Last Update: Mar 17, 2019

Best Gaming Chair of 2019: Ergonomics, Comfort & Durability

Pubished 16:19 PM
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With so many different features being marketed to such a diverse audience of gamers, a true apples-to-apples comparison is a real challenge. Some gamers really want their chairs to have speakers, just as comfort and ergonomics will be the top consideration for others.

Since we’re comparing such a wide range of products in this review, we’ve tried to emphasize one criterion above all others: these are the best chairs we’ve found in terms of what they’re trying to be. We’ve got a few recommendations for just about any budget or set of priorities.

1

X Rocker Pro H3 4.1 Audio Gaming Chair

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If a solidly built rocker with decent mid-range speakers for less than $180 sounds good to you, the X Rocker Pro H3 is worth investigating.

Most gaming chairs have two or three speakers, and they tend to be pretty basic ones at that. The X Rocker Pro H3 boasts five speakers that sound noticeably better than most you’ll find in comparably priced chairs.

There are two speakers on the bottom of the chair near the control panels and another two in the headrest. The fifth speaker is a subwoofer located in the rear center of the chair which rumbles the chair nicely. The sound quality is pretty respectable; it does distort somewhat if you crank the volume way up, but not too badly.

The X Rocker Pro H3 can connect to your console or PC with a non-Bluetooth wireless transmitter or with RCA cables (both included). You’ll get decent sound quality either way. The subwoofer does an especially good job with the bass—better than some that cost twice as much.

While the speakers are solid in terms of sound quality, some Pro H3 owners report nontrivial wiring problems. Relatively common complaints include loose, disconnected, or reversed wiring, as well as speakers failing after a few months with no obvious cause. X Rocker offers a rather skimpy 90-day warranty, so you may want to pick up a beefier third-party warranty if you’re concerned about potential electrical problems.

The chair is solidly built for the most part. It’s rated for up to 275 pounds, but the armrests feel cheap and unlikely to survive a solid impact. Like some other X Rocker chairs, the stitching in this one is too wide and too shallow, which will surely shorten the chair’s lifespan.

You can probably offset these concerns somewhat by being extra gentle to the chair, but at some point, either the armrests or the upholstery will give out.  Otherwise, it seems to be built well enough for a chair in this price range.

+Pros
  • Five speakers (most gaming chairs have two or three)
  • Wired or wireless audio
  • Heavy and solid
-Cons
  • Chair itself is sturdy but armrests and stitching are so-so
  • Speakers themselves are of good quality, but there may be other electrical issues
2

Office Star Pro-Line II ProGrid

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There are gaming chairs, there are office chairs, and there are chairs that can be both to some extent. The Office Star Pro-Line II ProGrid is a solid general-purpose chair that may not be quite as excellent as our other premium chair picks, but it’s much more affordable. If you’re looking for the best balance between price, quality, and versatility, it deserves your attention.

At just $225, the Pro-Line II ProGrid can compete with top-tier chairs in the $500 to $1,000 price range, at least in some respects. For what you get, you’d expect to pay a lot more.

It’s surprisingly comfortable, decently supportive, and generally well-built. Most comparably priced chairs end up having to skimp on one or two things to save you money, but the Pro-line II ProGrid is amazingly good as a jack of all trades.

This is a solid A- chair when it comes to comfort, even with extended use. Many owners report sitting for 4+ hours with no discomfort (although you should definitely be getting up to stretch every hour or two). It’s also got a lot more adjustment options than the average mid-range chair.

Not only does the seat move up and down, but it also slides forward and backward; you don’t usually find that option on chairs under $300, and it’s really important for fine-tuning your posture. Taller-than-average gamers who frequently find that their thighs are too long for the seat on most chairs will be especially pleased.

While most of the chair is nicely customizable, the armrests fall a bit short. They don’t rotate, height adjustment options are limited, and they’re made of a cheap-feeling rubber foam material that can get sweaty even in relatively mild temperatures.

