If you’re into sim racing and haven’t tried it yet with a VR headset, you’re definitely missing out. When you pair a VR headset with a wheel and pedals, you’ll be totally immersed in the racing world like never before.
Just as you need a decent steering wheel and set of good pedals to get the most out of sim racing, you need to use a great VR headset. We’ve listed the 5 best VR headsets for sim racing below, based on features offered, user reviews, and our own experience.
Top-Rated VR Headsets for Sim Racing
From our research, the best VR headsets for sim racing are:
- Top Pick: Samsung HMD Odyssey+
- Runner-Up: Lenovo Explorer
- Also Great: Oculus Rift S
- Luxury Pick: HTC Vive Pro
- Highest FOV: Pimax 5K XR
Top Pick: Samsung HMD Odyssey+
An ideal 110° field of view with excellent resolution, at a price that can’t be beaten.
The Samsung HMD Odyssey+ is a Windows Mixed Reality headset that’s lightweight and easy to set up. When you use this headset when sim racing, you’ll be totally immersed into the racing world with stunningly crisp detail. The merged two 3.5 inch dual AMOLED screens with 3K display will give you a realistic all-around view of the track.
Samsung’s anti-screen door effect technology delivers twice the pixel count of the display resolution. This equates into you getting a high level of clear, crisp, and seamless racing adventure. The AKG-tuned headphones of the Odyssey+ will deliver real life race sounds coming at you from all directions. And you can chat with teammates using the built-in microphone.
The headset is lightweight, well-padded, and comfortable. Since the Odyssey+ is made with a cooling fabric, you won’t get hot while wearing it. This means the lenses won’t fog up to disrupt your racing. The 110 degree field of view lets you see all your track surroundings which is important when racing. This can give you the edge you need to quickly change lanes or maneuver your vehicle.
Runner-Up: Lenovo Explorer
Slightly greater resolution, at the expense of field of view and affordability.
Many budget-minded sim racers use the Lenovo Explorer that costs considerably else than other VR headsets. While it’s a low cost headset, it doesn’t disappoint in terms of ease of use and resolution. It’s a legit plug and play headset with good quality visuals thanks to its dual 2.89” LCD displays with 1440 x 1440 resolution.
The Explorer is a Windows Mixed Reality headset that was made to be a natural extension of your computer. It connects to a PC with HDMI and USB connectors. You don’t need any external sensors to use this headset, which is a nice feature to have. It offers a 100 degree field of view so you can see all your track surroundings.
The all-plastic Explorer is a lightweight unit that feels comfortable to wear, once you’ve tweaked the adjustment dial on the back of the head strap. You can lift the goggles up and away from your eyes to take a breather, without having to remove the entire headset.
SInce the Explorer doesn’t come with an onboard audio device, you’ll have to use your own. Just plug into the included 3.5mm jack and you’re good to go. All-in-all the Lenovo Explorer is a no-frills VR headset for sim racing that’s more affordable than other comparable models.
Also Great: Oculus Rift S
The Rift S is Oculus’ most advanced PC-powered headset. This VR headset features next-generation lenses and a sharper display to deliver bright, vivid colors. The lens technology also cuts down on the screen door effect. Sim drivers experience a smooth racing experience with this state-of-the-art headset.
It’s time-consuming to navigate through the many steps required to download & install the software. However, once you get past all that, there’s nothing left to do but have fun. When you start sim racing with the Oculus Rift S, you’ll understand why many gamers use this headset.
There is audio built right into the Oculus Rift S, so you can enjoy hearing the roar of engines and the sound of rubber on asphalt. The ergonomically-designed headset fits comfortably and securely. No matter how engaged you are when sim racing, your headset will stay put.
The wide field of view is immensely satisfying. When you glance to the sides you can see your opponents trying to pass you. You’re also given a very realistic sense of speed and depth. You can push your sim driving skills to the extreme with the Rift S, which is what sim driving is supposed to be all about!
Luxury Pick: HTC Vive Pro
- High resolution (2800 x 1600) AMOLED screens
- Hi-Res headphones
- 3D spatial onboard audio
The HTC Vive Pro headset is a top performer. It offers true-to-life precision racing capabilities with its high resolution screens. Sim racers love how the colors pop on the vehicles to bring the racetrack to life. The Vive Pro’s high resolution screens make it easy to read the info on your vehicle’s dash, including the small text, without having to strain or move closer.
There’s almost no screen door effect in the Vive Pro’s field of view. The only time you may notice pixels is when you look far out on the horizon, but it won’t spoil your driving experience. The weight of the headset is nicely distributed so it’s comfortable to wear for longer periods of time.
The field of view is par for the course when it comes to VR headsets. It could be bigger, but it is what it is. This is the only area many users feel HTC could have pushed its tech a bit further.
The sound coming from the built in 3D spatial onboard audio speakers is crystal clear, realistic and impressive. This VR headset has a lot going for it. The Vive Pro could even convert a die-hard triple screen user if he/she were to give it a try.
Highest FOV: Pimax 5K XR
- Ultra-wide field of view with dual Samsung OLD panels
- 5120 x 1440 Resolution (2560×1440 per eye) OLED Screens
- Ultra-lightweight ergonomic design
The Pimax 5K XR headset offers a ultra-wide FOV with its OLED screens. The XR stands for eXtended Range. This means this VR headset offers added dynamic color range and the near absolute blacks that are possible with OLED screens.
This headset isn’t for every sim racer. It’s an expensive unit that requires a lot of tweaking to get the settings perfect. If you happen to be a virtual reality newbie, this probably isn’t the VR headset for you. However, if you know your way around the VR world of headsets, and want to try something unique, the peripheral vision offered by the 5K Plus is worth every penny you spend.
The SK XR is large. It’s big because it has an ultra wide field of view. This makes sim racing amazing. You can easily see all around you, including vehicles coming up from behind. The dual Samsung OLED panels eliminate screen door effect and provide great contrast and color brightness.
The SK XR headset is ergonomically-designed. This allows you to stay immersed in racing for long periods of time. The headset is even roomy enough to allow the wearing of prescription glasses. In a nutshell, the beefy Pimax 5K XR is pricey but a good VR headset for sim racing. That is, if you have patience for setting it up and the budget to afford it.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Should I buy a VR headset for sim racing?
If you want to fully immerse yourself in sim racing, then yes, you should buy a VR headset. As opposed to holding a gamepad when sim racing, a VR headset paired up with a steering wheel and pedals is far superior. You’ll have a true connection with your virtual vehicle that isn’t possible when using a standard controller.
- Does sim racing with a VR headset make you feel sick?
Some sim racers report having motion sickness from using VR headsets, so yes, it’s possible. That’s why it’s best to pace yourself and slowly build up the time you spend behind the wheel. If you're worried you won't be able to stomach the VR experience, consider opting for a triple monitor setup.
- Is the Valve Index a good choice for sim racing?
The premium priced VR headset called Valve Index does manage to deliver a decent sim racing experience. The LCD displays with 1330 x 1600 per eye resolution keeps racing colorful and smooth. The Index offers the widest field of view of all headsets in its class. However, the lens design brings quite a bit of glare with it, which can spoil an otherwise great racing experience.
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