Sim racing wheels can set you back hundreds of dollars, but the good news is that there are more and more affordable optionson the market Sure, they won’t have all the top-tier features that you may find in expensive wheels, but you’ll still see a serious jump in immersion with these solid purchases. Without further ado, here are the top sim racing wheels on a budget.
Best Cheap Sim Racing Wheels of 2021
|Editor's Pick||Wheel||Range of Motion||Score|
|Top Pick||Thrustmaster TMX Pro||900°||84%|
|Third Place||Thrustmaster T150||1080°||77%|
|Fourth Place||Hori Apex||270°||68%|
|Fifth Place||Thrustmaster T80||200°||65%|
Top Pick: Thrustmaster TMX Pro
- Official racing simulator for Xbox One and Windows.
- 900 degree Force Feedback system: Mixed belt-pulley and gears system with metal ball-bearing axle.
- Comes along side with the T3PA 3-pedal pedal set: 100% metal pedals and internal structure. 3 fully adjustable pedals.
- English, French (Subtitles)
The TMX Pro, by utilizing a mix of both belt and gear systems, allows for a smooth feel when driving, which is supplemented by the force that the gear portion outputs. You’ll almost certainly avoid the “notchiness” that other wheels in this list will fall victim to, and it’s no small feat.
The build quality is also quite good, though nothing to write home about. It’s made of robust hard plastic, and it feels like it can take quite a bit of punishment. Its rotation range remains within the 900° needed for an authentic feel.
Now, the TMX Pro actually uses the same wheel as the TMX, which is slightly cheaper. However, the regular TMX model comes with a pair of pretty awful pedals. As a start there’s only two of them, meaning that you can forget about the clutch. The break doesn’t get stiffer as you press down on it, again detracting from the realistic feel, especially if you’re pairing with a stick shifter such as the TH8A or TSSH.
The TMX Pro, on the other hand, comes with the incredible T3PA pedals, which fix all of the faults of the normal set. What’s more interesting however is that, on occasion, you can find the TMX Pro bundled with the T3PA for a cheaper price than the basic model, which is a fantastic steal! If you happen upon one such deal, we highly recommend investing the money you saved (plus a bit extra) and going for a stick shifter such as the TH8A.
Finally, it’s worth bearing in mind that this sim racing wheel is Xbox One / Series and Windows PC exclusive. There is however a sister series of sim racing wheels for the PlayStation consoles – the Thrustmaster T300 RS – but we left it out due to other Thrustmaster models outcompeting it on PlayStation.
Runner Up: Logitech G29/920
- The definitive sim racing wheel for PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4 & PlayStation 3: Realistic steering and pedal action for the latest racing titles
- Built to last: Durable solid steel ball bearings, stainless steel shifter and pedals and hand stitched leather wheel grip
- Dual motor force feedback: Realistically simulates the racing experience with smooth, quiet helical gearing
- Easy access game controls: On wheel D pad, console buttons, paddle shifters and LED indicator lights
- Responsive floor pedal unit: Accelerate, brake and change gears with the feel of an actual car. Pedal piston sleeves: Polyoxymethylene thermoplastic (POM)
The Logitech G29/920 and Logitech G920 are mainstays in many racing sim households, and for good reason. At a reasonable price, you get a good looking and well-built steering wheel. It’s made of steel with an actual leather cover, which are features even higher-end sim racing wheels often don’t offer. Its rotation range is 900 degrees, which is just right to make you feel like you’re taking control of an actual sports vehicle. The force-feedback is powerful, but more rugged than that of the Thrustmaster T150, meaning you’ll feel it being notchy in certain occasions.
It also comes with a set of decent pedals, much better than the TMX’s basic set. The Logitech ones offer up to 256 registerable positions, look pretty and grip both your foot and your floor admirably. If you’re looking for a more well-rounded package then perhaps the Logitech G29/920 is what you should go for. As a starter set, you’ll get a good wheel and good pedals for a very reasonable amount. Logitech has a few other peripherals available that will plug right into the wheel and pedals – we especially recommend grabbing the Logitech Driving Force stick shifter.
As a last note, the only difference between the Logitech G29 and the Logitech G920 is the console they operate one (The PS4 uses the Logitech G29, and the Xbox gets the Logitech G920).
Third Place: Thrustmaster T150
- Official Racing Simulator for PS4 and PS3 (also compatible with PC); 1080 degree force feedback racing wheel; Built-in PS4/PS3 sliding switch; Realistic 11"/28 centimeter wheel; Large pedal set included
- PlayStation4-certified embedded software and PS4/PS3 sliding switch; Official embedded software: The racing wheel is automatically recognized by the PS4 console; PS4/PS3 sliding switch for optimal compatibility on both systems
- 1080 degree force feedback base featuring Immersion Touch Sense technology; Drive system with adjustable force feedback lets you feel every detail while you're racing (the road or track's relief, loss of tire grip, braking, bumps and impacts, etc.)
