A sequential shifter is a fantastic piece of equipment that can seriously add tremendous value to any sim racing rig. Whether you’re planning on driving Supercars around Bathurst or Rally in Spain, a sequential shifter is going to add some fantastic immersion and value.
Here are the 5 best sequential shifters for sim racing
|Thrustmaster TSSH||Thrustmaster TH8A||Fanatec ClubSport Shifter SQ V1.5||Simworx Supercar Sequential Shifter||Heusinkveld Sequential Shifter|
|Winner||Best Multi-function||Runner Up||Best Professional||Best Compact|
|Compatibility||PC, Limited Console||PC, Limited Console||PC, Limited Console||PC||PC|
Thrustmaster TSSH – Best Overall
Weighing in at 6.24 pounds and standing 21.05″ tall, the Thrustmaster TSSH is a big piece of equipment no matter how you look at it. With the shifter being so large, the Thrustmaster TSSH will require you to bolt it down to either a desk or a rig to keep it in place as it does not come with any out of the box clamping options. If you are unable to hard mount your sim gear, then the Thrustmaster Racing Clamp is available on Amazon and may be able to fill that gap for you.
The Thrustmaster TSSH doubles as a handbrake, and whilst this may not be the primary focus of the shifter, it is a nice bonus. It should be noted though that you cannot use the shifter and the handbrake at the same time.
It is easy enough to shifter between shifter and handbrake mode by simply adjusting two bolts on either side of the shifter base.
With 90% of the materials used on the Thrustmaster TSSH being metal, the construction is extremely sturdy which instils a sense of confidence when you are really yanking hard on the shifter during a tough sim racing session.
The height of the stem (the shift lever itself) is really nice as it brings a much more realistic sensation of shifting similar to what you would see in a V8 supercar. The knob is fantastic as it is a 1:1 exact replica of the knobs that Sparco uses in their real-world rally and drift setups which is a really nice compliment to this excellent shifter.
Overall, the Thrustmaster TSSH is a fantastic quality shifter, offering a realistic shifting experience with a satisfying click as the shifter goes through the gears. The handbrake mode is ok but nothing to write home about, instead think of it as a nice bonus feature that isn’t quite comparable to a dedicated handbrake such as those from Fanatec of Heusinkveld.
Pros and Cons
|Solid construction||Must be hard mounted, no desk clamping options|
|Replica real-world knob||Potentially overpriced|
|Realistic and satisfying shifting experience|
- 2-in-1 Sequential Shifter and Handbrake
- 1:1 real-world replica gear knob
- Sparco licensed
- GT and Rally shifting modes
- 90% metal construction
The Thrustmaster TSS is compatible with the following wheels and platforms
- All racing wheels currently on the market
- Thrustmaster TS-XW Series Wheels
- Thrustmaster TX-Series Wheels
- Thrustmaster T-GT Series Wheels
- Thrustmaster T300-Series Wheels
Check out the Thrustmaster TSSH on Amazon now for current pricing.
Thrustmaster TH8A – Best Multipurpose
The Thrustmaster TH8A is one of the most popular shifters amongst sim racers as it offers a huge range of versatility with it being able to switch between an H-pattern shifter, a sequential shifter, and a handbrake.
When using the TH8A in sequential there are no problems using the original knob, however, Thrustmaster makes a separate knob specifically for running the TH8A in sequential mode, the Thrustmaster TH8-Sequential Knob.
Given that the stem of the shifter is only approximately 5.11″ long, it is slightly on the shorter side for what I personally would want from a sequential shifter. The Thrustmaster TH8-Sequential Knob raises the height of the stem by a few inches which makes an incredible amount of difference.
Unlike many of the shifters available on the market, the TH8A features a built-in clamping option so for all of us that are racing from our desks, this is the perfect sequential shifter as it is easy to put on and take off as needed.
Changing between the various modes that this shifter has to offer isn’t the easiest thing in the world as it requires changing the faceplate of the shifter itself. It’s not difficult, it’s just a pain to have to remove the knob, remove 4 screws, remove the plate, replace it with another one, screw it up, and then put the knob back on each time you want to change mods.
If you’re mainly after a sequential shifter then the TH8A will do a fantastic job, but it is also an incredible H-pattern shifter. The handbrake functionality leaves for little desire but it’s there if you want to use it.
- Detachable shifter knob
- H-pattern or sequential
- 100% metal construction
- Desk clamp out of the box
Pros and Cons
|Clamp system for easy desk mounting||Takes time to change between sequential and H-pattern modes|
|H-pattern, sequential, and handbrake modes|
The Thrustmaster TH8A is compatible with the following wheels and platforms
- All racing wheel currently on the market
- Thrustmaster TX Racing Wheel
- Thrustmaster T300
- Thrustmaster T500
- Thrustmaster T150
Check out the Thrustmaster TH8A on Amazon now for current pricing
ClubSport SQ V1.5 – Best Budget
The ClubSport Shifter SQ V1.5 is currently Fanatecs only standalone shifter that offers a sequential shifting mode.
