The best PC racing wheel will liven up any driving simulation experience. Whether you're masquerading as a rally driver or F1 athlete, having the best PC racing wheel will completely change the feel of the game. Even an intricate Euro Truck Simulator 2 parking dance, or plowing those fields in Farming Simulator will end up a riot. In fact, we're of the opinion that a racing wheel is one of the best PC gaming buys today.
To find the best of the best, we've torn up the tarmac, testing many of the most popular racing wheels today. And the decision didn't come easy; plenty of racing wheels offer a badass blend of smooth movement, realistic pedals, and sufficiently clicky gear shifts.
We've tested for force feedback, as a good steering wheel needs to provide physical cues, to help prevent you from careening into a wall. A sensational force feedback system will blend hardware and in-game data to manifest the feeling of a real road surface, and is similar to haptic feedback. This controller/motor voodoo will help you discern when your back wheels are slipping, so you can correct your positioning.
You get what you pay for with the best PC racing wheel, and they come in a wide range of prices—with the $1,500 Fanatec ClubSport wheels at the top end of the spectrum—but don't worry. We've chosen several affordable options and an all-out rig, either way, it should deliver superb force feedback.
Best PC racing wheel in 2021
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 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.
We've extensively tested the Logitech G923 Trueforce racing wheel and found it to offer an enviable mixture of control, feedback, and response. For that reason, it is decently suited to most racing games out there—it's the racing wheel we'd recommend to rookie drivers and more seasoned veterans that find themselves often hopping between different and varied sims.
We've spent most of our time using the G923 with F1 2021 and F1 2019, and it works excellently with only a few tweaks to steering saturation and throttle linearity (72, 20—if you're wondering). Similarly, it's as simple as booting Assetto Corsa Competizione to make the switch to GT Series racing. Or any other driving game for that matter, even SnowRunner.
As we note in our Logitech G923 review, "[The G923 is] not some tiny, gimmicky wheel that can nary stand up to a controller. It's built for racing games. It makes the racing game experience addictive as heck, but it will also allow you to be more accurate, faster with any luck, when racing."
One feature that's unique to the G923 is Trueforce. This is a system that adds further feedback to the wheel response. The best way to describe it is a sort of low humming, which adjusts as you shift between section of track. It's not a must-have feature by any means, but it's a nice addition worth turning on in the few games that support it.
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 a 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.
This is Thrustmaster’s entry-level PC steering wheel 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.
Best racing wheel FAQ
What type of force feedback is best for sim racing?
There are a few different types of force feedback commonly found in racing wheels: gear-driven, belt-driven, and direct drive. By far the most accurate and powerful is direct drive, but these also come with a high associated cost.
Direct drive is the best for because it's relatively simple. Every force feedback racing wheel uses a motor to generate resistance and feedback through the wheel, and in a direct drive system the wheel is directly mounted to this motor for maximum response.
Don't rule out gear-driven or belt-driven designs, though. Belt-driven is an exceptional force feedback system that uses a belt to connect the motor to the wheel. That setup offers excellent response with little compromise.
Gear-driven systems are the most popular for cheaper racing wheels, and there's a lot of variance in how these can perform depending on their design. A wheel such as the Logitech G923 uses a dual-motor gear-driven system, and we've found that to be really impressive and quite powerful under hand. That said, some less well designed gear-driven PC steering wheels may leave you wanting more power and response from your drive.
What parts do I need for a sim racing setup?
If you really want to go all out with your sim racing setup, a simple wheel might not suffice. That's when you'll want to look to more discrete parts and building up a sim racing rig in your own style and to your preference.
For that, you'll want to start with the base. This is essentially an axis that translates your movements on the wheel into a digital signal for your game, all the while being the driving factor of the feedback you'll feel from the game. It's important to make the right choice for your base, and that means deciding between a direct drive or belt-driven design.
For the most part, you'll find compatibility for bases varies between Xbox/PC and PlayStation/PC. You'll rarely find support for both consoles in one, but almost always PC either way.
Then you'll need a steering wheel to mount onto your base, usually through some sort of wheel to base hub or adapter. This can be a more bespoke wheel for a specific motorsport, such as F1, or something more general for GT racing or a bit of everything.
You may need to look for separate button and shifter add-ons alongside your wheel or they may be included in one package.
Moving on to the pedals and we generally recommend picking up a set with accelerator, brake, and clutch pedals all-in-one. You might not be much of a manual driver now, or even need the clutch at your feet for an F1 setup, but it's useful to have for the full range of racing games. We've even set the clutch pedal to apply the handbrake in lieu of a formal handbrake accessory.
You will also want to consider how you mount this sim racing setup to your desk or sim racing frame (if you're really serious). Most of the time that's a fairly easy process of simply buying the clamp that goes with your base from the same manufacturer, but perhaps you'll want to consider a more exciting setup before hitting the checkout.