The seat itself is also not the greatest; super-skinny gamers may find that it doesn’t have enough padding. An extra blanket or towel placed on the seat can work in a pinch, but probably won’t be necessary for most people.

+Pros
  • Excellent build quality and features for the price
  • Adjustable to fit almost any body type
-Cons
  • Lackluster armrests
  • The seat may be too firm for some
  • Tricky assembly
3

TOPSKY High Back Racing Style

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If you need to stretch every dollar as far as possible, it can be hard to find an affordable gaming chair that isn’t a complete piece of trash. At $169, the TOPSKY Gaming Office Chair isn’t the single cheapest chair you’re going to find, but it’s a noticeable step up in quality from most in its price range.

Shopping for gaming chairs with less than $200 to spend can be a real challenge—many budget-friendly chairs simply aren’t built well and will end up costing you more money in the long run since they wear out faster.

TOPSKY is a fairly new player in the gaming chair market, and they seem to be targeting budget-conscious gamers who still expect a reasonable level of quality in their next chair. This chair is currently $169 on Amazon, yet it outperforms some chairs that are over $200.

TOPSKY has chosen to address one of the most common complaints that gamers have about gaming chairs that other manufacturers don’t seem to hear: the annoyingly uncomfortable pressure that narrow, sharply angled bucket seats place on your legs.

This chair still has (totally unnecessary) angled protrusions on the sides of the seat, but they’re much subtler than most and the seat can almost truthfully be called flat. As a result, most people will be able to sit for several hours without that maddening level of discomfort that so many other chairs can cause in the butt and thighs.

If the TOPSKY chair has one major shortcoming, it’s that it’s clearly designed for small and average-sized people. The product page even states that it’s “recommended for users under 5’11” and 225 pounds.”

In order to offer consumers a budget-friendly product, manufacturers have to save money somewhere, and in this case that appears to have been accomplished by using lighter, less durable materials in the chair’s construction. TOPSKY is open about it, at least—it’s nice of them to put a disclaimer right on the product page.

TOPSKY is a pretty new player in the gaming chair market, so they don’t have much of a reputation (good or bad) yet. Their Gaming Office Chair is well-reviewed on Amazon so far, though, and it’s got a 1-year warranty, so if you’re in the market for a solid chair that won’t break the bank, maybe give them a shot.

+Pros
  • One of the most affordable chairs out there
  • Footrest
  • Wider, flatter seat means your legs won’t fall asleep as fast
-Cons
  • Not a great chair for anyone taller or heavier than average
  • Manufacturer is young and relatively unknown
4

E-WIN Gaming Chair

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Chairs causing serious injury to people certainly isn’t a common occurrence, but it’s not unheard of either. When chairs mechanically fail, the gas lift is the most common culprit, and even if it doesn’t injure the user, it’s still inconvenient and can be costly to replace. The E-WIN Gaming Chair emphasizes solid construction and mechanical reliability to ensure you’ll be able to enjoy it for years.

In a gaming or office chair, the gas lift is the hydraulic component that raises or lowers the seat and supports the bulk of the user’s weight. As you can imagine, it’s pretty important that the gas lift not fail or explode. They’re rated on a scale from 1 to 4, with 4 being the safest.

Most gaming chairs have class 2 or class 3 gas lifts, which are perfectly respectable ratings, but the E-WIN Gaming Chair takes a proactive approach when it comes to a chair’s most failure-prone part by making it the best it can be.

As for the user experience, this chair is stable, supportive, and comfortable. It moves and reclines freely and offers a wide range of adjustment options. Many office-style chairs get topheavy when reclined too far, but the E-WIN chair is bottom-heavy to begin with, so it tolerates extreme angles pretty well.

Its thicker-than-average steel frame (1.5mm vs. the industry standard 1.2mm) is sturdy and covered with a generous layer of dense foam for maximum comfort. It’s also got a lumbar pillow that’s flatter, taller, and wider than most you’ll see on other gaming chairs, so it’s likely to be more comfortable (or at least less intrusive) for most people. It’s easy to stay parked in this chair for 4+ hours at a time, but please don’t—get up and stretch often.