Similarly to all the other sequential shifters mentioned in this guide, the ClubSport Shifter SQ V1.5 features a full metal construction meaning that it is both sturdy and reliable. Give then weight of the product, the shifter will need to be mounted on either a rig or bolted to a desk. Fanatec does, however, sell a ClubSport Desk Clamp that you can purchase separately.
The shifter utilises multiple modes with either an H-pattern 8 speed (1-7 + reverse) being available or a sequential mode. Switching between these two modes is incredibly easy compared to the other shifters in this guide, with only the flick of two switches being needed to toggle the sequential mode on and off.
Out of the box, you get two aluminium shifter knobs, one for the h-pattern mode and an elongated one for the sequential mode which helps raise the length of the shifter which with the h-pattern knob is just under 15″.
- H-Pattern and sequential modes
- Interchangeable Knobs
- Full metal construction
- Easy switch between shifting modes
Pros and Cons
|Easy to switch between H-pattern and Sequential modes||No out of the box clamping options|
|Sequential and H-pattern modes||Adapters needed if you don’t have a Fanatec wheelbase|
|Sequential and H-pattern knobs|
The Fanatec ClubSport Shifter SQ V1.5 is compatible with the following wheels and platforms
- Compatible with all Fanatec wheelbases
- Will require the ClubSport USB Adapter to be compatible with other wheels
- Only when connected directly to a Fanatec wheel in supported games
- Only when connected directly to a Fanatec wheel in supported games
You can visit the Fanatec store to have a look at current prices for the Fanatec ClubSport Shifter SQ V1.5
Simworx Supercar Sequential Shifter
The Simworx Supercar Sequential Shifter is by far the most expensive shifter in this list, but with the hefty price tag comes unbelievable craftsmanship and quality.
This shifter is a replica of the Albins sequential shifter, the same one that is used in the V8 supercars. This shifter is so close to the real thing they supercar teams in Australia are using them for their practice rigs.
- Incredible realism
- Reverse lever (though sold separately)
- Plug and play
- Variable stroke
- CNC machined from Aluminium
- Replica of real-world Supercar shifter
Make sure that you research if the Thrustmaster TH8A is compatible with the platform that you want to use.
The Simworx Supercar Sequential Shifter is compatible with the following wheels and platforms
- Plug-and-Play via USB
Pros and Cons
|Based On Real-World Supercar Shifter||Price|
|Very realistic shifting sensation|
Visit the SimWorx store to have a look at current pricing options for the Simworx Supercar Sequential Shifter
Heusinkveld Sim Shifter Sequential
The Heusinkveld Sim Shifter Sequential is a compact shifter from Heusinkveld that does exactly what it is designed to do, and nothing more. Unlike most of the other shifters in this guide, this sequential shifter does not have any other modes or fancy settings. It isn’t an h-pattern, or a handbrake, but is simply a very good, compact sequential shifter.
Out of the box, you will get 3 different levers, a 30mm straight, a 50mm straight, and a 50mm bent, as well as 3 different knobs, that range in shape from a large sequential knob, a smaller teardrop style knob, and a circle h-pattern knob, ranging in length from 46mm to 90mm. Change the combination of these levels and knobs allows for a range of heights from 76mm up to 140mm with the larger sequential knob.
This shifter is a very compact unit, being able to fit in the palm of your hand and is designed so that it can fit on even the most cramped sim racing rigs. The shifter also has a very short throw which is similar to what can be seen in some of the small formula classes of racing, allowing you to bang through the gears as quickly as possible.
Whilst the throw is short, the click of the gear change still remains satisfying and mechanical which keeps the immersion factor high.
- Short throw
- Multiple leavers and knobs
- Compact design
- USB stand-alone device
Pros and Cons
|Small in size so it won’t take up much room||Not a great looking design|
|Highly customizable with multiple levers and knobs||No multifunction|
|short throw for fast gear changes and to mimic real-world junior formula cars|
The Heusinkveld Sim Shifter Sequential is compatible with the following wheels and platforms
- All wheelbases as the shifter is a standalone device via USB
Checkout the Heusinkveld website to view current stock and pricing of the Heusinkveld Sim Shifter Sequential
One of the frustrating issues with sim racing gear is that much of it is either only compatible within the specific brand, or is only compatible with a specific console. It is extremely rare that you will find a piece of sim racing equipment that you are able to use across all platforms and brands.
Because of compatibility issues, it is extremely important that you check that not only the gear that you already have is compatible with the sequential shifter that you are looking for, but also that the sims that you are wanting to play will also be compatible as there is some sim that will not work with any shifters.
