The best PC racing wheel will imbue any simulated driving experience with an air of authenticity. Even if you're not pretending to be a rally driver or F1 athlete, having the best PC racing wheel will completely change the feel of an intricate Euro Truck Simulator 2 parking dance, and make ploughing those fields in Farming Simulator a riot. Mmmm, tractor force feedback.
Even the best PC controller doesn't deliver on the level of immersion a legit-looking, smooth-steering racing wheel can. And coupled with the top racing games, you'll almost be able to smell the burning rubber and engine fumes.
The key to exceptional racing immersion lies in the tech behind 'force feedback' wheels. These offer a constant stream of information about both the track surface and what your in-game wheel is doing. Similarly to haptic feedback, it's some sort of controller/motor voodoo, but you'll quickly learn what it feels like when your back wheels are losing grip and you're about to say goodbye to the road. A good steering wheel will give you a physical cue so you can correct something that would otherwise have you careening into a wall with a joypad.
You get what you pay for with the best PC racing wheel. There are so many options at different price points—the absolute pinnacle being the stunning $1,500 Fanatec ClubSport wheels—but don't worry. For those who aren't into burning money like Pablo Escobar, we've chosen some more affordable options, and at least one all-out rig, that still delivers on the promise of force feedback.
This is at the top of the best PC racing wheel list for a reason: its performance and features combine to create a bit of kit worthy of the serious racing game enthusiast, but without the excessive price tag. In track racers like F1 or Project CARS, you can really sense a car's grip because of the superb motorized feedback, and the speed of response to your inputs is quick and perfectly executed.
The high-quality force feedback is so good that hitting a wall in-game feels like it’ll actually hurt your hands at some points. It’s precise, weighty, and really shakes when the game demands it, making rally games feel distinctly more involving.
The only limitation the setup has as such is that the handbrake is mapped to a button you access with your thumb, making rally games fiddly. As the wheel is often upside-down or at unusual angles during races you’ll have to get creative on how to execute the handbrake function... Use your nose? You can get a separate stick shift and use that as the handbrake with the paddles for changing gear, but that's more cost.
Regardless, it's manageable and this is still a great setup for anyone looking to get serious about racing games. Both the PS4 and Xbox One versions of this wheel work with PC.
The Fanatec CSL Elite isn't the cheapest racing wheel in our guide, nor is it the simplest to use, yet it's still a mightily impressive setup. The entry-level CSL Elite is one of the most versatile and immersive pieces of racing kit a relatively moderate amount of money can buy.
The Fanatec kit is highly modular, meaning you'll need to buy a base, wheel, and pedals for a complete setup. A shifter is another added extra if you can't bear the feeling of flappy panels for gear changes. There is a wide range of options over on the Fanatec website, all of which can be easily configured through the online system. Our recommended loadout is the CSL Elite base, Alcantara P1 wheel, and load cell brake pedals.
With that configuration, you can be sure you'll be able to feel every screeching corner as you careen around a track. The CSL Elite's powerful single drive force feedback makes sure of that, and the load cell brakes really drive that realism home. They'll take some serious force to depress fully at speed, so you might want to consider a full-frame sim racing setup if you head down the Fanatec route.
Read our Fanatec CSL Elite review.
While this is similar to our pick of the bunch, the T300 RS, the TX Racing wheel is still a worthy inclusion because the quality and control are just as excellent and you get slightly more for the slightly higher price tag. This is largely the same as the standard version but it comes with two extra elements: a 3-pedal pedal set and a detachable leather wheel.
The leather wheel is excellent and feels that little bit more cool and authentic by being leather. Downstairs, the pedal set is superb, with full-size, weighty pedals that feel responsive and comfortable at your feet; their tuning is excellent as well and each tiny adjustment seems to enact a change in accelerating or braking. As a bonus, the steering wheel mount is still sturdy enough to hold it firmly to the desk, although a racing chair would probably get the best out of it. Here's a guide to our best gaming chairs.
An excellent wheel from Logitech, the G29 replaces the incredibly popular G27 wheel that came before it. The unit is designed to be set up with PlayStation 4 console but it’s definitely a strong competitor and a great bit of kit for the PC, and more effective than the similar Xbox-centric G290. The first big plus is the array of additional buttons—namely a click wheel for adjusting brake balances, and positive/negative buttons for adjusting the traction control (though this is customisable and you can map it to anything you like).
This unit also has LEDs at the top of the wheel’s central column, which light up to tell you when you need to change gear (if supported by the game you’re playing), and the pedals are fantastically responsive. The brake pedal is non-linear, giving you a more realistic braking sensation than cheaper pedal sets. It’s a bit of a shame that the stick shifter is no longer built into the unit, but it isn’t that much more expensive—sometimes it's even the same price—to get it along with the wheel and pedal set. This is very much one of the best ways to get a full driving experience in your home PC setup.
This is Thrustmaster’s entry-level offering with force feedback. Force feedback is still one of the main things that truly augments and completes a driving experience with a wheel, which is why we won't look at a setup without it. The force feedback isn't as strong as other models, but it does work, and if you’re on a tight budget, it provides a true force feedback wheel with 900 degrees of rotation and a set of pedals, which is pretty good value.
The noticeable cutbacks do appear on both the wheel and the pedals, however: the steering wheel doesn't have the deluxe feel of the higher-end units; and the pedals are a bit plasticky, offer little resistance, and are void of a clutch pedal. Something to bear in mind, if you ever fancy upgrading at a later date.