There's no better way to improve your game time with Forza Horizon 4, F1 2018, The Crew 2, or any other racing title than with an Xbox One steering wheel. Not only do these specialised controllers provide a more immersive experience, you'll also find yourself with greater control over your virtual cars than ever before. Whether you're looking for the most perfect realism money can buy, or something cheap and cheerful, our expert guide will help you find the right wheel for you - and we've tested these ourselves, so you know you're getting the full picture of each.
With the Black Friday sales on their way, it'll soon be a great time to pick up an Xbox One steering wheel. When things kick off later this month, we'll be pulling together all the best Black Friday game deals for your convenience, and it could be your chance to find a bargain - so make sure to check back with us.
- Check out the best Black Friday Xbox deals
1. Fanatec CSL Elite bundle
The best Xbox One steering wheel you can buy
Rotation: 1080° | Pedals: 2 | Buttons: 14 | Adjustable pedals: Yes
Fanatec's wares may be the most expensive on this list, but their newer, relatively lower-priced offering is absolutely stunning and leaves the competition in the dust in terms of Force Feedback strength and attention to detail. This wheelbase is compatible not just with Xbox One, but also PC and even PS4, so the money you could have spent on multiple units can instead go on superior build quality.
The Force Feedback servo in the Elite Wheelbase+ is incredibly strong – enough to shake the entire racing seat you’re playing it on as you clatter around the streets of Monaco in F1 2017. The brushless motor provides smooth transitions between seamless force levels, and – especially important if you haven’t got the money for a purpose-built rack, it comes with a table clamp.
Steering Wheel Quality
The bundled-in wheel isn't as fancy as some of Fanatec's options, but it's still a heavy-duty piece of hardware, and features a built-in screen that can be used for data relaying, or to customise the various parameters of control the wheel offers. Fanatec understands sim racers' needs and wishes, and customisation options are everywhere, meaning you can make the car control exactly the way you want it. And of course it feels ultra-solid when it's connected to the unit - this is ultra-deluxe gaming that's getting extremely close to the real thing.
It comes with the CSL Elite Pedals, which are, in my opinion, the best I’ve used in terms of control – and that includes the more expensive ClubSport model. The key difference is in the angle of the accelerator pedal and the depth of travel. It feels ultra-precise, allowing you to feed in the throttle or keep the revs at mid-range through start sequences or long corners with ease. The brake pedal, too, is just right – there’s a rubber stopper that provides resistance, but right out of the box, the sensitivity is exactly where you want it, allowing for light dabs, firm braking, or stand-on-everything, wheels-locked-like-Sebastian Vettel levels of depression. The heavy-duty metal housing feels really solid – the only shortcoming really is that the pedalboard really does need to be mounted to a racing seat or at least something with a wide base – it can slide or even tip up if you’re too aggressive under braking if it’s just loose on the floor. There is, of course, one more obvious shortcoming if you’re after the full simulation setup – there’s no clutch pedal included with the base set, though you can buy an optional ‘loadcell’ kit, which gives you a resistance-based brake pedal, and lets you use the old pedal as a clutch instead.
2. Thrustmaster TX
The best wheel for serious enthusiasts who still care about cost
Wheel rotation: 900º | Pedals: 3 | Buttons: 13 | Adjustable pedals: Yes
If your budget can’t stretch to true professional-spec equipment, but you still want all the features you’d expect from a serious steering wheel, then the Thrustmaster TX is the one for you. While it doesn’t quite have the build quality or strength of motors of the Fanatec models, if you’ve never tried a Fanatec wheel, you’d swear this is just like the real thing.
Steering wheel quality
Like the Fanatec wheels, the TX is modular, which means you can choose a steering wheel depending on what you fancy. We recommend the Thrustmaster TX Racing Wheel Leather Edition, which comes with the T3PA 3-pedal add-on for your feet to enjoy. The wheel feels really sturdy and the rather brutalist slant to the design is much more like a racing car than a road model. The trim on the wheel can rub slightly on your hands after extended play sessions, but it’s leather so it’ll soften over time (and your hands will get harder too). Button placement is a little far for your thumbs to reach, which is a problem when you play a handbrake-reliant title like Dirt Rally (and there’s no handbrake attachment available right now), but reaching over while on a straight to talk to the pits on F1 feels just fine. The paddle shifters feel heavy-duty and not flimsy like some other models.
