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Published: Dec 16, 2022 11 min read
Three gaming chairs on a colored background
Courtesy of Retailers

Whether for work or play, a good gaming chair will give your back — and wrists and neck and joints — all the support they need.

With the rise of professional e-sports and video game streamers in recent years, dedicated gaming chairs have become hot ticket items. Unlike traditional ergonomic chairs, which tend to be bland and fit seamlessly into a typical office, gaming chairs feature vivid colors that can match a gaming computer’s multicolor lighting patterns. The “racing seat” aesthetic also gives gaming chairs an overall sporty look.

At the same time, today’s top gaming chairs have very good ergonomic features. While the bucket seat look is still very popular, gaming chair manufacturers have started moving toward a more traditional office chair design. This helps foster better posture, and the chairs themselves can work brilliantly with home offices.

Like any other productivity chair, a good gaming chair should allow you to keep your knees and elbows at a 90-degree angle while playing or working. Because gaming sessions can sometimes have fewer breaks than a work session, these chairs feature generous padding — usually foam — and can often recline almost 180 degrees to allow for quick naps. Models that don’t recline as far back will sometimes feature extendable footrests to help you kick back and relax.

Pricier models ($500+) often put the seat controls — recline, height adjustment, etc. — on the armrests to reduce the movements required to find the perfect position for your body. Also often overlooked, but important, is the fact that these chairs will require assembly after purchasing, which can take anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour and a half. Tools are usually included, though there are a few exceptions.

Best gaming chair material

As with any type of office chair, gaming chairs come in multiple materials, including synthetic or real leather and a variety of fabrics and mesh.

The chair material you choose impacts your body temperature and overall comfort. Mesh chairs allow for good airflow to your back and legs, but they might not provide adequate support for larger body types. Meanwhile, leather and fabric chairs can provide better support, but often trap body heat, which can lead to a sweaty chair.

Gamers are known to snack while they play, so it’s best to pick a chair material that can be easily cleaned. (Dorito dust and Mountain Dew stains will probably be a problem at some point.)

With leather chairs in particular, you also have to keep an eye on how you’re cleaning them. Many manufacturers will offer a special leather cleaning solution for an extra $20 to $30, though you can often use generic leather cleaning products that cost a few dollars less.

Gaming chair buying guide

A good gaming chair can cost several hundred dollars, and it’s meant to last you a handful of years, at the very least. So before you go looking for the most visually appealing option for your battle station (or home office), make sure to consider the following points:

• Weight load. A chair that can comfortably carry your weight should be a top priority. You don’t want to risk falling while reclining or even breaking the chair.

• Seat height. Virtually every gaming chair's height can be adjusted. How high or low the chair can be positioned helps keep your knees in an appropriate, ergonomic position that reduces strain on your body.

• Backrest inclination. How far back the backrest can move matters if you enjoy leaning back for naps, daydreaming or just hardcore thinking sessions. Most chairs can lean back as much as 130 degrees, which is fairly comfortable for most people, though not as slanted as a recliner. Anything over 160 degrees is ideal for napping purposes.

• Lumbar support. Even though ergonomic chairs contour to the shape of your spine, people often naturally lean forward while seated and wind up slumping over. A lumbar pillow or support helps keep your lower back in an upright position without putting added pressure on that region. Many models include a plush lumbar pillow with your purchase, though some have an adjustable support mechanism integrated into the chair itself.

• 4D armrests. A big part of ergonomic seating is making sure your elbows are in a comfortable, neutral 90-degree angle while typing or using a mouse. So-called "4D" armrests can be adjusted in four different directions: up/down, left/right, forward/backward, and rotated inward or outward. Many cheaper models do not include this feature.

Best gaming chairs

1. Best overall: Dowinx Gaming Chair

Courtesy of Amazon

A high-quality gaming chair can transform your gaming space. The Dowinx Gaming Chair features a spring and foam design to provide cushioned support exactly where you need it. Many gaming chairs can feel stuffy, but this option comes with a ventilated fabric to make the chair more breathable.

