We’ve all been there. And by ‘there’ I mean balancing quality with cost, especially in the field of sim racing where everything can seem so pricy! With this article I’ll be showing you the best yet affordable sim racing rigs to suit any budget.
So, what is the best cheap sim racing rig? The best cheap sim racing rig is the Conquer Racing Simulator Cockpit due to its perfect balance of quality, functionality and affordability. It is the perfect foundation for any sim racer’s set-up.
It wouldn’t really be a list without other products to compare and contrast, right? Every single one of us is looking for different things in a sim racing rig, after all, so my favorite of the bunch might not be for everybody. However, you can rest assured that all 4 of these rigs are worth it!
The 4 Best Cheap Sim Racing Rigs
Here are the 4 best cheap sim racing rigs:
- Conquer Racing Simulator Cockpit
- Next Level Racing F-GT Lite Cockpit
- Playseat Challenge Racing Chair
- Mophorn Racing Simulator Cockpit
What To Look For In A Good Sim Racing Rig
The biggest thing to remember when picking out gear for sim racing is that the process will have a certain amount of personal relevance. There are a few things that I’d consider to be cardinal buying rules, but otherwise, it all depends on your personal budget and preferences.
Probably the most important thing you should consider before committing to that amazing sim racing cockpit is whether or not your gear will fit!
Under most circumstances, sim racing manufacturers will make all of their wheels, pedal sets and other accessories to a sort of similar blueprint in terms of fittings and mounting capability. However, there will be differences between each brand and you need to be familiar with your own gear for the very practical reason of mounting it to your new cockpit.
Have these measurements handy when you’re browsing online for a new base for your rig as a whole. Even if you haven’t bought any sim racing hardware yet, think about what brand you’d like to buy just to cover all of your bases.
As with any sim racing equipment, I would also recommend that you spend ample time researching a variety of trusted brands. Because you’ll be buying on a budget (even if it’s a large one), the last thing you want to do is buy a seat or rig which breaks after one use! Reputable brands are a good quality assurance in life overall, and especially in sim racing.
A collection of brands that I always consider trusted and worth their salt within seats and cockpits are: Conquer, Playseat and Next Level Racing. They all offer a wide variety of products at various price points, making them good for absolute quality and affordability.
Even though my advice here is founded on a lot of avid sim racing enthusiasm, I will always recommend doing more research on the worldwide web before buying anything for the e-sport.
If you haven’t done this already, make an account on Reddit and find the sim racing sub-forums where people share stories and recommendations about all things sim racing related.
You’ll find people who have similar preferences to you, for example, and these individuals can be valuable sources of information as to where you can find good upgrades or whether you should try out sim racing boots or gloves; whatever it may be.
I’d also suggest not to get too hung-up on your budget as a solid, unshifting figure. Sometimes, an extra $25 or $50 can get you something way better in terms of quality and longevity, so it becomes worth that extra spend at the time.
1. Conquer Racing Simulator Cockpit
Now that you know what sorts of things you should look out for when buying a sim racing cockpit on a budget, let’s kick things off with my personal pick for the holder of the top spot: The Conquer Racing Simulator Cockpit!
Probably the biggest and most common complaints about cheaper sim racing cockpits is that they have the stability of a dry leaf. Essentially, they don’t have much to speak of. You can get cheaper cockpits, sure, but none can really contend with the rock-solid stability of the Conquer with its racing seat and steel build!
What truly nudged this into top contention for me was the true racing seat you’ll get when this baby rocks up at your door. It matches automotive-grade measurements and has premium fabrics/materials used to create it, leading to a truly luxurious and immersive feel.
It’s well-padded yet still rigid in the right ways, to keep your seated posture where it should be. It can also be moved and adjusted with ease to suit every preference, with the ability to be reclined and shifted on the rails.
Honestly, I’ve seen top-line products and brands with worse seats than the Conquer variety. Their focus on comfort and practicality is astounding, not even to mention the sleek, stylish aesthetics of the whole rig and varying colors you can choose for the seat’s upholstery. Part of getting a sim racing rig to begin with is for the cool and realistic looks, right?
As for the cockpit’s structure, you’ll know just from picking up the easy-to-assemble parts that it’s strong steel. Putting everything together is an easy process courtesy of Conquer’s detailed instructions and all tools required being included in the box. You’ll be relieved to know that no, you don’t have to dig out your mismatched toolbox whatsoever!
Unlike with many sim racing cockpits, the Conquer comes with a gear shifter mount which can be adjusted in many ways, along with the rest of the rig. The wheel mount can be shifted forward, backwards, up and down along the rail of the cockpit, and has mounting options for every major racing wheel on the market; everything from Logitech to Fanatec.
