Gaming chairs are not for the faint of heart. They look like if a car seat was ripped out of a race car and slapped onto a modern desk chair. But if you’re the type of gamer to partake in hours-long gaming sessions, the way gaming chairs look can be ignored for their functionality. “There’s a perception that they’re only good for gaming, but they’re good for anyone who spends ten hours in front of a computer,” says Daniel Yamilkoski, a full-time professional Overwatch player who spoke with Strategist contributor Lauren Schwartzberg.
The first gaming chairs arrived in the mid-aughts, around 2006, from a company called DXRacer that originally manufactured seats for luxury sports cars. Ever since, gaming chairs have been designed to look like race-car seats. It adds a bit of sportiness to an activity that mainly consists of sitting, and according to Thomas Klein, the CEO of Need for Seat, a gaming-chair company, “That’s how you get the most possible support without feeling compressed.” Gaming chairs are all about adjustability and being able to find the perfect setting for your body type and preferred sitting position. Here are some of the best gaming chairs you can buy online.
What we’re looking for
Adjustability and support: “Gaming chairs are more comfortable because they’re very customizable,” says Yamilkoski. “You can adjust the back of the chair, the lumbar support, the tilt, the headrest, and the armrests in all possible ways.” Some gaming chairs can tilt up to 165 degrees; you can move and angle the armrests into upward or downward positions, and you can often raise or lower the lumbar support. The key is that a good gaming chair should provide your body with a lot of support. “The main secret with gaming chairs is that the backrest is much higher than a regular office chair,” explains Klein. “We support the shoulders and back so you don’t start feeling tired. The more support your muscles have on the back and shoulders, the more the chair pushes you straight.”
Weight capacity: To help you choose a chair that offers adequate support, we’ve also listed the maximum weight limit of each chair.
Extra features: Many gaming chairs have additional features that make the gaming experience more comfortable, like reclining capability and head cushions.
Best overall gaming chair
Max weight: 200 pounds to 395 pounds depending on chair size | Adjustable seat height, armrests, lumbar support, recline, head cushion | Three sizes
Secretlab gaming chairs are comfortable chairs with a low-profile design, according to Verge staff writer Cameron Faulkner. The brand is known for its incredible build quality and nice quality-of-life features, says Verge deals writer Alice Newcome-Beill. “I’ve used Secretlab gaming chairs almost exclusively for the past five years or so,” she tells the Strategist. Its chairs stand out with replaceable magnetic armrests, memory-foam pillows, and excellent lumbar support.
This Titan Evo model has two lumbar-adjustment knobs, one each on the right and left of the chair. The right knob lets you change the depth of the lumbar support, while the left knob changes the height of the support. Newcome-Beill says the Titan Evo is one of Secretlab’s most popular models because it also comes with a variety of custom options: “Secretlab offers the majority of designs with synthetic PU leather, but you can also choose breathable fabric or genuine NAPA leather.” The chair is also available in three sizes (small, regular, and extra-large), each with a different height range and weight limit to best fit a variety of body sizes. Newcome-Beill acknowledges that Secretlab’s aesthetic might not be for everyone, but says “you’ll have a tough time finding a better chair at this price point, whether you’re a gamer or not.”
Best (less expensive) overall gaming chair
Max weight: 275 pounds | Adjustable seat height, armrests, lumbar support | One size
Over 1,000 Amazon reviewers found this cushioned gaming chair from OFM a breeze to assemble. “I was skeptical about a chair for under $100 providing solid support, and figured that with such an attractive price tag it surely had to be a pain in the ass to assemble. Well, I was wrong,” begins one such reviewer. “I am sitting in this bad boy right now smiling from ear to ear. For all the assembly challenged folk out there who dream of sitting at a desk in comfort know that I got your back (and so does this chair, damn it’s a great chair)!” Ease of assembly aside, reviewers also praise this chair’s comfort and durability, even when gaming in it for long stretches. One reviewer praised the seat’s lumbar support and the seat’s width and height, which helped them stop slouching after long gaming sessions. It can hold up to 275 pounds, and it has an adjustable seat height and flip-up armrests just in case they get in the way during a gaming session. “I can sit and play comfortably for hours,” says another reviewer, who has “arthritis from hell” but is able to sit and play Xbox with his grandson for hours in this chair. (He also agrees that “assembly is very simple.”)
