The sim racing seat is an often undervalued aspect of a sim racing rig, providing comfort, immersion, and realism, all while preventing your posture from caving in on itself. They are a vital part of any setup, leaving many to wonder what the best sim racing seats on the market are.
The 11 best sim racing seats are:
- Sparco Grid-Q
- OMP Racing WRC-R
- Atech High Line North Racing Seat
- Sparco GP
- Next Level Racing ES1
- Res-Tech X1 Carbon Seat
- Sim Lab SF-1 Formula
- Sparco Evo XL
- Sim Lab SPEED3
- Sparco R100
- Playseat Challenge
There are multiple types of sim racing seats, each catering for different body shapes and racing disciplines. In this article we will list the very best that online marketplaces have to offer, as well as highlighting what to look out for when choosing the right sim racing seat for your setup.
The 11 Best Sim Racing Seats
1. Sparco Grid-Q
Seat Type: Fixed Back | Materials: Fiberglass
The Grid-Q is one of Sparco’s most popular sim racing seats, and it’s easy to see why. It isn’t filled with an abundance of fancy features, instead relying on its build quality and durability. It’s a lightweight seat, weighing only 6.5 kg (14 lbs). One of the Grid-Q’s best features is its comfortable yet sturdy lumbar support. This seat will remain comfortable throughout long sim racing sessions.
The seat has moveable pads and cushions, attached using Velcro for easy moveability. Some may find the Grid-Q to be slightly figure hugging, but Sparco do have plenty of other options in their range for larger racers, including the Evo XL, which we will discuss later on.
- Comfortable padding
- Great lumbar support
- Durable materials
- Not accommodating for larger racers
- Velcro may wear out over time
2. OMP Racing WRC-R
Seat Type: Fixed Back | Materials: Fiberglass / Airtex
The WRC-R is a great looking racing seat that will slot nicely into your sim setup. The padding on the seat is gel-coated and primarily made from a highly breathable Airtex material, which prevents the seat from becoming uncomfortable during long sessions. The cushions on the back, the base and the leg area of the seat are removable, meaning you can configure the seat to suit your needs.
This WRC-style racing seat is designed to be comfortable and breathable during long gaming sessions. The padding is removable too, and there are options for all kinds of racers.
The seat is designed for medium to large users and may feel slightly too spacious for smaller racers. There is also an XL version of the seat, which is both wider and taller than the original, perfect for those above 6 ft (182 cm) tall. The seat features wide, outward-facing wings, which will help to keep you feeling secure and upright in the seat.
The seat is reasonably priced, sitting comfortably in the mid-range category, which is ideal considering the features it has to offer and the durability of the materials used. There is also an Art version of the seat, which has a neon green and black color scheme, for those looking to add a little extra oomph to their sim rig’s aesthetics.
- Comfortable and breathable materials
- Removable padding
- XL version available
- May feel too roomy for smaller sim racers
3. Atech High Line North Racing Seat
Seat Type: Fixed Back | Materials: Fiberglass
The Atech High Line North seat is specially designed for taller users above 6 ft (185 cm). It features a curved shape, with good head support to help you feel as though you are sitting in a real racing seat. The wings by the head will also keep your head focused on the action in front of you, allowing you to fully maintain an upright, healthy posture.
The ergonomic design of this sim racing seat makes it an incredibly comfortable choice. It's lightweight but sturdy, and it's perfect for taller sim racers.
The seat is coated with an anti-slip fabric, with divided leg cushions to keep your legs perfectly in place. Weighing only 8.6 kg (19 lbs), the seat is incredibly light despite its larger size.
The seat has also been designed for real racing as well as being compatible for sim racing, giving it an added edge in terms of realism and immersion. Another edge that this seat has is its readiness to accommodate users straight away. The seat has been shaped perfectly for the body shape of a taller driver, from its ergonomic curves to its pre-cut leg cushions.
