The Complete Sim Racing Pedal Guide 2022
This pedal guide compares all the budget and entry-level pedal sets, and the most popular mid-range and high-end pedal sets on the market in 2022.
Pedals are your most important purchase when it comes to pace and consistency in sim racing. Wheels and direct drives get a lot of attention, but pros and enthusiasts alike agree that pedals will make the biggest difference.
In this article, you will see all the factors to consider when buying a pedal set and a table comparing all the major pedals on the market. If there is a pedal set we missed, don’t hesitate to let us know by contacting us or via Twitter.
Note that we have also up-to-date guides for the following:
A Beginner's Guide to a Sim Racing Setup: This article provides an overview of your entire setup.
The Complete Sim Racing Wheel Base Guide: A comparison of every single wheel base on the market in 2022. We show the torque, platform compatibility, price and other relevant information in tables.
A Guide to Sim Racing Steering Wheels: See types of wheels and the other considerations when buying one.
The Complete Steering Wheel and Wheel Base Compatibility Guide: See the bolt patterns and QR Hubs of all the major wheel and wheel base brands.
The Beginner's Sim Racing Rig and Seat Guide: See the two types of rigs and the other considerations when buying one.
Sim Racing Stick Shifters and Handbrakes: The Complete Guide 2022: A comparison of every sim racing stick shifter and handbrake on the market in 2022.
How to Earn Money in Sim Racing: An overview of the various ways in which you can get income from your favourite hobby.
- On Pedals
- The Consensus
- Advice From The Pros
- Factors to Consider
- Pedal Types and Components
- Mounts and Adjustability
- Platform Compatibility
- Why Do Prices Vary?
- The Ultimate Comparison Table
When we made the beginner’s guide to a sim racing setup, we asked sim racing enthusiasts the following question: which piece of gear is most important to pace and consistency? The resounding answer? Pedals.
Sim racers agree pedals are the most critical piece of gear for performance.
In a series of interviews youtuber random callsign did at the Spa 24h race this year, he asked several professional real racers their thoughts on pedals. Raffaelle Marciello, who drove on the winning team of the 2022 Spa 24h Race, repeated what he tells his friends when they ask him for gear advice: It is better to get quality pedals even if it means sacrificing a direct drive!
There you have it. Simucube who? Fanatec DD for what?
Advice From the Pros
In the interviews, several of the Pros give their takes on the difference between braking in the sim vs braking in real life, and general braking advice. Let’s look at some common threads.
G-Force adds weight. On the track, drivers exert 80-130 kg of weight, but you don’t need that in your sim. According to David Perel, 30-40 kg is good enough. Marciello notes that he does not even aim for total immersion in his sim rig: why tire yourself out when you don’t need to?
Another difference is that braking in the real world has unlimited pressure you can place. Since you are putting your weight on a hydraulic system that relays that to the brake, the harder you push, the harder you brake. In sim racing, there is a 100% beyond which extra weight does nothing…
Shorter and stiffer. There are three major inputs for braking: One, seeing the track, two, the pressure you apply and three, the angle of your ankle. All the interviewees agree that weight is the most useful pedal input - it has a certain visceral feel to it. The angle of your ankle is far less exact than the pressure you can apply with your whole leg. This means a shorter travel with decent stiffness is recommended on your brake pedal.
Yet, don’t be too gung-ho about it. There is an art in using your ankle for that extra sensitivity on a softer setup. David Perel mentions that he learnt sensitivity in the sim and that that made him a better overall driver.
If you want more insight into how to improve your braking, check out Ian Korf over at You Suck At Driving and his great article where he breaks braking down. In it he illustrates the impact triangle braking as on your times.
Along the x-axis runs the distance along the track. The top graph shows the braking percentage, the middle graph shows the speed and the bottom graph shows the delta against the best time. Blue shows threshold braking while red shows triangle braking.
As you can see above, rolling into corners is a really important skill, one that Daniel Morad echoes in his Spa 24h interview. Think about it this way: starting your braking earlier gives you more time to measure your total slow down.
