Fanatec CSL Elite VS Thrustmaster TX – Which Is The Best Racing Wheel?

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Fanatec CSL Elite VS Thrustmaster TX

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In this comparison we find out which racing wheel you should buy, comparing the Fanatec CSL Elite vs Thrustmaster TX. This is a detailed comparison guide including comparison specs, features and price.

We are looking at two mid level racing wheels from two of the most renowned racing wheel manufacturers, Thrustmaster and Fanatec. This is a complete Thrustmaster TX vs Fanatec CSL Elite product comparison. We will compare the most important aspects from build quality, force feedback strength and quality to each products ecosystem and the price of both products.

Which is best – Thrustmaster TX vs Fanatec CSL Elite

Thrustmaster TX vs Fanatec CSL Elite – Which Has The Best Aesthetics?

When buying a more expensive wheel base, you want it to ooze build quality and good looks. The Thrustmaster doesn’t look overly premium with its completely plastic construction. In this regard it feels reasonably budget, and not a million miles away from budget wheels such as the Logitech G29.

The Fanatec CSL Elite in comparison looks great. It features a lovely brushed metal face plate and in-built rev lights which instantly elevates its quality. With both wheel bases able to connect to multiple steering wheel rims, both wheel bases incorporate a wheel to wheel base connection point. The Fanatec CSL Elite features a metal quick release which is smooth and works well. The Thrustmaster however features a plastic ring to connect a steering wheel to the base.

All in all, the CSL Elite looks much more premium. It features metal construction, in-built rev lights and a brilliant quick release system.

Winner – Fanatec CSL Elite

Which Wheel Has The Strongest Force Feedback?

If your buying decision comes down to which wheel base delivers the strongest force feedback, then the competition is over already. The Fanatec CSL Elite produces a mighty 6Nm of torque, whilst the Thrustmaster TX produces just 3.9Nm. Both of these wheels are in a completely different class than beginner wheels such as the Logitech G29. The G29 produces just 2.2Nm and is truly a beginner wheel, whilst both the Thrustmaster and Fanatec are firmly mid range products.

Winner – Fanatec CSL Elite

Which Has The Best Force Feedback Detail?

When compared to the force feedback strength which was no competition, this area of comparison should be much closer. Both wheels use a belt driven motor so both should be comparable.

And when jumping from wheel to wheel in side by side tests, both wheels feel equally as sharp and smooth out of the box. The TX is a major improvement over wheels such as the G29 which uses gear driven motors. In comparison here, the TX shines with ultra fast force feedback response. The level of detail in the force feedback is very sharp and you can really feel the limits of your car.

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Jumping from the TX to the CSL Elite, the story is relatively similar straight from the box. The CSL Elite is silky smooth, and even a little bit more so than the TX. The stronger force feedback is evident immediately and can really challenge you when you encounter some snap oversteer. This was the story using the CSL Elite on its default settings.

However the CSL Elite has a trick up its sleeve, in the form of completely customisable force feedback configurations. You can change a whole host of options which in turn completely change how the CSL Elite behaves. And you can do this all right from the wheel itself. Once you have found some good force feedback settings, such as those in this FFB settings guide, you can really transform your experience.

Once properly configured, the Fanatec wheel base showcases a much wider range of detail in its force feedback. The car and track really start to come alive. You can start to truly feel the smallest bumps and kerbs, with these much more present in the CSL Elite vs the Thurstmaster TX.

This resulted in me being able to push my car harder with the CSL Elite compared to the TX. And in turn, an ever so slight improvement to lap times.

Winner – Fanatec CSL Elite

Console Compatibility

Thrustmaster have a range of wheel bases with slight variation between console. For example, if you are looking for an Xbox compatible wheel base you will want to go for the Thrustmaster T300 RS. Whereas if you wanted a PS4 wheel base you have the Thrustmaster TX. Both of these products are relatively similar in most aspects. Thrustmaster have done this to cater for each console’s own architecture.

Fanatec go about this in a slightly different way, by putting the emphasis on their wheel rims. A Fanatec CSL Elite wheel base is compatible with every console, but requires a console specific wheel rim to ensure compatibility. For example, if you purchase a PS4 wheel rim and try to use it with your CSL Elite and an Xbox, you’ll find it wont work. Instead you will require an Xbox wheel rim to allow the wheel base to work correctly.

It also means that if you wanted a wheel to work on both Xbox and PS4, Fanatec would require you purchase 1 wheel base, and 2 wheel rims. Thrustmaster would require you buy 2 wheel bases and 1 wheel rim. In essence both platforms do the same job, just go about it in different ways. We would rather have two wheel rims with a single wheel base, rather than two wheel bases laying around, so Fanatec just get our vote here.

Winner – Fanatec CSL Elite

Which Wheel Has The Best Ecosystem?

Both companies have a very good ecosystem of products with a lot of cross compatibility. Both have upgrade-able pedals, shifter and handbrake modifications, and both have a plethora of steering wheels.

This primarily comes down to which steering wheel rims you prefer. Thrustmaster have a wide range of wheel rims including a nice range of Ferrari branded rims. One of the Ferrari rims, the Ferrari F1 wheel rim, is particularly nice. It is an almost like for like replica of a Ferrari F1 steering wheel and is a great quality.

Fanatec on the other hand include brands such as McLaren, Porsche and BMW with their rims. Being a German company, the links to BMW and Porsche are easy to understand, and the majority of Fanatec’s steering wheels are incredibly well made. All in all we would have to call this one a tie, as it truly comes down to personal preference.

Winner – Draw

What Are The Price Differences Between The Two?

Prices for the Thrustmaster TX start from £330 for the most basic Ferrari 458 wheel and pedal package. We wouldn’t recommend purchasing this though as it comes with extremely low quality pedals. Instead you should opt for the more expensive TX Leather Edition. Prices for this start from around £390 for a complete wheel and pedal bundle.

The Fanatec CSL Elite however is much pricier. The wheel base alone will set you back £360, with the cheapest bundle being the PS4 starter bundle for £499. This bundle includes a PS4 compatible wheel rim and the most basic two pedal pedal box. Instead we would opt for the upgraded three pedal box which includes a load cell on the brake for more realistic braking. This would increase the price to £640 for a complete bundle.

Winner – Thrustmaster TX

In Summary, Which Wheel Should You Buy?

In almost all of the categories above, the Fanatec CSL Elite wins out almost every time. It costs considerably more, which some may say puts it in to a different price bracket. This price difference also accounts for the much improved material quality and the stronger force feedback.

When compared side by side, the Fanatec CSL Elite is far superior to the Thrustmaster TX, however the price does reflect this. If you are in the position where you are upgrading from a budget wheel such as the Logitech G29, we would recommend spending a little more and buying the Fanatec.

Although if you already own the Thrustmaster TX, the extra cost may not be worth the small improvement to force feedback detail. In this situation you may be best off staying put with the TX.

Winner – Fanatec CSL Elite

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Article written by Rich

Co-Founder of

Rich is the co-founder, and one of the main F1 setup creators and content writers for SimRacingSetups. With over a decade of experience as a graphic designer, marketing director, competitive sim racer and avid motorsport fan, Rich founded to share his passion and knowledge of sim racing and Formula 1 with other sim racers.

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