- Ergonomic design
- Immersive shape
- May only be ideal for taller drivers
4. Sparco GP
Seat Type: Formula | Materials: Fiberglass
The Sparco GP is one of the best formula seat options on the market. It is designed to replicate the seating shape of a Formula 1 car or other single-seater vehicle, making it a truly immersive choice if you enjoy F1 games. It has a wide, sturdy feel, which will accommodate racers of all sizes. It is also lightweight, thanks to its fiberglass shell.
The seat is very well padded, making it an excellent choice for those looking for a comfortable chair. You’ll definitely be able to use it for long stints without aching. The seat is also resistant to high amounts of pressure, so you won’t feel it moving if you use hydraulic pedals.
It isn’t the easiest chair to fit into a sim racing setup, mainly due to its shape, but it does come with bespoke brackets to help you mount it to a rig.
- Movable cushions and padding
- Very sturdy
- Good quality materials
- Not the cheapest formula option
- May be difficult to fit into your rig
5. Next Level Racing ES1
Seat Type: Fixed Back | Materials: Polymers / Suede
The ES1 by Next Level Racing is the perfect accompaniment to a mid-level sim racing rig. It has a rigid, molded shape which looks and feels professional. Its main strength is the fact that it has a wide range of mounting capabilities, with users being able to access its 98 unique mounting configurations. This allows it to fit into any setup with ease.
It can also withstand the load from heavy pedal sets, with a suede lining making sure you’ll feel steady and secure in your seat. Another thing that will keep you firmly in your seat are the seatbelts that are included in the package. While you may not really be at risk of falling out of the seat when going round a corner, they add to the realism and immersion of your sim racing experience.
The padding used on the seat is soft and comfortable, although it isn’t the thickest. Yes, some may prefer a thicker padding on their seat for added comfort, but this does ensure you won’t sink too far into the seat to the point that it begins to feel unrealistic.
- Plenty of mounting capabilities
- Firm feeling
- Grippy seat lining
- Light padding may not be enough for some
6. Res-Tech X1 Carbon Seat
Seat Type: Formula | Materials: Carbon Fiber / Neoprene
The X1 Carbon Seat is by far the most expensive option on the list, despite it being the most lightweight and requiring the fewest materials to manufacture. The seat has been manufactured with the same materials used in Formula 1 seats, making it one of the most immersive formula seats on the market.
As it has been designed to be lightweight, the seat doesn’t feature thick padding, with the manufacturers instead opting for a 10 mm thick neoprene pad for comfort. You may find that you feel slightly uncomfortable if you sit in it for too long, making it an unwise choice for those who prefer endurance racing.
This lack of versatility can’t necessarily be considered a weak point, as the seat has been meticulously designed to replicate F1 seats. From the shaping of the seat to its lightweight feel, you’ll struggle to find a better option on the market if you want the most realistic F1 sim racing experience.
- Immersive shaping and seating position
- Available in different thicknesses
- Not comfortable for long sessions
7. Sim Lab SF-1 Formula
Seat Type: Formula | Materials: Fiberglass / Fabric
The SF-1 Formula seat by Sim Lab offers versatility that not many other formula seats can achieve. It has a multitude of mounting capabilities that allow you to have the seat either in a reclined open-wheel racing position, or more upright as though you were in a GT car. This makes it a great option for those who primarily play F1 games, but also like to dabble in other racing disciplines.
The seat is lined with breathable materials to keep it fresh during long, warm sessions. Although not as padded as most of the other seats on this list, the SF-1 has adequate padding to keep you feeling comfortable, without compromising on the immersion that lighter seats offer.
With a width of 43 cm, the seat can accommodate larger drivers with ease, while not feeling too wide for smaller users. The mounting options are sturdy too, so you won’t feel any movement if you are using a heavier pedal set. If you are looking for a formula seat for a mid-range price, this could be the one for you.
- Versatile mounting system
- Breathable lining
- Suitable for wider users
- Thin fiberglass shell may wear over time
8. Sparco Evo XL
Seat Type: Fixed Back | Materials: Fiberglass / Fabric
The Sparco Evo XL is a sim racing seat designed for larger users, with a wide shape making it a better option for many than the Grid-Q. Its larger size doesn’t make it heavy though, as its shell is predominantly made from fiberglass. The fabrics used on the seat are comfortable, durable and breathable.
