Best PC racing wheels in 2024: my favorite direct drive and budget steering wheels for sim racing

Quick menu

I've burned rubber with all the best PC racing wheels to see which one earns first place on the podium. All the wheels included in this guide have been put through their paces in a range of racing games, and from that time in-game I've decided on the best to buy across a wide range of budgets—from mighty direct drive bases to affordable wheel and pedal combos.

The absolute best PC racing wheel is the Logitech G Pro Racing Wheel. It's got a gigantic 11Nm of direct drive torque for plenty of detailed steering feedback without clipping, an easy to use interface, well placed buttons and a fantastic pedal set, although you do have to buy them separately. The best budget racing wheel is the Thrustmaster T128, a hybrid drive wheel with superb paddle shifters and a good amount of responsive grunt, along with plenty of wheel-mounted buttons for all your in-game controls.

A racing wheel is one of the best PC gaming buys, and I've tried out tons of wheels to get a handle on which ones that are worth your hard-earned cash. You don't have to spend a lot to tear up tarmac, but you can always amp up your setup with a wheel and pedal stand, like the Playseat Trophy.

Curated by...
Jacob Ridley headshot on colour background
Curated by...
Jacob Ridley

When it comes to racing wheels Jacob has tested just about everything you can think of, from gear-driven budget options all the way up to the high-end direct drive wheels of your dreams. This makes him uniquely qualified to give you the low down on the best of the best, and make sure you go into your next race with a wheel that can truly do justice to all of the best driving games.

The quick list

Recent updates

This page was updated on April 19, 2024 to add the Moza R5 to the list, as the best budget direct drive base and wheel bundle.

Best racing wheel

The best racing wheel

Specifications

Connection type: USB
Weight: 8.5kg (wheel + base only)
Force Feedback: Yes
Drive: Direct
Maximum rotation angle: 1080 degrees
Pedals included: No (sold separately)
Clutch pedal: Yes
Expandable: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
11Nm of torque
+
Highly customisable
+
Simple interface and button layout
+
Reprogrammable rear clutch paddles
+
Fantastic pedal set (sold separately to wheel)

Reasons to avoid

-
Compatibility mode loses a few great features
-
Pricey for both wheel and pedals together
-
Large wheelbase footprint
Buy if...

✅ You want huge amounts of feedback: The Logitech Pro racing wheel is capable of delivering a forearm-shredding amount of torque, which can be adjusted if it's a bit too much to handle. Nice to have, though.

If you're looking for a detailed, immersive experience: It's not just powerful, but well-built, well-thought out and premium in every way.

Don't buy if...

You're on a budget: How much?! Yep, at $1,000/£1,000 for the base unit without pedals it's very expensive. On the other hand, you are getting the best racing wheel we've ever tested.

The Logitech Pro Racing Wheel and Pro Racing Pedals is our pick for the best racing wheel, as it's a frightfully powerful combination for sim racing. The gear-driven motor system so often found in Logitech's racing wheels is gone. In its stead, the Pro Racing Wheel comes with a direct drive motor that will shake you all the way down to your little racing booties.

The Pro Racing Wheel delivers a staggering 11Nm (Newton metres) of torque. That's a huge amount of power, and while the absolute top units can put out 25Nm of torque, 11Nm is more than enough to throw you around in your seat if you let it. The Pro Racing Wheel can give you a truly race-car like experience thanks to its ability to really make you feel like you've got some huge tires under your hands, although some will prefer to turn it down a bit to take some of the strain off your poor little forearms. Not me though, I'm big and strong.

Compared to the Fanatec CSL DD, the Logitech's 11Nm is much more powerful next to the Fanatec's baseline 5Nm. However, the Fanatec wheelbase can deliver up to 8Nm torque with a secondary adapter for extra dosh.

You'll need to spend a bit more cash on the Logitech if you want the full experience as well, as the pedals come separately.

That being said, the Pro Racing Pedal set is absolutely brilliant. It's not exactly cheap. But given what you get here, the pedals are actually pretty good value for what you end up receiving. This is a three-pedal set, including two metal plated brake and clutch pedals and a large gas pedal. The inclusion of a clutch pedal as standard is much appreciated, as that provides you with a lot more options. However, the real icing on the cake is the load-cell brake, which mimics the feeling of a real car's braking system and provides a huge dose of immersion. 

Once you've used a load-cell brake kit, you won't want to use anything else.

Another highlight is the dual clutch paddles beneath the already brilliant shifters. These are for games where a racing-style clutch is required for launching the car at the start, like F1 23, and you can customise them to your hearts content for all sorts of uses. Personally I like to swap in the handbrake for the clutch pedals, freeing up some other wheel buttons for a multitude of other uses. A dedicated handbrake would be better in WRC 23, as would an H-shifter, but I'm not made of money!

