If you’re playing a racing game, let’s face it: no gamepad or controller is going to compare to using a computer steering wheel. In terms of fine control and immersion, a proper steering wheel is vital to properly enjoy any racing game or driving simulator. Especially for the latter scenario– who wants to play a simulator with a gamepad!?
In this article, we’re going to walk you through our top picks for PC racing wheels in 2019. While some of these are mainly advertised as console gaming wheels, rest assured: these all have great compatibility with PCs, and are often even better on PC than with console. But hey, if you’re looking for a console racing wheel, then a lot of these will work for you too.
Let’s find the best gaming steering wheel for PC gamers.
Products at a Glance
Best PC Racing Wheel: Top 5 PC Steering Wheels In 2021
Includes gear shifter
Good force feedback and rumble
Another great midrange gaming wheel is the Logitech G29. This wheel offers a full 900 degree rotation angle, dual-motor force feedback, and an extra clutch pedal. The force feedback in particular is what makes this wheel so popular, and it sets it apart in quality when compared to just about every cheaper gaming wheel. If you want quality, this is where you start getting it.
Additionally, we’ve linked the bundle that includes a shifter. For those of you who want an immersive experience, complete with clutch and shift, this is the right wheel for you. If you don’t care about the shifter though, you can buy the bundle that doesn’t include it and save about $70 in the process.
There are actually two separate bundles: a PS4 version and an Xbox One version. That being said, unless you plan on actually using it with one of these consoles, it doesn’t really matter which version you buy; both work on PC.
In addition to added features and control, you also have the benefit of better build quality in general. This wheel and its pedals are built with steel and leather, as opposed to the plastic used by cheaper products.
Great build quality
Stellar force feedback and rumble
No clutch pedal or gear shifter
Very high price
- People for whom money is not an object, who want the best experience possible
- People who want the most immersive virtual driving experiences possible, especially for VR and driving sims
If you’re looking at the price tag of this one and balking, we understand. This usually retails for just under $800, and that’s not a small amount of money for anyone to drop on a whim. Unless you’re mega-rich, we guess.
Anyway… this is worth the money.
The issue with cheaper wheels, even those like the Logitech listed above, is that they don’t quite capture the experience of driving a real vehicle. High-end wheels from companies like Fanatec are a different story, though. Fanatec wheels set themselves apart by offering build quality and force feedback on par with actual racing wheels.
In other words, high-end wheels like this one are made for two types of consumer:
Superb build quality
Stellar force feedback and rumble
Clutch pedal included
Very high price
A lot of what we said about the above Fanatec wheel applies to this one as well. This bundle is essentially that, but… more, and better.
With a setup like this, you’ll enjoy the best build quality and force feedback in the industry, bar none. You also get a full three pedals– clutch included. Unfortunately, gear shifters are sold separately.
Fanatec wheels offer superb build quality and force feedback, which sets them a tier above more gamer-oriented wheels. For those who want the most immersive simulator experience, there is simply no substitute for a Fanatec wheel.
Decent force feedback and rumble
No clutch pedal
The Thrustmaster TMX Force Feedback Racing Wheel is our pick for best value gaming wheel. For around ~$150, you get a full wheel and pedals set. Most importantly, you get force feedback, which is a feature lacking in wheels sold under this price point. This is the ideal entry level for those whose budgets aren’t under harsh limits.
The 900 degree rotation angle will allow for multiple full rotations of this wheel before it needs to be put back into place. This is ideal for immersive driving sim games, but you can adjust the angle as low as 270 degrees for non-realistic racing games. This is also built for out-of-the-box functionality with Xbox One and PC, so compatibility and features shouldn’t be a concern at all.
The only real downside of this wheel is that it doesn’t have a clutch pedal, which is a feature that many people want in this price range. You’ll need to spend a little more if you’re looking for something like that, though.
It’s a racing wheel
No force feedback
Last up is our budget PC steering wheel pick, the HORI Racing Wheel Apex. This is an entry-level steering wheel for gamers who can’t afford to spend hundreds of dollars on a single peripheral.
Unfortunately, this product’s “budget” nature does come with a few key downsides. While you get a perfectly functional wheel and pedals, you lose out on a lot in exchange for the low price tag. This includes force feedback, which is vital for immersion in driving sim games. If you’re playing in VR, a setup like this simply won’t cut it.
Additionally, the rotation angle is limited to 270 degrees, which means you can’t fully rotate the wheel in either direction. This should be fine for non-sim games (arcade racers and non-realistic racing games), but serious enthusiasts should probably save their money for a higher end option.
If you’re on a limited budget or you just want to dip your toes in before investing in something better, this is a fine place to start. We’d recommend making a step up to our #2 pick if you don’t have a hard $100 limit, though.
Note: The PS4 version is compatible with PC (and PS3); the Xbox One version is not.
Buying The Best PC Racing Wheel For You
If you aren’t sure how to pick from our selection above, don’t worry. We’ve included a dedicated buying guide section for exactly that reason.
The Importance Of Rotation
First up, let’s talk rotation.
You’ll notice that the wheels listed above each have a rotation angle listed. Essentially, this measures how far you can rotate the wheel from its resting position before it locks into place and needs to be allowed to rest again. The higher this number is, the more authentic of a driving experience you’ll get, and the more precise control you’ll have.
Does this make any wheel with less than 900 degrees of rotation obsolete?
Many games– especially arcade-y racing games– work great with more limited rotation. Some may even be better that way, which is why a lot of wheels offer the ability to lock your maximum rotation to lower angles.
If realism isn’t a concern and you just want a wheel for racing games, then wheels with limited rotation shouldn’t be a problem. If you do want maximum realism (especially for driving sims), though, you’ll want to get a wheel with at least a 900 degree rotation angle. This is in line with most actual steering wheels, and will provide the best experience overall.
Force Feedback, Rumble, And Authentic Feel
Another important aspect of selecting a PC racing wheel is force feedback, especially if you want realism. Anyone familiar with driving a car knows that turning your wheel isn’t a 100% smooth motion– you can feel resistance when you do it because the force you’re applying is going straight to your wheels. This force feedback gives you… well, physical feedback for what you’re doing, which is important for fine control.
Additionally, not all force feedback is made equal. Our #3 Logitech pick uses dual motors to provide its force feedback, which puts it a step ahead of competitors at and below its price range. However, the last two entries on our list are of particularly high-quality, providing the closest force feedback to the real deal out of all the options on the list.
Force feedback as a whole can be forgone if immersion doesn’t matter to you… but we seriously recommend you get a wheel with the feature intact.
Rumble is generally secondary when compared to force feedback, but can be nice for adding an extra layer of immersion.
Pedals And Shifters/Clutch
All of the entries on our list come included with pedals– at least two. (Brake and gas- no surprise.)
On the higher-end, you’ll often find an additional third pedal. This is for clutch control, which allows you to change gears. This is mainly an older car/simulating older cars thing, though, since many modern cars have forgone traditional stick shift in favor of automatic controls (although some games let you choose between automatic and manual regardless of the car you are driving). Even so, you can still get wheels with clutch controls and stick shifts for an added level of immersion, especially if you’re versed in driving older vehicles.