It supports proper body positioning while gaming with the ergonomic lumbar support and headrest, perfect for smaller gamers who want to feel supported in their chair. This chair is suitable for shorter gamers and those up to 220 pounds. This gaming chair also reclines and comes with an included footrest for even more comfort while you relax. Even with the recline feature, it’s still sturdy, thanks to the unique fastening design that provides increased stability. It features a high-quality material that won’t rip or fade, even after many months of use. This gaming chair gets the top overall spot on this list for its ergonomic support and breathable materials.

2. Best design: Secretlab Titan

Courtesy of Secretlab

The design of many gaming chairs tends to be very similar. Most popular models feature the now iconic “racing” bucket seat look, which might not be appealing to all gamers. Secretlab’s Titan series strikes a balance between the ergonomic comfort of a bucket backrest with a more subdued seat cushion design that could blend into an office setting.

As the “big and tall” counterpart to Secretlab’s Omega line of gaming chairs, the Titan series is built for larger frames, from 5’9” to 6’7” and up to 290 pounds. It sports generous foam cushioning, which provides a firm but comfortable feel during extended gaming sessions. Unlike similar models, the Titan does not include a lumbar pillow but instead uses integrated lumbar support that can be controlled with a dial on the side of the backrest.

The backrest can lean back up to 165 degrees, which lets you lay almost flat after long gaming sessions for a nap. It also comes in three different materials: PU (synthetic) leather, fabric and genuine Napa leather. Secretlab also makes the Titan XL line for even larger frames, from 5’11” to 6’10” and up to 390 pounds.

3. Best for low prices: Respawn 205 Racing Style Gaming Chair

Courtesy of Amazon

Gaming chairs are specialty pieces of furniture, and finding a good one for under $300 is difficult. Respawn’s 205 model offers good quality and comfort for just under $300.

The chair is ideal for people up to 275 pounds and between 5’5” to 6’1”. It sports a combination of synthetic leather and mesh, which gives adequate padding on the seat and sides while allowing for good airflow in the backrest.

The 205 features convenient “4D” armrests, which is unusual for a chair at this price. However, the tradeoff for a lower price is that the Respawn's construction and materials are not as heavy-duty as other chairs on this list. Gamers who like to lean back often or are prone to aggressive movements while playing (you know who you are) should consider investing in a sturdier (and more expensive) chair.

4. Best for Razer fans: Razer Iskur Gaming Chair

Courtesy of Amazon

With its iconic black and green color scheme and a leather pattern resembling a snake’s underbelly, the Iskur is an essential piece in every Razer superfan’s gaming station setup. Built for frames between 5’6” and 6’2” and weights up to 290 pounds, the Iskur uses high-density foam for gentle, yet firm cushioning. Its multilayered synthetic leather replicates the feel and comfort of real leather, without the real leather price tag.

The Iskur sports wide armrests with built-in buttons and paddles that let you adjust most of the chair’s ergonomics. Like the SecretLab Titan, the Iskur eliminates the need for a lumbar pillow, relying instead on a sculpted lumbar support that gently molds to the spine’s natural shape. Note that like many bucket-seat gaming chairs, the Iskur’s seat sides are raised, which makes it somewhat uncomfortable for wide frames or those who like to sit cross-legged.

At $499, it’s a fairly expensive gaming chair that offers just two very similar designs or color schemes (green and black, or black and black). Yet it’s an incredibly sturdy and comfortable chair. And if you’re a big fan of Razer’s gaming peripherals and accessories, it helps bring your setup together.

5. Best for kids and small adults: Arozzi Verona JR Gaming/Office Chair

Courtesy of Amazon

Like traditional office chairs, many gaming chairs focus on average body types, with the occasional large model thrown in for big and tall people. Smaller body types often get neglected, especially when it comes to seat height. (Firmly planting your feet on the ground is essential for a good, ergonomic body posture.)

The Arozzi Verona JR is a great gaming chair for both children and smaller teens and adults alike. It's made of synthetic leather material, and it comes with both a lumbar support pillow and a neck pillow.

The chair features 4D armrests that have limited height adjustment, but otherwise a full range of motion. The backrest also reclines up to 165 degrees, which is great for kicking back to relax, and it can support people up to 5’2” and 130 pounds.

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