We have tested many of the current best gaming chairs. Without naming any names we have to admit that almost all of them “sucks” (excuse my language). So our advice is to not waste your money on gaming chairs but invest in a decent ergonomic office chair instead. They might cost you a bit more but they are the superior option in the long run.
Gaming chairs are a gimmick
Most gaming chairs are bulky, they often share a design with racing seats, are overpriced, over-marketed and mostly just a fashion statement. The name and the popular icons are what sells these chairs and rarely is it the actual comfort, ergonomics or versatility which is what really counts. From their tough “one size needs to fit all” design, to their wing-style backrest, and even their laughable excuses for armrests, gaming chairs fall flat in almost every category.
A lot of gaming chairs will sell themselves as essential pieces of hardware for any gamer’s setup, often throwing the names of gaming celebrities in the face of the consumer in an attempt to convey the importance of owning their chair. Outside of this, companies try to push their chairs as offering a “competitive edge” to the elite gamer, promising that owning their chair will make the customer better at games because they can “focus more on the game and less on their comfort.”
Generally, these claims can be debunked simply by looking at the products. Many of these chairs feature a similar “racing seat” design intended to have the user rest “inside” of the chair, leaning back and having the wings on each side of the chair nestle them into the seat. These chairs regularly disregard common ergonomics and proper posture in pursuit of branding capabilities and mimicking the seats of high-end race cars, which are designed for the safety of a driver, not their comfort.
Seeing a chair that would only need a 10-point harness to practically be race-ready is alluring to many consumers. And when coupled with a big name may even push them to purchase it on a whim when they want to upgrade.
Ergonomics of gaming chairs
Covered briefly in the above section, ergonomics is arguably the most important aspect of a chair. Whether you’re sitting in it for two hours or twelve, it’s important that you have a chair designed to promote proper sitting posture, proper rests for your arms, and a height that keeps your legs at the correct angle. Gaming chairs will typically forgo this in favor of the common racing seat style, offering mediocre head support, and virtually no lower back support. This style of seat is very aesthetically aggressive, invoking imagery of professionalism, sponsorship, and success in the consumer because the sight reminds them of professional racing.
The design of racing seats was made as such so that the racer would be safe, is that safety is the number one priority in racing. The wings are used as a passthrough for the harness, and the headrest is made to accommodate a large helmet, ensuring that the headrest doesn’t protrude and interfere with the helmet of the driver.
When translated to traditional ergonomics, however, this is a terrible design. The seats are made to keep the user low to the ground, which means that ample legroom and height are nonexistent. The wings will often be cumbersome to larger individuals, and the depth of the seat — which was intended originally to have the driver sit back behind their harness, causes the user to sit at improper angles, which leads to back pain after only a few hours.
Lastly, because of the nature of these chairs, armrests were more of an afterthought than anything else. The wing design prevents the user’s arms from coming out too wide, resulting in lackluster arm room, which then leads to uncomfortable armrests.
Of course, many brands will try to overcome these things by implementing reclining support, height adjustment, and a clip-on pillow for the headrest, but it might be too little too late. Many of these chairs need to be in a certain position, or other features become unusable. Reclining? There go your armrests. Raise the chair up? Now you can’t recline as easily. Want your pillow? Now your head is further out than the rest of your body, causing neck strain.