Putting together a sim racing rig can involve a lot of guessing games. What’s the best product I can buy? How can I pick the best component parts? With stick shifters providing amazing realism and excitement, I’ll be covering what the best ones look like in this article!
So, what are the best sim racing gear stick shifters? I’ve searched far and wide for the answer, and here are the 5 best shifters:
- Fanatec ClubSport SQ Shifter
- PSL Sequential Shifter V2
- ThrustMaster TH8A Add-On Shifter
- Aiologs Sequential Shifter
- Heusinkveld Sim Shifter Sequential
I’ll get to my reviews of these great gear stick shifters soon, but first and foremost, it’s important to consider how you should choose one, and what makes a good one. You know, just in case my recommendations fall short for you (which they definitely won’t!). Let’s jump straight into it!
How To Choose A Sim Racing Gear Stick Shifter
This process will be personal to everybody who reads this guide, because at the end of it all, we’re looking for different things to be taken away from our individual rigs. However, with the focus being on the best of the best, I do have a few things to consider when choosing a stick shifter that works for you!
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Think about how much time you spend sim racing. Are you hoping to compete with Esports folk, topping leaderboards consistently on most days of the week? Or are you an excitable enthusiast looking for realism when you have chance to sit down and race on the weekends?
Determining this will be a huge deciding factor in how you go on to pick a gear stick shifter, because it has a lot to do with budget.
If you’re the former person who wants to get competitive, money shouldn’t really be an object because you want a premium drive and the stick shifter will need to hold up to that. And if you’re the latter enthusiast in it for the fun, you should probably consider cheaper gear stick shifters without compromising on features and longevity.
Aside from budget, there’s another very practical factor to think about before committing to a particular stick shifter. In short, you need to consider what gear you already have and whether it will be compatible with the shifter of your dreams!
PC gamers will be able to mix and match their sim racing gear to make a rig, so it isn’t as crucial for them to think about. But for console gamers, a ThrustMaster stick shifter will only work with ThrustMaster racing wheels, and Fanatec shifters will only work with Fanatec racing wheels. If you’re yet to buy anything for your rig, this process will be easier because you can build around that gear stick shifter if you want.
And something that’s not as important but definitely something you’ll be thinking about; which stick shifter and other sim racing gear will you like the look of? After investing the better parts of $1,000 for the full rig, the least you can ask for is something that’s aesthetically pleasing!
Part of sim racing is replicating the look of a racing car’s cockpit without actually being able to sit in one, after all. Obviously I’m not saying that you should be scrutinizing every shifter based on what color it is, but I would recommend picking something that will look cool within your setup. And truthfully, it gets pretty easy to do that because sim racing stuff looks pretty cool by default!
What To Look For In A Gear Stick Shifter
With so many gear stick shifters out there and even more features to consider besides, I think it’s time that I shed some light on this situation. More than anything else, you should be looking at what’s offered in terms of features when browsing for shifters, and go through a process of elimination for the tips outlined above.
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What I consider to be the most important feature in a stick shifter is the material it’s built from and the overall build quality. Plastic just won’t cut it when looking for realism and longevity; it’ll feel too flimsy and before you know it, you’ll have to replace the shifter because the H-pattern has snapped. The best materials for stick shifters are metal-based, even the lightweight kinds, because it feels closer to a real car.
It’s harder to accidentally break metal by down-shifting too hard into tricky hairpins, so by default you’ll have something that’ll last longer.
Another key feature to look for is stability. The last thing you want is a stick shifter that tilts or falls off its mount at crucial points in the track, after all! A large part of a stick shifter’s stability comes from its build material, and of course heavier shifters made of metal will help with this aspect a lot.
And when looking at racing ability/edge, I’d suggest choosing a sequential shifter over the H-pattern variety. Simply pushing or pulling a lever to change up or down gears is easier and faster than selecting gears as you would in a real car, so it really cuts down time you’d otherwise waste.
Or maybe you’re seeking absolute, fun realism in your sim racing rig. In that case, a H-pattern is the true gold standard because you’ll feel fully immersed as if you were in a race car’s cockpit!
Lastly, as a general tip going forward when looking at all parts of your sim racing rig, make sure to browse social boards such as Reddit to get a better idea of what the community hails as good.
Everyone from pro sim racers on Esports circuits all the way to casual weekenders can be found there, and they all have valuable experiences with different sim racing products that can often be enlightening or something you never thought about.