The outward facing wings towards the upper section of the chair will help keep you upright and stable, but won’t make you feel restricted, due to the angle at which they are facing. The seat is also lined with anti-slip fabric, so you’ll be able to stay firmly in a comfortable position without having to worry about slipping.
- Great size for larger users
- Comfortable materials
- Anti-slip fabric
- Can feel slightly stiff at first
9. Sim Lab SPEED3
Seat Type: Fixed Back | Materials: Fiberglass / Foam
The SPEED3 by Sim Lab is an excellent option for those looking for a reliable bucket seat. There’s not a great deal to report structure-wise, with Sim Lab going for a standard fixed back shape, but in terms of comfort and convenience, this seat is a great option for a lower-priced product. It is well padded and thickset with a breathable mesh lining consistent across the whole seat.
This seat is a good choice for those that want a sturdy but comfortable sim racing seat above all else. There are a few different colors to choose from, and it offers decent value for money.
The seat features a mobile phone pouch on its side, so you won’t have the inconvenience of leaving your seat to text your friends about that 100th podium. The fabric on the seat comes in three colors, giving you the choice of either black, red, or blue. You can also choose between a black or red outer shell, allowing you to match the seat with the rest of your sim racing setup.
The padding is made from a high-density foam, which means it will retain its structure without compromising comfort. In other words, you won’t find yourself feeling like the foam has swallowed you up, and you’ll be able to walk properly after a long sim racing session!
- High-density foam padding maintains its form
- Nice choice of colors
- Good value for money
- May feel slightly narrow
10. Sparco R100
Seat Type: Reclining | Materials: Steel / Fabric
The Sparco R100 is a reclining sim racing seat, perfect for casual racers who would like to be able to sit back and relax during races. The seat is very comfortable, even if its reclining feature isn’t being utilized. The seat doesn’t have a great deal of competition within its category, making it by far the most standout reclining sim racing seat available.
One issue, which is common in recliners, is that the seat doesn’t feel as stable as a fixed back option. There is a bit of movement, especially if you use stronger pedals. R100s have also been known to squeak after continued use, which is fixable, but requires a bit more maintenance than your average sim racing seat.
Overall, this seat wouldn’t be recommended for serious sim racers who want a highly immersive experience. However, if you want a comfortable seat with the ability to recline, then it could well be the right option for you.
- Comfortable to sit in
- Not as sturdy as a fixed back seat
- Can begin to squeak after a lot of use
11. Playseat Challenge
Seat Type: Fixed Back | Materials: Steel / Alcantara
The Playseat Challenge is the perfect option if you are on a low budget. It is lightweight and portable, with a folding design meaning it is easy to assemble and disassemble should you need to. Despite its low price, it is made with great quality materials, with a powdered steel frame and alcantara seat lining, meaning there is no compromise in comfort.
This is the perfect sim racing seat for those that value portability and ease of storage. It folds up easily, even with your wheel and pedals attached, and it's fairly budget friendly too.
Alcantara is a breathable material – more breathable than suede, which it resembles in feel. This will keep you comfortable during long and warm sessions, ensuring you won’t be sweating too much.
As well as a seat, you’ll get a built-in cockpit, with a wheel mount and room to fix on your pedal set. The Playseat Challenge is the perfect option for those looking to find a product that contains a lot of features for a low price.
