The 6 Best Cheap Sim Racing Rigs (Budget Buyer’s Guide)

Share this article

Picking a cheap sim racing rig can be tough with all the options on the market, many of which are low quality from non-sim racing brands. That’s why we’ve put together a list of the best budget friendly sim racing rigs to help make your decision much easier.

The 6 best cheap sim racing rigs are:

  1. Next Level Racing F-GT Lite Cockpit
  2. Playseat Challenge Racing Chair
  3. Next Level Racing GT Lite
  4. Sim Lab Wheel Stand Pro
  5. Conquer Racing Simulator Cockpit
  6. Playseat Evolution

Below, we’ll take a closer look at each of these sim racing rigs and discuss what makes them the best of the budget choices. We will then discuss the kinds of things you should be looking for when picking a cheap sim racing setup.

Best Budget Choice
Basic But Brilliant
Best Wheel Stand
Best Budget Choice
PROS:
  • • Highly adjustable
  • • Fully foldable
  • • Great compatibility
Basic But Brilliant
PROS:
  • • Lightweight and foldable
  • • Comfortable seat
  • • Highly compatible
Best Wheel Stand
PROS:
  • • Durable construction
  • • Ideal for beginners
  • • Takes up very little space

Note: We’ve ordered our list by value for money, not going from the cheapest to the most expensive. If you want the absolute cheapest sim racing rig, check out the Sim Lab wheel stand or the Playseat Challenge.

The 6 Best Cheap Sim Racing Rigs

1. Next Level Racing F-GT Lite Cockpit

If you’re a sim racer thinking of saving space, then look no further! Next Level Racing has been providing excellent quality and innovative solutions for every racer for several years, and one of their latest innovations, the F-GT Lite, is a prime example of this.

Best Budget Choice

Next Level Racing F-GT Lite Cockpit

This is the ideal option for those that want portability and easy storage, as it is fully foldable. You can also use it in GT style or Formula style, making it a versatile, budget friendly sim racing rig.

Check Price
If you click this link and make a purchase, we may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

Cockpit Adjustability

A large part of this cockpit’s allure comes from its high level of adjustability, including wheel and pedal positions and even the seat position. You can switch between a GT-style racing seat and an F1-style arrangement with ease, giving this rig a lot of versatility.

Alongside being able to easily shift positions, you can also fold this rig up for storage. You can keep all hardware attached too, making the whole process simple and painless. Often, cockpits that offer this functionality need to be stripped bare, which results in a lengthy, time-consuming set-up next time.

This functionality makes the F-GT Lite the perfect cockpit for those who don’t have the space for a permanent setup. Most of the weight in this rig will come from your sim racing hardware, such as the wheel and pedals, making it easy to transport if you need to move it further than just the other side of the room.

Fabric, Flexibility, & Adjustability

Although the seat isn’t a padded, race-car-style variety, it is made of breathable fabric and is designed to encourage good posture over long periods of time (think long endurance races in the GT configuration). It does sacrifice the air of luxury that comes with bucket seats due to its space-saving and foldable design, but the seat is still 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 150 kg (330 lbs), and there are no fewer than 8 of these hubs throughout, for the ultimate level of adjustability.

Hardware And Overview

Every part of the frame is adjustable, allowing you to have complete control over how you sit, and what distance the pedals or wheel will be from you. There are a variety of tilt angles to choose from, so you really can find that perfect, most comfortable position.

The F-GT Lite also comes with a gear shift mount, and this can be moved to sit on the right or left side of the cockpit, depending on your preference.

Hardware Compatibility

A whole host of hardware can be used with the F-GT Lite, 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 wheel base clamp to be mounted just as securely.

The rig works as both a portable entity and static setup, but it certainly caters more to the former, which makes it versatile but not the sturdiest option you’ll find (check out the more expensive F-GT cockpit as an example). But for budget buyers, the F-GT Lite cockpit from Next Level Racing is hard to beat!

Next Level Racing F-GT Lite Cockpit

Check Price
If you click this link and make a purchase, we may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

PROS:

  • Fully foldable for easy storage
  • Cockpit can be changed between GT-style and F1-style
  • Plenty of adjustability

CONS:

  • Not the most stable

2. Playseat Challenge Racing Chair

In the world of sim racing rigs and cockpits, Playseat has been offering a variety of options for many years now, and one of the fan favorites is and likely always will be the Playseat Challenge. Between its affordable price and foldability, it’s definitely one to check out if you’re on a budget.

