Putting together or upgrading a sim racing rig can often lead to a lot of guesswork, especially when it comes to pedal sets. What really matters? Which ones are the best on the market? In this article I’ll be taking the guessing games out of the process for you.
So, what are the best sim racing pedal sets available? I’ve scoured the market and here are the best sim racing pedals:
- Heusinkveld Sim Pedals Sprint
- Tilton 600 Pro Hydraulic Pedal Set
- Fanatec Clubsport V3 Pedals
- Fanatec CSL Elite LC Pedals
- ThrustMaster T3PA Pro Pedal Add-On
As well as revealing why each of the above pedal sets are ranked as they are, I’ll be exploring the best ways to choose a pedal set, what to look for when buying and much more besides. It isn’t called the ultimate buyer’s guide for nothing, after all!
How To Choose A Sim Racing Pedal Set
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 pedal set that works for you!
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 set of sim racing pedals, 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 pedals will need to hold up to that. And if you’re the latter enthusiast in it for the fun, you should probably consider cheaper pedal sets without compromising on features and longevity.
Aside from budget, there’s another very practical factor to think about before committing to a particular pedal set. In short, you need to consider what gear you already have and whether it will be compatible with the pedal set 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 pedal set will only work with ThrustMaster racing wheels, and Fanatec pedals 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 pedal set if you want.
And something that’s not as important but definitely something you’ll be thinking about; which pedal set and other sim racing gear will you like the look of? After investing the better parts of $1,000 for the full rig (or even just for the pedals in some cases!), 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 set 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 Sim Racing Pedals
With so many pedal sets 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 pedals, and go through a process of elimination for the tips outlined above.
What I consider to be the most important feature in a pedal set 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 set because the accelerator pedal finally gave up the ghost. The best materials for pedal sets are metal-based, even the lightweight kinds, because it feels closer to a real car.
It’s harder to accidentally break metal by braking 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 pedal set that shoots out from under you at crucial points in the track, after all! A large part of a set’s stability comes from its build material, and of course heavier sets made of metal will help with this aspect a lot. Otherwise, you should look for pedal sets that can be mounted in some way, or ones that have non-slip materials on the bottom.
Because we’re interested in the best pedal sets as opposed to generally okay ones, I’d always recommend looking for pedal adjustment features that come as standard. In a physical sense, it’s a no-brainer for comfort to have pedals that you can move to different positions so you can press on them properly.
And when looking at racing ability/edge, pedal sets that come with adjustable sensitivity and pressures per pedal are the gold standard. There’s nothing more satisfying than slamming on the brakes to the effect of realistic resistance pushing back against you. You’ll feel like you’re in a real race car’s cockpit, not in front of a TV screen!
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 Pedal Sets
1. Heusinkveld Sim Pedals Sprint
| Compatible with: Any sim racing wheel | Adjustable: Yes | Usable Systems: PC only |
PC racers out there, look no further! For many years, Heusinkveld has been purpose-building pedal sets and other high-quality sim racing gear specifically made for excellence, especially since race drivers the world over use their products to stay at the top of their game. This set of pedals is designed for Esports professionals and casual racers alike, offering consistency and realism in equal measure.
If you’re familiar with Heusinkveld, you’ll know that they actually offer a set of pedals that are considered their pinnacle; the best ones they design and create. The reason why that set didn’t make this list is due to the fact that they only tick the box of sim racers who travel the world to compete. They’re too technical and not user-friendly for most people, whereas the Sprint model is.
This pedal set is made with absolute precision, composed of laser-cut steel for both lightweight responsiveness and that coveted sturdy feel. The manufacturer went above and beyond normal testing procedures and made whole Mathematical models to calculate how the pedals would travel and with how much force! This leads to a very accurate set of pedals at your feet.
Loads cells can be found on all three pedals, and you’ll find me talking about this tech quite a lot. These cells that attach to the backs of the pedals provide better output guesses than other sensors would, due to the fact that load cells don’t wear out over time. They’re smart bits of kit that accurately represent the force you’re applying to the pedals on the screen in front of you!
