The 7 Best Sim Racing Wheels For Beginners (Ultimate Guide)

Buying your first sim racing wheel is equally as daunting as it is exciting, with so many options at so many different price points available for selection. This can leave many sim racing newcomers wondering what exactly the best sim racing wheel is for beginners.

The 7 best sim racing wheels for beginners are:

  1. Thrustmaster T300RS/TX
  2. Logitech G29/G920
  3. MOZA ES Steering Wheel
  4. Thrustmaster T150/TMX
  5. Logitech G923
  6. Fanatec CSL DD WRC
  7. Thrustmaster Ferrari 458 Spider

Each wheel has its own set of features that can greatly enhance your sim racing experience. In this article we will outline the things you should look for before you buy your new wheel, and we’ll go through each of the options above in more detail.

The Best Overall
  • PROS:
    • • Excellent belt-driven force feedback
    • • Durable construction
    • • Feels great to use
Value For Money
  • PROS:
    • • Easy to set up and use
    • • Decent force feedback
    • • Good set of pedals included
Great All-Rounder
  • PROS:
    • • Good selection of buttons
    • • Solid build quality
    • • Formula-style add-on available
The Best Overall
PROS:
  • • Excellent belt-driven force feedback
  • • Durable construction
  • • Feels great to use
Value For Money
PROS:
  • • Easy to set up and use
  • • Decent force feedback
  • • Good set of pedals included
Great All-Rounder
PROS:
  • • Good selection of buttons
  • • Solid build quality
  • • Formula-style add-on available

The 7 Best Sim Racing Wheels For Beginners

1. Thrustmaster T300RS/TX

Compatibility: PC / PlayStation / Xbox | Wheel Base Included: Yes | Pedals Included: Yes | Force Feedback: Belt

The Thrustmaster T300RS/TX range is a good option for those looking to start sim racing with above-average equipment. The T300RS/TX wheels come with a three-pedal set, as well as a dual-belt force feedback system, which offers enough strength to hook you into the hobby! It is also future proof, with a removable wheel ready for upgrades within the Thrustmaster ecosystem.

The Best Overall

Thrustmaster T300RS/TX

This sim racing wheel offers incredible force feedback at a beginner-friendly price point. Featuring a solid overall construction, this belt-driven wheel will last you well into your sim racing career.
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Suitable For Intermediate Sim Racers

Despite being aimed primarily at beginners, the Thrustmaster T300RS/TX is also suitable for those a bit further along in their sim racing journey. This is a nice perk to have if you are a complete beginner, as it will mean that you won’t feel as if you are outgrowing your setup for a long while. With the bonus of being able to swap out your wheel, this set is built to last.

The dual-belt-driven force feedback ranks it above its nearest rivals, the Logitech G29/G920 and G923. The force feedback is smooth and enjoyable, although it isn’t as strong as what you would experience from some higher-end products. However, for beginners, it’s definitely enough.

Thrustmaster T300RS GT Edition sim racing wheel on a wooden table, showing the wheel rim face with all the buttons.
I’ve had the T300RS GT Edition for a few years now and it’s definitely an upgrade over my original Logitech G29, but still very beginner friendly

The wheel uses Thrustmaster’s patented H.E.A.R.T technology, which stands for Hall Effect AccuRate Technology. The hall effect system uses magnets to send electronic signals to the game, making for an accurate experience, as well as substantially extending the lifespan of the wheel.

Compatibility

The Thrustmaster T300RS is the PlayStation specific edition of the wheel and pedal set and cannot be used on Xbox. It is the opposite for the Thrustmaster TX wheel, which is compatible on Xbox consoles. Both wheels are compatible with PC. The wheels’ buttons are catered for their respective consoles, meaning it’s very easy to pick up and play if you’re used to a specific layout.

One of the biggest differences between the two wheels is that the T300RS has 1080° of rotation, compared to the 900° of rotation on the TX. This may seem slightly unfair if you are an Xbox user, but 900° is unlikely to feel restrictive in any way in most sim titles.

Overall, the Thrustmaster T300RS/TX wheel is a great option for beginners because of its features and the fact that it has the ability to see you through two phases of your sim racing journey, as you progress to a more intermediate racer. Belt-driven force feedback sets it apart from some of the other beginner orientated options, and overall it’s a solid bit of kit!