The 5 Best Sim Racing Gear Stick Shifters
Here we are, readers! It’s time for me to go in-depth about the five best sim racing gear stick shifters currently available on the sim racing scene. Regardless of their rating or my thoughts on them at a personal level, they’re all fantastic stick shifters that would make amazing additions to anybody’s rig.
Keep that in mind as I go through them one by one to offer reviews!
1. Fanatec ClubSport SQ Shifter
| Compatible with: Any Fanatec wheelbase and racing wheel, ClubSport USB adaptor (PC only) | Shifter Type: Sequential & H-Pattern | Usable Systems: PC, PS4, Xbox One |
If you’re familiar with sim racing products in any capacity, you’ll have probably heard of Fanatec; a company renowned for their ingenuity and technological advancements within this exciting e-sport. Their SQ shifter is a culmination of their usual MO, and then some! Both an amazing luxury and hugely practical, this shifter ticks every box you should be looking for.
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Just one look at the SQ shifter was mesmerizing for me! The main body of it is matte gray, teamed with an anodized red lever and matte black carbon gear knobs (you get two as standard).
Beyond its stunning appearance, the quality of this shifter is clear to see and feel. It is entirely constructed of metal, inside and outside, so you can rest assured that there won’t be any early failures due to lacking quality of material. This also provides the shifter with a satisfying heft, adding to your realistic racing experience.
Fanatec have spared no expense when building this shifter, and its Limited Edition isn’t only in the looks and striking colors. All of the materials from the smallest screws to the shifter handle itself have been chosen to ensure the maximum durability and lifetime from the SQ model.
It also caters to two hugely different types of sim racing fans; due to the ability one has to switch between sequential and H-pattern gearbox modes.
In its H-pattern configuration, there are 7 gears and a reverse gear. This was purposefully designed to replicate a Porsche 911, which further adds to the feeling of excitement you’ll get when shifting gears with this shifter!
And to switch from the standard H-pattern mode to sequential, all you have to do is flip a switch on the base of the shifter. There’s no reboot or tricky processes required; just more time spent racing to find your preference between the two modes!
I mentioned before that this shifter comes with two gear knobs, and this is with good reason. The H-pattern shifting knob is designed to accommodate for quick shifts through the gears, whereas the sequential shifting knob is made for comfort.
And if neither of those are the grip you’re looking for; the shifter overall is made to automotive grade. Simply put, you can buy any automotive gear knob and screw that onto the shifter lever! You can personalize to your heart’s content with that sort of feature.
With the ability to mount the shifter on all of its sides or the base, you’ll be able to achieve the ideal set-up you really want using whatever rig you currently have. Couple that with the functionality to adjust shift feeling and resistance without the use of complicated computer processes, and you’ve got a versatile, exciting shifter right at your fingertips!
It comes with everything you’ll need to plug and play with minimal effort. You truly can’t beat the quality of this shifter, and when you add in all of its other features to best replicate a race car, it’s difficult to see otherwise!
- Can switch between sequential and H-pattern modes with ease
- Full-metal, weighty construction guarantees longevity and realistic feel
- 7th gear is only accessible with usage of Podium, Clubsport and CSL Elite Wheelbases or the ClubSport adapter
2. PSL Sequential Shifter V2
| Compatible with: Any racing wheel and wheelbase | Shifter Type: Sequential | Usable Systems: PC and PS4 (with a keyboard USB emulator) |
Pro-Sim, the ‘PS’ of the ‘PSL’, are a well-established and competitive sim racing manufacturer based in the UK. Part of what separates them from the crowd and why I’ve placed this shifter so high on the list is due to their partnership with Quaife, a car engineering company. All of their products replicate racing down to all the fine details! So of course, their newest sequential shifter is boldly in the top two.
The V2 of this PSL shifter has been improved from its V1 iteration purely from customer feedback. Reading through the product notes is a very reassuring process; knowing that Pro-Sim have taken comments made by their buyers very seriously. It makes for a great new and improved product!
All of the internals are based on a real Quaife gearbox, which is the reason for the satisfying, responsive ‘thump’ feeling you get when shifting up or down the gears. Part of this comes from the weighty, high-quality materials used in the shifter’s construction, and part of it also comes from the advanced electronics used to bring the shifter to life.
The box and all mechanical components are made of hardened steel, providing that coveted long lifespan and reliability in product. It totals 2.8kg, quite the weighty bit of kit for something that has ‘Lite’ in its name!
Primarily, Pro-Sim worked on making the shifter quieter after a lot of customers mentioned how loud shifting could be. Something about the materials made the sound reverberate, and this has been addressed in the V2. It obviously isn’t silent (where’s the fun in that?), but it’s nice to know that a 3am gaming session won’t wake the whole house!