Pretty cool, right?
You can also adjust each pedal not only physically to be reached easier, but you can program each pedal’s resistances and loads of other high-tech variables. Being able to configure ‘dead zones’ and even output curves to suit your needs, the pedals are truly remarkable for tech-savvy racers.
But don’t let that put you off, casual PC sim racers! The pedals are also user-friendly when plugged into your sim racing wheel, and you can start using them straight away. It’s just nice to have all of those customizable options available, especially when you start to get competitive.
If you buy these, you’ll be buying a set of pedals that will last and evolve with the rest of your PC sim racing rig. And as you progress as a racer, you can accurately adjust this pedal set for continued improvement.
The limiting factor is, of course, the lack of compatibility with consoles such as the PS4 or Xbox One. This is due to the high processing power required to run these pedals with their electronic components. But if you own a PC, there aren’t many products out there on the market that can really compete with the Sprint pedals!
- Electrical components combine with mechanical; reliable equipment for longer
- Ability to be customized to precise levels
- Only compatible with PC
- In spite of being suitable for Esports racers & casuals, the price makes them a bit more inaccessible for most
2. Tilton 600 Pro Hydraulic Pedal Set
| Compatible with: Any sim racing wheel | Adjustable: Yes | Usable Systems: PC only |
What can be more realistic than hydraulics in your pedals? Not much, I’ll tell you that now! This set offered by Tilton is the most expensive on this list, and it’ll become pretty obvious why that is as I go over its whole host of features and absolute realism.
The biggest tag-line that Tilton uses when describing these pedals is “No more gaming-level pedals!” because, you guessed it, hydraulic systems are found on real cars; road and race alike. Due to this realism offered, the behaviors of these pedals align far closer to cars you’ll be able to drive on race tracks. No matter how complex a set of pedals or other gear might be, they’re all designed for gaming to replicate real-life.
These pedals, however, are near-exact replicas of what you’ll find in a real car’s cockpit, and that adds a whole new layer to your immersion.
So, what does the hydraulic systems do, exactly? They offer realistic pedal travel and resistance, as you’ll find when braking in your road car, and the hydraulic pressure sensing results in faster output for your sim racing rig to react to.
The Tilton 600 pedals also offer remote adjustment to change pedal firmness and travel by utilizing programs in your cockpit itself. So you won’t have to stoop down on hands and knees to manually tweak settings on the set, as you might have to on others.
Hydraulics are present on the brake, but not on the throttle and clutch. Think about it, race cars don’t have hydraulics for these pedals, so why would this pedal set? You can create different settings to preload throttle and clutch profiles separately from your sim racing games, cutting down on time spent adjusting things using the in-game menus.
Unlike pedal sets from Heusinkveld, the Tilton pedals come mounted in a unified base that you can securely mount onto a wheel stand or sim racing cockpit with ease. It cuts down on set-up time considerably, so you’ll have more time to start racing and testing the pedals out!
For all of the benefits of absolute realism that hydraulics bring to your game, there’s quite a lot of house-keeping that comes with it. As in a real car with hydraulic systems, you have to physically bleed the brakes in order to avoid clogs or air bubbles in the tubes and otherwise slowing down the responsiveness of your pedals.
Now, if you’re familiar with the process on actual cars, it won’t be much of a problem. And Tilton will send full instructions with the product itself, so you won’t be going in blind. It’s just a lot of maintenance for something that should be a fun, easy gaming experience when you sit down to race. Sure, you want to replicate a real race car, but part of sim racing’s allure is that you have all of the features without the actual dirty work…!
That might just be a thing personal to me, and it’s why I couldn’t give the top spot to these pedals in spite of how amazing they are.
