suffice, and will offer a much more enjoyable driving experience compared to pressing buttons on your gamepad or keyboard.
There are three things to look for in a decent sim racing wheel. Firstly, a good racing wheel should offer at least 900 degrees of rotation. These days racing wheels are easily able to match the steering rotation of a real driving wheel, which is great if you want to achieve the most realistic driving experience possible. Wheels with higher degrees of rotation are particularly good for types of racing such as rally, drifting, and touring.
Secondly, a good steering wheel should have a quick force feedback. You want as little latency as possible between what you’re seeing and what you’re feeling. Being able to have a faster wheel will get you closer to that one-to-one experience.
Lastly, a good racing wheel should offer a smooth driving feel. Real-world cars feature steering wheels that offer a pretty smooth driving experience. They aren’t notchy, rough, and they are just smooth. This is why you want to get yourself a smooth racing wheel, as having a clunky wheel can undermine your overall driving experience.
Another thing you should pay attention to when buying a racing wheel is force feedback. There are three primary forms of force feedback that are used in sim racing wheel nowadays. These are gear drive, belt drive, and direct drive. For the first two forms of feedback, there is a middle-man system in effective that translates and amplifies the forces from the motor to the wheel’s shaft. The main benefit of these systems is that they’re cheaper and more compact compared to direct drive systems, but are usually more noisy and rough.
Belt drive systems are much better compared to gear drive systems, as they are able to deliver much smoother and more powerful driving experience. Direct drive wheels are the best when it comes to force feedback, however they usually weigh a lot, and are very expensive.
Now that you know which types of steering wheels there are, let’s take a look at the best gaming racing wheels in 2021.
Best for Pro Drivers:
Best Mainstream Wheel:
Best Arcade Racing Wheel:
Best Overall: Thrustmaster TS-XW Racer Sparco P310
Degrees of Rotation: 1080° | Force Feedback System: Belt Drive | Compatibility: PC, Xbox One | Interface: USB
- Versatile rim
- Outstanding responsiveness
- Full pedal set
- Durable materials
- Compatible with PC and Xbox One
- Shallow buttons
Thrustmaster TS-XW is one of the best racing wheels featuring a belt drive force feedback system. It is compatible with PC and Xbox One, features Sparco P3 replica rim, and also includes fully adjustable T3PA pedal set with a clutch pedal. The TS-XW can also boast with 40-watt brushless servomotor, embedded cooling system, and completely detachable 1:1 scale replica of Sparco wheel with metal faceplate. The wheel also comes with 12 action buttons and one directional pad with push button function.
One of the best features of TS-XW is the fact that it features a rotation angle of 1080°. The wheel also comes with a durable metal ball-bearing axle, and features an external turbo power supply that delivers constant power, and is able to instantly respond to ultra-fast requests from the game. The only downsides of this fantastic steering wheel are its somewhat shallow buttons, and noisy sounds.
Best for Pro Drivers: Fanatec ClubSport v2.5
Degrees of Rotation: 900° | Force Feedback System: Belt Drive | Compatibility: PC, Xbox One | Interface: USB
- The best belt drive wheel out there
- Fully modular design
- Super fast USB update rate
- Premium materials
- Very expensive
The Fanatec ClubSport v2.5 is easily the best choice for anyone wanting a top-of-the-line wheel, but is not ready to go with a direct drive wheel just yet. This is the quickest, smoothest, and belt driven wheel currently available on the market. It offers a wide variety of features and modularity with Fanatec’s deep ecosystem. The ClubSport v2.5 can boast with a very powerful servo motor, interchangeable steering wheel, extremely precise steering axle, robust belt drive system with dual belts, and CNC machined aluminum parts.
The ClubSport v2.5 is able to offer 900° of rotation, features fast 1000 Hz USB update rate, has an LED display, and allows connection for two external shifters. Although wheel base, rim, shifter, and pedals are all sold separately, you can buy all of these by purchasing a Fanatec Forza Motorsport bundle which, to be honest, isn’t quite cheap. However, if you strive for pure driving perfection, then the Fanatec ClubSport v2.5 is the best choice for you.
