Thrustmaster TMX


  • Strong force feedback out of the box
  • Hybrid belt/gear system provides smooth turning
  • Great starting point for newcomers
  • Loads of room to upgrade over time


  • Pedals are poor quality and feel like an afterthought
  • Mix of plastic and metal wears over time
  • Limited tuning options within software
  • No mounting to rigs without DIY modifications

Thrustmaster TMX Force Feedback Wheel


As a sim racing enthusiast, having the right wheel can make all the difference between a mediocre driving experience and truly immersing yourself in the driver’s seat. The Thrustmaster TMX Force Feedback wheel aims to bridge the gap between toy-like budget options and professional-grade racing rigs. Priced at around $200, it targets entry-level players looking to upgrade from a gamepad without breaking the bank.

I’ve put over 2000 hours of playtime on the Thrustmaster TMX across various racing titles on Xbox One and PC. Through all that use and abuse, I’ve gotten to know the ins and outs of this wheel. In this definitive review, I’ll cover everything you need to know about the TMX’s design, performance, features, and value. From unboxing to long-term ownership, you’ll get the full rundown on one of the most popular starter wheels on the market.

Unboxing and Setup

Inside the box, you’ll find the TMX wheel base, wheel rim, pedal set, and desk clamp. Assembly is straightforward – the wheel clicks into the base, and the pedals plug into the back of the wheelbase.

The desk clamp is made entirely of lightweight plastic. While convenient, it tends to slip and lose grip over time. The bolt provided is also too short for most desks over 1 inch thick. Replacing it with a longer bolt cures this issue.

Overall, setup only takes about 5-10 minutes. The TMX is plug-and-play with Xbox One. On PC, you’ll need to install the Thrustmaster control panel from their website to access tuning options and updates.

Design and Build Quality

  • Materials: The wheel rim and base are entirely plastic, including rubberized grips on the wheel. The pedals are also plastic. This keeps costs down but also feels less premium than metal/leather wheels.
  • Size: At 11 inches across, the rim hits a nice middle ground between toy-sized budget wheels and full-size pro rigs.
  • Ergonomics: The curved wheel spokes and textured rubber grips give ample leverage during intense maneuvers. The grips do wear down over time from skin oils and friction.
  • Buttons: 14 programmable buttons cover the wheel, mimicking an Xbox controller. They work fine but have a mushy, plastic feel versus real controller buttons.
  • Paddle shifters: These aluminum paddles feel sturdy with crisp clicks. They register inputs before fully clicking in though.

Overall, the plasticky materials betray the entry-level price point. But the size and shape provide a usable, comfortable wheel.

Force Feedback and Performance

The TMX uses a hybrid belt and gear-driven motor powered by industrial brushless technology. This provides smooth, quiet force feedback unlike cheaper gear-only wheels. Dual hall-effect sensors on the motor precisely translate your inputs.

While it can’t match higher torque direct drive systems, the single motor capably delivers around 2 Nm of force. This provides enough resistance to feel road textures and weight shifts when tuned properly in-game.

After extensive use, the wheel develops some unavoidable downsides:

  • A slight gritty feeling as the gears wear down over time.
  • Slight stepping sensations off-center when the belt mechanism disengages.
  • Loss of precision and detail from the declining force feedback.

Nonetheless, the hybrid tech makes the TMX smoother, stronger, and quieter than other wheels in its entry-level price range. It’s a capable starter wheel that provides ample feedback for new drivers.


The stock pedal set leaves much to be desired. Both the throttle and brake use cheap potentiometer sensors rather than pressure-sensitive load cells. This makes modulation sloppy and inconsistent.

Further, the lightweight plastic construction causes the pedals to slide around. They easily tip over when braking due to a high center of gravity. Thrustmaster also omits a clutch pedal, limiting your options.

That said, the brake does feature progressive resistance for easier trail braking. And the pedals provide threaded mounting holes for DIY upgrades. Plan to replace these with higher-end pedals down the road.

Software Features

The Thrustmaster control panel unlocks extensive tuning options:

  • Adjust sensitivity, dead zones, and pedal aggression
  • Tweak force feedback intensity across different scenarios
  • Set wheel rotation anywhere from 270 to 900 degrees
  • Update firmware and calibrate centering

My main gripe is the lack of pedal pressure customization beyond sensitivity. The sparse UI also feels dated. But overall, you get ample settings to dial in the wheel.

Game-specific support varies. Xbox titles recognize the TMX automatically. PC racing games are hit or miss depending on whether they officially integrate TMX support.

Compatibility and Upgrade Path

A major advantage of the TMX is its ecosystem of add-ons:

  • Pedals: The T3PA, T3PA Pro, and flagship T-LCM pedals all plug into the TMX base. This provides easy upgrades.
  • Shifters: Add the TH8A shifter and Sparco handbrake to complete your rig.

This gives the TMX room to grow with your skills. The Logitech G29 lacks comparable upgrades.

However, PC compatibility is limited. Many arcade racers don’t recognize the wheel properly. And you can’t mix wheel and gamepad inputs. The TMX must be used exclusively when connected.


The TMX goes head-to-head with the Logitech G29/G920 at the entry-level bracket. Compared to the G29, the TMX wins on:

  • Smoother, quieter force feedback
  • More upgrade potential
  • Slightly larger wheel size

However, the G29 bests it in:

  • More durable construction
  • Native PC compatibility
  • Included shifter in some bundles

For just $50-100 more, the Thrustmaster T300 RS takes it up a notch with its robust brushless motor, interchangeable wheels, and industrial-grade materials. This makes it better suited for experienced racers compared to the entry-level TMX.


The Thrustmaster TMX hits a sweet spot between toy wheels and high-end gear. It brings strong force feedback, smooth performance, and crucial upgrades to the entry-level bracket.

Yes, the materials feel cheaper than the competition. And serious sim racers will quickly lust after higher-end gear. But as a budget-friendly way to add immersion and realism beyond a gamepad, the TMX perfectly fits the bill.

If you’re shopping for your first wheel or buying for a child, the TMX Force Feedback earns a strong recommendation. It will provide hundreds of hours of exciting gameplay as a foundational step into sim racing.


Is the TMX good for beginners?

Yes, the TMX is regarded as one of the best starter wheels thanks to its smooth and nuanced force feedback. It provides a solid experience that will last years.

Does it work on PS4 or PS5?

Unfortunately no – the TMX is solely compatible with Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and PC. For PlayStation support, consider the near-identical Thrustmaster T150.

How difficult is it to install and setup?

Assembly is simple – it clicks together in under 5 minutes. The desk clamp can be frustrating if your desk is over 1 inch thick. Use a longer bolt to secure it.

Can you add a shifter or different pedals?

Absolutely! The Thrustmaster ecosystem includes add-on shifters, pedal sets, handbrakes, and more that all work seamlessly with the TMX.

Is the force feedback strong enough for serious racing?

It’s adequate for casual and entry-level sim racing. But enthusiast racers will want a more powerful direct drive wheel for maximum realism. The TMX is best for beginners on a budget.


Thrustmaster TMX