Is your current chair falling apart? Maybe you need something more comfortable? Or perhaps you’ve been eyeing Ninja’s custom Maxnomic Pro, and you’re feeling a wee bit jealous? Whatever the case may be, there’s never been a better time to snag a professional gaming chair.

Gaming chairs aren’t just a passing fad. At this point in their lifecycle, it’s safe to say they’re here to stay. And it’s not just because they’re so deeply embedded in gamer culture, what with all the major stars using them. It’s because gaming chairs offer ergonomic benefits that are simply too good to pass up. You can literally play for hours with no fatigue or discomfort, and they double as excellent options for the office or entertainment room.

Gaming in Chair with Effects

As the eSports and streaming industries continue to grow, so do the number of gaming chair companies and models. Options are great, for sure, but so much competition makes it hard to sort through them all.

That’s why we’ve put together this gaming chair buying guide. It covers everything you need to know about gaming chairs. From the different types, to popular brands, to important ergonomic considerations, we’ll walk you through the entire purchasing process. Ready to up your game? Let’s get started.

Gaming Chair Basics

What is a Gaming Chair, Anyway?

What image comes to mind when you think of a gaming chair?

Maxnomic Gaming Chair Example

If you’re like me, it’s probably a racing-style seat with a tall ‘executive’ backrest covered in sleek PU leather. And you’re right – that’s most definitely a gaming chair.

But it’s not the only type.

In their simplest form, gaming chairs are seats used by video game players. Technically, any chair used for this purpose can be classified as a gaming chair. 

That means your standard office chair, or even your grandpa’s old recliner, can be a gaming chair. But not all gaming chairs are created equal.

Professional Office vs. Gaming Chairs

Professional Environment

A quick word on professional office vs. gaming chairs. There’s a great deal of overlap between these two pieces of furniture. Many gaming chairs can, and do, serve both purposes – particularly those with more subdued colors, e.g., the Maxnomic Dominator and Secretlab Titan.

Others, like Herman Miller’s lineup of office chairs, are designed for professional business use. But their top-tier ergonomics and comfort make them ideal for video games as well.

Our advice?

For folks seeking a gaming chair for the office, you’ll want to choose between three types: office, racing, and pedestal. Moreover, ergonomics are the key to ensuring a suitable setup, and you may want to ignore our notes on style, opting instead for whatever suits your professional environment. 

Other than that, this article should serve as an excellent guide for you as well. Continue reading and enjoy!

Types of Gaming Chairs

HGG Gaming Chair Infographic

In this section, we’ll look at the seven most popular types of gaming chairs and where each one excels.

1. Office

BestOffice Computer Chair

Office chairs are seats designed for use in a work environment, typically at a desk. They’re built with comfort and ergonomics in mind, as modern-day office-dwellers sit for as long as 8 hours at a time.

Though office chair styles vary, they all share a common structure. At the bottom, there’s a wheelbase with casters. A swivel mechanism and hydraulic lift sit atop the base, allowing the user to move 360°, as well as up and down. As for the seat itself? It usually boasts plenty of padding, with a mid-height backrest and (occasionally) armrests attached.

Office chairs range in price from $25 to $2,500 and beyond. They make fantastic entry-level chairs and are ideal for PC gaming.

Best for: Budget & Multi-Purpose PC Gaming Setups

2. Racing

GTRACING Gaming Chair

Racing chairs are a step up from office chairs. They both share a similar design, but racing models offer a lot more oomph in all the right areas, if you know what I mean.

To be sure, racing chairs are the stereotypical gaming chairs for a reason: they perform. Equipped with all the top-tier ergonomic features you could ask for, racing models ensure unrivaled comfort for the duration of your gaming sessions, whether you’re on hour 1 or 24. 

What makes them stand out? Racing chairs boast tall ‘executive’ backrests that align with your spine and support your lumbar region like a baby in a cradle. They also come with premium adjustment mechanisms that include up to 180° recline and 4D (directional) movement. As for materials? High-end models boast PU or genuine leather, durable cold-cure foam, and thick cushions that’ll keep at the top of your game.

Best for: Dedicated PC Gaming Stations

3. Pedestal

RESPAWN-900 Racing Style Gaming Recliner

The pedestal style chair is somewhat of a hybrid between wheelbase chairs and rockers. They’re primarily designed for console gaming, but we do hear of them used at desks from time-to-time.

Pedestal style gaming chairs are usually a little more expensive than rocker type chairs, but they lift you up off the ground for enhanced comfort. They also offer more adjustability, and instead of going all out in rocker mode, you’ve got a pedestal that can swivel about.

