With recent cutting-edge driving simulators like Forza Motorsport , racing games have come a long way since Pole Position and Outrun machines packed ’80s arcades.However, there’s one thing that remains constant — they’re most fun when played with a steering wheel.Shopping around, you’ll find available racing wheels for game consoles ranging from cheap and gimmicky to expensive, highly-customizable sim racing gear and it’s just as easy to spend too much on a racing setup as it is to end up with a overpriced toy.I’ve rounded up the best bangs for the buck for Xbox , Playstation and Nintendo Switch console racers.For most fans of racing and driving sims for current and next-generation consoles, the Logitech G923 is the best racing wheel for the money.It replaces both the G29 on Playstation and the G920 for Xbox and features the newest version of Logitech’s dual-motor force feedback system which now features new Trueforce vibration motors that add a bit of virtual engine rumble to the wheel’s excellent steering and road feel.New software allows drivers to program “dual-clutch” control for faster shifts and an LED shift light.
Right now, however, these new features are only compatible with a few games.
The G923 is offered in both Xbox and Playstation compatible versions which now have nearly identical on-wheel buttons and thumb controls.Just make sure you get the right version for your console of choice, which you’ll have to be more careful of now that they have the same product number.The G923 replaces the Logitech G920 for Xbox One and Series consoles, but the older wheel is still an excellent choice for console racers.It has the same dual-motor feedback and almost identical build quality to the newer model.The older G920 has fewer buttons than the G923 or Playstation-compatible G29, but nothing you’ll miss for most driving games.It comes with a pretty good three-pedal box — great for games that support a clutch — and pairs nicely with Logitech’s G Driving Force H-pattern shifter (sold separately).
I personally use the G920 on my sim racing setup and see no reason to upgrade to the newer G923, especially since the new features are only compatible with a few games.
Plus, the older model can be found for deep discounts, making it a more economical choice with almost no compromises.
The Playstation-compatible G29 was recently replaced by the G923 in Logitech’s lineup, but this older wheel is mostly mechanically identical to its replacement as well as the G920 for Xbox.All three kits feature the same dual-motor force feedback system and excellent build quality with clicky paddle shifters and thick grippy steering wheels.Like the G920, the G29 here can be found pretty deeply discounted now that it’s not the new kid on the block, but this older unit is still one of the best Playstation wheel and pedal sets for the money.Racing wheel and flight yoke veteran Thrustmaster offers a selection of wheels for Xbox consoles with the TMX being a sweet spot for entry level racing.
Thrustmaster’s belt-driven force feedback has a smoother feel than the Logitech wheels, but I prefer Logitech’s overall build quality.The Thrustmaster TMX is also a good budget alternative, starting around $50 cheaper than comparable Logitech setups of the same generation.The TMX is about as “entry level” as I feel comfortable recommending, but if you’re a really casual player that doesn’t care about force feedback, Thrustmaster also offers the T80 wheel bundle for around $100.I personally don’t enjoy using a wheel without feedback, but the build quality on these are about as good as it gets at such a low price.
The T150 RS is essentially the mechanically identical, Playstation-compatible version of the TMX recommended above with the same belt-driven force feedback and build quality.Like it’s twin, this wheel feels smoother than the Logitech competitor, but I prefer the grip of the Logi wheel in hand.You probably don’t need a Nintendo Switch wheel.Most are just plastic shells that snap onto the Joy-Cons you already own.This may slightly improve ergonomics over holding a bare Joy-Con, but doesn’t actually improve control.The exception is the Hori Mario Kart Racing Wheel Pro Deluxe, which is a desk-mounted wheel for the Switch with pedals, paddle shifters and buttons.It connects to the Switch via USB and actually offers more precise control than the Joy-Cons for Mario Kart and a smattering of Nintendo Switch racing games.The Pro Deluxe is fairly small for a “full-sized” wheel, but fits well enough in adult hands.
However, it lacks force feedback or rumble and only really works when the Switch console is docked and connected to a TV.The Hori kit also mounts via four smallish suction cups, which should be fine considering the lack of feedback torque, but you’ll probably want to take it a bit easy cranking away on this wheel.The Hori Mario Kart Racing Wheel Pro Mini is a smaller, less expensive version of the Pro Deluxe, scaled to better fit in the hands of a small child.Using a driving wheel adds more natural control for racing and driving games, taking advantage of your real world muscle memory to help you be more competitive virtually.
Experience in-game with a wheel also helps reinforce that muscle memory, making you a better driver on the road.It’s a positive feedback loop.When shopping for a racing wheel for a console there are a few things you’ll want to look for, the first being whether you need a wheel at all.That will depend on the player and what types of games they want to play.
