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Sim Racing Product Guides » Best Thrustmaster Racing Wheel: Buyers Guide 2024
Thrustmaster have a wide range of different racing wheels from budget wheels to premium direct drive racing wheels. Which Thrustmaster wheel is the best buy?
Thrustmaster is a brand that needs no introduction to many sim racers. They’ve been producing sim racing wheels and peripherals since the 1990’s, and have racked up a huge ecosystem of gaming peripherals that include steering wheels, pedals, flight sim peripherals and other controllers.
When it comes to their sim racing lineup, Thrustmaster currently sells over 50 different sim racing products. And one of the biggest subcategories within their sim racing lineup consists of racing wheels. However, with so many different sim racing wheels to choose between, which Thrustmaster wheel is best in 2024?
In this guide, I run through the very best Thrustmaster racing wheels across a range of categories, with the goal of helping you choose which wheel is the best fit for you. I’ll look at the best Thrustmaster wheel for PS5 and Xbox, as well as the best budget pick and which high-end wheel takes the crown.
Unlike some sim racing brands, Thrustmaster hasn’t defined their products by different product ranges. There isn’t a strict divide between their budget, mid-range and premium racing wheels. However, despite Thrustmaster not assigning product ranges to each of their racing wheels, most fit into one of the three different price ranges naturally.
Thrustmaster has one of the widest gaps between their most budget racing wheel and their premium direct drive racing wheel. This gives sim racers a lot of choice over exactly where they want their racing wheel to slot in. If one racing wheel is slightly out of your price range, chances are there is a very good option that fits perfectly.
In the list below, I haven’t included every single iteration of racing wheel and bundle that Thrustmaster produce, only the main racing wheel options. There are some variants of the Thrustmaster wheels below that come with different steering wheels and bundles in some cases, which I will talk about later in this guide.
Below is an overview of all of Thrustmaster’s current racing wheels along with where they fit in terms of price and performance.
|T80 / 458 Racing wheel
|T128 Racing wheel
|TMX/T150 Racing wheel
|T300/TX Racing wheel
|T248 Racing wheel
|TS-PC/TS-XW Wheel base
|T-GT II Wheel base
|T818 Wheel base
You can see from the table above that Thrustmaster have racing wheels that span from extremely budget wheels without any force feedback, to premium wheels costing £600 or $650. This does give you a large amount of choice over how much you wish to spend on your new racing wheel.
I tend to break down Thrustmaster racing wheels into four different categories. These start with the extreme budget racing wheels and span up to the premium direct drive T818 wheel base. Below is a breakdown over how each Thrustmaster wheel fits into each budget category.
|Extreme budget racing wheels
|T80/458 Racing wheel
T128 Racing wheel
|Budget racing wheels
T248 Racing wheel
|Mid-range racing wheels
T-GT II Wheel base
|Premium racing wheels
|T818 Wheel base
Thrustmaster really excels in ensuring each of their sim racing products is accessible to the widest audience. All of their sim racing products offer compatibility with different consoles.
Typically racing wheels like the T128 and T248 that stand alone are compatible with PS5, Xbox and PC. Although these two wheels come in two forms. One is the PlayStation and PC-compatible racing wheel, while the other version is the Xbox and PC-compatible model. You do need to ensure you buy the correct version for your console.
Then there are racing wheels that are partnered together. These include the TMX and T150 along with the T300 and TX wheels. Both pairs of racing wheels are pretty much identical internally and produce the same force feedback quality and strength. However, Thrustmaster has released two different models, one being a PlayStation compatible model, and the other being Xbox compatible.
Taking the TMX and T150 racing wheels as our example, the TMX racing wheel is both Xbox and PC compatible. While the T150 is PlayStation and PC compatible. The same applies to the T300 and TX, and then also to the TS-PC, TS-XW and T-GT II.
