If you’re any kind of gamer, you know that the times of playing games on those bumpy wooden kitchen chairs are long gone. So are the times when Aeron was worshipped as the best chair ever, for that matter.
These days, any serious gamer knows that, after a killer PC rig or the latest-gen console, the most important upgrade is finding the best gaming chair possible. Because these chairs tend to be custom-made for either PCs or consoles, we’ve grouped our list of best-buy gaming chairs accordingly.
There are four basic questions that you, the gamer, need to ask before making a gaming seat purchase:
– Is this thing going to kill my back after an hour or can I comfortably game for a week? (Ergonomics)
– Is the chair going to fall apart when I get headshotted, get angry and make a ruckus? (Build quality)
– Am I too tall, too short or too oddly-shaped for this gaming chair? (Adjustability)
– Am I going to look silly while gaming, or am I going to look like Michael Schumacher winning his gazillionth race? (Design)
We will answer each of these questions for every chair we’ve picked, along with some of our thoughts on the models. We’re starting with PC gaming chairs and moving onto console gaming chairs, so if you’re a console gamer, feel free to scroll to the bottom of the article.
PC Gaming Chairs: my mouse and keyboard are my sword and shield, give me my throne
Best PC chair on the higher end: DXRacer King Series
You’ve watched your favorite Twitch streamer for countless hours. You wondered many times: what is that beautiful blue gaming chair he or she is sitting on? We can’t say for sure, but if they have over 10,000 viewers, it’s probably the DXRacer King Series.
Don’t let the name fool you: this is a racing chair only by design, and it’ll let you smash your opponents in any kind of game. So what makes this gaming chair better than the others on the list, justifying the high price?
Well, being a prime manufacturer, nearly every DXRacer Gaming Chair comes with a lifetime guarantee on frame and a 2-year guarantee on all parts, which should tell you that this thing isn’t meant to break. The 72 quality tests that the manufacturer claims to have done would seem to corroborate this.
The King Series comes with detachable armrests and is overall easy to assemble, as any piece of furniture should be. The carbon-esque finish does indeed invoke racing imagery, and the chair is available in both black and blue varieties depending on your tastes.
Nearly everyone who’s tried it and reviewed it on Amazon finds it comfortable, and the manufacturer boasts that you can game in excess of 8 hours in this seat without even noticing time flew by. We don’t know if that’s going to do wonders for your schedule, but it spells nice things for your back.
Needless to say, the angle and weight are adjustable, although there are some limitations regarding the person’s stats. The 300 lb capacity should be plenty, but some might find that the height limit of 6’2″ is a little low. Still, there are ways to bypass this without needing to resort to other models.
Does the chair justify its high price of nearly $500? We think so. If you want to emulate your favorite streamer, it certainly does. And with the quality that the manufacturer is known for, it should last for many years even if you’re the cranky type of gamer.
Best all-rounder computer gaming chair: Vertagear SL5000
You don’t want a racing-style gaming chair. You never did. You want something high-quality but plain-looking, but all the manufacturers are focusing on brightly-colored, race track-ready models.
Not to worry, as we’ve found just the thing for you. The Vertagear SL5000 is a premium classic design chair that can just as easily fit inside an office or similar setting. With black being the only available color on Amazon (unless you are going for Alienware’s custom white finish), it’s clear that Vertagear wanted to accommodate a specific kind of indoor design.
Instead of vinyl, the manufacturer opted for premium faux leather which nicely covers a solid structure. As all gaming chairs should, it features a steel frame and aluminum alloy, giving it plenty of impact cushioning.
Among this PC gaming chair‘s strong points are the highly-versatile armrests that shift to up to 4 angles. This should really help your arms and posture in general, and it fits nicely with another of the SL5000’s features: a custom caster that provides superior rolling to most chairs. That’s right: you can use this thing on a rug and it won’t hold you in place and force you to look down while the enemy sniper is closing in.
To us, the SL5000 comes off looking more comfortable and ergonomic than the DXRacer models, especially when you take the cushion into account. However, there is little question that it’s less durable and long-lasting than the more expensive counterparts. Still, with a price tag of under $400 and a more serious look, it acts as a decent all-around choice that can be repurposed as the owner sees fit.
Best budget chair for back-conscious gamers: RESPAWN-200
Gee wiz. These chairs look awful comfortable, but they’re also awfully expensive. Does that mean you’re going to have to suffer on that kitchen chair we mentioned earlier if you can’t shell out several hundreds of dollars?
Not quite. We went ahead and dug out a nice gaming chair for under $200 that could serve you just as well as the flashier models: the Respawn-200. Naming your company Respawn means you’re serious about gaming, and the 200 model does a nice job of punching above its weight.
