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Monday, July 15, 2024

Best Racing Wheels 2023

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The world of racing games has never been more vibrant since the introduction of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. Whether you're into a casual drive around Mexico in Forza Horizon 5, tearing up tracks Gran Turismo 7, or taking the simulation to the next level with iRacing, there's a fantastic array of racing games out there. If you want to take your virtual racing career to the next level a racing wheel is the way to go.

When it comes to getting nuanced control in a racing game, the short travel of a thumbstick and trigger just can't compare to the range of a pedal or the rotation of a wheel. The best racing wheels can even give you a better feel for the road. While a standard controller might give you a bit of rumble, the force feedback on a racing wheel can pull against you while you're steering to let you feel out each corner. Plus, it's just a lot more fun to sit behind a racing wheel. So, if you're ready to buckle in for your favorite racing games, these are the racing wheels you'll want your hands on – and click here to find them in the UK.

TL;DR – These are the Best Racing Wheels:

1. Thrustmaster T300 RS GT

Best Racing Wheel

Thrustmaster T300 RS GTThrustmaster T300 RS GT

From the wheel to the pedal base to the motor inside, the Thrustmaster T300 RS GT covers all the bases for a quality racing wheel to get you into the action of your favorite racing games. If you’re a beginner or even a more advanced sim racer, you’ll appreciate all this wheel has to offer. For starters, there’s the realistic feel of the 11-inch wheel built on brushed metal and wrapped all the way around with rubber grips, so you won’t slip even if the race gets hairy. That grip will come in handy, too, with all the power behind that wheel.

The Thrustmaster T300 RS GT uses a dual-belt system with a brushless force feedback motor to deliver 25 watts of power. You’ll feel every twist and turn of the road, so you’ll want to hold on tight. However, thanks to the design, all your actions should remain smooth, and it won’t be terribly noisy. The wheel even totes a 1,080-degree turning range with Hall Effect sensors for accuracy and two paddle shifters to help you always get to the right gear. The face of the wheel features all the buttons and controls you need for PlayStation games, as it’s compatible with PS5, PS4, and PC. And to complete the kit are three metal pedals — an accelerator, clutch, and brake.

2. Logitech G923

Best Budget Racing Wheel

Logitech G923Logitech G923

Logitech offers an affordable way to get into sim racing with the Logitech G923 racing wheel. For under $400, you're getting a wheel with geared force feedback, and it’s decently realistic to a degree, though it’s not the most nuanced and can be a bit noisy. However, a "Trueforce" feature should add some extra immersion through a vibration motor which in supported games does things like simulating the feel of the engine revs vibrating through the steering column straight into your hands.

Beyond the belt-driven force feedback and vibration motor, the Logitech G923 wheel features all the customizable controls and buttons you need for a PlayStation or PC setup. There’s even a 24-point selection dial and LED rev indicator lights. Finally, a full set of metal pedals complete this budget-friendly racing setup.

3. Hori Racing Wheel Overdrive

Best Ultra Cheap Racing Wheel

Hori Racing Wheel OverdriveHori Racing Wheel Overdrive

You can get yourself geared up for racing for just $120 with the Hori Racing Wheel Overdrive. It may not be the most feature-packed option, but you’ll get a comfortable wheel that works with Xbox Series X/S and Windows PC. The kit also includes a pair of pedals, so you’ll be ready to hit the track. If you’re a casual racer, this option is more than enough, and it’ll be a serious upgrade in precision steering compared to a controller.

The Hori Racing Wheel Overdrive provides an 11-inch steering wheel and clamps to attach it to your desk. The wheel has a shorter turning range than high-end options, but it’ll still give you 270 degrees of rotation, or you can cut it down to 180 degrees for more instantaneous feedback. The front of the wheel includes some standard Xbox inputs for easy control in-game, and you’ll even get paddle shifters to really take control of the car you’re driving. The biggest thing you’ll miss out on here is force feedback, but having more cash to grab the best game deals will sweeten the pot.

4. Thrustmaster TMX Racing Wheel

Best Xbox Series X/S Racing Wheel

Thrustmaster TMX Racing WheelThrustmaster TMX Racing Wheel

If you like the look and sound of the Thrustmaster T300 RS racing wheel but want to get a model that works with the new Xbox Series X and Series S, then this is the one to check out. There are amble buttons on the wheel, paddle shifter, a control pad, and can the wheel automatically be recognized by the Xbox.

This kit includes a two-pedal set and can attach to just about any mount other wheels can, whether that's a desk or table. The controls also include the Xbox guide button, so you’ll have full functionality to interact with your console.

5. Thrustmaster T248 Racing Wheel

Best PS5 Racing Wheel

Thrustmaster T248 Racing WheelThrustmaster T248 Racing Wheel

The Thrustmaster T248 is a new racing wheel ready for the PS5. If you’re gaming on Sony’s new console, this is the wheel you’re going to want for full support. It provides handy controls that will lineup with those displayed in the game, and it’ll let you feel like you’re actually driving a car a lot more than a standard controller ever will.

The kit includes the racing wheel itself as well as a three-pedal set that provides high sensitivity and even allows for four different pressure modes from the brake pedal. The wheel will let you get a feel for the road through its belt- and gear-driven force feedback system, which can offer three different modes for your preferred level of feedback. The wheel also provides magnetic paddle shifters for quick activation as well as a display at the center of the wheel that can display useful game data from your engine’s RPM to your best lap time.