Thrustmaster T300RS/TX

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PROS:

  • Belt-driven force feedback
  • Removable wheel
  • Very beginner friendly

CONS:

  • Not the cheapest

2. Logitech G29/G920

Compatibility: PC / PlayStation / Xbox | Wheel Base Included: Yes | Pedals Included: Yes | Force Feedback: Gear

The Logitech G29/G920 offers buyers an ideal introduction into the world of sim racing. The G29/G920 bundles are regarded as one of the top picks for those starting out in the hobby, because of their simplicity, compatibility, and the fact that you can buy the set for a reasonable price.

Value For Money

Logitech G29/G920

This wheel is often touted as one of the best beginner wheels on the market, and for good reason. Along with a good set of pedals, you get a decent force feedback experience with a comfortable wheel and solid metal paddle shifters.
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Features

The Logitech G29 (PC and PlayStation compatible) and the G920 (PC and Xbox compatible) wheels are almost identical in their features, and both offer the same experience, with the only real difference being their respective console compatibility. While the G29/G920 wheels aren’t packed with high-end features, they offer a glimpse of the immersion that force feedback can provide.

The wheels come fixed to their wheel bases, which provide a decent amount of dual-motor, gear-driven force feedback. They may not feel as good more expensive systems, but the force feedback will be noticeable and exciting for newcomers to the hobby. There are two paddle shifters attached to the rear of the wheel, as well as a small RPM light on the front of the G29, which will help with shifting.

Logitech G29 sim racing wheel from behind, showing the metal paddle shifters on the back of the wheel rim.
Here you can see the nice all-metal paddle shifters on the back of the rim, and they feel very satisfying to use

Note: There is no way to exchange rims on these wheels, limiting the upgradeability, but you can pick up the Logitech gear shifter if you want to add to your setup.

There are plenty of buttons on the front of the wheels, which are designed in the style of their respective consoles. PC users can configure these buttons to fulfil whichever role they want them to. The buttons are conveniently placed and will help with any mid-race inputs that need to be made.

Materials

The build-quality of the G29/G920 is impressive, considering the price of the product. The wheel face is predominantly made from aluminum, in a nice dark shade of grey. The wheel grip is wrapped in hand stitched leather, which is both comfortable and grippy to hold, as well as easy to clean. The shifter paddles are made from brushed stainless steel.

The only major use of plastic in this set is the casing around the wheel base and the pedal set. This build-quality ensures the G29/G920 will be durable and resistant to wear and tear until you decide it is time for an upgrade. The set is also mountable to desks, as well as sim racing cockpits, making it ideal for those who are yet to invest in a serious sim racing setup.

The G29/G920’s pedals feel much better than many other cheap potentiometer sets, but you can see there is a lot of plastic here

Performance

While the force feedback is noticeable in this wheel, it is not as smooth as that of the belt-driven T300RS/TX, as you can occasionally feel the force feedback gears grinding. This is a major drawback of gear-driven force feedback systems, which is why they aren’t used in higher-end products. Still, the G29/G920 provides an immersive upgrade over a controller.

Input accuracy is unlikely to be an issue with the G29/G920, meaning you’ll be able to find a good level of consistency once you are used to the wheel. There is very little customization that you can do with the wheel, especially if you are on console. However, once you’ve settled in, the wheel and pedals are very easy to use.

Overall, the Logitech G29/G920 is a great choice for any beginner looking to fall in love with sim racing. It has its flaws, but that’s inevitable for a product that offers both a wheel and pedals for such a reasonably low price. It’s likely that you will want to upgrade it sooner or later, but it offers an insight into the level of fun and immersion that sim racing has to offer.

Logitech G29/G920

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PROS:

  • Affordable
  • Comes with a pedal set
  • Good build quality

CONS:

  • Force feedback often feels as though it is grinding
  • Very little wheel customization

3. MOZA ES Steering Wheel

Compatibility: PC | Wheel Base Included: No | Pedals Included: Only if you buy the R5 bundle | Force Feedback: Direct Drive

If you are looking to move into the world of direct drive systems, the MOZA ES wheel is a great place to start. MOZA are becoming quite a force within the sim racing world, due to their consistent releasing of high-quality products. The ES steering wheel is unfortunately only compatible with PC, meaning console users will have to look elsewhere for direct drive.