Best for: Console Gaming for Adults

4. Rocker

Rocker Style Gaming Chair

Rockers are the fidget spinners of gaming chairs. Used exclusively for console gaming, rocker chairs sit directly on the floor and — true to their name — allow the user to rock back and forth. The most expensive chairs in this category are decked out with audio equipment such as speakers in the headrest part of the chair.

The drawback to this style is that they don’t let you swivel left to right. Also, some users complain that they get uncomfortable after a couple hours of gaming. Hardcore gamers that spend 8+ hours some days may want to steer clear of the cheaper models, or risk dealing with a sore butt.

Best for: Console Gaming for Kids

5. Recliner

Vitesse Gaming Recliner Chair Racing Style Single Ergonomic Lounge

Recliners, aka armchairs, are stationary chairs used for console gaming. Unfortunately, there’s no rocking or bouncing in these chairs. But they’re incredibly versatile and work great in the game room and common living areas.

Some of the most popular recliners (such as the X Rocker Triple Flip) have extremely well-thought-out designs with under-seat storage compartments and flip-out footrests. If you’re not a fan of dynamic movement, this is an excellent alternative.

Best for: Entertainment Rooms

6. Bean Bag

Big Joe Milano

Bean bag chairs are an inexpensive and fun option primarily used for console gaming (you’re going to need a massive one to raise you high enough to game at a desk). While this style gaming chair can’t swivel, roll, or rock, it sure beats sitting on the ground for hours on end. Not only that, but some bean bags are surprisingly comfortable!

Another option that falls under the same category? Inflatable chairs or loungers. If you don’t like the forgiving nature of the bean bag chair (where you sink in and sometimes get eaten up), an inflatable chair provides a more rigid surface. Some inflatable chairs even come with an ottoman for full-body comfort. The upside to this type of chair is easy storage, as you can fold it compactly. The issue with inflatables is they are prone to punctures and losing air.

Best for: Co-op and Multiplayer Gaming

7. Specialty

What’s a specialty gaming chair? These are unique types of gaming chairs designed to level up your gaming for specific purposes. The most popular varieties are simulation chairs and gaming workstations.

Simulation chairs sync with the best simulation games to immerse you in your favorite titles via 3D controls and an authentic environment. Think VR on steroids.

Meanwhile, gaming workstations deliver the ultimate gaming setup. These are giant rigs with scorpion-like designs that hold multiple displays, as well as all your essential gear. Jump in, and get ready for extreme gaming like you’ve never experienced before.

Best for: Hardcore Gaming & Simulators

Popular Gaming Chair Brands

There are hundreds of different gaming chair brands out there. But over the past decade or two, a handful of high-profile companies have come to dominate the scene. These companies are known for designing excellent ergonomic chairs and working with pro gamers and streamers across the industry.

Here are 10 of these companies, aka the most popular gaming chair brands in 2020:

DXRacer Logo

DXRacer is the Boomer in the room. Dating way, way, waaay back to 2001, the company got its start creating luxury race car seats for professional sports cars. Hence the name.

After years of learning the industry, the company saw an opening in the gaming market. So they pivoted to eSports, subsequently coining the term ‘racing chairs.’ In 2008, DXRacer sponsored its first team, then quickly signed a flurry of sponsorship deals with industry juggernauts like NA’VI and Ninjas in Pajamas.

Fast forward to today, and DXRacer continues to work with top talent, including the likes of Faker, Summit1g, and SypherPK.

Maxnomic Logo

You may have heard of Maxnomic from the likes of Ninja, Tfue, Shroud, or other eSports superstars. That’s because they’ve all incorporated custom-branded Maxnomic gaming chairs into their setups.

Why do so many pros use Maxnomic chairs? It’s partly due to the company’s aggressive approach to marketing. But it’s also because Maxnomic creates some of the best gaming chairs on the market. We’re talking top ergonomic options that provide unrivaled comfort for day-long game sessions: a natural fit for streamers. Not only that, but Maxnomic’s designs are pure luxury, with subdued color palettes and pleasing tones.

You can find out more about Maxnomic by visiting our review of the Ergoceptor Gaming Chair.

Secretlab Logo

Since its inception back in 2014, Secretlab has been vying for the gaming chair throne.

Based out of Singapore, Secretlab exploded onto the scene with their flagship model, the Secretlab Omega. The Omega proved more comfy and stylish than many of its competitors, and it quickly snagged significant market share among the streaming and pro communities.