Below is a look at each Thrustmaster racing wheel’s compatibility with PS5, Xbox and PC.
|T80 Racing wheel
T150 Racing wheel
T300 Racing wheel
T-GT II Racing wheel
|458 Racing wheel
TMX Racing wheel
TX Racing wheel
TS-XW Racing wheel
|PS5 & Xbox compatible
|T128 Racing wheel
T248 Racing wheel
|PC only compatible
|TS-PC Racing wheel
T818 Wheel base
Now I have taken a brief look at the entire Thrustmaster racing wheel lineup, I want to start talking about which Thrustmaster wheels I’d recommend. I’m going to start by looking at which Thrustmaster racing wheel is the best for PS5. It’s important to note in this category in particular, that all Thrustmaster wheels that were designed for PS4 will also work on PS5 consoles.
When it comes to the best Thrustmaster racing wheel on PS5 and PS4, there are a few options. You could look at the budget-friendly T128 or T248, and these may be my recommendations for the best budget Thrustmaster wheel. However, my ultimate pick for the best Thrustmaster wheel on PS5 has to be the T-GT II.
This racing wheel is officially licensed by Gran Turismo (hence the GT in the name). This means that the steering wheel design was heavily influenced by the Gran Turismo developers. You can buy this racing wheel individually without a steering wheel and then choose to pair it with any Thrustmaster steering wheel.
However, the Gran Turismo licensed steering wheel is a real beauty and can only be purchased as a part of the T-GT II bundle. The steering wheel itself features the Gran Turismo logo and is officially licensed by PlayStation as well. The hand grips are finished in leather, and the face of the wheel features a range of inputs including push buttons and rotary encoders, all of which can be used while racing this Thrustmaster wheel on PS5.
The T-GT II wheel base itself is one of the best wheels Thrustmaster have produced to date. It features an impressive 6Nm of peak torque that is created using a motor connected to a series of internal belts. While the performance isn’t quite on par with direct drive racing wheels, it is incredibly responsive and surprisingly powerful for a belt-driven racing wheel.
The T-GT II bundle is priced to sit in the mid-range price category. The stand-alone wheel base costs £430 or $499, while the T-GT II bundle with the steering wheel included costs £599 or $699.
Racing Wheel – Thrustmaster T-GT II
Compatibility – PC, PS4, PS5
Price – From £430/$499
Where to buy – Buy Thrustmaster T-GT II
Thrustmaster produces a large range of racing wheels that are Xbox compatible. Much like the PS5 category above, you can find budget racing wheels like the T128 or TMX wheels. I would highly recommend avoiding extreme budget wheels like the Ferrari 458 racing wheel which doesn’t include force feedback. These wheels can’t simulate force feedback which really hampers your overall immersion.
For the best Thrustmaster wheel for Xbox, I’ve opted for the Xbox equivalent of the T-GT II. That is the TS-XW racing wheel. Much like the T-GT II for PS5, the TS-XW produces 6Nm of peak torque and utilises very similar internal technology to the T-GT II.
There are however a few perks to choosing the Xbox-compatible TS-XW that the T-GT II doesn’t get. When you choose to buy the complete bundle, this Xbox racing wheel comes with a nicer steering wheel (in my opinion) and a set of pedals. And this bundle comes in at the same price as the T-GT II bundle that doesn’t include pedals.
The steering wheel that you get with the TS-XW is an official Sparco P310 wheel rim that is finished in Alcantara and has a completely metal face plate. The wheel itself doesn’t include rotary encoders, but this isn’t too much of an issue. Any Xbox racing wheel is limited on what inputs can be used, and rotary encoders aren’t currently supported by Xbox.
Much like the PS5 racing wheel that I spoke about previously, the TS-XW is also available to be purchased individually. This lowers the price by £180 / $250 and lets you use it with any Thrustmaster pedals and steering wheel. If you already have a set of pedals and a wheel rim, you can upgrade to the TS-XW by purchasing just the wheel base.
The force feedback that the TS-XW produces is just as vivid and powerful as the force feedback from the T-GT II, cementing it firmly as an impressive mid-range racing wheel. This is currently the most powerful Thrustmaster racing wheel you can buy for Xbox, and makes a fantastic choice.
Racing Wheel – Thrustmaster TS-XW
Compatibility – PC, Xbox
Price – From £380/$450
Where to buy – Buy Thrustmaster TS-XW
If you are looking to buy a budget racing wheel, Thrustmaster is one sim racing brand that offers a wide amount of choice. You have some options that I would put into an extremely budget category and these can often be found on various retailers for under £100/$100. The main caveat with these extremely budget racing wheels is that they don’t come with force feedback.
