If you’re a big fan of racing games, such as F1 2017, or even into simulation based driving games such as an American Truck Simulator, then at some point you’ve no doubt thought about picking up a steering wheel to complement your game of choice.
Before running out to the shops, though, it’s important to know what the best steering/racing wheel is. The reason for this is that these devices are extremely expensive, and not all of them are created equal. To that end, we’ve compiled a list of the best wheels that you can buy. This should help you make an informed decision about the wheel you should use your hard earned cash on.
Things to look out for in a wheel
When you search online for one, there’s a string of different buzz words that are often used. The most common thing mentioned in product descriptions is force feedback. It is actually pretty much what it says it is. Just as you’d feel small bumps and imperfections on the road when driving a car, a force feedback wheel will be able to simulate this effect. It does this by why of employing the use of motors in the wheel in order to bring about the proper vibrations to simulate the effect. Whilst this isn’t needed to improve your driving ability, it does add to the immersion of the game. You would need to weigh up the pros of having this added immersion in comparison to the cost of the product.
Another thing to be mindful of is that not all racing wheels come with a gear stick included. Generally (but not always), those with an included gear stick are more expensive. Instead some of them come with paddles either side of the wheel instead in order to shift up and down the gears. This is a setup that is becoming more popular in racing cars. However, if you’re wanting to be fully immersed in your simulation, you may prefer to opt for a wheel that has a gear stick in the box, or gives you the option to buy one as an add on.
For years now, Logitech has been the go to company for a variety of input devices, including steering wheels. The have successfully continued to build upon their flagship line of wheels with their latest iteration: the G920. What makes this one special is that it not only works with the PC, but also with the Xbox One. Since many PC games are directly compatible with the Xbox One controller, this means that it’s extremely easy to set this up on your PC.
It is however a prime example as mentioned above that no gear stick is included in the box. This means that you’re left with the option of using the paddle shifters to change gears, or to buy the gear stick add on instead. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If you’re more than happy to play games with the paddle shifts, you’re saving money. However, if you want a more in depth simulator experience then you’ll need to spend a bit extra to get the most out of the game. Despite it having the paddle shifts on the wheel, the unit does come with a three pedal setup (gas, brake and clutch). These are extremely well built, and feel like the real thing which adds to the overall experience.
With respect to the add on gear stick option, this is actually cheaper than you’d expect. It is a six speed setup and is covered in hand stitched leather with the stick itself being solid steel.
The wheel itself is highly responsive, and has a large degree of force feedback thanks to it sporting two vibration motors. Since buying a wheel is all about adding to the immersion of the game, this addition at such a low price is a great selling point for it. What’s interesting as well is that there is 900 degrees of rotation before the wheel locks. This is greatly similar to a normal car that you’d drive around the streets. Again, you’re getting a lot of immersion for such a low price.
The overall finish of the G920 is excellent. The wheel is covered in high quality leather to give it an authentic and luxurious feel to it to make your gaming session as enjoyable as possible.
However, if you have a PS4 then it’s still possible for you to get one of these wheels. The G29 is an excellent option, and it also works on PC,too. The only difference between the two is that the G29 is for use on the PS4 and PS3 (along with the PC) and the 920 is for the Xbox One and PC.
- Driving Force is designed for the latest Xbox One console racing game titles
- Driving Force handles the stress of racing action and is built for long-lasting reliability. Solid steel ball bearings in the wheel shaft and stainless steel paddle shifters and pedals make G920 the long-distance race wheel. It's covered in high-quality, hand-stitched leather
- The 900-degree lock-to-lock rotation of the G920 Driving Force means you can turn the wheel around two and a half times, hand over hand on wide turns. It's the same degree of motion as a steering wheel inside a car.
- The G29 driving force steering wheel delivers the driving experience for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3 and PC games
- Dual-motor force feedback and helical gearing offers exceptional smooth steering. Internet connection and 150MB hard drive space (for optional software download)
- Stainless steel paddle shifters and RPM/shift indicator LEDs help you make crisp, fluid gear transitions at all times
- Device Type: Mounts securely to a racing rig
- Six speeds with push-down reverse gear
- Steel and leather components for comfort and durability
Thrustmaster TS- XW Racer
At the more expensive end of the spectrum, Thrustmaster created a direct 1:1 replica of the one of Sparco’s best offerings- the P310 Competition Wheel. You can certainly tell it’s a replica of the Sparco with its unique look. As with the G920, the overall feel of the TS-XW is fantastic. This is thanks to there being a combination of suede and leather covering the grip sections.
Likewise, there are also pedals included in the box (you’d like to think so at the price), and the pedals themselves had metal footplates and extremely responsive. It is a three pedal setup which perfectly complements the paddle shifters built onto the wheel. As mentioned above, this setup might not suit everyone.
Thankfully though, there is a shifter available in the form of the TH8A. This is an extremely durable and high quality item with it being comprised of metal. It has the option to shift in the conventional sense of using an H pattern, or to switch the plates around so that it is a sequential gearbox instead. This is a great addition and really allows you to mix up your play style.
Unlike the G920 which has a 900 degree lock on it, the TS-XW has a 1080 degree lock. This additional rotation is courtesy of a metal ball bearing axels. In terms of force feedback, it’s nothing short of phenomenal. It is the most realistic experience that you can get without actually jumping into a car and taking it for a drive. This is courtesy of 40 watt motor which has a special cooling system meaning that you’re going to get many years of service out of the TS-XW.
As an added bonus, it is compatible with both the Xbox One and PC, so if you have both platforms then you don’t need to worry about buying two wheels.
- The TS-XW Racer is a 1:1 scale replica of the Sparco P310 Competition wheel, and is officially licensed for both Xbox One and Windows (PC)
- The wheel employs Force Feedback via a powerful 40-watt brushless servomotor with Motor Cooling Embedded cooling system (patent pending), for constant performance even with intensive use during the longest competitions
- The wheel incorporates a dual belt-pulley system, along with an axle mounted on metal ball-bearings for extremely smooth performance
- 100% metal internal mechanism
- 100% metal gear stick
- 100% metal clamping system
Last update on 2018-02-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API