When you are looking to upgrade your sim racing pedals, you may not have considered going for a hydraulic option. Hydraulic sim racing pedals are some of the best on the market and are really the number one option if you are looking for total immersion. But which hydraulic pedals are the best?
The 5 best hydraulic pedals for sim racing are:
- SIMTAG Hydraulic Pedals
- Ricmotech Real Gear GTPro3 Xtreme Pedals
- Heusinkveld Ultimate Pedals
- Racewerk S1 Hydraulic Pedals
- HPP 3P JBV Pedals
These are the pedals that we believe provide the perfect balance between build quality, immersion and value. We’ll go into more detail about each one below, and why we think they are the best choices (including why we’ve included the Heusinkveld Ultimates even though they’re not fully hydraulic).
A Quick Note About These Pedals
For The Experienced
All of the pedals on our list are high end sim racing pedals, aimed at intermediate to advanced racers with a decent amount of experience under their belt. Not only are these options a lot more expensive than standard potentiometer pedals, or even load cell pedals, but they are also much harder to get used to and get the most out of if you don’t have much experience.
Some of the pedals on our list do still utilize load cells, however the bulk of the components, and especially the brake pedals, all utilize hydraulics. Hydraulic pedals offer a much more realistic experience, and they are even used in real car pedals.
A Focus On Realism
This enhanced realism and high level of immersion is why the price tag tends to be so high. These pedals are made from some of the highest quality materials on the market, and so you can be sure that each one will provide a truly immersive and also enjoyable sim racing experience.
There are some more advanced options out there on the market as well, but they have not been included in this list as they tend to be custom built pedal sets that cost exorbitant amounts of money. So, for the sake of this article we will only be considering the kinds of hydraulic pedals that you should be able to get your hands on (relatively) easily.
What To Look For In A Set Of Hydraulic Pedals
The Build Quality
One of the first things that you should consider when buying any new piece of sim racing equipment is the build quality. Most hydraulic pedals are made from very high-quality materials, and thus they are built to be strong and durable. You want to look for a set of pedals that will last a long time, without any fear of potential breakages or leaking.
The options on our list are made using precision engineering techniques, and with hydraulic pedals this is essential to make sure that you get the best possible experience. The physical construction is important in a durability sense, but you also have to consider the issue of practicality and of course, the overall aesthetics of the pedals.
Size & Weight
You don’t want to buy a set of pedals that are too big and bulky for your existing setup, and so size and weight can be important too. These pedals are not designed to be portable, but absurdly heavy pedals are not going to be fun to install and set up in your room. Aside from the practicality, you also want them to look great, and this usually comes down to personal preference.
Customization & Adjustability
The next thing you might want to consider is the customizability of the pedals. This can come in many forms, from the angle the pedals sit on the floor to the spaces in between each one. You also want customizability in the performance of the pedals too, and the important thing to consider here is the adjustability of the braking force so that you can tune it to your liking.
3 vs 2
Next, you might want to decide whether or not you want three pedals or less. We recommend going for three, and each one in our list comes with three too. This is simply because three pedals offers more versatility. All three pedals are important in sim racing, and so you might also want to consider whether or not all three pedals have hydraulic mechanisms too.
Compatibility is also worth considering, as most hydraulic pedals are only compatible with PC setups. That is the case with each of the sets in our list, and so if you are a console racer you may need to rethink this purchase. The platform compatibility is not the only thing, as you need to make sure you will be able to use the pedals with your favorite sims as well.
All of the options on our list provide a lot of immersion, but you will need obviously to consider the accuracy of the pedals. You want a lot of resolution, which essentially means a high amount of detail from your feet pressing the pedals being transmitted to the simulator. Differences do exist between these pedals on our list, but you will need to be quite experienced to be able to distinguish them.
Look For Value
Finally, you will also want to go for the best value. This doesn’t necessarily mean the cheapest, and as we always say you should go for the best quality that you can afford, and not settle for the cheapest option. With hydraulic pedals, you know that you are getting your money’s worth, and so the high-end options are really the best on the market.
Brand loyalty is usually not an issue when it comes to sim racing pedals, and each one on our list comes from a unique manufacturer, so we always recommend doing your own research before choosing one to go for. But without further ado, let’s take a look at the best hydraulic pedals for sim racing.
