We are reader-supported. If you buy through links on our site, we may earn a small commission.
If your idea of sim racing fun involves rally and drifting, then it’s essential to consider purchasing a handbrake. A handbrake will not only allow you to drive more aggressively, but also tackle tighter turns without losing speed and time. We’ve dug deep into user reviews and product specifications for this popular peripheral in order to help you find the best sim racing handbrake for your setup.
The Top-Rated Handbrakes for Sim Racing
|Top Pick||Thrustmaster T-LCM||94%|
|Runner-Up||Fanatec ClubSport V1.5||92%|
|Budget Pick||Generic USB Handbrake||87%|
|Luxury Pick||Heusinkveld Sim Handbrake||94%|
Top Pick: Thrustmaster TSSH
A well-built handbrake made from authentic materials, that can also double as a sequential shifter
Not only does the Thrustmaster TSSH feature in our guide to the five best sim racing shifters, but it also tops this list as the best sim racing handbrake on the market. This is because of the very successful collaboration with Sparco, the TSSH being a 1:1 replica of Sparco equipment you would find within actual race cars. The handbrake is made almost entirely of aluminium and stainless steel, with the exception of the plastic handle This brake feels incredible, and driving with it will feel as though you’re in an actual rally car.
Another incredible bonus with the TSSH is the ability to use it as a sequential shifter. With nothing more than a simple flick of the switch you can shift from pulling a handbrake to brave the tightest of turns, to changing gears to regain speed, and then back again. The brake itself is expensive but, given its quality and the dual function it has, it could be nowhere but the top of this list!
In terms of compatibility, we have no complaints whatsoever. This handbrake works with most sim racing titles on PC, Xbox One, and PS4. For more information, read our full review here.
Runner-Up: Fanatec ClubSport V1.5
The Fanatec ClubSport V1.5 is a 1:1 replica of what a real car would have, made entirely of metal with the exception of the grip (which is in foam). The analog sensor allows players to initiate drifts even when the wheels are still rotating rapidly, allowing you to perform complicated maneouvers while maintaining vehicle control.
The main advantage it has over many rivals is the fact that you can decide whether you would prefer the handbrake to be vertical or horizontal, granting you an extra level of customisation that you would otherwise lack.
Like the TSSH, the Fanatec ClubSport works on PC, Xbox One, and PS4. What with cross-platform compatibility, excellent build quality, and a pricetag half of that of the TSSH, this handbrake is a superb purchase. Read our full review of the ClubSport V1.5 here.
Budget Pick: Generic USB Handbrake
A solid choice for those that are looking for a handbrake, but prefer to invest serious money elsewhere.
If you’re looking to save up money to purchase other peripherals, but are also looking for a sim handbrake, then this generic handbrake is for you. As a quick but important note: this handbrake will only work on PCs. Having said that, considering its price, it offers a solid experience. The body is entirely made of steel, giving it that genuine feel, and the handle allows for good grip. The main advantage, other than price, of this peripheral is its portability. It’s by no means tiny, but since it’s not a 1:1 replica of a handbrake the body is more compact, allowing for easier transport or for it to fit in smaller rigs.
All in all this is a safe bet when looking for a starter handbrake system for your set-up. If, however you know you’re planning on creating a top of the range system, perhaps look elsewhere. Its overall quality is not bad, but it cannot compare to other inclusions on this list.
Luxury Pick: Heusinkveld Sim Handbrake
The Heusinkveld Sim Handbrake might just be the best performing handbrake on this list. It’s slightly more expensive than our top pick, the Thrustmaster TSSH, but makes use of incredible load cell technology for a significant boost in realism. This means that the harder you pull, the stronger your braking response will be in-game, and the firmer the brake will feel.
The build quality of this handbrake speaks for itself. It has built-in overload protection to prevent wear to the load cell and is made of solid materials like stainless steel.
One big setback of the Heusinkveld Sim Handbrake is compatibility. Although it comes with a USB cable, it only works with PC. Even then, not all simulation software supports the use of analogue handbrakes like this one. However, Heusinkveld Engineering does explicitly state that the handbrake works with these games:
- Richard Burns Rally
- Live for Speed
- Dirt Rally
- Project CARS 2
Multi-Purpose: Thrustmaster TH8A
An excellent multi-shifter which doubles as a great handbrake.
Starting from the quality of the material utilised, the TH8A Add-On Shifter not only has an authentic feel thanks to the top-grade aluminium, but could arguably be considered of higher quality than some shifters and handbrakes found in actual cars.
The H.E.A.R.T. tech employed by Thrustmaster means that, no matter how much or how hard you plan on utilizing the TH8A, it will not lose accuracy. If you plan on getting a top-quality product that will give you as much versatility as possible then this is what you’re looking for.
Even if you already have a shifter and are only looking for a sim handbrake, we still recommend you pick this up. It will scratch your itch wonderfully and, chances are, you’ll start preferring this to the shifter you already own.
The only downside is the currently limited compatibility regarding games, so we recommend you check on the Thustmaster website to make sure that it works on your system, with your wheel, and for your games. In terms of platform, the good news is that this shifter works with PC, Xbox One, and PS4!
Frequently Asked Questions
- Do you need a handbrake for sim racing?
You do not need a handbrake to play racing simulators. However, having a handbrake can provide a much more immersive experience. If you plan on only playing F1 games then a handbrake will have limited use. If instead, you plan on hitting the gravel with a rally sim, then a handbrake becomes a very fun and practical addition.
- Can you use a shifter as a handbrake for sim racing?
Some shifters can also function as handbrakes with just the flip of a switch. This includes Thrustmaster's TH8A and TSSH shifters. However, this is not a function common throughout all shifters.
- Do handbrakes work on all sim racing games?
Handbrakes do not work on all sim racing games. This might be because the game doesn't recognize it, or because the car itself would not support a handbrake (think F1 cars). We recommend double-checking that what you’re purchasing is compatible with your favorite simulation software, especially if it is analog and/or uses load cell technology.
Last Updated on November 23, 2020