It is also important that you make sure that whatever platform you are playing on is supported. More often than not, most sim gear will be plug and play with PC, however, there may be times where the sequential shifter may require an adapter such as the Fanatec ClubSport USB Adapter to use with the Fanatec ClubSport SQ V1.5 if you don’t have a Fanatec wheelbase.
If you are playing on a console and PC, then you will have to be diligent with checking that the sequential shifter is going to be able to be used on both. For consoles, generally, the compatibility is tied to the wheelbase that you are using so make sure to have a look at the manufacturer’s websites for compatibility with whatever sequential shifter that you choose to go with.
Winner: Thrustmaster TSSH
A common theme amongst sequential shifters for sim racing is that they often come with other modes, whether that be handbrake or h-pattern.
For some sim racers this isn’t going to be what they are after, and if that’s the case then generally you will generally be looking into the more enthusiast options.
For the more general sim racer who will be looking at gear from companies like Fanatec and Thrustmaster, the multipurpose shifters can provide great value for money.
If you’re limited on space or simply don’t have the need to multiple pieces of specialised sim racing equipment then the versatility of your sequential shifter is going to be important. Lucky for us, most sim racing sequential shifters will usually have other modes that they can switch into – either a handbrake mode or an H-pattern mode.
In most cases, sequential shifters will be big and bulky items which means that they are going to take up a lot of space wherever you’re planning on mounting them. Because of this, it’s a very common occurrence to have multiple functionalities within the shifter.
Normally, a sequential shifter will simple be a mode of a regular shifter. Other common modes include handbrake and H-pattern that will have varying degrees of difficulty to switch between them. The Thrustmaster TH8A for example, has a sequential mode, H-pattern mode, and handbrake mode.
If you are not after something that has multiple modes but instead specifically after a sequential shifter and that is all then you will be better off looking into more enthusiast options such as those from Heusinkveld and Simworx.
Winner: Thrustmaster TH8A
It doesn’t matter whether you are racing from a rig or a desk, the amount of space that you have available to mount your sim racing gear is going to be finite. Most of us do not have the amount of space to be able to mount multiple shifters, handbrakes, and button boxes along with our wheelbase and pedals. In these situations, it is important that what sequential shifter we are going to buy is going to be able to fit comfortably.
As I mentioned in the previous section of this article, sim racing sequential shifters are usually big and bulky items that aim to replicate their real-world counterparts but this obviously isn’t the ideal situation if you need something that will be able to mount in minimal space.
By far the smallest of all the sim racing sequential shifters available is the Heusinkveld, which is small enough to fit in one hand. This is going to provide an excellent choice for any people that are looking to have an H-pattern shifter such as the Fanatec SQ V1.5 and a dedicated sequential shifter mounted side by side, or perhaps a handbrake and a sequential shifter mounted side by side on the same mounting plate on their rig or hard mounted on a desk.
Half the reasons that sim racers end up spending so much on their gear is for increased realism. The ability to up the immersion factor and really feel like you’re in the car, whether that be VR, hydraulic pedals, or motion platforms.
Sequential shifters are no different, and if your shifter feels like something that came out of a McDonald’s happy meal then it’s not going to be the most enjoyable of experiences.
When we are looking for realism in a shifter we are going to be looking for a few things
- shifting feeling
Size is an obvious one but is going to depend on what sort of sequential shifter that you are after. A sequential shifter in a Supercar could be much larger than a sequential shifter in a junior formula car. Whatever the option that you’re looking for, the size of the shifter should be similar to that of the real cars.
Personally, when I look for a sequential shifter, I’m looking for something that is going to be tall enough that I don’t have to move my hand too car away from my wheel to shift, so I’m looking for more of a Supercar or rally replica than anything else.
The next thing that you would look for is the weight. A good quality shifter than is similar to a real-world sequential shifter is going to be heavy. If the shifter is too light it’s going to feel like a toy and detract from the experience. You want something that is mostly a metal construction with the high-end sequential shifters being milled from a single block of aluminium. This adds the weight a sturdiness to the shifter that is required for that authentic experience. The Simwors Supercar Shifter weighs in at around 15.5lbs so not only does it have some serious weight to it, but it’s going to have the quality feel that we are looking for.
Finally, the shifting feeling is by far the most important part of getting a good feeling sequential shifter. A small click of a button isn’t what we are looking for in a good quality shifter, a meaty clunk as the shifter goes in and out of the gate is what we want.
A sequential shifter, much like a handbrake, is not something that every sim racer has, however it is a piece of equipment that can make a huge difference to the immersion of your sim racing experience.
The best shifters for sim racing are:
- Thrustmaster TSSH
- Fanatec ClubSport SQ V1.5
- Thrustmaster TH8A
- SimWorx Sequential Shifter
- Heusinkveld Sequential Shifter
Each of the shifters looked at in this guide have their individual pros and cons, with each sequential shifter bringing something unique to the table.