For absolute precision, everything in the PSL shifter is machined and heat treated throughout to ensure that the quality isn’t lacking. A Leo Bodnar electrical board is installed within the shifter, with magnetic switches that’ll never lose their accuracy in order to always sense gear shifts for amazing reliability.
Everything has been precisely picked for the best quality finish possible, and this reflects even in the hard-wearing silicon rubber employed to reduce some of the loudness in the shifter. A company that revisits its products based on customer feedback is a good one indeed!
A huge part of the PSL V2’s success, however, is due to Quaife hand-engineering it from scratch. As I mentioned before, they create a huge collection of motoring products for vehicle manufacturers, and even motorsport competitors.
It’s because of this that the immersion and feel of Pro-Sim’s products are celebrated in every corner of the internet dedicated to sim racing. It brings some of the best realism available to your rig, time and time again!
There’s no doubt in my mind that it’s worth the cost and/or wait to snag yourself one. For PC, it’s a true gold standard in technology and realism. Its set-up with the PS4 can be tricky, but also very much worth your while.
- Designed by a motorsport distributer
- Weighty, positive feel to every shift
- Only available on the UK website
- No option for Xbox compatibility; set-up on PS4 is time-consuming and frustrating
3. ThrustMaster TH8A Add-On Shifter
| Compatible with: Any ThrustMaster racing wheel | Shifter Type: Sequential & H-Pattern | Usable Systems: PC, PS4, Xbox One |
As one of the most prominent sim racing manufacturers in the world, of course ThrustMaster was going to make an appearance on this list of the best shifters! This all-metal shifter is very fairly priced, and you’ll be getting a lot of long-lasting drivability for that price tag.
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Because ThrustMaster make racing wheels and products across every platform available in sim racing, you’ll easily be able to attach this gear shifter to whatever rig you’re using. For the PC gamer, you’ll be thrilled to know that this bit of kit can be used with every wheel on the market, not just ThrustMaster ones!
If you’re a PlayStation gamer, you can attach it to either T500RS, Ferrari F1 Wheel Integral T500, T300RS or T300 Ferrari GTE wheels. For Xbox gamers, there’s only one wheel which this shifter works alongside on your platform, but it’s easily the biggest and most accessible one that ThrustMaster makes; the TX racing wheel.
This versatility in compatible consoles and wheels makes it a favorite of the sim racing community at large, and the shifter’s bonuses don’t end there, either. Unlike other shifters on this list, the ThrustMaster TH8A can be switched between H-pattern and sequential shifting, allowing for a highly personalized driving experience.
Racers who want absolute realism can have a high satisfying H-pattern shifter while those more competitive souls can utilize a sequential one which changes gear dependent on where you move the stick back and forth – also perfect for rally games.
Another huge boon of this gear stick shifter is the fact that everything is made of metal, making for a satisfyingly weighty shift and a very reliable, long-lasting product overall due to a magnetic sensor. If you’re looking for the best immersive drive on a variety of games, the TH8A allows you to program different shifting resistances as standard.
You’re essentially buying two shifters in one neat package, and it’s far simpler to handle than a lot of the other complicated products out there. You can even detach the shifter knob and buy a personalized one to screw onto it; the shifter is automotive grade and sized, so even road or race-car gear knobs can be used with it.
The biggest downside of this shifter specifically is the lack of compatibility with Xbox wheels that aren’t the TX racing variety.
- Highly immersive, realistic-feeling shifter
- 2 different shifter modes allow for great versatility
- For Xbox, only works with one racing wheel
- Versatility could be a weakness for sim racers only looking for a sequential or H-pattern respectively
4. Aiologs Sequential Shifter
| Compatible with: Any racing wheel and wheelbase | Shifter Type: Sequential | Usable Systems: PC, PS4, Xbox One (for console must use Console Adaptor, DriveHub) |
Next up is a company who function from a small, very skilled workshop in Russia; Aiologs. They design and hand-make two products specifically designed for sim racing, this sequential shifter and a handbrake. Of course, I’ll be talking about the former, and the high attention to detail you’ll find packed into every square inch of the sequential shifter!
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When browsing through the Aiologs website, you’ll find it to be rather minimalistic. You can find information in the basic sense on both the shifter and the handbrake, but there isn’t much by way of feature lists or other such exciting stuff you want to know when purchasing a new piece of equipment.
