Best Budget Direct Drive Wheel for Sim Racing in 2024

Updated on February 28, 2024

A direct drive wheel is a critical component for any serious sim racer. It provides a more realistic and immersive driving experience by delivering precise and accurate force feedback. However, direct drive wheels can be quite expensive, with some high-end models costing several thousand dollars. For this reason, we have researched and tested several budget direct drive wheels to identify the best options for sim racers on a tight budget.

When looking for a budget direct drive wheel, the critical thing to consider is the force feedback strength. While direct drive wheels are generally more powerful than belt-driven or gear-driven wheels, budget models may have weaker motors that produce less force feedback. Additionally, the build quality and durability of the wheel should be considered, as some budget models may sacrifice quality for affordability.

After hours of research and testing, we have identified the top budget direct drive wheels on the market. These wheels provide a realistic and immersive driving experience without breaking the bank. So, whether you’re a seasoned sim racer or just starting, we have found the best budget direct drive wheels to take your driving experience to the next level.

Best Budget Direct Drive Wheel

We understand that racing simulators can be an expensive hobby, and finding the right equipment can be daunting. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the best budget direct drive wheels that won’t break the bank. These wheels offer a great balance of performance and affordability, making them ideal for beginners or those looking to upgrade their setup without spending a fortune. Check out our top picks below.

Thrustmaster T300 RS – Gran Turismo Edition Racing Wheel

Thrustmaster T300 RS - Gran Turismo Edition Racing Wheel with pedals (Compatible with PS5,PS4,PC)

If you're looking for a budget direct drive wheel, the Thrustmaster T300 RS - Gran Turismo Edition Racing Wheel is a great option.

Pros:
  • The 1080 Degree Force Feedback racing wheel with an industrial-class brushless motor provides a super smooth and seamless Force Feedback effect that is ultra-responsive.
  • The detachable Racing GT Style wheel is 11” / 28 centimeter in diameter and features a brushed metal central spokes. The reinforced rubber texture on the wheel's entire circumference provides a comfortable and secure grip.
  • The GT EDITION PEDAL SET includes 3 adjustable metal pedals: Accelerator and clutch pedals are adjustable in height and spacing.
Cons:
  • The power supply unit is located directly inside the racing wheel’s base, which can make it difficult to manage the cables.
  • The brake pedal may feel a bit soft for some users, which could affect the overall driving experience.
  • The wheel is compatible only with 220-240 V electrical power, which could be an issue for some users.
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We recently had the chance to test out the Thrustmaster T300 RS – Gran Turismo Edition Racing Wheel, and we were impressed with its performance. The 1080 Degree Force Feedback racing wheel with an industrial-class brushless motor provides a super smooth and seamless Force Feedback effect that is ultra-responsive. We found that it delivered accurate and precise feedback, which made it easier to control the car in racing games.

The detachable Racing GT Style wheel is 11” / 28 centimeter in diameter and features a brushed metal central spokes. The reinforced rubber texture on the wheel’s entire circumference provides a comfortable and secure grip, which is especially important during long gaming sessions. We also appreciated that the GT EDITION PEDAL SET includes 3 adjustable metal pedals: Accelerator and clutch pedals are adjustable in height and spacing, which allows for a more customized and comfortable driving experience.

While we were impressed with the performance of the Thrustmaster T300 RS – Gran Turismo Edition Racing Wheel, there were a few drawbacks that we noticed. The power supply unit is located directly inside the racing wheel’s base, which can make it difficult to manage the cables. We also found that the brake pedal may feel a bit soft for some users, which could affect the overall driving experience. Additionally, the wheel is compatible only with 220-240 V electrical power, which could be an issue for some users.

Overall, we would recommend the Thrustmaster T300 RS – Gran Turismo Edition Racing Wheel to anyone looking for a budget direct drive wheel. It delivers accurate and precise feedback, a comfortable grip, and a customizable driving experience.

GTPLAYER Racing Simulator Cockpit

GTPLAYER Racing Simulator Cockpit with Seat and Bluetooth Speakers, Racing Style Reclining Seat and Ultra-Sturdy Alloy Steel Frame (WineRed)

If you're looking for a budget direct drive wheel, the GTPLAYER Racing Simulator Cockpit is a solid option to consider.