Once established, the company built upon its success with the Throne, Titan, and Titan XL product series. Today, the Titan is their most popular model, and it’s used by influencers ranging from DrLupo to KittyPlays.

You can find out more about Secretlab by visiting our reviews of the Titan and Titan Tempo Gaming Chairs.

OPSEAT Logo

Founded by two friends, John and Seth, OPSEAT came to life back in 2015. After dealing with back pain for years, the duo set about to create a new type of gaming chair. One that not only functioned well, but looked fantastic and fit in with gaming culture.

Today, OPSEAT defines themselves as a gaming and lifestyle brand. They’ve got several popular product lineups ranging from ergonomic chairs to pro desks, with plenty of new ideas in tow. What’s next? Nobody knows for sure, but the company can only go up from here.

You can find out more about OPSEAT by visiting our reviews of the Master and Grandmaster Gaming Chairs.

Noblechairs Logo

Channel your inner king (or queen) with the Noblechairs brand of gaming peripherals.

Hailing from the land of royalty, Noblechairs’ models boast renowned German engineering and craftsmanship. The company’s innovative lineup of chairs targets the eSports and professional communities, and their client list includes top teams like SK Gaming. You simply can’t find the same quality elsewhere.

You can find out more about Noblechairs by visiting our reviews of the Hero and Icon Gaming Chairs.

Levl Gaming

LEVL Gaming takes quality up a notch with their premier lineup of Alpha Chairs.

Established by furniture industry veterans with a passion for gaming, LEVL took the industry by storm when they launched back in 2016. What sets them apart? LEVL’s chairs are sleek and durable, with a penchant for clean pastel colors that scream sophistication. And, their customer service is unmatched.

You can find out more about LEVL Gaming by visiting our review of the Alpha Gaming Chair.

Anda Seat

Like DXRacer, the team at Anda Seat got their start in the race car business. But as the gaming industry expanded, pivoting to eSports was a no-brainer.

From the very beginning, Anda’s mission has remained the same: to create comfortable seats that look great and offer proper ergonomic support. As the official sponsor of teams like LDG and OMG, it’s clear that the company has absolutely lived up to their initial promise – and then some.

You can find out more about Anda Seat by visiting our review of the Dark Wizard Gaming Chair.

Ewin Logo

E-Win creates stylish and affordable gaming chairs for players on every budget. Run by a team of international product designers with years of experience, E-Win offers over 20 unique models that range in price from $200 to $500, and everywhere in between. With stellar reviews and an ever-growing fanbase, you can be sure they’ve got a steady beat on the eSports industry.

You can find out more about E-WIN Racing by visiting our review of the Calling Series Gaming Chair.

Clutch Chairz

Can your chair do this?!

Clutch Chairz burst onto the scene when they were featured in Pewdiepies’s now-iconic gaming chair video back in 2016. Remember the one where he tilts backward 180° and then falls over? Yeah, that’s a Clutch Chair!

Today, the company offers dozens of different chairs and other gaming peripherals. And they remain a dominant player in the industry thanks to their emphasis on performance and stylish designs.

You can find out more about Clutch Chairz by visiting our review of the Shift Alpha Gaming Chair.

Respawn Logo

While most gaming chair manufacturers simply copy one another and never release anything truly unique, Respawn takes the opposite approach. The company is continuously innovating, testing out new mechanics, and even new form factors!

Moreover, Respawn’s overall quality is top-notch, and they boast some of the lowest prices in the industry (some models start in the low $100s).

Whatever they’re doing is clearly working, as Respawn works with popular teams ranging from Beast Coast to FaZe. Just goes to show how quality and hard work goes a long way in any industry.

You can find out more about Respawn by visiting our review of the 200 Series Gaming Chair.

Budget Considerations

Level Up Without Breaking the Bank

Office Type Gaming Chair

Ergonomics don’t come cheap. Think about best-in-class office chairs from companies like Herman Miller and Steelcase. Their entry-level models begin around $1000!

The good news? Unless you’re a hardcore gamer and/or professional streamer who sits for a living, spending that much is hardly necessary.

Let’s go through the different price ranges and what you can expect at each tier.

Something to Sit On: Under $100

While you tend to find better quality at higher prices, there are a handful of gems available on a dime. In fact, several excellent models start under $100, especially in the office, rocker, and bean bag department. Some examples? You can find reputable chairs like the Vitesse Racer, X Rocker V, and Big Joe Bean Bag, all under 100 bones. And these are the real deal, not hunks of junk.

