Fanatec are known for producing some of the best sim racing hardware on the market, with this certainly being the case with their range of pedals. However, sim racing hardware is not usually cheap, leaving many wondering what Fanatec’s cheapest pedals are, and if there are any cheap alternatives.
The 3 cheapest Fanatec pedals are:
Of course, Fanatec aren’t the only manufacturers making affordable sim racing pedals, with MOZA and Thrustmaster also contributing with their own products. In this article, we will discuss Fanatec’s cheapest offerings, as well as mentioning the three best cheap alternatives.
What To Consider When Buying Fanatec Pedals
There are multiple factors to consider when purchasing a set of Fanatec pedals, especially when you are on a strict budget. Fanatec products are usually built for those looking to upgrade their setups to an even higher level, and it is this reputation and standard that usually means their cheaper products will outperform their price tag.
Compatibility is often a thorn in the side of console users, but Fanatec have an extremely inclusive range of products that caters to PC users and console users. The only difference for console users is that they will have to pair their pedal set with a wheel/wheel base in the Fanatec ecosystem, as processing and licensing issues prevent mixing hardware brands on consoles.
It’s important to know which extra features you want from your pedal set. Fanatec offer a range of pedals, starting with the CSLs, which don’t have an abundance of unique features. If you want pedal rumble or vibrations, you will have to spend extra on products like the Fanatec ClubSport V3s.
Adjustability is important to consider when making sure you find the right pedal set for you. Fanatec pedals have good adjustability across their range, with the cheapest CSL pedals allowing you to move individual pedals from left to right. However, they don’t allow for resistance adjustability, like the more expensive (but still fairly affordable) CSL Elite V2 pedals do.
Ease Of Set-Up & Use
Cheaper pedals tend to be plug-and-play products, which are easy to setup, but often limited in what they can offer in terms of features and accuracy. The adjustability of even the cheapest Fanatec pedals means they don’t quite fall into that category, but they are far from complicated to set up and use, especially if you are satisfied with their original configuration.
All Fanatec’s pedal sets are comfortable to use in-game. They don’t usually come with too many setup requirements, so you won’t have to spend hours going through an instruction manual to get them ready for racing.
Your Level Of Experience
The difference in complexity throughout Fanatec’s pedal range means that the cheapest pedals are more suited towards those who are relatively new to sim racing. The more experience in sim racing that you gain, the more you will notice that certain features in the more expensive products will start to become more tempting, meaning you’ll likely want to upgrade eventually.
There are three main mechanisms in sim racing pedals: potentiometers, Hall effect sensors, and load cells. Fanatec have strayed from potentiometers in recent years, with Hall effect sensors coming as standard in even their cheapest sets. You will have to pay a little extra for load cell pedals, as they provide the best resistance and the most realism (other than hydraulic pedals).
Hall effect sensors are generally more durable than potentiometers as they work using a contactless system, but load cells are the best if you can afford them. You only need this on the brake pedal though, as most clutch and gas pedals, even on high end sets, utilize Hall sensors on these.
Build Quality & Upgradeability
Build quality is always important, no matter what piece of sim racing hardware you are buying. Fanatec don’t usually cut corners in terms of build quality, with all their pedal sets being predominantly made from metal. There are a few smaller issues with build quality that get eradicated in the more expensive pedals, such as the metal-to-metal contact in the CSL pedals.
Upgradeability is also important, especially if you are buying a cheap set of Fanatec pedals. The CSL pedals can initially be bought as a set of two, with the option to purchase a load cell brake as a separate addition. This means you won’t have to buy a completely new pedal set when you decide you want to upgrade to load cell technology, saving you money in the long run.
KEY POINTS• You need to ensure any cheap pedal set you buy is compatible with the rest of your setup
• Adjustability and upgradeability are also important to consider
• Most cheaper pedals don’t use load cells, and Hall effect sensors are preferable over potentiometers
The 3 Cheapest Fanatec Pedals
1. Fanatec CSL Pedals
Pedals: 2 | Compatibility: PC / PlayStation / Xbox | Mechanism: Hall Effect | Materials: Steel
The CSL pedal set is Fanatec’s cheapest option, and these pedals provide a basic entry into sim racing. They feature a Hall effect mechanism, rather than potentiometers, meaning you will have accurate pedal inputs to make up for a lack of high-end features. The pedals are compatible with console, as long as you use them alongside a Fanatec wheel.
The CSL pedals look great, with a silver steel finish. They are made almost entirely from metal, with the only major use of plastic being on the pedal faces. Thankfully the pedal faces can be swapped out in place of a flat metal alternative. Considering that these are the cheapest set of pedals that Fanatec have ever sold, they still look at home on a full sim racing rig.