Factors To Consider
Pedal Types and Components
There are three types of pedals you should consider buying.
- Throttle. Necessary.
- Brake. Necessary and most important.
- Clutch. Optional since many cars shift with paddles attached to the wheel.
Most pedal sets come with the option of buying all three, only the two necessary pedals or even one by one in some cases.
Let’s also take a look at the components of a pedal:
- Sensors. See below for details about the three types of sensors: potentiometers, hall effect and load cells.
- Springs. Springs can be added to create progressive resistance for the brake and throttle, or regressive, for the clutch (as it is in the real world). These are typically either made of metal, foam or elastomer.
- Hydraulic dampeners. These also provide progressive resistance on brakes or the throttle and can be used along with springs. Note that dampeners can cause a delay in the pedal returning to its default position after you lift off.
- Vibration motors. Some pedals have vibration motors that add a level of immersion by simulating ABS shudder, but these won’t have any major impact on your pace.
The crucial difference in performance and price between pedals is the sensor they use to calculate the pedal position.
- Potentiometer: Measures the position of the pedal and uses a mechanical sensor. Cheapest.
- Hall Effect: Also measures position but uses magnets as sensors and thus has fewer mechanical parts than the potentiometer. Cheaper.
- Load Cell: Uses a transducer, a device that converts one form of energy into another, which in this instance converts pressure into an electric signal. Expensive.
- Hydraulic Pressure: A high-end sensor that converts hydraulic input into electrical impulses. Super expensive.
As noted above, braking is the most important factor in your pace, and on top of that, placing pressure is the best way of doing that. Given that, which of the above is suited to a brake pedal? That’s right, a load cell or a hydraulic pressure sensor. Note hydraulic sensors are used by the ultra high-end pedals.
Load cells come with a weight limit grading, for example, 100 kg. This means that any pressure you place above that threshold has no impact. Most pedals come with a 90 kg or 100 kg threshold, but remember that professional real-world drivers are more than happy with 30-40 kgs in their sim setup.
Note that load cells are most often found only on the brake since you don’t need to place as much pressure on the other pedals. The throttle and the clutch usually use either of the position sensors: the potentiometer or the hall effect. Springs are then what provide resistance.
A high-end set of OBP eSport Pro-Race V2 pedals, with a hydraulic system that senses the brake pressure applied. Available on Simplace.
Mounts and Adjustability
As pointed out in our article on rigs, flexibility is the enemy of pace, while rigidity is the foundation for going fast. Ensure that your pedal set is firmly attached to your rig, or on the floor if you don’t have a rig.
If you are interested in immersion, note that most cars have the brake and clutch suspended from above, while the throttle is attached to the floor. Just keep in mind that if you are suspending these pedals, it is better to have a reclined bucket seat, otherwise, the pedals will rest at an awkward angle. Note the standard in sim racing is to have all the pedals on the floor, for the sake of simplicity.
Most pedal sets make it easy to adjust the angle of the pedals vertically, but not all give you the option of shifting them horizontally. Yet, horizontal adjustment is very useful. One, if you don’t use the clutch, then you may want more space so you can still implement two-foot driving. Two, if you are practising heel-and-toe driving (where you use one foot across the brake and throttle).
The last note on adjustability is an admin issue. With many pedals, you may want to swap out springs or add your hydraulic dampener. Some make it hard and complicated to do, while others make it easy (like the latest Logitech Pro Racing Pedals).
The newly released Logitech G Pro Racing Pedals. Metal pedals with a plastic base, and a 100kg load cell for the brake.
Compatibility: Ecosystems and Platforms
All pedals are compatible with PC, but pedals can’t directly connect to a console. They can only connect to a console via a wheel base. Playstation requires a security chip to be placed inside the wheel base. Xbox works differently: they require a security chip inside the wheel rim.
That means that only pedals that are compatible with Thrustmaster, Logitech or Fanatec will be compatible with a console, and which console and which generation will depend on the wheel base and its rim.
