Whether you’re racing hardcore for your best lap times, or you’re just starting to get into sim racing, you can count on the buying process being streamlined by checking out this article to find the absolute best wheel for you.
So, what is the best ThrustMaster sim racing wheel? My personal choice would be the ThrustMaster T300 RS as it has been intentionally and carefully designed to meet the needs of gamers everywhere.
With my personal favorite aside, there remain four distinctly great racing wheels that I’d deem worth their weight in gold for making your own sim racing rig for a variety of reasons. But there’s more to just the products themselves. What should you be looking for in a sim racing wheel?
What to Look For in a Good Sim Racing Wheel
Purely and simply, I selected five amazing wheels from ThrustMaster based on a set of criteria that range from logical, all the way to performance of the actual product. When looking at wheels, the following points need to be considered carefully:
- Range of Rotation: Across every sim racing game, there’s a magic degree of rotation which is what sets the amount that the wheel needs to be turned. Anything less than 900 degrees of rotation will mean that you have to turn the physical wheel more than what the in-game sim wheel requires. In short, you’ll be wasting precious time turning far more than you actually have to!
- Force Feedback: Simply put, this is the factor that replicates driving a car in real-life. A wheel without force feedback or with weak force feedback won’t feel satisfying to drive, and you’ll actually be at a disadvantage when feeling how much wheel input is required. For full immersion, force feedback is a must!
- Material: This is primarily down to personal preference and experience. If you’ve driven a lot of cars with leather steering wheels, you’ll probably feel the most comfortable with a leather-clad wheel. However, a fabric-covered wheel can actually provide you with more grip and will allow you to race for longer without potentially sweaty palms interfering. This can also be negated by wearing racing gloves.
- Design: Again, this is something very much based on personal preference. Personally, I think that most wheels look sleek and sophisticated to own. If you’re after a specific badge to appear in the middle of your wheel, that can sometimes come with an extra price tag attached but otherwise, you can simply shop for that McLaren logo! There are two types of wheel typically, with some taking a racing appearance and others being far closer to the standard wheel as seen in cars.
- Price: Probably the biggest thing I take into consideration, primarily out of habit. I’ve raced karts for a long time and growing up, we weren’t made of money. As such, I’ve turned into a real bargain hunter! But price should never be the driving force behind your decisions above all else. Use it as more of a tie-breaker if there are two wheels that provide everything above in good measure, and you’re simply stuck on whether to pay for the cheaper or more expensive one.
This is by no means a definitive list of things to consider when looking at racing wheels, but it covers all of the main factors that should be under consideration. All of the choices I’ve made as the five best wheels that ThrustMaster offers have been judged dependent on the above factors, plus a few other things that I’ll go into in more detail below.
Are you suitably excited to see just which wheels have earned a place on the top list? Then read on!
The 5 Best ThrustMaster Sim Racing Wheels
So, here are the 5 best ThrustMaster sim racing wheels:
- T300 RS
- TX Racing Wheel: Leather Edition
- TMX Force Feedback Racing Wheel
- T150 Ferrari Force Feedback Wheel
- Ferrari 458 Spider Racing Wheel
1. ThrustMaster T300 RS
Compatible with: PS4, PS3, PC | Connection type: USB | Weight: 3kg | Force Feedback: Yes | Rumble: Yes | Maximum rotation angle: 1080 degrees | Pedals Included: Yes | Clutch Pedal: No | Expandable: Yes
So, let’s jump right into my personal best of the list! The T300 series is a complete package of convincing realism and competitive flair; AKA, what I always look for in any of my rig parts. I want to feel fully immersed but don’t want that to be a detriment to my racing.
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After all, part of the allure of sim racing is actually the higher speeds you can achieve when compared to a real car, simply because you can minimize a lot of the variables when building your own rig.
