Assetto Corsa, Gran Turismo, Forza Horizon, Dirt… So many titles that only come into their own when accompanied by a steering wheel and pedals. Discover our selection of the best racing wheels for PC and consoles.
Playing a racing simulation with a controller is good, but after a while, we must not lie to ourselves: the best way to enjoy it is undoubtedly to invest in a steering wheel. As with joysticks, however, there is something for everyone. From entry-level models that are a bit plastic, to simulation machines that wouldn’t work in a paddock.
Whether on PC, PlayStation or Xbox, we have chosen for you the best steering wheels to enjoy Forza Horizon, Assetto Corsa or Gran Turismo (for example).
Fan of flying vehicles? Read our comparison of the best joysticks and HOTAS. And if they are not ideal for car simulation, controllers are essential accessories for gamers. In addition, if you are a fan of mobile games, do not hesitate to take a look at our guide to controllers for playing on a smartphone.
Logitech G29 and G923: like an air of deja vu
If the G923 is Logitech’s flagship steering wheel on paper, it is impossible for us to mention it without also mentioning its big brother the G29. And for good reason, the two models are almost twins! Externally, only slightly different colors allow us to distinguish them.
We find a solid construction combining aluminum for the branches and leather for the wheel. The finish is good, but the seams would have deserved a little more attention, they are indeed a bit irritating.
On the installation side, they can be fixed to a desk using clamps or screwed to a dedicated cockpit. Once in action, the steering wheel behaves well, with satisfactory force feedback, although we would have liked a little more power. The G923 brings some additional vibrations, but nothing revolutionary.
The observation is similar for the crankset: it does its job correctly, but would have deserved some changes compared to that of the G29. Finally, the gear change is done with paddles, a gear lever being available as an option.
If the G923 is undoubtedly an excellent steering wheel, we cannot really recommend it to you. So save €150 by buying a G29 which has definitely not aged. The latter is available in PlayStation or Xbox version, both also working on PC.
The Logitech G29 steering wheel in brief:
- A good price-performance ratio
- The leather and metal steering wheel
- Aggressive pricing and regular promotions
Hori Racing Wheel Apex: for small budgets
If the field of ruffles is generally that of excess, there are however some interesting options for small budgets. This model signed Hori is the one that seduced us the most in this category. So, let’s face it, with a price two to three times lower than that of its competitors, this model must make concessions, starting with the all-plastic construction.
Although it won’t fall apart in your hands, the machine does not offer the same rigidity and feeling of solidity as a metal model. The rubber coating, on the other hand, is comfortable even during long gaming sessions. Attachment to a support is done via clamps or suction cups. We do not recommend this second option, the steering wheel moving far too often. The two-pedal pedal set could not be more basic, with a very soft feel.
The Racing Wheel Apex does not offer force feedback, but tries to emulate it with a vibration system. If the sensations are miles away from a strength feedback classic, however, we appreciate their presence.
When compared directly to models from Logitech or FanaTech, the Hori Racing Wheel Apex obviously can’t compete, but that’s not what is expected of it.
For 30 € more than a good controller, it offers a much better gaming experience, all with a completely honest finish given the 100 € requested. It’s a good option for broke players or those who want to try their hand at flying without breaking the bank.
The Hori Racing Wheel Apex in a nutshell:
- A very small price
- The correct finish
Thrustmaster T248: the best racing wheel for PS5 and Xbox
Founded in the USA, but a French group since 1999, Thrustmaster is one of the major players in simulation peripherals, both for planes and cars. The brand offers a good twenty different steering wheels, covering all platforms and offering reproductions of famous vehicles like Ferrari.
Released in 2021, the T248 is a mid-range force feedback steering wheel model. It is PlayStation and PC compatible and comes directly to hunt on the lands of Logitech’s G923. Recently, a version for Xbox Series is also available.
First surprise when opening the box: the base of the steering wheel is very compact and above all, the device offers a 100% plastic construction. Admittedly, the latter is particularly well finished and solid, but we still prefer the metal and leather of certain competitors. The steering wheel itself is comfortable and dressed in leatherette. The force feedback system combining belts and gears offers good flexibility and power.