Both the Thrustmaster T80 and 458 racing wheels feature a resistance band internally instead of a motor. This provides some resistance as you rotate the steering wheel, however, you won’t be able to feel your car’s interactions with the track surface. This means, you won’t get any feedback from the game and won’t know how your car is reacting and when you’re about to lose grip.
Because of this lack of force feedback, I would recommend avoiding either of these two wheels and opting for the next racing wheel up in price as long as your budget allows. Moving up in price range, you’ll find the Thrustmaster T128 racing wheel. This is a mightily impressive racing wheel that can be purchased for under £170 or $200 and does come with a set of pedals included.
This is the racing wheel that I’d recommend if budget is a key buying decision. The Thrustmaster T128 comes in two forms, one that is compatible with Xbox consoles and another which is compatible with PS5 consoles, making this wheel incredibly versatile. Just ensure you buy the correct one to match the console you’ll be sim racing on!
The wheel itself utilises a hybrid technology much like the T248. This makes use of a set of gears and belts internally to produce the best force feedback possible whilst mitigating the negatives that these two technologies often bring.
In practice, this works incredibly well. The result is force feedback that is impressively powerful given this wheel’s price topping out at around 2Nm of peak torque. The force feedback is also incredibly smooth thanks to the internal belts.
The steering wheel that you get with the T128 is decent given the price of this wheel. It is on the smaller side for a sim racing wheel which can make it feel slightly less realistic than some wheels. However, it does include a good number of inputs including additional push buttons and a set of paddle shifters on the rear.
You do get a set of pedals included with this wheel which is great if you’re looking for an all-in-one sim racing bundle. Although, the downside is that the pedals aren’t overly great. It is a two-pedal set that feels pretty cheap. But the good news is that you can upgrade this pedal set to one of Thrustmaster’s better pedal sets such as the T-LCM.
Racing Wheel – Thrustmaster T128
Compatibility – PC, Xbox, PS4, PS5
Price – From £170/$199
Where to buy – Buy Thrustmaster T128
While the Thrustmaster T128 is a great budget racing wheel, and makes for a fantastic first sim racing wheel, for just a little bit more, you can pick up one of the best lower mid-range racing wheels around currently.
The Thrustmaster T248 is often recommended by myself as one of the best budget racing wheels, however, it really bridges the gap between budget and mid-range in both price and performance. The T248 costs £300 or $399 putting it around double the price of the T128.
This price includes everything you need to go sim racing, the wheel base, steering wheel and a pedal set. And this pedal set is an improvement over the cheap pedal set included with the T128. You get three pedals with the T248 and the build quality is higher. I would still recommend upgrading to the T-LCM pedals if you get a chance as they are a huge leap from the pedals included with the T248.
The racing wheel is capable of forces up to 3.5Nm which allows a marked improvement to the force feedback over the T128. You will get a much stronger sensation of weight as you throw your car into and through a corner, and there will be a much wider range of force feedback detail that you will feel.
Stepping up from the T128 to the T248 is certainly a noticeable difference in the improved force feedback and the overall quality of the wheel. The steering wheel feels much higher quality compared to the T128 with improved hand grips, a nicer, larger design, and more inputs on the steering wheel itself.
The steering wheel features a few additional rocker switches that you can use in game while racing. And there is a screen included at the top of the wheel. This screen can display live information such as your speed and revs.
Overall, the T248 is a very capable racing wheel that is both Xbox and PS5 compatible. Much like the T128, there are two versions for compatibility reasons, so make sure you buy the version that is designed for your console.
Racing Wheel – Thrustmaster T248
Compatibility – PC, Xbox, PS4, PS5
Price – From £300/$399
Where to buy – Buy Thrustmaster T248
Moving right up to the highest-performing racing wheel that Thrustmaster currently produce, I have my top pick for the best premium wheel. And that recommendation has to go to the T818 direct drive racing wheel.