Best Mainstream Wheel: Logitech G29
Degrees of Rotation: 900° | Force Feedback System: Gear Drive | Compatibility: PC, PS5, PS4, PS3 | Interface: USB
- Stylish design
- Wide variety of buttons
- High-quality pedal set
- Affordable price
- Gear shifter is sold separately
- Stiff pedals
Logitech has been making gear-based force feedback wheels since the late 1990s, and has developed a reputation for creating incredibly reliable wheels. The latest generation of Logitech’s G wheels are the follow up to the Logitech G27, which is still an incredible racing wheel. As a worthy successor, the Logitech G29 features an 11-inch steering wheel wrapped in leather, and unlike the G27, the new G29 features all of the buttons on the steering wheel rim, as well as a rotary dial and shift lights.
The Logitech G29 is also the least expensive racing wheel featuring a three pedal set that adds a clutch to the mix. The pedal set is also incredibly versatile, since it allows modifications, and even the ability to be individually mounted if you are quite handy. Unfortunately, unlike the G27, the G29 doesn’t come bundled with a shifter, which is now sold separately. Cool thing about this wheel is that it’s fully compatible with PC, and all PlayStation consoles, including the PS5, which means this a very future-proof product.
Best Arcade Racing Wheel: HORI Apex
Degrees of Rotation: 270° | Force Feedback System: Gear Drive | Compatibility: PC, PS5, PS4, PS3 | Interface: USB
- Affordable price
- High-quality materials
- Adjustable dead zone
- Adjustable foot pedals
- 270° of rotation angle
- No force feedback
If you are not a hardcore sim racing fan, and you are looking for a simple and affordable steering wheel to play arcade racing games such as Forza Horizon 4, Need for Speed Heat, or even Grand Theft Auto V, then HORI Apex is a perfect steering wheel for you. Despite its low price, this is a well-made gear drive racing wheel. It features high quality plastics which give it a nice premium look, and it even comes with a mounting clamp which allows you to easily and securely mount it on top of your desk. Another great thing about this steering wheel is that it’s fully compatible with PC, and PlayStation consoles, including the PlayStation 5.
Although the HORI Apex features a modest rotation angle of only 270°, the wheel comes with an adjustable dead zone, high-quality textured rubberized grip, and adjustable steering sensitivity. The wheel also comes bundled with a set of foot pedals which are fully customizable, and even include a retractable foot rest. One big disadvantage of this wheel is that it doesn’t feature force feedback, which some buyers might find pretty disappointing. Other than that, the HORI Apex is a surprisingly cheap and good racing wheel which is definitely worth the price.
Best Budget Belt Drive Wheel: Thrustmaster T300 RS
Degrees of Rotation: 1080° | Force Feedback System: Belt Drive | Compatibility: PC, PS4, PS3 | Interface: USB
- Smooth, quick and strong force feedback
- 1080° of rotation angle
- Interchangeable steering rims
- Internal memory for storing driving profiles
- Low quality pedal set
The Thrustmaster T300 RS is Thrustmaster’s base model belt drive wheel which works fairly well and is fully compatible with PC, and PlayStation 3 and 4 consoles. The wheel offers 1080 degrees of rotation angle, which is pretty impressive for its price, and it comes with a modular servomotor wheel base which allows you to detach and interchange steering rims. The T300 RS can also boast with updated dual-belt, friction-free optimized mechanism, 13 action buttons, as well as with reinforced rubber texture on the wheel’s entire circumference.
The T300 RS also comes with a set of pedals which, unfortunately, feel cheap and don’t feature a third clutch pedal. Some higher-tier variants of this wheel, such as the T300 RS GT, include a much better three pedal set, but also feature a higher price tag. Despite its flaws, the Thrustmaster T300 RS is definitely a solid step above its gear driven counterparts, featuring stronger, smoother and quicker force feedback. By purchasing this steering wheel you’ll notice a tangible upgrade in the belt drive system, and it will offer a remarkable improvement to your sim racing driving experience.
