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If you're reading this, odds are that you too have swept off your feet by the growing popularity of gaming chairs. Whether you are a gamer or someone with back problems, a stellar gaming chair can provide the lower lumbar support your back needs and make your life more comfortable.

But with so many options out there, how do you choose the right gaming chair? Fortunately, this comprehensive guide has been created to help you do just that! Read on to learn what factors make a great chair and how to choose one that your back will thank you for.

What are Gaming Chairs?

These specialized chairs are designed for the unique needs and comfort of gamers. Believe it or not, but the gaming chair designers spend weeks to observe how gamers sit and how they move in a chair. After a thorough analysis of what the gamers need out of a chair, the designers go on to create something that meets all those needs.

And despite what some believe, gaming chairs are not only for gamers. Anyone who falls in the below category will benefit greatly from a gaming chair:

  • Works from home and spends a lot of time sitting down
  • Works in an office and wants to improve their productivity
  • Have mobility or back issues and needs additional support when in a seated position 
  • Suffers from chronic or acute back pain 
  • Wants to be as comfortable as possible when seated 
  • Spends a lot of time playing games (quite obviously!)

What are the Different Types of Gaming Chairs?

There are 4 types of gaming chairs in the market:

Racing Simulator Seats 

The racing simulator chairs are the most advanced gaming chairs specially designed for racing games. They are often attached to a "cockpit" or frame on which you can mount your accessories, such as pedals, gear sticks, wheel, etc.

Professional racing drivers or serious gamers who play racing games go for the top-of-the-line racing simulator seats which can cost tens of thousands of dollars.

It doesn't mean that casual gamers shouldn't buy these chairs or you must spend a small fortune to buy them. But if you have a tight budget and you're looking for a chair that you can use for other purposes (like in your home office or garage), a racing simulator seat is not recommended.

Racing Seat with Place for Steering Wheel and Pedals
Racing Gaming Seat with Steering Wheel and Pedal Slots
Black and Red Racing Cockpit Seat
Foldable Racing Chair
Comfortable Racing Chair with Pedal and Steering Wheel Slots
Racing and Gaming Seat

Console Gaming Chairs 

As the name suggests, these chairs are designed for console gamers. Compared to other kinds of gaming chairs, these are much more versatile and are available in a wide variety of sizes and shapes.

You may have seen the "Rocker" chairs which are the most popular types of console gaming chairs. Rocker chairs come with L-shaped seats that you can place directly on the floor. The backrest of these chairs can generally rock back-and-forth with your movements, which is why they are called rocker chairs. 

Keep in mind that these chairs are not meant to be used at a desk and they are way less ergonomic than PC gaming chairs. You should only buy a console gaming chair if your sole goal is to enjoy your consoles comfortably.  

Console chairs usually include extra features like USB ports and surround sound speakers that can be easily integrated with a console.

360 Degree Swivel Rocker Game Chair
Adjustable Position Lounger Game Chair
Simple Cushioned Floor Gaming Chair
Double Rocker Gaming Chair
NFL Rocker Floor Gaming Chair
Supersoft Folding Lounger Gaming Chair

PC Gaming Chairs 

When most people think of gaming chairs, they actually think of PC gaming chairs. These chairs are specifically designed to sit behind desks

So, if you want a chair that doubles up as an office/work chair, or if you play most of your games on a PC, this is a great option for you.  

A PC gaming chair is made of a 5-star, mobile wheeled base with a pedestal seat that is mounted on top. These chairs come with swiveling function so you can move around your desk freely. They also have a high back to support your neck and high armrests to support your wrists as you use your keyboard and mouse.

If you're looking for a chair that will prevent you from straining your neck and back while looking at your screen, a PC gaming chair is what you want. Also, these chairs are modelled off car seats (for their reclining capabilities), which is why they are also referred to as "Racing gaming chairs".

Ergonomic Genuine Leather Gaming Chair
High Back PC Gaming Chair
High Back Gaming and Racing Chair
Ergonomic Genuine Leather PC Gaming Chair
Leather Gaming Chair
Ergonomic Gaming Chair

Bean Bag Chairs

You may not think of a bean bag chair as a "gaming chair" but many gamers prefer them because of how comfortable and soft they are.

These are large sacks generally filled with even foam and upholstered in microfiber or suede. Bean bag chairs are not particularly supportive or ergonomic but if you're looking for a chair that can accommodate a wide range of body positions and postures, they are an excellent option. 

Another reason to choose them is they tend to be cheaper than all other types of gaming chairs mentioned above.

Bean Bag Floor Gaming Chair
Bean Bag Lounger Chair
Large Bean Sofa
Beanless Bean Bag Chair
Bean Bag Chair and Lounger
Classic Bean Bag Chair

What are the best gaming chair materials?

The right materials can make all the difference when it comes to the quality of chair. Read on to determine which material will suit your needs best:

Leather 

Real, genuine leather is much more durable than faux leather that seems to be everywhere these days. Materials like PVC and PU leather serve their purposes, but if you're looking for a high-quality chair that will easily last decades, go with real leather. 

It is also far more breathable and resilient than the artificial materials (like PU and PVC leather). This means, a real leather gaming chair won't peel or crack as time passes, and it won't make you sweat either.

Ergonomic Genuine Leather Gaming Chair
Genuine Leather Gaming Chair
PC And Racing Leather Gaming Chair
Ergonomic Leather PC Gaming Chair
PC Gaming Leather Chair
Genuine Leather PC Gaming Chair

PU Leather 

The polyurethane is a synthetic fabric that is not as breathable and durable as real leather, but it has its benefits. If you don't have the budget to invest in a real leather chair, PU makes for a very good substitute

In addition to being cheaper, PU leather is an extremely realistic imitation of real leather compared to PVC.

