(Note: Guide features affiliate links for almost every product mentioned on the list, which helps support the channel and keeps it going strong! None of the products in this guide are paid product placement, and are not “bought placement”.)
A couple years ago, I created my Sim Racing Wheel Buyer’s Guide, which appeared to be quite popular with you guys, but I haven’t exactly done a Follow-up video just yet. I wrote up a revision of the guide for 2018, but as of right now, it’s been 3 years since I’ve done a full fledged Buyer’s Guide. Well, I guess now is as good a time as ever! So this is the 2020 Edition of the Sim Racing Wheel Buyer’s guide.
For my 2020 Sim Racer Buyer’s guide, I’m planning on making at least 3 parts. First off, we’re going to be covering the wheel side of things, covering the wide variety of options available in the market. After that, I feel it would be good to have a Buyer’s guide covering the variety of cockpits on the market, and also even wheel stands, for the more compact solutions. After that, we can have a software buyer’s guide, talking about some of the different Sim racing titles available.
But first things first, we’re going to be talking about the Wheel side of things. The great thing about Sim Racing is that it can be quite accessible. You definitely don’t need to dump over a thousand bucks to get a fun experience out of Sim Racing. Granted, to really make the most out of the hobby, I’d say that you’d want to make a bit of an investment, to try to keep from detracting from the experience.
One thing I want to talk about before we get into the different options available is what I see as the main things to look for in a Sim Racing wheel. I’d say that there are 3 main things to look for in a decent Sim Racing wheel:
First, at least 900 Degrees of Rotation. In this day and age of Sim Racing, we’re easily able to have our wheels matching the steering rotation of the virtual cars 1:1. Higher degrees of rotation are also great for types of racing such as Rally, Drifting, and some touring cars.
Secondly, you want quick force feedback. You want as little latency as possible between what you’re seeing and what you’re feeling. So being able to have a faster wheel will give you closer to a 1:1 experience
Lastly, the main criteria I judge wheels on is the smoothness of the driving feel. Real world cars have a pretty smooth feel through the wheel while driving. They aren’t notchy, they aren’t rough (well, unless you hit a wall that is), they are just… smooth. So yeah, I guess you could say you want a smooth steering feel there.
A Brief Blurb About Force Feedback
Before we go into the actual Buyer’s Guide, I do want to provide some information about the different kinds of Force Feedback available.
Force Feedback has been around for a surprisingly long time, dating back all the way to the Atari TX-1 Arcade game in 1983. However, the first Home Force Feedback wheel wouldn’t be released for roughly 15 years after that, in the form of the Microsoft Sidewinder Force Feedback wheel. That was one of the first Force Feedback wheels you could actually use at home, and then the wheels became far more popular with the Driving Force series of wheels from Logitech in the early 2000’s.
There are three primary forms of Force Feedback that are used in Sim Racing wheels, Gear Drive, Belt Drive, and Direct Drive. For the first two forms of Force Feedback, there is a “middle-man” system in effect to translate and amplify the forces from the motor to the wheel’s shaft. The main benefit of these systems is the fact that you can use a small motor, but still produce a decent amount of force.
Gear Driven Force Feedback wheels are the oldest tech behind consumer grade Force Feedback wheels. It will use (commonly plastic) gears to create a transmission system to amplify the forces from the motor to the wheel. It’s a decent solution for budget racing wheels, but the two main drawbacks are noise and roughness. Gear driven wheels are easily the noisiest and least precise in terms of Force Feedback wheels, thanks to the way the cog system works. It’s a decent option for basic level wheels, but it is easily outclassed by the newer technology that is available.
Belt Drive wheels are a relatively new tech, with the first consumer-grade Belt Driven models being sold around 2009 or so. Fanatec was the first company to release a consumer grade Belt Drive wheel, but then the technology was widely popularized when the Belt-Driven Thrustmaster T500RS was selected as the Official Wheel of Gran Turismo 5 in 2010. Since then, there has been somewhat of this “Belt Drive Wheel Arms Race” between Fanatec and Thrustmaster to optimize the technology, which has been great to see.
The main benefits of a Belt Driven wheel over the gear drive counterparts is smoothness and power. We’ve seen belt drive wheels generating forces two to three times more powerful than the gear driven wheels, while at the same time being smoother and quieter as well.