Given how hard the manufacturer pushes the quality of the chair’s components, its bottom-of-the-barrel 30-day warranty definitely seems suspect. It could simply be a cost-saving measure rather than an indication of poor quality, and the chair’s largely positive reviews would seem to support that idea.

If the short warranty makes you uneasy, Amazon currently offers third-party 3 and 5-year protection plans for $25 and $35, respectively. Other than that, some unnecessarily sharp corners on a few of the chair’s hinges are the only obvious drawbacks. Cover them with scraps of old cloth and you’ve got yourself a fantastic chair for just a little over $200.

+Pros
  • Explosion-proof Class 4 gas lift
  • Stable and secure in any position
  • Super comfortable for long gaming sessions
-Cons
  • Sharp hinges can cut skin or tear clothing
  • Virtually nonexistent warranty
5

Nokaxus Extra-Large Gaming Chair

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If you’re over six feet tall and/or 250 pounds, you know all too well how hard it can be to find a chair you can sit in comfortably. Ultra-premium chairs that sell for $500 or more are better about accommodating us Sasquatches, but finding a great chair for less than that takes some work. Fear not—the Nokaxus Extra-Large Gaming Chair has you covered for less than $200.

Many gaming chairs—particularly budget-friendly and mid-range models—have aluminum or composite aluminum frames. That’s fine if they’re never going to need to support more than 200 pounds or so, but it just won’t do for a significant portion of the population.

The Nokaxus Extra-Large Gaming Chair has a heavy-duty steel frame that supports up to 350 pounds comfortably. It can also be adjusted to sit higher than many other chairs, accounting for the fact that taller people, you know, have longer legs.

One of the most common complaints about bucket-style racing chairs is that they tend to be too narrow. The Nokaxus chair has an extra-wide back, seat, and armrests, all of which do a lot to alleviate the “pinched butt and back” syndrome that big gamers are all too familiar with. It’s almost five inches wider than the comparable GTRACING GT099 chair (25.6” vs. 20.8”), which may not sound like a lot, but it really is.

Additional nice-to-have features include a retractable footrest that actually extends far enough to be useful for gamers up to 6’3” and a massaging lumbar pillow like the KILLABEE’s.

It’s equally so-so in terms of massage intensity, but considering the price of the chair and what you’re getting for it overall, it’s hard to be mad at an extra mini-massage. The massage pillow doesn’t have batteries, though; it needs to plug directly into an AC outlet, so take care not to roll over the cord or trip on it.

While the Nokaxus Extra-Large Gaming Chair is overall a fantastic product, it’s not perfect. It may be simply too big to be comfortable if you’re average or tiny, which is a problem easily solved by buying one of the thousands of other chairs that are sized for you.

Its bigger problem is that while the frame and gas lift are excellent heavy-duty parts, some other parts are cheaply made. The wheelbase, in particular, is made of a light, thin plastic that seems out of place on an “extra-large” chair; multiple Amazon users have reported it breaking into several pieces in the course of normal use. YueKe (the manufacturer) offers a generous two-year warranty, though, so you can feel confident in giving this chair a fair trial.

+Pros
  • Heavy-duty steel frame
  • Nice wide backrest
  • High-quality PU leather
-Cons
  • Certain components aren’t very sturdy
  • Chair might be too big for smaller people
6

Essentials Racing Style Leather Gaming Chair

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If the TOPSKY Gaming Office Chair at $169 is still more than you’re looking to spend, the Essentials Racing Style Leather Gaming Chair may be just what you’re looking for. It starts as low as about $82; you almost literally can’t find a cheaper chair. It’s pretty basic, as you might expect, but if all you need is a reasonably comfortable place to sit, it’s worth looking into.