Like most gaming chairs of today, the Respawn-200 tries to emulate the classic racecar design. It’s available in multiple colors, which will certainly be important to some, and the design itself is nothing short of aesthetic. Not as flashy as a DXRacer blue gaming chair or as professional-looking as the Vertagears, but still attractive enough to accomodate streamers and the like.
Depending on how you look at it, the chair’s mesh back can either be seen as a good or a bad thing. If you tend to sweat a lot while in the crosshairs, the improved airflow will no doubt come in handy. On the other hand, mesh is a far less durable material than vinyl or faux leather, so keep that in mind while buying.
The RSP-200 only has a 130-degree recline, which we’ve nonetheless found sufficient for most gaming purposes. Really, the only time you’d need a 180-degree recline is when you aren’t playing games, which makes this a fairly laser-focused model. The Amazon price tag of just over $200 means that the chair comes without a lumbar pillow, although it’s still comfortable without it while also allowing for the pillow addition later on. The 275-pound limit is more than respectable, and the chair even comes with two-dimensional armrest adjustment.
Best console gaming chairs: let me sit back, relax and pwn n00bs in Gran Turismo
Best armchair-style gaming seat: X Rocker 0717901 Triple Flip
There’s no question that the nostalgia factor is strong when it comes to console gaming, and manufacturers know it. Let’s be real: although this is marketed as a gaming chair, it’s a straight-up armchair and a far cry from the models above.
That’s not to say armchairs are bad for gaming, however. We all grew up playing from a not-so-ergonomic armchair, and something like this is sure to make for a smooth transition. The big problem that a classic gaming chair PS4 has is the lack of support for your upper back. If you’re a taller person, you could find your shoulders uncomfortably exposed, to speak nothing of the neck and head.
While this might limit the duration of your gaming sessions, it’s still an otherwise comfortable chair made from durable materials. The manufacturer made the most of the clunkiness by allowing this X Rocker Gaming Chair to double-up as a storage compartment. All those energy drinks need to be on-hand, right? Besides that, the chair can also be customized to provide a foothold or even turned into a bench.
Like most console gaming chair manufacturers, X Rocker makes a big point of including speakers in its models. This one comes with a 2.1 sound system that, combined with the chair’s overall design, will easily let you have a budget home cinema
If you aren’t big on the new designs, we don’t see many better options than X Rocker’s Triple Flip. And while the price does say $200, be sure to calculate Amazon’s shipping costs if you opt to purchase it, as the model’s weight could inflate the bill.
Best ergonomic console gaming chair: X Rocker 5172601 Surge
You’re a modern console gamer. You aren’t confined to armchairs, and you don’t want to sit in a bean bag. No, you’re looking for something new, slick and high-tech.
Cue the X Rocker Surge. While the armchair models might conceal your love for gaming, this chair will let everyone know you have a penchant for hours-long button-mashing sessions. The design is fairly reminiscent of a car seat, and a very comfortable one at that: there is little question that the Surge’s ergonomics have most of its competitors beaten by a mile, even though the manufacturer’s Amazon description makes it look like playing music is the chair’s main purpose. Ooh, look at us, our chair has its own 2.1 sound system and bluetooth connectivity! Still, this can come quite handy for mobile gaming and tablet use.
The chair will provide a nice rest for your neck and head and go exceptionally well with any kind of foothold. To top it off, its compactness will expand your interior decor options and allow you to style your living room however you like.
We did say that mesh is a lower-quality material, but its presence in this chair is minimal, as the bonded faux leather dominates the black-with-red-stripes design while still allowing for some airflow. Despite coming off as a budget purchase compared to table-oriented seats, the manufacturer considers this as one of its premium models. Heck, even the afterthought speakers provide crisp sound quality despite the wireless connection. Overall, not a bad deal for a PS4 or Xbox One gaming chair that can be found for under $150.
Ergonomics, build quality, adjustability, design… So what’s really the most important in a gaming chair?
In the end, most find that ergonomics are the most important factor when choosing any chair, and it’s pretty clear that the average PC gaming chair has armchairs beaten in the back health department. However, console gaming seats are often multi-purposed, and you won’t have such an easy time sitting back and relaxing with a movie in a chair that looks like it was pulled out of a race car.
It all comes down to whether you spend more gaming time in front of your monitor or your TV, as gaming chairs tend to be purpose-built. If you found the perfect chair for you but find that its height is a little off, don’t fret: our monitor guide and gaming desk guide will tell you how to bypass your dream chair’s structural limitations while still getting the best in terms of ergonomics and design.