Adding the best budget racing wheel to your setup is a great way of increasing realism for less. However, knowing what sort of quality you're getting at this price isn't always clear, nor are the kind of features you're getting.
Fortunately, we've rounded up some of the best racing wheels on the budget based on their price, of course, reviews, and any features that make them stand out from the crowd against other relatively inexpensive devices.
Features-wise, we've predominately focused on wheels that come with Force Feedback technology to add an extra element of realism to your home sim setup. That said, it's not given to find a wheel that comes with Force Feedback technology in this price range, particularly among some of the cheapest racing wheels on the market.
Therefore, we have also provided some non-Force Feedback options, which come in as the least expensive wheels in our selection. This is to ensure, whatever your budget, there's an option here for you.
So, when it comes to putting together the best budget racing setup possible, our list of top picks has you covered. Let's get into it...
Best budget racing wheel
- Logitech G G29
- Thrustmaster T80 Ferrari 488 GTB Edition
- Hori Racing Wheel Apex
- Thrustmaster T128 X
- Thrustmaster TMX
1. Logitech G G29
Best all-round budget racing wheel
Compatibility: PS4, PS5, Xbox, PC
The Logitech G G29 is one of the more premium options from our selection of budget racing wheels. However, we feel it's a great all-round pick as it's universally compatible with all major consoles and PC, plus it comes with Force Feedback technology.
More specifically, Logitech boasts its dual-motor feedback system provides a detailed simulation of what it's like to drive the car you're racing in real life, under the exact same conditions, with its helical gearing system delivering smooth, quiet steering. You also get a lock-to-lock rotation, providing a 900-degree radius that allows you to turn the wheel around two and a half times to help tackle the widest of corners with ease.
Finally, despite its relatively low price tag, the wheel is made from premium materials. This includes anodised aluminium for the spokes, steel for the steering shaft, plus hand-stitched leather for the cover.
On the whole, this Logitech device is one impressive bit of kit that's well worth considering if you're planning to upgrade your racing setup.
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2. Thrustmaster T80 Ferrari 488 GTB Edition
Best budget racing wheel for PS4
Compatibility: PS4, PS5, PC
This Thrustmaster T80 Ferrari 488 GTB Edition is one of the least expensive options we've picked out. However, for PS4 gameplay in particular, we believe it's still an amazing option to consider.
Firstly, it comes with a unique “Bungee Cord” mechanism to deliver linear resistance, regardless of the rotation angle. You get a 240-degree turning circle in total, plus the system automatically centres itself after a rotation.
On the console, the wheel is equipped with 11 action buttons, plus a D-pad to make in-game menus and settings easy to navigate. It also comes with two large, metal wheel-mounted sequential paddle shifters for quicker gear changes.
It's also worth mentioning the wheel is 28cm in diameter, and features textured rubber cladding to improve grip. This will likely become especially useful during longer racing sessions, thus making this wheel a great pick for your home setup.
Read More: Best sim racing pedals
3. Hori Racing Wheel Apex
Best budget racing wheel for PS5
Compatibility: PS4, PS5, PC
You get a 270-degree rotation here, with completely adjustable dead zones via the companion application. You can also set up four different profiles using the app. Therefore, you can switch between driving setups with ease depending on the game you're playing, thus avoiding having to manually adjust your settings every time.
The wheel also features paddle shifters, its own D-pad, and adjustable buttons which you can assign to some of your most-used in-game mechanics using the companion app.
With a full-size pedal set and a sturdy clamping system as well, we feel there's plenty to like about this Hori device. So, make sure you check it out if it's a budget wheel you're after for your PS5.
Read More: Best sim racing shifters
4. Thrustmaster T128 X
Best budget racing wheel for Xbox
Compatibility: Xbox, PC
For Xbox, this Thrustmaster T128 X looks to be an excellent pick as it is packed with some of Thrustmaster's most advanced technology to improve your home racing experience.
Firstly, it features Thrsutmaster's next-generation HYBRID DRIVE Force Feedback system. This technology is said to provide 20% more power than other Thrustmaster hybrid racing wheels.
Moreover, you get an incredibly impressive 900-degree rotation angle, plus H.E.A.R.T technology in the magnetic gear shifters and pedals to ensure their precision doesn't decrease over time.