Going up to a direct drive wheel, there are basically no compromises in the force feedback. A Direct Drive cuts the middle man out of the picture, directly mounting a steering wheel onto a large motor. And I mean “LARGE”. There is one direct drive wheel where the motor weighs over FOURTEEN KILOGRAMS (30 Pounds)!!
The result of this? The strongest, fastest, and smoothest Force Feedback you can get or likely even want. In my opinion, Direct Drive Force Feedback is simply the best you can get at this point in time.
So that is basically my blurb about the different Force Feedback technologies that are currently available, so now let’s take a look at what wheels take advantage of this tech!
The first category that I’m going to be addressing is the Sub-100 Dollar bracket. And in that category… There isn’t exactly much. For the wheels in this price range, all that explanation about Force Feedback isn’t worth squat. If you are looking for a new wheel at the sub-$100 price bracket you won’t have Force Feedback, and you won’t have 900 degrees of rotation as well.
Most of the wheels in this price bracket feature a “Bungee Cord” style system that basically builds up resistance the more you steer towards the 240-270 degree mark, which is generally the maximum degrees of rotation you get from them.
Now if I’m perfectly honest, there’s only one new wheel I would consider recommending at this price point, and that’s the Thrustmaster T80. It’s a simple bungee cord wheel, with 270 degrees of rotation. There’s no Force Feedback, so basically think of the feel of the wheel as similar to the lower quality racing games in an arcade or something like that. One other benefit of the wheel is that it includes a baseline 2 pedal set, and is compatible with the Playstation 4! Note: There is also the Thrustmaster Ferrari 458 Spider, which is the same wheel, but compatible with the Xbox One.
Personally… I would highly recommend that you look into investing a little more to try to pick something up that has some more force feedback, and 900 degrees of rotation. However, if you’re really itching at the bit to get your feet wet, and you’re willing to make some compromises, the T80 is a decent sub-$100 wheel, but be aware, you definitely get what you pay for.
Alternative Option: One other thing I’d recommend in the sub-100 category is to browse used marketplaces. You can sometimes be shocked at the deals you can find, from someone looking to offload their stuff or just someone looking to upgrade. As long as the wheel is in decent condition, the used marketplace CAN serve as an option to get a decent wheel for a reasonable price. Also, one thing I’ve found on the used marketplace are wheel and cockpit combos, which could be had at a steep discount as well.
$150-$300 Price Bracket
The next price bracket is an interesting one, as this is an area where the prices can wildly fluctuate. This is the area that I would call the “Sweet Spot” for getting into Sim Racing while still getting a full idea of what it is capable of. This is where you will start seeing wheels with the aforementioned 900 degrees of rotation and Force Feedback systems. In this price bracket, you will see the wheels utilizing geared Force Feedback.
My personal recommendation in this category will be the Logitech G29 or G920. Logitech has been making Gear Based Force Feedback wheels since the late 1990’s, and has developed a reputation for creating reliable wheels. The latest generation wheels are the follow-up to the Logitech G27, which is still an incredible Sim Racing wheel with many racers using it to this day.
The G29 and G920 both feature an 11-inch steering wheel, wrapped in leather. Unlike the Logitech G27, the new wheels feature all of the buttons on the steering wheel rim, as well as a rotary dial on the G29, but strangely is not on the G920.
The Logitech G Wheels are the first wheels on this list to feature a three-pedal set as standard, adding a clutch into the mix. The pedal set is also incredibly versatile, allowing for modifications and even the ability to be individually mounted if you are quite handy. Unfortunately, this wheel no longer includes a shifter, as it did with the G25 and G27. Now it’s an accessory sold separately for $60. However, I have actually seen sales where you can buy the wheel bundled with the shifter for $200. And that’s a pretty great deal, considering the Original retail price for the wheel was $400. Now, you’ll just about never see the wheel for that $400 price tag, with the wheel without the shifter generally floating around the $220 mark. For that price, this is definitely a great entry level wheel.