Vitesse Gaming Chair

That said, don’t expect to see any higher-end models or special features. Save for the bean bag category, you’ll only find minimal ergonomic support options and base-level materials at this tier.

Value: $100 – $300

The $100 to $300 price range is where things start to get interesting. At this level, you can find reputable gaming chairs of almost any type. In the office, racing, and pedestal department, that means models like the OFM Essential, DXRacer Formula, and Respawn 900, respectively. These are all respectable options with moderate ergonomics, perfect for more intensive gaming. Not too shabby, all things considered.

You’ll also find the best rockers (complete with built-in speakers) and premium gaming recliners at this range. Unfortunately, specialty chairs are still hard to come by under $300.

Respawn 900

Bells and Whistles: $300 – $500

At the $300 to $500 price range, we’re entering the upper echelons of top-tier gaming chairs.

Consider the fact that two of the most popular racing chair models, the Maxnomic Dominator and Secretlab Titan, fall under this price range. These are both top-notch options, complete with PU leather and ergonomics like 4D adjustability. And if they’re good enough for Ninja and DrLupo, they’re probably good enough for more casual players.

You can even find premium office seats (refubished) in this tier, including the likes of Herman Miller and Steelcase.

As for specialty chairs? This is where you’ll begin to see some entry-level simulation seats and cockpits. Nothing too fancy, but options are opening up.

Specialty Chairs: $500+

Specialty Gaming Chair

The $500+ tier boasts the best gaming chairs in the industry. This is where you’ll find all the premium office chairs, as well as the best racing, pedestal, and recliner models. It’s also where you’ll discover the bulk of specialty chairs.

Fancy an immersive battlestation that holds multiple screens and boasts a formidable scorpion-like design, complete with swinging tail and threatening LEDs? It can be yours for the low, low price of $5,000!

Maybe you’re more of a simple kinda guy, and a simulation station will do just fine, thank you very much. You’ll find excellent racing and flight models around $1000, and top-of-the-line offerings for just a bit more.

Wheel & Deal: Getting the Right Chair at a Discount

Rest assured – you can find a quality gaming chair on any budget. You’ve just gotta take some time to find the right balance of quality and affordability, while making sure to shop in the right place.

Wheel and Deal

Our favorite places to look for quality gaming chairs?

Amazon

Amazon is known for their low prices and accurate reviews. We encourage everyone to check Amazon as a way to gauge overall customer satisfaction and quality. A trick we recommend using is searching through their “New & Used” section on each product listing page. Sometimes, you can find a lightly used model that looks new for a deep discount!

Walmart

Walmart is ideal for folks looking to shop in person (though the selection is limited). The company has recently expanded their online offerings, as well, and it’s worth checking for occasional deals.

Direct

Some companies – like Secretlab and Maxnomic – sell their chairs exclusively on their own websites or in their own showrooms. Be sure to visit them around major holidays to take advantage of seasonal deals.

DXRacer Sale
Screenshot of DXRacer Sale in 2020

Another option for folks on a budget? Sales, of course! Gaming chair sales may only apply to older models, or they may be site-wide. Case in point? DXRacer is known for running excellent deals that can shave $100s off their high-end chairs, and Secretlab consistently marks down the previous year’s models.

Oh, and don’t forget about savings apps like Honey (not sponsored)! Recently acquired by PayPal, Honey helps shoppers find the very best deals online. They’ll even test out different coupon codes for you to help you get the best price possible.


Know Thy Materials

Gaming Chair Materials

What are gaming chairs made of, exactly?

It honestly depends. Some chairs incorporate the least expensive materials possible, e.g., plastic frames, standard foam padding, and mesh fabrics, then pass those savings along to you. Others boast steel frames, cold-cure foam, genuine NAPA leather, and all the trimmings you could imagine — but they cost a small fortune.

Is choosing a model with better materials worth it? That varies on a case-by-case basis. That said, the difference in material does make a significant difference in comfort and overall quality. Let see an example.

Gaming Chair Material Comparison

Let’s take a couple of respectable gaming chairs from two price tiers. In the $100 range, we have the Vitesse Racer, and at $400, we have the Secretlab Titan. What are the primary material differences?

Base & Frame

Gaming Chair Frame Example
Image Credit: Vertagear

Both the Vitesse and the Titan boast a heavy-duty steel frame suitable for roughly 300 pounds. Steel is considered best-in-class material, and it’s a very impressive offering from Vitesse.