The servo itself (the part that the wheel fits into and contains the force feedback motor) is compact and has a pleasant weight to it. It easily clamps onto a desk or racing seat, and the force feedback motor has a real sense that it’s feeding back the vibrations coming through a car’s suspension, especially in a full sim like Assetto Corsa.
These are great - full-size and responsive. The black plastic footrest is wide, but can be difficult to clamp onto some racing seats, so you may need to fashion a new base for them to go on. They slide around the floor too much on their own, so they do really need to be either mounted or held in place with something solid and heavy. Again, Fanatec’s are more solid-feeling, but if you haven’t used those, this feels incredibly really close to driving a real car.
3. Logitech G920
A great, serious wheel at a more friendly price
Wheel rotation: 900º | Pedals: 3 | Buttons: 13 | Adjustable pedals: Yes
Logitech and Thrustmaster offer similar-quality products, and it's the pedals bundled with the former that let the package down. But let's have a look at each aspect in turn. Here is our full Logitech G920 review, if you need more details.
The Force Feedback in the Logitech wheel is exemplary, with strong, smooth forces pushing and pulling against your hands as you control the vehicle. It feels slightly smoother to use than the Thrustmaster TX, but also a little less realistic. It's very much a deluxe game controller rather than a replica of a real steering wheel setup. It's not so strong that you'll have to physically wrestle with the car like with the Fanatec servos, but you'll still feel the steering go light when you understeer, clatter across kerbs and feel cars rubbing against you in tight packs. Lovely stuff.
Steering wheel quality
This is a very comfortable wheel to actually hold, but isn't interchangeable like other similarly-priced units, so you're stuck with the one in the box. That's really no bad thing, though - the paddle shifters feel nice, the fatter rim than other wheels feels really nice to hold and adds to the smooth sensation of driving, and the buttons' raised up profiling makes for a wheel that's both stylish and practical for gaming.
This is the only real downside to the unit. The unit we tested had a very stiff brake pedal from new, which meant that applying 100% braking was virtually impossible without standing on the pedal with all your weight. The problem apparently lies with the rubber stopper that is intended to give you a realistic feel of resistance, but it seems that some units' rubber is too hard. It can be modified, will get better over time, or you might just get lucky with a revised unit, but the fact remains that other units offer a far more playable experience straight out of the box. Still, assuming you can get the brakes working well, the rest of the unit is a bargain at this price, considering the product you're getting.
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4. Thrustmaster TMX
Budget gaming that still gives you Force Feedback? Yes, please!
Wheel rotation: 900º | Pedals: up to 3 - sold separately | Buttons: 12 | Adjustable pedals: Yes
This is the entry-level Force Feedback wheel for Xbox One, but that doesn't mean a disappointing experience - far from it. It actually means you get the feel of an arcade cabinet in your home, access to advanced features in your racing games that were previously denied to you, and you get a feel for what it's really like to drive a car.
Obviously the quality of the servo here is a far cry from the top-of-the-range products elsewhere on this list, but you so get forces pushing and pulling at the wheel as you race. There's nothing quite so exciting as seeing another car moving towards you and then feeling the nudge through your hands as you drive - it's like the game is actually happening. Games these days have a lot of detail in their Force Feedback systems, so a lot of the quality in terms of how good the effect is comes from the software, rather than the hardware. And since Thrustmaster is a respected brand, even their entry-level gear is worth playing.
The layout of this wheel is very similar to the Leather Racing Edition of the top-tier model, which is perfectly functional, but doesn't have buttons easily accessible under your thumbs - you do need to reach for them. When that means your handbrake isn't the easiest button to press - especially when you're turning the wheel already - that's not ideal. However, it's a solid and otherwise pleasant-feeling design, and the long-pronged paddle shifters means you can easily change gear whether you hold your wheel at the 10-to-two position, or the racier quarter-to-three. It likely won't take as much of a beating as more expensive wheels, but if you drive smoothly, it'll serve you very well indeed.