These are also the first Logitech G-series wheels to feature FULL console compatibility, but it is with a catch. You need to pick out which console you’d want the compatibility with, as each model is compatible with a specific console. Theoretically, if you wanted a PC/PS4/Xbox One solution, there ARE options on the market to add additional compatibility, but ultimately, it is something where out of the box, you can have one, but you can’t have the other.
Ultimately, the Logitech G29 is the more full-featured version available, including that rotary dial and also an array of leds to represent shift lights. So if you’re looking at a PS3 or PS4 wheel, or one just for the PC, I would recommend the G29 over the G920.
ANOTHER CHOICE: If you’re looking for something different, then we’re going to go back with a Thrustmaster recommendation. Thrustmaster’s wheel to compete with Logitech is the TMX and T150. These wheels from Thrustmaster offer a gear and belt-pulley system that makes things slightly smoother than a fully geared system. Like the Logitech G Wheels, the TMX features an 11 inch steering wheel with 900 degrees of rotation, but the T150 actually takes the wheel and bumps it up to 1080 degrees of rotation!
The TMX and T150 generally retail for a little less than the comparable Logitech wheels, but the main drawback is that the base model of these come with the same two-pedal set that is included with the T80. They’re functional, but simply do not compare to what Logitech offers. However, there is a “Pro” version of the wheel available, that replaces the pedal set with the 3-Pedal Thrustmaster T3PAs, which is a far better solution. The Pro models of the TMX and T150 are retailing for around $200 online as of the time of filming this, which is a great price, and still is undercutting the Logitech wheels. You miss out on the more versatile pedal set, the advanced functionality, and the leather steering wheel, but this could be seen as a better value in some cases.
$100-$300 Wheel Links
The $300 to $500 is the point where we start to abandon the Gear Drive Force Feedback wheels, and move up to the Belt Driven wheels. This is also where we start seeing more variety and more options available. Also a big draw from this price bracket is that we are going to start seeing wheels that feature interchangeable wheel rims, so that can add more variety to your experience.
For the price point, we are going to be seeing a few wheels from Thrustmaster, as well as Fanatec entering the mix.
Thrustmaster again has two models of wheel paired together, The TX which is Xbox One compatible, and the T300RS, which is compatible with the Playstation 3 and PS4. This is Thrustmaster’s base model Belt Drive wheel, and it works fairly well. Again, the Xbox Compatible wheel caps out at 900 degrees of rotation, which the Playstation model can go up to 1080. Both the TX and TMX in their base configuration include the same relatively crappy 2-pedal set that has been included in the lower end models. But also again, there are enhanced versions of the T300RS and TX that include the 3-pedal T3PA set and a higher end rim.
The T300RS and TX are definitely a solid step above their Gear Driven counterparts, featuring stronger, smoother, and quicker force feedback. You can notice a tangible upgrade to the belt drive system, and it’s a remarkable improvement. However, a solid combo featuring the three pedal set could be roughly TWICE the price of Thrustmaster’s lower tier offerings. Is that worth the price? Well if you’re looking for a better feeling and stronger wheel, then I would recommend it. One other thing worth mentioning is that you can actually buy JUST the wheel base for around $220 to $250, if you wanted to buy each piece a la carte, but I believe the full package is a better value to be honest.
Again, as mentioned earlier, Fanatec enters the ring at this bracket with their CSL Elite Series of wheels. The CSL Elite is a belt driven system, but is also very modular. They offer a variety of options to fit what you’re looking for. There are two versions of the CSL Elite, but I personally would recommend you take a look at the CSL Elite PS4 model, which retails for $399 for just the base, or $499 with a wheel rim included. The reason? This is the ONLY consumer wheel on the market under $1,800 that is not only PS4 compatible, but it’s also compatible with the Xbox One if you get an Xbox One compatible rim! Now I don’t know if that compatibility will carry over to the next gen hardware as well, but if it does transfer over, it would be a great option to future proof.
Fanatec’s CSL Elite also offers a variety of features, such as shift lights on the base, as well as a quick adjustment system that can be used to make wheel and force feedback adjustments on the fly. With the base CSL Elite rim, there is an LED display on the top of the rim, and it’s nice to have. The 11 inch rim isn’t the best in terms of build quality compared to other Fanatec rims, but it does have a nice premium feel with a mix of Leather and suede wrapped around it.