This wheel’s force feedback really is something special. If you hit walls in-game, the resulting feedback from the wheel is immensely jarring and can actually cause you some pain if you aren’t gripping it properly! While that may sound like a negative, it’s something very worthwhile when conditioning yourself to race better.
You don’t want to have a bone-shaking impact because it ruins your lap time, and yeah, you really want to avoid it because it’s pretty jarring. The success of this force feedback is due to it being motorized, and this really adds to the sensation of grip between your tires and the track in games such as GT Sport and F1 2019.
This motorized feedback also means that your inputs are registered instantaneously, giving you the edge in reacting to changing track conditions or other people racing around you. ThrustMaster really succeeded in creating an immersive experience through this wheel in everything from the rapid input reactions to the weighty, solid feel of the wheel in your hands.
It certainly feels as if it’s built to last, unlike some of the other products on this list.
Now, the biggest downside to this particular wheel is the odd mapping of the handbrake. It’s located on the front of the wheel where the other buttons are for the PS4 controls, which is every kind of fiddly in rally games like WRC. You often have full lock on the wheel itself and then trying to finagle the pressing of the handbrake when you need to turn can be tricky to master.
The other option is to buy a separate stick shift and program it as a handbrake, but that leaves you with the paddles on the back of the wheel as gear shifting, which isn’t ideal when you consider the impulsive response to reach for a gear stick to do such a thing. And, you know, driving one-handed through corners in rally isn’t the best.
Another aside of this wheel is the motorized control making the piece of equipment run very hot indeed. The vents releasing this heat are on the top of the wheel column, and after extended usage, it can start to smell a little like… burnt toast.
It isn’t due to damages at all, simply the motors whirring at insane speeds to provide the insane force feedback to the wheel, but it can be a little off-putting to say the least.
In spite of the handbrake issue and the slight side of burnt toast smell after a few hours, this wheel still gets my vote as the best product on offer. Not only do you get the great wheel, but you receive a set of pedals for a fantastic price.
I’d say that this wheel is best for those of you who are serious racers due to the amazing force feedback features. It is also officially supported by Sony, meaning that it works amazingly on PlayStation platforms but also smoothly integrates to a PC.
- Incredibly strong and responsive force feedback
- Official compatibility with Driveclub & Sony
- Handbrake is always a compromise
- Can ‘smell’ hot after a while
2. ThrustMaster TX Racing Wheel: Leather Edition
Compatible with: XBOX 1, PC | Connection Type: USB | Weight: 9kg | Force Feedback: Yes | Rumble: Yes | Maximum rotation angle: 900 degrees | Pedals Included: Yes | Clutch Pedal: Yes | Expandable: Yes
In short, the TX racing wheel is actually the XBOX 1 version of the previously mentioned T300, so you know that it’s pretty darn superb. However, one difference with the T300 is that the TX offers slightly less rotation at only 900 degrees, compared to 1080 degrees offered by the T300’s wheelbase.
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I’m recommending the leather edition of this TX bundle for the two pieces of amazing gear that it ships with: the astounding three-pedal T3PA set and the amazing detachable leather wheel itself.
The material that covers this wheel is nothing short of a luxury, and that couples with the amazing motorized force feedback of its PlayStation counterpart.
When compared to the standard version of this and the T300 bundle, the TX Leather Edition is definitely worth it because of the pedal set. Now, buying a wheel shouldn’t really be about what comes with it, right?
But you need to remember that when looking around to get a wheel, you should always be looking at whether you want to save some cash and get a bundle. Oftentimes, a bundle of wheel and pedals are sold that way because of the specialized set-up; they were simply meant to be together, for lack of better phrasing.
The pedals feel weighty in the good way, just like the wheel does, for accurate and nuanced control over accelerating, shifting and braking. Another boon of this set is the well-constructed desk attachment that comes with it.
