Taking care of your back is one of the most important things you can do for your long-term health, especially if you spend a lot of time sitting down. Reclining between about 95 and 115 degrees is usually ideal, and having the ability to adjust the angle of your spine as needed is important too.
All else being equal, a gaming chair that reclines is better than one that doesn’t. 🎮
Recliners offer another important advantage aside from good posture: simple comfort. Most of us like to lean back even farther when watching TV or playing console games, so it’s nice to be able to use the same chair for working and lounging. To help you find the best gaming chair for you, we’ve rounded up a diverse set of five budget-friendly gaming recliners.
Best Choice: Homall Gaming Recliner Chair
Pros & Cons
- Reclines to several different angles
- Suitable for long gaming sessions
- Comfortable and supportive
- Noticeably smaller than regular recliners
- Kinda cheap materials/construction
- So-so (and somewhat deceptive) warranty
A pretty big majority of gaming chairs are designed for the PC crowd, or at least as “multipurpose” chairs that often aren’t spectacular in any one respect. Console players rejoice, the Homall Gaming Recliner is for you.
Homall Gaming Recliner Chair Review
When you’re sitting in front of a TV as opposed to a monitor (or just using a controller in lieu of a mouse and keyboard), all the rules about ergonomics change. This is most definitely a TV/controller chair, and a pretty decent one when used for that purpose.
The Homall recliner can lean back to three different positions: roughly 90°, 135°, and 180°. Its dense foam makes for a firm, supportive seat that’s also cushy enough to be comfortable for several hours at a time. Plus, if you spill Cheetos all over it, it’s no big deal; the PU leather upholstery is pretty easy to clean.
One of this chair’s best features (its price tag) is also one of its downsides. It’s definitely a budget chair. It’s small and has a maximum weight rating of 265 pounds, but keep in mind that moving parts take more fatigue damage when they move under stress.
This chair may not last very long if you’re a giant or if you’re not extra gentle with it. Homall’s suspiciously limited warranty (parts for one year, but cash refunds only within one month) also doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence in this chair’s durability.
Premium Pick: KILLABEE Massage Memory Foam Gaming Chair
Pros & Cons
- Easy to clean and resistant to fading
- 360-degree swivel
- Retractable padded footrest
- Lumbar pillow gets in the way of the rest of the chair
- Massage function could be better
The KILLABEE Massage Memory Foam Gaming Chair, which retails just south of $200, almost deserves a spot in our round-up of the best budget gaming chairs. Even though it didn’t quite make it into our top picks for that category, it’s still a rock-solid gaming chair that’s reasonably priced (did we mention it vibrates)?
KILLABEE Massage Memory Foam Gaming Chair Review
If you’re spending any significant amount of money on a chair, you’ll want it to last a while. The KILLABEE’s PU leather upholstery is easy to clean, resistant to fading, and reasonably tough. Just give it a wipe down every so often and you should find that it lasts a number of years.
Like the Homall Ergonomic High-Back Racing Chair, the KILLABEE sports a feature that’s fairly hard to find: a retractable footrest. Unfortunately, like the Homall’s footrest, this one is also too short to be useful for gamers who are on the taller side, but regular-sized and petite folks will no doubt find it handy.
One of the KILLABEE’s most obvious detractors is the oversized, awkwardly positioned lumbar pillow. It sticks out much too far to be comfortable for the average user, at least for extended periods of time.
You can take it off, but it’s got a motor in it that’s integral to the massage function, so ditching the pillow cancels out one of the main reasons to pick this chair over another.
Speaking of the massage function: It leaves something to be desired. For one thing, the aforementioned lumbar pillow is the only part of the chair that buzzes. It’s also powered by a USB cord, which is great in a way (no batteries), but also means there’s a cord to get caught on things.
Still, the massager isn’t terrible. Since the lower back is one of the most problematic areas for people who do a lot of sitting, it might do you some good.
Best Value: GTRACING GT099
Pros & Cons
- Very well built for its price point
- Bicast leather is durable and doesn’t get too hot
- Lots of adjustment options
- The headrest is finicky—needs a bit of jury-rigging to stay in position
- So-so warranty
GTRACING has made a name for itself as a purveyor of all-around solid mid-range gaming chairs that don’t lead the pack in any respect but certainly aren’t cheap garbage either.
The GTRACING GT099 is ideal for gamers who prefer a firmer seat with a good deal of support. This chair retails for about $160 and can be an especially good choice for tall people who find many other gaming chairs uncomfortable.
GTRACING GT099 Review
Almost every part of this chair feels heavy and solid, and the armrests click firmly into place when adjusted without feeling loose or wobbly. It stands up pretty well to everyday stressors; nothing short of real negligence or abuse is likely to damage this chair, although the gas cylinder failing does seem to be a somewhat common problem.