Personally, my recommendation for this price bracket would be the Fanatec CSL Elite if you’re looking for the high end performance, and added functionality. From a technical and features standpoint, Fanatec has Thrustmaster beat. However, it does come at a cost… The $499 price for the Fanatec CSL Elite wheel does NOT include a pedal set, and for the Fanatec CSL Elite Pedals, you’re looking at either $100 or $200, depending on if you’re wanting a two pedal or 3 pedal set. That would bring us to around $600 to $700, which is still a good price, but can be quite steep, considering the T300RS or TX would give you a comparable, albeit lighter, experience for half the price.
$300-$500 Wheel Links
Fanatec CSL Elite V1.1
Fanatec CSL Elite V1.1 Wheel Base
Fanatec CSL Elite PS4
Fanatec CSL Elite PS4 RW
Fanatec CSL Elite PS4 Wheelbase
Fanatec CSL Elite PS4 Starter Kit (Includes 2-Pedal Set)
Fanatec CSL Elite PS4 Formula One Bundle (Includes Open Wheel Rim and 2-Pedal Set)
$500-$1000 Part 1: Belt Drive
With that being said, let’s jump into the next price bracket, and that’s the $500-$1,000 price bracket. This bracket is a very interesting one, as it is going to start getting into the higher end prosumer market, with some Direct Drive wheels entering this category. A couple years ago, when I created the 2018 edition of this guide, there were basically no Direct Drive wheels in this category, but now that we’re seeing the prices dropping below $1,000, that really is quite remarkable!
To start off though, we’re going to talk about the high end Belt Driven wheels currently available. First off, Thrustmaster has Not one, not two, but THREE models in this price bracket! Two of these wheels are in the TS series, the TS-PC and the TS-XW RACER wheels. These are a step above what we saw from the T300RS and TX, featuring a 40 Watt Brushless Force Feedback motor. The TS-PC Racer is the only wheel from Thrustmaster that is ONLY compatible with the PC, and is a model that is sold with an open wheel style rim, and without a pedal set, albeit for a reduced price. There is a TS-PC RACER model that was recently released with a Ferrari 488 Challenge rim for $699 (NOTE: I erroneously listed this before at $649, that was incorrect), but it still doesn’t include a pedal set. The TS-XW includes a Sparco P310 Replica rim, is compatible with the PC and the Xbox One, and also includes a T3PA Pedal set, for a suggested retail price of $649. Personally, I would recommend the TS-XW over the TS-PC, as it features a more versatile rim, a pedal set, and Xbox One compatibility to boot!
Note that those were two models, and there wasn’t a TS wheel for the Playstation. Why is that? Thrustmaster decided to save its most advanced wheel for the officially licensed Gran Turismo Sport wheel. The Thrustmaster T-GT is easily the most advanced wheel Thrustmaster has made to date, including some very welcome features. The T-GT features a relatively small-ish steering wheel for such a high end unit, clocking in at only 11 inches. However, it is just PACKED full of functionality. In that small form factor, Thrustmaster was able to pack in 4 rotary encoders, all the Playstation buttons you would need, and even two analog joysticks on it! I would have loved to see the rim bumped up to a slightly larger size, but it’s still nice to see.
Also, one great feature of this wheel base is the tactile transducer mounted inside the back of the wheel base. The transducer allows for an extra dimension of depth to the feeling of the sim, which is quite nice. There is a big downside though… It’s only compatible with one title: Gran Turismo Sport on the Playstation 4. If the transducer was compatible with multiple titles, that would have been incredible, but since it’s only limited to once game, it comes off as a bit of a gimmick.
Even without the transducer, the T-GT is still Thrustmaster’s best wheel to date. It has the strongest, most precise Force Feedback, and is quite quick. The thing is… the original Suggested Retail Price for this wheel was $800!!! That was simply way too much! Nowadays, you can get this set for a little under $600, which puts it just about in the same price bracket as the TS series wheels. For that price, it’s definitely a solid option. However, at the time of writing this review, it is currently out of stock, likely thanks to the Coronavirus.
So that wraps up the offerings from Thrustmaster in the Sim Racing world, and now we’ll go the final Belt Driven wheel in this guide: The Fanatec Clubsport Wheel Version 2.5.
