Racing simulators have always had a community of die-hard fans and with VR making big strides in the industry, it’s become even more exciting.
With the immersion that VR headsets bring, gamers can really delve into the world of racing simulators where it truly feels like you’re right there in the car.
In this post, we will discuss our top 5 picks for the best VR headsets for sim racing along with pointers on what features the ideal VR headset should have.
The HTC Vive Pro and Vive Pro 2 are both established names in the industry and for good reason. The headset is extremely comfortable and provides compatibility support for just about any VR game out there currently. It also comes with a built-in sound system and a microphone.
Now that you’re acquainted with our top 3 picks, let’s delve deeper to see what they have to offer so that you can determine the best one for you.
When you hold the Samsung HMD Odyssey+ in your hands, you’ll instantly realize why it’s considered to be one of the best VR headsets out there.
It’s extremely lightweight while being highly sturdy at the same time. The 3.5-inch dual AMOLED screens provide a 3K display along with a 110-degree field of view.
The headset even contains a cooling fabric as part of its makeup. That cooling fabric ensures that the screens don’t fog up and you have a pleasant racing experience.
Price: The Samsung HMD Odyssey+ is a higher-end VR headset but its price does not reflect that at all. In terms of price, it’s a fairly budget-friendly option actually. That’s why it’s our top pick for the best VR headsets for sim racing.
Space: It features internal sensor tracking which means that you don’t have to set up any external sensors or tracking towers for it. It’s perfect for those that live in smaller spaces and don’t have room to set up external devices.
IPD (Inter-pupillary distance): The IPD for the Samsung HMD Odyssey+ falls in the 60 – 72 mm range which is ideal for most individuals.
The best overall VR headset for sim racing is the Samsung HMD Odyssey+. It features a beautiful display, a built-in surround sound system as well as a microphone for racing with friends. Not only that but you get all of this at a fairly reasonable price.
If you have a larger budget to work with, you can go with the HTC Vive Pro 2 Virtual Reality System.
The HTC Vive Pro was the VR headset that blew people’s minds a few years ago because it was so ahead of its time.
The Vive Pro 2 builds upon that legacy with a 1440×1600 resolution (per eye), a refresh rate of 90Hz, and a 110-degree FOV.
Price: Its price is the only factor that brings its viability down. It’s one of the priciest headsets on our list so you should go for it only if you can comfortably afford it.
Space: Similar to our top pick, the HTC Vive Pro 2 does not contain any external sensors either. Hence, it’s the perfect option if you don’t have a ton of space to work with.
IPD (Inter-pupillary distance): The IPD on the HTC Vive Pro 2 is a standard 60 mm. However, the great part about it is that it features an IPD adjustment dial. Hence, you can adjust the IPD according to whatever suits you best.
The best price VR headset for sim racing is the HTC VIVE Pro 2 thanks to its highly accurate motion tracking capabilities. All of your movements are highly precise so that you can drive with accuracy on any racing simulator you want.
If you want something that’s lightweight and portable, then the Oculus Quest 2 is definitely a no-brainer.
Not only is it lightweight but it’s also independent. This means you don’t need a PC to run racing sims on it.
It’s the perfect device for anyone who travels regularly.
Price: Since the Oculus Quest 2 is not as powerful as the Oculus Rift S, it’s fairly cheap which makes it a great budget-friendly option.
Space: The Oculus Quest 2 also uses inside-out tracking which means that you don’t need any external sensors to make it work.
IPD (Inter-pupillary distance): The IPD for the Oculus Quest 2 lies in the 58 mm – 68 mm range. If you fall outside this range, then you should not go for this VR headset.
The best budget-friendly VR headset for sim racing is the Oculus Quest 2 thanks to the number of features it has for the price. Not only is it affordable but it’s also highly portable thanks to the fact that it does not need a PC to run racing sims.
The Lenovo Explorer features a 2880×1440 display that has the capability to offer stunning visuals on pretty much every racing sim.
The handy visor functionality is also a welcome feature for anybody who wants to use it to play a sim racing game.
It allows you to easily move it off of your face without having to take the entire headset off. You can use it to efficiently take breaks between races so that you don’t strain your eyes.
Price: The Lenovo Explorer is also a budget-friendly option so if you don’t have a lot of money to spend but still want a truly immersive VR experience, this is an option worth considering.
Space: This virtual reality headset also features inside-out tracking which means you don’t need any external sensors for it. It’s a great VR headset for individuals that don’t have a lot of space in their homes or apartments.
IPD (Inter-pupillary distance): The Lenovo Explorer has an IPD range of 60 – 63 mm. While this is ideal for most individuals, it can be difficult for people with less than perfect vision. Make sure that you know what your ideal IPD is before you purchase this headset.
The best compact VR headset for sim racing is the Lenovo Explorer thanks to its ergonomic design. It’s very easy to use and allows you to easily take breaks between races.
The HP Reverb G2 has often been praised for its crisp visuals and highly detailed display that is ideal for sim racing games.
The headset’s design is highly ergonomic which means your eyes will not get strained over the course of long races. If you like to run endurance races in your sim racing games, this VR headset is one of the best options out there.
Not only does it feature its own built-in sound system but it also has the option to use other headphones with it.
It features a 3.5 mm connector that you can use to plug in your headphones if you don’t want to use the built-in sound system.
Furthermore, it has a higher-than-average FOV of 114 degrees. This is ideal for racing sims as you want to take in as much information while you’re racing so that you can gain an edge over your competitors.
