If you really want the very best sim racing pedals on the market you need to look for hydraulic pedals. Hydraulic pedals are more accurate and tend to be made of higher quality materials. The flip side is that they tend to also be more expensive. Nevertheless, here are our top four picks for 2021.
The Top-Rated Hydraulic Pedals for Racing Sims
Top Pick: Realgear GTpro3 Xtreme Tilton Floor Mount 3-Pedal Set
The very best possible choice in pedals can’t but be this (expensive) Rimotech option
The Realgear GTpro3 Xtreme Tilton pedal set will convince the more experienced buyers just by the name. Tilton pedals are highly regarded, made with excellent materials and the best ergonomics on the market. They balance comfortable foot position with high precision and smoothness. Realtech then added to this by allowing these pedals to register adjustable loads which go as heavy as 300 pounds. This allows you to decide what type of pedal you want to feel like driving, from your mum’s minivan, to an F1 car.
As if this wasn’t enough, these pedals are modelled from real-life GT3 cars, adding a sense of realism that is second to very few. Plus, knowing that this is essentially equivalent to the set-up used in professional racing is akin to having a seal marking the design as intelligent and optimized. The reason why we picked these as first, however, is due to the added Honeywell sensor these pedals come with, which adds durability to an expensive product that could otherwise break more easily.
Runner-Up: Heusinkveld Sim Pedals Ultimate
We’ve often lauded Heusinkveld’s ultimate pedal set, and we stand by it, it’s a shame they’re so hard to find.
If it weren’t for the difficulty in finding the Heusinkveld Sim Pedals Ultimate we’d have definitively put these as our number one pick. We’ve even done a deep dive review of them you can find over here! All in all, they are powerful, resistant, accurate, utilized by professional racers, ergonomic and adjustable. Yes, they’re expensive, but what hydraulic pedal set isn’t? If you can get your hands on these pedals, get them without any second thoughts.
Which brings us to the main issue that sim pilots might face when looking for the Heusinkveld Ultimate: they’re no longer in production. These magnificent pedals are unfortunately a thing of the past in terms of manufacturing, and Heusinkveld has moved to make a new set of (non-hydraulic) pedals. If you’re able to find these pedals online anywhere and the price isn’t too steep, get them! The only thing Heusinkveld still sells is the clutch, so if you find a set with two pedals you can complete it with relative ease.
Luxury Pick: SIMTAG Pedals
These might as well have been ripped out of a real race car with how real to life they are, unfortunately, the price is equally as impressive.
If money is not an issue for you, then consider purchasing the SIMTAG pedals. Much like our top pick, these also make use of the Tilton 600 pedal, but they offer a myriad of adjustability options. You are able to modify the resistance they offer, what angle they are placed at, the pressure they deliver, and even the position of the pads on the pedals themselves! And this isn’t even all of the options you have!
In terms of build quality, the SIMTAG pedals are at the very top of the food chain. They make use of the aforementioned hyper-resistant Tilton pedals, but the connections are both moisture and dustproof, which drastically decreases the chances of any mishaps breaking them.
That being said, these pedals cost an absolute fortune. To put it into perspective they are vastly more expensive than the Fanatec DD2 Podium direct drive wheel. Yes, these pedals are excellent, but please only buy them if you can afford them!
Honorable Mention: Realgear GTpro1-S Triple Overhung Mount Wilwood Edition 3-Pedal Set
The siblings to our top pick, they offer some differences which can be either attractive or turn-offs depending on the type of sim pilot.
The Realgear GTpro1-S Triple Overhung Mount Wilwood Edition 3-Pedal Set is another great hydraulic pedal set, and it offers much of what is great in the GTpro3. As you can see from the numeration however, these are slightly inferior. The first noticeable difference is the brand of pedals. Though Wilwood makes excellent pedals, and in any other list they’d be at the very top, they lack some of the ergonomic design that Tilton offers (which is why we suspect SIMTAG went with the latter). The second difference is the pedal position, as these aren’t floor pedals, but rather are overhanging pedals. I know certain sim pilots that loathe these, just like I know some sim pilots that swear by overhanging pedals, at the end of the day, this entirely a personal choice.
This doesn’t mean that they aren’t excellent pedals, because they are. They read the pedals up to 15,000 times per second and have a number of adjustability options. The thing that we loved the most, however, is that these pedals come with five savable profiles, allowing you to set them up ideally for different games and switch seamlessly.
What Are Hydraulic Pedals?
Hydraulic pedals are pedals aimed to the most experienced racers who truly want to up their precision and immersion when racing. This is because, in real life cars, pedals are hydraulic pedals. This means that in purchasing these you get the closest possible simulation to what real-life pedals would feel like. This is done via fluid that is stored within chambers of the pedals to transmit accurate data and feedback.
What to Look for in Hydraulic Pedals
Seeing as hydraulic pedals can be difficult to wrap your head around, these are the three main things to keep in mind when looking to make a purchase.
Hydraulic pedals tend to have incredible build quality, but also tend to be less durable compared to load cell pedals. This is because the liquid in the tubes that functions as the main feedback loop mechanism could always leak, spill, or the tubes break. As such it’s imperative that you look for hydraulic pedals that are (and have been reviewed to be) quite durable.
Hydraulic pedals are costly, and you should keep an eye out on the price tag before you make any purchase. Most will equal the cost of some basic force feedback wheels, while some will cost more than triple what a force feedback wheel can come at. Before you make any purchase ask yourself if you have the money to spare for this peripheral, or if perhaps purchasing a cheaper but still great load cell set is perhaps better.
When purchasing hydraulic pedals make sure that they have good ergonomics and come in the shape you feel most comfortable driving in. It’s essential that you’re able to not only use them but that at the end of a session you don’t feel sore or uncomfortable. Therefore, in this case, ergonomics also encompasses a fraction of adjustability, as if your hydraulic pedals offer too much resistance and you can’t lower it, it’ll cause you more than just an occasional moment of discomfort.
Last Updated on January 24, 2021 by Thomas Bush