Not so good, sadly. A decent pedal unit needs metal and a clutch pedal, but this is a plasticky, two-pedal affair. It still allows you to input throttle and brake controls at varying degrees, which means you're less likely to lock the wheels under braking, or spin the wheels of the startline. It's still way, way better than using a standard control pad (though Xbox One's haptic triggers are pretty wonderful at doing those same tasks), so controlling the game won't be an issue. Just don't expect it to feel like there's a real car under your feet - there plainly isn't.
5. Thrustmaster Ferrari 458 Spider
Great budget wheel with a neat visual style
Rotation: 240º | Pedals: 2 | Buttons: 15 | Adjustable pedals: Yes
This is the budget end of the range, but still more money than an actual game, so think carefully before you buy. It's still far, far better-feeling for driving games than a pad because you get a wheel and pedals for progressive steering and brake/throttle inputs, but is more suited to casual arcade racers than true sims (though it'll still be loads of fun with Forza).
The most important thing here is what the unit lacks, and that is Force Feedback. There's 'linear resistance' on the steering wheel, which means it gets harder to turn the more you turn it. That's fair enough, but rather than a motor feeding back what's happening in the game through your hands, this is just a simple bungee cord that doesn't translate any of the action into extra movement. It's also worth noting that the wheel doesn't rotate as much between full locks, which means less precision (but also more responsive steering compared to your movements). Less realistic, but better for arcade racing games.
The wheel feels less solid and realistic as a result, although since it's modelled on a real Ferrari wheel, at least the design is suitably racy and comfortable. It too has long-pronged paddle shifters, so you can change gear with your fingertips while you race, just like real racing drivers.
Again, while the brake pedal here offers progressive input, but this is a more cheaply-made pedal set than others on this list, and you will feel the difference. But the fact remains that controlling brakes and acceleration with your feet instead of triggers on a pad is awesome, so if you want to feel like a racing driver when you play your favourite racing games, this will do the job well.
6. Fanatec Forza Motorsport Racing Wheels and Pedals
If money REALLY is no object, this is sublime
Rotation: 1080° | Pedals: 3 | Buttons: 31 | Adjustable pedals: Yes
If money really is no object, then Fanatec's ClubSport range is simply the best you can get. We're talking about gear that's comparable to that on real racing cars. There are many different accessories and wheel rims you can buy, so we've singled out this bundle - the Fanatec Forza Motorsport Racing Wheels and Pedals - as our choice for a top-of-the-range bundle.
The best you can get. The Force Feedback is strong enough to cause you physical injury if it hits your hand. The motor in here is incredibly high-quality, meaning every influence on your car's steering column is fed back through to your hands with intense detail and force. It's also built to last, so while the outlay is undeniably massive, you should be all-set for the rest of the generation. Beyond, in fact, since it's PC compatible too - this could keep you going for a decade, at least. This is supreme.
The Forza-branded wheel rim is a fine wheel, but the clever thing here is that the 'Universal Hub' is designed to work with virtually any steering wheel, which means you could drill holes in a real car's wheel off eBay and use it with Xbox One buttons. Madness, yes. Entirely modular, the hub allows you to disconnect any prongs of buttons to make it fit your chosen rim, while retaining the full complement of inputs on the top of the steering column. Every input is customisable via the wheel itself, meaning you can have as much fun tinkering as driving. This is as hardcore as it gets, and a racing enthusiast's dream - the kind of customisation options formerly only available on PC are now on Xbox One.
When you unbox the ClubSport pedals, it's immediately obvious what your extra money is buying you. The red springs at the back look so good, you'll wonder if it's all just been snaffled off the back of a real racing team's lorry. The throttle pedal is unusual in that it hinges near its base, which doesn't feel quite as nice to use as the CSL Elite model we chose for Number 1. The brake pedal feels magnificent, however. And having a clutch pedal is the icing on a very tasty cake. Personally, I do prefer the CSL Elite pedal set, but this is inarguably the highest-quality pedal set on Xbox One, so if you're serious about racing games, try them both out and see which you prefer.
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