The 10 Best Xbox One Steering Wheels
This wiki has been updated 31 times since it was first published in July of 2015. Whether you're simulating a Formula 1 championship, playing in the mud in Dirt Rally 2, or running from the cops in Grand Theft Auto, driving in video games is considerably easier and more satisfying when using a steering wheel. Many models offer precise sensors, a smooth rotation, and enough settings to streamline any racing experience, for adults as well as those not yet old enough for the road. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
October 30, 2020:
It's awfully difficult to play racing games with a standard controller - a racing wheel is almost certainly the way to go for both driving simulators and racing games. You'll notice straightaway that there several items here from a single manufacturer, and that's for good reason. The Thrustmaster TS XW and Thrustmaster TX RW are two of the best options on the market short of high-dollar modular units, and if you don't want to spend quite so much, the Thrustmaster TX Ferrari 458 Italia is actually very nearly as good. The Thrustmaster TMX Pro is right up there with the Italia, while the Thrustmaster TMX is a good budget-friendly option. The Thrustmaster Ferrari 458 Spider, while effective and fun, is probably only worthwhile for casual users. It should
There are, of course, a few other companies that make effective racing wheels. Unsurprisingly, the Logitech G920 is near the top, and performs as well as anything else in its price range. The PXN V900 costs considerably less than much of the competition, and it's actually pretty reliable given the price. It's also compatible with most platforms, which is nice for gamers who like to switch between console and PC. If you really don't want to spend much, both the Hori Overdrive and SubSonic Universal are worth considering, but be warned that they may take some extra effort to get tuned and working, and they can offer a range of user experiences in terms of reliability and durability.
May 11, 2019:
There's one inarguable truth across all consoles: it's hard to drive using thumbsticks. Luckily, you don't have to spend a ton of money to increase your abilities as well as how much fun you have. For starters, if you don't even have anywhere to put a full-size steering wheel, check out the AmCube Mini. Its a far cry from a traditional model, but for in-house multiplayer and casual gaming, it's a very interesting choice. You'll find similar options all over the Internet that are 3D-printed, but don't get those; this one is fully injection-molded and made with a high quality ball bearing, and it's well worth the low price.
If you're looking for something a bit more serious, ThrustMaster makes a wide range of different models. Their wide selection means a lot of their products are compatible with each other, allowing various parts to be individually swapped and upgraded. Their TMX offers plenty of value, though it definitely feels more like a game controller than an actual steering wheel. The TMX Pro is a solid step up from that, for just a bit more money. The TX RW was considered for years to be the industry standard, if you will, and it is a high quality product. But, if you're willing to shell out the relatively high cost for that one, check out its newer and fancier sibling, the TS XW, which is extremely well-made and built to closely imitate a commonly used professional racing wheel.
If you're seriously into simulation, check out the Fanatec options. One is expensive and the other is REALLY expensive, but they're about as close as you'll come to a fully realistic driving experience. Their force feedback system is so powerful and lifelike that, at first use, many players are totally surprised by its sudden and wrist-wrenching action. Keep in mind that you'll almost certainly need an in-depth cockpit setup for these high-end units.
You're not left out in the cold if you're looking on the budget-friendly side of things, though. The Logitech G920 is frequently lauded by gamers on a mid-range budget, and the Hora unit is surprisingly accurate and reliable for such a low-priced choice. And if it's meant for occasional, casual use, or a kid who's still getting used to Cars 2, check out the Subsonic. It's not entirely lifelike, but it is still a moderate-size wheel, and is an exceptional piece of equipment in light of its reasonable cost.
Fanatec Racing Hardware Fanatec makes some of the most popular premium-grade driving sim equipment, and their Xbox wheels are every bit as good as the rest of their products. Generally speaking, you'll be able to select the right servo base and wheel to suit your favorite genre and play style, and you can be rest assured that their high cost means they'll work reliably for years. fanatec.com
Logitech G923 This is the top model from one of the most well-known HID manufacturers on the planet, and they've gone to lengths to ensure it provides just about the best experience possible. It has the fit and finish its producer is known for, is compatible with both major consoles and Windows 10, and has nice touches like a built-in LED tachometer. logitechg.com
A Brief History of Racing Games
Of course, the Mad Catz PlayStation Steering Wheel was two years behind the Thrustmaster Formula T1 for PC, but that's to be expected, I suppose.