The 5 Best Sim Racing Hydraulic Pedals
1. SIMTAG Hydraulic Pedals
Up first we have the SIMTAG Hydraulic Pedals. Although they are pretty expensive, these pedals are our number one choice for more reasons than simply the price tag. The pedals themselves are highly adjustable, and they are well built with lots of great features. You can grab these in three versions; Ultimate Black, Standard Black, and Silver.
These are some of the best sim racing pedals on the market, thanks to their incredible build quality and high level of immersion. They're also highly adjustable, and they look great too.
The Very Best
The pedals sit on a Tilton 600 forged Aluminum floor mount, and it is indeed a full set of three. From the mount to the pedals themselves and everything in between, they are some of the strongest and most durable pedals on the market. They feature Cosworth dust and moisture proof connectors, which helps to preserve these pedals’ longevity.
In terms of adjustability, the SIMTAG pedals offer plenty. You can change the position of the pads on the pedals, as well as their angles and the resistance that they offer. You can tune the pressure to your specific driving style and, when paired with the plug and play electronics from Leo Bodnar, it becomes very easy to customize these pedals to your liking.
You can adjust the brake pedal ratio as well, which goes a step further to make for a fully-personalized driving experience. The construction of these pedals, combined with the high level of customization, makes these the absolute best choice for the advanced sim racer with a big budget.
- High-quality construction
- Plenty of customization
- Very expensive
2. Ricmotech Real Gear GTPro3 Xtreme Pedals
In second place we have the Real Gear GTPro3 Xtreme pedals from Ricmotech. These are another very well-built set of pedals, using the same kind of Tilton 600 floor mount as the SIMTAG pedals. These are designed for maximum performance along with maximum comfort.
Massive Braking Force
The brake pedal on the GT3Pro Xtreme pedals is designed for ultimate realism, featuring both a master and a slave cylinder that work to handle and register loads of 100-300 lbs. Within this range the pedal can be tuned to your liking in an almost limitless number of combinations, and it can replicate every kind of braking system from a road car to an F1 car.
All of the pedals on this set are extremely well made, and both the throttle and the clutch have had as much attention paid to them as the brake. The throttle has a Honeywell hall sensor in it, which helps to contribute to the longevity via the lack of the need for any points of contact inside the mechanism. Aside from that it is also designed to feel as realistic as possible.
The clutch pedal is also designed for maximum realism, with it being modeled on real race car clutches. It offers comfort and functionality, and this needs to be the case as you will want to be able to make fast and smooth gear shifts on the track. Both of these pedals also feature hydraulics as well, so they are as realistic as it gets.
Modeled After GT3 Cars
These pedals have been modelled on real GT3 cars, and so they have been designed with the racing aesthetic in mind. Aside from the large amount of adjustability, they are also designed to be simple to set up and use. The high-quality electronics within these pedals ensures a lot of accuracy, and they are a brilliant choice for anyone looking to upgrade to hydraulic pedals.
- Modelled after real GT3 cars
- Full hydraulic set of accurate pedals
- Designed for maximum comfort and performance
3. Heusinkveld Ultimate Pedals
Up next on our list we have the Sim Pedals Ultimate from Heusinkveld. They are the top set of pedals that Heusinkveld make, providing a lot of immersion at a reasonable price point. They’re not true hydraulic pedals, but they do feature hydraulic dampers that, while they don’t interact with the pedal sensors, do provide a new layer of immersion over pedals that only use load cells.
These pedals are some of the most immersive around, and all three pedals are made to provide a high-quality sim racing experience. They can take a lot of pressure, and there's a lot to customize too.
A Lot Of Braking Force
All of Heusinkveld’s signature advanced construction works to allow for a very high amount of braking force. You can apply up to 126 kg (300 lbs) of pressure on the brake pedal, with the load cell itself tuned to withstand up to 200 kg of pressure. This makes for not only a lot of customization within that range, but also just an incredible amount of force that can be applied, much more than a beginner is looking for.
Even the clutch can take a lot of pressure, withstanding up to 45 kg or 100 lbs of force. The set is a 3-pedal set, and there is plenty of customization on offer for each of the pedals. There is an inner hydraulic damper system on each one, and this allows for some extreme realism and even more longevity, and the hydraulics are designed to need minimal maintenance as well.
