We may earn a commission when you buy through links in our articles. Learn more.

Thrustmaster T128 review - an ideal entry level setup

The Thrustmaster T128 steering wheel and pedals are a great entry level sim racing peripheral balancing price, design, and performance.

Thrustmaster T128 Review

Our Verdict

The Thrustmaster T128 is the perfect starting wheel and pedals for anyone looking to quickly immerse themselves in their favorite racing games. It’s surprisingly well built, even for a budget wheel, and it offers surprisingly good quality for its $200 MSRP.

Reasons to buy
  • Price is great
  • Force feedback feels fantastic
  • Setup is incredibly simple
  • Magnetic pedals and gear shifters are super durable
Reasons to avoid
  • Downloading firmware for PC is a mission
  • Pedal base needs better slip resistance
  • Cheap look and feel

It’s easy for budget racing wheels to get lost in the crowd, as coverage is often focused on full sim racing and the setups required to fully immerse yourself in your favorite games, but not everyone can afford these systems. The Thrustmaster T128 instead offers a pathway to improving your immersion without needing a copious amount of free space or cash.

Easily one of the best PC steering wheels available if you’re on a budget, the Thrustmaster T128 isn’t without its faults, but for a force feedback wheel and pedal system, you can do far worse at this price. Above all else, you have the reliability of a big name like Thrustmaster that has a great pedigree in the market.

Why you can trust our advice ✔ At PCGamesN, our experts spend hours testing hardware and reviewing games and VPNs. We share honest, unbiased opinions to help you buy the best. Find out how we test.


Force Feedback Yes
Wheel Rotation 900 degrees
Number of pedals 2
Wheel material Plastic, no grips

Thrustmaster T128 steering wheel with blurred background


The Thrustmaster T128 is an entry-level steering wheel and pedal set, sporting just two magnetic pedals and a wheel that sits on the smaller side, with just a 10.2-inch diameter, while most modern wheels sit anywhere between 14 and 17 inches.

Magnetic paddle shifters are situated behind the wheel, and they share the same Hall Effect technology as the pedals, meaning they’re built with long-term performance in mind. A desk mount is also Included with the wheel, meaning you won’t need to find a permanent mount.

On the Xbox and PlayStation wheels, both of which are PC compatible, the button layouts are identical, with two quick-access handbrake buttons on the left and right of the wheel. Central to the wheel is a strip of four LED lights that react to actions in-game. Finally, force feedback is included via Thrustmaster’s Hybrid Drive system, which uses gear and belt mechanisms to create the most authentic feedback possible at this price.

Thrustmaster T128 Pedals


The design of the Thrustmaster T128 is basic, and this is expected given its entry-level focus but it results in a mixed bag of attractive design aspects but a few avoidable gripes too.

First up, I have to praise the pedals as, like the shift paddles, they use the patented H.E.A.R.T Hall Effect technology, removing any risk of mechanical wear and ensuring long-lasting responsiveness due to the reduced friction between moving parts. The issue, however, is the lightweight base on which they sit, which doesn’t sit well on carpet, leaving me constantly worried about whether the pedals were about to move during gameplay which is far from ideal.

When testing it on hardwood flooring, the grip is substantially better, but my rig being in a carpeted area meant it was a constant consideration when using the pedals. If you’re able to set them up against a wall, or just generally find a way to increase the weight to prevent them from slipping, then that’s an easy fix, but ideally, you shouldn’t have to do this at all.

Elsewhere, the design of the wheel is very basic, but the T128 doesn’t need a ton of extra inputs, flashing lights, and switches to fulfill its job. I also find the comparatively smaller size of the wheel works in its favor, especially when desk mounting, because it reduces the need to clear so much space, plus it’s also not too heavy.

Depending on which version of the wheel you buy, the inputs will mimic those of a PlayStation or Xbox controller. A small four-stage LED strip also sits atop the central Thrustmater logo. These lights are your rev indicators, helping you know when it’s time to shift in-game.

