If you're a serious racing fan, there's nothing quite like that authentic wheel and pedals experience when playing the best racing games. However, setting yourself up with a good wheel and seat can be very pricey, but 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.
Great for beginners
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.
Realism and comfort
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 the 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 Next Level Racing is about as good as it gets on a budget. 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 a great budget 4K TV with Dolby Vision. Available in a range of sizes, it's a solid budget display to race with, and when you're done playing, the built-in Amazon's Fire TV makes it easy to get all of your favorite content. 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 24-inches up to a whopping 85-inches. Its metal construction, combined with its design, ensures it's sturdy and safe to use around whatever other equipment you're building into your sim setup.
One of the easiest and most affordable ways to both communicate with other players and get a great sounding game audio is with this wireless headset. It connects directly to the console, no dongles required, has a solid mic, and excellent sound quality, all without breaking the bank.
Go racing for less
Having a stellar (virtual) racing experience doesn't have to be expensive, and with something like the Thrustmaster TMX (opens in new tab) you can take a very positive first step. It's a high-quality product with 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 (opens in new tab) 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 Insignia has a nice 4K one (opens in new tab) for an attractive price. Since you don't need super-fast response times for racing games, a big 4K TV is a great way to save some money.
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Richard Devine is a Managing Editor at Windows Central with over a decade of experience. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently, you'll find him steering the site's coverage of all manner of PC hardware and reviews. Find him on Mastodon at mstdn.social/@richdevine
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