In each section of this article respectively, I’ll provide some information about what defines each category of pedal set (budget, mid-range and premium) and what you should be looking for in terms of material quality, weight, size and the tech that they each have as standard.
So, what is the average cost of a sim racing pedal set? On average, most sim racing pedal sets cost between $40 and $300. However, depending on the quality and features you want or could do without, you can find some sets below $50. Similarly, you can find premium build pedal sets for over $300.
After you’ve read over the article and have learned more about pedal sets in sim racing overall, I have no doubt that you’ll be able to make a decision based on everything you find out. It’s about time we put the pedal to the metal and jump right into it!
Budget Pedal Sets
Weight: 1.5kg to 2.5kg
Size: Small; gas & accelerator pedals
Technology: Potentiometer; no load cells
Oftentimes when buying budget sim racing pedals, you’ll find that they come with a wheel as a bundle package as I mentioned before. For a price of around $70 at the cheapest, you’ll get a steering wheel and set of pedals which is amazingly good value when you consider the expense of each part.
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Now, the real question about budget pedal sets is about the material and how they feel. Plastic is the go-to material for budget items in sim racing and in some parts of a rig, this is more acceptable than in others. It definitely takes away the immersion when you press your pedals flat to the floor with no resistance and can feel the plastic strain from the pressure!
It honestly depends on how often you want to race. If you’re a casual sim racer who enjoys hopping on their rig on weekends to do a few laps or games with friends, budget items will be ideal for you.
It’s still pretty fun to have a rig, no matter how the material feels, and if you aren’t using it too often you won’t be particularly drawn out by the arcade-like feel of the set-up. If you’re just getting started in the sport or you’re more interested in having casual fun, buying cheaper products will net you the enjoyment without a crazy price tag.
In short, it’s a win-win for you! Deciding to buy budget is a good decision for all of the reasons I just talked about, but you have to be pretty vigilant about reading product reviews. While you’re browsing Amazon or eBay checking out the different products on offer, always scroll down to see what other buyers are saying and look at the star rating.
The number of stars a product has is mainly just a double-check before you add to basket, but the words of people who own the pedal set is hugely important. They’ll talk about the overall feel of the pedals and what it’s like to have them as part of a rig; crucial info if you’re considering adding them to your collection!
If you can get past the fact that plastic doesn’t feel ‘real’ or weighty like actual sets of pedals in road/race cars, then you won’t have any problems with buying a budget set.
Another aspect of keeping the price low is that you’ll be missing out on load cell technology that comes with mid-range and premium pedal sets. For me personally, load cells aren’t as important as a weighty, satisfying feel to the overall material, but they do enhance the driving experience a lot in terms of immersion.
Load cells handle the physics of pressing pedals and the resistance that can come with it; much like driving real vehicles.
In terms of budget brands that are worth a look, ThrustMaster offers some nice bundles of steering wheels and pedal sets which will deliver enjoyment without costing a fortune! I’d recommend taking a look at their T80 (PS4) and 458 Spider (Xbox 1) sets, because each bundle should only cost a maximum of around $70 online.
With some searching online, I’m sure you’ll be able to find a separate set of pedals of a decent quality for around $40, but everything in this price range will come as standard compared to others.
It’s only when you start to exceed the $100 mark that pedals start to become different, both in their material and technology. Another aspect of budget pedals is the fact that they only come with a gas pedal and brake pedal; not the end of the world if you’re fine with shifting with your wheel’s paddles, but not great if you want to use a stick shifter.
However, I have to admit that the simplicity is pretty nice. Not having to worry about a clutch means you can really enjoy some racing without the hassle!
It goes without saying that ‘budget’ doesn’t necessarily mean bad, it just translates to a lack in features and a certain simplicity that might not suit everyone. For those of you out there looking to get started or generally just enjoy casual races, this might be the category for you!
Mid-Range Pedal Sets
Weight: 3kg to 4.5kg
Material: Hardened plastic, rubber compound or metal + plastic
Size: Small to medium, sets include 2 or 3 pedals
Technology: Load cells mostly as standard
This bracket in pricing with pedal sets starts to come with some variety for interested buyers. Unlike with budget sets where you only have one real choice of material and overall build quality, mid-range sets differ from one another in pretty big ways depending on how much you want to spend within the typical price bracket.