Great All-Rounder

MOZA ES Steering Wheel

This steering wheel offers plenty of functionality in a simple yet brilliant form factor. You get a good array of buttons, nice paddle shifters, and overall a wheel that's built to last.
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Note: We discuss direct drive here as you will need a MOZA wheel base to pair with this rim, and MOZA currently only offer direct drive bases

Wheel Base Pairing

The MOZA ES wheel can be paired with their R5 Direct Drive wheel base if you are looking to keep costs as low as possible. The R5 DD wheel base is an ideal entry level direct drive option, which is priced very reasonably. It produces 5.5 Nm of torque, which isn’t as much as high-end DD wheel bases, but it’s still an undeniable step up compared to gear and belt drive systems.

The ES wheel has a quick release system, making it easy to attach and detach it from the wheel base, meaning you can swap to new equipment in the future should you wish to do so. There is a MOZA bundle with the ES wheel, the R5 DD wheel base and a set of pedals for a reduced price too, meaning you can be set up for direct drive in no time.

Customization & Features

The ES wheel is one of the most customizable options on the market, with 22 programmable buttons that you can configure to many things in-game. You can also buy a formula wheel mod separately, meaning you can change its shape from being round to being more appropriate for formula-style racing. This is a great feature that adds a whole new level of versatility to the wheel.

The wheel’s skeleton is made from solid aluminum, which looks professional and feels durable. It features a flow shift light, which is useful for getting to grips with shifting as a beginner sim racer. The paddle shifters on the back of the wheel are also made from aluminum and require a realistic amount of pressure to activate. They are satisfying to use as well, clicking nicely when pulled.

An Excellent Piece Of Kit

The buttons on the wheel are perfectly placed for easy inputs during the race, meaning you won’t be distracted from the action while trying to perform simple commands. MOZA haven’t cut any corners when making this wheel, which makes the low price even more impressive.

Overall, this wheel, when combined with the R5 wheel base, is a giant step up from the other options on this list. It is priced superbly for the build quality and the features, especially when bought as part of a bundle.

MOZA ES Steering Wheel

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PROS:

  • Solid aluminum build
  • Can be turned into a formula wheel
  • Good selection of buttons

CONS:

  • Expensive for beginners when you factor in the wheel base

4. Thrustmaster T150/TMX

Compatibility: PC / PlayStation / Xbox | Wheel Base Included: Yes | Pedals Included: Yes | Force Feedback: Belt / Gear hybrid

The T150/TMX wheels are Thrustmaster’s cheapest force feedback offerings. The T150 is compatible with PlayStation and PC, while the TMX is compatible with Xbox and PC. Thankfully, Thrustmaster opted for two different names to avoid any confusion being caused like it is with the Logitech G923 (see the next wheel). The two wheels are almost identical, with the main difference being button placement.

Thrustmaster T150/TMX

This sim racing wheel offers one of the cheapest force feedback experiences on the market. Its reliable belt-drive system offers realism at a very reasonable price point.
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The Wheel Face

Both the T150 and TMX wheels have the look of gaming wheels rather than trying to emulate real steering wheels in the same way high-end sim options do. This isn’t necessarily a flaw, as the familiar button placement on the wheels will make it more comfortable for beginners to use. The layout for the T150 is more familiar, as the ‘shape’ buttons are in their traditional form.

The TMX has placed the A, B, X and Y buttons along the top of the wheel face rather than to the right, which may take some getting used to. Aside from button placement, the only other noticeable difference between the two wheels is the color scheme. The T150 features blue grips, which make it clear it’s a PlayStation-compatible product!

The TMX has gone for an all-black look, and it’s bound to fit in well with most people’s sim racing setups. The wheels have a premium feel to them and both are made from quality materials, much like the rest of Thrustmaster’s wheels. The round shape of the wheel will make it slightly difficult for those with smaller hands to reach all the buttons during a race, but it won’t be an issue for most.

Wheel Performance

The T150/TMX wheels use belt-driven force feedback, which offers a quieter and smoother experience than seen in the two budget-friendly Logitech offerings. The force feedback isn’t overly strong, with around 2 Nm of force behind it. That is around the going rate for wheels at this price point, so it isn’t too much of a disappointment all things considered.