The bicast leather upholstery is surprisingly resistant to punctures and tears, and it’s easy to clean as well. It does get a little warm during the summer (or if the air conditioner is off), but never intolerably so.
The armrests have six vertical positions (but don’t rotate), and the back reclines to several different angles as well. The bucket seat is on the narrow side and can’t be adjusted (except vertically), so it may be uncomfortable for some.
Finally, the lumbar and head pillows are both detachable if you don’t want them, but they do help you maintain good posture. The head pillow, in particular, may take some tweaking to get it to stay in a comfortable position.
GTRACING offers an okay warranty for the GT099, with no-questions-asked replacement or repair on most (but not all) parts within one year. I own one of these chairs, and the gas cylinder did indeed fail after about 18 months, but GTRACING offered to replace it if I paid for the shipping.
In the sub-$200 range, you’re unlikely to find better warranties, but that’s okay—warranties are most useful for really cheap or really expensive chairs. All in all, the GT099 is a great multipurpose chair that’s equally well suited to gaming and working.
Best Comfort: Merax Gaming High Back Computer Chair
Pros & Cons
- Very comfortable, even for long periods of time
- Tilting and locking seat function
- Nice headrest and back cushions
- On the small side
- More expensive than comparable chairs
It may not seem like the Merax gaming chair brings much to the table compared to some of our other picks for this list, but its unsurpassed comfort makes up for its relative lack of other bells and whistles.
Merax Gaming High Back Computer Chair Review
This chair’s real claim to fame is a straightforward one: it’s nice to sit in. Many gaming chairs, especially those with bucket seats, are only comfortable for an hour or two at a time. While being essentially forced to get up and stretch frequently is a good thing, having both extended comfort and decent ergonomics in the same package is even better.
The Merax chair’s tilting seat is another nice bonus that can be hard to find. For some of us, having our rumps perfectly parallel to the floor may not be the most comfortable position, so it’s nice to be able to tweak something other than the back itself.
On the downside, this chair’s dimensions are noticeably small, so it may not be a great choice for tall or wide gamers. At just north of $200, it’s also pricier than some other options, though it still qualifies as a budget-friendly gaming chair. All in all, if comfort is your top priority and other features aren’t terribly important to you, the Merax is a solid bet.
Best Budget: X Rocker 51396 Pro Series Pedestal 2.1
Pros & Cons
- Nice padded armrests
- Reasonably comfortable
- Speakers are of pretty good quality for this price point
- Upholstery and stitching are cheap
- Vibration feature should have been scrapped entirely
The X Rocker 51396 Pro Series Pedestal 2.1 stands out from the other chairs we’ve picked for this collection—it has speakers! (Be sure to check out our roundup of the best gaming chairs with speakers for even more of those).
X Rocker 51396 Pro Series Pedestal 2.1 Review
Armrests are often a point of contention when it comes to gaming chairs, but the X Rocker’s armrests are better than most. They’re both comfortable and supportive, and both console and PC gamers should find them to their liking.
The chair is also reasonably comfortable for extended gaming sessions, provided you’re not extra tall, as the chair sits pretty low to the ground. If you are tall and have a similarly sized ottoman or footrest lying around, kicking your feet up may feel better than having them flat on the floor.
Considering this chair’s attractive price tag, you may be suspicious of the quality of its speakers. Surprisingly, they’re not bottom-of-the-barrel knockoffs that seem likely to blow out within six months. They’re certainly not the best speakers money can buy, but as long as you don’t keep the volume cranked to the max all the time, they should do just fine.
The chair comes with a free set of RCA cables, which is nice, but in 2020, this type of audio connection is starting to border on obsolete. The cables are compatible with PS4 and Xbox One, but getting your console to send audio to the chair correctly might take some finagling.
While the chair itself is comfortable to sit in, the faux leather is stiff and creaky, and the stitching is cheaply done. The chair seems susceptible to coming apart at the seams if not used very gently. It’s also got a vibration function, but it’s so underwhelming that it probably should have just been left out altogether.
Gaming Recliners: Buying Guide
There’s a lot to think about when you’re out to purchase a new gaming recliner. Putting in some extra time and effort during the research phase to be sure you end up with a chair that meets your needs will save you a lot of hassle down the road.
If none of the showcased recliners meet your expectations, we have one more recommendation. Check out our review of the Secretlab Titan which is quite expensive but may equal our premium pick quality-wise.
Durability, Materials, & Construction
No chair is worth much if it falls apart within a month. While you’re always going to pay more for a chair that’s built to last (all other factors being equal), you don’t have to break the bank either. Sniff around for lots of user reviews on each chair you’re considering and see how long they generally last.