Now, if you’re anything like me, you’re a little skeptical about how good something like that can be. Truly, the desk attachment also makes this purchase worth the money due to how easy it is to set-up, and how easily it supports the suitably heavy wheel. You can also take the attachment apart just as easily for if you want to take the wheel with you to a friend’s place!
Unlike the T300 series, however, the TX wheel and pedals are not XBOX branded. You can even connect the TX to a PS4 if you want, because the servo base is universal. While this may seem like an added boon due to the extra versatility, not having a product branded and licensed by the console it’s designed for isn’t the best of things.
And although the pedals come with 3 for the obvious purpose of shifting gears with the clutch, the bundle doesn’t come with a stick shift. So, if you’re after that kind of functionality, you’d have to buy it separately.
The price of the TX Leather Edition isn’t bad when you consider the high-grade materials used to make these pieces of equipment. It’s easily the best quality XBOX compatible wheel that I’ve tried out, in spite of it not being officially branded. So, if you’re an XBOX lover who’s serious about Sim Racing, this bundle is definitely the one for you!
- Superb control quality
- Comes with higher quality pedals than the base version
- No stick shift included
- Only 900 degrees of rotation
3. ThrustMaster TMX Force Feedback Racing Wheel
Compatible with: XBOX 1, PC | Connection type: USB | Weight: 0.998kg | Force Feedback: Yes | Rumble: Yes | Maximum rotation angle: 900 degrees | Pedals Included: Yes | Clutch Pedal: No | Expandable: Yes
If you’ve looked elsewhere in a search for which wheel to buy, you’ll know how expensive good force feedback can be. ThrustMaster created the TMX wheel with amazing drivability and impressive realism that can be purchased without breaking the bank, which means you can take some time to rejoice!
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This is the standard edition of the XBOX compatible wheel, which is still pretty fantastic to say that it’s only ‘standard’. As you can see above, the weight of this wheel is nearly non-existent, making it amazingly light-weight!
The primary reason that this wheel is 3rd on the list is that I’d say this set-up is great for entry-level racers who are wanting to try things out for the first time without spending a fortune for the privilege.
Although the pedals that come included aren’t something to be desired due to their plasticky feel, you can easily upgrade to another set later down the line when you’ve spent some time getting into sim racing overall.
This wheel allows for a lot of customization, making it a great base for building your very first rig. I’d say that the force feedback on this wheel isn’t as phenomenal as the T300 and TX wheels mentioned above, but you can definitely feel it and the wheel is highly responsive.
Weight on a wheel can be seen as both a positive and a negative for differing reasons.
A weightier rig will be harder to move and isn’t great for people who are just starting out in sim racing due to not being used to how much strength needs to be used (it’s really deceptive!) but will last far longer, whereas something that’s lighter will be immediately easier to begin with but you’ll suffer from it not lasting as long.
So, you can definitely feel the cheapness of this bundle in a lot of places, but if you look at it overall, you’ll be getting a real-feel force feedback wheel plus a set of pedals for great value. As I mentioned before, this wheel purchase is best for gamers who want that immersive force feedback but don’t have money to drop on higher-end rigs. A solid investment if you’re just getting started in the sport!
- Genuine force feedback
- Very affordable!
- Lightweight, cheap-feeling pedals
- Feedback effect isn’t as strong as with the TX base
4. ThrustMaster T150 Ferrari Force Feedback Wheel
Compatible with: PS4, PS3, PC | Connection type: USB | Weight: 0.998kg | Force Feedback: Yes | Rumble: Yes | Maximum rotation angle: 900 degrees | Pedals Included: Yes | Clutch Pedal: No | Expandable: Yes
As you can probably guess with the overall theme of this article and the best wheels that ThrustMaster offers, the T150 wheel is the PS4’s version of the XBOX 1 TMX wheel. There is a standard version of the T150, of course, but the version that I’m looking at is actually Ferrari branded! Who doesn’t like the sleek and sophisticated look of Ferrari?