The force feedback won’t pick up all subtle details, but as a beginner option, it offers a decent enough experience and a level of immersion that’s still well above what a controller can offer. One aspect of the wheel that is impressively accurate are the paddle shifters on the rear of the wheel. They have a satisfying click when used, and won’t be prone to mis-shifts, as they aren’t too sensitive to the touch.

Good Value

The T150/TMX wheel comes with a set of pedals, which increases their value for money. Although the pedals aren’t of the highest quality, they are still suitable to race with, offering a hint of resistance when pressed down (but you may want to upgrade to something like the T-LCM pedals eventually).

Overall, this wheel and pedal set offers beginners a decent entrance into the world of sim racing, and good entry-level belt-driven force feedback.

Thrustmaster T150/TMX

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PROS:

  • Smooth belt-driven force feedback
  • Satisfying paddle shifting
  • Comes as a bundle

CONS:

  • Cheaper look and feel
  • Force feedback is a little weak

5. Logitech G923

Compatibility: PC / PlayStation / Xbox | Wheel Base Included: Yes | Pedals Included: Yes | Force Feedback: Gear

The Logitech G923 is designed to be the upgrade from the G29/G920, although on the surface, there is very little to separate the two. Aside from the stylish blacked-out wheel face, the wheel looks identical to the G29/G920, apart from the small RPM screen added for Xbox users, which wasn’t present on the G920. The G923 is also fractionally more expensive than the G29/G920, but it does have some unique features.

Logitech G923

This is a good entry level wheel for those that want a bit of extra immersion thanks to Logitech's Trueforce technology. It feels durable and comfortable to use, and it comes with a decent set of pedals too.
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Logitech Trueforce

In their quest for improved immersion and realism, Logitech added their Trueforce technology into the G923. Trueforce is designed to replicate the how the wheel would feel in a real car, by sending vibrations through the wheel rim. It works with the in-game physics and audio, meaning that if you are driving with a loud engine in a game with decent driving physics, the vibrations will be stronger.

Trueforce feels like a good attempt by Logitech at making the wheel seem more immersive, although it isn’t supported by all games on all platforms, so make sure to check it’ll work with your favorite titles before buying. Constant vibrations can begin to feel quite annoying after a while, detracting from the experience of using the wheel, so it may not be for everyone.

Force Feedback

Logitech have claimed that the force feedback in the G923 is improved from the G29/G920, but in all honesty, it doesn’t feel too different. They have again used gear-driven technology just with upgraded motors. While these motors may be upgraded, there is a ceiling to what you can achieve with gear-driven force feedback, and it still falls short of belt-driven systems.

The force feedback in the G923 is not stronger than the feedback in the G29/G920 wheels, nor is it any smoother to use. This makes the wheel feel like a rebranded version of the G29/G920, rather than an upgrade, especially as the Trueforce technology leaves a little to be desired. There is also a dual clutch system, but only in supported games, and it doesn’t use any extra paddles.

Note: We wouldn’t recommend upgrading from the G29/G920 to the G923, but it is still worth considering as a first wheel for beginners

Compatibility

There are once again two versions of this wheel, with one being compatible with PlayStation and PC, and the other being compatible with Xbox and PC. However, unlike the G29/G920, there is just the one name for this wheel and pedal set. This means you will have to be extra careful that you are buying the right version if you race on console!

Overall, this wheel doesn’t feel too dissimilar to the cheaper Logitech G29/G920. Logitech didn’t need to try and improve on the G29/G920 unless they were going to completely overhaul the force feedback system, which would have put them at risk of moving outside of the beginner’s market. So, for a first wheel, it’s a great choice, but the G29/G920 is an equally good – and cheaper – choice!

Logitech G923

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PROS:

  • Stylish black look
  • Compatible with console and PC
  • Trueforce for extra immersion

CONS:

  • Trueforce and dual clutch don’t work on all titles
  • More expensive than the G29/G920

6. Fanatec CSL DD WRC

Compatibility: PC / Xbox | Wheel Base Included: Yes | Pedals Included: No | Force Feedback: Direct Drive

The Fanatec CSL DD WRC wheel is a direct drive option that’s compatible with PC and Xbox. The wheel base is capable of producing 8 Nm of torque, which is plenty for beginners. The CSL DD will provide a great entry into the world of direct drive, but it will come at an extra cost over the other wheels we’ve discussed.

