A lot of times, when compiling a “best of” list, many of the picks tend to be either PC exclusive, or at least not match the gaming system you’re currently running. For that reason, we’ve chosen to revisit our best wheels of 2020 for a specific look at what are the best wheels you can purchase if you plan on using a PS4 to run your racing sim games.
The Top-Rated PS4 Wheels for Racing Sims
Top Pick: Fanatec Podium Racing Wheel F1
The top pick of this list can’t but be the product that brings direct drive to the world of console gaming.
We’ve lauded the Fanatec DD1 multiple times before (the DD1 is the wheelbase which this bundle of products makes use of). It has an incredibly powerful force-feedback output thanks to the dedicated servo-motor, and the jump in quality you will feel when using this instead of your average steering wheel is incredible. Not only is the force feedback powerful, accurate and realistic, but you can also tailor it to your preferred playstyle. As a matter of fact, a vast array of options can be entirely set by you as you look for the settings that most engross you. Thanks to a relatively intuitive tuning menu you are able to adjust factors including ABS, drift mode, force, spring, damper, steering lock, force effect intensity and force feedback strength. To end the discussion on the wheelbase, the (non)issue of latency. The DD1 has an immediate exchange of information with the racing sim of your choice, meaning that you should never feel any latency in the slightest. All in all, the wheelbase alone should have you sold.
We should also briefly mention the wheel itself. If you’re looking for a versatile steering wheel then maybe this isn’t quite what you’re looking for but, instead, if you’re looking for an incredible F1 wheel then look no further. First and foremost, it’s officially licensed by the real-life F1, and this license doesn’t come willy-nilly. The wheel has a set of 11 buttons, 12-way multi-position switches, thumb encoders and rocker switches, packing an incredible amount of customizable options in a single product. It also has the most realistic paddle system available on the market, as you can pre-define the clutch bite point like a real-life F1 pilot.
Runner up: Fanatec CSL Elite
Though not a direct drive wheelbase, it gives a powerful force feedback and comes at a lower cost than other non-wheelbase options
The CSL Elite is one of those products that lives in a sort of twilight realm. It’s not a direct drive wheel, but it is a wheelbase. What does this mean? Well, it means that it can give you a very powerful and precise sensation when driving, but isn’t as expensive as you’d probably guess. The CSL elite makes use of a potent servo motor that allows the single belt drive to shine in terms of the force feedback it can deliver. You’ll be awed not only at the power, but also at the smoothness of it, and you couldn’t be blamed if you thought this was a direct drive wheelbase. Like the DD1 above, a tuning menu allows you to fine-tune all of the settings you’d like and makes it easy to find the best approach for you.
It’s solidly built, made from ABS, and it looks wonderful too!
By default, this wheelbase doesn’t come with an included wheel, though there are multiple bundles in which you can add wheels and occasionally pedals. We highly recommend you get these, as the CSL Elite pedals are also fantastic (you can check out our review of them here). These bundles will cost considerably less than the DD1 bundle we picked as our number one PS4 wheel but will come at around the same price as the Thrustmaster T-GT, making it a great bang for your buck choice!
Third Place: Thrustmaster T-GT
This was our top pick in terms of the non-direct drive wheel for 2020, and it thankfully is compatible with the PS4 system.
This wheel was built with the Grand Turismo game in mind, but it will work fabulously with any racing sim of your choosing. Let’s start off with the non-Grand Turismo exclusive boons. It has a fantastic rotation range of 1080°, giving you more than enough real estate to abandon what feels like an arcade and enter the true to life racing sim world. The T-GT is elegant, made of real genuine leather and looks absolutely stunning. If ever you could get immersed from simply looking at a product, this would be it. As if this weren’t enough, the T-GT strives to have a 1:1 force feedback output when you play, taking all the data from the game and reproducing it back to you exactly as the racing sim intended you to feel it. These details alone make it a worthy purchase.
