In the process of creating this guide, we have tested many of the current popular 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. Before we get into our office chair recommendations, let’s talk about why gaming chairs are a bad choice.
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, being 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.
Best Office Chairs for Gaming – Our recommendations
The chair you sit in can make all the difference in your ability to withstand fatigue. A proper ergonomic office chair will not tote a racing-like design, or popular figures seen using the chair. They will primarily focus on the comfort features and ergonomics.
Fortunately, there are many great options available when it comes to ordinary office chairs. Here are our recommendations for the Best Office Chairs available now.
Ikea Markus – A great budget office chair
Through generations of experience in creating office chairs, Ikea’s come to develop the perfect balance between comfort, quality, and price. The Markus is a chair that has held the title of being the best office and gaming chair to have when on a budget. The Ikea Markus features build quality and comfort that’s on par with many luxury office chairs while being priced several hundreds of dollars under them.
A fine mesh runs along the high-backed frame of the Markus and ends in a soft, cushioned headrest. The mesh offers firm support while retaining breathability so that long hours in the Markus are airy and pleasant. Ikea has found that sweet spot where comfort and healthy posture overlap and they’ve fully applied that knowledge when building this chair. The upright seat guarantees that your back is always positioned in a manner that’s good for your spine and eliminates fatigue that’s associated with long hours in a chair.
The Markus isn’t as adjustable as most other chairs on this list, but there’s still some versatility. The seat can be reclined and has both a tilt and rocker system available. The tilt comes with a tension control that sits just beside the height adjustment lever.
The designer of the OM5 from OfficeMaster was cut from the same cloth as the mind behind the Herman-Miller Aeron, and the innovation that stems from this lineage shows very clearly in the OM5. The OM5 boasts an auto-adjustment system that contours itself to your spine and was designed with several usage positions in mind. The only manual adjustment control on this chair is alone height adjustment paddle that sits, semi-concealed, under the chair, but still easily accessible.
The beauty of the OM5 lies in its simplicity and design. The complex roller mechanisms that control the auto-flex are hidden away and well protected. The OM5 also features a wide range of customizability options that span everything from beautiful leather, fabric and color combinations to useful upgrades like headrests, armrests, and coat-hangers, to name a few.
The Raynor Ergohuman’s built itself a small cult following in many an office building. It’s unique and daring design sees it either completely loved or passively disliked by many in the business. For all its interesting charm and visuals, the Ergohuman shows no slack for it when it comes to comfort and ergonomics. Although not as comfortable as an Aeron or Embody, the Ergohuman still provides a pleasant office experience.
Designed to be used during long hours, the Ergohuman eliminates a lot of fatigue and optimizes productivity by aggressively enforcing healthy posture. This alone can be uncomfortable for the first week or so, but the benefits began to shine pretty quickly, making the Ergohuman a formidable office chair to those who enjoy healthy posture and aren’t put off by it.
The Ergohuman features a single paddle that controls all of the adjustment options, which are: seat depth, seat recline and tilt and seat height. The armrests are 4D adjustable, and the seat itself comes with quite a lot of build options. You can choose from a wide range of accessories, which includes headrests and leather upholstery.
The Office chair that set the bar that most other manufacturers aspire to; the Herman-Miller Aeron defined an entire generation’s idea of an ideal workspace. Designed the “World’s first fully ergonomic office chair”, the Herman-Miller Aeron has held that title high and carried it through the decades with a timeless design. Boasting features that were quickly adopted by many other manufacturers, the Aeron quickly developed a strong following amongst the “whos-who” of the business world.
The Aeron features a PostureFit system that guides your body to healthy posture and can even flex itself just right to fit your spine. The additional lumbar support and support pads offer a much more personal fit and are designed to only need adjusting once. The Aeron features a breathable mesh and an ergonomic seat that both provide firm support while being breathable.
The adjustment options on the Aeron are plentiful and can be used to help find the perfect fit for you. The PostureFit system can be adjusted to not be as active in enforcing posture by adjusting a knob that sits behind the backrest; this lets you gradually move over to a healthier posture without discomfort. The Aeron also features 4D armrests, a tilt with tilt lock and height adjustment. The lack of a recliner is rather noticeable. The Aeron comes in three different size options and offers you the ability to strip features for a lower price.
The Steelcase Leap is the highest selling chair from Steelcase, making it one of the most popular high-end office chairs in the world. The Leap is a smart chair that puts your posture first; always assigning itself a new seat-angle profile based on the way you move. The Leap might not be as dramatically corrective as some of the other smart chairs on the market, but that subtlety works in its favor.
The Leap is designed with an adjustable lumbar support that sits behind the backrest of the chair, which can be manually adjusted to alter just how aggressively the Leap enforces healthy posture. The seat is upholstered in a fabric that comes in many different colors, and can even be swapped for top-grade leather.
The adjustment options for the Leap are rather standard today, but Steelcase always seems to push the best in quality when it comes to sourcing the parts. The Leap can be reclined and features a system that automatically adjusts seat depth when you recline, letting your head keep track of your monitor in a much more comfortable manner. The Leap also boasts a class 4 gas piston to adjust its height. It also comes with adjustable armrests.
The Sayl is a product of that Herman-Miller ingenuity that focuses on providing you with cutting-edge luxury and technology without breaking your bank. The Sayl is built with structure, design, and ergonomics in mind, rather than materials. The amount of science that has gone into the research and creation of the Sayl is incredibly detailed and impressive.
The Sayl’s hallmark is its unique profile that’s designed from the ground up to be comfortable and fit the majority of body-types out there. It’s also constructed out of entirely recyclable materials and is environment-friendly certified!