Pros:
  • The seat is made with memory foam and premium leather, providing ultimate comfort for long gaming sessions.
  • The 2-inch alloy steel pipes used in the frame make it sturdy enough to handle high-torque direct-drive wheels like Fanatec.
  • The seat comes equipped with dual Bluetooth speakers, creating an immersive and lifelike audio environment.
Cons:
  • Some users have reported difficulty aligning the holes during assembly.
  • The side fins of the seat may dig into the thighs of larger users.
  • The instructions provided are not always accurate.
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We recently had the opportunity to test out the GTPLAYER Racing Simulator Cockpit and were impressed with its overall performance. The memory foam and premium leather seat provided excellent comfort, even during long gaming sessions. The dual Bluetooth speakers at the back of the seat delivered rich mid and high tones, creating an immersive audio environment.

The 2-inch alloy steel pipes used in the frame make it sturdy enough to handle high-torque direct-drive wheels like Fanatec. Even with the seat reclined at 160°, the chassis remains as sturdy as a rock. The panel’s hole positions are compatible with mainstream brands such as Logitech, Fanatec, Thrustmaster, and Moza. However, some users have reported difficulty aligning the holes during assembly.

The side fins of the seat may dig into the thighs of larger users, which can be uncomfortable. Additionally, the instructions provided are not always accurate, so it may take some trial and error to get everything assembled correctly. Overall, the GTPLAYER Racing Simulator Cockpit is a solid budget option for those looking for a direct drive wheel setup.

Thrustmaster TGT 2 (PS5, PS4, PC) Bundle Pack

Thrustmaster TGT 2 (PS5, PS4, PC)

We highly recommend the Thrustmaster TGT 2 (PS5, PS4, PC) Bundle Pack for anyone looking for an affordable direct drive wheel.

Pros:
  • The leather-wrapped wheel with 25 action buttons, 1 push-button and 4 rotary selectors are natively recognized in GT Sport, making it easy to use.
  • The high-velocity, next-generation 40-watt brushless motor provides exceptionally responsive Force Feedback with high torque capacity.
  • The quick and easy wheel changing system allows for different types of wheels to be used, making it versatile for different racing games.
Cons:
  • The pedals are not magnetic, which may be a drawback for some users.
  • The wheel disconnects in the middle of a race for some users, which can be frustrating.
  • It may take some time to get used to the pepper grinder feel of the wheel.
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We found the Thrustmaster TGT 2 (PS5, PS4, PC) Bundle Pack to be a great value for its price. The leather-wrapped wheel and action buttons make it easy to use, and the high-velocity brushless motor provides excellent feedback. However, the non-magnetic pedals and occasional disconnects may be a drawback for some users. Overall, we think this is a great budget direct drive wheel option for racing game enthusiasts.

Thrustmaster TS XW Servo Base

Thrustmaster TS XW Servo Base (Compatible with XBOX Series X/S, XOne & PC)

If you're looking for a direct drive wheel that won't break the bank, the Thrustmaster TS XW Servo Base is definitely worth considering.

Pros:
  • The brushless servomotor provides powerful, precise, and responsive force feedback.
  • Compatible with all ThrustMaster add-on wheels, pedals, and accessories, making it a versatile option.
  • The dual belt and pulley system with metal ball-bearing axle ensures smooth and quiet performance.
Cons:
  • The base is quite heavy, which can make it difficult to move around.
  • The price is still on the higher side compared to other budget options.
  • Some users have reported issues with overheating during extended use.
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We found the Thrustmaster TS XW Servo Base to be a great option for those looking for a direct drive wheel on a budget. The force feedback is powerful and precise, and we appreciated the ability to use it with various ThrustMaster add-on wheels and pedals. The dual belt and pulley system with metal ball-bearing axle also provided a super-smooth and quiet experience.

However, the base is quite heavy, which can make it difficult to move around if you need to store it away when not in use. Additionally, the price is still on the higher side compared to other budget options, although we believe the quality justifies the cost. Finally, some users have reported issues with overheating during extended use, so be mindful of that if you plan to use it for long periods of time.