The biggest downside to the Logitech G Pro is the lack of other options for the wheel, such as an open-wheel style, which isn't an issue on something more flexible like the Fanatec CSL DD.

That brings us onto the price. There's no getting round it, it's a lot of money to spend on a PC peripheral, and if you're looking to spend less but won't settle for less than direct drive, the Moza R5 below is more your speed. However, the Logitech Pro Racing kit feels as much a high-end offering in power and performance as it should for the price, and it'll come as no surprise that every detail and every material screams premium, long-lasting quality as we've come to expect from Logitech over the years.

It's our overall best racing wheel for a reason, and all that power, convenience, detail and build quality make it our absolute top pick for PC racing wheel bliss.

Read our full Logitech G Pro Racing Wheel and G Pro Pedals review.

Best budget racing wheel

The best cheap racing wheel

Specifications

Connection type: USB
Weight: 5.4kg
Force Feedback: Yes
Drive: Hybrid Drive (gear + belt)
Maximum rotation angle: 900 degrees
Pedals included: Yes
Clutch pedal: No
Expandable: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Unbeatable force feedback in this price range
+
Responsive
+
Reliable paddle shifters
+
Easy to navigate

Reasons to avoid

-
Pedals are a big let down
-
Cheap construction
Buy if...

✅ If you want great feedback without the heavy price: Ok, so the T248 isn't a fancy direct drive model, but its hybrid drive system really does feel great to use and is plenty responsive.

If you want great entry-level paddle shifters: There are better if you're prepared to spend up, but the paddles here are actually very usable and quick to respond.

Don't buy if...

If you want great pedals: The pedal set is very plasticky and light, which gives it a tendency to move around, and the screw holes didn't line up on our test rig.

If you want a premium feel: It's not necessarily a bad-feeling wheel, especially for the money, but the plastics leave a bit to be desired.

The Thrustmaster T128 is the the best budget racing wheel to buy right now. Our previous pick for the best budget racing wheel was the Thrustmaster TMX Force Feedback, but the T128 is an improvement in every way on that aged design.

The key to the T128's success is that it shares the same Hybrid Drive system as found in the Thrustmaster T248. This drive is a combination of both gear and belt-driven force feedback, and while Thrustmaster has toned down the power on the T128 drive versus the T248, it's still noted as being 20% more powerful than the TMX.

My first impression of the hybrid drive on the T128 was just how smooth it is as you throw it around. It avoids the pitfalls of a purely geared system, which often feels clunkier, and feels much better for it. While absolutely miles behind the best racing wheels in power, I really am impressed by how much grunt it has for its diminutive size. If you hit a curb, you'll notice.

The resistance here feels great throughout the wheel as you turn it, which makes it plenty accurate for driving, and for developing your skills around a particular track. Small adjustments to cornering feel precise, especially if you're used to something gear driven. The hybrid system is a huge improvement over gear systems, no doubt.

However, and this'll likely come as no surprise given the price, the T128 feels a little cheap. There's no grip around the circumference of the wheel, which is unfortunately non-removable, and the buttons are made of a very cheap feeling plastic. I still reckon it'll last, but it'll likely show signs of wear with time quicker than some more premium options. That lack of grip isn't wonderful for sweaty palms, either.

Beyond that, the T128 has some poorly thought-out pedals. The twin-pedal T2PM set may well be included, but it doesn't feel all that great under your feet. It's too lightweight, feels disappointingly plasticky, and has a tendency to move around a lot while you're racing.

The much improved T3PM pedals are $100, which is half the price of the entire T128 kit, so in all honesty I can see why Thrustmaster hasn't gone for something better. But those of you looking to upgrade in future will want to start with the pedals first, as they're the most obvious way to improve your immersion, and very likely your lap times too.

Otherwise, the T128 is a genuinely brilliant entry-level racing wheel. It's decently powerful, smooth, and a wonderful way to break into sim racing without spending a whole heap of cash. It may have flaws, but given the pricing here and the experience you end up receiving, it's the best budget pick by miles.

Read our full Thrustmaster T128 review.

Best mid-range racing wheel

The best mid-range racing wheel

Specifications

Connection type: USB
Weight: 2.7kg
Force Feedback: Yes
Drive: Belt + gear hybrid
Maximum rotation angle: 900 degrees
Pedals included: Yes
Clutch pedal: Yes
Expandable: No

Reasons to buy

+
Technically impressive
+
Surprisingly powerful force feedback
+
Hybrid design feels great to use
+
Good on-wheel interface
+
Magnetic T3PM pedal set
+
Best paddle shifters going on an affordable wheel

Reasons to avoid

-
Feels and sounds cheap
-
T300RS remains a solid option for a little more cash
-
Shifters are hella loud
Buy if...