- Fairly cheap
- Lightweight and portable
- Good quality materials
- Not quite as sturdy as more expensive options
- Not suitable for wider users
Summary Of The Best Sim Racing Seats
|Sparco Grid-Q||Very comfortable seat|
|Not the best for larger racers|
Velcro not the most durable
|OMP Racing WRC-R||Comfortable and breathable|
|It’s a bit big|
|Atech High Line North Racing Seat||Immersive design|
|May only be suitable for taller drivers|
|Sparco GP||Movable cushions and padding|
Very sturdy and made with quality materials
|Not the cheapest option for formula racers|
Won’t be suitable for all rigs
|Next Level Racing ES1||Lots of ways to mount it|
Grippy seat lining
|Not the most padded option|
|Res-Tech X1 Carbon Seat||Extremely lightweight design|
|Very expensive choice|
Not the most comfortable for long sessions
|Sim Lab SF-1 Formula||Various ways to mount the seat|
|Fiberglass shell is a little thin|
|Sparco Evo XL||Ideal for larger racers|
Very comfortable design
|Does feel a little stiff|
|Sim Lab SPEED3||Good range of colors available|
Value for money
|A bit narrow|
|Sparco R100||Very comfortable choice|
|Not the sturdiest|
May squeak after a lot of use
|Playseat Challenge||Budget friendly option|
Lightweight and highly portable
|Not as sturdy as fixed back seats|
Not the best for larger racers
3 Different Types Of Sim Racing Seats
There are 3 main types of sim racing seat:
- Fixed back/bucket seats
- Formula seats
- Reclining seats
These different seat types each have features that lend themselves to different racing disciplines, so it is important to check which type suits you best before you buy.
1. Fixed Back/Bucket Seats
A fixed back seat, also known as a bucket seat, is an upright racing seat that doesn’t have the option to recline. These seats are mainly used for rally racing, touring cars and sports cars. They are characterized by their rigid shells, offering great ergonomics and posture support. Although they don’t recline, they are usually well-padded and offer a comfortable user experience.
This comfort usually stems from their great shoulder and head support, with a variety of options to suit different body shapes. They are the most common racing seat on the market, and often the easiest to work into a sim racing rig. Although they can’t recline in the traditional sense, you can purchase additional mounts for certain models that allow you to fix them at different angles.
2. Formula Seats
Formula seats are built for those who prefer Formula 1 games or other single seater titles. They are characterized by an arching, cradle like shape that slightly reclines the user. This design helps drivers who prefer a more horizontal seating position, with their legs stretched out when reaching the pedals.
Formula seats won’t necessarily suit those who race for long periods of time, as they aren’t shaped for added lumbar support. Instead, they are best suited to be used for a maximum of two to three hours at a time. However, they do offer great immersion and a realistic feel when entering formula style races.
3. Reclining Seats
Reclining seats tend to take on a similar shape to fixed back seats, just with the added ability to recline back should you wish to do so. This adjustability will suit more casual racers who want to relax while racing. The reclining feature may be lost on those who prefer to remain upright and fully concentrated during races.
While the adjustability may be a bonus, it does detract from the sturdiness of the seat. Reclining seats can feel prone to movement at times, especially if you use hydraulic pedals. The movement won’t be too dramatic if the seat is of good quality, but there can sometimes be a centimeter or two of give when pressure is applied.
How To Choose A Sim Racing Seat
Product quality is one of the most important aspects as it will determine the longevity of the seat that you choose, and whether you’ll have to replace it anytime soon. It will also ensure you get the very best product for the price you pay. The materials used when manufacturing the seat will determine both the comfort and durability of the seat.
Fiberglass is commonly used to make good quality seats, as well as strong metals such as steel for the main structure of the seat. You’ll also want to make sure the material covering the seat is good quality, as cheap padding and thin cloth can quickly deteriorate when used extensively. Breathable materials are also important as they will prevent further damage caused by excessive sweating.
Faux leather is often used on sim racing seats, which isn’t the most breathable, but is easy to clean. However, it can be susceptible to ripping. Choosing the right material often comes down to personal preference, and it’s linked to the next important thing to consider.
A comfortable seat is essential, especially if you plan on taking part in long sim racing sessions. It’s important to look out for a seat with good amounts of padding in the lower back, shoulder and neck area, as well as on the seating area. This will prevent you from feeling numb after long periods of racing.
Seats should also offer good ergonomic and lumbar support, which will prevent posture issues and discomfort. Playing with a poor posture for a long time can cause several issues in the long-term, including neck and back pain, headaches, and nausea. Fixed back seats are generally the best option for lumbar support as they will keep you in an upright position when racing.