Unfortunately, that’s where the similarities end. The Vitesse uses a nylon base compared to the Secretlab Titan’s powerhouse 5-star aluminum base. Not only that, but the Vitesse boasts nylon supports and fixed armrests, compared to the Titan’s steel and PU supports with 4D armrests.

Padding

Gaming Chair Foam Example
Image Credit: Vertagear

The Vitesse Racer uses high-density raw cotton foam. While it’s no slouch, cotton isn’t nearly as comfortable as competing options. And it’s prone to wear, meaning the chair will compress over several months to a year.

As for the Secretlab Titan? It uses a proprietary cold-cure foam that offers unbelievable comfort and support that’s neither too firm nor soft. It’s much better for your buttocks and postural health, and it doesn’t compress nearly as easily as regular cotton.

Upholstery

PU Leather

In terms of upholstery, Vitesse’s chair boasts a carbon fiber PU leather that’s water and tear-resistant. Given the price, we have to assume it’s relatively low-quality, but it’s PU nonetheless. Not bad.

The Secretlab Titan, on the other hand, comes in multiple flavors: entry-level Prime PU Leather, SoftWeave Fabric, or NAPA Leather. For comparison sake, let’s use the PU variant.

Secretlab’s Prime PU Leather is a patent-pending material engineered to be 4x more durable than the competition (with studies to back it up). It’s also insanely flexible, plush, and resistant to wear and tear. No secret why it’s considered the best in the business.

Casters

Office chair casters aka office gliders are the five wheels that carry the heavy burden. They roll you to and fro with little complaint. Just as with chairs, not all casters are made the same.

A common occurrence with office chairs is a broken caster or one that has just had about enough of the rolling business and not moving like it used to. Certainly, they are a part of the chair that takes a heavy beating. Furthermore, some chair manufacturers don’t exactly opt to install heavy-duty casters (more expensive parts) when they are mass producing their product.

There are a few things you should be aware of when buying replacement casters for your chair. First off, there are two main types of casters: hardwood floor casters and carpet casters. Hardwood floor casters are made with a polyurethane material that is softer and won’t scratch your floor. Carpet casters use a hard plastic that rolls just fine on carpets and mats but will leave lots of little marks on a wood floor. Another thing you want to be aware of is whether you need casters with pintle (stem) or without pintle. If you don’t know pop one of the casters off your current chair. If it has a metal stem on it you want casters with a pintle.

Slipstick CB682 2 Inch Replacement Office Chair Wheels
Plastic Casters – Good for Carpets
KATU BG503-38 Office Chair Caster Wheels Rubber PU 2 Modern Design Ideal for Hardwood Floors
Rubber Casters – Good for Hard Floors

Verdict

As you can see, there are some significant differences between the two chairs. The Secretlab Titan is far and away the better option. But you’ve gotta hand it to Vitesse – their chair incorporates some decent materials for such a low price.

But price isn’t everything. Certain types of chairs require certain types of materials. After all, you wouldn’t want your PC racing chair filled with bean bag beans, would you?

Fortunately, sorting chairs by price isn’t as complicated as you might think. In the table below, we’ve listed the different types of gaming chairs, as well as which materials provide the most support (based on the different parts of the chairs). Check it out:

 Base & FramePaddingUpholstery
OfficeAluminum & Steel > Nylon > PlasticCold Cure Foam > Memory Foam > Standard FoamLeather > PU Leather > Fabric > Mesh
Racer
Pedestal
RockerWoodLeather > PU Leather > Vinyl > Fabric
Recliner
Bean BagPolystyrene > FoamEPS Beads > Foam > Natural FillingFabric > Suede

Ergonomics, Posture, and Preventing Pain

In this section of our guide we discuss the importance of caring for your body.

General Thoughts on Gaming Chairs

General Thoughts on Gaming Chairs

Deciding between an update for our rigs or a new office chair is an easy decision – the PC component usually wins out every time. We get it, the chair typically doesn’t even factor into the decision making process. Who’s to blame? That new Nvidia graphics card needs to find its home in your PC.

But consider this: a good office chair could last you over a decade. Furthermore, your comfort level is an essential part of successfully ascending to gaming utopia – especially when you’re spending a bunch of time in front of your monitor. Gaming chairs are like mattresses in that sense. If you’re going to be in it a lot, you may as well get something nice and go beyond the basic models.

And we don’t say that just for comfort-related reasons. Ergonomic gaming chairs also play a critical role in keeping your neck, back, and assorted appendages healthy and pain-free.

