At the dawn of esports, players had no access to fancy gaming chairs. In fact, they often used conference style hotel chairs that were far from ergonomic. Nowadays, every streamer and their mother has a gaming chair. Heck, even pewdiepie put out his own gaming chair that does the full horizontal recline.
Whether you already have a gaming chair or are thinking about getting one, you may be wondering, are gaming chairs really worth it? Well, it depends. The short answer is no, but that’s due to the cost of some gaming chairs. It’s really a case of gaming chairs being hit or miss, so it’s best to do your research as you probably can’t test them out in store.
In this post I later discuss the pros and cons of gaming chairs and whether they’ll help improve your competitive performance in gaming. I’ll start off with a top 5 list in case that’s what you came here for.
My overall opinion is that gaming chairs are mostly marketing hype trying to profit off of the booming esports scene. However, there are a few really decent ones that I recommend if you are set on getting yourself one. And if you are trying to be a competitive gamer, you’ll likely be competing in gaming chairs, so it’s best to train with one.
In case you’re interested in standing desks for gamers, check out my post Best Standing Desks for Gamers & Esports (Complete Guide).
TOP 5 RECOMMENDED GAMING CHAIRS
Alright, let’s take a closer look at these chairs. Keep reading afterwards for a detailed discussion on whether gaming chairs are truly “worth it”.
#1 – GT Omega PRO Racing Office Chair
GT Omega Racing chairs have gained a positive reputation in the gaming community. Most gamers who purchase this chair are satisfied with it and describe it as “the most comfortable chair I’ve owned”.
Don’t be surprised to see this in regular offices too. The comfort it offers can be enjoyed by anyone needing to stay seated for an extended period of time.
This chair offers really good back support, especially the firm lumbar support pillow. If you find these low back pillows annoying, this one can be easily removed.
If posture has been an ongoing issue for you, this chair may help as it can make optimal posture easier to attain. The adjustable armrests allow you to rest your arms, taking pressure off the wrists.
Most buyers have stated that the material on this chair is high quality and will last a long time. Essentially, this is an affordable gaming chair that can be compared to its more expensive competitors.
If interested, you can check out the price here (opens Amazon tab)
#2 –RESPAWN-200 Racing Style Gaming Chair
This gaming chair is another affordable “high end” chair. Although it looks like it doesn’t have the low back lumbar support, it’s actually hidden behind the mesh. It’s fairly firm and very adjustable as it’s attached to the chair and can slide up and down.
The mesh backing is what may be most appealing to some of you. Me personally, I sweat easily, especially if I’m drinking coffee while gaming. Having a chair with a mesh backing allows for a lot less “build up”, especially during long sessions. If you’ve ever had a gaming chair, especially the ones that are leather or mimic leather, several hours can mean a t-shirt change.
For a more visual review, check out Respawns video on the chair:
One somewhat common complaint is the very low back cover breaking off. This doesn’t affect the comfort or performance of the chair, as the cover is just an aesthetic option hiding the screws. And to be honest, if it’s on the back, you’ll likely never really notice, and it’s not very noticeable even if you are looking at it.
Check out the price here (opens Amazon tab).
#3 – noblechairs ICON Gaming Chair
This is one of the few gaming chairs that comes with real genuine leather. With real leather comes real comfort, and this is often reviewed as one of the more comfortable gaming chairs. Just so you are aware, real luxury comes at a cost.
This chair is fairly easy to set up and shouldn’t take more than an hour or so. If you’re a gamer that finds most chairs too narrow then you will love the width and extra space this chair offers. More space on a chair usually means it’s easier to get comfortable (although it also means more opportunity for poor posture).
This chair will feel really firm at first, almost too firm. But most gamers note that it gets “worked in” with a bit of time. Sort of like a brand new memory foam mattress. The lumbar and headrest pillows are detachable but offer a lot of firm support if you choose to use them. A lot of reviewers say that the low back support pillow is quite helpful, but you can’t attach it to the char, which makes it annoying if you move around a lot.
