If you're a fan of manual gear changes in racing games and you're looking for one of the best sim racing shifters to level up your setup, then our list has you covered.
We've put together a selection of amazing shifters based on their price, reviews, and any unique features that we feel make these gear sticks worth considering to complete your setup alongside a top racing seat, set of pedals, and a racing wheel.
Features-wise, we're looking out for anything with a good selection of speeds of around six or seven and any shifters made from durable materials like steel to improve their longevity.
We've also taken into account both H-pattern and sequential gear sticks as we appreciate the fact both have their place in racing depending on the type of vehicle you're using in-game.
For instance, if you're driving a regular road car in a game like Forza, an H-pattern shifter is best to replicate the real-life experience at home.
However, if you're tearing up off-road circuits in a rally car, then a sequential gearbox is perhaps the most accurate and true-to-life option to go with.
So, with all this in mind, if you're looking for a sequential shifter, like this Thrustmaster TSS Sparco Mod+, or something where you can switch between the two, like this Fanatec ClubSport Shifter SQ v1.5, then we've got you covered right here. Let's get into it...
Best sim racing shifter
- Thrustmaster TH8A
- Logitech G Driving Force Shifter
- Fanatec ClubSport Shifter SQ v1.5
- Thrustmaster TSS Handbrake Sparco Mod+
- Heusinkveld Sim Shifter Sequential
1. Thrustmaster TH8A
Best sim racing shifter
We're kicking things off with this Thrustmaster TH8A which looks to be one of the best H-pattern shifters on the market right now that's compatible with every major gaming console.
We say it's one of the best H-pattern shifters; however, it can also be used for sequential gear changes as well by simply replacing the faceplate if you're really looking to speed up your shifts.
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At 13cm tall and made from metal, this shifter should help bring realism to your favourite racing games as it's been designed to replicate what most drivers would have at their disposal in real life.
One of the main features though is Thrustmaster's H.E.A.R.T HallEffect AccuRate technology which has been engineered using magnetic sensors to maintain this shifter's precision over time, making it well worth considering if you're a long-time racing fan in our opinion.
2. Logitech G Driving Force Shifter
Best budget sim racing shifter
While shifters can be fairly expensive at times, this Logitech G Driving Force device shouldn't break the bank with its price tag.
It features six gears in the classic H-pattern of a regular road vehicle; however, the gears have a particularly short throw and relatively low resistance which should make your shifts both quick and easy to complete.
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In terms of materials, the outside is made primarily from plastic to keep the cost down, but most of the moving parts in and around the gear stick are made from steel or leather with the aim of increasing this shifter's lifespan.
It's also worth mentioning it's compatible with Logitech's wheels, including its G29, G920, and G923. So, if you're a fan of Logitech sim racing gear, then this shifter is definitely one to consider adding to your setup.
3. Fanatec ClubSport Shifter SQ v1.5
Best premium sim racing shifter
If you've got a little more to spend on a shifter though, then we'd recommend checking out this Fanatec ClubSport SQ v1.5 for a more immersive sim setup.
You get an impressive seven gears with this shifter as well as a reverse function which can be found by pressing down on the shifter and moving it into the seventh gear spot. So, no need to panic if you make a mistake on the track.
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The shifter is also made entirely from metal which should improve its longevity. Moreover, you can switch between the H-pattern and sequential setup depending on your preference or the type of racing game you're playing.
Interestingly, it's compatible with all Fanatec wheels as well as the Logitech G920 and the Thrustmaster TX with the Clubsport USB adapter, making it a more versatile option to consider to suit a wider range of racing setups.
4. Thrustmaster TSS Handbrake Sparco Mod+
Best two-in-one sim racing shifter
Don't be fooled by the word "handbrake" in the title of this Thrustmaster TSS Handbrake Sparco Mod+. While it can be used as one, this unique accessory actually doubles as a sequential shifter depending on the game you're playing.
Like our previous entry from Thrustmaster, this shifter features H.E.A.R.T HallEffect AccuRate technology, meaning there are no tact switches or potentiometers to slow it down, so should deliver unlimited precision that lasts.
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Furthermore, Thrustmaster boasts its gear stick is an exact replica of the genuine shifters equipping products in Sparco’s rally and drift range right now, thus helping to maximise realism in your racing setup.
So, if you're sat gaming at your best monitor for racing and feel like your setup needs something extra to take your immersion to the next level, we feel this Thrustmaster shifter is definitely worth looking into.
5. Heusinkveld Sim Shifter Sequential
Best sequential sim racing shifter
We've mentioned a few two-in-one sequential gear sticks so far, but this Heusinkveld Sim Shifter Sequential has been built for one job - sequence shifting.
Although it only has one job, it features a ton of customisation options. For example, you get a choice of three different levers, one straight 30mm, one straight 50mm, and one bent 50mm lever, depending on your preference and whether you're racing in a rally or road vehicle.
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It also comes with a selection of three shifter knobs, with lengths varying from 46mm to 90mm, giving you complete control over your gear stick setup.
Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of this shifter though is that comes with a ball spring resistance system, which is designed to accurately simulate the feeling of engaging a gear in a real racing car, thus taking realism to a whole new level.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
Figuring out what makes a good sim racing shifter can be a little tricky at times. Don't worry though, we've answered some of the most commonly asked questions right here.
What should you look for from a shifter for sim racing?
With so many shifters available, knowing what features to look out for is essential to help you cut through the noise and select the right bit of kit for your setup.
With this in mind, our first recommendation would be to look at the materials used to make the shifter. Although plastic is relatively cheap, it's unlikely to last as long or give the same realism as a gear stick made of metal.
Another key element to watch out for is stability. Opting for something with a clamp is perhaps the best way to ensure your shifter doesn't slip at a vital moment in your race.
Being made of metal can also help here too as it's typically heavier and, therefore, harder to move when in use.
Finally, choosing the right type of shifter is essential to maximise your performance. You essentially have two options here, H-pattern and sequential, which leads us to our next question...
What do H-pattern and sequential mean?
The two main types of shifters are H-pattern and sequential and, while they both move up and down the gears, the way they go about this is a little different.
An H-pattern shifter presents all the gears available, usually in an "H" layout, and involves both forward and back as well as side-to-side movement. This type is most like the gear stick you'd find in the majority of real-life road cars.
A sequential shifter is a little different as it requires just a forward or backward motion to move between the gears with no side-to-side action.
As its name suggests, you can only move through the gears in sequence, meaning you're unable to jump from fourth gear down to second, for example, like you can with an H-pattern shifter.
How much should you spend on a sim racing shifter?
This really depends on your available budget and the type of shifter you're looking for.
For example, sequential gear sticks tend to be a little more pricey as they're more complex due to presenting the gears in sequence rather than all at once.
H-pattern shifters are usually the cheaper of the two, although you can definitely spend as much on an H-pattern gear stick as a sequential shifter depending on the manufacturer.
Generally speaking, you may find you'll need to spend between $50 and $100 to pick up a shifter made from quality materials that should withstand the test of time.
However, you can, of course, spend more than that if you're a keen sim racing enthusiast. By spending more, you should gain a few additional features as well to take your racing skills to the next level like smoother gear changes and perhaps even multi-functionality.
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