✅ If you want accuracy from a hybrid system: The T248 can deliver a surprising amount of resistance, which makes it great for accurate driving.

If you're looking for good pedals: While the units included here won't compete with proper standalone pedals, all the basics are covered with a decent brake system.

Don't buy if...

If you want to loosen up: While the heavy resistance settings are good for things like F1 games and Forza Motorsport, drift and rally fans may prefer something they can throw around easier.

If you don't want to wake your housemates: The magnetic shifters on the wheel feel great, but they're very, very loud.

The Thrustmaster T248 is a far more budget-friendly option than even the cheapest direct drive wheel, and our pick for the best mid-range racing wheel right now. The force feedback it delivers is a lot more impressive than you might expect, and it's exceptionally accurate. 

Inside the T248 you'll find a hybrid force feedback system that utilizes a gear alongside a belt. That covers the downsides of the geared system, which has been known to feel clunky at times but still has all the benefits of a belt system. Plus, that keeps it cheap.

The Hybrid Drive feels like a smart move on Thrustmaster's behalf once you get this wheel setup, too; as compared to a purely gear-driven motor, there's a lot of power and response delivered through the wheel while racing.

However, the T248's hybrid system has appeared to come at the expense of some of the finer touches. The build looks and feels cheap. Similarly, it's awfully loud, especially the shifter paddles. These are, however, incredibly responsive, like nothing I've used before. A worthy trade-off? Yes, so long as you don't need to keep the noise down too much.

It is quite a heavy-feeling wheel, though, and you have to really work at it with some force to turn a sharp corner at high speed.  If you don't have it set up right for some cars in Assetto Corsa: Competizione—where the wheel rotation is much smaller—it can be a bit of a struggle to turn the T248 as needed. Although you can make things a little easier on yourself by spending a some more time tweaking the settings.

Compared to direct drive units like the Fanatec GT DD Pro, you're looking at a much weaker response in the T248, despite this heavy resistance. It can come across a little muted when you're throwing it around rocky terrain. Yet there's not much out there for this kind of cash that will appeal to more casual gamers and more experienced racers than the T248. Perhaps the T300RS—with its hot-swappable wheel and belt-driven force feedback—but then you're missing out on some of the mod cons of the T248, and that great pedal set.

The T248 gets a lot technically correct, and when it comes down to it, I'd take technical precision over aesthetics any day. This is the best wheel to buy on a tighter budget if you want to develop your racing ability and learn to corner consistently.

Read our full Thrustmaster T248 review.

Best budget direct drive racing wheel

The best budget direct drive racing wheel

Specifications

Connection type: USB
Weight: 11.5kg (including pedals)
Force Feedback: Yes
Drive: Direct drive
Maximum rotation angle: 2000 degrees
Pedals included: Yes
Clutch pedal: No
Expandable: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Very detailed feedback
+
Premium feel and build quality
+
Excellent pedals
+
Astonishingly good value

Reasons to avoid

-
Mounting holes might not line up on all rigs
-
Still expensive compared to lesser hybrid drive wheels
-
load-cell should be standard
Buy if...

✅ You want proper direct drive: Despite its more budget-friendly price tag, you can still score a wheelbase that really kicks.

✅ You need quality pedals: Pedals are not to be ignored, and that's why we like the Moza: its pedals are surprisingly great, and upgradeable.

Don't buy if...

You want lots of kick behind the force feedback: At just 5 Nm the Moza R5 isn't anywhere close to the power of the Logitech G Pro Racing Wheel.

The best budget direct drive racing wheel is the Moza R5, due to its surprisingly affordable price tag and punchy response. Considering it's quite a bit cheaper than the Fanatec CSL DD, that's a big win.

The Moza is also pretty upgradeable. It might not be a match for the many upgrade options available on the Fanatec, but you can grab a load-cell brake for just $29. That makes similar upgrades on other wheels seem hugely overpriced by comparison. All in, you can get a very decent sim racing rig here for a much smaller investment than the competition.

The Moza R5 has a good quality to it. The chunkier bits appear reinforced for longevity, and the buttons have a nice feel. The paddles, one of the more important 'buttons' to get right also have a really satisfying clunk to them, which is more important than I've made that sound.

 While weaker than some, the Moza's motor can propel the wheel around plenty when it needs to. It takes some forearm strength to really throw it around for a long race distance. Plus the finer details come ripping through the wheel, direct from the virtual road into your hands.