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Overall, they’ll feel a little more put-together and you don’t have to worry about accidentally dropping them like you might with cheaper pedal sets. You can also make the decision about whether you’d like two or three pedals in your set, and this becoming a choice rather than a feature (or lack thereof) makes it feel far better to think about.
The biggest buzz-words of a mid-range piece of equipment are choice and better quality, so if those things sound right up your alley, this price range will probably be the best one for you!
When you reach this middle area of price for pedal sets, you start to get a mixture of materials that feel far better in terms of overall build, and also better-suited to immersion and realism. Pressing pedals with your feet will feel more responsive and satisfying, something which sim racers seeking more improvement in their driving skills will really value.
Most people who enter this sport will actually stay within the realms of mid-range pricing because truly, the products are competitive and reasonably priced when you think about the performance they afford!
For pedal sets that fit into this category, the price range will be between $90 and $200. Most sim racing brands you search for will have products within these price points, so finding pedal sets won’t be necessarily difficult, either.
Now, as I mentioned previously as regards to the variety of this bracket, the overall grade of materials used in mid-range sets is better than budget ones as standard; no matter which product you choose to buy. Even the plastic-covered pedals are made of a hardened compound that makes them feel studier and better to use.
You’ll also start to see pedals made out of metal, and this choice serves multiple purposes. When compared to plastics, metal will last longer and look better for longer periods of time. Aesthetic choices aside, you’ll see why a lot of sim racer choose metal pedals soon after buying a set!
The harder, heavier material means that you can feel a lot more variations in speed or braking ability. And there’s something pretty darn satisfying about having to work for full throttle or full braking because of the heavier pedal weight!
Looking at brands for mid-range pedals, I’ll always suggest to take a look at Fanatec and ThrustMaster for their tried and tested products that sim racers will always swear by. On the lower end of the bracket, the former manufacturer offers a two-pedal set for a good price brand-new; the Fanatec CSL Elite Pedals.
Not only do they look sleek and cool, but that black material is actually aluminum, too, for the right mix of lightweight and solid composition. Although this specific set from Fanatec doesn’t come with load cells as standard, they’re implemented a nice collection of dampers to simulate pedal resistance and pressure under braking which is a nice touch.
And if you really want to try out load cell tech, you can actually buy an upgrade with the CSL Elite Pedals Load Cell Kit to try out what differences it makes to your racing.
For some extra cash, you can get the ThrustMaster T3PA-Pro for $170 which is a three-pedal set made with sturdy, real-feel metal. Having a clutch pedal available means that you can use a compatible stick shifter, which is amazing for that added immersion!
Another amazing feature of this specific model is the ability to uniquely set every pedal to have customized pressure levels, so you can control how each one feels. The whole pedal set is fully adjustable so you can find maximum comfort and racing-accurate realism.
Whether you’re looking to upgrade from a casual sim racing set-up or you’re seeking an extra competitive edge, mid-range products are a great investment that can be picked up without breaking the bank.
The better grade of materials and extra features that come as standard, plus the ability to truly pick the best pedal set for you with a lot of variety, makes this range of pricing definitely worth it!
Premium Pedal Sets
Weight: 4kg to 5kg, some performance pedals are lighter
Material: Steel, stainless steel
Size: Variable, often medium to large with 3 pedal sets
Technology: Everything from load cells to hydraulics
Time to look at premium-build sim racing pedals, where the prices can make most sim racers stop and stare for a hot minute!
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Those who look for this level of quality and the features that come with it are definitely of a more serious racing breed, whether they make a living from sim racing Esports or they’re constantly looking for the best innovations to up their driving game in races.
A lot of professional race drivers use rigs that include premium-level products to replicate real driving conditions to the nth degree. However, for most consumers out there, the price points for these pedals simply aren’t viable to purchase. But that doesn’t mean that the products aren’t worth looking at!
It’s important to be aware of a full picture before making any decisions, and I’m sure there are readers out there who are looking for the absolute best of the best in sim racing. For those purposes, let’s get into it!
Alright, so in terms of price ranges, you’ll be looking between $500 and $1,100 for premium-range pedal sets; way above the previously mentioned average prices that I touched on earlier.
