Which cheap racing wheels are best?
Racing games are one of the most popular gaming genres today. From driving through the dirt and dust in a rally and offroad titles to taking on world-famous racetracks, there are games for every kind of racing driver.
While you can play these games perfectly with the standard console controller or computer keyboard, the best way to experience them is with a racing wheel. These can be rather expensive, but the HORI Overdrive Racing Wheel will be perfect for a more affordable option.
What to know before you buy a cheap racing wheel
Racing wheels are available for a variety of platforms, like PC, Xbox and PlayStation. While PC and Xbox racing wheels are generally interchangeable, PlayStation wheels are not. Consider what platform you will be playing on, and get a compatible racing wheel.
Functions and options
A racing wheel is excellent for drifting around corners and having precision control, but additional features make it more enjoyable. Some wheels are bundled with foot pedals and gear shifters, while others have different functions mounted on the wheel itself. If you require more options than just the racing wheel, look at wheels that allow for a bit more control.
Drivers should secure a racing wheel to a surface where it won’t easily fall off or move position. Consider where you will be using the racing wheel and what type of mounting bracket would be required. Some wheels fasten onto a desk, while others require a more sturdy attachment.
What to look for in a quality cheap racing wheel
Cheap when it comes to racing wheels doesn’t mean that you have to skimp on quality. But manufacturers should at least construct the wheel from robust and durable materials. Generally, cheap racing wheels use plastic, but good quality racing wheels will also incorporate metal and leather.
Controlling the vehicle is one thing, but feeling the tarmac react to the wheel is another. And that can significantly increase the game’s enjoyability. Most racing wheels, including more affordable ones, will have some force feedback built-in to the wheel. This allows you to feel the stiffness of the vehicle’s wheels on the track – almost like a virtual version of power steering.
A cheap racing wheel doesn’t usually come with any additional accessories, but you can buy extra components if you wish. These include things like a gear shifter, handbrake or foot pedals. A good quality racing wheel will allow the setup to incorporate into your existing setup with no hassle.
How much you can expect to spend on a cheap racing wheel
Top-tier racing wheels can be prohibitively expensive if you aren’t a professional gamer. Retailing for $200-$300, it will be out of reach for most. However, drivers can buy cheap racing wheels for less than $100.
Cheap racing wheel FAQ
What’s the difference between a cheap and expensive racing wheel?
A. The main difference is usually in the build quality and the materials used. Cheap racing wheels are made mainly of plastic parts. Expensive racing wheels can incorporate steel, leather and intricate designs. Some expensive racing wheels can also have better handling, allowing for smaller movements.
Do I need a manual gear shifter if I have a racing wheel?
A. This will depend on your racing style, but getting an additional gear shifter isn’t necessary. Some racing wheels will have paddle shifts on the side, which is just as good as a shifter.
What’s the best cheap racing wheel to buy?
Top cheap racing wheel
What you need to know: This is an excellent racing wheel that feels good and looks fantastic.
What you’ll love: Officially licensed by Microsoft for use with the Xbox One console, the Overdrive racing wheel features several additional buttons. Replicating the buttons found on an Xbox controller, it has the D-pad, the face buttons and the bumpers. This helps with changing car views or shifting gears. The racing wheel is a full-size wheel that uses sturdy rubber and plastic, and it also comes with foot pedals. It uses a durable clamp to secure the racing wheel onto a flat surface.
What you should consider: The racing wheel is only compatible with certain Xbox and PC games.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top cheap racing wheel for the money
What you need to know: This is an affordable option for first-time drivers.
What you’ll love: At less than $100, the PXN V3II is compatible with the Xbox One, PC, PlayStation and Nintendo Switch. It features a full-size steering wheel, a pair of foot pedals and a manual gear shifter on the right side of the wheel. It has game controller face buttons and bumpers in the center.
What you should consider: The racing wheel is secured to a surface through seven suction cups. There is no way to mount it onto a table.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: If you are a fan of Mario Kart, this racing wheel is a must-have.
What you’ll love: Officially licensed by Nintendo for its hugely popular Mario Kart games, this racing wheel is slightly smaller than most but features a host of buttons and paddles for in-game control. It is secured to a surface with four suction cups and ships with a pair of foot pedals. While it is designed for Mario Kart, you can use it for other PC games through the USB cable and programmable buttons.
What you should consider: The foot pedals are not as sturdy as you would like and tend to slip around the floor when stepped on too hard.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.
Charlie Fripp writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
Copyright 2021 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.