Fanatec’s Clubsport Wheel is my recommended choice for anyone wanting a top of the line wheel, but is not ready to go to a direct drive wheel. The Clubsport Wheel V2.5 is the quickest, smoothest, and most powerful belt driven wheel I have used. It offers a wide variety of features and modularity, with Fanatec’s deep ecosystem. It includes the same Quick Settings I mentioned that the CSL Elite has, but it offers some added functionality as well. Note that there is a bundle that puts the wheel together with a rim and a 2-pedal set for $800, which is a relatively good deal.
The only thing I could wish that the Clubsport Wheel would have would be Playstation 4 Compatibility. There are ways to “cheat” it in with a device like a CronusMax Drivehub or a GimX Adapter, but functionality would be limited. That’s the only thing that it really misses out on. In all other senses, The Fanatec Clubsport wheel is my favorite non-direct drive wheel.
$500-$1,000 Belt Drive Wheel Links
Thrustmaster TS-XW RACER
Thrustmaster TS-XW RACER Wheel
Fanatec Clubsport Wheel V2.5
Fanatec Clubsport Wheel V2.5 Wheelbase
Fanatec Clubsport Wheel V2.5 Xbox One Competition Pack
Fanatec Clubsport Wheel V2.5 Forza Motorsport Wheel Bundle (Includes Shifter, CSP V3, and Universal Hub)
Fanatec Clubsport Wheel V2.5 With Universal Hub and Forza Motorsport Rim
Fanatec Clubsport Wheel V2.5 With BMW GT2 Rim
$500-$1000 Part 2: Direct Drive Wheels
Now that we’ve gotten the belt drive wheels out of the way… It’s time for the big guns: the Direct Drive Wheels. Again, I just want to reiterate how awesome it is to see these wheels breaking the sub-$1,000 barrier! A couple years ago, you could not get a unit for under $1,000. Now, you actually have choices! Now bear in mind, that Direct Drive wheels do require more effort and finagling to work. You would definitely need to buy a separate pedal set, and even a special wheel rim solution to work with it. These are not nearly as turn-key as any of the other wheels we listed, so keep that in mind.
One of the recent options that recently emerged on the market is the Simagic M10. This is a Direct Drive Wheel from China with a 10 Newton-Meter Servo-Stepper Motor. This is being marketed as an entry-level Direct Drive wheel, and is admittedly priced attractively at $700 for the base. Now to be fair, I have not driven a Simagic M10 myself, so that’s something worth mentioning. Initial videos seemed to have a lukewarm reception, noting some concerns about long term reliability, but it seems like Simagic has improved on the product’s reliability and performance in the release batches. For a Direct Drive wheel that features an add-on rim, this is at a very strong price. Just keep in mind there are extended wait times.
One of the interesting direct drive wheels on the market is the SimXperience AccuForce V2. This was a wheel that was in my “Over $1,000” price bracket in the last revision of the guide, and it’s a welcome change to see it now in the sub-$1,000 category. The AccuForce utilizes a 13Nm Servo-Stepper Hybrid motor, similar to the Simagic M10, so it is said to be a hair “Granier” as higher tier Direct Drive wheels that utilize a brushless Servo motor. However, this is still a great Direct Drive wheel, and it actually comes in a few different flavors. The Pro model comes with a 330MM steering wheel with 12 buttons and paddle shifters, for $999. If you want to use your own rim with the wheel, then you can pick the AccuForce Your Way, which allows you to mount a steering wheel or button box that has a 50 or 70mm bolt pattern on it. This model retails for $699. If you want just the bare minimum components, the DIY option retails for $599. Now, this is definitely a bit above the Simagic in terms of price, but I’d feel a lot more comfortable going with SimXperience, which is a fairly well trusted brand.
And then… We have yet more Direct Drive wheels to break under $1,000! SimPliCity has two model series of wheels that are being sold under $1,000.
