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Thrustmaster TMX Pro: Best Cheap Racing Wheel? (Review)

The Thrustmaster TMX Pro promises many noticeable improvements over other beginner racing wheels, which is why it tops our list of the best cheap racing wheels. Today, we’ll look at what makes the TMX Pro such a great buy, and who should consider opting for it.

What to Consider When Buying Sim Racing Wheels

When purchasing a sim racing wheel there are several key factors to keep in mind. The first is force feedback. This is when a wheel pushes back against your inputs, like a real car would. To give an example, if you take a sharp corner at high speeds, the wheel will firmly push back against you, making it harder to turn.

In beginner racing wheels, there are two types of force feedback: belt- and gear-driven. Belt-driven delivered force feedback is smoother and more realistic, but often more expensive. Gear-driven force feedback is less expensive but can feel notchy when turning. 

The second most important factor is rotation range. This is how far your wheel can rotate. We recommend that wheels have at least a 900° rotation range. Any less than that and you’ll feel like you’re in an arcade.

The final consideration should be the build quality of the wheel. Though not as important as the other factors, a wheel made from cheap plastic will simply not be able to compare with one made from durable materials. 

About the TMX Pro

The TMX Pro wheel promises to be a high-quality entry point for beginners to the world of racing sim peripherals. It comes bundled with a set of high-quality pedals but overall remains quite affordable. If you want an in-depth comparison with the Logitech G29/920 (the wheel with which it’s often compared), check out this article.

Features & Benefits

Let’s dive into some of the features and benefits of the TMX Pro that make it an attractive choice for new sim racers.

Solid Force Feedback

The TMX Pro makes use of a mixed belt and gear system to deliver force feedback. This means that, especially when compared to systems that only make use of the gear system (which are a large portion of beginner wheels), it’s of quite high quality for a beginner wheel. The steering will feel smooth while at the same time delivering powerful and engrossing force feedback. This is particularly impressive if this is one of your first purchases in terms of wheels. 

Good Rotation Range

While not exceptional, the 900° rotation range of the TMX Pro gives it all the realism one could reasonably hope for at such a modest price range. You’ll never feel as though you need to compensate for what the wheel cannot deliver. All in all the TMX Pro passes this important checkpoint quite well. 

Great Pedals

Although not technically part of the wheel, considering the fact that they come as a bundle, they should be given a quick consideration. The T3PA (the pedals) are fantastic, so much so that they were featured in our guide to the best sim racing pedals. They come with progressive brake pressure simulation, have 4,096 unique pedal positions, and come with a clutch pedal (not something to bat an eye at when considering bundled pedals). If the TMX Pro is your first wheel these will also likely be your first pedals, and they’re a great starting set. 

Build Quality and Design

Build quality is where the TMX Pro falls perhaps a little short. It measures 11 inches (28cm) in diameter and is made from hard plastic with rubber-coated grips. It’s not a bad build per se, but it’s a bit disappointing considering that comparable wheels can have steel bodies and leather covers. Its design isn’t award-winning either, mainly due to the aforementioned plastic. These should not, however, be your first concerns when purchasing this peripheral though. 

Cost 

Cost is another great selling-point of the TMX Pro. Despite the fact that it comes with a relatively advanced form of force feedback for a beginner wheel, it comes at a lower price tag than many of its competitors. Incredibly it often comes at a lower price than the TMX, the less potent of the two wheels. This is likely due to the aforementioned plastic, but it’s a welcome trade-off. Few wheels can boast of a better price-quality ratio than the TMX Pro. 

Alternatives

There are a couple of alternatives you should definitely consider if you are looking at buying the TMX Pro:

Logitech G29/920

Sale
Logitech G29/920
  • The definitive sim racing wheel for PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4 & PlayStation 3: Realistic steering and pedal action for the latest racing titles
  • Built to last: Durable solid steel ball bearings, stainless steel shifter and pedals and hand stitched leather wheel grip
  • Dual motor force feedback: Realistically simulates the racing experience with smooth, quiet helical gearing
  • Easy access game controls: On wheel D pad, console buttons, paddle shifters and LED indicator lights
  • Responsive floor pedal unit: Accelerate, brake and change gears with the feel of an actual car. Pedal piston sleeves: Polyoxymethylene thermoplastic (POM)

The Logitech G29/920 remains a staple in the steering-wheel community thanks to its beautiful design, powerful force-feedback, and because it often goes on discount. To determine which is better for you, find our comparison here

Thrustmaster T300

Thrustmaster T300
  • Official Licensed PlayStation 4 & PlayStation 3 High-End Racing Simulator; 1080 degree Force Feedback base featuring an industrial-class brushless motor; Detachable Racing GT Style Wheel
  • Official licensed PS4 / PS3 with automatic recognition by the PS4 system; Official PlayStation 4 buttons included (PS, SHARE, OPTIONS); Internal memory and upgradeable firmware
  • Robust and versatile attachment system; Compatible with all mounts (desks/tables/cockpits/etc.); Realistic: 11" diameter racing wheel featuring a brushed metal central spokes
  • Works with PS5 games

This is just barely a beginner wheel, as the T300 is perhaps a notch above the competition. It has a brushless force feedback motor, rotates to 1080°, and is officially licensed by Ferrari to give you an 8:10 replica of what you would feel when driving a 599xx EVO. Needless to say, it’s also more expensive, but if you’re looking for a step up from the TMX Pro then give this wheel a look. 

Thrustmaster T150 

Thrustmaster T150 
  • Official Racing Simulator for PS4 and PS3 (also compatible with PC); 1080 degree force feedback racing wheel; Built-in PS4/PS3 sliding switch; Realistic 11"/28 centimeter wheel; Large pedal set included
  • PlayStation4-certified embedded software and PS4/PS3 sliding switch; Official embedded software: The racing wheel is automatically recognized by the PS4 console; PS4/PS3 sliding switch for optimal compatibility on both systems
  • 1080 degree force feedback base featuring Immersion Touch Sense technology; Drive system with adjustable force feedback lets you feel every detail while you're racing (the road or track's relief, loss of tire grip, braking, bumps and impacts, etc.)
  • Realistic wheel with built-in official buttons for PlayStation4 (PS/Share/Options); Access social functions, switch between the game and the system, navigate through the console's menus, etc.
  • Large, optimized pedal set; Pedals with wide foot rest; Each pedal's angle of inclination can be adjusted; Brake pedal with progressive resistance. Compatible with Thrustmaster accessories: Like the T3PA and T3PA-PRO (Thrustmaster 3 Pedals Add-on) pedal sets; as well as with the Thrustmaster TH8A shifter

If you came here looking for a solid beginner’s wheel for your PlayStation but were disappointed to learn the TMX Pro isn’t supported, then the T150 is for you. It has a better rotation range (up to 1080°), good and adjustable force feedback, and it looks pretty too! It too comes with an included pedalboard, but it’s not as good as the T3PA. Nevertheless, if you’re a beginner on a PS4, the T150 is a good choice. 

Conclusion

Getting a good wheel is imperative when upgrading from a controller. This is not only because you’ll need to be able to have control over what you’re doing, but also because you should and need to have realistic feedback. You should aim for precision and unfettered immersion. The TMX Pro is thus a great beginner’s wheel for precisely these reasons. It accomplishes all it sets out to do admirably and, despite a few shortcomings, is a product we recommend. Obviously, before making any sort of purchase you should remember that everyone’s experiences are different. For this reason, we recommend that all beginners always look up whatever they plan on purchasing. The same goes for this fantastic product. 

Last Updated on February 18, 2021