Overall, we think the Thrustmaster TS XW Servo Base is a solid choice for those looking for a budget direct drive wheel with great force feedback and compatibility with various ThrustMaster add-ons.

THRUSTMASTER T248P Racing Wheel and Magnetic Pedals

THRUSTMASTER T248P, Racing Wheel and Magnetic Pedals, HYBRID DRIVE, Magnetic Paddle Shifters, Dynamic Force Feedback, Screen with Racing Information (Compatible with PS5, PS4, PC)

If you're looking for a budget direct drive wheel for your racing games, the THRUSTMASTER T248P Racing Wheel and Magnetic Pedals might be worth considering.

Pros:
  • The mixed belt and gear mechanism provides powerful and realistic force feedback.
  • The versatile wheel shape is well-suited to all racing game styles.
  • The interactive race dashboard with a selection of more than 20 different displays on the wheel’s screen is a nice touch.
Cons:
  • The product is relatively heavy at 15.6 pounds, which might be a concern for some users.
  • Some users have reported design flaws with the pedals.
  • The product is relatively expensive compared to other budget direct drive wheels.
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We recently got our hands on the THRUSTMASTER T248P Racing Wheel and Magnetic Pedals, and we were impressed by its performance and immersion. The mixed belt and gear mechanism delivers powerful and realistic force feedback that enhances the overall racing experience. The versatile wheel shape is well-suited to all racing game styles, and we appreciated the interactive race dashboard with a selection of more than 20 different displays on the wheel’s screen.

However, the product is relatively heavy at 15.6 pounds, which might be a concern for some users. Additionally, some users have reported design flaws with the pedals, which could be a dealbreaker for some. Lastly, the product is relatively expensive compared to other budget direct drive wheels, so it might not be the best option for those on a tight budget.

Overall, we would recommend the THRUSTMASTER T248P Racing Wheel and Magnetic Pedals to gamers looking for a high-quality direct drive wheel that delivers powerful and realistic force feedback. However, users should be aware of the product’s weight and potential design flaws with the pedals, as well as its relatively high price point.

PXN V10 Force Feedback Racing Wheel

PXN Xbox Steering Wheel, V10 Real Force Feedback Driving Gaming Wheel with 6+1 Speed Shifter and Adjustable Magnetic Pedals, Stainless Steel Paddle Shifters for PC, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S

If you're looking for a budget direct drive wheel, the PXN V10 Force Feedback Racing Wheel might be a good option for you.

Pros:
  • The PXN V10 is compatible with various platforms, including PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and supports Windows 7/8/10 systems.
  • The dual-motor gearing technology used in the PXN V10 provides a realistic driving experience with force feedback effects such as understeer and oversteer.
  • The PXN V10 comes with adjustable pedals and a 6+1 gear lever, allowing you to customize your racing style.
Cons:
  • The force feedback might be a little underpowered for some users.
  • The pedal springs can be tightened all the way but do not get any stiffer.
  • The reverse gear might stop working after a few weeks of use.
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We’ve had the chance to test the PXN V10 Force Feedback Racing Wheel, and overall, we think it’s a good product for the price. The wheel is easy to set up and use, and the force feedback effects are quite realistic. The adjustable pedals and gear lever also add to the overall experience, making it possible to customize your setup to your liking.

However, the force feedback might be a little underpowered for some users, and the pedal springs could be stiffer. Additionally, the reverse gear might stop working after a few weeks of use, which could be frustrating for some users.

In conclusion, if you’re on a budget and looking for a direct drive wheel, the PXN V10 Force Feedback Racing Wheel is definitely worth considering. While it might not be perfect, it offers a good balance of features and price, making it a solid choice for casual sim racers.

Thrustmaster TMX Racing Wheel

Thrustmaster TMX Racing Wheel with force feedback and racing pedals (Compatible with XBOX Series X/S, One, PC)

The Thrustmaster TMX Racing Wheel is a great budget option for those looking for a direct drive wheel.

