If you're a serious racing fan, there's nothing quite like that authentic wheel and pedals experience when playing your favorite title. However, setting yourself up with a good wheel and seat can be very pricey, and it doesn't have to be. Here are some of our favorite products to help you build an excellent racing rig while keeping the budget in check.
- Incredible wheel: Logitech G920 wheel
- Great for beginners: Thrustmaster TMX wheel
- Realism and comfort: Playseat Challenge
- Chair alternative: GT Omega Wheel Stand
- Great display: TCL 49-inch 4K HDR TV
- Bonus feature: GT Omega Racing Monitor Stand
The G920 is an exceptionally well-built product with built-in vibration motors, 900-degree rotation, a leather grip, and a full three-pedal setup. You can use the optional gearshift with it if you prefer those over the paddles, though it's not included. Logitech has a history of making great wheels, and the G920 is just the latest in that lineup.
The Thrustmaster TMX looks excellent, is trimmed in leather, and has the all-important 900-degree rotation. The TMX Force Feedback system will make sure you feel the road beneath you. While it doesn't look quite as fancy as the Logitech wheel, it's an excellent alternative. It's also reasonably priced, so if you're not worried about using an additional gearshift, you can save a few bucks.
With the Playseat Challenge, you get a racing seat with an integrated wheel and pedal mounts that also fold down flat for easy storage. The seat is fabric, and the frame is powder-coated black for a classy, yet still hard-wearing finish. The neat trick is how the whole wheel mount opens up to allow you to get in, then you pop it down, and you're inside your little cockpit. It's compatible with most popular wheels and is one of the most affordable racing seats out there.
If you already have a good chair you're happy to use, you can save some additional funds by just getting a wheel stand instead of something like the Playseat. This stand from GT Omega Racing is about as good as it gets. It's compatible with a range of wheels and, importantly, is adjustable enough that you'll be able to get comfortable in almost any type of chair.
A large display is a must for a great racing rig, and this is currently our favorite budget 4K HDR TV. Available in a range of sizes, it's a solid budget display to race with, with only its fairly high response time adding any downer. It's perfect for hooking up to a console like the Xbox One X for some 4K racing fun.
If you want to set up a standalone rig away from the living room TV, you might consider investing in one of these. It's a simple stand that's designed to take displays from 22-inches up to about 43-inches. This particular one also integrates directly with GT Omega's ART cockpit system if you feel like splashing the cash in the future and getting yourself an upgrade.
Go racing for less
Having a stellar (virtual) racing experience doesn't have to be expensive, and with something like the Logitech G920 you can take a very positive first step. It's a high-quality product with an excellent build quality, the force feedback is robust, and the leather trim makes it comfortable to use for prolonged periods.
But when it comes to virtual racing, the equipment is only half of the battle. To push yourself, you need to be incredibly comfortable, and the beauty of the Playseat Challenge is that it has one of the more realistic driving positions of any chair. It has the added benefit of also being one of the most affordable. It also accepts virtually any wheel on its mount should you upgrade in the future.
Ideally, you also want a lot of screen real estate in front of you. A crazy three monitor setup isn't much help on a budget, but getting a decent TV is a good substitute and TCL has a nice 4K one for an attractive price. Since you don't need the super-fast response times for racing games, a big 4K TV is a great way to save some money.
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