Just because a game features cars or racing, doesn’t guarantee that it is compatible with a steering wheel.Action games like Grand Theft Auto V, Cyberpunk 2077 may feature driving and racing components, but usually aren’t compatible with a steering wheel.
Generally speaking, expect pure racing or driving franchises like Codemasters’ Dirt, F1 and Grid Series, Xbox’s Forza games, Playstation’s Gran Turismo, Assetto Corsa or Need for Speed to be wheel compatible.A wheel may also be compatible with farming Simulators, truck and euro truck simulators and the Snowrunner/Mudrunner games.
Research your games and check the specs on the box before ordering your wheel.
Next, you’ll want to consider the feel and build quality of the wheel itself, which will affect the entire rest of the experience.You’ll want a wheel with a strong mount for attaching to a desk or table and resisting the force-feedback torque it will be experiencing.Suction cups will probably not do.If you’re planning on moving the wheel frequently, those mounts should also be quick and easy to remove.
The wheel itself should be a size that works for you; it should fit and feel good in the hand.A thick wheel with a leather, suede or leatherette finish aids in grip and reduces fatigue during long sessions.You may also want to consider the number and placement of face buttons for interacting with menus or other driving functions.A good wheel should boast strong and natural feeling force feedback, which adds to immersion.Logitech’s dual-motor system in the G920 and G29 offer a good, torquey feel, but aren’t quite as smooth as the best belt-driven motors Thrustmaster uses on its mid-tier wheels or the brushless direct-driven servos you’ll find in more expensive enthusiast sim wheels.Budget wheels often lack force feedback or make do with simple rumble functionality.Personally, I’d avoid them, but they can be good for children or players with limited mobility.
Most racing wheel and pedal sets feature paddle-style shifters but some can be upgraded to an H-pattern shifter (like this Logitech G Driving Force Shifter) with an additional purchase.A major advantage that a wheel offers over thumbsticks is finer control.Where the stick only offers a few millimeters of freedom in any direction, a wheel has significantly more travel and only moves on one axis, allowing for more precise nuanced steering.How nuanced and precise is hard to determine from a review, but a good metric for sussing this out are degrees of rotation — how far the wheel spins from lock-to-lock.
How much rotation you’ll use depends on the game and your driving preference but, generally, more rotation is better with about 900 to 1080-degrees being good for most situations from racing games to farming simulators.However, it’s not uncommon for the cheapest wheels to offer as little as 270-degrees of rotation.Don’t forget about the pedals.
Most driving wheel bundles will include a pedal box with at least accelerator and brake pedals, while really good wheels will include a clutch pedal.(Though, only a handful of racing games actually support clutch shifting.) You’ll want a nice, heavy pedal box with strong build quality that won’t slide around or break while the pedals are being stomped.
Choosing the right wheel will net you an improved racing experience versus a simple controller, but to get a truly immersive experience, you’ll want to be able to adjust and upgrade your kit to your specifications.
Look for a wheel that includes software for tweaking the feedback strength, degrees of freedom and steering deadzone.Physical adjustments for things like pedal pressure are also nice details that will greatly improve your experience.And while most wheels will include paddle shifters for changing gears in-game, you may want to look for a kit that includes an H-pattern shifter (or one that offers an add-on, like Logitech’s G Shifter.) When searching for steering wheels, you’ll want to avoid wireless racing wheels for Xbox .These have been around in some capacity or other since the Xbox 360 generation and use gyroscopic sensors to detect the wheel being turned in your hand.
It’s a neat gimmick, but it’s the same tech used for tilt controls for mobile racing games on your phone — that’s even less control than the standard thumbsticks.Wireless wheels also lack any force-feedback and lack pedals; you’re better off just sticking with the controller that came with your console.Wireless gyroscopic wheels are a tempting gimmick, but offer little advantage (and many compromises) over standard thumbsticks.It should be obvious, but most console specific racing wheels are not compatible with other consoles, so you’ll have to pick your platform (Xbox, Playstation, or Nintendo) before choosing a wheel.There are exceptions to this rule, but they’re expensive enthusiast options that cost more than any two wheels on this list combined.However, most wheels — yes, even the toylike Hori Mario Kart Wheels — will also be compatible with Windows PC racing games, allowing players to get a bit more use out of their hardware and making most console-compatible wheels a good first step into the addicting world of PC sim racing.But beware, that is a very slippery slope.
Building a PC racing sim setup is a fun and addictive hobby, almost as addictive as driving IRL.
And while choosing a console racing wheel options tends to be a simple straightforward decision, high-end PC racing sim hardware is insanely customizable with swappable wheels, expensive steering hubs, tunable paddle shifters, complex software, motion control platforms and an endless world of options available for well-heeled enthusiasts.We explored the tip of this iceberg in our roundup of best PC racing sim wheels earlier this year..