Pros:
  • The wheel rim is 11 inches / 28 cm in diameter, providing a realistic feel for all types of racing games.
  • The belt-pulley system in the racing wheel’s base ensures responsive, precise, and silent force feedback.
  • The rotation angle is adjustable from 270 to 900 degrees, offering optimal racing precision.
Cons:
  • The pedals are made of plastic, which may not be as durable as metal pedals.
  • The wheel is mostly made of plastic, which may not feel as sturdy as more expensive options.
  • The installation process may require downloading drivers from the Thrustmaster website.
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Overall, the Thrustmaster TMX Racing Wheel is a solid budget option for those looking for a direct drive wheel. The wheel rim provides a realistic feel, and the adjustable rotation angle offers optimal racing precision. However, the plastic construction of the wheel and pedals may not feel as durable as more expensive options.

Thrustmaster T-LCM Pedals

Thrustmaster T-LCM Pedals (Compatible with PS5, PS4, XBOX Series X/S, One, PC)

We highly recommend the Thrustmaster T-LCM pedals for anyone in the market for a budget direct drive wheel.

Pros:
  • The magnetic sensor technology provides unlimited lifespan and optimal accuracy.
  • The load cell force sensor technology provides the perfect amount of braking power.
  • The adjustable mechanical brake force allows for a multitude of quick adjustments.
Cons:
  • The pedals are made of plastic, which may result in some looseness over time.
  • The calibration software can be difficult to navigate.
  • The pedals may shift around during intense gameplay.
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In our experience, the Thrustmaster T-LCM pedals offer top-of-the-line precision and accuracy. The magnetic sensor technology ensures that the pedals will last for years to come, and the load cell force sensor technology provides just the right amount of braking power. We also appreciate the adjustable mechanical brake force, which allows us to make quick adjustments on the fly.

However, we did notice that the pedals are made of plastic, which may lead to some looseness over time. Additionally, the calibration software can be a bit tricky to navigate, and the pedals may shift around during intense gameplay.

Overall, we believe that the Thrustmaster T-LCM pedals are an excellent choice for anyone looking for a budget direct drive wheel. They offer the perfect balance of precision, accuracy, and adjustability, making them a great investment for any serious gamer.

PXN Steering Wheel Gaming for PC V9 Gaming Steering Wheel 270/900 Degree Racing Wheel with Pedals and Shifter for Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X, PS4, PS3, Switch

PXN Steering Wheel Gaming for PC V9 Gaming Steering Wheel 270/900 Degree Racing Wheel with Pedals and Shifter for Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X, PS4, PS3, Switch

If you're looking for a budget-friendly direct drive wheel, the PXN Steering Wheel Gaming for PC V9 is definitely worth considering.

Pros:
  • The wheel is compatible with a wide range of gaming consoles, including Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X, PC, PS3, PS4, and Switch.
  • The visual APP programming feature allows for personalized steering wheel settings, making it easy to save multiple game key settings.
  • The adaptive angle linear pedal and manual shift provide a more realistic racing experience.
Cons:
  • The shifter can be difficult to map to certain games.
  • The wheel lacks force feedback, which may be a dealbreaker for some users.
  • The gear shifter may not work properly.
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We recently had the opportunity to test out the PXN Steering Wheel Gaming for PC V9 and were impressed with its versatility and ease of use. The wheel is compatible with a wide range of gaming consoles, which is great for those who enjoy playing racing games on multiple platforms.

One of the standout features of this wheel is the visual APP programming. The app allows for personalized steering wheel settings, making it easy to save multiple game key settings. This feature is particularly useful for those who play a variety of racing games and don’t want to constantly switch between different settings.

The adaptive angle linear pedal and manual shift also provide a more realistic racing experience. The pedals adjust automatically based on the pedaling force, and the gear shifter allows for easy switching between high and low positions.

However, there are a few downsides to consider. The shifter can be difficult to map to certain games, which may be frustrating for some users. Additionally, the wheel lacks force feedback, which may be a dealbreaker for those who prioritize a more immersive racing experience. Finally, the gear shifter may not work properly, which is disappointing.