SimPliCity has their Compact Series of wheels, which are lower powered units, meant to be for an entry-level solution. The Compact wheels start at $605 for the SW8C+, which is an 8 Newton-Meter Direct Drive Wheel. They also have a 13 Newton-Meter Version that sells for $726. Now I previously tested out their 7 Newton-Meter Direct Drive wheel, and it was alright, but it had quite a few concerning traits, including the fact that it got uncomfortably hot. Because of that, I’m not sure if I would recommend the 8 Newton meter model, but I may say that you could consider it’s bigger brother.
However, I would definitely be more active in recommending the Simplicity SimWheels. These are direct drive wheels that use the more common Mige 130 Series motors, which were definitely popular for use in Open Sim Wheels. However, the main difference for these versus the Open Sim Wheel is that SimPliCity decided to move over to their in-home designed software. That is honestly one of my main qualms with it. When I tested the software last, the Force Feedback was good, but just not at the level of fidelity that I had come to expect from Simucube, SimCommander, or SimSteering. Now granted, that was an early software, and I’ll have to test it again at a later date, but it was okay.
So out of those three Direct Drive wheels on the market, my personal recommendation would go towards the AccuForce. It’s simply the most established wheel, with multiple years behind it to refine the hardware and software. It’s also the most complete solution, with an option including a wheel, rim, and button box, all for $999.
Now worth mentioning is that the FeelVR Direct Drive is NOT on the list… Well that’s simply because it hasn’t been released. We keep on seeing delays and postponements, so it’s something that it’s not worth talking about until it’s actually released.
$500-$1,000 Direct Drive Wheel Links
The Sky’s The Limit!
For the last category, we’re going from the $1,000 price point to, well, the top! We’ve seen some interesting models in the past couple years that create a decent amount of variety.
First off, we have the top-tier models from Fanatec, the Podium Series wheel. Fanatec’s first Direct Drive Wheels are an interesting beast, especially due to the fact that they’re the ONLY ones on the market that are currently compatible with consoles. The Fanatec Podium Series DD1 is a wheel rated for up to 20 Newton-Meters of torque, and the DD2 is rated for up to 25Nm. The Podium series is also an all-in one solution, where you don’t have a separate control box that is separate from the wheel’s base: Everything is enclosed. It’s also compatible with all Fanatec wheel rims and accessories, giving you a wide pool of products in the wide Ecosystem.
Fanatec has three different Direct Drive wheels on the market, which can get somewhat confusing:
The Fanatec Podium Series DD1 is the “Entry Level” Fanatec Direct Drive wheel. The Peak Torque of the wheel is approximately 20Nm, which is significantly stronger than even the AccuForce V2 mentioned earlier in the guide. (For reference, the peak torque of the 20Nm DD1 is approximately 2.5 times stronger than the maximum torque of a Fanatec Clubsport Wheel V2.5)
The DD2 is the “Top Tier” Fanatec wheel, the cream of the crop. Rated at a peak torque of 25Nm, its torque is on-par with that of the SimuCube 2 Pro. That base retails for $1,500 US for just the base.
The Fanatec Podium Series F1 is essentially the DD1, but with a blue tint, Formula Rim V2, and with PS4 compatibility, in addition to Xbox One. This is the model I currently own and am testing for review. I am very impressed by the fidelity of the wheel, and also the tech that no other brand provides. While the Force Feedback is not at the fidelity of, say, the Simucube 2 or the SimSteering 2, the Podium Series wheels from Fanatec are a tinkerer’s dream!
I’ve had very limited time to test out the Fanatec DD2, but in terms of the Force Feedback, I was impressed. It’s not the BEST Direct Drive Force Feedback I’ve experienced, but it definitely is up there. I can say that from my experience, it’s at the very least a SOLID Direct Drive Wheel. Starting at $1,200 for the DD1, there are plenty of benefits to the wheel that can make it one worth considering.
Another recent contender in the Direct Drive World is the Simucube 2. Simucube was originally an open-ended system for the Open Sim Wheel movement. The idea was that you would buy an industrial servo motor, get the electronics box to connect the motor to your PC, and basically run it as a high end steering wheel. Simucube quickly became the widely adopted platform for most Open Sim Wheel users, but then they decided to create their own in-home designed wheel.