And the pedal plate has a large range of adjustment, from 10-degree to 40-degree tilt and everything in-between. The variety of mounting holes allows for all pedal sets to be secured with ease!
This rig might not be the cheapest one on the list I’ve lined up, but it truly outshines the rest with its truly sturdy build and assurance that it will last. The wide rage of mounting availability across all major manufacturers also means you can keep hold of this cockpit for years to come; giving yourself room to grow as your hardware does.
The Conquer Racing Simulator Cockpit costs $280 on Amazon, and that’s for the full package. The seat, cockpit frame, gear stick mount, wheel mount and pedal plate. You won’t have to buy any extras if you enjoy a stick shift, unlike other rigs on this list. It’s a highly versatile cockpit with outstanding quality at its back!
I would easily consider it to be among even the best sim racing cockpits I’ve ever found, so keep that in mind after you’ve read through everything here.
- Automotive-grade, high-quality racing seat with high adjustability
- Sturdy frame made of steel, includes a gear stick shifter mount as standard
- Numerous mounting holes allow for a lot of different hardware to be mounted
- The whole rig is heavy and cumbersome, making it difficult to move
2. Next Level Racing F-GT Lite Cockpit
If you’re a sim racer thinking of saving space, then look no further! Next Level Racing have been providing excellent quality and innovative solutions for every racer for a number of years, and their latest innovation, the F-GT Lite, is no exception to that rule.
A large part of this cockpit’s allure comes from its absolute adjustability, not only in closeness to the wheel or pedals, but in the entire seating position! You can switch between a GT-styled racing seat and F1-styled sitting arrangement with ease, giving this rig a lot of versatility.
This easy shifting between seat positioning can be achieved due to the lightweight seat, and its other main functionality: becoming completely folded for easy storage. You can keep all hardware attached, too, making the whole process entirely easy and painless. Normally, cockpits which offer this functionality need to be stripped bare which results in a lengthy, time-consuming set-up next time.
Truly, this functionality makes the F-GT Lite the perfect cockpit for those of you out there who love to change scenery and also compete against friends in total comfort. Most of the weight in this set-up will come from your sim racing hardware, such as the wheel and pedals, making it easy to transport and fold up into the trunk of any car to take the race on the go!
Although the seat isn’t a padded, race-car styled variety such as the Conquer I mentioned previously, it is made of breathable fabric and is designed to encourage good posture over long periods of time. It does sacrifice the air of luxury that comes with bucket seats due to its space-saving and foldable design, but the seat is plenty comfortable.
Considering how flexible this rig really is, my first concern was how stable it would be. My worries were averted after noticing the special adjustment hubs found all over the seat and frame; designed for ease of adjustment and absolute durability. Each hub can withstand 150kg of force! And there’s no less than 8 of these hubs throughout, meaning that its full capacity is 1,200kg of force.
Every part of the frame is adjustable, allowing you as the user to have complete control over how you sit, and what distance the pedals or wheel will be at. There’s a variety of tilt angles, too, so you really can find that perfect position.
Much like the Conquer cockpit mentioned previously, the F-GT Lite also comes with a gear shift mount as standard, and this can be moved to sit on the right or left side respectively; entirely dependent on driver preference.
A whole host of hardware can be used with the F-GT, including all of the major manufacturers’ products such as Logitech, ThrustMaster and Fanatec. This is due to the pre-drilled mounting capability of the wheel stand and pedal plate, with the ability for a wheelbase clamp to be mounted just as securely.
Couple all of this with the fully upgradeable aspect of all Next Level Racing gear (such as adding monitors etc), and you’ve got a solid yet flexible sim racing cockpit for a reasonable price.
The rig works as both a portable entity and static set-up, but certainly caters more to the former which is why I have placed it in 2nd as opposed to 1st. It isn’t as sturdy as something which is designed to stay in one spot, so you can expect a few wobbles and a bit of instability.
- Fully foldable for easy storage/ portability
- Cockpit can be changed between GT-style and F1-style seating with ease
- Lightweight materials make it less stable than other counterparts
- Seat feels noticeably cheap after long hours spent racing
3. Playseat Challenge Racing Chair
In the world of sim racing rigs and cockpits, Playseat have been offering a variety of options since way back when. And one of the fan favorites is and likely always will be the Playseat Challenge. Between its affordable price and easily-stored construction, it’s earned a coveted place on this list!
