Danielle has been in love with video games ever since her older brothers handed down their PS1 instead of buying her a Christmas present. She grew up fighting her way through epic JRPGs. Now, you're more likely to find her destroying her Sim's lives, causing absolute mayhem over in Azeroth, and slowly paying off her debt to Tom Nook.
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Gaming chairs often get a lot of stick. But, people still continue to pour impressive amounts of money into them, year after year. So, that got us thinking – are gaming chairs worth it? Or have we all just been conditioned to want them because they look impressive?
We wanted to look into how gaming chairs are made, and if they can actually improve your gaming or even your health. I set myself the task of learning everything I could about gaming chairs for this very article, and let me tell you – I’ve learned a lot.
Are Gaming Chairs Worth It?
As someone who doesn’t own a gaming chair (I think I’m the only one in the office who hasn’t managed to snag one yet), I was going into this article completely blind. But, I was first in line to try out every chair that came through our doors recently and enjoyed hours of comfortable sitting while I dove headfirst into research mode.
Go on, ask me anything – I’m like the Stephen Fry of gaming chairs now.
What Makes The Perfect Gaming Chair?
Let’s start by looking at what makes the perfect gaming chair. When you’re choosing a new gaming chair, there is a huge list of factors to consider – some more important than others.
Obviously, one of the important factors to consider when choosing a gaming chair is how comfortable it is. The chances are you’re going to be parking your behind in it for a good chunk of time, so you need to make sure it’s providing enough comfort to keep you well focussed on gaming rather than the creeping numbness in your backside.
Gaming chairs have been built with comfort in mind – manufacturers are well aware that us gamers have no time limit when it comes to smiting the Alliance in WoW, or blundering through battle royales in Fortnite – which also ties into ergonomics
Does the chair have enough lumbar support? Is it designed for someone of your height and build? Are the armrests adjustable? There are a lot of ergonomic factors that can harm your alignment when you’re sat down. Gaming chairs are meant to combat these and keep you comfortable for as long as possible, so make sure that’s what they’re doing.
When it comes to gaming chairs, you’re going to be looking at the three most popular material options: leather, fabric, and mesh. They each have their own benefits and drawbacks, so this will all come down to personal preference.
Leather – Leather is best for aesthetics, as well as being easy to clean thanks to its easy to wipe texture. But, it’s often less durable as it’s usually PU instead of genuine leather.
Fabric – Fabric is usually more comfortable and more durable than leather or mesh gaming chairs. Although, you may find it’s a lot more difficult to keep a fabric gaming chair looking clean and fresh, as stains will set more easily, and you can’t usually wipe it down.
Mesh – Mesh definitely isn’t winning any beauty contests. However, thanks to its high level of breathability it does do a better job of keeping you cool and sweat-free as you game – and the lightweight material can often be a positive for some.
If you’re buying a gaming chair, chances are you care about your gaming setup’s aesthetic. So style really does play an important part in the selection process. We’ll delve a little deeper into the different styles of gaming chairs further down. But, the most common types are PC gaming chairs, racer chairs, rockers, and pedestal gaming chairs.
Deciding which design will work best for your gaming style, and how you plan to use it, will make choosing the perfect gaming chair much easier.
Finally, we have durability. Gaming chairs are, historically, pretty expensive. So, you want to make sure you’re going to get as much life out of it as possible. The durability of a chair is impacted by a few different factors: the material, construction, style, and usage.
Fabric chairs tend to be the most durable material, and PC gaming chairs usually outlive the other styles. But, how you use it, and how you care for it, are just as important. Take the time to learn how best to keep your chair in tip-top condition, and you’ll extend the lifespan quite considerably with very minimal effort.
Every gaming chair is different, and they all come with different features. A lot of chairs come with speakers in the headrest so you can really immerse yourself in the gaming experience. Others come with holders for controllers or other accessories. While others have more customization options when it comes to the setup. Deciding which of these added extras are the most important to you is vital when narrowing down your list of possible chair choices.
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Things To Consider
When you’ve narrowed down what kind of gaming chair you’re looking for, the search can begin. As you browse through the many, many options out there, these are the things you need to consider before making that final purchase.
The big one. How much are you willing to splash out on a gaming chair? For a high-quality chair, you’re looking at a few hundred dollars, which may well be out of the question for many gamers. There are cheaper options available, but you can’t always guarantee a quality product if you’re holding the purse strings too tight. Just keep that in mind.
If a chair has a long list of negative reviews on the web, you can bet it’s not worth your time or money. It’s easier than ever to check up on these things now, so you should always take the time to do your research before making a big purchase like this.
Whether that means reading hands-on chair reviews (like our Noblechairs Epic review or Secretlab The Omega review), or simply checking out their star ratings on Amazon – listen to those who have come before you.
How are you planning on using your chair? You’ll need to decide if it will be purely for gaming, or if it’s going to double as an office chair as well. Does it need to fit in with the design of your living room, or is it going in your own gaming den? Not all chairs translate well into other areas of life, so make sure you decide on this early on.
Most gaming chair companies like to talk about how their chairs can help improve our gaming performance – but how much of what they claim is true?
One of the big benefits of using a gaming chair is that it can help improve your posture while you’re sitting gaming for extended periods of time. They’re specifically designed with that in mind, the built-in lumbar support helps you to avoid ending up with a sore back, the headrest keeps your spine in alignment, and the armrests mean you don’t end up leaning too far forward.
All of this means you can keep concentrating on your gaming, and you won’t feel the need to take as many stretching breaks – so you can game for longer.
It may not seem like much, but feeling comfortable while spending long hours in front of a PC can make a massive difference. If you’re not focused on that ache in your back, or how your neck needs a good crack, then you can focus more on your gaming instead.
