Best Racing Wheel Under £500 in 2024: Buyers Guide

Finding a good racing wheel for under £500 isn't as easy as it sounds. In this guide, I'll run through the best racing wheel option that you can buy for under £500 in 2024.

Best racing wheel under 500
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In this 2024 sim racing buyers guide, we plan to show you the absolute best racing wheel under £500 or $500. This racing wheel will be using close to all of your £500 budget, but for that money you will be able to buy a direct drive racing wheel that is console compatible.

I’ll also look at other alternative racing wheels that are also available for under £500. And we will then talk about whether you need to spend up to £500 on a racing wheel, and if budget racing wheels are just as good.

Best racing wheel under £500

Let’s start by looking at our recommendation for the best racing wheel under £500. This is the racing wheel that I would recommend to anybody looking to start sim racing, or looking to upgrade from a budget racing wheel. And that racing wheel is the Fanatec CSL DD and the CSL P1 V2 steering wheel.

In total, this racing wheel combination comes to £469.90 / €469.90 / $469.90.

  • Fanatec CSL DD (wheel base) – £349.95
  • Fanatec CSL P1 V2 (steering wheel) – £119.95

Let’s take a look at this racing wheel that you can pick up for under £500, and why I’d recommend it to any sim racer. But first I wanted to introduce the company behind the racing wheel.

Who are Fanatec?

If you haven’t heard of Fanatec, they are one of the leading sim racing wheel and peripheral companies around. They produce fantastic (no pun intended) racing wheels, pedals and other accessories, with a lot of their products falling into a mid-range to premium price bracket.


What makes the Fanatec CSL DD the best racing wheel under £500?

The Fanatec CSL DD is the most budget-oriented racing wheel that the German manufacturer produces in 2024. It utilises direct drive technology to power the wheel, which is often reserved for the use in high-end racing wheels, and packages it into a smaller form.

Direct drive force feedback is the term given to the combination of a larger motor attached directly to the steering wheel via a shaft. It allows for very detailed force feedback, as well as extremely strong forces.

The motor inside the CSL DD produces a very healthy amount of torque, at 5Nm. That is triple the amount of force feedback strength that competitors such as the Logitech G923 offer.

If you fancy even more torque (which would increase the force feedback strength), you can pick up the Boost Kit 180. This is an alternate power source for the CSL DD, and it increases the strength up to 8Nm. This can be added at any point, meaning you don’t need to purchase it right away.

If you have ever raced with a Logitech or Thrustmaster racing wheel, then stepping up to a Fanatec CSL DD will feel vastly different. Whereas budget racing wheels from Logitech tend to feel closer to a toy than real-world motorsport equipment, the CSL DD emulates a real-world race car much closer by using motorsport-grade materials.

The quality in force feedback is a world apart, allowing you to feel every small detail, which isn’t possible with other wheels. You will start to feel the bumps in the track and be able to tell when your car is at the edge of its grip much better.

Racing Wheel – Fanatec CSL DD
Compatibility – PC, Xbox Series X|S
Price – From €/$349.95
Where to buyBuy from Fanatec EU / Buy from Fanatec US


The Fanatec Ecosystem

Another great perk with purchasing a Fanatec wheel, is that you get access to the wide Fanatec ecosystem of products. Just like the quality of their racing wheels, this ecosystem includes some of the best sim racing shifters, pedals and peripherals on the market. This also includes a wide range of steering wheel rims.

When purchasing a CSL DD wheel base, you can purchase any other Fanatec wheel rims and attach them to your CSL DD wheel base. This opens up your options to a wide variety of racing wheels, such as F1-style wheel rims to rally and drift wheel rims.


How to buy a Fanatec CSL DD & steering wheel for under £500

To ensure you stay under the budget of £500 for your racing wheel, you have a couple of steering wheel options. As mentioned above, you can pair any Fanatec steering wheel with the CSL DD wheel base. These range from just over £100 up to and over £1000 for an individual steering wheel.

Luckily for us when trying to keep the costs below £500, there is a steering wheel that allows us to stay on budget.

This steering wheel is the Fanatec CSL P1 V2 steering wheel. Or if you fancy a steering wheel design with a little extra flair, you could opt for the CSL Steering Wheel BMW. The only real difference between these two wheels is the BMW badge and orange design on the face of the wheel.