Best gaming chair for very tall people
Max weight: 220+ pounds depending on base size | Adjustable seat height, armrests, lumbar support pillow, recline, head cushion | Two base sizes and three height ranges
NeedforSeat was the official chair partner for Microsoft (and Xbox), the League of Legends Championship series, and Red Bull gaming, and according to Klein, Shaquille O’Neal uses one when he covers sports on TV because it’s the only comfortable chair for his seven-foot frame. The Pro comes with a head cushion and lumbar-support pillow. Klein says his chairs mimic the firmness of a Tempur-Pedic mattress because he’s found that when the chair is too soft, muscles get tired quicker. The Maxnomic comes in three sizes for people of different heights (short, standard, tall), with the standard size designed for people from five-foot-nine to six-foot-four, and the tall size designed for people over six-foot-four. The stock base for this chair has a weight limit of 220 pounds, with a heavy-duty base available for an extra $80.
Best office-appropriate gaming chair
Max weight: 275 pounds | Adjustable seat height, armrests, lumbar support, recliner, head cushion | One size
The DXRacer brand stands out as one of the original gaming-chair manufacturers. As we’ve written before, the brand “inspired other companies to get into the gaming-chair market, and remains the original inventor and standard-bearer of the chairs.” The Master Modular gaming chair includes adjustable seat height and padded armrests that can move up and down, rotate at an angle, and shift left and right for added comfort. It also has an adaptable lumbar support that can be adjusted using a knob on the side of the seat, and a rail-mount headrest that can slide up and down. The DXRacer only comes in one size, supporting up to 275 pounds and seating people up to six-foot-two. It comes in three colors: black, brown, and red. The chair-cover material is microfiber leather, and the chair has a more subdued aesthetic that could pretty easily fit into a standard office space while doubling as a gaming chair. If you want to further trick out your chair, the brand sells add-ons like a footrest, a cup holder, or a chair cover.
Best luxury gaming chair
Max weight: 300 pounds | Adjustable seat height, armrests, lumbar support, recliner, head cushion | One size
“The Embody looks starkly different from other gaming chairs that are more likely to resemble the seats in a Fast and Furious car,” wrote Faulkner in his review of the chair for the Verge. “It’s minimalist in its use of materials and it has a low-profile design.” This is a collaboration between the world-renowned Herman Miller, maker of famous seats like the Eames Lounge chair and the gold-standard Aeron desk chair, and Logitech G, maker of some of the most popular gaming accessories in the industry. The Embody has a hefty price tag, but both brands took the design of the chair seriously. Faulkner wrote, “There are over 150 small supports around the chair, and these apparently let blood flow more easily to regions that usually get pressed on in most chairs, like your butt, lower back, and your legs. In my experience, a side benefit of this design is that I don’t feel fatigued when I get up to emerge from the chair.” You can use a knob to adjust the lumbar support, you can use a side panel to recline, and you can adjust the tilt tension so you don’t go flying back when you lean in the chair. There’s also a knob by the side that can be used to lower and raise the seat height. The Embody also has an extendable seat that Faulkner praised. “By lifting up on the front corners of the seat, the edge can be extended to tuck underneath your knees or pulled up toward your thighs.” He says these can seem like small details, but they add up to create a more comfortable product. “The Embody gaming chair is better than most others because it just gets out of the way when you use it,” he says. “If you have an opportunity to try it, it will spoil you forever.”
• Cameron Faulkner, Verge writer
• Thomas Klein, CEO of Need for Seat
• Alice Newcome-Beill, Verge deals writer
• Lauren Schwartzberg, Strategist contributor
• Daniel Yamilkoski, professional Overwatch player for CL Gaming
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