6. Thrustmaster TS-XW Racer

Best PC Racing Wheel

Thrustmaster TS-XW RacerThrustmaster TS-XW Racer

PC gamers are accustomed to the finest things in gaming, and once you get past the slightly exorbitant price tag, it’s hard to compete with the Thrustmaster TS-XW Racer. This wheel offers one of the most realistic feels in PC gaming thanks to its exceptional 40-watt brushless force feedback and self-aligning torque. You’ll feel the subtlest cues in your game. Plus, it even features a scale replica of the Sparco P310 Competition wheel, so you can pretend you’re hitting the pavement in the cockpit of an actual race car.

Since the Thrustmaster TS-XW Racer comes toting tons of power, it’s important to keep the internals cool. The cooling system onboard ensures peak performance is maintained while remaining quiet. And, it can self-calibrate itself with an angle of movement from 270° to 1080°. The wheel also comes with two paddle shifters, 14 buttons, and a D-pad. Coming with a metal three-pedal set to complete the package, it’s plug-and-play ready. But if you want to make any modifications, this wheel fits seamlessly in the Thrustmaster ecosystem.

7. Thrustmaster T-GT II

Best Belt-Driven Racing Wheel

Thrustmaster T-GT IIThrustmaster T-GT II

Belt-driven systems offer smooth force feedback using a belt connecting a motor to the wheel but are often seen as lesser than their direct-drive counterparts. However, the Thrustmaster T-GT II may change your mind, as it best exemplifies what these wheels are capable of. You’ll feel all the road’s curves as you cruise the racetrack, thanks to the powerful, high-capacity torque, while the wheelbase is precise and quick to react, giving direct drive wheels a run for their money. The only major drawback is the system can get a bit noisy.

Beyond the impressive belt-drive system, the Thrustmaster T-GT II offers plenty more. Leather wraps around the wheel for a premium feel, while its face totes plenty of controls, including 25 action buttons and four rotary selectors. The two brushed aluminum paddle shifters should be quick to react and hold up well through all the gear changes throughout your wheel's lifespan. To complete this setup, you get a set of three metal pedals, so you’ll be ready to hit the track.

8. Fanatec GT DD Pro

Best Direct Drive Racing Wheel

Fanatec GT DD ProFanatec GT DD Pro

If you are looking for a wheel that best emulates the direct drive experience, look no further than the Fanatec GT DD Pro. It's the perfect addition to your gaming setup and will have you ready to take on the streets in Gran Turismo 7. As the name might suggest, direct drive wheels connect a large motor directly to the steering wheel, which allows for much better control and force feedback. This is what professional racers and enthusiast sim racers use.

You get 8Nm of force feedback from the Fanatec GT DD Pro thanks to the included 180 boost kit. That type of torque is sure to make your hands and wrists sore, even after a short circuit race. The wheel itself features a great interface with familiar PlayStation controls, unique 5-way directional sticks, and RevLED for important visual information while driving. The included steel two-pedal set completes this ultimate direct drive setup. Compatible with PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S (when using an Xbox licensed wheel), and PC, you should be doing laps in no time.

Where to Get the Best Racing Wheels in the UK

Hori Racing Wheel OverdriveBest Budget Racing WheelHori Racing Wheel Overdrive £89.99Logitech G923Logitech G923 £281.26Thrustmaster T300 RS GTThrustmaster T300 RS GT £538.48Thrustmaster TMX Racing WheelThrustmaster TMX Racing Wheel £174.99Thrustmaster T248 Racing WheelThrustmaster T248 Racing Wheel £219.00

What to Look for in a Racing Wheel

One of the first things you should think about when shopping for a racing wheel you should consider how comfortable it's going to be for you to use. Is the wheel large enough and comfortable enough for you to use? Padded and leather (or pleather) bound add a nice touch of comfort, but you may still want to buy a pair of gloves if your wheel delivers a lot of force feedback.

Speaking of force feedback, there are three main types out there in the world:

  • Gear Drive – In this case the wheel's shaft is attached to gears that connect with the main force feedback motor. This type of force feedback system helped amplify torque, but it was notorious for jolting imprecisely and being extremely noisy. Gear Drive systems are also among the oldest type of force feedback system used on racing wheels and you can rarely find one aside from the Logitech G25 Wheels you might find on Ebay.
  • Belt Drive – The most common type of force feedback system used by modern racing wheels. This type of system takes the same concept of translating torque from the haptic motor as Gear Drive, but instead of using gears it uses belts. The resulting experience feels much more precise while being significantly quieter. However, due to the nature of rubber, Belt Drives often absorb some amount of the force feedback before it gets to the wheel and your hands, they also stretch and degrade overtime and require users to replace the belt.
  • Direct Drive – Often regarded as the best type of force feedback, this system often has the wheel mounted directly to a large motor. There's no delay or loss of torque with this type of force feedback system. However, since there aren't any belts or gears amplifying the haptic force these systems often have to use larger motors. Direct Drive wheels are also the most expensive type of racing wheel you can buy and they usually start at around $1,000.

Kevin Lee is IGN's Hardware and Roundups Editor. Follow him on Twitter @baggingspam

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