Ok, you can find a gaming or office chair for less than $80, but you probably don’t want to. Any chair that costs that little to produce (and ship) is almost by definition a piece of junk. OFM’s “Essentials” line of products is well-known for living up to its name by providing basic but decent functionality for low prices, and their latest gaming chair seems to follow suit.

You probably won’t be able to sit in this chair for hours on end; it’s comfortable, but not that comfortable. In a way, that’s a good thing, since you should be taking frequent stretch breaks anyway. Still, the seat cushion is on the thin side, so you may want to sit on a blanket or two if you find that it needs extra padding.

OFM’s warranty for its “Essentials” line of products is surprisingly robust. The chair is warranted against defects and premature failure for two or seven years (for the upholstery/armrests and mechanical components, respectively). $82 for a guaranteed minimum of two years of chair life is a pretty good deal, especially since many of the more expensive mid-range chairs only offer one-year warranties.

The armrests can also be folded up entirely, effectively creating a chair that doesn’t have any. This might not be a big deal to some people, but sometimes, for whatever reason, armrests are simply in the way. It’s nice to be able to move them without having to take them off completely.

There is a downside, though; since the armrests are attached via a single hinge, they can’t be adjusted in any other direction.

If you’re wondering if such an inexpensive chair has mechanical shortcomings, the answer is yes, but they could be worse. Multiple owners report that several screws gradually work themselves loose over time and need to be tightened every month or two, lest you suddenly find yourself on the floor.

The chair is also on the noisy side; it squeaks a lot when it moves. Some powdered graphite or silicone-based lubricant probably wouldn’t go amiss.

The upholstery isn’t the greatest, either. The fabric is thick and rough, which probably isn’t a big deal if you’re wearing long pants and sleeves, but it’s likely to irritate bare skin over time. It’s also not very breathable, which could mean you’ll be unpleasantly damp if you live in a warm area. (Yes, the product title says “leather racing chair,” but that’s rather misleading. Only some of the upholstery is faux leather. Much of what makes contact with your skin is a low-quality mesh fabric.)

All in all, the Essentials Racing Style Leather Gaming Chair is nothing fancy, but if you absolutely can’t spend more than $100 on your next gaming chair, you could do a lot worse than this one.

+Pros
  • Super cheap
  • Better warranty than some chairs that cost three times as much
  • Armrests are optional
-Cons
  • It’s kind of squeaky and noisy
  • Poorly designed attachment points need to be maintained and re-tightened periodically
  • Hot, coarse fabric
7

KILLABEE Massage Memory Foam Gaming Chair

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While the KILLABEE Massage Memory Foam Gaming Chair didn’t quite make it into our roundup of the best gaming chairs under $200, it’s nonetheless a solid dual-purpose gaming/work chair that could be just the ticket for people with minor back pain.

No matter how much money you’re planning to spend on your next gaming chair, you’ll surely want it to last a while. Structurally speaking, the KILLABEE massage chair is noticeably sturdier than many other chairs in this price range. The base of the chair is nice and heavy and the parts fit together firmly. The PU leather upholstery is nicely stitched and easy to clean; a rag and some warm water will take care of most spills.

This chair is all about comfort. In keeping with that theme, it’s got a feature that’s surprisingly hard to find on gaming chairs: a retractable footrest. Unfortunately, it’s too short to be useful for extra-tall folks, but average and petite users will find it handy. It’s reasonably sturdy and folds easily out of the way when not in use.

The KILLABEE massage chair’s main weakness is the lumbar pillow, which is too big to be comfortable for everyone. If you like to crank the lumbar dial all the way up on seats that have one, the KILLABEE’s pillow might be just right for you, but it would appeal to a wider audience if it were smaller. You can take the pillow off altogether if it’s bothersome, but since it contains the chair’s only massage motors, doing so means you’d be missing out on the chair’s main selling point.

