In the fast-paced world of sim racing, every detail matters. From the visceral screech of tyres to the heart-pounding thrill of nailing a perfectly timed drift, authenticity and immersion are the cornerstones for replicating the excitement of real motorsport. To truly capture this level of realism, investing in the best sim racing handbrake is the way to go.
A handbrake stands as a pivotal tool, offering precise control over a vehicle's rear wheels. Whether you're dominating hairpin turns in a rally or executing a sleek drift on a virtual track, a dependable handbrake elevates the authenticity and skill of your virtual driving experience beyond what a top-tier racing wheel, including standout force feedback options, can achieve alone.
That's why we've put together a list of what we consider to be the best handbrakes available today, taking into account their designs, pricing, performance, and user feedback. From premium choices like the Heusinkveld Sim Handbrake to more budget-friendly alternatives like the Aikeec 64-Bit Handbrake, our list encompasses everything you need to kickstart your quest for the ideal addition to your sim setup.
Best sim racing handbrakes
- Fanatec ClubSport Handbrake V1.5 - an overall great choice for your setup
- Aikeec 64-Bit USB PC Handbrake - a top budget pick
- MOZA HBP - an excellent mid-range alternative
- Heusinkveld Sim Handbrake - a standout premium contender
- Thrustmaster TSS Handbrake Sparco Mod+ - a handbrake and shifter in one
1. Fanatec ClubSport Handbrake V1.5
Best sim racing handbrake overall
Compatibility: PC, PlayStation, Xbox
Let's kick off by introducing what we consider to be one of the most versatile handbrakes currently available on the market - the Fanatec ClubSport V1.5. This handbrake stands out for its exceptional compatibility across various platforms, including PlayStation, Xbox, and PC.
Crafted with meticulous attention to detail, the V1.5 features a durable stainless steel lever that not only offers adjustability, but also delivers consistently reliable and precise tactile feedback. The potentiometer and connector have been enhanced to further improve input accuracy, seamlessly integrating with Fanatec's wheel bases via a dedicated adaptor.
What's more, it features a performance-oriented design. Unlike conventional binary on/off sensors, the analogue sensors operate along an axis, allowing users to finely adjust the degree of engagement, mirroring the subtle nuances of real car handling.
Furthermore, the V1.5 offers versatile mounting options, ensuring ergonomic placement tailored to individual preferences. Whether you prefer it on the left or right side, or securely clamped to a table using the ClubSport Shifter Table Clamp, this device adapts effortlessly to a variety of setups.
- Read More: Best sim racing deals
2. Aikeec 64-Bit USB PC Handbrake
Best budget sim racing handbrake
If you're looking to build out a budget racing setup though, then something like this relatively inexpensive Aikeec 64-Bit USB Handbrake may be a better option for you.
It has everything you need if you're a beginner in the world of sim racing. For example, the handbrake incorporates an automatic calibration system, ensuring optimal performance and convenience upon setup. It also features a 64-Bit On-Contact Hall Sensor to significantly improve the brake feel in racing games, making the driving experience more immersive and true to life.
It's constructed from a combination of lightweight CNC machined aluminium and mild steel, ensuring both durability and precision during use. This should also enhance its longevity, ensuring precise control for years to come.
So, if it's a budget-friendly handbrake you're after, then make sure you consider this Aikeec bit of kit for your setup.
- Read More: Best deals on racing games
3. MOZA HBP
Best mid-range sim racing handbrake
Up next, we introduce the MOZA HBP, a slightly more premium option that's ideal for intermediate sim racers or those who are willing to invest a bit more for an enhanced experience.
It boasts a top-tier construction, crafted from aviation-grade CNC machined aluminium with an anodized finish. This material not only provides durability but also resists wear and tear, ensuring long-lasting performance. The inclusion of a 16-bit high-precision angle sensor adds precision and accuracy to your sim racing endeavours.
One of the standout features of this handbrake though is its remarkable adjustability. You have the flexibility to mount the lever both horizontally and vertically, closely replicating the feel of driving various types of vehicles, be it on the road or the racetrack. Moreover, you can customise the stop position to align with your personal preferences and tweak the rebound strength and brake travel by replacing the springs.
The MOZA HBP is an outstanding choice for any PC sim racing setup. It seamlessly connects to your PC or wheel base and offers versatile mounting options, including the ability to attach it to either side. Additionally, it can be securely clamped to a table, making it a versatile and high-performance addition to your sim racing arsenal.
- Read More: Best budget racing wheels
4. Heusinkveld Sim Handbrake
Best premium sim racing handbrake
When it comes to high-end sim racing equipment, the Heusinkveld Sim Handbrake stands at the pinnacle of quality and performance.
Designed using cutting-edge CAD and FEA technology, this handbrake boasts structural components crafted from precision laser-cut CNC steel. Its robust construction is further enhanced by a bead-blasted or fine-structured powder coat finish, ensuring long-lasting durability and unwavering rigidity.
The handbrake doesn't just excel in its build quality; it also comes equipped with powerful software tools. These tools empower you to instantly customise (non-linear) output curves, dead zones, and handbrake force to suit your precise preferences. You also get a Heusinkveld SmartControl Live feature, which allows you to fine-tune your settings while you're in the midst of your race, without needing to leave the game. This adaptability lets you seamlessly switch between profiles tailored for different virtual cars, enhancing your overall gaming experience.
Furthermore, this premium device offers a variety of mounting options, including one with an optional adapter plate that simplifies yaw adjustment. Altogether, the Heusinkveld Sim Handbrake delivers a well-rounded and top-tier sim racing experience, making it a standout choice for serious enthusiasts.