The T818 is the first racing wheel that Thrustmaster has produced that utilises direct drive technology. Up until the launch of the T818, Thrustmaster has opted almost exclusively for belt-driven racing wheels with a few wheels that use hybrid technology. The T818 marks a new chapter for Thrustmaster and it is designed to compete in the increasingly crowded market of direct drive racing wheels.
Unlike many racing wheels that Thrustmaster produce, the T818 is only compatible with PC and doesn’t have any Xbox or PS5 compatibility yet. We will likely see a console-compatible version at some point, although we do not know if or when.
Despite its lack of compatibility, the T818 performs better than any other Thrustmaster racing wheel to date. It produces up to 10Nm of peak torque, which I always say is right in the sweet spot for direct drive racing wheels. This amount of torque means you can feel the weight of your car like never before and you get access to incredibly detailed force feedback.
Using the wheel settings, you can adjust the forces down if 10Nm feels too strong in a certain sim racing title, as well as adjusting a range of other Thrustmaster wheel settings to create the perfect sim racing experience.
This is easily the very best Thrustmaster racing wheel you can buy in 2024, and I cannot recommend it enough if you are in the Thrustmaster ecosystem and looking for an upgrade.
All of the racing wheels that I have mentioned above either come bundled with a steering wheel or don’t include a steering wheel. With wheels that fall into the latter category, you can pick and choose whichever steering wheel you wish to use to customise your racing wheel.
Thrustmaster does sell a range of steering wheels for you to choose between, although there is one Thrustmaster steering wheel that I would recommend to anyone who likes racing F1 or GT cars. That wheel is the mighty Ferrari SF1000 steering wheel.
The Thrustmaster SF1000 steering wheel is one of the very best F1 steering wheels available in 2024. It is a 1:1 replica of the steering wheel used by Sebastian Vettel during his time with the Ferrari F1 team. All inputs on the steering wheel are functional and let you control either your car in-game, or various parts of the steering wheel.
There is a huge screen on the front that replicates the one on the real Ferrari SF1000 wheel, and this is used to display a range of in-game telemetry and data. There are various screen layouts to choose from, including designs that mimic a real F1 steering wheel and the steering wheel display in F1 23.
Other than the impressive screen, the rest of the wheel utilises high-quality materials such as carbon fibre to produce an F1 steering wheel like no other. This is a must-buy if you have a Thrustmaster racing wheel and are an F1 fan!
The easy answer to the question of whether more expensive racing wheels can make you quicker is no (with a small yes thrown in there). If the reason you are looking to buy a new Thrustmaster wheel is to improve your lap time, I wouldn’t recommend a new wheel. I’d instead start by upgrading your pedals to a load cell set like the Thrustmaster T-LCM.
You can find a lot of consistency and lap time by upgrading to a load cell brake pedal as you will be able to attack corners with much more precision and build muscle memory. Upgrading a racing wheel doesn’t provide the same immediate gains.
While upgrading to a more powerful racing wheel can let you feel more of how the car is behaving on track, these extra sensations don’t always make you quicker. You can certainly decipher different forces better and sometimes feel things you couldn’t with a less powerful racing wheel.
However, it is quite common for sim racers to actually be slower when first using a direct drive or more powerful racing wheel. This is because you might spend more time fighting the increased strength from the force feedback, and lose some precision during corners in the process. Over time, you can always relearn how to react to the wheel to regain your lap time, and potentially improve it further. But upgrading your racing wheel certainly isn’t the way to quickly find extra pace!
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.
The Thrustmaster T818 is the most powerful Thrustmaster racing wheel currently. It produces up to 10Nm of peak torque from its direct drive motor, which results in incredibly powerful and detailed force feedback.
The Thrustmaster SF1000 steering wheel is easily one of the best F1 steering wheels around. It replicates the steering wheel used by Sebastian Vettel in his Ferrari F1 car and looks incredible. The wheel has a lot of functionality with all inputs working to control different aspects of your car and the screen.
Thrustmaster and Logitech both produce excellent budget racing wheels, and have long competed in this space. The Logitech G923 is an incredible racing wheel that has a slightly higher build quality compared to the Thrustmaster T248. However, the T248 racing wheel does outperform the Logitech racing wheel in terms of raw performance.
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