The pedal set offered by Thrustmaster is an excellent surprise. If its construction, mainly in plastic, makes it less opulent than more expensive models, we appreciate the possibility of adjusting it according to its preferences. The Heart pressure sensor and metal pedals are also a guarantee of durability.
Sold around 330 euros, the Thrustmaster T248 offers solid value for money, a good pedal set and satisfactory force feedback. It’s not the most opulent steering wheel on the market, but given its price, it’s hard to blame it.
The Thrustmaster T248 steering wheel in brief:
- Hybrid force feedback
- The excellent pedalboard
- A good compromise
The Fanatec ecosystem: for wealthy fans
Are you a real fan and do not count the expense? It’s time to get down to business and build a small onion cockpit with the Germans of Fanatec.
Unlike the majority of products on the market, Fanatec steering wheels are modular, so you choose a more or less powerful motorized base, on which you will attach the steering wheel of your choice. You can choose between generic models or reproductions of famous or Formula 1 vehicles.
Prices are soaring quickly: count around 900 euros for an entry-level kit. But for that price, you go into another universe, with metal products that are simply indestructible, extremely modular and feel incredible. Many professional pilots also use the brand’s products for simulator training.
Counterpart of this quality: we are in the presence of very heavy products, and we will prefer an installation in a cockpit rather than on a desk (some would say that this is not a bug, but a feature).
If you have the budget, we don’t do better than the Fanatec ecosystem. Note that the latter is by default Xbox and PC compatible and can work with a PlayStation if you acquire a compatible steering wheel.
Fanatec steering wheels in a nutshell:
- Incredible build quality
- The best force feedback on the market
- Prices that sting
Fanatec products are sold on the manufacturer’s website
The Mario Kart Racing Pro Wheel Deluxe: perfect for the Nintendo Switch
All the steering wheels that we have presented to you above are intended for driving simulation. Understand, the entire construction of the product is designed to offer players the best possible mechanics.
Conversely, the Mario Kart Racing Pro Wheel Deluxe is first and foremost a beautiful object intended for fans of the Nintendo racing license. First thanks to a very nice design, in the colors of the famous mustachioed hero. The product is obviously useful on Mario Kart, but also for other simulation titles.
On this steering wheel are all the buttons necessary for driving. A pedalboard is also provided to complete the offer. Of course, this is a product oriented for the youngest, but Nintendo fans will also find their happiness with this product.
The product is certainly a little expensive, but the investment is worth it if you are an absolute fan of karting with Nintendo sauce.
The Mario Kart Deluxe steering wheel in brief:
- Officially licensed by Nintendo
- Compatible with all racing games on Switch
- Pedals included
Choosing the right racing wheel
What is a force feedback steering wheel?
Generally speaking, force feedback is a physical reaction to a software action. One of the most frequent examples is the vibration of our phone screen (the famous haptic feedback). For steering wheels, force feedback consists of reproducing the sensation of resistance that one would feel when driving a real vehicle. For this, the force feedback flywheels (strength feedback in the language of Shakespeare) use motors capable of reproducing these sensations. Three main types of force feedback systems exist:
- gears: the cheapest and least powerful
- belt-driven: the right compromise between price and power, they offer softer and more nuanced sensations
- direct drive: the cream of the crop, incredibly powerful, precise and also very expensive
If it represents a certain investment, the presence of force feedback on a steering wheel is probably the best factor for improving immersion.
Is a cockpit essential to install your steering wheel?
If all the models selected here can be fixed on a desk, it will often be easier to install them on a dedicated cockpit, especially if you play on an Xbox or PlayStation console. Not only is the driving position much more pleasant, but the steering wheel and pedals are much more secure and therefore do not risk slipping. In terms of cockpits, there is something for all tastes and all budgets, from foldable and easy-to-store canvas models to leather bucket seats that faithfully reproduce existing cars.
What is the steering wheel compatibility?
Nowadays, almost all steering wheels will work with a PC, once plugged into USB. However, it is on the console side that compatibility issues arise. Indeed, a PlayStation steering wheel will not work on an Xbox and vice versa. So make sure, before you buy, that the steering wheel model of your dreams supports the platform of choice.
But where is my gearbox?
The vast majority of flywheels are delivered without a gearbox. These are indeed changed via paddles on the steering wheel. If you are a fan of manual transmission cars, most manufacturers offer them as an option.
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