Fanatec are known for producing some of the best sim racing hardware on the market and they aren’t shy about pricing it as such. With so many cheaper alternatives, it can be tough to decide if Fanatec is worth the money and if you should purchase their sim racing gear.
It is worth buying Fanatec if it’s within your budget. Fanatec hardware is expensive because they offer hardware that meets professional racing standards. The build quality of their wheels and bases is excellent and scrupulously tested to ensure the best sim racing hardware is in your hands.
However, there are still a few things to consider when deciding whether Fanatec is worth your hard-earned money and it’s best that you find out what advantages you are assured to get when buying from Fanatec. Below, we look at what Fanatec has to offer, before considering some alternatives.
Brief Overview Of Fanatec
Fanatec are one of the biggest producers of sim racing hardware and peripherals in the world. They develop racing wheels, wheelbases, pedals, shifters, mounting accessories, and cockpits for the latest PC hardware and consoles. The hardware they develop is of high quality and users of Fanatec wheels often commend the uncompromising quality and performance of them.
Fanatec’s first wheel they ever released was the Speedster 2 for the PlayStation 2 generation to great acclaim. Its design was fairly simple, and it certainly wasn’t anything impressive by today’s standard, but for the time, it was a fantastic option for those who wanted a bit more immersion in their racing games.
It cemented them into the sim racing world as a developer of sim racing peripherals with excellent build materials and reliable performance. Fanatec’s line of direct drive wheels (like the DD1 and DD2) offers some of the best and most immersive experiences a person can have while sim racing.
Targeting A Broader Market
Towards the end of 2015, Fanatec revealed their CSL line of racing peripherals. It was designed around being mid-tier equipment ideal for entry-level racers. The CSL line evolved over time, with options for those on a low budget and then expanding to more expensive but high-quality offerings.
It brought innovations such as direct drive mechanisms to the masses at a much more affordable price compared to their high-end line of peripherals. While still more expensive than most other belt or gear-driven alternatives, the CSL line of racing peripherals offers one of the most competitive and immersive experiences in that price range.
Is Fanatec Sim Racing Equipment Expensive?
Fanatec sim racing equipment is expensive. Some of their sim racing wheels, like their Podium Formula racing wheel, can cost well over $1,000, but their wheel rims are expensive too. These wheels offer competitive advantages, and the direct drive wheelbase makes for an immersive and realistic experience.
The impressive set of features, metal and carbon fiber constructions, and excellent dependability are all reasons Fanatec sell their equipment at such high prices. Logitech’s more budget friendly sim racing hardware, like the G29/G920, are often made of plastic or weaker metals.
However, you rarely see professional racers using these cheaper plastic belt-driven wheels while practicing during the off-season in iRacing. More likely than not, a professional is using a high-end wheel made by Fanatec or another top-end brand because these wheels are simply more realistic.
Who Are These Products For?
Fanatec’s expensive high-end gear is tailored for the experienced sim racer or professional sim racer. A beginner won’t be able to take full advantage of such things as a direct drive mechanism or pedals with adjustable dampers. Serious or professional sim racers will love the performance of Fanatec’s podium series of wheels and are definitely the demographic for such expensive hardware.
However, they do have more beginner-friendly products at much more reasonable prices. They may not be as good as the more expensive and competitive options they sell, but they still offer incredibly good build quality and will outperform cheaper options from other mainstream companies selling beginner-friendly hardware.
What Fanatec Offers At Their High End
Some of Fanatec’s most expensive racing wheels, like the Podium Formula, offer a metal and carbon fiber construction with genuine Alcantara grips. An advanced tuning menu is accessible from the wheel base itself, allowing you to change settings such as dampening and force feedback strength while in-game.
Simply put, Fanatec’s racing equipment is so expensive because of the sheer reliability and performance you can get from them. Their astounding dependability and long lifespan are exactly what a professional racer or racing enthusiast would be looking for, even if it costs as much as Fanatec is selling their equipment for.
KEY POINTS• Fanatec sim racing equipment is expensive, although largely for good reason
• Their main offerings are direct drive wheels, so they’re perhaps not best for beginners
• The quality and functionality you get for the money makes Fanatec a great choice for intermediate and advanced sim racers
Is Fanatec Worth The Money?
Whether Fanatec is worth the money depends on a few factors. If you are a serious or professional sim racer then Fanatec offers products that will certainly meet your needs. If you’re an absolute beginner, there are lots of other options on the market that will still be great as a starting point.
Fanatec’s dependability and the impressive set of features in their equipment are very enticing for those looking to reach the next level of sim racing. However, a beginner may not even notice the significant improvements of a direct drive mechanism or be as pleasantly surprised with the user-friendliness of having an adjustable tuning menu accessible on the wheel.
To take full advantage of such features, you first need to learn the fundamentals, and you shouldn’t have to spend thousands of dollars to learn fundamentals.
Is Fanatec Worth The Money As A Beginner?
If you are a beginner or fairly new to sim racing, I highly recommend buying a much cheaper wheel like the Logitech G29 so you can learn the basics of sim racing. Once you understand the basics and you are familiar with your wheel and understand how it operates, you can then start to think about what you want from your hardware.
If you crave the most immersive and realistic experience from your sim racing hardware then any of Fanatec’s direct drive wheels have got you covered.
Competitive Advantage With Fanatec
As opposed to lower-tier wheels like the Logitech G29, which is most popular with beginners, a direct drive wheelbase allows the steering wheel to connect directly to the electric motor, meaning that the delivery of force feedback is immediate.
This also provides a great competitive advantage due to the lower input latency of a direct drive mechanism. This is also why most professionals use a direct drive wheel, many of which also use Fanatec. It’s not just the wheels and wheelbases made by Fanatec that are of exceptional quality, as their pedals and shifters and other sim racing accessories are also excellent.
KEY POINTS• Fanatec is worth the money for intermediate and highly experienced sim racers
• The equipment is high in quality but expensive, and often too feature-rich to be worth it for cash-strapped beginners
• If you’re an absolute beginner on a budget, go for Logitech or Thrustmaster instead
3 Alternatives To Fanatec
MOZA is arguably the most exciting Fanatec alternative at the moment. The brand hasn’t been on the scene long, but their R5, R9, R16 and R21 wheel bases have taken the sim racing world by storm. They also offer a few different wheels, like the cheaper ES wheel or the more expensive formula-style FSR. The best value setup for beginners comes in the form of the R5 bundle.
Although being made of weaker materials and having expectedly worse performance than Fanatec equipment, the Logitech G29/G920 is a fantastic option for beginners or those with a tight budget.
The force feedback certainly isn’t anywhere close to feeling as immersive as what a direct drive wheel is capable of simulating, but the dual-motor force feedback does allow for a good amount of high-frequency details to come through.
Thrustmaster is another big brand that’s popular with beginners, and their lineup of wheels and pedals is far more extensive than Logitech’s lone offering with the G29. There are lots of belt-driven options here, along with load cell pedals and other peripherals that make Thrustmaster arguably the best brand for those that don’t have the experience or budget to justify buying from Fanatec yet.
Fanatec is worth the money if you can afford it, as their equipment is extremely high-quality and you get a lot of functionality no matter what you’re buying. However, if you’re an absolute beginner with a smaller budget, it may be best to opt for Thrustmaster or even Logitech gear instead.