PVC Leather 

A gaming chair made with PVC leather is very flexible and soft. Also, this material is stain-, fire-, and water-resistant, making it super popular among chair manufacturers. 

If you want a chair that is very low-maintenance and easy to clean, a PVC leather gaming chair is a great option. If you are the kind of gamer who likes to enjoy beverages and snacks while you play, the stain-resistant properties of this material will seem like a god-send to you.

As for the price, PVC leather chairs are less expensive than PU leather and real leather so you won't have to break the bank! However, keep in mind that chairs made with PVC offer little to no breathability, so if you tend to sweat a lot, you might want to think again before buying this one.

Mesh 

If breathability is your #1 concern when buying gaming chair, then go with the mesh material. It has cooling properties beyond even what fabric can offer.

These are available in all kinds of styles and price ranges so you can find one that matches your room décor, if you wish. These chairs rate high on comfort as well.

Unfortunately, mesh chairs are quite tough to clean. You'd need special cleaning solutions to get rid of stains so as to not damage the material. Mesh is also less durable than leather and fabric.

Ergonomic Mesh Adjustable Gaming Chair
Ergonomic Mesh Gaming Chair
Mesh Gaming Chair with Military Pattern
Mesh Console Gaming and Racing Chair
Mesh Gaming Chair
Premium Mesh Gaming Chair

Fabric 

If you don't like the idea of a leather chair -- real or synthetic -- at all, you can always go with the good old fabric option. Fabric gaming chairs are more breathable than real or artificial leather, so you won't feel hot-and-heavy while playing.

On the downside, fabric is not as resistant to stains and spills as leather.

If you're feeling overwhelmed, ask yourself: "how firm do I want the chair to be?" Fabric gaming chairs are softer than leather. If you want a chair with firm back and lumbar support, a fabric chair won't be a good idea for you. In addition, fabric is not as durable as leather either.

Are Gaming Chairs Bad for Your Back?

Quite the opposite; gaming chairs are incredible for your back! If you spend a lot of time in front of a computer, a gaming chair with help you stay comfortable and maintain the correct posture.  

And proper posture results in increased productivity, enhanced energy levels, and better mood. Gaming chairs will keep your back straight and in the right posture all day long. 

If you have ever spend a day in a standard office chair, you know how straining it can be on your neck and back muscles. It also leads to a curved spine which can cause chronic strain and many other health problems. 

Even if you are not a gamer, but someone who stays in a sitting position for extended periods, you need the effective back support offered by a gaming chair. They not only support good posture but also prevent slouching by holding your body up against gravity -- so your back muscles don't have to!

If you or someone in your family is suffering neck and back pain, a high-backrest gaming chair will work wonders for your health.

What to Look for in a Gaming Chair?

Now that you know what types of gaming chairs are available in the market, let's see what exactly you should consider when buying a chair:

Armrests

Keep in mind that when you are seated in your gaming chair, your arms need both lots of opportunities for support and freedom to move. 

If you'll spend a lot of time on the gaming chair, we recommend choosing a chair with 4-Directional (4D) armrests that are specifically designed to provide support to your wrists, forearms, and elbows as well. 4D armrests also improve your seating ergonomics and relieve the pressure on your shoulders.

Seat 

Go for a chair that comes with cold foam padding. If the chair has cheap padding or your knees can feel the steel frame under the padding, you won't be comfortable for long in that chair.

Cold foam padding provides consistent support to your body and it is far more durable too. It offers the firmest yet softest feeling, even if you stay seated all day long.

Backrest 

There are two factors to look for when testing the backrest of a gaming chair: support and adjustability.

When you're out shopping, position the adjustable pillows along the 2 curves in your spine: above your shoulders and at the lower back. Play around with the recline until you find the sweet spot where your entire body feels optimally supported.

To test the adjustability feature, shift the reclining position in a couple of different ways. For example, angle further back for relaxing or reading, and position upright for work. 

Ask yourself how you feel after adjusting the chair. Do you feel like you can stay in that position for the entire day?  

Interestingly, most of the expensive gaming chairs offer a recline to around 135-degrees, however, the cheap chairs offer 180-degrees deep recline. Why's that? It's because the ideal or recommended angle for using a PC is between 100 degrees - 110 degrees. If you want a chair that supports your back, choose a chair with this range of recline.

How to select the right size of a gaming chair?

Pick a size that fits your body type. Choosing the right sized gaming chair will ensure maximum ergonomic and posture support. Backrest height determines where the neck pillow will fit you.

A right sized chair will also ensure that you can set your feet firmly on the ground. This will help offset your body weight by distributing it evenly throughout the surface of the seat. When trying out the chair, set the height so that your feet can plant firmly on the ground.

Don't think that a bigger chair will mean more comfort; if the chair is too big, you won't get proper support from the cushions.

Do I need to buy an expensive gaming chair?

Both expensive and cheap gaming chairs offer good back support and posture. If you are planning to sit in your gaming chair full time, you may want to invest more. It's because the expensive chairs come with superior features and upholstery. 

The additional features can include extra adjustment options so your body fits like a glove in the chair.

But if you'll only use the chair for a 4-6 hours or less in a day, a cheap gaming chair will do the job nicely enough.

Quick Tips 

Feel like there's a lot to go through and don't have enough time? Here is a quick low-down of what we discussed above