Professional gamers such as streamers, eSports players, and YouTubers alike more or less have one thing in common: their chairs. You may have noticed that these hardcore gamers almost always have an imposing or otherwise impressive-looking chair behind them, seeming to loom over them with their neon colors and wavy designs. They’re almost hard to miss with how ornate they can be.
While for the most part chairs are usually the least interesting part of any gaming setup, chairs made specifically for gaming are a stark contrast from your run-of-the-mill office chair. They look incredible and seem like they would be awesomely comfy.
But the real question remains: do gaming chairs make a difference? Or are they just a passing fad, sure to fade away in a couple of years?
What Is a Gaming Chair?
Whether you’re specifically looking for more information on if you should get a gaming chair or not, or were looking for an office chair and got lost, my aim for this article is to answer some questions that you may have about gaming chairs. And believe me, there are lots of questions about gaming chairs.
Before we dive into some of these elaborate seats and what they might be useful for, we should take a step back and answer the biggest question of all. Just what the heck is a gaming chair? And for those data nerds among us, where did they come from anyway? My bet is aliens, but let’s see what the facts say.
The popular theory of where the gaming chair first came from is pretty convincing. Story goes, when a company who originally made seats for race cars decided to dip their toes into the waters of computer chairs, the DXRacer was born.
DXRacer made new and exciting chairs originally targeted toward eSports players. These athletes, unlike the kind our grandparents knew, spend long hours sitting. The new eSports chairs were not only functional, but added a bit of flair as well.
The gaming chairs became pretty popular for their features, such as powerful reclining, their over the top looks, and their extra comfort for long-term sitting. Some even have cup holders and USB charging slots!
Nowadays, many different companies make and distribute a variety of these gaming chairs, after seeing how popular the originals were. With an influx of new and innovative chairs on the market, many people became confused or overwhelmed about which ones might be right for them, or if the chairs were even worth it at all to buy.
Do Gaming Chairs Make a Difference?
Chairs are often undervalued; they are usually the least planned for and most overlooked part of a setup, despite being pretty darn important. After all, you are going to be sitting in that chair for hours. If your chair is sub-par those hours are really going to leave their marks. Literally.
Any chair that’s been made to be sat in for hours on end is going to be way more comfortable than, say, a dining chair held together by tape and dreams. Gaming chairs are one of those that have been made with long-term sitting in mind, so if you sit a lot, they could prove to be beneficial to your health and maybe your score.
With the descriptor of “gaming” chair, you would think that this kind of chair might somehow enhance your gaming experience. Either by making you a pro gamer or even just by helping your back, do gaming chairs make any kind of noticeable difference?
A question I’ve seen get asked a lot when it comes to these specific chairs is: does buying a gaming chair make you better at games? Well, while a gaming chair isn’t actually going to imbue your body with the Holy Spirit of Epic Gaming, it will force you to sit properly, which will in turn help your posture and help you stay cozy for longer. After all, it’s hard to own the battlefield when you’re slouched over like a crumpled husk.
While it’s sadly not exactly a magical piece of furniture, it will still lead to less fatigue after long sitting sessions. It could improve your reaction times because you’re no longer focused on your poor aching bones or weird sitting angle. You may just see an improvement in your ability to own every game ever. Or at least beat your own high score.
All of these points are well and good, but before you run off and buy the nearest gaming chair you see, I must warn you that not all gaming chairs are made equal.
If you want an epic gaming chair, you should be cautious of where you’re getting it. If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. A good, hearty gaming chair is unfortunately always going to cost a pretty penny. The mid to high-end gaming chairs are going to have a higher chance to offer you the best sitting experience over the low to dirt-cheap options.
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Office Chairs vs Gaming Chairs
While I have been talking about how office chairs are unseemly and uncomfortable for the most part, I have to specify that I was talking about your run-of-the-mill cheap office chair that can cost around $80. Great for office work, but maybe not your best option for a 24-hour gaming spree.
However, there are office chairs out there that claim to offer the same comfort and benefits as a gaming chair does, and usually with a slightly lower cost. But how can they afford to lower their costs, you may ask?
Simple, while there are certainly other things to factor in, for the most part, the difference is that they don’t typically make their chairs with those crazy designs that gaming chairs are known for. Gamers do love their flashy designs and status symbols, after all.
Office chairs are super common. They can be spotted in their natural habitat in an office, at home, and in any big box electronics store near you.
Visually, office chairs are typically pretty neutral: soft, rounded designs, neutral colors like brown or gray, and they don’t tend to take up much space. Some don’t even come with armrests.
Office chairs also don’t usually have the high back that gaming chairs offer. The lower back of an office chair can lead to discomfort after only a few hours of sitting in it due to the fact that you will have less support.
There isn’t really much to say about office chairs. They serve their purpose for the most part, but they don’t really do much more. Just need to type some emails and write a report? An office chair will suit your needs. Need to blow your opponents away in a 12-hour mega-match? You need a much better chair, folks.