They seem to find that actions speak louder than words on a page, and provide URLs to multiple YouTube channels who have reviewed the shifter. From start to finish, everyone sings the praises of this compact piece of kit, so let me go over why that is, exactly.
Every item that Aiologs makes is hand-crafted, which explains the pre-order system they have which functions as a continuous entity. They open pre-orders a couple of months in advance, cut them off by a certain date, and ship out the products they make. Everything is made to order.
This gives a huge level of quality guarantee, especially since there’ll be a long period of time spent working on each shifter individually. This craftsmanship is shown in the stainless-steel shifter, which gives the compact unit a very satisfying weight.
Your patience will be rewarded with a durable, exciting product! The shifter feels very responsive to use, and the push force follows a non-linear pattern. All this essentially means is that you don’t have to absolutely throw the lever to reach a faster gear change; the same force will net you the same results, giving you a reliable drive every time.
While you wait for the Aiologs shifter to arrive, you can watch a video found on their website which shows the whole crafting process. That kind of transparency is something I appreciate, and they’ve also replicated it in the product by utilizing a see-through panel on top! Seeing all of the component parts is a novelty that’ll never get old.
There’s a high level of tactile feedback due to special ball bearings that keep high tension in the lever reliably. No fancy electronic components; just a purely great shifter that gives you a realistic feeling without any unneeded frills!
You have the option of whether you’d like to hard mount or clamp the shifter to your desired rig, giving a nice element of flexibility. Not everyone has the option to use a hard mount, after all, and it’s good to have a choice regardless.
It costs $165 to have one of these hand-crafted shifters made, which is on the more affordable side for those of you considering that as an important factor. For console gamers out there, you’ll need to buy a DriveHub connector separately to use this shifter, which will set you back by an extra $80 or so, but that’s still well worth the price for a mechanical, responsive shifter that feels unique in its very composition.
- Hand-crafted and made to order, guarantees product quality
- Mechanical gear shifter, less to go wrong
- Lack of electronic components doesn’t give it adjustability in resistance, etc.
- Clamp adds a lot of weight and can unbalance some wheel stands
5. Heusinkveld Sim Shifter Sequential
| Compatible with: Any racing wheel and wheelbase | Shifter Type: Sequential | Usable Systems: PC only |
And last, but certainly not least, is a product from the much-loved and renowned Heusinkveld; a company that YouTubers and professional sim racers swear by. A lot of racing drivers in the off-season use products designed by this manufacturer, and that quality is clear to see in all of its products, not just this gear stick shifter!
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One of the first things you’ll notice about this particular shifter is the very compact size; even in the picture used on Heusinkveld’s website. This was a purposeful design decision in order for it to be mounted in even the tightest sim racing set-ups; quite the economical, somewhat novel choice.
Don’t be fooled by its small size, however! The Sim Shifter has been designed to replicate a short throw sequential system, commonly seen in junior formula racing cars. But there’s nothing really ‘junior’ about the feedback and gear shift feeling.
It packs a powerful punch that smacks of reality; something we’re all searching for in our sim racing rigs. Heusinkveld have implemented a ball spring resistance system, very similar to the satisfying one found on the Aiolog model I discussed earlier, which has a very reliable, mechanical feeling to it.
You’re required to shift with some feeling at first, after which point, the resistance will drop. This system simulates gear shifting in a real car, specifically as your gearbox slides into the next or last gear. It also has some padded end-stops installed to cut down on the clunky, loud noises that sequential shifters can produce.
A very specific boon to this shifter is the three different levers you’ll receive as standard when purchasing. Resistance in the shifter is fixed and therefore, these different levers will lessen or heighten the resistance to your preference by changing between them. You can also choose between three differently-shaped plastic gear knobs, dependent on which provides the most comfort.
It all connects with ease to your PC, which is great for those of you out there with a rig that accommodates for it! As of this moment, however, Heusinkveld has yet to integrate a way for their products to be used with consoles; even ones without electronic systems.
It sells for a very reasonable price for a highly responsive piece of kit that guarantees racing driver quality, but the lack of compatibility with any console is what has limited the shifter for me.
- Reliable, mechanical construction
- Small size makes it very versatile for many sim racing rigs
- Can feel fiddly without a large plastic knob attached
- Plastic knob material feels tacky under a lot of usage
And there we have it! A huge collection of knowledge centered around sim racing gear stick shifters, and reviews of the 5 best sets on the market today.
I hope that one of the 5 I described above matches your needs and your rig because they’re all amazing pieces of equipment that’ll enhance your driving experience tenfold!