The only issue we ran into during testing was with the mounting plate on the Playseat Challenge X, and the lack of lengthy bolts included with the Moza package left us having to take a trip to the hardware store (bits 'n' bobs shop for fellow brits) to get suitable replacements. With that sorted, however, we were away pretty quickly and ran into no further issues.

It really is quite astonishing just how great the Moza is considering its lower price tag. While it remains quite hard to argue with the Fanatec as a buy-in to a massive eco-system of parts, Moza does offer plenty of options itself, and considering how much you can save with the R5, that's all money towards something else. Maybe a sim racing frame to keep your pedals in place, or a Formula One style wheel. Ideas, ideas.

Read our full Moza R5 Bundle and Performance Kit review.

Most upgradeable racing wheel

The most upgradeable racing wheel

Specifications

Connection type: USB
Weight: 10.1kg
Force Feedback: Yes
Drive: Direct
Maximum rotation angle: 2520 degrees
Pedals included: Yes
Clutch pedal: No
Expandable: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Accurate, powerful force feedback
+
Excellent build quality
+
Relatively affordable direct-drive

Reasons to avoid

-
You have to spend more to get the complete package
Buy if...

✅ You want direct-drive for less: Direct drive wheels can get immensely pricey, but here you get most of the benefits for a lot less than you might expect.

If you're looking for something you can upgrade: Says it all really, doesn't it? The DD Pro treads the line between affordable and professional level, and makes a great starting point for a very serious sim racer setup.

Don't buy if...

If you want a clutch pedal as standard: Nope, not with the cheapest bundle at least. You'll have to spend a bit more than standard to get all three pedals here.

If you're on a budget: While it might be cheap-ish by direct drive standards, it's definitely not cheap in general. And the Moza R5 is a cheaper option just for direct drive alone. 

The Fanatec GT DD Pro is our top pick for the most upgradeable racing wheel. It sets a high standard for all racing wheels, and makes a great starting point for any racing game enthusiast looking to make the leap into something more serious. A direct drive motor can throw the wheel around with so much force you're holding on for dear life. 

Trust me; you want that. You feel every bump or loss of traction with the GT DD. I noticed my lap times started improving once I could hone in on where I was losing grip and speed during a lap. Granted, I had a few meetings with the barriers along the way, but I felt like I was able to develop my race as a result.

The wheelbase's feedback ensures you're painfully aware when you take a little too much curb and helps inform you of your traction throughout a corner. A fast rotation back to the center also means you can throw the wheel around and never feel like you're losing control over your steering in tight chicanes.

When you set it up just right, the GT DD Pro sings. The finely-tuned vibration and rotation through the wheel transmit so much information from the game's engine into your hands—with the right racing game, one that has simulation-grade feedback, it's an absolute joy to throw the GT DD around the track. While technically built for Gran Turismo 7, it's no worse off on the PC across a range of sim racing and sim-light games, such as Assetto Corsa and F1 23.  

The GT DD's construction is pretty much immaculate. The wheelbase is this solid metal, passively-cooled monster, and into that slots a sturdy and straightforward clamp. The wheel itself is one of my favorite of all those I've tested, delivering a glutton of buttons that are easy to get familiar with. 

The included CSL Pedals don't come with a clutch or a load-cell brake, however, you can upgrade to a load-cell kit sold by Fanatec, which replaces the brake and leaves the spare brake to become a clutch pedal. 

What I enjoy about this kit is its versatility. I jumped into Forza Horizon and felt no less comfortable throwing this wheel around than in F1 2021 with tighter force feedback settings. That's not something I've necessarily felt with cheaper models. While that's partially down to the direct-drive technology at the heart of the GT DD Pro, it's also how simple this wheel is to set up for each game, even those it doesn't necessarily play nicely with.

There's also loads of versatility in which way you take your setup with the CSL DD. Fanatec has a huge range of options available to you, for pedals, wheels and more. If you want a Formula One setup, you can install one here. If you want to go something more casual, that's fine too. That range of options is what Fanatec can't be beaten on, at least until you reach the real mega-bucks sim rigs.

With or without extras, this is truly one of the best ways to get into sim racing today and one of the best racing wheels I've tested.

Read our full Fanatec GT DD Pro review.

Easiest racing wheel for beginners

The easiest racing wheel for beginners

Specifications

Connection type: USB
Weight: 3.1kg
Force Feedback: Yes
Drive: Gear
Maximum rotation angle: 900 degrees
Pedals included: Yes
Clutch pedal: Yes
Expandable: Yes