Breathability of materials is also important for your comfort as breathable materials will reduce the amount of sweat that you produce when racing, and lets face it, there’s not many worse feelings than ending a sim racing session sat in a pool of sweat!
While it is obviously important to stay within your budget, you should make sure that the seat you are looking at includes all the features that you want from it rather than buying it because it is cheap. This will help you to avoid disappointment, and spending more in the long-term replacing a poor-quality racing seat.
Buyer’s Tip: If you want to see our pick for the best cheap sim racing seat, check out the Playseat Challenge
There are a multitude of good quality seat options at a variety of price ranges, but also a lot of unbranded poor-quality seats as well. It is important to look out for good customer reviews as well as if there are any warranties and guarantees on the product.
KEY POINTS• A sim racing seat is a vital part of your rig
• You’ll need to choose the right type of seat to suit your racing style and preferences
• The quality of the seat and the comfort level are key to consider before you buy
The Best Budget Sim Racing Seat
The Playseat Challenge is a great racing seat for those on a restricted budget. Its fold-up capabilities are great for storage, and it remains rigid and stable even for heavier racers. It also has an attached stand for a wheel as well as a spot for pedals, making it a perfect all-rounder for a reasonably low price.
Considering its structure, the seat is comfortably padded, albeit not to the same level as more expensive sim racing seats. The materials used to line the seat are thin but not fragile, offering a good amount of stretch to help you get comfortable. Overall, the Playseat Challenge offers great value for money.
The Best Sim Racing Seat For F1 Games
The Sparco GP is a formula seat perfectly designed for F1 games. It features a low-lying, reclined design, much like what you’d see in real single-seater cars. The Sparco GP will offer an immersive and realistic experience, especially when paired with an F1 style wheel. The seat’s solidity makes it great for those who use hydraulic pedals, as you won’t feel any movement when applying pressure.
Extra padding around the lower back area keeps this seat comfortable for long periods of time, meaning you can enjoy the entirety of a Formula 1 race without aching or cramping up. It is also a wide seat, making it perfect for racers of all shapes and sizes. It’s lightweight fiberglass body also makes it easy to carry if you need to move your setup around.
The Best Sim Racing Seat For Endurance Racing
Next Level Racing ES1 Sim Racing Seat
Endurance racers will be grateful for this seat’s soft padding, especially after a long stint behind the wheel. The padding is made from foam and suede, making the ES1 one of the most comfortable seats on the market. The frame of the seat is upright, which will help you to maintain your posture throughout a race, as well as eliminating the risk of any back or neck pain during or after the race.
The seat has five different mounting options, meaning you can adjust the angles and the proximity to the wheel and pedals with ease. The seat is rigid and perfect for those with stronger hydraulic pedals. It even comes with seatbelts, which will not only add to the immersion, but also make the seat ideal if you plan on upgrading to a motion simulator setup.
Is A Sim Racing Seat Really Worth It?
If you want to take your sim racing experience to the next level, then a sim racing seat is worth paying an extra bit of money for. It will help you to really immerse yourself in the action, eradicating any risk of slipping when you apply pressure to your pedals. Sim racing seats are designed to mimic real racing seats, making them one of the most realistic pieces of sim equipment you can own.
They will also offer you performance benefits, keeping you upright in the perfect seating position to clock great lap times. You’ll also be able to adjust the positioning of most seats to be at the perfect distance from the wheel and pedals.
Above all, sim racing seats will help you to stay comfortable for long periods of time. They are often well padded in all the right areas to support your posture. This will prevent any long-term troubles with back, neck and upper body pain. You’ll be able to race for as long as you want without feeling uncomfortable like you would when sitting on a chair or stool.
The market for sim racing seats is crowded, with options for all racing disciplines, all body shapes, and all price ranges. While this may make the early searches confusing and difficult, this variety of options offers you more of a chance to find a sim racing seat that is right for you. However, the absolute best option is the Sparco Grid-Q racing seat.
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