If you are on a PC, you can just plug it in directly to the PC. However, do note that PCs and games can both be overwhelmed when too many devices connect directly to them. If you plan on several accessories, like pedals, wheel rims, a wheel base, shifter, handbrake and button box, then sticking within an ecosystem can really help in this regard. You get the additional benefit of using a single piece of software to set up all your gear.
The Thrustmaster T3PA Add-On Pedal Set. A great budget choice. Available through Simplace.
Why Do Prices Vary?
The two biggest factors are the sensors used and the general quality of materials. Cheap pedals will use potentiometers with foam springs and will be made of mostly plastic. Good pedals will use a load cell for the brake and hall effects for the other two pedals, with metal springs, and will be mostly made of metal.
High-end pedals will use a hydraulic system for the brake, with a bosch sensor to convert it to electrical signals. The clutch might have a three-tiered spring system to simulate the clutch ‘popping’ in. All the pedals will have beveled edges.
Note that the term “Load Cell” has become a bit of a buzzword. The total brake weight limit is not a big differentiator, but the feel of the progressive resistance can be. If
The Ultimate Comparison Table
The following table contains every budget and entry-level pedal, along with the most popular mid-range and high-end pedals in 2022. The pedals are ordered in ascending order of price.
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|Characteristic||ThrustMaster T3PA Add-On||Thrustmaster T3PM||Fanatec CSL Elite LC Pedals||Thrustmaster T-LCM||Fanatec CSL Elite Pedals V2||Logitech G PRO Racing Pedals||Fanatec Clubsport V3 Pedals||Heusinkveld Sim Pedals Sprint||Logitech G29/G920/G923||MOZA Racing SRP Pedals||DC2 Pedals||MOZA Racing CRP Pedals||DC3 Pedals||VNM Pedals V1||Meca EVO1||Heusinkveld Sim Pedals Ultimate||OBP eSports Pro-Race V2||SIMTAG Iris (Tilton 600/Wilwood)||SimCraft PRO (Tilton 600)||SIMTAG Ashley (Tilton 600/Wilwood)|
|Brake Sensor||Potentiometer||Hall Effect||Load Cell||Load Cell||Load Cell||Load Cell||Load Cell||Load Cell||Potentiometer||Load Cell/Potentiometer||Load Cell||Load Cell||Load Cell||Load Cell||Load Cell||Load Cell||Hydraulic||Bosch Pressure||Load Cell||Bosch Pressure|
|Throttle Sensor||Potentiometer||Hall Effect||Hall Effect||Hall Effect||Hall Effect||Hall Effect||Hall Effect||Load Cell||Potentiometer||Potentiometer||Hall Effect||Potentiometer||Hall Effect||Hall Effect||Load Cell||Load Cell||Hydraulic||Potentiometer||Potentiometer||Potentiometer|
|Clutch Sensor||Potentiometer||Hall Effect||Hall Effect||Hall Effect||Hall Effect||Hall Effect||Hall Effect||Load Cell||Potentiometer||Potentiometer||❌||Potentiometer||Hall Effect||Hall Effect||Load Cell||Load Cell||Hydraulic||Potentiometer||Potentiometer||Potentiometer|
|Wheel Compatibility||Thrustmaster T-series||Thrustmaster T-series||Fanatec||Thrustmaster T-series||Fanatec||Logitech Pro Wheel||Fanatec||None||Logitech||None||None||None||None||None||None||None||Thrustmaster||Simucube||None||Simucube|
*The Logitech G29/920/923 price includes a wheel since you cannot buy the pedals separately.
Simplace supplies the Thrustmaster T3PA Add-On, DC2 Pedals, DC3 Pedals, VNM V1 Pedals, the Meca EVO1 and the OBP eSport Pro-Race V2 Pedals. (We aim to stock as many products as possible, but do note that Fanatec does not allow anyone to sell their products.)
Author’s Note: The prices are as of September 2022. Note prices will depend on location, time and retailer. We intend to update this article once a year. If you have any corrections or notes to add, please leave a comment or contact us on Twitter.