Before the days of Need for Speed and Euro Truck Simulator, and before Out Run took the lead in 1986 that won the coveted Golden Joystick Award, Atari's Gran Trak 10 crashed the arcades in 1974 with the world's first racing wheel controller, complete with a gearshift and pedals.
Refusing to take a back seat, Taito quickly released Speed Race, dazzling arcade-goers of all ages with its never-before-seen vertically scrolling graphics, audacious lack of a brake pedal, and sleek Formula One-style steering wheel. Not to be left in the dust, Atari developers deftly zoomed past their soon-to-be space-invading competitors by unleashing their own vertically scrolling racing game, Hi-Way, in the form of a full-blown cockpit cabinet; a veritable slap in the face considering the game itself left very little to brag about.
Now that players could sit, the race was on. The checkered flag was in sight, albeit years, if not decades away. The sprint to make the best racing game had reached maximum speed. New drivers were exiting the pit left and right: Namco with Pole Position in 1982, Sega with Out Run winning Game of the Year, and Nintendo with F-Zero in 1990 paving the way for Super Mario Kart. Then, in 1997, Polyphony Digital gave us Gran Turismo, the first of its kind--a full-fledged racing simulator designed to bring the bulky cockpit cabinet of the arcade to the comfort of your couch.
Released exclusively for the Sony PlayStation, Gran Turismo brought with it unparalleled realism and a subsequent demand for steering wheels. Thus fifth-generation consoles, including the Nintendo 64 and the Sega Saturn, became the first home consoles to feature racing wheels. Of course, the Mad Catz PlayStation Steering Wheel was two years behind the Thrustmaster Formula T1 for PC, but that's to be expected, I suppose.
Steering Wheels to Give You Real Feels
Right around the same time the Gran Turismo franchise began its grand tour as the best-selling PlayStation exclusive to date, Microsoft developed its own racing wheel, the Sidewinder Force Feedback Pro, using haptic technology patented by Immersion Corporation.
Without force feedback, every time you turn your racing wheel and encounter no resistance you feel like you're driving a hover car, or playing a videogame for that matter.
Named after the Greek verb for "touch," haptic technology uses mechanical stimulation to create virtual objects by generating forces (haptic feedback) characteristic of the virtual objects' physical counterparts. In other words, haptic, or force feedback makes you think what you're holding is the real deal when really it's not.
Without force feedback, every time you turn your racing wheel and encounter no resistance you feel like you're driving a hover car, or playing a videogame for that matter. But a small motor or two inside the steering column, exerting opposing forces based on how fast you are driving, where you are driving, and how hard you turn the wheel gives the illusion that you're actually driving a car.
Before You Steer, Know Where You Veer
Unlike XBox One controllers that come in various shapes and colors yet all perform the same basic functions, racing wheels drastically differ from one brand to the next, from one make or model to the next. Not only that, but they're far more expensive. A top-of-the-line racing wheel for the XBox One can easily cost just as much as the console itself, if not more.
Needless to say, knowing beforehand how and where you plan to use your new racing wheel is extremely important.
In the end, what matters most is that your racing wheel suits your needs.
What kind of cars will you drive? A cockpit-mounted, full-scale replica of a Formula 1 steering wheel complete with all its meters, knobs and doohickeys will no doubt seem like overkill to fans of the rather comedic Table Top Racing or Obliteracers, but for fans of F1 2016 that same wheel will prove to be an asset.
Then again, die-hard fans of Assetto Corsa may find wheels with superior force feedback more beneficial than pound-for-pound replicas. Even the tiniest bit of realistic resistance while turning the wheel can mean the difference between gaining on the cars ahead or overcompensating and crashing into a circuit wall or tree.
Where will your driver's seat be? Some racing wheels are simply not designed to sit in your lap while you lean back on your sofa. You can always tell which ones are which by the way the company's marketing team expertly refrains from mentioning anything even remotely resembling thighs, as if no simulation racing enthusiast would dare entertain the idea that simulation racing can be relaxing.
In the end, what matters most is that your racing wheel suits your needs. Perhaps it's universal enough to work well with all types of cars. Or perhaps it's specifically designed to fill a particular niche. Either way, it's all about the gameplay.