They didn’t do just that, they made THREE! The Simucube 2 Sport (MSRP €1,270) offers up to 17Nm of Torque, the Simucube 2 Pro (MSRP €1,470) bumps it up to 25Nm Torque, and the Simucube 2 Ultimate (MSRP €3,170) cranks it up to 32! The Simucube 2 also offers compatibility with the Simucube Wireless Protocol, which allows you to connect a compatible wheel rim or button box to the wheel base wirelessly.
The Simucube Force Feedback has had years of being refined, and it shows. It works well with most modern sim racing titles, and can even scale back well to some retro ones as well. It’s not perfect, but it feels pretty darn good.
The last Direct Drive wheel I will showcase in this buyer’s guide is the granddaddy of Direct Drive Wheels, and that is the SimSteering2 by Leo Bodnar. The SimSteering2 is one of the most established Direct Drive Wheels, and is still highly regarded by many Sim Racing professionals. The Simsteering 2, like the Simucube 2, is available in 3 configurations, each with varying strength. The SimSteering, though, is very expensive, starting at roughly $2,800, and that’s without a quick release or wheel rim.
I have had a little bit of time behind the wheel of a SimSteering, and I will say that it is definitely one of the best wheels I have ever driven with. However, I would not say that it’s enough to justify spending nearly twice the price of its nearest comparable product. So, despite the SimSteering 2 being the “Top of the line”, I just don’t feel like I can actually recommend it compared to the other wheels it’s competing with.
$1,000+ Wheel Links
Fanatec Podium Series DD2
Fanatec Podium Series DD2 Wheelbase
Fanatec Podium Series F1
Fanatec Podium Series F1
As a refresher, I wanted to go through my picks for my top choices for the Sim Racing wheels throughout the different price points.
-For the Sub-$100 bracket, again, there’s only one real choice for a new wheel, the Thrustmaster T80 or the Ferrari 458 Spider. Again, I would recommend that you would be better off saving a little more and going for a slightly better wheel in my opinion.
-In the $150-$300 bracket, I’m going to go with the Logitech G29. Now to be clear, I would NOT buy a Logitech G29 if it was at its $400 suggested retail price. However, for the $250 or so that it tends to hover around, it’s a great entry-mid level wheel, with quite a few extra features. If you can get it on sale for $199, like it’s been before, that’s an incredible deal! Also, with the slightly beefier feature set, the G29 is my personal choice over its brother, the G920.
-The $300-$500 bracket is quite competitive, but I’m going to go with the Fanatec CSL Elite PS4. This wheel is the only one on the market that features Playstation 4 AND Xbox One Compatibility, granted you have the right components. However, it’s worth mentioning that you would need to get a separate pedal set, so that will bump things above the $500 price point. If you want a full turn-key solution for under $500, I’ll say the Thrustmaster T300RS GT with the T3PA pedal set would be a great option.
-For the $500-$1,000 Belt Drive category, my recommendation is the Fanatec Clubsport Wheel Version 2.5. It’s easily my favorite non-direct drive wheel on the market, both in terms of functionality and in features. While the Thrustmaster T-GT has a few innovative features, having some of them locked down to one title is a bit of a downer.
-For the $500-$1,000 Direct Drive section, I’m going with the SimXperience AccuForce V2. It’s simply the best complete solution for a Direct Drive wheel under $1,000. It has the most refined software, compared to the other offerings, and if you go with the AccuForce Pro, you get a wheel and button box for under $1,000.
-For the top bracket… I’m torn… I’m going to call it a draw between the Simucube 2 and the Fanatec Podium series. The Simucube 2 is arguably the more reliable and higher fidelity, but the Fanatec gives you better value, the console compatibility, the screens, the wheel ecosystem, for less than the price of a Simucube 2 Pro. Basically the only product I’d actively discourage you in this bracket is from the Simucube 2 Ultimate or the SimSteerings. Those are way overkill for 99.9% of people.
I hope this was of help to you if you are looking at getting a new wheel! I’m looking to try to make some more Sim Racing guides in 2020, covering things such as cockpits and Sim Racing software, so I would love your input as well.
Below is a chart/guide I created to try to give you all a perspective on what each wheel on this list features. If you’d like to view the chart in a larger format, you can see it HERE. Note that not all info is readily available for products, and I will try to make improvements/ammendments as I get the information.