Price: While the HP Reverb G2 isn’t exactly budget-friendly, it’s not too expensive either. If you’re looking for a mid-range VR headset that comes with all the necessary features you’d need for a great racing sim experience, it’s definitely a worthy choice.
Space: Like the other VR headsets on this list, the HP Reverb G2 also uses inside-out tracking. This means its internal sensors use the environment around them to map out your movements within the game. You don’t need any external devices for it.
IPD (Inter-pupillary distance): The HP Reverb G2 features an IPD range of 60 mm – 68 mm which is honestly, not a lot. The small IPD range means that you have to be very careful when you buy this headset.
Ensure that your ideal IPD lies within this range before you make the purchase.
The best high-FOV VR headset for sim racing is the HP Reverb G2 thanks to its FOV of 114 degrees. A high FOV is ideal for sim racing games as not only does it mimic your actual vision but it helps you out competitively as well.
VR technology is highly innovative and ground-breaking but at the same time, you can have a fairly unpleasant experience if you choose a headset that isn’t right for you.
Here are some factors you can take into account when you browse the market for a VR headset:
The price is something that most consumers will always consider. Naturally, this is something you consider when you buy any product at all, not just VR headsets for sim racing.
VR headsets are highly expensive and even the budget ones cost a fair amount. That being said, it’s important that you balance out the price and find that sweet spot.
What do we mean when we say “sweet spot”?
Well, many of the more expensive VR headsets are expensive because they are loaded with extra features. These might be features that you don’t even need or will never use.
Hence, it’s important that you don’t spend extra money on a VR headset with features that are not useful to you.
At the same time, you don’t want to under-spend on a VR headset either. This is because there’s a chance that cheap VR headsets are cheap because they’re made from low-quality materials and/or have very few features.
There’s a high chance that if you opt for an overly cheap VR headset, it might break down within a few months. Then, you’d have to buy another one. Not exactly cheap in the long run, is it?
This might seem strange considering the fact that VR headsets go on your head and take up less space than a PC or TV.
However, you have to consider the fact that many VR headsets out there require external tracking devices or sensory towers. These devices require a fair amount of space to properly set up.
Not only that but they also have to be set up in an appropriate manner so that they face the correct direction. This is important so that they can properly capture your movements they correlate properly with your in-game movements.
Hence, always consider the amount of space that a particular VR headset and its different components will take. Ensure that you have the amount of space necessary for the VR headset of your choice to function properly.
This is an extremely important factor and it’s something that many consumers don’t think about or just don’t know about.
The inter-pupillary distance (IPD) refers to the length between your eyes and the screen(s) inside the VR headset.
For most men, the ideal IPD is 63 mm and for most women, it’s 61 mm.
That being said, the ideal IPD can vary from individual to individual. Hence, you must take into account not only what your ideal IPD is but also anyone else that will use the VR headset.
You can check out what the IPD for a particular headset is by looking at its specifications. Many VR headsets have the ability to adjust the IPD so you can modify it according to whoever is using it at the time.
The Field of View (FOV) is a highly important factor not just for sim racers looking to get a VR headset but for all VR headset enthusiasts.
For sim racing, you generally want your VR headset to have a wide FOV. This would ideally be 110 degrees or above.
With a wide FOV, you can see objects and obstacles around you while moving a lot less. On the other hand, with a narrow FOV, you can see very little and have to move around in order to take in your surroundings.
Obviously, when you play a racing simulator, you want to see everything in your path without having to move your car around too much. Not only that but a wider FOV is also more organically appealing since it mimics our real-life vision as well.
Lastly, you want to ensure that the VR headset that you buy is compatible with all of the racing simulators that you want to use.
Not only do you want to consider the VR headset’s compatibility with racing sims but you also need to consider its compatibility with your operating system.
If you have Windows, there’s really nothing to worry about since most VR headsets are fully compatible with it. However, if you run Linux, Mac OS, or some other operating system, make sure that you look at the VR headset’s specifications and ensure that it’s compatible.
If you don’t have the space for a motion rig or if it’s simply something that does not appeal to you, then a VR headset is the next best thing for sim racing.
A great VR headset can really help with immersing you in the world of sim racing. You can use your peripheral vision and head movements to look around and take in your surroundings.
Some of the best VR headsets that work well with Assetto Corsa include:
The best VR headset options for playing sim racing games such as iRacing include:
While VR technology is definitely quite innovative and ground-breaking, it’s still in its infancy.
Manufacturers are still trying to perfect VR headsets so they don’t strain your eyes or cause nausea. However, these symptoms can occur if you play sim racing in VR for too long.
We recommend that you play VR for no more than 30 minutes at a time with 15-minute breaks in between.
It really depends on the VR headset that you buy. Some VR headsets such as the Oculus Quest 2 are totally independent and can work on their own or with a PC.
However, other VR headsets such as the Oculus Rift S are PC-dependent and can’t run on their own.
If you want to buy an independent VR headset, ensure that it is compatible with the racing sim(s) that you want to play on it.
This brings us to the conclusion of our post on the best VR headset for sim racing games.
In our opinion, there are a ton of great options available in the market and you really have to do some research of your own to find the best option for your needs.
For most people, however, the Samsung HMD Odyssey+ is a great option because of many reasons. First of all, it’s affordable. Secondly, it has all the features that you need for a great sim racing experience. Lastly, it has an IPD range that is ideal for most individuals out there.
Which high-quality VR headset do you use for your sim racing games? Are you satisfied with it? Tell us about your experience in the comments section below.