Looking to enhance your racing game immersion with the best sim racing shifter? Look no further than our carefully curated list, designed to help you discover the perfect gear stick to complement your setup. We've selected these shifters based on factors like price, user reviews, and standout features, with a keen focus on durability, utilising materials such as steel, and offering a variety of speeds - typically around six or seven -to maximise longevity.
Recognising the diverse preferences of racing enthusiasts, we've included both H-pattern and sequential gear sticks too, to seamlessly integrate with your existing gear, be it a top racing seat, a set of pedals, or a high-quality racing wheel. An H-pattern shifter provides an authentic road car experience, ideal for games like Forza, while a sequential gearbox delivers the precision required for challenging off-road rally circuits.
So, whether you prefer the seamless sequential shifting of the Thrustmaster TSS Handbrake Sparco Mod+ or the versatility of the Fanatec ClubSport Shifter, which offers a convenient switch between both modes, our list caters to every racer's preferences and needs. Let's dive in...
Best sim racing shifters
- Thrustmaster TH8A - best overall option
- Logitech G Driving Force Shifter - a great budget alternative
- Fanatec ClubSport Shifter SQ v1.5 - a premium shifter for your setup
- Thrustmaster TSS Handbrake Sparco Mod+ - an excellent 2-in-1 option
- Heusinkveld Sim Shifter Sequential - best sequential choice
1. Thrustmaster TH8A
Best sim racing shifter overall
Compatibility: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox
We're kicking things off with this Thrustmaster TH8A as it looks to be one of the best H-pattern shifters on the market right now that's compatible with every major gaming console and wheel, including some of the best force feedback options.
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.
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.
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2. Logitech G Driving Force Shifter
Best budget sim racing shifter
Compatibility: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox
While some shifters on the market can come with a hefty price tag, the Logitech G Driving Force provides a inexpensive option without compromising on quality.
With its classic H-pattern design reminiscent of traditional road vehicles, this shifter offers six gears that deliver smooth and precise shifts, making it effortless to navigate through gears and gain an edge on the track.
Constructed primarily from cost-effective plastic, it's pretty durable too, although the key moving components are crafted from sturdy steel and leather, enhancing the shifter's longevity. Additionally, its compatibility with Logitech's G29, G920, and G923 wheels makes it a perfect complement to any Logitech sim racing enthusiast's setup.
- Read More: Best racing wheels for Xbox
3. Fanatec ClubSport Shifter SQ v1.5
Best premium sim racing shifter
Compatibility: PC, PS4, Xbox One
If you're willing to invest a bit more in your sim racing setup, we highly recommend exploring the Fanatec ClubSport SQ v1.5 shifter for a truly immersive experience.
This exceptional shifter offers an impressive seven gears, including a convenient reverse function accessible by pressing down on the shifter and moving it into the seventh gear position. This feature ensures that you can recover from any mishap on the track with ease.
Crafted entirely from durable metal, this shifter promises outstanding longevity too. Additionally, it provides the flexibility to switch between H-pattern and sequential setups, catering to your personal preference or the specific demands of the racing game you're enjoying.
What's particularly noteworthy is its wide compatibility; it seamlessly integrates with all Fanatec wheels and, with the Clubsport USB adapter, it extends its compatibility to Logitech G920 and Thrustmaster TX wheels. This makes it a versatile and adaptable choice, suitable for a broad spectrum of racing setups.
- Read More: Best racing wheels for PS5
4. Thrustmaster TSS Handbrake Sparco Mod+
Best two-in-one sim racing shifter
Compatibility: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox
The Thrustmaster TSS Handbrake Sparco Mod+ is much more than a handbrake, as the name might suggest. This accessory serves a dual purpose, also functioning as a sequential shifter depending on the game you're playing.
Equipped with H.E.A.R.T HallEffect AccuRate technology, this shifter ensures unparalleled precision without any slowing down, thanks to the absence of tact switches or potentiometers. Its precision is unmatched and long-lasting.
It's also worth noting the gear stick is an exact replica of the genuine shifters found in Sparco's rally and drift range, adding a remarkable level of realism to your racing setup.
So, if you're sitting gaming at your best monitor for racing and feel like your setup needs something extra to take your immersion to the next level, this Thrustmaster shifter is an excellent addition worth considering. Its versatility and authenticity will undoubtedly elevate your racing experience to new heights.
- Read More: Best sim racing handbrakes
5. Heusinkveld Sim Shifter Sequential
Best sequential sim racing shifter
The Heusinkveld Sim Shifter Sequential is a little different from the majority of shifters we've mentioned so far as it is a dedicated specialist in the art of sequential shifting, making it excellent to pair with a premium direct drive wheel.
Despite having only one purpose, this shifter boasts a spectrum of customisable features. You're offered a choice between three distinct levers: a straight 30mm, a straight 50mm, and a bent 50mm lever. Your pick depends on your personal preference and whether you're tearing through a rally course or smoothly navigating a road vehicle.
Moreover, this shifter provides three different shifter knobs, spanning lengths from 46mm to 90mm, handing you complete command over your gear shifter setup. What sets it apart even further is its ball spring resistance system, designed to mimic the tactile feedback of engaging gears in a real racing car, delivering an unparalleled level of realism.
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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...
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.
Do shifters improve performance in sim racing?
Shifters can potentially improve performance in sim racing, but the impact largely depends on personal preference, the type of racing being simulated, and the individual's skill level.
One way a shifter may potentially improve your performance is by providing a more realistic and immersive simulation of games like Gran Turismo, allowing for finer control over gear changes, especially in vehicles that require precise shifting techniques.
The learning curve is important to take into account though. However, while learning to use a shifter may initially slow down performance as it requires practice to efficiently shift gears without losing time or control, it may be beneficial in the long run as you can expertly time your gear changes rather than relying on the game to automatically shift for you.
Also, some racing styles or cars benefit more from a shifter. For instance, rally driving or older cars with manual transmissions might feel more authentic and controllable with a shifter in certain games, although this is more of a personal preference thing.
Ultimately, not all racing styles or cars in simulators require manual shifting, and some sim racers might prefer paddle shifters or automatic transmission for certain types of racing, finding them more comfortable or suitable for their style. But, a shifter can be of use, especially if you want to manually control when you change gears.
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.
Are sim racing shifters easy to install and set up?
How easy a sim racing shifter is to set up can vary depending on the brand and model. However, in general, most sim racing shifters are designed to be user-friendly and come with straightforward installation processes.
This is because most shifters typically connect to your racing wheel or simulator through a USB connection. Once it's plugged in, all you have to do is check that your gaming platform recognises the shifter when it's connected. Some sim racing shifters may require you to install specific drivers or software to ensure proper functionality, so it's worth checking the manufacturer's website or included documentation for any necessary downloads.
Depending on the model, you may need to mount the shifter securely to your racing rig or desk too. Many shifters come with clamps or brackets for easy attachment, so there shouldn't be any problems there.
Ultimately, setting up a shifter should be straightforward. However, if you do run into issues, most manufacturers will have an FAQs section you can check, or you can always try online forums as these might have the answers you need to get your shifter working correctly.