This chair both looks and feels premium. If you haven’t tried a leather gaming chair then you haven’t experienced true gaming comfort. Essentially, you get what you pay for (and this isn’t cheap).
It’s good to point out though, if you live in warmer climates, or have warm summers, and your home becomes warm, you will likely be sweating while gaming which will make for some uncomfortable experiences when getting off the chair (as your skin kind of sticks to it). But since it’s leather, it will likely last a very long time.
Check out the price here (opens Amazon tab).
#4 –DXRacer Classic Series Big and Tall Chair
Another wide and roomy chair. Often, gaming chairs take a “racing” style which makes them narrow. This chair will not only offer more room, but the padding is thicker, making it extra comfy and supportive.
A cool feature with this chair is the multiple pockets on the back. They’re kind of like the pocket space on the back of car seat or airplane seats. If you’re living in tight quarters (like a college dorm), this can make organization way easier.
The recline is really smooth on this chair. A lot of gaming chairs feel rickety or rigid while reclining, not this one. The base of this chair is aluminum which makes it very sturdy (we’ve all fallen off one at least once during a match).
I just want to point out again, this chair is HUGE. Definitely a more ideal choice for taller and larger gamers. and for a little extra, you can add a pop out footrest to the chair, which will help take some strain off your tight hip flexors when sitting for too long.
Check out the price by clicking here (opens Amazon tab).
#5 –Herman Miller Embody Chair
No top gaming chair list is complete without a Herman Miller. Considered the “Cadillacs” of gaming chairs, Herman Millers deliver, but it’s going to cost you (over $1000). With a chair like this, you gotta watch, not read:
I will say if you’re actually considering spending $1500 on a gaming chair it better be with money you won’t notice is gone. If you’re able to get one of these, it’ll likely be worth the money. A lot of people (gamers included) say that their back pain went away once they started using a Herman Miller.
Over time, gamers buy a lot of gaming chairs as the ones they typically get fall apart pretty quick. Herman Miller has an awesome warranty (12 years!) and will likely last longer. You certainly won’t regret getting this chair, even if it does have a few quirks that shouldn’t exist on such an expensive chair.
If you really want a chair like this but can’t quite afford one, try craigslist or kijiji, people often get lucky and snag a good quality used one.
You can check out the exact price here (warning, be sitting down with no beverage in hand).
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF A GAMING CHAIR?
Gaming chairs are usually designed with the understanding that those using them will be using them a lot and for long periods of time. This isn’t always the case, but it’s often the case (especially as the price goes up).
Now, that’s not to say office chairs aren’t designed for the same purpose. After all, workers are meant to be using them at least eight hours a day.
So, while gaming chairs certainly offer some ergonomic designs and extra comfort, you may also be paying for the brand and the added price just for it being labelled “gamer”.
But, let’s be honest. If you’re a hardcore gamer, recreational gamer or competitive gamer, you probably have a nice set up going on for your “gaming station” (or even gaming room). Having a gaming chair over a plain and ordinary office chair certainly has an aesthetic appeal.
Another benefit is how easy they are to clean. A lot of office chairs are made out of an almost “carpety” material that basically requires a vacuum to really clean it (and forget about actually wiping it down). Gaming chairs are often sleek with leather or leather-like material that makes wiping them down with some sort of wipe really easy and convenient.
HOW MUCH DO GAMING CHAIRS COST?
The price range is anywhere from around $150 to $500. Usually, the more expensive the chair the better quality the chair (but not always).
The above 5 chairs were chosen because they have been reviewed positively and are built to last. If you’re going to spend the extra, you better get more out of it.
If you are serious about getting a gaming chair and it’s not listed above, do your research. Unfortunately, you can’t test most gaming chairs out before you buy them and after you’ve spent the time putting one altogether, you’ll probably be reluctant to take it apart and return it, even if you hate.
HOW LONG DO GAMING CHAIRS LAST?
There are a few factors to consider before giving a definite expiry date for a gaming chair:
- Build quality
- The gamer (height/weight)
What’s weird with some gaming chair manufacturers is that there is a different warranty for different parts. For example, the warranty for the armrest might be different than the warranty for the wheels. Just make sure you understand the warranty for your chair very well.