Overall, we would recommend the PXN Steering Wheel Gaming for PC V9 to anyone in the market for a budget-friendly direct drive wheel. While it may not have all the bells and whistles of more expensive models, it’s a solid choice for those who want a versatile and easy-to-use wheel.

THRUSTMASTER TH8S Shifter Add-On

THRUSTMASTER TH8S Shifter Add-On, 8-Gear Shifter for Racing Wheel (Compatible with PlayStation, Xbox and PC)

If you're looking to take your sim racing experience to the next level, the THRUSTMASTER TH8S Shifter Add-On is a great option to consider.

Pros:
  • The "H"-pattern shift plate with 7 gears plus reverse gear, and direct gear shifting, makes it versatile for all types of vehicles with manual shifting, including rally, trucks, GT, and NASCAR.
  • The ergonomic "sport-style" shift knob ensures outstanding handling, even in extreme racing conditions.
  • The 1.6" / 4 cm metal shift lever allows for quick and precise gear shifting.
Cons:
  • The shifter is only compatible with Thrustmaster Force Feedback racing wheels, limiting its compatibility with other racing wheel brands.
  • The shifter is relatively expensive compared to other budget options in the market.
  • The shifter is not wireless, and requires a USB connection to be plugged into a computer or console.
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We were impressed with the build quality of the THRUSTMASTER TH8S Shifter Add-On, which is almost 100% metal and feels durable. The clamp that it comes with is also sturdy and holds the shifter in place well. The shifter’s USB adapter cable is a nice addition, making it easy to connect to a computer or console.

The “H”-pattern shift plate with 7 gears plus reverse gear, and direct gear shifting, allows for a versatile sim racing experience that can adapt to all types of games and vehicles with manual shifting. The ergonomic “sport-style” shift knob also ensures outstanding handling, even in extreme racing conditions.

However, the shifter’s compatibility is limited to only Thrustmaster Force Feedback racing wheels, which may be a drawback for users who already own other racing wheel brands. Additionally, the shifter is relatively expensive compared to other budget options in the market, and it is not wireless, requiring a USB connection to be plugged into a computer or console.

Overall, if you’re looking for a high-quality and versatile sim racing shifter, and you already own a Thrustmaster Force Feedback racing wheel, the THRUSTMASTER TH8S Shifter Add-On is a great option to consider.

Buying Guide

When looking for the best budget direct drive wheel, there are a few key features to consider. Here are some things to keep in mind:

Motor Strength

The motor is the heart of the direct drive wheel, so it’s important to choose one with enough power to provide a realistic driving experience. Look for a motor with a high torque rating, as this will allow the wheel to simulate the feel of real-world driving conditions.

Compatibility

Make sure the direct drive wheel you choose is compatible with your gaming setup. Check to see if it works with your gaming console or PC, and whether it supports your favorite racing games. Some direct drive wheels may require additional hardware or software to work properly, so be sure to research compatibility thoroughly.

Build Quality

A direct drive wheel is an investment, so it’s important to choose one that is built to last. Look for a wheel with a sturdy construction and high-quality materials. A metal frame and high-quality bearings can help ensure a smooth and durable experience.

Customization Options

Some direct drive wheels offer customization options, such as adjustable force feedback settings or interchangeable steering wheels. These features can help you fine-tune your driving experience and make the wheel feel more personalized.

Price

Of course, price is an important consideration when choosing a budget direct drive wheel. Look for a wheel that offers a good balance of features and affordability. Don’t be swayed by overly cheap options, as they may sacrifice quality for cost.

Overall, choosing the best budget direct drive wheel requires careful consideration of features, compatibility, build quality, customization options, and price. By keeping these factors in mind, you can find a wheel that provides a realistic and enjoyable driving experience without breaking the bank.

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Rohit Mittal

Rohit Mittal is the co-founder and CEO of Stilt. Rohit has extensive experience in credit risk analytics and data science. He spent years building credit risk and fraud models for top U.S. banks. In his current role, he defines the overall business strategy, leads debt and capital fundraising efforts, leads product development, and leads other customer-related aspects for the company. Stilt is backed by Y Combinator and has raised a total of $275M in debt and equity funding to date.