Fanatec CSL DD WRC

This is a great option for beginners that want a taste of direct drive sim racing. The WRC rim feels comfortable and has a good range of functionality, and it looks great too.
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The Wheel Base

The CSL DD is as smooth as you’d expect, with the direct drive technology providing an immersive and realistic experience. It can pick up even the subtlest of details, from imperfections in the track surface feel to the car’s weight shifting around. This makes the driving experience feel natural, which can make it easier to recover from slides and prevent them in the first place.

The wheel base is very quiet as it has no fans to cool it, instead cooling itself passively. This is an ideal feature for those who race at night or have other people around the house that they don’t want to disturb. Not all direct drive wheel bases are as quiet, and aside from the performance benefits, it’s also a huge step up from noisy gear-driven wheels.

The Wheel Rim

The rally-style wheel Alcantara rim is a great choice for rally games of course, but it will definitely be usable in other titles too. Its wide diameter and orange and black trim ensure it’ll look the part in any sim racing rig. You get all the essential buttons, along with a few extras and a small display at the top of the rim too.

Overall, the CSL DD WRC is undoubtedly a top level product that would fit in the setups of the most experienced sim racers. It can’t necessarily be classed as a purely beginner’s product, but in terms of direct drive wheel bases, it will provide a good entry point. It is expensive though, and it’s best for those that want to really see what sim racing has to offer.

Fanatec CSL DD WRC

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PROS:

  • Direct drive wheel base
  • Excellent build quality
  • Runs very quietly

CONS:

  • Expensive
  • Not compatible with PlayStation

7. Thrustmaster Ferrari 458 Spider

Compatibility: PC / Xbox | Wheel Base Included: Yes | Pedals Included: Yes | Force Feedback: N/A

The Thrustmaster Ferrari 458 Spider wheel is a nice-looking wheel and it has the bonus of being emblazoned with the Ferrari logo! However, while Ferrari cars are synonymous with high-end luxury, this racing wheel doesn’t follow the same sentiment. It’s a cheap, non-force feedback option, which may be tempting for those just getting into sim racing on Xbox or PC.

Thrustmaster Ferrari 458 Spider

This is the ideal choice for absolute beginner sim racers or kids that want an upgrade over their controller. It offers slick Ferrari aesthetics in a lightweight, easy to use form factor.
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No Force Feedback

The biggest drawback of this wheel is that it doesn’t feature any force feedback. Not only does this detract from the immersion and realism of your experience, but it leaves you without any knowledge of track intricacies, making it hard to find consistency in tough races. There is resistance from the bungee cord inside the wheel, but it’s very limiting.

I do feel it is important to reiterate the price of the wheel when discussing its lack of features. It is solely aimed at beginners who want a cheap wheel and pedal bundle to get started in the hobby. But while it may be tempting to spend a small amount to avoid any risk, we do recommend considering one of the other options on this list if you think you’ll enjoy sim racing for a long time.

Note: This option is not upgradeable, so it’s best for those that don’t plan to get serious about sim racing

Build Quality & Design

The wheel is predominantly made from plastic and doesn’t feel overly durable. The red rubber grips on the side of the wheel do look nice, but they feel cheap, which is to be expected. The paddle shifters on the back of the wheel are made of metal, which is not always seen at this price point.

Thrustmaster Ferrari 458 Spider sim racing wheel showing the metal paddle shifter with a wooden background.
The metal paddle shifters are only half size, which does better replicate how they look on the real thing, but I personally prefer full-size paddles

It is hard to pick too many holes in the overall design of the wheel, as it does look pleasant, especially if you’re a Ferrari fan. This is partly down to the fact that it is a smaller scale replica of the wheels that you find in real life Ferrari 458 Spiders. The wheel features an array of buttons, most of which are fully functional. Some are there for show, such as the ‘engine start’ button.

The engine start button does not start any engines, but instead acts as a D-pad if you are an Xbox user. This is definitely something to be aware of, as not only does it seem a little deceiving on Thrustmaster’s part, but it also doesn’t feel as good to use as a traditional D-pad would.

