When looking for a new racing wheel you want to make sure that the racing wheel is appropriate for what you plan to do with the racing wheel, and to be sure the racing wheel can do everything in the newest simulation and arcade games, you generally want to look at a wheel that has a rotation of 900.
When browsing for a very cheap wheel, under $100 range, you generally cannot find a wheel that has a decent force feedback or rotation. While they are an improvement for gamepads, I don’t think they’re worth the money and you generally want to look at slightly better models that are a little over $100.
What is force feedback? Force feedback is the feedback you feel through the steering wheel, these effects simulate what you generally have to feel when driving a real car, and although the effects can be roughly translated as unrealistic, there isn’t any other appropriate way to give feedback for the tires or back end of a car, and thus some of the effects are more obvious than others.
When browsing for a sub $100 wheel, you generally will find a Gear driven Racing Wheel. This means that the motor is connected to different gears, and these gears can be quite loud and rough when driving. This is currently old technology, but you can still find them in the popular Logitech wheels that are still fan favorite among many.
Besides the gear driven wheels you will also find Belt driven wheels. And most of the official Racing Wheels on the market will be Belt Driven. The many racing wheels from both Fanatec and Thrustmaster are belt driven wheels, and the force feedback is translated through a belt between the motor and steering wheel. While this technology does translate the feedback quite well, the feedback isn’t fed in an instant to the driver, and the wheel needs to have a bit of turn before you start to notice the effects. While the belt driven racing wheels are really common and the most used technology you can find in racing wheels, there is one more step up but that comes at a cost price.
Direct drive wheels are regarded as the best of the best when it comes to racing wheels. While they are not officially supported by most games yet, they generally have external software that makes it possible to use them with most racing games. These Direct Drive racing wheels are using an industrial motor, meaning they have an unlimited range of rotation, and the force feedback is instant, and it doesn’t require any minimum amount of turn in before it translates the effects over. These motors are usually very strong and bulky, and mounting them on your table isn’t as easy at it looks, and generally it is advised to have an actual sturdy racing rig made out of 8020 aluminium profile or other strong sim racing chairs.