Speaking of the massage function: it’s not bad, but it could be better. For one thing, only having the chair vibrate in one place seems like a questionable design choice. The motors also don’t massage all that hard. If your back pain is minor and intermittent, or if you don’t have back pain but just like a chair that vibrates, the KILLABEE is still a great budget-friendly massager. If you need something with more heavy-duty massage capabilities, you may want to look elsewhere.

+Pros
  • Easy to clean and resistant to fading
  • Well-built
  • Retractable padded footrest
-Cons
  • Lumbar pillow gets in the way of the rest of the chair
  • Massage function could be better
8

Dowinx Ergonomic Gaming Chair

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There’s a lot to be said for simplicity—for doing one thing and doing it well. The Dowinx Ergonomic Gaming Chair prides itself on being comfortable and supportive without worrying about too much else.

The Dowinx Ergonomic Gaming Chair is no nigh-invulnerable Steelcase fortress of a chair, but it’s pretty solidly built. There’s a ton of padding on this thing, and it’s layered on top of a sturdy frame that can support up to 350 pounds, according to the manufacturer.

Most of its positive reviews mention that it’s insanely comfortable, even when sitting for 4-6 hours at a time. You’d probably have to move into the premium range of chairs and spend $500 or more to get a significantly more comfortable chair.

While it would be nice if comfort always went hand-in-hand with good posture, it doesn’t. The Dowinx Ergonomic Gaming Chair lives up to its name, though—it’s as supportive as it is comfy. The removable lumbar pillow is not as counterproductive as some you’ll find on comparable models, and the chair is still firm and posture-friendly without it, too.

This chair’s warranty is a point of concern. Nearly every gaming chair on Amazon has the terms of its warranty clearly displayed somewhere, but the Dowinx chair only briefly mentions “one-month replacement services” and “1-year parts quality warranty as a promise” [sic]. No description of exactly what that means can be found. As long as that isn’t a total turn-off for you, this chair is far more good than bad.

+Pros
  • Well built for its price point
  • Good lower back support
  • Comfortable for long periods
-Cons
  • Vague, so-so warranty
9

BOSSIN Gaming High Back Racing Chair

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The BOSSIN Gaming High Back Racing Chair is the lower-priced version of the Dowinx Ergonomic Gaming Chair. It’s a little less padded and a little less supportive, but otherwise, it’s basically the same chair.

The main reason to go with this chair over the comparable Dowinx model is the fact that it’s 75% as comfortable, but only a little more than half the price.

The padding on the seat isn’t quite as thick and the armrests are a little more sweaty in warm weather, but it’s nonetheless a generally nice chair. (A big part of the reason this chair is so comfortable is that it has a regular flat seat, free of those uncomfortable 45-degree wings that so many racing-style chairs seem to have.)

This chair has several flaws to be aware of, though. Certain components—particularly the armrests, wheelbase, and footrest—are on the flimsy side. The footrest is too short to be useful even for people of average height and feels liable to break under moderate pressure.

Finally, the 90-day warranty is comprehensive in the sense that the manufacturer will repair or replace any parts for any reason within that timeframe, it’s just not a very long one. Short and skinny gamers who simply aren’t big enough to place much stress on this chair might love it, but heavier gamers may want to look for a sturdier option.

+Pros
  • Very comfortable, even for long periods of time
  • Flat seat doesn’t have obnoxious bucket seat angles
-Cons
  • Crummy 90-day warranty
  • Semi-poor craftsmanship
  • Footrest is too short to be useful
10

AutoFull Gaming Chair

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When you’re shopping for a chair that costs hundreds of dollars, a solid warranty can be the deciding factor that tips the scales in favor of one product over another. The AutoFull Gaming Chair has you covered with one of the most comprehensive manufacturer warranties we’ve seen on a gaming chair.

When it comes to working or lounging in comfort, some people prefer a cushier chair, while others like a firmer one. The AutoFull Gaming Chair will appeal more to the latter group; the stiff mesh back, in particular, has no padding to speak of.