- Realistic wheel with built-in official buttons for PlayStation4 (PS/Share/Options); Access social functions, switch between the game and the system, navigate through the console's menus, etc.
- Large, optimized pedal set; Pedals with wide foot rest; Each pedal's angle of inclination can be adjusted; Brake pedal with progressive resistance. Compatible with Thrustmaster accessories: Like the T3PA and T3PA-PRO (Thrustmaster 3 Pedals Add-on) pedal sets; as well as with the Thrustmaster TH8A shifter
The Thrustmaster T150 is a fantastic wheel. At first, it may not seem like that due to hard plastic and rubber build of the T150, but give it time and it will win you over. The T150 has an above-average rotation range of 1080 degrees, which is more than some higher-end wheels can say. It’s also slightly larger (11”/28cm) than most wheels, which most race sim drivers find nice. It’s also armed with apt force-feedback for its price. A mix of belt and gear systems deliver a powerful and usually quite smooth feeling when you drive, though it can get a bit more notchy when taking hard turns.
The Thrustmaster T150 also comes with a pedal set, but it’s a lot more disappointing than the one found in the G29/290. They are the same as the TMX set: they feel flimsy, don’t look good, and there’s no clutch. This isn’t the biggest deal in the world considering the wheel and pedals don’t includes stick shifter – but it’s worth noting.
The Thrustmaster T150 works on PlayStation and PC. Speaking of which, this accesible wheel made the title of budget pick in our guide to the best PS5 wheels.
Fourth Place: Hori Apex
- Officially Licensed by Sony, and Compatible with PS4, PS3, and PC
- Optimize performance on PS5 with firmware update
- Full-size racing wheel and pedals optimized for authentic racing simulation
- 270 degree turn radius with adjustable output options
- Mount security with sturdy clamp system
The Hori Racing Wheel Apex is very accessible but doesn’t feel like it’s inexpensive. The build quality is excellent, utilizing only high-quality materials. It’s also very customizable, with multiple programmable buttons and functions. Finally, it comes with an included pedal set. It’s not excellent by any stretch of the imagination, but to include anything extra for such a low price is a great deal, especially if you want to round out a more complete, low-cost, set-up.
The main drawback of the Hori is that it doesn’t have force-feedback. This is a major loss in authenticity and realism, which is why we can’t rank the wheel any higher. That being said, it does try to mitigate this loss with powerful vibrations, which will still feel a lot more authentic and engrossing than a controller.
As a final note, this wheel only works on Playstation and PCs. Sorry Xbox fans!
Fifth Place: Thrustmaster T80
- The First PlayStation 4 officially licensed Racing wheel, for all racing games on PlayStation 4; Official embedded firmware (allowing for automatic recognition of the wheel by the PS4)
- Wheel grip with rubber texture coating; Two on-wheel sequential digital gear shift paddles
- Large optimized 2-pedal set with wide foot-rest and adjustable angle of inclination for each pedal; Brake pedal featuring progressive resistance
- 2 up/down sequential levers + 11 action buttons + multidirectional D-Pad; Adjustable wheel sensitivity for precise driving; Linear resistance and Auto-centering; Thrustmaster "bungee cord" exclusive system providing realistic resistance
- Central clamping system with wide jaws for optimal stability with all desk and table types. Refer to the PDF attached below in Technical Specification for User Manual.
The Thrustmaster T80 is a good wheel for first time sim pilots. It’s made from hard plastic, it’s sturdy, and it’s aesthetically pleasing. Of course, this isn’t the most important factor to consider, but for an entry-level wheel, it’s still welcome. It also comes with the default (read low quality) Thrustmaster pedal set. It’s hard to criticize something that’s added on for free, but if you’ve read our previous reviews on this list you’ll know what we think about it.
The T80 does have glaring issues, however. It’s rotation-range is a measly 200°, well below the ideal minimum of 900°. It also doesn’t have force-feedback. It tries to make this up with a “bungee-cord resistance” system, but the two are apples and oranges: they can’t be compared seriously. The final issue with the T80 is the price tag. It’s more expensive than the Hori and about the same price as the T150 though offering substantially less.
It’s a good wheel, but the other options on this list are superior.
The T80 is PS4, PS3, and PC compatible but, as it’s older, make sure to go through the compatibles games list on the Thrustmaster website before purchasing it.
Read our full review of the T80 here.