Thrustmaster Ferrari 458 Spider beginner sim racing wheel showing the red Engine Start button.
While it does look cool, the Engine Start button is a bit gimmicky and doesn’t feel great to use

Overall, this wheel is nice looking, if not slightly gimmicky. It can be mounted to a desk, making it an appropriate option for those just starting out who don’t have a sim racing setup already in place. Its lack of force feedback is a real blow, automatically making it a poor choice for anyone who is seriously looking to get into sim racing, but it’s a fun option for kids or absolute beginners.

Thrustmaster Ferrari 458 Spider

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PROS:

  • Ferrari design looks great
  • Very cheap for a bundle
  • Can be mounted to a desk

CONS:

  • No force feedback
  • Made almost entirely from plastic
  • Lacks any notable features

Summary Of The Best Beginner Sim Racing Wheels

WheelProsCons
Thrustmaster T300RS/TXVery smooth belt-driven force feedback

Durable build quality
A bit expensive
Logitech G29/G920One of the best budget friendly beginner wheels

Comes with decent beginner pedals
Gear-driven force feedback isn’t the best

Can’t remove/change the wheel rim
MOZA ES Steering WheelVery nice beginner wheel with solid build quality

Good range of buttons
No wheel base included

Not compatible with console
Thrustmaster T150/TMXExcellent value for money

Satisfying paddle shifters
Overall cheap feel

Force feedback is pretty weak
Logitech G923Great racing aesthetic

Trueforce for extra immersion
Some features don’t work on all games

A bit expensive for what you get
Fanatec CSL DD WRCExcellent beginner direct drive option

Superb build quality
Quite expensive

Not compatible with PS4/PS5
Thrustmaster Ferrari 458 SpiderVery cheap option with nice Ferrari aesthetic

Great for kids
No force feedback

Limited range of rotation

What To Look For In A Beginner Sim Racing Wheel

Force Feedback

Force feedback is a fundamental feature to look for when searching for your sim racing wheel. It’s a term that refers to how your racing wheel reacts to what is happening in the game, much like how a controller would vibrate as you drive over a kerb. Force feedback offers a more detailed version of this and will change how your wheel behaves in a variety of situations.

While it is possible to use a wheel without force feedback, it will seriously detract from the immersion and realism of your sim racing experience. Wheels without force feedback are often at the very cheapest end of the scale, which may be tempting for some, but the recommendation would be that you spend that little bit extra on a wheel that will enhance your experience.

Gear-Driven

There are three main types of force feedback available in sim racing wheels, with each having a different bearing on your experience. These are gear-driven, belt-driven and direct drive. Gear-driven force feedback wheels work by utilizing a small motor, with its torque amplified using a set of gears. This is the least common system, but it’s present in some beginner wheels.

This means that you will get a force feedback experience for a low price, but you will also have to put up with occasional grinding from the gear system, as well as the increased noise coming from the internal motor. Despite these flaws, gear-driven force feedback will provide you with a good introduction into force feedback technology, before you eventually upgrade your wheel.

Belt-Driven

The next step up is belt-driven force feedback. These wheels offer a smoother experience than gear-driven wheels, as they use a belt and pulleys to provide resistance and vibrations. This usually produces a higher level of strength in the force feedback, for a price not overly dissimilar than what you would pay for a gear-driven system. However, the internal belts are prone to wear over time.

Direct Drive

If you want the best, most realistic force feedback on the market, then look no further than direct drive. Direct drive is far more expensive than other force feedback mechanisms, but it is stronger, more durable and more immersive. It involves having the wheel directly mounted to a motor, producing up to 25 Nm worth of torque compared to about 4 Nm produced in gear and belt systems.

With a direct drive wheel and wheel base, you will be able to better experience the feeling of the road surface, weight transfers when turning, and other subtle intricacies that cannot be matched by cheaper forms of force feedback. The major drawback is the price. If you want to buy a direct drive system, you will have to part with a bit more cash and have a suitable place to mount it.

Buyer’s Tip: You definitely do not need to buy a direct drive wheel as a beginner. While there are some suitable options out there, you may be best to think of direct drive wheels as something to work towards as you progress with sim racing, as you'll also need to buy a sturdy rig for them.

Longevity

It’s good to know your intentions with sim racing before you buy a wheel. If you are planning on taking sim racing seriously and want to be doing it for years to come, it’s a good idea to spend a little more for a wheel with some decent features. The experience is a whole lot more enjoyable if you have good equipment to go with it.

