Spending hours at a computer playing games can do a number on your neck and back. That's why you need the best gaming chair for your posture.
You having a bad back is a good thing for chiropractors, but also something you can completely avoid with a good gaming chair, or, better yet, the best gaming chair around.
Gaming chairs are designed to not only keep you comfortable and gaming for longer, but also to help with posture, arm and shoulder strain, and lumbar health.
Below is an overview of the best gaming chairs followed by an in-depth guide detailing everything you need to know before making a purchase. To jump straight to the reviews, click here.
Gaming Chair Buyer's Guide:
With more people using computers on a daily basis, ergonomics has become a big business. As a science, ergonomics is the study of how humans interact with objects such as chairs and desks. In fact, New York University offers a master's degree in ergonomics and biomechanics.
The U.S. Department of Labor has recommendations covering ergonomics in the workplace. (https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/ergonomics/) Often, people think of carpal tunnel syndrome when it comes to office injuries. Besides desk and peripheral placement, chairs also have a major part in workers' health.
A chair can be classified as 'ergonomic' if it's adjustable. An individual should be able to raise or lower their seat position in relation to their desk so their computer monitor is at eye level or slightly above, preventing neck strain.
Proper seat height should also put a person's feet comfortably on the floor. Their arms should be a little higher than their keyboard and mouse, according to Rodney K. Lefler of Spine-Health.com, and crucially, should not be at an upward angle since that often leads to carpal tunnel syndrome.
Other important factors to think about in an ergonomic chair include type of back support and seat material.
Poor circulation isn't something directly related to gaming chairs, but can and will lead to problems. If you have a poorly fitted chair and are sitting for long periods of time, you can start to experience pain.
Circulation problems while sitting come from improper alignment of the back and neck. Especially with the neck, tilting forward too often can lead to numb fingers or pain shooting down the arms. Feet dangling off the floor or tucked under your body can also lead to numbness, says Sandra Kecham of Live Strong.
Finding The Right Gaming Chair ForYou
To find the best gaming chair, it's a good idea to try out the chair before buying it. Simple, right?
Gaming chairs are pretty popular nowadays, so it's easy to find them in stores. Gaming conventions and expos also are good places to try out awesome gaming chairs.
The top gaming chair brands make different sizes of the same model to accommodate different body types. Some manufacturers will even list their chairs based on a person's height and weight to help you find the right size.
The days of gimmicks such as vibration and Bluetooth connectors in gaming chairs have passed. Gaming specific chair models now focus on ergonomics and style.
Gaming Chairs vs. Office Chairs
If you want the ergonomics of a gaming chair, but don't want to shell out for some of the extra features, you can opt for an office chair. It's a bigger market, so you should be able to find a chair for any budget. However, the won't do all of the potentially important things that the best gaming chair would.
Couple things to keep in mind - gaming chairs often offer rigid support all the way up to the neck (that's why they look like they were made for NASCAR), which provides better support for long gaming sessions. Another thing that a lot of gaming specific chairs have that office chairs don't is the option to tilt the chair to a horizontal position. This isn't a necessary feature, but can be good for napping or just taking a break from a game.
We thought we'd throw this in here since its always a good thing to hear. While gaming chairs can solve a lot of problems, and are always a good investment in the long run, sometimes the answer to stiff necks, lower back pain, etc. is just to step away for a few minutes and take a break.
”Sitting too long on a regular basis can lead to obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and high blood sugar, according to James A. Levine of the Mayo Clinic. (Source)
The way to avoid the consequences of sitting for long periods, according to Levine, is to get out of your chair. Stand up, stretch, walk around and get some exercise!
The Best Gaming Chair: Reviewed
The Gesture is an ergonomic chair primarily marketed toward office workers that can also be used for gaming. With a price tag of around $1,000, it's at the high end of our list.
The Gesture is highly adjustable and fits a variety of body types. The armrests in particular are not just height adjustable, but can also be tucked in or rotated outward depending on preference.
Downsides of the Gesture include a lack of adjustable lower back support and no option for mesh support instead of cushioning.
The mesh can be important in hotter office or home environments, where the cushioning material doesn't breathe well. The majority of gamers, however, have access to air conditioning, and cushioning can be more comfortable for long gaming sessions.
The back of the chair is bowed inward to replicate the correct alignment of a spine, and flexes to accommodate the user's body position. The amount of recline is easily adjustable, and all the adjustments are made smoothly and quietly.
The Gesture's appearance is not traditional office, but not race car either. It's a little “Star Trek: Next Generation” (but that's not the only reason we consider it a candidate for best gaming chair).
Although the Gesture promotes proper posture, you can sit in unconventional positions as well thanks to the padding. If you really want to to sit with your legs in a kneeling position because that's what's comfortable to you, you can do it (although we don't recommend it).