While the chair is firm, it’s not as though you’re sitting on a rock. It’s nicely contoured to provide support in the right places and to not put too much pressure on your hips or thigs.

The mesh back is great for ventilation, too. The seat itself might still get sweaty when the temperature rises, but the back and sides should stay nice and cool. The seat’s PU leather is easy to clean, at least; an occasional wipe down with a damp rag should be all it needs.

The AutoFull’s warranty is its real claim to fame. The manufacturer offers a money-back guarantee for any reason within 30 days, a two-year warranty on parts, and a lifetime warranty on the frame. Few chairs offer better terms out of the box, especially in this price range.

A common complaint among owners of this chair is that it can be difficult to assemble, largely because the instructions are written in poor English and some of the pictures don’t match the steps they’re supposed to clarify. Still, there are only so many parts to a gaming chair; if you lay them out and do some visual planning before you start putting things together, you should be able to figure it out.

Some users also report that the mechanism that locks the chair’s back into place when reclining isn’t as tight as it should be, resulting in occasional slipping when leaning back. It can surely be jarring to lean back and suddenly think you’re falling over, so that could be a deal-breaker for some.

Finally, the AutoFull chair sits very low to the ground, even at its highest setting—noticeably lower than most other chairs. Shorter-than-average gamers or those who intend to use the chair primarily for gaming with a controller may not mind, but if you’re tall or need to sit up straight while typing, the chair may simply be too short for you (unless your desk is also low to the ground).

+Pros
  • Great balance of comfort and firm support
  • Solid warranty
  • Breathable, stays cool
-Cons
  • Unclear assembly instructions
  • Back sometimes slips when reclining/lock fails to catch
  • Sits very low

Best Gaming Chair: Buying Guide

There are many factors to weigh when you’re shopping for a gaming chair. What do you need it to do (and what do you not care about)? Would you rather spend more money now in exchange for not having to buy another chair for many years? Do you value function over aesthetics or vice versa?

Overall Durability

How long do you need your next gaming chair to last, and how much abuse will it be subjected to? Even if you’re super gentle to your furniture, do you have pets or kids that aren’t? Is it made of particle board and cheap plastics, or does it have a steel frame with more durable plastics?

Most of our top picks for this list would qualify as budget-friendly or mid-range chairs, and for the most part, there’s no getting around one simple fact: all other things being roughly equal, a less expensive chair is going to be built less sturdily. (If you’re open to spending quite a bit more on a chair that will basically last forever, we’ve reviewed a few premium chairs, too.)

Still, you don’t have to buy a piece of junk, even if you need to make every dollar count. Cheap chairs that are decently built do exist, they’re just harder to find and require more diligent research on your part.

The first and most obvious step in maximizing your gaming chair’s lifespan is to simply be gentle to it. Clean it every few weeks, take care not to flop heavily into it, and periodically check it over to ensure screws are still tight and other moving parts are where they should be.

If something does break or fail, many manufacturers and Amazon sellers are perfectly willing to send you replacement parts at their wholesale costs (especially if you’ve already left them a good review). The worst they can do is refuse, so it never hurts to ask. Even if you aren’t especially handy, nothing about a gaming chair is all that mechanically complicated, and there are how-to YouTube videos for everything. You can surely replace a gas lift or swap out a broken armrest yourself with a little patience.

Third-party warranties and service plans also exist, and they can be a real lifesaver if you’re ever unsure about a purchase. For non-electronic items, they’re usually dirt cheap—you can often find 3 and 5-year plans for as little as 5-10% of the item’s purchase price. Paying a little bit more today to know your new chair is covered for a good long while can do a lot for your peace of mind, especially if you’re buying a chair that’s more prone to failure (one that has inbuilt speakers, for example).

Comfort & Ergonomics

It would be nice if you could assume that a comfortable chair is an ergonomically sound one in all cases, but unfortunately, it’s not quite that simple. The mere fact that a chair is nice to sit in doesn’t necessarily mean it isn’t setting you up for health problems down the road. To be sure that you’re learning or reinforcing good sitting habits, you’ll have to do at least a little bit of research.

