Best Budget Racing Wheel: Buyers Guide 2023

Sim racing doesn't have to be an expensive hobby, despite needing to buy extra peripherals. Here are the best budget racing wheels to complete the perfect budget sim racing setup in 2023.

Best Budget Racing Wheels
Disclaimer: Some of the links below may be affiliate links.
Get the latest sim racing guides and car setups each week by subscribing to our newsletter.

Sim racing has seen a huge boom over the past few years, with many turning to sim racing when other activities simply weren’t accessible. This boost in popularity has been great for the sim racing community, with a much larger spotlight being directed towards the sport.

Even professional racers and celebrities have turned to sim racing for promotional events and events in replacement of real-world motorsport.

But many gamers may look at sim racing as an expensive hobby or simply not accessible due to the price of the equipment. And this can result in many potential sim racers and motorsport fans never trying sim racing.

In this guide, we want to bring you the best budget sim racing wheels on the market, to showcase how accessible sim racing can be.

I’ll run through our favourite sim racing wheel, which is an absolute steal for the price. And I’ll also touch on a couple of alternatives, all within a reasonable budget. I’ll even show you the cheapest racing wheel money can buy, and tell you whether or not you should pick one up.

The best budget racing wheel – MOZA R3 racing wheel

MOZA’s newest racing wheel, the R3 is a complete sim racing wheel bundle that is both PC and Xbox compatible. It is a small form-factor direct drive racing wheel that is capable of up to 3.9Nm of peak torque.

This strength figure easily beats other budget racing wheels such as the Logitech G923 and the Thrustmaster T248. Being direct drive, the MOZA R3 also benefits from increased force feedback fidelity and detail compared to belt or gear driven wheels.

Racing Wheel – MOZA R3
Compatibility – Xbox, PC
Price – £399/$399
Where to buyBuy from MOZA

How much is the MOZA Racing R3?

When looking at the cost of the MOZA Racing R3, you have to remember that it includes everything to go racing with including pedals. The R3 bundle includes the wheel base, a steering wheel, pedal set and table clamp.

The current price of the entire R3 bundle is currently £/$399 (from MOZA Racing)

Why is the MOZA R3 the best budget racing wheel?

Within this price range, no other racing wheels offer direct drive technology. Direct drive is the term given to the way that the internal motor translates its force feedback to the steering wheel.

A direct drive racing wheel will always have better force feedback detail than gear or belt-driven wheels. This is because gear and belt-driven racing wheels transfer the force feedback from the motor to the wheel via belts or gears. And in this transfer, some detail is almost always lost.

The MOZA R3 not only delivers very impressive force feedback detail and strength from such a small and budget-friendly wheel base. It also includes a high-quality steering wheel, as well as a pedal set and table clamp.

All of these components in one sim racing bundle for such a low price makes the MOZA R3 fantastic value.

Where is the best place to buy the MOZA R3?

You can purchase the MOZA R3 bundle from MOZA directly which is probably the best place. They offer fast shipping to most locations. You can also purchase MOZA products from official resellers.

Racing Wheel – MOZA R3
Compatibility – Xbox, PC
Price – £399/$399
Where to buyBuy from MOZA

Best budget racing wheel base – Fanatec CSL DD

If you are looking at purchasing your sim racing equipment separately, you may be looking at a wheel base, steering wheel and pedals as individual items. If this is the case, then one of the best budget-friendly wheel base options is the new Fanatec CSL DD.

The CSL DD was recently released as the cheapest console-compatible direct drive wheel base on the market. And it’s the cheapest direct drive wheel base Fanatec have ever released.

How much is the Fanatec CSL DD?

Being Fanatec who is a premium sim racing peripheral builder, the price is higher than the Logitech G923. The CSL DD price starts from €349.95 for the base wheel base and can go up to €479.95 if you include the optional boost pack.

This price only includes the wheel base as well. So you will also need to purchase a compatible steering wheel and pedal set to complete your setup.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter!

Get the latest sim racing guides and car setups each week by signing up to our newsletter.

You can pick up a Fanatec steering wheel rim for around €100, and a pedal set for €100, meaning the true cost of a CSL DD sim racing setup would be around €550 at a minimum.