Unlike some gaming chairs, you can't lean back to a fixed position for napping, and there is also no headrest, which may impact overall neck support. Overall, the Gesture is an almost perfect combination of office and gaming, making it the best gaming chair for those with home offices.
- 16-21-inch seat height adjustment
- 20-inch seat width
- 300-pound weight capacity
- Choice of eight different colors
- Very expensive
- No mesh option
- Fixed lumbar support
For those looking for a budget version of the infamous Aeron chair, the Ergohuman is the best gaming chair for you.
Featuring a similar look and design while costing a little more than $600, the Ergohuman gets you the same level of lumbar support and meshy-goodness for a whole lot less money.
Features include height and depth adjustable armrests that also pivot inward and outward, adjustable headrest, a back that changes the height of the chair to four different positions, and a separately adjustable lower back support. The back of the chair also bows inward to imitate the spine like the Gesture does.
All seat adjustment control is on the right side of the chair. The seat depth can be adjusted through the universal paddle. The whole chair can be adjusted for reclining and locked in position. There is also tension adjustment for the back to increase support.
As you may have guessed, the common theme of the Ergohuman is adjustability and that's why we consider it strong candidate for best gaming chair.
With so many options available, you will more than likely be able to fit it to your needs. However, it may take some time to get the gaming chair to feel just right.
- 17-21-inch seat height adjustments
- 26-inch seat width
- 250-weight capacity
- Mesh for hot environments
- Adjustable headrest
- Separate lumbar adjustment
- No cushioning
- Mesh has little give
The first true gaming chair on the list, the Nitro comes in at a cool $350.
The seat and back of the chair have a lot of padding that feel dense enough not to cave into the steel frame with time. However, they will almost definitely feel stiff to someone not used to gaming chairs. Unlike the cushioning of an office chair, the Nitro will feel more like buckling into a car seat.
This is on purpose, of course. The stiffness and coverage of the chair are designed to force proper posture, and maintain that over long gaming sessions.
The covering material is synthetic leather, and all the chairs are two-toned with a standard race-car-bucket-seat shape. Unfortunately, the seat does not adjust for depth, but the Nitro has an included pillow to help adjust for lumbar support. Seat height and tilt adjustments can be made from the right side of the chair.
One thing to keep in mind - if you're shorter than 5' 10", you may want to go with a different AKRacing model. Luckily the company offers a bunch of different models to accommodate a variety of heights and weights. Also, since the seat curves inwards towards the neck, people with broader shoulders might have issues sitting comfortably.
But it you're tall and have average shoulder width, this may very well be the best gaming chair you can get for the price.
- 6 different color combinations available
- 396-pound weight capacity
- Extreme back tilt for sleeping
- 16.53-19.69-inch seat height adjustment
- Short-term warranty
- Not so great for shorter users
- Armrests do not pivot
A close cousin to the AKRacing Nitro and with a similar price tag, most people won't be able to tell the DXRacer apart.
However, there are some important differences. With the DXRacer you get detachable pillows for the neck and lower back, so if you find them uncomfortable you can remove them. The DXRacer also doesn't fully tilt back, if you were thinking about taking a quick nap in your chair.
The exterior material is nylon and the padding feels really dense and stiff. Like the Nitro, you will have to 'break in' your chair like a pair of shoes, and some people will be thrown off by this when they first get their chair.
Users taller than 5' 9" won't find this chair suitable, but luckily DXRacer does offer other models for taller people.
Aside from choosing the correct model for your height and weight, make sure to choose the exterior material best suited for your climate. With AKRacing and DXRacer, the choices are mesh fabric or synthetic leather.
In all honesty, the DXRacer chairs are so similar to the AKRacing models in function and quality, the buying decision may come down to color availability. There's a reason both brands are wildly popular among competitive gamers. Get this great gaming chair if you're on the lower end of the height spectrum.
- 16-20-inch seat height adjustment
- 200-pound weight capacity
- Padded armrests
- Fewer color options than AKRacing Nitro
- Not meant for taller users
- No 180-degree tilt
Although not as famous as some of the above gaming chairs, the Vertagear costs $50 less and, in our opinion, is just as good.
The Vertagear features the same race car seat design with two-tone coloring, but definitely looks different from its above two competitors. With adjustable arm rests, high density foam padding, included head and lower back pillows, the Vertagear checks the boxes for a standard gaming chair.
Overall, the SL2000 is well constructed with durable materials. Though its the least expensive model reviewed here, don't think of it as a budget gaming chair like some of the chairs available at office supply stores. This one is a tried and true gaming chair, and should leave you feeling satisfied with your purchase.
Needless to say, this is the best gaming chair within the budget category, even if it doesn't feel budget at all.
- 16-19-inch seat height adjustment
- 330-pound weight capacity
- Steel frame
- 2-year warranty on all
- 4 two-tone, color combinations