The wheel is also very light to the touch, and this helps with the force feedback. You can really feel every bump and liftoff when you head off the road and the haptics kick in. While I can appreciate that the lighter weight works well in this regard, the combination of this low weight with simple black plastic creates quite a cheap appearance and feel. It’s understandable that using real or even faux leather materials to coat the plastic would cost more, but it’s something done by the likes of the Logitech G920 and it can really make a big difference to the look and feel of the wheel.

Thrustmaster T128 desk grip


Now for the big question. How does it feel to use the Thurstmaster T128 in games? Honestly, it’s impressive. Force feedback in wheels used to be a big deal, but that’s no longer the case and it’s now the minimum expected standard. Even so, it’s still great to have it so well implemented in a wheel that costs just $200.

The T128 adds a level of realism to your driving games that immediately immerses you in the game, and makes you take notice of the power in your hands. If you’re already familiar with larger simulation setups, servos, or direct drives, then basic force feedback will feel like child’s play more often than not. The T128 manages to avoid this with the Hybrid Drive system, which is capable of delivering 20% more power in comparison to previous force feedback iterations.

This added power means you’ll always feel in control of your vehicle, even if you do stray off track, but the Thrustmaster T128 never feels like it can overwhelm you and rip the wheel from your grip at a moment’s notice like some direct drive systems can.

It’s not perfect, there were a few occasions in games like Forza Motorsport where I could feel the feedback motor working very hard, and this led to momentary skips where the resistance disappeared before returning a split second later.

Despite the cheaper look and feel, in hand the Thrustmaster T128 still feels good. I never felt like it was about to slip out of my hand even on the tightest of turns. When making quick adjustments, be it to avoid other vehicles or when tackling a tight chicane, the T128 is fluid and responsive. The smaller wheel size does sometimes work against it in situations where I find myself crossing my hands.

The bottom line is that the T128 is a really impressive setup for $200, and knowing that the next logical jump-up could cost at least $100 extra, really made me appreciate it a lot more. For some, the T128 is the top of the mountain, it’s all you’ll ever need and you’ll have no desire to push for more. I wouldn’t be surprised if the T128 ended up acting as a gateway for others, showing just a fraction of what is possible with sim racing peripherals, and piquing the curiosity of soon-to-be fully blown enthusiasts.

One downside to its performance is the need to download the Thrustmaster drivers, which is always a manual process. You’ll need to head to the product page on the Thrustmaster Support website before running the installer, and then locate the Thrustmaster Control Panel to check the latest firmware is installed and that the wheel is responding as expected. It’s a drag to have to do this, but the upside is you only ever have to do it once during initial setup.


The Thrustmaster T128 is available for $199.99 (£169.99). This includes the force feedback wheel, desk mount, dual pedal base, and all the power and connection cables you need to start playing. This is great value for a force feedback wheel that quite literally comes with everything you need to start playing in the box. The limitations are clear with just two pedals and a reduced wheel size, but these are a fair trade-off for the $100 you’re saving compared to the next tier of race wheel.


All in all, the Thrustmaster T128 is a great setup for getting started with immersive racing, and it will surely satisfy the need to improve how you interact with your racing games. If, however, you’re even contemplating a larger and more sophisticated setup, it’s worth checking one out either in a store or at a convention to get an idea of what level of gear you need.

I found that the T128 improved my immersion greatly, even though I had to find a solution for keeping the pedals stationary on my carpet. I’m used to using bigger setups with a direct drive and 1:1 scale wheel, but Thrustmaster has successfully stripped back the T128’s features to create a more affordable system that still has great performance.


Logitech G920

Costing $100 more than the T128, the Logitech G920 is a bigger initial investment but it comes with a noticeably improved build quality and feel. At this higher price, you have to expect more quality, and while the driving experience is similar, the material improvements are where the money is spent, with a woven leather wheel and three-pedal setup.