Racing games are so much more realistic than they used to be, it makes sense that you might want to play them with a steering wheel and pedals instead of a control pad. Sure enough, the likes of Project CARS, Forza 6 and Driveclub have all got realistic steering wheel support. But which one is best? Which will give you the best feel, force feedback and pedals? Well the answer is right here.
Thrustmaster T300RS for PS4, PS3 and PC
Thrustmaster’s approach to racing wheels is broken up into the various components. The T300RS base servo can have different pedals, wheels and gearsticks attached to it, depending on what takes your fancy. This base setup gives you two metal pedals (so no clutch) and paddle-shifting behind the steering wheel. But the quality of the control and force feedback is absolutely superb – strong enough to hurt your hand if you hit a wall at the wrong angle in a game. Best of all, your PS4 will recognise it as soon as you plug it in, as it’s officially licensed by Sony. This is brilliant stuff and is highly recommended. Get it for $299.99 from Amazon US, or £208.99 from Amazon UK. But you might want to upgrade a little with…
Thrustmaster T3PA Pedal Set (PS4/Xbox One/PS3/360/PC)
These pedals are metal and are situated in a large base unit which makes it feel very sturdy. Their feel is realistic too, and the brake doesn’t feel the same as the throttle when you depress it, just like a real car. And look – there’s a clutch pedal too! Not every game supports the clutch pedal (Driveclub doesn’t so far), but if you’re looking for ultra realism is simulation racers like Project CARS, it’s the only way to go. They’re $99.99 from Amazon US, or £74.50 from Amazon UK. Oh, but if you want a clutch pedal, maybe you should also get the
Thrustmaster 7-speed stick shifter
…which is £97.59 from Amazon UK.
Of course, you don’t need the add-ons to start playing. The T300RS is a great base unit and your racing games will feel amazing. But if you want the best setup, they’re further purchases worth considering.
Thrustmaster TX Racing Wheel for Xbox One
is the Xbox One equivalent of the T300RS on PS4 and features the same
superb force feedback system and magnetic tracking for long-term
precision. You can get the basic Ferrari-licensed edition and two-pedal
set for £225.99 from Amazon UK or $299.99 from Amazon US
(check out the variations of pack-ins to get that price – this link
will take you to the leather-bound wheel and full pedal set, and that’s
$468.99. You can get the aforementioned gear stick and pedals for this model too because they’re platform agnostic.
Logitech G920 for Xbox One/PC
This is almost a
brilliant wheel. Well actually the wheel itself is fine, but the brake
pedal is ridiculously stiff. It appears that it isn’t just the unit I
tried, either – lots of reviews and forum threads are saying the same
thing. You need hardly any force to get to 20% braking, but an insane
amount of pressure with your foot (enough to tilt the chair you’re
sitting on) to actually get the car to stop, let alone lock the wheels.
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can void your warranty and take
out/modify the rubber block underneath it to fix the problem, but you
shouldn’t have to. In most games, you can map the controls so that the
clutch pedal is the brake pedal instead, but – again – you shouldn’t
have to (and Forza 6 only lets you sub out the clutch for the
handbrake). So… I wouldn’t recommend this right now. If you get one
that isn’t as stiff, the rest of the wheel is great. Just be warned that
it’s a lot of money to pay for something you might not actually be able
to use seriously. Still, if you want to risk it, it’s $364.19 from Amazon US or £246 from Amazon UK.
Logitech G29 for PS4/PS3/PC
The G29, however, has been a mainstay of hardcore racing fans’ garages for years and it’s easy to see why. The pedal problem shouldn’t be present in this model, leaving you with ultra-precise, smooth racing with strong-yet-subtle force feedback. It’s $369.90 from Amazon US, or £225.88 from Amazon UK. And when you couple it with the separate gear stick (an extra $59.99 from Amazon US, or £49 from Amazon UK), you’ve got yourself a monster of a setup.
Or if you’re really serious…
makes some incredible racing wheels, but expect an Xbox One-compatible
servo, wheel and cheapest pedals set to cost you $819.85 or 899.90
Euros. Check out their range at Fanatec.com.
Thrustmaster’s basic models
Thrustmaster’s T80 Racing wheel may not offer force feedback or vibration, but it is nonetheless a very well-made steering wheel that will make your PS4 or PS3 racing games come alive. It’s $99.99 from Amazon US, or £57.95 from Amazon UK on PS4, or you could plump for the Ferrari-licensed Thrustmaster VG Ferrari 458 Spider Racing Wheel, which offers roughly the same features for $99.99 from Amazon US, or £61.49 from Amazon UK.
Hori’s Racing Wheel for Xbox One/Racing Wheel 4 for PS4/PS3
Alternatively, there’s Hori’s Racing Wheel controller for Xbox One, although it too offers a bare-bones spec, with no force feedback or vibration. Check it out at $89.68 from Amazon US, or £64.38 from Amazon UK. Or if you have a PS3 or PS4, you’ll get the same deal for your console for $72 from Amazon US or £55.99 from Amazon UK.
Into your retro Gran Turismo?
Logitech Driving Force GT (PS3/PS2)
This is a fantastic wheel, particularly if you’re using it with Gran Turismo 3, 4, 5, or 6. The force feedback may not be as strong as more modern wheels, but the feeling of quality is undeniable. It’s got a clicker wheel to adjust things like traction control, and the button in the middle is even a horn. Beautiful. The pedals are plasticy and the paddle shift is limited to two chubby buttons behind the wheel instead of actual paddles, but there is an up/down gear stick included which works well. It’s all great fun and works with PS2 as well as PS3. What a shame it isn’t compatible with PS4. They’re currently $260 from this seller on Amazon US, or £219.99 new from this seller on Amazon UK, but you should be able to find one cheaper than that second-hand.
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