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.
Best Sim Racing Handbrakes of 2024
|Price as of posting
|Fanatec ClubSport V1.5
|Thrustmaster TSS Sparco Mod+
|Heusinkveld Sim V2 Handbrake
|Generic USB Handbrake
|Best for Pros
|Simtag Hydraulic Handbrake
Breakdown of the Best Sim Racing Handbrakes
Based on our extensive research, here are the best sim racing handbrakes:
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 means that the harder you pull, the harder you’ll brake, providing significantly more realism than other sim handbrakes.
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 customization that you would otherwise lack.
The Fanatec ClubSport works on PC as well as Xbox One and PS4 if connected to a Fanatec steering wheel. What with cross-platform compatibility, excellent build quality, and a price tag half of that of our Runner-Up, this handbrake is a superb purchase.
The Thrustmaster TSS Sparco Mod+ offers an exceptional 2 in 1 gaming setup tailored to your gaming needs. It’s perfect for gamers who enjoy both Rally and GT modes, with its handbrake feature that can adjust according to your game’s specific setup.
The Sparco Mod+ includes two realistic modes – a Progressive handbrake mode designed for controlled turns or drifting, and a Sequential shifter mode that provides responsive gear shifting. With this equipment, you’re guaranteed to experience the thrill of command.
Constructed from 90% steel and aluminium, this piece of tech is also equipped with Thrustmaster’s unique HallEffect AccuRate Technology (H.E.A.R.T), which utilizes contactless magnetic sensors. That translates to consistent precision that won’t fade over time.
If it’s flexibility you’re after, the Sparco Mod+ ticks all boxes. It excels in compatibility, gameplay, and even setup. It’s a fantastic option for gamers who value versatility in their gear.
The Heusinkveld Sim Handbrake V2 might just be the best performing USB simulator handbrake using load cell technology on this list. It makes use of higher force while maintaining a compact base.
The amount of control this handbrake has speaks for itself. It offers 22kg of force, custom options, and paired with Heusinkveld SmartControl you can shape the output curve. It is designed with CNC precision laser cut steel giving it feels solid.
One big setback of the Heusinkveld Sim Handbrake V2 is compatibility. Although it comes with a USB cable, it still only works with PC. Even then, not all simulation software supports the use of analogue handbrakes like this one.
The MOZA HBP sim racing handbrake strikes a deft balance between affordability and performance. It’s a game changer for sim racing enthusiasts seeking a precise and responsive handbrake experience without breaking the bank. As a budget-friendly option, it delivers commendable performance and compatibility across various racing wheels and platforms.
While it wins points for cost-effectiveness, the HBP’s build quality doesn’t quite measure up to pricier competitors, feeling somewhat limited by comparison. One potential downside is the limited customization available, which might bother sim racers who like to fine-tune every aspect of their gear. Additionally, be prepared to invest some extra time into the setup; it may take a bit of effort to get this handbrake working perfectly with your system.
Nevertheless, the MOZA HBP is a commendable choice for those entering the sim racing world.
Overall, for its price point, the MOZA HBP stands out as an excellent choice for those entering the immersive world of sim racing or looking to upgrade from a basic setup.
For those who will settle for nothing less than the absolute best, the Simtag Hydraulic Handbrake is here to pillage your wallet in exchange for providing the most realistic approximation of rally car or drift handbraking. Simtag has truly spared no expense with this handbrake and it shows throughout the product’s design and build quality.
The adjustable handbrake lever arm can be set up in vertical or horizontal positions, then further tuned to an angle of 30 to 90 degrees – assuring you can recreate the the feel of whichever race car(s) you prefer. There’s even a 20cm extension for the lever in the event you need to stretch things out a bit to accommodate the set up of your sim racing cockpit.
The titular hydraulic system is comprised of a genuine Wilwood master and slave cylinder, stainless steel flexible brake lines and industry-quality brake fittings. Users have the choice of two types of bushes (both are included) to tweak stiffness to taste. Bosch pressure sensors and Cosworth connectors round out the premium components packed into this handbrakes rugged form.
Buyer’s Guide for Sim Racing Handbrakes
Now that we’ve looked at the top picks for sim racing handbrakes in 2024, let’s dive a little deeper into what it is we’re after in a great handbrake.
What to Look for in a Sim Racing Handbrake
Handbrakes can be as simple or elaborate as you like – keep the following on top of mind when shopping for yours:
Sim racing handbrakes are only as good as their included sensors, and the range of solutions on offer is more varied than sim racers might suspect. Load cell technology makes for sensors that feel extremely realistic, whereas handbrakes equipped with Hall Effect sensors have to work a little harder via other mechanisms in order to give an immersive sense of force to the user – but the contactless nature of the Hall Effect sensors bodes well for their longevity. Even the humble potentiometer can provide a great experience when paired with hydraulics.
You can expect that all of these products will work with PC, but console (Xbox One, PlayStation, etc.) compatibility is less common – so make sure you check the manufacturer’s site before taking the plunge. Not all sim racing titles support handbrakes, and fewer still pieces of simulation software recognize and take advantage of the level of data that comes across the USB cable of an analog handbrake.
Make sure you’re buying a handbrake that will play well with your cockpit! Consider the location and position of rest in which you’ll be mounting – race cars require a level of control that can only be achieved by keeping your vehicle control components at arms’ length.
Frequently Asked Questions
You do not need a handbrake to play racing simulators. However, having a sim 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.
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.
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 the one you’re purchasing is compatible with your favorite simulation software, especially if it is analog and/or uses load cell technology.
Last Updated on February 3, 2024