Honorable Mention: HORI Overdrive
- Officially licensed by Microsoft for use with Xbox One and Xbox Series X (also compatible with Windows 10 PC)
- Compatible with Hori’s companion app on Xbox or PC, allowing for profile settings to be created and managed
- Wheel rotation range can be changed from 270 degrees to 180 degrees on the fly; other settings such as dead zone and pedal input sensitivity are also adjustable
- Steel-reinforced table clamp is included for secure mounting; a 4.9ft cable connects the pedals, and a 9.8ft USB cable connects the wheel base to your Xbox One, Xbox Series X or PC
The HORI Overdrive is another solid, if basic sim racing wheel from the venerable peripheral maker that may not look like much – but near-universally positive review score suggest that this is one that many of our readers might want to get their hands on. The build quality of this newly-updated model was dramatically improved to relaunch alongside the Xbox Series X, and Hori implemented customer feedback such as tightening the wheel rotation and making the pedals more resistant to assure that this is one of the best entry-level sim racing wheels available for any console.
While the Hori Overdrive sim racing wheel certainly deserves mention on this list, we opted to place it towards the bottom due to its lack of force feedback, lack of a clutch pedal, small wheel rim and low rotation range. That’s not to say that the Hori Overdrive isn’t an ideal entry-level set suitable for beginners – for whom this will be a great gateway into the world of sim racing.
Honorable Mention: Thrustmaster Ferrari 458 Spider
Thrustmaster Ferrari 458 Spider
- Officially licensed 7/10 replica of the Ferrari 458 Spider racing wheel
- Licensed by Microsoft for use with Xbox One and Windows 10 PC (also compatible with Xbox Series X)
- “Bungee cord” mechanism offers automatic centering and sense of resistance despite absence of force feedback motor
- Adjustable wheel sensitivity, two-pedal set, metal paddle shifters and integrated desk clamp
The Thrustmaster Ferrari 458 Spider sim racing wheel is another solid sim racing wheel controller that provides (arguably) one of the best driving experience for the price. The star of the show here is the “bungee cord” mechanism that allows for passive return to resting position as well as increased tension near the ends of the wheel’s rotation range. While this is a far cry from the immersive qualities of a force feedback motor, it feels like Thrustmaster might be onto something here – and it’s nice to see a big sim racing gear manufacturer striving to create better build quality for entry-level products.
Originally designed for use with Xbox One and Windows 10, this is one of few sim racing wheels that is compatible with Xbox Series X as well. Bonus items include a desk/table clamp and a Kinect detection LED for those who still have one of Microsoft’s motion camera setups. Overall. this is a good entry-level sim racing setup that’s worth a look; the only real knocks are the light weight and lack of a clutch pedal. Still, if you’re a Ferrari fan or just need a good sim racing wheel for your Xbox One on the cheap, this is a solid wheel and pedals set that you might want to get.
What to Look for in a Cheap Racing Wheel
When looking for any sort of purchase there are always certain key features to keep in mind. We’ve selected four key ones for when you’re looking at budget sim racing wheels.
Force-feedback is how the wheel behaves vis-à-vis your actions, the race conditions, and what is happening in the sim or racing game. It tracks and opposes your movements by applying force. If you take a sharp corner at high speeds, the wheel will push back against you, making it harder to turn. This is not the same as vibrating, as force-feedback will try to replicate the feelings an actual wheel would have in that specific situation. Vibration is inferior as it only shakes the wheel.
Rotation Range what differentiates between how an arcade wheel and a simulator wheel feel. If you have to turn the physical wheel more than what the in-game sim asks of you, you will feel like you’re in an arcade, not in the cockpit of a sports car. We recommend looking for wheels that offer 900° or more of rotation range. Anything extra is a welcome bonus, but 900° is the magic number.
Obviously, when looking for budget wheels a main consideration has to be price or at least price to quality. We’ve tried to keep this list fairly accessible, but what constitutes a budget wheel will depend on your specific situation. Moreover, don’t assume that a higher price point equates to a better wheel. As you’ll see, some “cheap” wheels do their jobs much better than other more expensive and “high quality” alternatives out there.
Careful not to purchase something that doesn’t work on the console you’re utilizing. As a rule of thumb, PC gamers can relax, as all wheels will work for them. If, however, you play on a PlayStation or Xbox always double-check on the wheel’s website that it is compatible with your gaming system!
Furthermore, while most console sim racing wheels are forward-compatible, a handful of them aren’t! We recommend checking with the manufacturer or sim racing enthusiast forums to make sure that Xbox One wheel you have your eye on will also work as an Xbox Series X controller (the same applies to PS4/PS5!)
Last Updated on March 22, 2021 by Thomas Bush