Avoiding Neck & Back Pain

If you look through the wide lens at human history, it’s only recently that we’ve started putting our bodies through this sort of conditioning. In large part, the human race has been hunter-gatherers, often running or walking up to 12 miles a day. You had to work for that lunch! Now, thanks to paradigm shifts such as the industrial and internet revolutions, things have changed big time.

Evolution to Sitting in front of a Computer

Computers are a staple of nearly all work and gaming environments, and it doesn’t look like that trend is going to change anytime soon. We gamers are at very high risk for what some in the medical community refer to as ‘sitting disease’ (ill-effects of an overly sedentary lifestyle) and back disorders.

Back pain is still a mysterious issue in the scientific community. There are many causes and many body types. Furthermore, the spine and the nerves surrounding it are an intricate network. Some people even show herniated or bulging discs in x-rays but are pain free. While the waters remain murky, we know after aggregating the results of many studies that there are a few things you can do to reduce your risk.

The top suggestion we can give you is periodically moving around. Movement counters inactivity. It sounds simple, but activity helps muscles relax and recover as well as compresses and uncompresses the intervertebral discs. The result is better filtration of fluids around the cores of the discs. All that is a fancy way of saying it resets your system. Getting the right chair helps too. When purchasing a chair, the top things to look for are height adjustment, depth adjustment, adjustable arms, and lumbar support height. This will allow you to customize the chair to your unique physical makeup.

While regular movement can help relax the muscles and massage the intervertebral discs, there’s no avoiding it: you’ll be sitting a lot. So what’s the solution? In addition to choosing the proper-size chair, the answer is proper posture.

How to Sit Properly

Didn’t your mother ever tell you not to slouch? Turns out, that wasn’t just tyrannical nonsense (maybe a little). Sitting properly does a lot for your overall health and wellbeing. And the opposite, e.g., poor posture, can seriously affect your vitality and, yes, your performance.

How should you sit? Check out the image below:

ergonomic-sitting-position-on-office-and-pc-gaming-chairs

1. Sit down on your chair with your head up and shoulders back.

2. Scoot to the back of the seat. Your lumbar region (lower back) should nuzzle up against your gaming chair’s backrest for proper support.

3. Place your feet flat on the ground. If your feet don’t reach, adjust the height of your chair. Your thighs should rest atop the chair cushion at a perfect 90° angle.

4. Look forward and set your arms on your armrests. If your chair doesn’t have armrests, position your arms as though you were typing. They should be 90° with your body and horizontal with your desk. If they’re not, adjust your armrests and/or desk height until they are.

5. Check the height of your monitor. The top of your monitor should be at eye-level, and the entire setup should be about a foot or two in front of you. Adjust as necessary, or consider a monitor stand to raise your display.

The most critical step? Listen to your body! It intuitively knows what’s up, even if your brain doesn’t. Pay attention to how you’re feeling and make adjustments as necessary.

What About Ergonomics?

Gaming Chair Examples 1

When it comes to purchasing a quality gaming chair with proper ergonomics and support, the most important feature is adaptability. We’re all different, and you need a gaming chair that accommodates you, not the other way around.

For office, racing, pedestal, and specialty chairs, seek out customizable models with as many adjustment mechanisms as possible. What kind of options are there? Let’s take a peek at the most popular mechanisms and what they do (listed in alphabetical order).

Gaming Chair Mechanisms

Secretlab Chair
Image Credit: Secretlab

Armrest Mechanisms

Responsible for the chair’s armrests.

Gaming Chair Armrest Mechanism

Gaming chair armrests are categorized by their level of directional movement. Armrests range from fixed in place (0D) to height, angle, front-to-back, and side-to-side adjustable (4D).

Bases

Responsible for the chair’s swivel.

Nearly all office, racing, and pedestal gaming chairs can swivel up to 360°, but their overall reliability depends on which type of 5-star or pedestal base they use. The most common types are plastic < nylon < aluminum.

Casters

Responsible for the chair’s mobility.

Casters, or wheels, allow the chair to move around. They range in size from 1″ to 4″ and feature a variety of materials from plastic < nylon < PU.

Lumbar Tension Knobs

Responsible for the chair’s lumbar support.

Gaming Chair Lumbar Support

High-end gaming chairs boast lumbar enhancements like tension knobs that adjust the level of lumbar support and cushioning.

Hydraulic Pistons

Responsible for the chair’s height.

Pistons are categorized by class, and they range from Class I to IV. The higher the class, the stronger and more robust the chair.

Multi-Tilt Mechanisms

Responsible for the chair’s angle.