- Hydraulic brakes are designed just like a real car; ultimate immersion
- Individually programmable, can load presets with ease
- Must bleed the hydraulics frequently
- Price tag is very steep for most people
3. Fanatec ClubSport V3 Pedals
| Compatible with: Any Fanatec racing wheel with RJ12 port | Adjustable: Yes | Usable Systems: PC, PS4, Xbox One |
Console players, rejoice! Now is the time to discuss the best set of pedals for usage with the newest consoles on the market, the Fanatec ClubSport V3 Pedals. Among the sim racing manufacturers out there, Fanatec offers some of the best product innovation and solid build quality out there, and these pedals are no exception to that rule.
They come in sleek, black aluminum, CNC-machined, which makes the pedal set the right mixture of sturdy and lightweight in equal measure. The base is weighted and can be mounted with compatible wheel stands or cockpits, or will sit without moving on hardwood or carpeted floors. It has stability down pat!
The accelerator and clutch come equipped with magnetic and contactless sensors for both a long life and maximum performance. These sensors being magnetic means that they won’t degrade over time, because magnetism can always be generated. You’ll also find a load cell on the brake, with up to 90kg of pressure able to be programmed into the resistance feature.
And perhaps the biggest benefit of all is the fact that you can adjust the brakes without tools! You can achieve this by going into the Fanatec tuning menu, accessible through a Fanatec wheel or by plugging into a PC, to change brake stiffness and travel remotely.
Physical adjustments can be made to all pedals so that they can be reached comfortably, and you can even swap out the current brake faces for different styles as you see fit. What I find to be the most compelling, however, are vibration motors on the accelerator and brake. For the accelerator, the motor will vibrate to indicate oversteer or understeer, and the motor on the brake will replicate ABS and tire lock.
As mentioned above, the ClubSport V3 pedals are compatible with all current operating systems and due to Fanatec’s engineering, they won’t be going out of date any time soon! By updating the firmware, you can guarantee that the pedals will keep functioning with all new racing sim games that release for all systems.
They also boast a very easy set-up, with plug-and-play available with all Fanatec wheels that are compatible with each respective system. You need to ensure that you have a wheelbase and racing wheel that will support the pedals, of course, but Fanatec’s website has handy lists of what their products will connect to.
You’ll be buying an advanced addition for your sim racing rig that will enhance your driving and overall experience with its varied realistic features and build quality. They’re a great balance of quality and cost-effectiveness, especially compared to the first two pedal sets in this list, but they don’t boast the same level of tech.
They are, however, the best choice for console players considering that the Sim Pedals Sprint and Pro Hydraulic sets are PC-only.
- Compatible with PC, PS4 and Xbox One
- Load cell technology is sophisticated and realistic
- Not as advanced as no. 1 & no. 2 on this list
- Only usable with Fanatec products unless on PC
4. Fanatec CSL Elite LC Pedals
| Compatible with: Any Fanatec racing wheel with RJ12 port | Adjustable: Yes | Usable Systems: PC, PS4, Xbox One |
I honestly can’t get enough of Fanatec products and their remarkable ingenuity, so of course the next pedal set on this list will also be made by them! The CSL Elite LC set is part of their CSL line, described to be best for entry-level racers without compromising on quality. If you’ve got a Fanatec wheel and base but can’t stretch to the ClubSport set, these pedals will definitely be the ones for you.
These matte black pedals look every bit as sleek and functional as any other on this list. The whole set is made of metal and then coated with a matte metal powder of sorts which seals it, guaranteeing long life. They also come with detachable rubber pedal sleeves which you can easily put on or take off, giving you extra comfort without slipping.
The pedal set’s base is weighty and has anti-slip pads underneath, meaning that if you don’t mount it into a wheel stand or cockpit, they still won’t be going anywhere under hard braking. Its brake has a load cell installed (hence the LC in the model name), and this means you can have up to 90kg of adjustable force applied through that pedal.
Each pedal in the set can be individually adjusted by its height and spacing to make driving as comfortable as possible. You also have the option to use the Fanatec tuning menu to adjust your brake load cell settings, or tweak with the Elastometer springs at the back of it.
