The sim-racing universe is vast, with many players who have forged their reputations thanks to exceptional products. We’re all familiar with brands like Logitech and Thrusmaster, which have been in the peripherals game for over 20 years. But do you know Fanatec? Or Simucube? Well, they, too, are big names in sim-racing.
Fanatec is a German brand with many years of experience manufacturing sim-racing peripherals. The brand has been doing just that: sim-racing peripherals and accessories for over 20 years. That means they know a lot about the business, and the brand needs no further introduction to sim-racing fans or enthusiasts.
Discipline connoisseurs have a preference for a particular brand. This is the case for motorsports. For example, when it comes to sim-racing, I’m a big fan of Fanatec. This is a brand I’ve known since my early days in the sport, and I love almost all its products.
Nevertheless, Simucube is also a big name in sim-racing, acting as a rival to Fanatec. It has to be said that both brands offer top-of-the-range products worthy of being used in real racing cars. That’s why it’s even harder to choose when you have a wide range of high-quality sim-racing peripherals.
Wanting to help people decide on a peripheral like a steering wheel, pedalboard, or bundle, I thought I’d do this article comparing the leaders in sim-racing in terms of high-end peripherals: Fanatec and Simucube.
Fanatec vs. Simucube: manufacturing quality
I’ll start with manufacturing quality, the main criterion for choosing a high-end sim-racing device. On this point, there’s virtually nothing to say: both brands are equal at the top end of the market.
Simucube is only very high-end if we base our comparison on price, and I’ll return to that later. Nevertheless, their products are of excellent quality, worthy of racing cars. As I just said, Simucube focuses on the professional high-end. Simply put, Simucube manufactures products directly from motor racing and sells them to the general public. It’s no longer sim-racing with products from Simucube. Simucube is so realistic; it’s almost like racing in your living room. If you haven’t figured it out yet, Simucube is in the very high-end sim-racing business, with products used by real motorsports teams for simulation sessions. Because beyond that, all that’s left is the race car.
Fanatec manufactures high-end sim-racing peripherals but is not in the same market as Simucube. Being a car fan, I can make the following comparison without venturing too far: Simucube is like a Rolls, and Fanatec is an S-Class in full option. The German manufacturers’ products are excellent, and I consider them the best in sim racing. Compared to Simucube’s peripherals, Fanatec’s are borderline affordable, and I weigh my words.
Both brands are known for using premium materials like aluminum and carbon fiber on their product, although Fanatec does use plastic on some entry-level products. Honestly, this isn’t a big deal on steering wheels priced under €200, but if you compare the top of the range of both brands, you won’t find this. Both manufacturers have nothing to blame themselves for regarding the materials they use, which shows in their excellent products.
Fanatec vs. Simucube: Diversity
In terms of diversity, the brands are identical. Both focus exclusively on sim-racing peripherals, with steering wheels, bases, pedalboards, and more. Unlike Logitech, Fanatec and Simucube don’t make peripherals such as joysticks or joysticks. This is pure sim-racing juice and excellent quality at that.
Even if Fanatec and Simucube share the same market, that doesn’t mean they’re in the same segment. The Finnish manufacturer (Simucube) is in the high-end professional piece, which says a lot. Many racing teams use its products for their simulation setups. To be considered by a racing team, you need to have excellent peripherals to offer, and this is the case.
The German manufacturer (Fanatec) is in the high-end sim-racing segment. Its products are excellent, extremely well made, durable, and high quality, but they are aimed at sim-racing fans, not professionals. This is reflected above all in the price, even if sometimes the two manufacturers’ products are just as good for a user like you and me.
Fanatec vs. Simucube: Which one to choose?
On the one hand, you have base + flywheel bundles at almost 5000 € (the GSI x Simucube 2 Ultimate Bundle); on the other hand, you have base + flywheel bundles at 1800 € (the F1 Podium).
If you’re like me, the choice is quickly made. Even if I say that I prefer Fanatec for its excellent quality products, I have to admit that Simucube is just a notch or two above. We’re no longer in the same product range at such a price difference.
I like Simucube’s peripherals, especially the bases, which offer a superb force feedback feel. The Simucube 2 Pro can reach 25 nm of torque, compared with 20 nm for Fanatec’s Direct Drive 2. Some might say it’s just 5 nm, but the difference is enormous for a true sim-racing fan.
Fanatec is aimed at sim-racing fans who want top-quality products at high, affordable prices compared with Simucube. These people want an excellent sim-racing setup to spend time with every day.
As for Simucube, this brand’s products are more aimed at an elitist public who have the means to indulge themselves and, above all, who need such setups to train. At least, that’s how I see it.
If you own a race car like a 911 GT3 RS and often do track days, Simucube’s products are a must. They’ll let you train at home before weekend events.
But if you have, for example, an M2 (the old rear-wheel drive ones) or an M3 Comp and you rarely do track days, Fanatec is the place to shop. It’s a brand that offers top-quality, premium products designed for sim-racing fans, not professionals.
Nevertheless, here’s what I recommend for people who purchase products from either brand.
- Budget. Fanatec’s prices are high, but Simucube’s are even higher, 2 to 3 times more. So get a 5-figure bank account ready for a proper setup (without a cockpit).
- Availability. Fanatec products are available exclusively from its online store. This means you won’t find them in stores or on Amazon, which is problematic for some people who want to see and try a product before buying it. It’s the same for Simucube, which sells via its store or through resellers in certain countries.
- Compatibility. Simucube is PC-compatible only, unlike Fanatec, which has several products that run on PC consoles. Sony and Microsoft. It’s perfectly normal to offer its effects only on a platform (PC) capable of pushing graphics and immersion to the maximum, something that’s difficult to do on consoles, even Next-Gen ones.
Fanatec and Simucube are two brands whose basic philosophy is identical: to offer premium sim-racing peripherals. But the difference lies in their target audience. Fanatec stays in the “racing fan” segment, while Simucube is more in the “racing professional” segment. Nevertheless, these two brands occupy the top two places in the world for sim-racing peripherals. They’re the best, period.