A Foldable Choice

This is very similar to the Next Level Racing cockpit we 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, via the Alcantara suede in the seat and powder-coated steel that provides a sturdy rig overall. With fewer moving parts and hubs to worry about, you’ll find set-up to be far easier than with the F-GT Lite.

Wheel Stand & Collapsibility

All wheels and pedal sets from major manufacturers can be used with this cockpit. You can also mount a steering wheel using its wheel base’s clamp due to the wheel stand having a sturdy plate section, although we always recommend hard mounting your wheel and pedals where possible. Sadly hard mounting your pedals isn’t an option here, as they sit on a less-than-secure plate.

Thrustmaster T-LCM sim racing pedals attached to the Playseat Challenge using a ratchet strap, sitting on a blue carpet.
I’ve used a strap to keep the pedals attached to the ‘mounting plate’ of the Playseat Challenge to stop them moving around
Note: If possible, we recommend tying your pedals down securely with something like a ratchet strap. It's an extra expense, but if you have one lying around it makes for a far more secure experience, especially if you have load cell pedals (see image above).

Getting In & Out

The wheel stand is essentially part of the framework itself, and you don’t get quite as much adjustability as with some other rigs. However, by simply moving it up or down you can step out of the cockpit with ease, and this is something I didn’t actually realise at first.

Playseat Challenge sim racing rig on a wooden floor showing the wheel mount lifted up to allow you to get in and out of the seat.
This shows the wheel mount lifted up to allow you to get in and out of the Playseat Challenge

This meant I was clambering in and out of the seat rather clumsily, without realising I could simply unlatch the wheel plate and lift it up! That’s why you read the instructions of course, but who’s got time for that when there’s racing to be done?

Easy To Store

My own (slightly embarrassing) oversights aside, 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, and it’s another ideal choice for those without the space for a permanent sim racing rig.

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, it’s not the absolute best choice, although it is definitely one of the cheapest.

PROS:

  • Compatible with all major manufacturers’ wheels and pedals
  • Fully foldable and very lightweight
  • Ideal for a first rig

CONS:

  • Not much adjustability or security for your pedals
  • No gear shifter mount

3. Next Level Racing GT Lite

Up next we have another entry from Next Level Racing, this time with their cheaper GT Lite cockpit. This is essentially a trimmed down version of the first NLR cockpit we discussed, but it still offers a high-quality sim racing experience for beginners that need an all-in-one sim racing rig.

Next Level Racing GT Lite

This cockpit is ideal for beginners that need portability and adjustability. It comes with adjustable wheel, pedal and shifter mounts, and a highly breathable seat.
Check Price
If you click this link and make a purchase, we may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

Build Quality & Features

This sim racing cockpit aims to offer the best of both worlds in terms of both portability and stability. It’s not going to be as stable as something like an aluminum extrusion rig, but what it lacks in overall rigidity it makes up for in spades with its versatility.

At a glance, you’ll notice it comes with a pedal mount, wheel mount, and even a shifter mount, along with a seat too. Starting with the chair, it’s made from thinner material than some others on the market, although it does feature some extra padding for added comfort. It’s also highly breathable, making it a good choice for long racing sessions.

The wheel, pedal and shifter mounts are all adjustable, so you can alter their positions and angles to suit your preferred driving position. This also makes it a suitable choice for short and tall sim racers alike, as it’s easy to find a comfortable position for every component.

Foldability

As is a common theme with many of the rigs on this list, the GT Lite cockpit is entirely foldable. This allows you to easily store the rig when you’re not racing, and this is vital for many racers that don’t have the space for a permanent sim racing setup. You can fold it up fairly easily, and you can leave everything attached to it as well for simple set-up next time you want to run a few laps.

You get the benefit of Next Level Racing’s adjustment hubs, which can withstand 150 kg each (330 lbs). This offers adjustability in seating position without sacrificing rigidity. You can also hard mount your wheel, pedals and shifter, which is more than many other options at this price point offer (at least in terms of pedal mounting). This helps create a more secure experience.

Overall, the portability and adjustability of this setup, combined with the fact you get an included shifter mount, makes it an incredibly good value-for-money choice for beginners and even more advanced sim racers that want a high-quality, temporary cockpit.