The average overall warranty is about 2 years for most gaming chairs. But most gamers get at least 3 years (if not more) out of their chairs.
Now, there several components that can break down in gaming chairs such as:
- gas lift
The biggest reason why any of these components would break down is due to “bearing too much load”. So if you’re a larger gamer, opt for a gaming chair that is meant for larger gamers, like #3 and #4 on the above recommendations.
So, a gaming chair will, at a minimum, last two years.
Most gamers report having their chair last for over 3 years though, some much longer. If you want your chair to last longer, take care of it and you should be able to get 5 years.
WHAT ARE GAMING CHAIRS MADE OF?
Gaming chairs are typically made out of two types of materials:
Leather offers more durability and, for some, more comfort. Leather is likely to last a long time which is why they often cost more. A great bonus to leather is that they are easy to clean and resistant to most stains (yes, feel free to eat and drink in your brand new leather gaming chair).
Fabric gaming chairs utilize various types of fabric. For instance, the #2 -RESPAWN-200 Racing Style Gaming Chair above utilizes a mesh fabric that allows for a lighter and more breathable feel. Fabric gaming chairs are a little harder to clean and more prone to stains but can offer a different type of comfort (a little less rigid than leather).
If your budget allows, opt for a leather gaming chair. You’ll get more out of it and have fewer issues overall.
ARE GAMING CHAIRS GOOD FOR POSTURE?
Not any more than any other type of office or computer chair. There’s nothing secret or revolutionary about a gaming chair and their ergonomics.
In fact, chairs and ergonomics aren’t the complete picture. Chairs aren’t going to magically fix your lazy slouch or your tilt to one side. Ergonomics require the person to make an effort too.
Computer and gaming ergonomics aren’t my specialty, so I’ll leave that to Matt Hwu, an esports physiotherapist:
ARE GAMING CHAIRS GOOD FOR YOUR BACK?
This is where my personal bias/opinion comes in. I say bias and opinion, but it’s grounded in research and I’m not alone.
People aren’t meant to sit for long periods of time. Humans aren’t built to be sitting on their glutes and hamstrings all day. Being sedentary comes with a lot of risks.
So, are gaming chairs good for your back? No, they’re actually bad for your back. But it’s not just gaming chairs, it’s any chair in general. Sitting for long periods puts unnecessary pressure on your spine and nearby muscles. Things start to get tight and all out of whack and then eventually painful.
No matter how good your ergonomic set up is and no matter how good your posture is (and no matter how good your chair is), it’s not going to eliminate the risks from prolonged sitting.
ARE GAMING CHAIRS BETTER THAN OFFICE CHAIRS?
Nope! Like I’ve implied, it’s mostly just marketing hype. But, if you do have a gaming theme going on with your room, you’ll probably appreciate the aesthetics of a gaming chair over an ordinary office chair. They kind of help “set the mood” if that makes sense?
ESPORTS EXISTED BEFORE GAMING CHAIRS
In case you think a gaming chair is going to somehow boost your performance, you’re mistaken. Gamers were competing in esports as early as the 80s. Once computers were a little more mainstream, esports tournaments in titles like Quake were being held in hotel convention centers.
Guess what gamers used to sit on? Hotel convention centre chairs. Super basic, far from ergonomic and not really that comfortable. But gamers still competed in them and still performed at a high level.
So don’t think a gaming chair is what’s missing from you making it on an esports team. It’s not going to boost your skill. It will, however, allow you to train and practice using a chair that is similar to a chair that you’re competing in, and it’s a good idea to get a gaming chair for this reason.
ARE STANDING DESKS GOOD FOR GAMERS?
Yes, if you’re not a competitive gamer you should use one. But if you are trying to be a competitive gamer in esports, a standing desk may be detrimental to your practice and performance.
Until competitive gaming and esports utilize standing desks, practicing at one may negatively impact your gaming performance come tournament day.
To find out more on why this is the case, check out my post Should Gamers Use a Standing Desk? for a longer and more detailed discussion.