Secretlab Multi Tilt
Image Credit: Secretlab

Multi-tilt mechanisms allow users to adjust their chair’s angle into different positions (typically up to 12° total).

Springs

Responsible for the chair’s degree of recline.

Depending on the type and size of spring, gaming chairs boast varying levels of recline. Basic models start around 120° and go all the way to 180°, or parallel with the ground.

Tilt Lock Mechanisms

Responsible for locking in the chair’s angle.

Tilt lock (or tilt angle lock) is a lever that, when activated, locks the chair angle into place.

Putting it Together

Gaming Chair Complete

The very best gaming chairs feature height adjustment, depth adjustment, swivel, and recline options. Together, these provide the ideal level of support for your body and allow you to make minute changes as necessary. If you’re really seeking the maximum level of support, consider opting for chairs with adjustable armrests and lumbar tension knobs, as well as lumbar and headrest cushions. These will step your comfort game up to new heights, while helping to enhance your posture and eliminate back pain.

For rockers, recliners, and bean bags, it’s all about comfort. Padding is the name of the game, and a properly plush model provides the perfect base for gaming. When it comes to rockers and recliners specifically, you’ll also want to choose a model with enough mobility. A bit of movement helps with balance and postural support, and the more, the merrier.

Another important consideration? Safety! For office and racing chairs, you need to choose a durable model with the appropriate certifications. This means searching for chairs with 5-star bases and Class III or IV gas lifts. As for certification? BIFMA is a not-for-profit company that tests and categorizes gaming chairs based on their specifications and ability to withstand certain physical stressors. Find a BIFMA label on a gaming chair product listing, and you know they’re taking business seriously.

All of these elements are critical, yes. But choosing the right size gaming chair can make or break your entire ergonomic setup.

Gaming Chair Size Guide

Gaming Chair Size Guide

Quality materials and ergonomic features are great and all. But none of that matters when you don’t fit the chair in the first place.

The solution? You’ve got to choose the right size gaming chair: one that accounts for your height, weight, and any special needs. But that’s easier said than done, and finding the perfect fit can be tricky. Most brands will list recommended heights as well as maximum weight capacities for their models. But we still think it makes sense to do your homework.

That’s why we’ve assembled these guidelines on measuring yourself in relation to potential gaming chairs. You’ll need a tape measure for this step (your smartphone probably includes one by default – check your utilities folder), and it’s important not to skip it. Gaming chairs come in a variety of sizes, and you need one that fits your body.

Tape measure isolated on white

Note that this measurement guide only applies to office, racing, pedestal, and specialty gaming chairs. Rockers, recliners, and bean bags are typically one-size-fits-all, as long as you meet the weight requirement.

Step 1: Measure Width

Your gaming chair’s seat and backrest should be 2 – 4″ wider than you. To ensure the right fit, measure yourself from hip to hip and shoulder to shoulder. Compare this data against the widest parts of the seat and backrest, respectively. Add at least 2 inches to find a suitable baseline width for your chair.

Step 2: Measure Depth

Your knees should extend past the lip of your seat, acting like a corner hinge, and you should have an inch or two of wiggle room. To achieve this, sit down on a chair at 90° and measure from your back to your kneecap. Then subtract 2 to 4 inches (depending on the thickness of your legs) for a baseline depth measurement. Compare this against the depth of the gaming chair to find a suitable model.

Step 3: Measure Height

Backrests support your back and spine, and the ideal height depends on your desired level of aid. Choose a mid-back chair for half-body support that focuses on your lumbar region. Note that you won’t get much upper body cushioning. For full-body and spinal support, opt for a tall ‘executive’ back. Also, consider picking a model that comes with lumbar/headrest pillows for additional comfort.

Step 4: Measure Capacity

Gaming Chair Measurements

Although you can technically max out a chair’s weight capacity, it’s best to leave some wiggle room. Weigh yourself on a home scale, at the gym, or at the doctor’s office. Then choose a model that boasts a weight capacity of roughly 25 pounds greater than your current weight. That way, if you go a bit crazy at Thanksgiving dinner, you’ll still be covered.

As for all the big and tall gamers out there? Not to worry – we’ve curated a selection of premier gaming chairs just for you.

Gaming Chair Setup

Depending on the model you choose, gaming chair setup times (and intensity) vary considerably.

Gaming Chair Setup

Some types of gaming chairs, like bean bags, come ready for use out of the box. Simply pop it out, give it a good whack or two, and jump in! Even when you have to refill it with new beans, the process is a breeze, if not a little messy.