- Read More: Best sim racing pedals
5. Thrustmaster TSS Handbrake Sparco Mod+
Best sim racing handbrake and shifter
Compatibility: PC, PlayStation, Xbox
We're rounding things off with something a little different. This Thrustmaster TSS Handbrake Sparco Mod+ has featured before in our list of the best sim racing shifters as it is a handbrake and shifter combined.
You can set it as a sequential shifter or as a handbrake in either its Rally mode (lever in vertical position) or GT mode (lever in horizontal position). This makes it incredibly versatile and great if you're looking to save space and reduce the overall cost of your setup.
It features a pretty stellar build as well. 90% of the device is made from either steel or aluminium and it contains Thrustmaster’s HallEffect AccuRate Technology (H.E.A.R.T), which is built to last as there are no tact switches or potentiometers to slow it down.
Overall, this Handbrake Sparco Mod+ is a great versatile pick for any sim setup. So, if you're looking to combine both a shifter and handbrake into one, this is your answer.
- Read More: Best racing seats
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Buying a sim racing handbrake can often lead to a ton of questions. Don't worry though as we've answered some of the most commonly asked questions to help you out.
What features should you look for from a sim racing handbrake?
When in search of a sim racing handbrake, there are certain features you need to prioritise to ensure an immersive and lifelike racing experience.
First and foremost, emphasise build quality. Opt for a handbrake that boasts a robust and durable construction, capable of withstanding frequent use while maintaining a solid and reliable feel, especially during intense gaming sessions.
Compatibility is another key consideration. Verify that the handbrake you are eyeing is compatible with your specific setup. This includes ensuring compatibility with your gaming platform, be it PC or console, and confirming support for the games you intend to play.
Additionally, look into adjustability and mounting options. A high-quality handbrake should offer versatility in setup, allowing for both horizontal and vertical orientations. It should also provide options for clamping on both sides and potentially feature adjustable resistance to cater to individual preferences.
Lastly, weigh the choice between analogue and digital functionality. Analogue handbrakes generally deliver a more realistic and nuanced experience, offering variable input, while digital counterparts provide a straightforward on/off functionality. Base your decision on personal preference and the nature of the games you play.
Keep in mind that selecting a handbrake tailored to your specific sim racing setup and personal preferences is crucial. By considering these features, you can identify the perfect handbrake to elevate and enrich your overall racing experience.
How much should you spend on a sim racing handbrake?
The amount you should spend on a sim racing handbrake can vary depending on your budget, preferences, and specific needs. Sim racing handbrakes are available in a wide price range, so there's likely a handbrake out there that'll align with how much you're looking to spend
Low-cost to mid-range options can cost anywhere between $50-$100 and typically provide basic functionality, making them a particularly good starting point for beginners. That said, handbrakes in this price range may not offer the same level of precision or durability as higher-end options. However, they can still enhance your sim racing experience.
If you're looking for a higher-quality handbrake with a more realistic feel and improved performance, you may need to invest more. Handbrakes over $100 tend to offer better build quality, improved materials, and more precise control. They may also come with additional features like adjustable tension or customisation options, making them highly suitable to pair with an amazing direct drive wheel.
Ultimately, though, the amount you spend on a sim racing handbrake comes down to your level of commitment to sim racing and your available budget. Just make sure you consider your needs, the importance of realism and precision to you, and balance it with your available resources. It's also worth reading reviews and seeking recommendations to help you make an informed decision.
Are sim racing handbrakes compatible with all racing games?
Sim racing handbrakes are not universally compatible with all racing games. While many popular sim racing titles support handbrake inputs, it ultimately depends on the game and peripheral support.
Typically, sim racing handbrakes are more likely to be supported in games that feature rally racing, drifting, or other disciplines where a handbrake is a critical component. Some sim racing games and simulators explicitly include options to map handbrake inputs, making it easier for players to use external peripherals like handbrakes.
However, not all racing games include this feature, especially those focused solely on traditional circuit racing or where handbrake use is not significant. In such cases, a handbrake may not be recognised by the game, or players might need to use workarounds or third-party software to map the handbrake's inputs to other functions.
Therefore, before purchasing a sim racing handbrake, make sure you check its compatibility with the specific games you plan to play. Manufacturers often provide a list of supported games on their product pages or official websites. Additionally, some sim racing communities or forums might have information about which games work well with certain handbrakes.
Do sim racing handbrakes require maintenance?
Sim racing handbrakes generally require minimal maintenance, but it's still advisable to perform occasional checks and basic upkeep to ensure optimal performance and longevity.
Regularly cleaning the handbrake to remove dust, dirt, or debris that might accumulate over time definitely can't hurt. To do so, use a soft cloth or compressed air to clean between the components gently.
Some handbrakes might benefit from occasional lubrication too, especially if they have moving parts. Check the manufacturer's guidelines for recommendations on lubricants and how often it's necessary.
Adding to this, it's important to ensure that the handbrake's settings and calibration remain correct. Check for any looseness or stiffness in the mechanism and adjust accordingly, providing you know what you're doing - you don't want to alter anything and make things worse.
Similarly, you might want to periodically check the connections, cables, or wiring to make sure they're secure and not frayed or damaged. And, if your handbrake connects to software or drivers on your computer or gaming console, ensure that these are up-to-date to prevent any compatibility issues or performance glitches.
All that being said, maintenance needs may vary depending on the specific make and model of the handbrake, so make sure you look into the specific maintenance requirements for your handbrake to make sure you maintain it correctly.