The backrest on the Sayl mimics the bellow of a sail in the wind, giving the Sayl a very high-end classy look that helps define the setting you place it in. The cradle of the Sayl is made of a flexible polymer that’s reinforced by the frame running along the back, and the bottom of the seat is a soft cushioned fabric that comes in several color options. You can adjust the height, tilt and seat depth of the chair. The Sayl also features a pair of adjustable armrests, a swivel and a choice of wheels, bases, and frames.
The Steelcase Gesture is a smart-chair that was designed to be used for long hours without inducing fatigue. The Gesture doesn’t adjust itself the way most other smart chairs do, instead it “listens” for certain gestures your body is likely to display when you switch positions and adjusts itself accordingly. Steelcase has assigned nine preset positions to the Gesture, each of which serves an individual purpose, such as using your phone, stretching your legs or even using multiple workstations, to name a few.
Another unique feature of the Gesture is its armrests, which function and operate on a ball and socket joint, very similar to the joint in our shoulders. This creates very natural feeling adjustment movements and makes the Gesture’s armrests incredibly easy to operate from any position. The Gesture’s Core Stabilizer technology provides lumbar support that shifts on-the-fly which can have a manual adjustment module fitted to it, but only at physical retail stores and not added during online purchases.
The Gesture comes with a few accessories and plenty of personalization options, among which is the option for a stool, a choice between the wrapped fabric and leather upholstery, and several color/material schemes and finishes for the frame itself.
The Herman-Miller Celle was created to be the simplest smart chair available on the market. The lack of complicated moving parts meant that it would be easier to repair or replace in remote areas; a focus on durability also ensured that repairs would be few and far in-between. The magic of the Celle lies in the unique cell-mapped grid-mesh of its backrest, providing a support that moves and flexes to conform to the lines of your body without needing any extra support.
The Celle provides a natural recline by adjusting the tilt and recliner but limiting the lumbar support, creating a very supported and relaxed recline that is still upright enough to work with. The Herman-Miller Celle also offers height adjustment and adjustable armrests. You can also add an optional adjustable lumbar support and armrests, along with an adjustable seat depth controller.
The Knoll Regeneration is similar in design to its higher-priced sibling, the Knoll Generation. The focus of attention for the Regeneration, though, is taking everything that worked so well for the Generation and simplifying it to provide the “Generation experience” at a much lower price.
The Regeneration is Knoll’s ticket to go head-to-head with the Herman-Miller Sayl. Both the Sayl and the Regeneration are budget-friendly options to a normally premium lineup and both the Sayl and Regeneration cut costs by focusing on environmentally-friendly materials and solid structure design, as opposed to being outfitted in the best materials that money can buy.
The Regeneration features a mesh back that can be upholstered in a fabric of your choice and an ergonomic seat that’s cushioned and holstered in a fabric. The Regeneration also features the auto-recline feature seen on the Generation, with which one would simply need to lean back to trigger the recliner. The armrests come in two options, one of which is limited to height adjustment only whereas the other is 4D adjustable. The adjustable lumbar support can only be fitted at a Knoll store and is not available when shopping online.
Herman-Miller Mirra 2
Herman-Miller had introduced the Mirra as an office chair that boasted the same key features as the Embody but dialed down a few notches to keep the price tag budget friendly. The result was a chair that had appealed to many everyday workers who enjoyed the added comfort and healthy seating, while still looking intriguing and stylish. After deciding that they’d needed to refresh things, Herman-Miller had taken all the positive feedback that they’d gained off the Mirra, churned it through their R&D department and simply collected the new and improved Mirra 2.
The Mirra 2 boasts an all-new frame system that supports the backrest as two individual parts, allowing you to flex your spine sideways while still finding adequate support, and adjust itself to your posture, regardless of position. The Mirra 2 comes with a strong plastic backrest that can be upholstered in a breathable fabric or mesh, or you could even have just the naked backrest by itself if you like the look. The Mirra 2 offers an adjustable recliner, tilt, and seat depth adjustment system along with its 4D adjustable armrests and height adjustment piston.
If one were to look close enough, one would find quite a lot of similarities in design, between the Humanscale Freedom and the Raynor Ergohuman; but those similarities only go skin deep. The Freedom is an office chair that takes design, luxury and ergonomics to a high and blends them together to achieve a chair that is not only wonderfully comfortable and fatigue eliminating, but is also luxurious and just all around pleasing.
The Freedom is noted as being one of the best office chairs available and was even dubbed “the gold standard of office seating” by The New York Times. A smart chair that foregoes all manual controls, the Humanscale Freedom even goes so far as to not insist on a tension or action control, due to the simple fact that this chair performs so perfectly that it does not require them. The only manual control available is the seat height paddle that blends itself in with the bottom of the chair.
The Freedom offers a seriously large catalog of upgrades and accessories to choose from, some of which even include fire-resistant materials, designer leathers, and gel padding!
The legend among great office chairs, if ever there were to be one. The Herman-Miller Embody has captured the hearts of popular celebrities and business moguls alike. Designed by the mastermind behind the Herman-Miller Aeron, the pedigree of the Embody shines through any setting.
The Embody’s backrest was designed to mimic a human spine, down to the smallest movements. The result is a backrest and seat that constantly follows and supports your spine, regardless of your position. The Embody’s often rated as one of the most comfortable chairs on the market, and many would even argue that it is the most comfortable chair on the market.
The Embody does not offer a very large choice in personalization options or accessories. The upholstery comes in several colors and fabrics, offering a small choice in frame colors as well. If you crave a little more luxury, you can opt for a titanium finished frame and base, as opposed to the graphite finish that coats the frame by default.