Next Level Racing GT Lite

Check Price
If you click this link and make a purchase, we may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

PROS:

  • Lots of adjustability
  • Shifter mount included
  • Highly portable

CONS:

  • Not the most stable
  • Seat material is quite thin

4. Sim Lab Wheel Stand Pro

Next up we have a wheel stand, rather than a full cockpit, so this may not be suited to those looking for an all-in-one solution. However, it is a budget friendly option from one of the most respected names in the sim racing space – Sim Lab. It’s a simple, portable and affordable solution for those that need a quick and easy sim racing setup.

Best Wheel Stand

Sim Lab Wheel Stand Pro

This wheel stand is an affordable option for those without the space for a cockpit. It's durable and offers support for most wheels and pedals on the market, and it's an ideal choice for beginners.
Check Price
If you click this link and make a purchase, we may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

Build Quality & Features

Sim Lab are a brand renowned for their high-quality sim racing equipment, and while this may be one of their cheapest offerings, it benefits from their skill and expertise in the build quality department. Made to emulate a miniature form of a typical aluminum extrusion rig (the kind of rig that supports direct drive), it’s designed for durability and stability in equal measure.

You get a sturdy steel pedal tray to hard mount whatever pedals you own, and they claim it’ll handle direct drive wheel bases as well, although we’d always recommend going for a solid, full rig for the best experience. However, if you’re in the market for a budget setup, you’re probably not too worried about its ability to handle the most powerful DD bases.

One thing to note is the setup process, which isn’t the easiest out there (see the video above). Given it’s an aluminum profile based rig, it’s not quite as easy to set up as some other cheap wheel stands out there. There are a lot more parts involved, and it can be tricky to know where to put everything if it’s your first time working with something like this.

Who Is This Best For?

With everything above in mind, it’s worth discussing who this would be ideal for and who it perhaps may not be best for. We reckon it’s worth checking out if:

  • You don’t have much space
  • You’re looking for a sturdy wheel stand solution rather than an all-in-one cockpit
  • You don’t mind a bit of a fiddly set-up procedure

We suggest going for one of the other options on this list if:

  • You need a cockpit with a seat
  • You want more adjustability in seat, wheel and pedal positions
  • You want a simple out-of-the-box solution

Overall, it’s still a solid choice, but given it’s a wheel stand rather than a cockpit, we couldn’t include it any higher on this list. However, if you don’t have the space for a cockpit and want a reliable, sturdy stand, Sim Lab’s offering is definitely worth a look!

Sim Lab Wheel Stand Pro

Check Price
If you click this link and make a purchase, we may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

PROS:

  • Sturdy wheel stand
  • Ideal for those without much space
  • Aluminum extrusion construction

CONS:

  • Doesn’t come with a seat
  • Set-up is a bit of a pain

5. Conquer Racing Simulator Cockpit

What helped secure this cockpit’s place on our list is the excellent racing seat you get with it. It matches automotive-grade measurements and has premium fabrics/materials used to create it, leading to a truly luxurious and immersive feel.

Conquer Racing Simulator Cockpit

Made from automotive-grade materials, this sim racing rig is built to last. It's also incredibly comfortable, and there are lots of spaces to mount your sim racing peripherals.

Check Price
If you click this link and make a purchase, we may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

A Comfortable, Immersive Seat

The seat is 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 racing preference, with the ability to be reclined and shifted on the rails too.

Honestly, I’ve seen top-line products and brands with worse seats than the Conquer variety. Their focus on comfort and practicality is astounding given the price, not even to mention the sleek, stylish aesthetics of the whole rig and the various colors you can choose for the seat’s upholstery.

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 the required tools being included in the box.

Overview And Price

Unlike many budget sim racing cockpits, the Conquer comes with a gear shifter mount that can be adjusted in many ways, along with the rest of the rig. The wheel mount can be shifted forward, backward, up, and down along the rail of the cockpit, and it has mounting options for every major racing wheel on the market. And the pedal plate has a large range of adjustment, from 10-degree to 40-degree tilt and everything in between.

This rig might not be the cheapest one on the list, but it truly outshines the rest with its sturdy build and assurance that it will last. The wide range 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 you improve as a sim racer.

Conquer Racing Simulator Cockpit

Check Price
If you click this link and make a purchase, we may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

PROS:

  • Automotive-grade, high-quality racing seat
  • Sturdy frame made of steel
  • Shifter mount included

CONS:

  • Quite a heavy rig
  • Can be hard to find

6. Playseat Evolution

Finally, we have the Playseat Evolution. This is a rig that’s slightly on the higher end of budget friendly, but it offers a great all-in-one solution for beginners and those with a little more experience. It has its quirks that pushed it to the end of our list, but there are a lot of features to enjoy with this setup too.

