Most new sim racers start their racing journey with a table mount steering wheel and an IKEA office or gaming chair. However, with the introduction of inexpensive sim racing rigs, many racers have upgraded their setup with a sim racing bucket seat.
A racing seat has become an essential component of a simulation cockpit as it allows drivers to fully immerse into the virtual racing environment and improve their overall experience. As bucket seats are designed to improve comfort and maintain proper driving posture, many sim racers quickly switched to them to boost endurance and reduce fatigue.
However, since their inception, the market has been flooded with hundreds of options from several simulation racing brands at different prices and build qualities. Therefore, in this post, we’ll share how to choose the best sim racing bucket seat for your rig, along with our top picks in the market.
Benefits of Sim Racing Bucket Seats
In case you’re on the fence regarding whether or not you need a sim racing bucket seat, check out some of the main benefits it offers to racers:
1. Improved Health
Most simulation races are long and intense. Some even require racers to glue themselves to their seats for hours. As fun as this sounds, sitting for long periods can affect your health and cause chronic back pain. This can further escalate into other problems, such as headaches and digestive issues.
Sim racing bucket seats are ergonomically designed, meaning they can be adjusted to maintain proper posture at all times. More importantly, they keep users comfortable for more extended periods and minimize back neck and shoulder pain. So, whether you have chronic back pain or looking to prevent it, a racing seat will serve you well.
As a sim racer, you want to feel as if you’re sitting in a real race car. You can’t mimic that feel while sitting on an office chair. Sim racing bucket seats make your experience more authentic and mimic the feel of being tucked into a GT or F1 racing car.
Sim racing seats offer excellent value for money even though they can easily set you back over $500 depending on the brand and quality. Since they’re designed for gaming, they’re made of material that’s comfortable and durable as well. A good racing seat can last for years, subject to proper maintenance.
4. Gaming Improvement
Apart from immersing you in the virtual environment, racing seats can also improve your racing performance. You’ll be less affected by aches, pains, and distractions when you’re comfortable.
Proper posture also helps improve focus for long periods and improve lap times by up to 0.5 seconds. Of course, several factors go into this. However, the general verdict is that sim racing bucket seats help drivers race cleaner and more consistently.
A Simple Guide to Choosing the Best Sim Racing Bucket Seat for Your Rig
If you’re intrigued by the benefits on offer and looking to make your first purchase, here’s how to choose the best sim racing bucket seat for your rig:
As mentioned above, sim racing bucket seats come in different price tags, so you’ll have to set aside a decent budget. Most options in the market typically range between $150 to $500. If you’re just starting out, you should steer clear of the higher-end options until you really get into the e-sport. However, feel free to go all out if you have the cash to splash. It’s up to you.
Most modern rigs don’t include seats, as most pro racers like to equip their rigs according to their preferences. As a result, fitting can be a significant issue, so you need to ensure the rig can support the seat you’re planning to buy. Ideally, you should opt for options from the same brand or one that is compatible with seats from multiple brands like Sim Lab and Fanatec.
You should also consider the seating positions supported by your rig as most don’t allow users to switch between F1 and GT racing positions.
Of course, if you’re going to be spending hundreds of dollars on a racing seat, it should offer more than just its primary function. It should also look good as well. So, pay attention to the color options, design patterns, shapes, and fabrics before deciding.
The Best Sim Racing Bucket Seats in the Market
As mentioned above, there are hundreds of options available in the market. Therefore, choosing the best sim racing bucket seat for your rig can be difficult. To simplify your purchase decision, we’re sharing our top picks in different price ranges:
1. Playseat Challenge – Budget Option
Although the Playseat Challenge is a budget option, it may strike you as very cheap looking, but don’t let that fool you. For around $250, it offers great value for money in terms of adjustability and third-party accessories support, including wheels and pedals. However, it doesn’t include a gear stick mount, so happy drilling!
The Playseat Challenge is made from high-quality fabric and steel. It’s easy to move and store away when you’re not playing. The only major con is that it gets uncomfortable after prolonged use.
2. Simracing Seat X – Mid-Range Option
If you’re looking for a good mid-range option, you should opt for Extreme Sim Racing’s Seat X. It’s an incredibly comfortable foldable seat made with a carbon fiber base and synthetic leather. It also features an anti-sliding rubber leveling base which makes it more stable than most mid-range options in the market.
For around $379, this full-blown racing seat makes a valuable addition to any rig. Plus, thanks to its compact design, it can double as a computer chair for work or a barcalounger for watching movies when you’re not racing. Extreme Sim Racing also includes a 5-year warranty on painting and welding, so you can replace it easily in case of any issues.
3. GTR Simulator GTA – Premium Option
The GTR Simulator GTA is one of the most popular sim racing seats in the market due to its high-quality build materials, adjustability, and stunning design. It is a great premium option costing around $450 and offers several benefits for users.
For instance, it’s made from a steel frame which makes it highly durable. The synthetic leather mimics the feel of a real-world racing car and enhances the immersion. From an aesthetic viewpoint, it offers more variety in terms of colors and designs.
And there you have it – how to choose the best sim racing bucket for your rig. With this information, you’re merely a few clicks and days away from equipping your rig with a highly functional and comfortable chair. Of course, there are several other great options in the market you can opt for.
However, we believe our top picks will serve any type of sim racer. Besides, if you’re not down with these options, you can use the factors in our list to narrow down your options during the decision-making process.