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The design of this model isn’t simply aesthetic, either. When looking at the wheel the first thing you’ll notice is the red rubber-like grips on the outsides of it, and these serve a further purpose as opposed to just looking cool.
The grips on the wheel make it easier to hold the wheel for longer periods of time, and it adds extra comfort during longer race sessions due to the softer compound being used.
Another nice feature of this wheel specifically is the slightly flared shifter paddles on the back of the wheel, which allow for a driver to adjust how they hold the wheel if they wish. The standard grip is the 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock grip directly on opposite sides, but a more comfortable hold is the ’10-to-2’ which you can use on this Ferrari wheel courtesy of the paddles’ unique design.
In spite of the varied design upgrades with the Ferrari branding, this doesn’t change the fact that the standard version of the pedals are very thin-feeling and plasticky. There isn’t much resistance when you press on the pedals, either, which makes it difficult to know how much throttle or brake to apply.
The price tag on this set-up means that you will probably have some more money to play with, so it isn’t too out of the realms to invest in a metal pedal set to combat this bad point, and even invest in a separate stick shifter if you like.
Even without doing this, the rig is fine as it comes in the box, especially for those of you out there who are just looking to get started. And it’s great for Ferrari fans too, of course! This bundle will set you back a relatively small amount, so it really is a no-brainer for your first rig and experience of using a steering wheel.
- Amazingly affordable
- True force feedback motor system
- Some compromise on materials
- Force feedback is lacking compared to higher-end wheels
5. ThrustMaster Ferrari 458 Spider Racing Wheel
Compatible with: XBOX 1 | Connection type: USB | Weight: 3.5kg | Force Feedback: No | Rumble: No | Maximum rotation angle: 270 degrees | Pedals Included: Yes | Clutch Pedal: No | Expandable: No
Out of a lot of sim racing manufacturers, ThrustMaster works hard to try and offer varied budget and affordable options for those gamers out there who don’t want to compromise on quality without breaking the bank.
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The Ferrari 458 wheel is the culmination of such work, and in spite of its place as last on my list, it’s a solid wheel for XBOX 1 racers out there.
A lot of wheels don’t come with a clamp or stand which makes it a nightmare to set-up, and materials can feel very cheap and flimsy; things that simply won’t last. In spite of this wheel being the cheapest of the bunch, it really doesn’t feel as such. On the cheaper side, yes, but not necessarily cheap.
Unlike a lot of wheels, the 458 is officially licensed for usage on the XBOX 1 and it has linear resistance controlled by a bungee system within the wheel itself. It also comes with a solid clamp as standard, which makes it far more attractive than most other budget wheels on the market.
In essence, the linear resistance is like a compromise for force feedback which you can get on more expensive wheels, so you get a little bit of push and pull from the car you’re driving in game, but nothing to the level of higher-end wheels.
Its lacking rotation angle does make the rig feel a lot more like an arcade set-up than something competitive, and it’s simply that; it’s a great wheel for a casual sim racer who wants to have their own set-up.
It may not be considered competitive, but it’s a real blast to drive with. Its cool Ferrari design helps make the whole rig feel a bit more premium too, even with the thin, flimsy pedals that come with this rig. At such a low price, it’s the ideal starting rig for any casual sim racing enthusiast, but I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone who wants to race for competitions.
- Decent quality wheel with pedals
- Does well at approximating pedal/ wheel resistance
- No force feedback
- Cheap feel compared to everything else on the list
There we have it, racers! I hope that my reviews were insightful for everybody, no matter what levels of experience or purposes you have for buying a ThrustMaster racing wheel.
To boil it all down, the above five wheels were made by a great manufacturer for the sole purpose of enjoying sim racing, even if some are pointedly more competitive than others. If possible, try to nab my favorite wheel, the T300 RS, whenever it’s available on offer during the holiday periods.
It may be designed with competition in mind, but even those casual racers among you will thank me for the decision if you have a PlayStation or a PC.