If you already have an installed pedal mount and can’t have a free-standing base, don’t worry! You can remove all of the pedals from their base and mount them separately into your cockpit; a nice, flexible extra for the more dedicated sim racing enthusiast.
In case the standard pedal coverings or the comfortable rubber pads weren’t enough to sway you, these pedals also come with the option of an anti-slip surface that can be installed overtop of the pedals. And you can mix-and-match; rubber padding on the accelerator, anti-slip on the brake, and standard on the clutch. The anti-slip is specially designed to work with sim racing boots, too.
The pedals are a pretty nice mixture of technical and simplistic, with the ability to be used easily by casual racers and more experienced racers alike. For their price, you’ll be getting a set of pedals that you won’t outgrow; especially not if you’re clever about making adjustments!
They do fall short compared to the ClubSport V3 pedals, of course, because they lack vibration motors that add a real taste of immersion to a rig. But, they’re a solid set; especially if you’re looking for something competitive on the cheaper side.
- Load cell brake technology delivers realistic and adjustable pedal resistance
- Interchangeable pedal covers; standard, anti-slip and rubber for comfort
- Lacks many features that the ClubSport V3 pedal set has
- Long pedal arms aren’t for everybody
5. ThrustMaster T3PA Pro Pedal Add-On
| Compatible with: Any ThrustMaster racing wheel | Adjustable: Yes | Usable Systems: PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox One |
Coming in close behind the CSL Elite LC pedal set, we have ThrustMaster’s celebrated T3PA Pro Add-On, designed for usage with all of their other products. ThrustMaster have been a mainstay in the sim racing industry since it first started, and they offer affordable quality more than any other brand that I’ve found. Sim racers of all skill level love these pedals and with good reason!
The pedals and mounting system are made of 100% metal, assuring build quality and longevity. Unlike other pedal sets in this list, there are two positions to mount the T3PA Pro; floor-mounted (F1 car style) and suspended/ hanging (GT car style). You can switch between both of these mounting options with ease, so if ever you change your mind or overall rig, these pedals can fit both bills.
Adjustment in terms of physical positioning is very expansive, with options to move pedal spacing, angle of inclination, and pedal height. This allows for ultimate driving comfort to match all styles of racing!
You can also fully customize the pressure, force and range of travel for all three pedals, which makes it far superior to the standard T3PA model. This is achieved by tweaking compression springs installed within the pedal set. It isn’t as intuitive as the other models I’ve talked about which have computer programs with which you can tune settings, but the range of adjustments that can be made with springs alone is amazing.
Two separate, physical mods also come with this pedal set; the compression spring brake mod, and the conical rubber brake mod. You can switch out these mods with ease by adding or removing them from the rear of the brake pedal, and the whole process only takes seconds to achieve.
The spring brake mod can have its pressure adjusted between 30 and 35lbs of force, and the conical rubber brake mod achieves between 40 and 70lbs of force with a more progressive feel. It isn’t as astronomical as say, the Sim Pedal Sprint model mentioned beforehand, but that level of customization that can be achieved by hand is satisfying nevertheless.
There’s nothing hugely ground-breaking about the T3PA Pro pedal set, and that’s part of why I love it so much. It’s solid, good sim racing engineering that excels at what it does, which is to provide realistic pedal usage for any ThrustMaster rig.
For their price you’ll be getting a whole lot of quality. Sure, it isn’t hydraulic like the Tilton set I mentioned before, and it can’t be programmed to within the nth degree, but the T3PA Pro set has made a place on this list for its solid performance and absolute fun factor. No fuss, no hassle, just good, clean sim racing!
- Easy set-up, compatible with even the PS3 for nostalgia
- Adjustable brakes in physical positioning and force application using mods
- Not programmable for truly precise inputs/feel
- Doesn’t have a huge range of force that can be generated compared to other models on the list
And there we have it! A huge collection of knowledge centered around sim racing pedal sets, 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!