Apart from being visually appealing, what else do gaming chairs have going for them, if anything? Are they just a fancy version of an office chair?
As I’ve said, while a gaming chair has been ergonomically designed to fit with the flow of the human body, you are going to have to pick the right kind of chair for your body. You should also be aware that high-end gaming chairs and high-end office chairs are very similar in what they do, but not exactly the same.
If you’re only looking for comfort and nothing else, then perhaps a high-end office chair might be better suited for you. However, if you’re also looking for other features in your chair, then a gaming chair might interest you.
While every chair is going to be different, a lot of them do share the same standard features. Others come with a huge list of extra features. Such features can be lumbar pillows, head pillows, adjustable or removable arms, high quality leather, plush fabrics, adjustable back, and an adjustable height. The options are nearly limitless for gaming chairs.
What to Know Before Buying a Gaming Chair
If you decide to go with a gaming chair for all your sitting needs, whether it be for actual gaming or office work, you absolutely have to make sure you get the right type of gaming chair, or else you run the risk of settling for the sub-par sitting experience. This is not meant to scare you away, but rather to help make sure you pick out your dream chair!
When buying a gaming chair, make sure you buy one that fits your specific frame. Otherwise, you’ll have a chair that feels too big or too small for you, and no one wants that. Why would it matter? Imagine a person of 6 feet 4 inches trying to get comfy in a chair made for a person that measures in at 5 foot nothing. Amusing, but not fun for the big guy.
Most mid to high-range gaming chairs might appear to be pricey. Keep in mind that they have been specially designed to be sat in for hours on end with comfort. The manufacturers know that gamers will be in a certain position for an extended period, which is much different than a typical office worker who moves around the desk a bit.
Since most gaming chairs are found online and online only, this removes the ability to simply sit in a chair to gauge whether it’s worthy or not. However, the best way to tell if a chair is right for you, is to actually sit in it. When looking around for the right chair, make sure to check out the company’s return policy.
You’ll want to make sure the company you’re buying from has a good return policy because sometimes, even after all that meticulous comparing, measuring, and deal grabbing, you might still end up with a slightly-better-than-average chair for a high-end price.
However, let’s say that you bought a chair that you thought would be the one. You un-box it, set it up, and… after a few hours it feels off. How could this be? You were sure you measured everything right before buying it!
Before you toss the chair for a new one, you may want to hold onto it for a bit. Sometimes when getting something new, we look for any and all flaws and hold onto them and overreact to how bad they really are, as humans like repetition and familiarity. Long story short, it can sometimes take a while to get used to something new, especially a new chair.
Gaming chairs almost force your body to sit in a proper position, so if you’re used to slumping into your chair like a sack, this new position can seem like it’s the worst thing ever.
Which is why you should always pick a company with a great return policy. You’ll need enough time to get used to the new chair before you can really tell if it’s the one for you, maybe like a week or so just to be sure.
Gaming Chairs, Pros and Cons
As this article comes to a close, we shall now look back on all the ups and downs that a gaming chair has to offer.
- Maximizes comfort for long gaming sessions. The lumbar and head pillows, combined with the high back of the chair, make sitting in it an enjoyable experience, even if you have to sit for hours.
- Promotes good sitting posture. The shape of a gaming chair has been ergonomically designed to help regulate blood flow to your extremities while the higher back enables you to lean back in the correct sitting position.
- Many different styles from many different brands to chose from. Even if you don’t like the design of one chair, you should still have many more styles to choose from.
- Some have high-end features, like extra lumbar pillows or pivoting and removable armrests.
- Most gaming chairs are made with high-end materials. These high-end materials not only make the chair more comfortable, but can help it to last much longer than other chairs.
- Almost all are made to be very sturdy, and even have great warranties in case of an accident.
- Pricier than most other chairs. All the extra bells and whistles that these types of chairs have tend to push the prices a little farther than what you’d typically expect to pay for a chair, but a good gaming chair can make all the difference.
- Some can seem overly flashy or tacky. While some people may like the overly flashy and intricate designs that these chairs tend to offer, I can understand that some people prefer simpler aesthetics for their chairs.
- Most are online-exclusive, so you can’t sit on them to test them out. One of the easiest ways to tell if a chair is a good fit is to sit in it, but since most gaming chairs are online exclusives this can make it hard to get the right one. When looking for a chair, be sure to check the return policy.
Are gaming chairs worth it, or would you be better off with a high-end office chair? Ultimately, the decision is up to you. After all, all butts are different, and everyone has their own needs to think of.
If you’re only in the market for something to sit in and don’t plan on being there for more than an hour or so at a time, then maybe a simple office chair would be better. But if you’re someone who spends hours sitting and are in the market for an upgrade, then you may want to give a gaming chair a chance. Alternatively, you could always go against everything I’ve said in here and buy a patio chair, but why would you subject your poor butt to that? What did your butt ever do to deserve that?