The all-metal body of the set does come with some issues, including a thudding sound when you push the pedals to their limit. This problem can be solved using third-party modifications, or by inserting rubber stoppers on the lower part of the pedal arm. This shouldn’t have to be done, as it is hard to see how this problem got through testing without anyone noticing.
The two pedals do feel light and slightly weak, which can make it hard to find consistency as there is no progressive resistance to let you know how far you have pushed the pedal. There is unfortunately no easy way to adjust the resistance to make them stronger, which is a downside. However, the pedals will produce fairly accurate results due to their Hall effect sensors.
While you can’t adjust the resistance of the pedals, you can adjust their positioning on the pedal board without a great deal of effort. This will help beginners, as you will be able to find a comfortable position in no time.
Upgrading To The Load Cell Brake
One of the best aspects of this pedal set is that it can be upgraded in the future by purchasing the separate load cell brake. This helps to keep the cost down while also meaning you won’t have to purchase an entirely separate pedal set when you feel it’s time to upgrade to load cell technology.
Overall, the CSL pedals will provide you with a good entry point into racing with pedals. They aren’t particularly strong, but they offer enough immersion for beginners, and they will help you to start improving your performance on the track over a controller. For the price, it is hard to argue too much against their value for money, as it would be tough to find a better alternative!
- Very affordable pedal set
- Hall effect sensors
- Pedals lack strong resistance
- Loud metal-on-metal contact when pushed to their limits
2. Fanatec CSL Pedals LC
Pedals: 3 | Compatibility: PC / PlayStation / Xbox | Mechanism: Load Cell / Hall Effect | Materials: Steel
The Fanatec CSL LC pedals are designed to be an entry-level introduction into load cell technology and the immersion and realism that it can offer. They are essentially the standard Fanatec CSL pedals just with a separate add-on load cell brake pedal, so the overall build quality of the pedal set barely differs between the two models.
When you implement the load cell brake pedal, what would have been the brake pedal then becomes a clutch pedal. If you don’t want a clutch pedal, it is easily removed. You can also change the distances between the pedals, making them sit closer together or further apart per your preferences.
Unlike Fanatec’s more expensive offerings, you can’t change the spring resistance levels of the CSL pedals unless you buy third-party mods. This is unfortunate as the clutch and accelerator feel quite light and don’t offer much resistance. Having light pedals makes it hard to find consistency, as the lack of progressive force makes it tough to judge how far you’ve pushed the pedals in.
This lack of adjustability makes it seem as though Fanatec are trying to nudge you towards some of their more expensive products. However, the CSL LC pedal set does represent a clear middle ground between non-load cell pedals and higher quality options.
Note: You can use the Fanatec tuning menu on your attached wheel base to tweak the brake sensitivity, but this won’t affect how it feels to use
Load Cell Pedal
The main selling point of this pedal set is the load cell brake. The pedal uses a 60 kg (132 lb) load cell, which allows for a lot of braking force. While it is strong, it feels a little strange in comparison to the lightness of the other two pedals and requires a bit of getting used to.
If you don’t want to spend a great deal of money on a load cell setup, then this pedal set will definitely do the job for you until you decide you want to upgrade. As I mentioned before, the lack of adjustability in the resistance does make it an entry level option, and it likely won’t become the pedal set that you use throughout the entirety of your sim racing journey.
Hall Effect Sensors
Another welcome touch is that neither the clutch nor the accelerator use potentiometers. They both contain Hall effect sensors, which are more accurate and more durable as metal-to-metal contact is avoided. One area where metal-to-metal contact is felt is when you push the pedals to their maximum distance. This creates a thudding sound, as on the non-LC set, which does get annoying over time.
Overall, the CSL LC pedals offer a nice introduction into the world of load cell brake pedals, and they are a suitable stopgap before you decide to upgrade to a more expensive pedal set. There are no other upgrades from the two-pedal CSL set, as they are the same set, just with a load cell brake included in the package.
- Load cell pedal offers decent resistance
- Hall effect pedals are accurate
- Pedal positioning can be adjusted
- Pedal resistances are not adjustable
- Weak clutch and accelerator pedals
- Thudding sound when pedals are pushed to the limit
3. Fanatec CSL Elite Pedals V2
Pedals: 3 | Compatibility: PC / PlayStation / Xbox | Mechanism: Load Cell / Hall Effect | Materials: Powder-coated aluminum
Positioned above entry-level products such as the CSL Pedals, the CSL Elite V2s are a clear step up, offering significant performance upgrades as well as increased reliability. The CSL Elite V2 pedals don’t look too different from their predecessor, but changes such as swapping potentiometers out for Hall effect sensors make them one of the best options at their price point.