Taking ergonomics seriously now will save you a great deal of suffering in the future. If you’ve been sitting poorly for years, sitting in healthier positions may feel uncomfortable or unnatural at first. Power through it in the short term; soon enough, your body will adapt and good posture will start to feel better.

Ergonomics depends on context, of course. The ideal sitting position for typing isn’t the same as how you should sit if you’re playing a console game on a television. Beware of chairs that claim to be great for both working/typing and console gaming—it’s not impossible for one chair to be good for both activities, but many that make that claim are really PC chairs that aren’t designed to be parked in front of your TV for long periods.

For one thing, console gamers tend to lean way forward or way back, especially when they aren’t consciously paying attention to their posture. Leaning forward is never a good idea for your spine, which is why gaming chairs built for console gamers are usually recliners (or otherwise built to encourage leaning back in a supportive position). PC chairs are designed to keep you sitting straight up or slightly reclined, so sitting in one with a controller often means you’ll unconsciously default to leaning forward and/or hunching your shoulders. Make sure you pick a chair designed specifically for what you intend to do while sitting in it.

Materials

Many of our favorite gaming chairs are upholstered in either PU or PVC leather. Both are resistant to cutting and tearing, and both are easy to clean, but they tend to get uncomfortably hot in warmer climates. Your environment plays a big role in determining the kinds of materials your ideal chair should be made of.

Fabric chairs are generally cooler than leather, but more susceptible to damage and gradual wear and tear. If you have pets that like to scratch or chew, fabric is a much more tempting surface (to most animals) than leather is. On the flip side, it’s relatively cheap and easy to reupholster a fabric chair yourself—leather, not so much.

Finally, consider the chair’s frame and other parts. Metal frames and components are much heavier than plastics but are generally more durable. Not all metal frames are created equally, either. Less expensive chairs tend to have aluminum or aluminum alloy frames, whereas you’re more likely to find steel in chairs that cost more. Aluminum may be lighter than steel, but it’s not nearly as strong. Avoid chairs built with particle board if possible—it’s quite flimsy and is usually a sign of poor overall quality.

Bonus Features

These days, there’s (potentially) a lot more to a gaming chair than a bucket seat and a bright color scheme. Gaming chairs can have all kinds of extras, like speakers, cup holders, and even phone charging ports.

Speakers: Why Do Some Cost So Much More than Others?

One of the most common ways that inexpensive speakers save you money is by flattening sounds that come through them—that is, making loud sounds quieter and making quiet sounds louder, resulting in more even volume at the cost of each track or frequency being less distinct from the others. Fancier speakers need more (and more complex) parts in order to play higher quality audio.

Whether or not flattened audio will bother you depends largely on what you’re doing. If you’re playing a game by yourself (that is, not chatting with friends on your headset or listening to music through the same device), there will be fewer sounds competing for your ears’ attention, so cheaper speakers may not totally ruin your experience. (Of course, higher quality speakers will generally sound better no matter what you’re doing.)

Conversely, better speakers are a more worthwhile investment the more you expect them to do. Some high-end speakers and headphones even offer features like independent volume balancing in the form of a dial that makes your game louder and your friends quieter (or vice versa).

Massage Chairs: Are They Worth It?

Like anything else, you get what you pay for when it comes to massage chairs. A “true” massage chair that has consistent, tangible health benefits will almost inevitably cost thousands of dollars and won’t remotely be built for gaming, but that doesn’t mean it’s an all-or-nothing proposition.

The big question to ask when considering a massage chair for gaming is: do you have significant pain or another medical condition that you’re hoping to alleviate with a massage chair, or do you simply like a tingly chair that feels nice? If the latter, you’re much more likely to be satisfied with a massaging gaming chair. If you do have a more serious medical concern, consult a doctor before making any major decisions about a massage chair.

