If you’ve ever built your own gaming rig, you know that after shelling out the big bucks for a top-of-the-line CPU, GPU, motherboard, RAM, and more, the last thing you want to be doing is being stingy when it comes to cooling your system. So it goes with your whole gaming setup as well. You’ve got the high-resolution screens, a nice gaming desk, and surround sound speakers, but unless you’re planning on sitting on the floor, you’re going to need the right gaming chair to go along with all of it.
And while you might think that any old chair can do the trick, that line of thinking couldn’t be further from the truth. At best, you’d be making for a less enjoyable gaming experience from a chair that just isn’t all that comfortable, and at worst, you’re putting yourself out of ergonomic balance for long stretches of time, leading to back and leg pain down the line.
How We Picked Them
Choosing a chair for video gaming isn’t a complicated process if you know what to look for. Speaking broadly, there’s really two areas to consider: comfort and features. But even within those two categories, personal preference and varying needs are going to impact your ultimate decision. For some, a plush, padded chair might be the epitome of comfort, while for others, a firmer chair with more focused support would be ideal. Similarly, some gamers might really like the idea of having built-in speakers, while for others it would be a useless addition that simply adds expense.
Since there’s no way to know what your personal preferences will be, we decided instead to group chairs by characteristics, then pick the best ones of each type. As a result, there isn’t one overall “winner”, but we’re confident that one of these chairs will be a perfect fit for your needs.
As an aside, we think quality and value go hand in hand, and strongly believe that opting for cheap construction and materials just means saving a little in the short term at the expense of extra hassle in the long run. Gaming is supposed to be fun—dealing with a chair that’s breaking down isn’t in our definition of fun.
Can a Chair Make You a Better Gamer?
Well, yes and no. Does a powerful GPU make you a better gamer? Not exactly, but lag and a choppy framerate can certainly make you worse. Similarly, playing while uncomfortable means playing at a level below your best ability. Let’s be real, if your FPS strategy is “spray and pray”, you’re not going to suddenly be no-scoping across the map. And if your APM is 30, don’t expect to suddenly become a Starcraft Grandmaster. But everyone wants to perform as well as they possibly can, and having a good base (literally) can only help.
The Best Gaming Chairs
General PC Gaming: DXRacer RF8
DXRacer makes a full lineup of gaming-centric desk chairs, but the differences among them come down mostly to personal preference. No matter which chair you choose, you’ll get a racing-inspired bucket seat with detachable neck and back pillows for additional support. A heavy-duty aluminum base provides stability that’s backed by a lifetime warranty.
The DXRacer RF8 is an ideal gaming chair because of its leather-like breathable upholstery and buttery soft cushioning. If you like to play games for hours at a time, your back and your legs will thank you for choosing a seat that supports and cushions them appropriately. For gamers that like to tinker with their setups, this chair offers plenty of adjustability, including up to 170° reclining and 12° of rocking. Thanks to a wide seat size and variable height, this chair also has enough versatility to be used by all the gamers in your household.
Also, if you’re into e-Sports, a DXRacer chair might be on your wish list in much the same way a basketball fan might want to wear his/her favorite player’s shoes. DXRacer sponsors a number of e-sporting events, and you can often find their products at tournaments and gaming conventions. If that’s something that matters to you, add it to the list of reasons why this chair is a good fit for you.
General Console Gaming: X Rocker 51396 Pro Series
From the leading video game chair manufacturer—X Rocker—comes a feature-packed chair that’s perfect for console gamers. Set on a pedestal and equipped with a 2.1 wireless speaker system, it can receive radio signals or use RCA stereo inputs if you’d prefer. It’s also got a great, ergonomic design and plush padding so you’ll feel comfortable during a long frag session. This chair is compatible with the Xbox One, PS4, Wii U, and all previous generation consoles as well.
Users have consistently lauded the X Rocker 51396 Pro for its fantastic sound, and the built-in vibration adds an extra dimension to your video gaming experience. While it’s a top-of-the-line type product, for the avid console gamer, it’s absolutely worth it.