The largest change made with the CSL Elite Pedals V2 from their predecessor is the fact that Fanatec have swapped out potentiometers in the accelerator and clutch pedal for Hall effect sensors. This means that they have used magnets inside the mechanisms, which convert electrical signals into in-game inputs in a more consistent and reliable manner than potentiometers.
Using magnets also removes the metal-to-metal contact within the pedal set, meaning they are far less prone to wear. Fanatec have also changed the positioning of the load cell on the brake pedal, moving it down slightly from behind the arm of the pedal to behind the elastomer stack.
This move was designed to improve consistency, as the braking force on the previous model would be determined by where your foot was placed on the pedal. Increased consistency is the overriding theme to the improvements made on the V2 version of the CSL Elite Pedals. This consistency not only makes them better value for money, but it also brings them closer to some of Fanatec’s more expensive pedals.
Adjusting these pedals so they perform to your taste is easier than ever, with three sets of springs and elastomers included in the box. No tools are required to swap out the springs and elastomers, meaning it won’t take a lot of effort to find your ideal configuration. You can change the resistance from a minimum of 10 kg (22 lbs) to a maximum of 90 kg (198 lbs).
You can also remove the clutch pedal if you don’t need it. The spaces between the pedals are also changeable, so you can move them closer together or further apart, depending on your preference. These changeable features will help you train your muscle memory and become fully comfortable with your setup.
The pedals come pre-configured with the softest set of spring and elastomers. These provide adequate resistance, although your experience will be enhanced if you apply either of the two stronger sets. There is progressive resistance in these pedals, meaning they get more resistant the further you push them in, replicating real-life pedals.
The pedal faces are slightly curved and are comfortable to use whether you’re racing in shoes or socks. As the pedal faces are made of metal, we recommended you do use footwear with some form of rubber grip underneath. It’s also important that you have some form of mounting option, otherwise the pedals will tip over.
Thanks to rubber stoppers on the ends of the pedals, you can really give these pedals some force, as metal-to-metal contact is eliminated. The CSL Elite V2s are durable in almost every aspect, and with their enhanced performance level, you won’t need to upgrade them for a while.
Overall, this pedal set outperforms its price tag, making it more than just an upgrade on the previous model, but also a great choice for beginners and more experienced sim racers. The level of adjustability and the durability of the external and internal parts make this pedal set great value for money.
- Easy to adjust
- Immersive load cell brake
- Hall effect accelerator and clutch rather than potentiometers
- Metal pedal faces may feel slippery without rubber soles
3 Alternatives To Fanatec’s Cheapest Pedals
1. MOZA SR-P Pedals
MOZA’s SR-P pedals come with a load cell brake, making them a lucrative choice for beginners that want to jump straight in with an immersive experience on a budget. There’s a cheap 2-pedal set available, or you can pay for a clutch pedal as well. This makes them more expensive than the Fanatec CSL pedals, but the resistant load cell makes the extra money spent worth it.
The pedals are well built, made of high-quality steel. The adjustability of the pedals is superb, giving you the ability to change the pedal placement, adjust the heights of the pedal faces, and switch out the springs and dampers on the load cell to make it more resistant. Unfortunately, as with all MOZA products, the pedals are only compatible with PC.
2. Thrustmaster T3PA Pedals
The Thrustmaster T3PA pedals look and feel more how you’d expect from a cheaper set of pedals, made predominantly of plastic. They are a plug-and-play piece of hardware, making them easy to setup and use instantly. The kit comes with an optional brake mod, which gives the brake pedal progressive resistance the further in you push it, but it’s obviously not quite a load cell.
3. Thrustmaster T3PM Pedals
The T3PMs come with Thrustmaster’s H.E.A.R.T technology, which enhances the precision of the pedals. You can choose between four different pedal angles and pressure modes, making them a clear upgrade on the T3PAs. The brake pedal is very firm, with almost double the resistance of the T3PA brake pedal. Compatible with both PC and console, the T3PMs are a decent budget 3-pedal set.
Such is the quality of Fanatec sim racing hardware, even their cheapest pedal sets are able to provide immersion for those who wish to give them a try. The CSL pedals are by far the cheapest option, and they’re perfect for beginners, while the CSL Elite V2 pedals are the next step up for those that want to take advantage of load cell technology.
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