Fanatec is currently running some Black Friday offers for discounted steering wheels and pedals. View offers here.

While €550 isn’t exactly cheap, for a true direct-drive racing wheel, it is remarkably good value for money.

If you do currently have a Fanatec sim racing setup and are looking to upgrade in the near future. The CSL DD would make a fantastic option due to the budget price tag for direct-drive technology.

The cheapest possible sim racing wheels

There are two racing wheels which fit the category of the cheapest on the market. These are the Hori Apex racing wheel and the Thrustmaster T80 Ferrari 488.

Hori Apex Racing Wheel
Hori Apex – From £74.99

The Hori Apex racing wheel is technically the cheaper of the two, priced from £74.99 (available to buy on Amazon).

That price includes the racing wheel and pedals, so much like the Logitech G923, the Apex is ready to race with as soon as you buy it.

The Hori Apex doesn’t utilise true force-feedback technology like the Logitech G923 or the Fanatec CSL DD. Instead, it uses vibration motors to give vibration-based force-feedback.

This works in much the same way as a controller vibrates when you hit a bump or a wall. The wheel itself will vibrate when forces are exerted through your car, but the wheel won’t have true force feedback.

Thrustmaster T80
Thrustmaster T80 Ferrari 488 – From £99.99

The Thrustmaster T80 is slightly more expensive than the Hori Apex (available to buy on Amazon), but features Ferrari branding and the well-known Thrustmaster badge.

Much like the Hori Apex, the T80 doesn’t feature true force-feedback. Instead, Thrustmaster uses a completely unique approach called the Thrustmaster® “Bungee Cord” system.

This system essentially provides a linear resistance style feedback via a bungee-cord like system inside the wheel base. This isn’t true force-feedback but does give some resistance when turning the wheel.

Should you buy these super budget racing wheels?

When considering super-budget racing wheel options such as the Hori Apex and the Thrustmaster T80, you have to remember neither wheel offers force-feedback.

This fact alone is enough to put off some sim racers, as without force feedback you can’t feel how the car is behaving correctly. Many will increase their budget slightly and pick up a wheel such as the Logitech G923 which does feature force-feedback.

If however you only need the wheel for casual use, and the lack of force-feedback doesn’t affect your decision, then both the Apex and T80 will do the job.

Are budget racing wheels as good as more premium ones?

In the case of the Fanatec CSL DD, then absolutely. The CSL DD is one of the best sim racing wheel bases launched in a long time.

While it doesn’t have the same amount of torque that the premium direct drive wheel base such as the DD1 or DD2 has. It has more than enough for 90% of sim racers. And it brings some new tricks to the party.

The CSL DD features upgraded technology which improves the quality of the force feedback. New and improved direct drive technology in a wheel base costing less than £400 is extremely good value!

Is the Logitech G923 as good as direct drive wheels?

If you look at our other favourite pick, the Logitech G923, then you can argue that the technology used isn’t quite as good as premium technology.

The G923 uses gears to transfer the force feedback from the motor to the steering wheel. And this is technically inferior to belt-driven or direct-drive force feedback.

However, the good news is that the inferior gear-driven force feedback technology doesn’t overly hurt the G923. You still get great force feedback for a very good price.

Logitech also introduced TrueForce technology into the latest G923 racing wheel. This simulates engine vibration via vibration motors in the steering wheel itself which is pretty cool.

How much should I spend on a budget racing wheel?

How much you have to spend on your budget racing wheel is a truly personal thought. You may be wanting the cheapest entry point into sim racing, which would be the Hori Apex. This comes at a very cheap price, but with its limitations.

Moving up the budget scale, you then have the Logitech G923 which retails for around £290 – £350. Within this price range, there really isn’t much better.

Then you finally have the Fanatec CSL DD. While this is a more costly option than both the Apex and G923, it does provide extreme force-feedback quality with its direct-drive technology, for a relatively low price.

Grab Your Sim Racing Gear Here

You can use the links below to shop for your favourite sim racing products, or for any products that we may have recommended. These links are affiliate links, and will earn us a small commission, with no additional cost for you.

Fanatec Stock Checker

Stock Checker

Check the current stock levels of Fanatec's most popular products

The Best Racing Wheels F1 23

The Best Racing Wheels For PS5