Ultimately, this Thrustmaster device is one of the best wheels for the Xbox Series X and One around. Don't worry though, there is also a PlayStation variation if you're interested in this wheel in particular. Find out more about the Thrustmaster T128 in our review right here.
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5. Thrustmaster TMX
Best budget racing wheel for PC
Compatibility: Xbox, PC
As touched on in our summary, the Thrustmaster TMX is another great inexpensive option from Thrustmaster to consider, suitable for some of your favourite PC-only titles like iRacing and Assetto Corsa.
One of its standout features is its 270 to 900-degree adjustable rotation for added control during wider turns. Plus, with Force Feedback, the wheel allows you to feel every detail while racing, including loss of grip, track relief, and impact.
Thrustmaster also boasts that the wheel's optical reading with a 12-bit resolution allows it to deliver excellent precision along the steering axis when you need it most.
Finally, the wheel features a rubber coating and two wheel-mounted shifters made of metal to ensure it can withstand the wear and tear of home racing over time. Overall, we'd say this Thrustmaster device is well worth checking out for your PC setup.
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Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
If you are new to buying a racing wheel, you may have many questions. No need to worry though! We've answered some of the most frequently asked questions to help you out.
How much should you spend on a budget racing wheel?
This all depends on your budget and how much you want to invest in your setup. However, it may be difficult to determine what exactly constitutes a "budget" device with so many options available.
In our opinion, a budget racing wheel generally costs no more than $250. If you're determined to purchase a budget option, it's best to stick to something below this price point. Fortunately, there are many excellent devices to choose from in this range that don't compromise on quality, as proven by our list.
So, it's worth doing a little digging as there's bound to be a great budget wheel out that suits your needs.
Do all budget racing wheels come with Force Feedback?
While Direct Drive may be out of the question, Force Feedback remains a viable option on a budget. It should be noted, though, that not all budget wheels come equipped with standard Force Feedback technology, especially the most inexpensive ones available.
Nevertheless, our list demonstrates that there are still numerous reasonably priced wheels that offer Force Feedback to enhance your gaming experience. It's important to double-check the specs of the wheel you're planning to purchase though, just to ensure it features Force Feedback technology if that's what you're after.
Do you need a separate stand or mounting system for a racing wheel?
Buying a dedicated stand or mount for your sim racing wheel depends on personal preference and the needs of your setup However, owning a stand or mount can offer several benefits, particularly when it comes to enhancing stability during intense gameplay or force feedback effects. Preventing excessive movement or vibration, a wheel stand contributes to a more immersive and realistic sim racing experience.
Moreover, a stand or mount allows you to adjust the wheel's position to a comfortable height and angle, reducing strain on your arms and wrists during long gaming sessions. Adjustable mounts provide flexibility in customising the positioning according to your preferences.
Nevertheless, it's important to consider that purchasing a wheel stand or mount incurs additional costs and requires quite a bit of space. Consequently, you may want to mount your wheel directly to a desk or even create your own custom mount instead of buying a pre-made one.
Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to buy a stand or mount depends on your specific preferences, budget, and the level of immersion and stability you prioritise in your sim racing setup.
Are pedals and a shifter needed to complete a sim racing setup?
Pedals and a shifter are not strictly required to complete a sim racing setup, but they can greatly enhance the realism and immersion of the experience depending on the game you're playing.
Pedals are perhaps the more essential component of the two as they provide realistic control over the accelerator, brake, and clutch (if equipped). High-quality pedals often offer features like adjustable pedal resistance, load cell technology for more precise braking, and a more immersive feel. While you can technically use a controller keyboard, or buttons on your wheel for throttle and brake inputs, a dedicated pedal set is highly recommended for a more authentic driving experience.
A shifter adds an extra layer of realism for certain gaming titles as they allow you to manually shift gears, simulating the experience of driving a real manual transmission vehicle. While many modern racing cars use paddle shifters on the steering wheel, some sim racing enthusiasts prefer the tactile feel of a physical shifter. Shifter setups are especially popular among fans of racing simulators that focus on vintage or classic cars, as well as certain genres of rally racing games.
So, while pedals and a shifter are not mandatory to start sim racing, they significantly enhance the overall experience and immersion. The choice to invest in pedals and a shifter depends on your preferences, the type of racing you enjoy, and your desire for a more realistic driving experience.