Do you want to buy a $200 chair every three years, or a $500 chair every decade? There are so many gaming chairs to choose from that you can surely find one within your budget that will last long enough to justify its price tag.
The most comfortable gaming chair is not always one that’s healthy to sit in (but a properly designed ergonomic chair should always be at least decently comfortable). Shopping for gaming chairs online is tough because it can be hard to know how a chair will feel without actually sitting in it. Comfort is one reason to carefully consider a chair’s warranty and return policy: If the chair just doesn’t feel right, can you send it back and try another one? Comfort is an especially important concern for gamers who are bigger or smaller than average.
Gaming isn’t an inherently unhealthy hobby, but it can take its toll on your body if you don’t proactively take preventative measures. No matter what features matter most to you in a gaming chair, ergonomics should be at the top of the list. PC gamers need to keep their backs straight, wrists level, and feet flat on the floor (or on a properly positioned footrest).
Console gamers can generally afford to be less strict about their posture, but they still need to stretch frequently and select a chair that works with their particular setup. Never forget the golden rule of ergonomics: if something hurts, something needs to change.
For some gamers, it’s important to have a chair that massages your back, wirelessly connects to a 7.1 audio network, and serves iced tea every 90 minutes. Always keep two things in mind: every extra feature in a chair adds to its price, and a chair that does more almost inevitably does each thing a little less well.
Unless you’re willing to drop a car payment (or more) on your next gaming chair, you may have to make some sacrifices. Would you rather have pretty good speakers, or so-so speakers and an okay-ish footrest?
Shopping for your next gaming chair doesn’t have to be an unpleasant process. Compare lots of candidates and take it slow—carefully made decisions usually turn out better than hasty ones. With so many great gaming recliners out there, there’s surely at least one (and probably several) that will work for you.
Frequently Asked Questions: Recliner Chairs for Gaming
What brand is the best to buy?
As with any other industry, manufacturers of gaming chairs tend to target certain types of customers with different lines of products. For example, X Rocker is known for its wide selection of budget-friendly seating, GTRACING is popular for its mid-range chairs, and Steelcase dominates the high end of the 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.
How many different kinds of gaming chairs are there?
“Gaming chair” is a pretty loose term. Strictly speaking, any chair you use for gaming is a gaming chair. Within the industry, the term tends to describe chairs that have certain features, but again, it’s not a hard-and-fast definition. The general idea is that a gaming chair is one that promotes both comfort and decent posture when sitting for extended periods, but you might see any number of different features on such a chair.
Broadly speaking, chairs marketed to gamers tend to fall into one of three broad categories: PC chairs, console chairs, and multipurpose (or general purpose) 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 you’re probably looking at a TV, not a monitor, and that you’re holding a controller instead of a mouse. 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).
Why should I buy a gaming chair?
If you regularly sit in front of a monitor or TV for more than an hour at a time, it’s almost impossible to overstate the importance of investing in a high-quality chair. Young gamers (those under 25 or so) often mistake their body’s ability to withstand a fair amount of abuse as a sign that everything is okay. In reality, by the time your posture starts causing you pain, it’s already been quietly taking damage for years.
Prevention is generally far more valuable (and easier) than finding a cure, and this is especially true when it comes to your joints and muscles. $500, or even $200, may sound like a lot for a chair, but it’s nothing compared to a lifetime of pain or dysfunction that even expensive surgery may not be able to correct.
But if $200 is you limit, check out our list of the best gaming chairs under $200.
Am I too tall for a gaming chair?
If you’re asking this question, then yes, probably.
But seriously, I’m a pretty tall guy, so I get it. Being over 6’ tall does make it more challenging to find a gaming chair that works for you, but it’s certainly not impossible. A majority of gaming chairs are marketed to people who are somewhere around 5’10” or shorter.
Nonetheless, you do have options; GTRACING makes several mid-range chairs that accommodate users up to 6’6”, and Steelcase chairs are well known for their ability to support nearly any body type.
More often than not, chairs for the vertically gifted will cost more, but that’s just the price we pay for being able to reach the top shelf without a ladder.
As you can see, looking for the best gaming recliner or the overall greatest gaming chair isn’t that straightforward. Depending on your preferences, different chairs might suit you better.
For example, factors such as your body type, how long do you plan to use the chair each day, your desk setup, etc. are all detrimental when selecting your perfect chair. Looking at our list, you should be able to find what you’re looking for. If not, consult the buying guide and the FAQ we provided and start searching on your own.
Either way, you won’t make a mistake.
- Kristie Lorette, Correct Office Ergonomics, Chron