Of course, you don’t have to start with a direct drive wheel that has all the best features, especially if you’re not 100% sure about what you want from a wheel yet. It does help to avoid the very cheapest options though, as they won’t offer you as much enjoyment, and likely won’t be durable enough to use for a long time.

Upgradeability

It helps, as a beginner, to have a product that is upgradeable. This way, you can keep improving your setup bit by bit without having to overhaul it completely when you want to buy a new product. This is more of an issue for console users who can’t mix and match the brands that they use. So, it’s important to look into brand ecosystems before you buy your wheel.

For example, the Thrustmaster T300RS/TX is an upgradeable product, as you can swap out the original removable wheel rim for another wheel within Thrustmaster’s ecosystem, while still using the same wheel base. Thrustmaster also have plenty of higher-end wheels, meaning there is a ladder to climb as you become a more experienced sim racer.

You may also want to upgrade your setup from a desk or table to a dedicated sim racing rig. In this case, it is important to find a wheel and pedal set that is hard mountable, rather than something that relies solely on a cheap plastic table clamp.

Table clamp of the Hori Apex sim racing wheel attached to a wooden table.
Here is an example of a table clamp (on the Hori Apex wheel). As you can see, it looks a little cheap and not that secure, which is only really fine for something without force feedback.

Cost

Ideally, you’ll want to be going with the best quality product that you can afford. This way you will be less likely to end up regretting your decision. It is always tempting to buy the cheapest product, but these will lack the sort of features that make owning a sim racing wheel worthwhile, such as force feedback and reliable build quality.

Noting which features are most important to you will help you get an idea of how much money you will need to spend on your wheel. If your initial budget is low, it is especially wise to look for upgradeable products that you can improve on in the future when you are ready to spend more on your setup.

Note: If you want the absolute cheapest option (with force feedback), check out the Logitech G29/G920 or the Thrustmaster T150/TMX

Racing Style

Your racing style should also play a part in the wheel you decide to choose. For example, if you are into open wheel racing, there are options shaped in a formula style, which will help to add to the immersion of your experience. They will also have buttons placed in the correct places for in-game inputs, such as DRS and ERS activation. The same applies for GT racing or rallying.

Whichever racing style you are interested in, there will be a wheel designed to suit it. If you don’t have a specific preference, it’s best to look for a more neutral wheel that will feel natural in several different racing styles. If you’re into simcade games or prefer carefree racing, you may want to look at more simplistic wheels, without an overload of expensive features.

Some wheels naturally won’t be suited to certain types of racing because of their shape and size. Formula wheels are notorious for their lack of versatility and won’t work well in games that require lots of rotation, such as rally titles. Likewise, a large rally-focused wheel might be cumbersome in an F1 game. So, size is worth considering when searching for your new sim racing wheel.

Compatibility

Compatibility is more of an issue for console users, as the processing power of PCs and the number of USB ports they have means they are capable of supporting almost all types of wheels and wheel bases. This means that a lot of manufacturers gear their hardware towards the PC market, narrowing down the options for console users.

It is important if you are racing on console to check whether the wheel you are choosing will actually work in your setup. Some wheels are specific to one console, for example the Logitech G29 will only work with PlayStation and PC. There are often sister versions of the same wheel setup, in this case the Logitech G920, which works with Xbox and PC.

If you are a console user, you will struggle to mix and match brands in your sim racing setup. Due to their lower processing power and lack of usable USB inputs, you will unfortunately have to stick to one ecosystem if you’re on console, unless you plan on trying out a third-party adapter. These adapters are often unreliable and they don’t work with every setup.

Is It Part Of A Bundle?

Finally, sim racing bundles are an excellent way of getting great value for money. A lot of wheels will come with a pedal set included, which means you can have a setup in place without the hassle of having to shop around.

KEY POINTS

• Always opt for the best quality wheel you can afford

• Go for something with force feedback, ideally belt-driven or direct drive

• Ensure your chosen wheel will work with the rest of your setup before you buy it!

Final Thoughts

It’s usually Thrustmaster and Logitech who come out on top when discussing the best beginner’s sim racing wheels. Both the T300RS/TX by Thrustmaster and the G29/G920 by Logitech offer newcomers a good mix of features and they’re bundled with pedal sets, but the MOZA ES wheel, when paired with a wheel base, offers a good entry-level direct drive option.