Playseat Evolution

This is a great choice for those with a bit more space, but it's still highly portable as well. It's sturdy too, and it supports a wide range of other sim racing hardware.
Check Price
If you click this link and make a purchase, we may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

A Versatile Choice

The Playseat Evolution comes with an adjustable ActiFit fabric seat, which is designed for comfort and breathability. This makes it ideal for longer racing sessions, and it’s designed to offer some adjustability too, so that you can find the right position for your setup.

Also adjustable are the steering wheel and pedal mounts. Given they’re each attached to the rig itself, you get quite a stable racing experience. You can shift things backward, forward, up and down to suit your specific needs, and this makes it a versatile setup.

Foldable For Easy Storage

The seat is also foldable, and you can retract everything to make for a small form factor. It’s not going to be as easy to store as something like the Playseat Challenge, but it’s still ideal for those that don’t have quite enough space to keep a rig out in the open all the time.

One Flaw With This Rig

One thing to note with this particular sim racing rig is the fact that the wheel mount sits on a post that is in between your legs as you sit in the seat. This makes it a little less ideal, and it can get in the way of the pedals at times. This is something you’ll need to consider before buying this setup, and it’s one reason it features at the end of our list.

The Playseat Evolution is compatible with all the major sim racing brands out there, although it’s probably still going to be limited when it comes to direct drive. It’s therefore maybe not a cockpit that will last well into your sim racing career, but it’s ideal for the casual sim racer or as a first rig for beginners.

Overall, it has a nice racing aesthetic, supports a wide range of sim racing hardware, and comes in at a fairly reasonable price point for the high build quality.

Playseat Evolution

Check Price
If you click this link and make a purchase, we may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

PROS:

  • Solid construction
  • Highly compatible
  • Foldable seat for easy storage

CONS:

  • Wheel mounting post can get in the way of the pedals
  • A bit on the pricey side

Summary Of The Best Cheap Sim Racing Rigs

RigProsCons
Next Level Racing F-GT Lite CockpitVery easy to store thanks to foldability

Can race with F1 or GT setup
Not a very stable choice (especially for direct drive wheels)
Playseat Challenge Racing ChairOne of the cheapest rigs out there

Easily folded and stored away
Not the most adjustable cockpit

No mount for your shifter or handbrake
Next Level Racing GT LiteA very adjustable choice

It’s also highly portable
It’s not a very stable setup

The seat material is a bit on the thin side
Sim Lab Wheel Stand ProOne of the sturdiest stands out there

Aluminum extrusion is rare for a stand
No seat included

Setting it up takes a lot of time and patience
Conquer Racing Simulator CockpitHigh-quality seat included

Very sturdy with a shifter mount included
Can be hard to find

It’s a heavy choice
Playseat EvolutionFoldable chair for easier storage

Solid setup (but not enough for DD wheels)
Expensive for what you get

Wheel mounting post between your legs

What To Look For In A Good Sim Racing Rig

Compatibility With Your Setup

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 for a new base for your rig. Even if you haven’t bought any sim racing hardware yet, think about what brand you’d like to buy just to ensure that, when you do make your picks, everything will be compatible with it.

Reputable Brands

As with any sim racing equipment, I would also recommend that you spend some time researching a variety of trusted brands. Reputable brands are good quality assurance in life overall, and especially in sim racing.

A collection of brands that I always check out include Playseat, Sim Lab, and Next Level Racing. They each offer a wide variety of products at various price points, making them good for absolute quality and often affordability too.

Do Your Research

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 that you won’t find on manufacturers’ websites.

Build Quality

The final important thing to mention here is build quality. Whether you’re buying a wheel stand or a formula-style cockpit, you need the rig to be able to withstand everything you throw at it. Look for some sort of metal as the main structure, nice fabric for the seat (if applicable), and secure mounting points for your peripherals like your wheel and pedals.

Final Thoughts

Finding a budget friendly sim racing rig that suits your needs is all about knowing what to look for. Always buy from a reputable sim racing manufacturer, and choose something that’s sturdy and adjustable. The best option overall is the F-GT Lite cockpit, although the Playseat Challenge is a close second.