Best Back Support: Eurotech Ergohuman Mesh Executive Chair
Millions of people suffer from chronic back pain, and—as depressing as it sounds—if you’re not one of them now, odds are you will be at some point in the future. The best defense is ensuring you have good alignment at all times; that means proper posture when you’re standing and strong back support when you’re sitting. And if you’re going to be sitting at a desk for long periods of time, the Ergohuman executive chair by Eurotech might be just what you need in that regard.
This chair cradles your entire spine, from the headrest at the top to the lumbar support segment at the base. By breaking down the back of the chair into three components to mirror the anatomy of your back (cervical, thoracic, and lumbar) the Ergohuman is designed specifically to support good ergonomics. In fact, reviewers have pointed out that even with diagnosed ruptured discs (which can be exceptionally painful), they are able to use this chair for as much as 8 hours straight without pain. That’s an unbeatable endorsement.
While many gaming chairs emphasize a plush softness, back support is all about adaptable firmness. If you’re not used to a chair of this type, it might actually feel unsettling at first, as though it is pushing you away from it. But over time, you’ll notice that you don’t slouch down in your seat like you normally do, and that’s what makes the Ergohuman worth its weight in gold.
Best “Office” Style Chair: Herman Miller Aeron Task Chair
If you’re a busy worker bee by day but a magic-wielding dragonslayer by night, you’ll want a chair that’s suitable for both worlds and ready for long hours of heavy use. Enter the Herman Miller Aeron, probably the single most famous office chair on the planet. The Aeron has built its reputation on incredible comfort, adjustability, and—ahem—its price tag. Available in three sizes, make sure you use Herman Miller’s helpful chart to choose the one that’s right for you. Failing to do so will result in a chair that won’t provide adequate support and may even cause further discomfort.
Every aspect of the Herman Miller Aeron is designed with comfort and quality in mind. Consider something as simple as the front lip of the seat. Notice that it curves down. While this might take a little getting used to at first, it does a great job of taking pressure off of your legs and improving circulation. While the likelihood that you develop a clot just from sitting at your desk is low, better circulation means less leg cramping and fatigue, and an overall feeling of better well-being.
For Racing Games: Openwheeler Advanced Racing Seat
Whether your racing game of choice is on a console or PC, the definitive racing experience comes from playing with a steering wheel and pedals while sitting in a driving simulator gaming chair. Equipped with tilt, slide, and wheel height adjustments, plus with mounts for pedals and a gear shifter, this video game chair from Openwheeler provides the type of experience you could only otherwise get by sitting in a high-performance car yourself. Racing chairs always tend to run a bit pricey, but when you compare the cost to actually owning a $100K+ car (not to mention the fact that you can switch between an array of supercars in your video games), it’s really a pittance to pay.
Biggest “Cool” Factor: X Rocker 0287401 Executive Office Chair
The words “executive office chair” probably don’t sound very synonymous with cool, but when you’re talking about an X Rocker chair, you know there’s more to it. Upholstered in a handsome black-on-white color scheme and built to support your back and neck, this chair might make you feel more like you’re the commander of a spaceship than just an Earth-bound gamer. Able to roll around on wheels, it’s designed to be at your desk, but there’s no reason you couldn’t easily roll it out of the living room or den for your console gaming needs as well.
Under $100: X Rocker 51491 Extreme III
Comfortably under budget but not cheaply built at all, the X Rocker Extreme III has a 2.0 stereo speaker system and a comfortable, ergonomic design. It can pull double duty as a seat to lounge around on or play games. While someone living in a home or apartment might choose one of the more feature-packed options above, this X Rocker is a perfect choice for a college student living in a dorm. Whether you’re going to just play in your room or carry it out to the common area, the X Rocker Extreme III is ready for a good time anywhere.
A Long-Term Investment
Unlike PC components that are outdated in a couple years or consoles that are perpetually upgrading to “next-gen”, a chair is static, and choosing the right chair now means one less thing to worry about for a long, long time. And when you compare the cost of a chair to other gaming expenses, you’ll find that despite the upfront sticker shock, these things are right in line with everything else you pay for as a gamer. For example, a WoW subscription costs $15/month. If we reasonably assume that your chair should last you several years (let’s be conservative and say 5 years), that’s $900 of monthly subscriptions for just one game. By comparison, dropping a couple hundred on a chair doesn’t look so bad anymore, right? Plus, a good chair preserves your health through good ergonomics, and the savings from prevention are immeasurable.