Note: The fact these pedals offer a hydraulic feel without the usual maintenance requirements makes these an excellent choice for those that want as little hassle as possible without skimping on the immersion factor.
A Lot Of Customization
When it comes to customization, there is plenty with the Sim Pedals Ultimate. You can change the positions of the individual pedals, as well as the sensitivity that is experienced by the brake pedal for the perfect setup to suit your own individual driving style. You will have 10° of customization with both the clutch and gas pedal, so you can tune it to your preferred angle.
- Not truly hydraulic pedals
- Highly adjustable
- A high braking force capacity
4. Racewerk S1 Hydraulic Pedals
In fourth place on our list we have the S1 pedals from Racewerk. These are another set of pedals that are hard to find, but that is unfortunately the nature of these high-quality pieces of sim racing equipment as they are not bulk manufactured. You can get these pedals in a 2- or 3-pedal configuration.
Not only do these hydraulic pedals look great, but they offer incredible immersion too. They're highly customizable, and they come in at a reasonable price point considering their quality.
The high-quality construction of these pedals is all thanks to a CNC machine, used to craft each part out of anodized aluminum for a stunning racing aesthetic that will fit into any sim racing rig. They are designed to be versatile, and Racewerk intended these pedals to be easy to rebuild and upgrade. Their modular design makes each pedal easy to mount and remove.
The brake pedal features well-built master and slave cylinders, designed to allow for a lot of customization in the brake pedal. Although the brake pedal is arguably the most important of all three, each one can be adjusted to your liking for maximum comfort. You can change the angles and the positions of each pedal, and they are all designed to offer a realistic feel.
A Good Intermediate Option
The simplistic design of the S1 pedals makes sure that they will bring a unique racing aesthetic to any rig. They are compatible with Simucube devices, and so you can pair it with your favourite racing wheel. You can adjust the dead zones through software, benefitting from minimal latency and providing one of the best overall sim racing experiences.
- Reasonable price point
- Simple but stunning design
- Fully adjustable
5. HPP 3P JBV Pedals
Finally, we have the 3P JBV pedals from HPP. These pedals are one of the cheapest options when it comes to hydraulic pedals. They are, like most high-end sim racing equipment, built to order, and so you should note that there are longer lead times associated with these pedals of around 4-10 weeks. Nonetheless, their sleek design alone makes them worth the wait.
Cheaper But Still Great
The brake pedal on the JBV pedals is designed with both a master and a slave cylinder, and these are connected in a way that minimizes lines and other various connections. This contributes to the smooth operation of the pedals, as well as the extended longevity. It also means that you save a bit of space, and they look excellent too.
The transducers used within these pedals are made in the USA, and so you can be sure that they will offer excellent accuracy with every pedal. They are rated for 50 million cycles, which will be good enough for even the most frequent racers. The pedals can be adjusted using 5 different bushings, which are made from racecar-esque polyurethane.
Plenty Of Adjustability
Although the throttle pedal on the HPP pedals is not hydraulic, it does use a true linear potentiometer that offers more accuracy than a rotary or slide potentiometer that is found in cheaper pedal sets. The throttle also features adjustable travel as well, which is ideal for finding just the right settings for your specific driving style.
The clutch pedal is designed to emulate the real thing, with three stages of resistance. This offers a true-to-life feel, helping to offer a more immersive experience overall. The clutch is modular, as are the other pedals, and so are designed to easily plug into the circuit board for simple set up and maintenance. These are definitely a good first set of hydraulic pedals.
- Relatively cheap set of hydraulic pedals
- Lots of adjustability and realism within each pedal
- Efficient construction
Each of the pedals that we have discussed above are aimed at more experienced sim racers and are not ideal for complete beginners. With that said, the 3P JBV pedals from HPP offer a good introduction to the world of hydraulic brakes for sim racing setups, and their price point is not that far out of reach for those that are serious about upgrading.
More intermediate racers may find the S1 pedals from Racewerk and the Ultimate pedals from Heusinkveld to be the best option for a balance between price and realism. However, the most advanced racers will be best served by the GT3Pro Xtreme pedals from Ricmotech, while the absolute best in terms of performance are the SIMTAG hydraulic pedals.
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