This is simply because I personally don’t classify premium-level products to be part of the ‘average’ due to their specific gearing to professional racers who make their living in this sport.
That being said, there’s no denying the insane quality of materials used in the making of pedal sets that fit this bill, and the technology you’ll find within is pretty phenomenal. You’ll typically find that manufacturers utilize strong yet lightweight cuts of steel and stainless steel for making premium pedal sets, allowing for a firm feeling yet not being a detriment to the driver.
In the lower price point for premium products, you’ll find complex yet innovative electronic controls with which you can set personal preferences for driving in every sim game available on the market with seamless precision.
And at the higher end, you’ll find hydraulic braking systems as standard plus the previously mentioned electronic ‘memory’ built-in for an absolutely amazing drive feeling.
Due to the processing power required to run these pieces of equipment, these pedal sets won’t be compatible with consoles without a host of technology to connect them. Premium pedals are best used with PCs due to their superior base processing speeds and abilities to run programs so you can access all of the pedals’ features.
When you search for premium products in sim racing, you can guarantee that the number one manufacturer you’ll find is Heusinkveld (I dare you to try and say it aloud!!), a company renowned for its innovations in the sim racing field and the many racing drivers who swear by their products.
At the lower end of the products they offer in terms of pedal sets, the Sprint Sim Pedals they offer are described as being the most versatile. This set of three pedals plus a mount which needs to be purchased separately will cost $620, but they do offer a lot of customization options if you only want to buy two pedals instead, for example.
The driver can fully adjust every pedal’s geometry and force (up to 65kg braking power!), which is part of why a lot of Esports racers love this specific brand. Their descriptions of mechanism usage and all of the science behind these pedals is enough to make most racers’ heads spin, but it really speaks to sim racers who are seeking ‘the next level’ in skill or competition.
Their most expensive pedals, the Ultimate Sim Pedal set, is preferred by racing drivers due to the ultimate immersion and similarity to real sports cars.
The set plus mount will cost in excess of $1,200; definitely not a price to be taken lightly. But the stainless-steel composition of these pedals plus hydraulic damping on every pedal in the set really puts them at a cut above the rest.
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When you’re a casual sim racer looking to improve, moving up to mid-range products is definitely an investment compared to budget options. And on again from that, moving from mid-range to premium is another big jump in terms of skill ceilings!
Premium pedal sets are the absolute pinnacle of sim racing excellence, so if that’s what you’re shooting for, these products are the ones for you!
How To Find The Right Balance Between Price & Features
There’s a real sweet spot to be found when choosing whether to purchase budget, mid-range and premium. At the end of the day it’s all down to what your level of experience is and why you want to buy one in the first place, above all else!
But overall, if you put in some time to research different brands and manufacturers, you can find fantastic budget-level pedal sets and a real steal-price on premium-level ones.
A typical trend is that smaller brands will boast more features to their products to put them in competition with more expensive, larger brands, so it’s important to research a product’s review collection to see if the extra features are worth it, or if they’re just hot air.
As you probably know from generally buying things in day-to-day life, bigger brands can charge more for their products because of recognition for their name assuring a sort of quality. Spending more money on something should, in theory, net the gains of something better quality overall.
It isn’t always the case, and sometimes gambling on a small brand can pay off with a great value product that performs well. It’s just important to be informed before making those choices.
What Is The Most Important Feature For A Sim Racing Pedal Set?
On a personal level, I think that the most important feature in a sim racing pedal set comes down to weight, and therefore is directly linked to material.
Budget pedal sets don’t have much of a feeling when you press on them; the springs are relatively cheap and you can’t tell the difference between slight power and full power on most models.
Now that I’ve improved my sim racing skills and I’m upgrading my rig to be more competitive, I don’t think I could ever have a pedal set that doesn’t give resistance when I press on the pedals.
It’s important to feel exactly the points of acceleration and braking that you need, but not necessarily for those of you out there who are just aiming to have fun with the sport. I honestly think for the price of $100 tops to get a set of solid, metal pedals, the investment really is worth it for that added immersion and realism!
With all of this said and done, it falls to you personally on how much you would spend on a set of sim racing pedals. By doing research on the different products on offer, you’ll quickly start finding the sorts of features you would value, and you’ll be upgrading your sim racing rig in no time at all!