This steering wheel gives you everything you need to start racing. It features a round design, with a range of front facing push buttons. These can be used to control different parts of your car in game. You can configure them to change your traction control, look left or right or engage your pit limiter as just a few examples.

There are also a couple of paddle shifters on the rear of the steering wheel, and a digital display at the top. This display can show live telemetry such as current speed or revs.

The steering wheel is well made and feels considerably nicer than some other budget orientated sim racing wheels.

Steering Wheel – Fanatec P1 V2
Compatibility – PS4, PS5, PC
Price – From €/$119.95
Where to buyBuy from Fanatec EU / Buy from Fanatec US


Alternate racing wheels for under £500

Before committing to buying a racing wheel, especially when you’re looking to spend £500, it is always good to look at all of the options. For some reason you may not like Fanatec, or you have an affinity to another product. So let’s look at the other options.


Logitech G923

The Logitech G29 / G920 / G923 is built with one goal in mind, dominating the budget racing wheel market. It is marketed to those who are looking to make their first steps in to sim racing. Because of this, it is often the first racing wheel many sim racers buy. Even my first racing wheel was the older Logitech G27!

Because of Logitech’s targetting towards a budget market, you can pick up an older G29 / G920 for as little as £270. That is half the price of the CSL Elite that we are recommending.

Or you can pick up the newer Logitech G923 for around £100 more. However there are a few big drawbacks for going down this budget route which we’ll look at now.


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Due to the budget restrictions, Logitech have made the decision to go with a cheaper force feedback technology, which is gear driven. This differs from the belt technology found in other racing wheels, by using solely gears to upscale the motors strength. This does however, produce rather mechanical and clunky force feedback.

You will often experience the gears slipping and jumping as you go over particularly harsh track surfaces. For this reason it is sometimes hard to decipher the exact feedback you are experiencing. This technology truly feels like a budget option when you compare it to the belt technology in Fanatec’s and other wheels.

The strength of the force feedback in the G29 / G920 / G923 is only a third as strong as the CSL Elite. This is one of the most noticeable differences between the Logitech and Fanatec wheels. The Logitech simply can’t produce strong enough force feedback to emulate a real car. This is truly a toy peripheral.

Another down side of buying a Logitech wheel is the lack of upgrades. Logitech don’t offer any other wheel rims, or pedal upgrades. Once you have purchased a G29 / G920 / G923, you are limited to what you have. That is until you upgrade to a Fanatec wheel.

Logitech G29 vs G920

What is the difference between Logitech G29 vs G920?

You will find that racing wheel manufacturers have to produce two products, as the technology in both PlayStation and Xbox is different. Wheel manufacturers have to work around these differences and they do so by releasing the same product, but with console specific variants.

Logitech’s solution to this is to release two completely different wheel products. The Logitech G29 is compatible with PS4 and PC, whilst the Logitech G920 is compatible with Xbox and PC. Read an expert Logitech G29 review.

The same is true for the newer G923. There are two different versions, both identical in appearance and performance. But each has its own compatibility with one console or the other.

Fanatec get around this by making their compatibility driven by the wheel rim. This means that any Fanatec wheel base you buy is compatible with both consoles. You just need to attach the correct console specific wheel rim to enable that consoles compatibility. To us, this is a nicer alternative, as we would rather have two wheel rims and one wheel base.

Racing Wheel – Logitech G923
Compatibility – PS4, PS5, PC, Xbox Series X|S
Price – £379/$399
Where to buyBuy Logitech G923 UK/EU / Buy Logitech G923 US


Thrustmaster T248

Thrustmaster have a few racing wheels that are within our £500 budget. A few come in under £200, but the one I would recommend is the Thrustmaster T248.

The T248 is a very good budget to mid-range racing wheel, and is a strong competitor for the Logitech G923.

Should I consider a Thrustmaster wheel instead of Fanatec?

The Thrustmaster T248 is the middle ground between Thrustmaster’s most budget options and their most premium.

The T248 racing wheel offers great bang for your buck and is priced under the Fanatec CSL DD, coming in at around £300 for the racing wheel. You can often get it for less than this price during different retailer’s sale events. And some offer it packaged with the T3PM pedals.

The force feedback, in comparison to the Fanatec CSL DD, isn’t as good or as strong. The T248 creates around 3.5Nm of torque compared to the CSL DD’s 5Nm (and 8Nm with the Boost Kit 180). This is apparent when you drive both side by side, with the Thrustmaster wheel still feeling much closer to a toy.