Sitting in a poorly constructed chair for hours on end can leave a more long-lasting effect on your body. You might find that you’re able to spend less and less time gaming because of your setup. You can develop back and neck problems, and start to dread another long gaming session in your bog-standard office chair. This will obviously begin to have an impact on your gaming over time as well.
The Evolution Of Gaming Chairs
When was the first gaming chair invented? How have gaming chairs changed over the years? Well, young padawan, I’m glad you asked because I’ve got hours of research to show off.
The first gaming chair was created in 2006 by DXRacer. As a company, they mainly worked on developing seats for luxury racing cars, which is probably why gaming chairs usually look like racing seats (and are labeled ‘racer chairs’). These racing-style chairs came with a higher backrest than regular chairs, giving more support to the back and shoulders throughout long periods of sitting.
When DXRacer started out making their gaming chairs, there wasn’t really any competition they needed to worry about. The idea of gaming chairs was still a foreign concept to most gamers. That was until Twitch launched a year later and people began to stream their games on the platform. It became a huge part of the platform to have a good-looking setup, and so more and more people started to invest in their own gaming chairs.
Types Of Gaming Chairs
We mentioned before that there isn’t just one type of gaming chair anymore. The niche has expanded to include a whole assortment of design and style options – but what style of gaming chair is right for you? Well, let’s take a look.
PC Gaming Chairs
For PC gamers, it makes sense that a PC gaming chair would be the best bet. These chairs resemble normal office chairs, but with a few notable differences. They come with a bucket-style seat, higher backrests, and a generally more ergonomic design. Compared to office chairs, PC gaming chairs come with many more customization options to help make the chair the best fit possible for your body.
They usually come with adjustable armrests, exceptional lumbar support, and even speakers in the headrest. All designed to give you the best PC gaming experience possible.
As the name suggests, these chairs are specifically designed for racing games and simulate the kind of car seat you would find in a race car. While you can use this chair for any kind of game, its design has been specially tailored for those fast and furious racers that have you drifting around corners and cursing yourself for oversteering.
They are fairly similar to PC gaming chairs, just with a stronger emphasis on the race car design we know and love.
If you’re more of a console gamer than PC gaming chairs and racers won’t usually be the best fit for you. They’ve been designed to be used at a desk, not in front of a TV screen. Rockers are designed to sit on the floor and cradle your body so you can enjoy hours of console gaming. They often come with space to store your controllers as well as speakers in the headrest to make sure you can fully immerse yourself in whatever game you’re playing through.
Similar to rockers, these chairs are more suited to console gaming. They sit on a pedestal that raises them just above the ground but are in a similar style and design to rockers. Whether you prefer a rocker or a pedestal chair really depends on your gaming setup and how high up your TV screen is placed.
Other Chair Designs
Apart from the main varieties we listed above, you can also find companies producing a huge range of different gaming chair designs. There are bean bag chairs (which, let’s be honest, are just expensive bean bags), gaming sofas with space for controllers and integrated speakers, and even inflatable gaming chairs (can’t you just hear the squeaky furniture?). Most of these have yet to catch on in a big way, although I’m not exactly surprised about that.
How Are Gaming Chairs Made?
How do these companies actually make a chair that offers such exceptional levels of support and comfort? There’s a lot that goes into making the perfect chair. So, let’s look inside a typical gaming chair to see how they’re made.
Think of the frame like the skeleton of the chair. It sits deep on the inside where we can’t see it, but it’s responsible for holding the whole thing together and giving it it’s structure. The material this frame is made out of with ultimately influence how sturdy and long-lasting your gaming chair is. Most chairs use strong yet flexible materials like steel to provide the best support possible.
Right at the bottom of your chair is the base. Many gaming chair manufacturers use bases with five feet to make sure your weight is evenly distributed and doesn’t cause the chair to become unbalanced. There will also be wheels on the bottom of each of the feet to make it easy to manoeuvre the chair around your gaming setup.
Where all the comfort comes from – the cushioning. This layer sits on top of the frame and is what helps to keep you sitting comfortably throughout your gaming sessions. The majority of gaming chair brands will use some kind of foam as their cushioning, allowing you to sink into the chair without causing indentations over time.
Keeping all that memory foam on the inside is the covering. This ranges from chair to chair and can be made from fabric or leather. The thickness of this covering and the stitching used all contribute to both the design and the durability of a chair.
No good gaming chair would exist without adjustable armrests. The best chairs out there will come with four directions of adjustability: backwards/ forwards, left/ right turning, left/ right adjustment, and height. Some armrests will be solid, made of metal or plastic, while others will be padded for extra comfort.
Finally, the majority of gaming chairs come with a removable lumbar support pillow. This is attached to the chair using elasticated straps, allowing you to easily move and adjust the pillow to fit your body. Or, you can remove it altogether if you’re more comfortable without it. Or, you could even do what a few of our team do and move it up to the headrest to act as a pillow.
I really hope you enjoyed this magical mystery tour into the world of gaming chairs. Hopefully, by now, you’ve learned everything you need to know to find your own perfect gaming chair. But, the question we wanted to answer in this article was “Are gaming chairs worth it?”, right?
Well, if you want the best comfort, great lumbar support, and something that just looks so damn good – then gaming chairs are definitely worth it. They may cost a pretty penny, but they’ll likely save you extortionate bills at the chiropractor’s thanks to their support. Everyone here in the WePC offices has their own gaming chair at their desks, so trust us – we know.
Gaming chairs are worth it because we love them. Because they look cool and are comfy to sit in for hours upon hours. In my opinion, they’re always a great addition to a gaming setup. And hey, if we didn’t spend our money on fun, but slightly useless things, what kind of world would we live in?