Rockers also fall under the ‘easy to assemble’ category. They’re either ready to go out of the box, or you just attach two sides and get to rockin.

The other types of gaming chairs – office, racing, pedestal, recliners, and specialty – require a bit more work. That said, some are designed for easy setups and can be assembled in ten minutes or less. Others, like specialty chairs, can take hours.

Most chairs fall somewhere in the middle, with 30 minute to hour-long assembly times. Fortunately, the most popular models come with all the required tools (typically just an Allen wrench or two), so there’s no time wasted hunting for the right parts.

The bad news? Instruction manuals vary significantly in quality. Some guide you through installation quick ‘n easy, and some are downright abysmal. Your best bet? Choose a reputable manufacturer with offices in a country that speaks your language. Or, check the reviews to ensure the pictures can guide you through the process.

Frequently Asked Questions

Games in Bean Bag

Finally, let’s go over some frequently asked questions about gaming chairs and choosing the proper model for your setup.

Which gaming chair is the best?

That depends on what you’re looking for in a gaming chair, as each brand and model is unique. If you’re seeking something tried-and-true, the Secretlab Titan consistently wins awards for its ergonomics and overall comfort. But other top brands also boast exceptional models. Check out our Maxnomic vs. Secretlab vs. DXRacer comparison for more info.

What gaming chair does Ninja use?

Ninja uses a custom Maxnomic Pro from NEEDforSEAT.

Why are gaming chairs so expensive?

The best gaming chairs use high-quality components and materials to provide excellent ergonomics and adaptability.

Are gaming chairs comfortable?

In general, yes – though it depends on the situation. After all, you wouldn’t want to sit on a bean bag while PC gaming, would you?

Moreover, every gamer is different. Some like their chairs firm, and some like them soft. Some like mid-back chairs, and some prefer tall executive backs. It all comes down to finding what’s best-suited for you and your body.

Are gaming chairs worth it?

A new gaming chair: is it worth it?

Gaming chairs greatly enhance ergonomics and overall comfort. And since there are all different types of chairs in all different price ranges, we think they’re 100% worth it.

Do gaming chairs make a difference?

The data shows that the right gaming chair can make a significant difference in terms of comfort and performance.

Are gaming chairs good for posture?

Some are better than others. Bean chairs and reclining loungers won’t do much for posture, but office and racing chairs can have a significant positive impact.

What gaming chairs do pros, streamers, and 'tubers use?

Excellent question! But there’s no easy answer, as every gamer is different, and there are thousands of chairs on the market.

For instance, Ninja prefers Maxnomic. DrLupo opts for a Secretlab model. And Pewdiepie likes Clutch Chairz.

Our suggestion for folks seeking a gaming chair? Compare the features and find what’s right for you.

Are gaming chairs ergonomic?

The best office and racing chairs are exceptionally ergonomic, allowing you to customize your setup as you see fit.

In fact, top gaming chairs boast as many as 10 different mechanisms to help you get in the zone with unmatched comfort and ease.

How much should I spend on a gaming chair?

For the best models, expect to spend up to $300 to $500. If you’re seeking something a little more basic, a $100 to $200 budget should do just fine.

Should I choose a leather or fabric gaming chair?

It’s a common question: is a PU leather vs. fabric gaming chair better?

The answer? It honestly comes down to preference. PU leather is sleek and durable, while fabric is more breathable and known for its traditional aesthetic.

How long do gaming chairs last?

Depends on how you treat it. Quality gaming chairs with durable components can last you the better part of a decade. Even less expensive options should provide a few years of moderate use.

Just make sure to take care of your chair and treat it well. 

Are gaming chairs more comfortable than other types of chairs?

Short answer? Yes! Gaming chairs are explicitly designed to remain comfy and cozy for hours-long play sessions.

Help me pick what gaming chair to buy!

That’s not really a question. But no problem! You can check out our complete gaming chair product curation page for all the top models.

Take A Seat

So, how do you choose the perfect gaming chair for your setup? Let’s recap the gaming chair buying process in one paragraph:

First, consider your reasons for buying a new gaming chair – is it primarily for style, functionality, or both? Next, decide what type of gaming chair you want (there are 7). Scope out the options, bearing in mind ergonomics and overall quality. Set your budget, and make a final decision.

Gaming in Chair on Console

Easier said than done, yes, but this guide equips you with everything you need to know about how to purchase a gaming chair. We sincerely hope you’re able to find the ideal model and enjoy hours of exhilarating gameplay in comfort and style.

Need more help selecting your seat? Check out our other gaming chair content below:

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