Sim Racing isn’t really a cheap hobby. Despite a gaming console or a PC and the videogame, you will probably need to invest some money in other accessories like a racing wheel, pedals, and a sim racing rig if you want a proper racing experience.
However, sim racing doesn’t have to be too expensive and you can enjoy hitting the apex for just a few hundred bucks or even less. Here you can find a few suggestions for the current best budget racing wheels on the market.
Premium Budget Sim Racing Wheels
Besides FANATEC, Thrustmaster and the new manufacturer in the sim racing market, MOZA Racing, also made quite some steering wheels. You must consider that most of these steering wheels don’t come in a bundle with the pedals, and you must have a wheelbase for a true racing experience.
Fanatec McLaren GT3 V2
The first choice in this rank should probably be the Mclaren GT3 V2. Officially licensed by McLaren Automotive Limited, this is a full-size, detailed reproduction of the steering wheel used in McLaren GT3 race cars. The overall shape, as well as the size of the switches, paddles, and dials, is based on original McLaren CAD data.
If you are just entering the world of sim racing, you should strongly consider the McLaren GT3 V2. It’s one of the cheapest FANATEC’s steering wheels and it’s also compatible with PlayStation, Xbox, and PC. Although this wheel isn’t constructed from carbon fiber or metal and the hand grips are made from rubber, the McLaren GT3 V2 is a great value for money.
If you decide to go with a FANATEC steering wheel, you will also need a wheelbase. The budget-friendly option would certainly be a CSL DD Wheel Base with its Direct-Drive system and 5 Nm peak torque. Another wheelbase to consider is DD PRO Wheel Base. It’s more expensive but its Direct-Drive system and 8Nm peak torque deliver instant and detailed Force Feedback to feel every bump on the road.
ClubSport F1 Esports V2
The ClubSport Steering Wheel F1 Esports V2 is designed for driving Formula 1 car at the limit. The V2 comes with magnetic shifters, customizable RGB LEDs, revised electronics, and an exchangeable quick release.
This replica of steering wheels used in Formula 1 cars is constructed from carbon fiber and metal and the 5mm plate of carbon fiber on the face of the wheel gives it a sharp, aggressive look. The genuine Alcantara grips feel amazing in your hands and offer a sensational feeling of quality. It’s a bit more expensive than the McLaren GT3 V2 but still quite budget friendly and compatible with PlayStation and PC.
Regarding the wheelbase, the best option would be CSL DD Wheel Base or DD PRO Wheel Base, just like in the case of the McLaren GT3 V2.
Moza CS Steering Wheel
With a true-to-life size matching real racing car, the CS offers a realistic sim racing experience. Using aviation grade aluminum alloy for the rim, operation board and base plate, the wheel sports exceptional quality and rigidity. The magnetic shifters have a firm feeling with a forged carbon fiber design. The contactless photoelectric technology makes the paddles extremely stable and ensures you never miss a shift.
The new MOZA CS Steering Wheel feels amazing thanks to the microfiber leather grip material and it’s a real competitor to the FANATEC’s budget-friendly steering wheels.
The perfect wheelbase for the CS Steering Wheel would surely be the DD R9 which is probably the best deal entry-level wheelbase. Unlike the previously mentioned FANATEC’s wheelbases, the DD R9 has a 9Nm of maximum torque and it offers even greater wheel to wheel racing.
Budget Sim Racing Wheels
When it comes to the budget sim racing wheels with Force FeedBack technology you should certainly consider the options from Logitech. Not as cheap as the next mentioned steering wheels, Logitech G920/G29 and its improved version G923 share the quality design, build and performance. Those are probably the best wheels for beginners sim racers.
Beautifully designed in all-black leather and metal, it really looks like a wheel one would find in a real racing car, and fits really well in your hands to keep you in control while gaming.
Its powerful dual-motor Force Feedback makes you feel every tire slip and terrain change and it makes a huge difference regarding the cheapest sim racing wheels. All of the materials are of premium quality but the stitching though can sometimes rub on your thumb which can be painful after a while.
The wheel has 900 degrees rotation lock-to-lock, which gives greater control in races.
Logitech G923 is an improved version of the popular and previously mentioned G920/29 and features improved Force FeedBack technology. It’s a racing wheel designed for Xbox, PlayStation and PC. G923’s advanced firmware monitors all the current flowing through the wheel motors, continuously adjusting voltage to match outputs from game physics.
Just its predecessor, Logitech G923 comes with more responsive and more accurate pedals. This makes it extremely accessible and is completely compatible with all consoles and PC’s so you can enjoy any type of sim racing.
The design of the steering wheel itself is very good with durable materials used throughout.
But all in all, the upgraded G923 doesn’t offer much of a different experience when compared to the G29. And the new Trueforce Force FeedBack certainly doesn’t revolutionize Logitech’s racing wheel proposition so you should probably consider some slightly more expensive sim racing wheels for the proper experience.
The Cheapest Sim Racing Wheels
HORI Racing Wheel Apex
If you are just entering the world of sim racing, the HORI Racing Wheel Apex could be a reasonable fit. For a cheap price, you can get a decent racing wheel that performs quite well, but it doesn’t have Force FeedBack technology (the application of forces to the steering wheel to stimulate the reaction of real vehicle components). Instead, it uses vibration motors which work in the same way as a controller when you hit a wall.
The HORI Racing Wheel Apex comes with racing pedals and it’s compatible with PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, and PC. The full-size racing wheel and pedals are optimized for quite an authentic racing simulation. But the lack of Force FeedBack technology could be a dealbreaker if you consider the other available options.
Thrustmaster Ferrari 458 Spider Racing Wheel
The replica of the Ferrari 458 Spider racing wheel is much like the HORI Racing Wheel Apex. However, it does have a slightly better technology which is more similar to Force Feedback. The optimized bungee cord mechanism makes a linear resistance, no matter the rotation angle, for more comfortable and intuitive control. This isn’t a true Force FeedBack but it gives you a bit more resistance when turning the wheel and it comes closer to the real racing experience.
Another thing worth the mention is that the Thrustmaster Ferrari 458 Spider Racing Wheel comes with racing pedals.