But if you plan on playing Grand Turismo, the fun is just getting started. The T-GT makes used of the T-DFB technology to make an accurate 3D map of the racing world and environment around you. This means that every little grain of sand, every blade of grass, every little bit of moisture on the track, the T-GT wheel registers it, and reproduced it for you. In terms of realism and immersion the only thing you’ll rue is that too few racing wheels make use of such intelligent tech.
Fourth Place: Thrustmaster T300 RS
The silent brushless motor coupled with a great force feedback experience allows you to wholly immerse yourself
The Thrustmaster T300 RS is a wheel that plans from the very offset to envelop you in a world of realism. As a start, this wheel is officially licensed from Ferrari in order to make an 8:10 copy of the Ferrari 599xx EVO steering wheel. It’s beautiful, it’s well built, and it’s an absolute pleasure to hold. It has an incredible 1080° range; considerably vaster than the 900° minimum we recommend. The force feedback it relays is both incredibly powerful, but also smooth and fluid.
All in all, this wheel is built for you to forget that you’re driving a simulation. It makes use of a silent engine (so you won’t hear the wheel, just experience it), the brushless motor won’t reproduce the notchiness of some other titles, the build quality is fantastic, and it’s a pure joy to use. As a last note, while the price is certainly not cheap, it’s still quite affordable, and comes at a fraction of any of the other picks thus far on our list.
Fifth Place: The Logitech G29
A mainstay in the racing sim community, the G29 will offer you an all-round solid experience.
Before we start the review, make sure that you’re looking at the G29 and not the G290. The sole difference between the two is that the G29 is a PlayStation wheel, while the G290 is an Xbox wheel.
Now, on to the meat of the review. The G29 is a wheel that’s built to deliver a consistently good drive, but rarely becoming a great drive. The design is quite beautiful, and it’s coupled with really solid build quality, making this feel like a true to life steering wheel. The reason why we’re not crazy over the G29 is because of the force feedback. Don’t get us wrong, it’s still very strong and it will have you fighting like never before if this is your first purchase. Having said that, the G29 delivers it via a gear-driven mechanism, which is known to be much less smooth compared to the alternative, belt-driven, force feedback. When taking turns at high speeds you might thus feel your wheel get a bit notchy.
A big advantage of the G29 is that it comes with a pretty solid pedal set, so it’s easy to get two birds with one stone. We recommend this wheel especially to those who are just now entering the racing sim world, as you’ll have a product that will last you a long time. A product that delivers all that it promises to, and a product that’s coupled with a good set of pedals for a reasonable price.
What to Look for in a PS4 Sim Racing Wheel
It goes without saying but the first thing to check is always compatibility. Some very similar products might not be compatible even if you assume they are. As an example, the Fanatec CSL Elite is PS4 compatible, but the ClubSport V2.5 is not, despite the two always being compared to side by side. We made sure that all the wheels in this list would work with your PS4. Should you decide to go looking for more that’s ok, just make sure that they’re actually compatible.
Buying a steering wheel without force feedback is like shooting yourself in the foot. The entire point of simulating races is to feel as though you’re in the cockpit, and that simply doesn’t happen unless your wheel is responsive with what is happening in the game. Force feedback can be delivered in two ways (though one needs further explaining): Direct Drive and “normal” force feedback.
Direct drive wheels are the most realistic but also the most expensive. The wheel is attached directly to a servo motor, outputting what is essentially a 1:1 replica of what real-life would feel like. These types of wheels are very rarely made for consoles.
“Normal” force feedback is divided into belt driven and gear-driven systems. Of these belt-driven systems are superior. Gear-driven mechanisms connect the motor to the wheel via a series of cogs, which in turn can feel notchy when turning. Belt driven systems connect it via a belt, which feels much smoother and frictionless, making the entire experience more realistic.
A good rotation range will have you simulating what it feels like to drive a real-life race car. A poor rotation range will have you feeling as though you spent multiple hundreds of dollars on something, you’d find at an amusement park or an arcade. As a general rule of thumb, you should never buy a wheel that rotates less than 900°. If it rotates more, then that’s great, but it’s not strictly speaking necessary. All the wheels on this list will rotate at least 900°.