The quality of the force feedback isn’t as good either. The belt doesn’t feel quite as smooth and a lot of the small track detail which is present through a CSL Elite, disappears completely with the Thrustmaster.

That isn’t to say the force feedback isn’t good, as it is. Because the Thrustmaster wheels use a belt driven motor, and not the gear driven motor that is in the Logitech wheel, the force feedback is still smooth. You can certainly drive with a TX or T300 and drive fast, as the force feedback that is present is smooth and generally very good. Just not quite to the standard of the CSL Elite.

When it comes to product quality, this is the main area where Thrustmaster and Fanatec differ. Fanatec offer superb build quality, with great wheel rims, often made out of carbon fibre, leather and alcantara. The wheel base and wheel rims from Thrustmaster are a much different affair. There is a lot of plastic on offer, and the wheel rims available aren’t any where near the same level of finish quality.

There are a few great wheel rims such as the Ferrari F1 wheel rim which is superb, so you can certainly upgrade your Thrustmaster to feel much better. But for our racing wheel budget of £500, Thrustmaster’s TX / T300 bundle isn’t as good.

Racing Wheel – Thrustmaster T248
Compatibility – PS4, PS5, PC, Xbox Series X|S
Price – £299/$299
Where to buyBuy from Amazon UK/EU / Buy from Amazon US


Are the budget racing wheel options just as good?

We have shown that you can pay a lot less than £500 for a racing wheel, and the Logitech G923 is a decent wheel to start with, as is the Thrustmaster 248. We would consider the Logitech G923 racing wheel a good wheel. The build quality is high for the price, and the quality of the wheel itself is decent.

Yes, there are a range of reasons why it isn’t as good of a purchase as the Fanatec CSL DD, but for the price, the Logitech G923 is a good buy.

Then there is the Thrustmaster T248. Priced at around £300, this sits between the Fanatec and Logitech wheels in both price and quality. The force feedback is very similar to the Logitech G923 racing wheel, however, we would say that the build quality and wheel rim quality isn’t as good as either the Logitech or Fanatec options.

For this reason, we wouldn’t recommend the Thrustmaster racing wheel for either budget sim racers or those looking to spend up to £500. For a little more investment you can buy in to a much more advanced and high quality ecosystem.


Should I spend £500 on a racing wheel?

Deciding whether to pay up to £500 for a racing wheel is a question of personal preference. As we have shown, you can buy a budget racing wheel for around half this price. But you have to ask how long will that budget wheel last, and is the sacrifice in force feedback worth it?

If you are planning on taking sim racing more seriously, it can be worth investing in some good hardware. The amount of fun that you are going to get out of sim racing is heavily influenced by the wheel that you are using. If your first experience of sim racing is with a budget wheel such as a Logitech, you may not get as much enjoyment or immersion compared to if you were using a much better quality wheel.

You also have to consider whether you plan to upgrade and add to your racing wheel setup over time. Do you plan to add a formula style racing wheel to your sim racing setup, or invest in an improved pedal over time? If so, the investment in to a good sim racing platform at the beginning can save a lot of money from having to reinvest in a new wheel base.

So should you spend £500 on a racing wheel? If you plan on taking sim racing more seriously in the future, then it is certainly worth considering investing in a good platform from the outset.


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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best racing wheel under £500?

The best racing wheel you can buy for under £500 has to be the Fanatec CSL DD wheel base combined with the P1 V2 steering wheel. This combination comes to just £469.90 offering very good value for money.

Is the Logitech G923 a good starter racing wheel?

If your budget is less than £500, you can still find a very good racing wheel. The Logitech G923 costs under £300, and is a very good racing wheel to start with. It isn’t quite as powerful or impressive as the Fanatec CSL DD, but it’s still fun to race with on any console.

Article written by Mjolnir

Mjolnir is one of the main setup creators and content writers for SimRacingSetups. He has had years of experience in sim racing, both competitively and casually. After a decade of sim racing experience, he co-founded SimRacingSetup.com to share his passion and knowledge of sim racing and Formula 1 with other sim racers.
Disclaimer: Some of the links on this page may be affiliate links. We may earn commission from any sale after clicking a link. Read our affiliate policy.
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