Other Extras

Speakers and massage pillows tend to be the most common “major” extras you’ll find in gaming chairs, in terms of cost. When it comes to smaller features, there’s almost no limit to what you can find. From cup holders to cubbyholes for your phone to rainbow LED lights, gaming chair manufacturers will try almost anything to meet a particular demand. You’ll have to consider the overall price of the chair and what each of its features is worth to you.


Gaming Chairs: Questions & Answers

 

Here are some of the most commonly searched questions about gaming chairs, along with our answers to them.

How much do gaming chairs cost?

Gaming chairs broadly fall into one of three price tiers: Budget chairs are under about $150, mid-range chairs cost $150-$300 or so, and premium models will run you more than that—all the way up to $1,200 or more for the best chairs out there.

How many different kinds of gaming chairs are there?

“Gaming chair” is a pretty loose term. Technically, any chair you use for gaming is a gaming chair, but in general, a gaming chair is one that promotes both comfort and decent posture when sitting for extended periods. You might see any number of different features on such a chair, but that balance of comfort and ergonomics is the most basic consideration.

Chairs marketed to gamers tend to fall into one of three broad categories: PC chairs, console gaming chairs, and multipurpose chairs.

PC chairs emphasize proper posture when sitting at a desk and using a mouse or keyboard. Console gaming chairs account for the fact that your ideal posture is different when looking at television than when looking at a monitor; they let you lean back farther and in a supportive fashion. Multipurpose chairs try to cover both bases, either by offering a variety of adjustment options or by adopting a “one size fits all” ergonomic design (with varying degrees of success).

What benefits do gaming chairs have over other chairs, if any?

Not to sound vague, but this really depends on what else you’re doing in your chair. Some people use one chair exclusively for console gaming, others might want a gaming chair mostly for working or playing at a desk, and others want to be able to do both in the same chair.

Broadly speaking, regular office chairs tend to be designed with universality in mind—office chair manufacturers want the same chair to work for as many people as possible because their biggest customers are large corporations that buy thousands of chairs at a time. Unfortunately, that goal is more or less impossible to accomplish with any degree of success. All human bodies have the same basic needs when it comes to posture, but each body is different—different enough that its ideal posture will look slightly different from someone else’s, and millions of those small differences simply can’t be accounted for by one chair.

Gaming chairs are at least somewhat ahead of office chairs when it comes to recognizing that different bodies performing different activities need different seating arrangements. There’s a lot more variety in gaming chairs, which translates to a greater chance that you’ll find one that fits you perfectly.

For a more in-depth answer to this question, be sure to click over to our article on gaming chairs vs. office chairs.

What brand is the best to buy?

As with any other industry, manufacturers of gaming chairs tend to target different customers’ needs with different lines of products. For example, if you sort the market by price, X Rocker leads the pack in budget-friendly seating, GTRACING’s mid-range chairs are popular, and Steelcase dominates the premium market. Within each of those cross-sections, companies generally specialize further—a big chunk of gaming chairs with speakers come from X Rocker.

The brand of gaming chair that’s best for you will ultimately depend on what your priorities are and which companies cater to them.

Can gaming chairs improve your gameplay?

Directly and overnight, no. Indirectly and over time, yes.

Pro gamers—the ones that win millions of dollars in televised tournaments—usually spend almost as much on their chairs as they do on their rigs. That’s neither a coincidence nor pointless extravagance. Bad posture is directly linked to a long list of health problems, including but not limited to severe joint pain, loss of visual acuity, and even blood clots. A pro gamer that can’t see very well and who lives in constant pain won’t remain a pro for very long.

Even if you’re not on that level, good ergonomics is no less important for you. Think about the last time you tried to play a game while you were sick or had a headache—you undoubtedly weren’t at your best. You’ll be healthier and more focused if you’re limber and feeling good; a decent gaming chair can help you prevent major health problems (and in some cases, might even be able to partially reverse any damage that’s already been done).

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