Best Wheel with a Gear Shifter: Thrustmaster TMX Pro
Degrees of Rotation: 900° | Force Feedback System: Belt & Gear Drive | Compatibility: PC, Xbox Series X, Xbox One | Interface: USB
- Hybrid gear and belt drive system
- 12-bit optical steering reading
- 100% metal gearbox shifter
- Compatible with Xbox consoles
- Cheap pedals
- Steering rim is too plasticky
Finding a good racing wheel with a gearbox shifter isn’t an easy job these days. Sure, almost all steering wheels come with configurable action buttons which you can use to shift gears, but few of them come bundled with a proper gearbox shifter. Even if your steering wheel supports a gearbox shifter, you are usually forced to buy one, as many of them are sold separately from the wheel. With Thrustmaster TMX Pro, however, this isn’t the case. This hybrid belt and gear drive racing wheel comes with a proper set of pedals, as well as with a sturdy 100% metal TH8A gearbox shifter.
Although TMX Pro is a bit cheaper, and less smoother steering wheel compared to the T300 RS, it’s still quite a decent wheel as it offers 900 degrees of rotation angle, and it comes with a 12-bit optical reading which allows 4,096 values on the wheel’s steering axis. The TMX Pro can also boast with realistic force feedback, as well as with full compatibility with PC and Xbox consoles. The bundled TH8A gearbox shifter is also able to deliver precise, and realistic gear-shifting feel, which is why this is a perfect wheel for fans of rally racing, or touring car racing.
Best Wheel for Formula 1 Racing: Fanatec CSL Elite F1
Degrees of Rotation: 1080° | Force Feedback System: Belt Drive | Compatibility: PC, PS5, PS4 | Interface: USB
- F1 wheel replica
- Incredible force feedback
- Alcantra grips
- Three pedal set
- Modular wheel base
- Difficult to obtain
The Fanatec CSL Elite is a belt driven system, which is also very modular and offers a variety of options. This special F1 set consists of high-performance CSL Elite Wheel Base, as well as CSL Elite Pedals, and includes a specially designed ClubSport Formula 1 eSports steering wheel. Inspired by cutting-edge F1 technology, the F1 ClubSport steering wheel features an all-metal construction, compact shape, multiple action buttons and Genuine Alcantra grips which are able to deliver outstanding force feedback.
Besides its special wheel, the CSL Elite F1 system can also boast with a variety of features, such as shift lights on its wheel base, as well as a quick adjustment system that can be used to make wheel and force feedback adjustments on the fly. The wheel also comes with an impressive 1080 degrees rotation angle, three pedal set, super-fast 1000 Hz USB update rate, and 12-bit resolution potentiometers. In short if you are a passionate F1 sim racing driver, and you are looking for a wheel which offers high-end performance, and added functionality, then Fanatec CSL Elite F1 is the best wheel for you.
Best Budget Wheel: Thrustmaster T80
Degrees of Rotation: 270° | Force Feedback System: Bungee Cord | Compatibility: PC, PS4, PS3 | Interface: USB
- Very cheap
- Comes with two pedals set
- Compatible with PC and PS4
- Plasticky steering rim and pedals
- No force feedback
- Only 270° rotation
The Thrustmaster T80 is by far the best budget gaming steering wheel you can get right now. It is a simple bungee cord wheel with 270 degrees of rotation. Unlike other mid-range and high-end steering wheels, this one doesn’t feature force feedback, and is suitable only for playing arcade racing games. The another benefit of this cheap wheel is that includes a baseline 2 pedal set, and is fully compatible with PC and PlayStation consoles.
Being a cheap steering wheel, the T80 comes with a plasticky steering rim which is covered with some small patches of rubber texture coating. The included pedal set also lacks a clutch pedal, and the wheel is only available in a variant which requires a 220 V power outlet. Although it comes with many compromises, the Thrustmaster T80 is a decent sub-$100 racing wheel, but beware, you definitely get what you are paid for.
Getting a proper steering wheel will most definitely improve your sim racing experience. Some games, such as Project CARS 2, are literally unplayable with the controller, and as such require the use of a high-quality steering wheel. Cheap wheels usually don’t feature any force feedback, while belt drive and direct drive wheels offer the best force feedback experience. In our opinion, the Logitech G29 is the best steering wheel for most players, while the Fanatec ClubSport v2.5 is an ideal choice for hardcore sim racers who are willing to spend a large sum of money on additional upgrades. We hope our buying guide helped you in search of the information you were looking for. If you still feel confused, and need advice about buying, feel free to post comment below. We will try to help you.