This is very similar to the Next Level Racing concept I discussed above, with the focus resting on the ability to move or store this rig with absolute ease.
The Challenge cockpit brings a perfect blend of luxury and accessibility to the table in the shape of Alcantara suede in the seat, and powder-coated steel providing a reinforced, sturdy rig while it’s in use. With a less extendable framework protruding from the whole rig, you’ll find set-up to be far easier than the F-GT Lite.
Due to how the wheel stand and pedal support function with various mounting options and pre-drilled specifications, all wheels and pedal sets can be used with this cockpit. You can also mount a steering wheel using its wheelbase’s clamp due to the wheel stand having a sturdy plate section.
The wheel stand is essentially part of the framework in and of itself, attaching to each side of the Challenge seat and extending in various ways or degrees for the personal preference and comfort of the driver. By simply moving it up or down you step out of the cockpit, and this touch gives an added amount of realism; as if you’re getting in and out of a real racing car!
Much like the F-GT, the primary selling point of this rig is the fact that it’s fully collapsible and easy to store away or move to another location; even with sim racing hardware still attached. This makes it very practical compared to more static set-ups and lends itself well to those of you out there who might just be dipping your toes into sim racing.
Not everybody has the room to spare for a dedicated, constant rig! The Challenge is made perfectly to accommodate for that.
Overall, it’s a surprisingly sturdy and very comfortable cockpit with the added ability to move it with ease. However, due to the pedal plate not being adjustable and the overall ‘temporary’ feel of the cockpit, I couldn’t rank it any higher.
It’s a high-quality cockpit, all things considered, but Playseat dedicated most of its design to being collapsible. As such, a lot of its longevity has suffered.
- Compatible with all sim racing wheels/ hardware currently available
- Fully foldable and very lightweight, great for those who don’t have a dedicated space for sim racing
- Pedal ‘plate’ is adjustable only in length which can make it uncomfortable after long stints
- Not as stable as a static rig such as the Conquest
- No gear stick shifter mount included
4. Mophorn Racing Simulator Cockpit
Last but certainly not least, we have the Mophorn Racing Simulator Cockpit; a static rig that’s low in cost but big in comfort! It’s specifically designed for all Logitech and most ThrustMaster hardware, making it a bit that much more specialized.
This product is made by a brand I have yet to really come across, but using the methods I outlined for how to find a good sim racing cockpit, I did some research and found that ratings on Amazon are high with consistently good feedback. It was through all of this that I was able to conclude its credentials to be on this list of the best cheap rigs out there!
In terms of build quality, the Mophorn is remarkably good. It boasts a PVC leather-coated seat padded with thick, high-density foam that acts like lumbar support and is supported by a steel frame on the inside. The stand and framework are all made of carbon steel which makes it more robust than your standard steel, guaranteeing good longevity.
The seat has a large range of reclining ability; up to 120 degrees! This allows the driver to find the perfect seating position which is comfortable and competitive. Both the wheel stand and pedal plates are fully adjustable in height and tilt angles for a similar reason.
You can also extend or shorten the framework to best fit you, meaning that even tall drivers won’t miss out on the racing action! It can extend between 47.2 and 59 inches in length.
Due to this rig being of a static build, you can guarantee that it feels stable and isn’t about to topple over at any moment. It’s perfect for those of you out there with the room to have a dedicated set-up.
There are varying hard mounting options with the wheel stand and pedal plate, but they’re all designed to fit Logitech and ThrustMaster product specifications. This does narrow it down somewhat, but considering how easily accessible and popular both of these manufacturers are, it only really excludes higher-end brands such as Fanatec.
Overall, it’s a very solid rig that does its job admirably. For $249.99 on Amazon, I doubt that you’d be able to get a reputable static sim racing rig for any cheaper!
It does suffer from the notable problem of PVC leather not ageing very well with how it can tear over time, and the seat itself doesn’t have a lot of room for maneuver in its position on the rails. It is clearly imported from China, somewhere which doesn’t strictly enforce quality control standards, so you may come across some quality of life issues down the line.
- Very affordable static, sturdy set-up
- Specifically made for Logitech and ThrustMaster products
- PVC leather notorious for tearing badly over time
- Imported rig, will likely suffer from quality testing not being as rigorous
- No gear stick shifter mount included
And there we have it!
I really hope that this list included something for everyone no matter their budget. The Conquer truly is the best static sim racing rig I’ve been able to find for an affordable price, and the F-GT from Next Level Racing is easily the best space-saver of the bunch.
If these rigs aren’t for you, make sure to refer to my guide on how to find a good one under your own steam! Happy hunting!