What Is a Gaming Chair

What Is a Gaming Chair? Examining the Term, the Types, and Today’s Best Options

Gaming is a sedentary hobby. In contrast to the on-screen action, players often sit around at their computers and consoles for hours at a time, the only movement coming from fingers gliding over their controls. To remain healthy and play at their best, gamers need comfy, supportive chairs that can adjust to their bodies and playstyle. They need gaming chairs.

What is a gaming chair, exactly? It’s a seat for gamers — one that provides an ergonomic setup ideal for keeping players upright and focused, laid back and relaxed, and everywhere in between.

In this guide, I’ll answer the question in more detail and offer a comprehensive look at the modern gaming chair. Join me, and let’s get started.

What Is a Gaming Chair?

What Is a Gaming Chair - Example

A gaming chair is a specialty seat designed for the modern gamer. These types of chairs feature a high level of adaptability and recline, supporting the user in various positions. They also keep the user comfortable with supportive foam and either fabric or leather (faux or genuine) upholstery.

The term “gaming chair” most commonly refers to PC or computer gaming chairs, which resemble office chairs with executive (high back) backrests. These rose to prominence around the early-to-mid 2000s. That’s when the company known as DXRacer went from manufacturing racecar seating to racing-style office chairs. These new chairs were a hit among the growing eSports and competitive scene thanks to their adaptability, comfort, and stylish designs. After Twitch was released in 2011, they quickly became a staple in gaming rooms around the world.

Although PC-oriented chairs are the most common gaming chairs, they’re only one piece of the puzzle. The term also encompasses console gaming chairs, which comrise floor rockers, recliners, and pedestal seating. 

Let’s take a look at the different types of gaming chairs and the different elements you’ll find in each.

Types of Gaming Chairs

PC Gaming ChairConsole Gaming Chair
DesignSwiveling & racing-inspiredRocker, recliner, or pedestal
Common UpholsteryLeather or fabricLeather
Pricing$100 to $700$100 to $350

There are two primary types of gaming chairs: PC gaming chairs and console gaming chairs. Let’s break down these terms and look at what makes each one unique, starting with the more popular of the two.

PC Gaming Chairs

PC Gaming Chairs
Image: Nathan Caldeira from Pexels

PC gaming chairs look and function a lot like ergonomic office chairs. They feature a similar 5-star base that swivels around on caster wheels, and they come with hydraulic lifts and seats atop these bases.

However, PC gaming chairs also differ from the standard desk chair in many ways. For instance, gaming chairs tend to boast foam-filled bucket-style seats. They also come with tall backrests and “wing-like” edges. This design cradles the user, like the way you’d find in a pro racecar. Add in the headrest and adjustable lumbar support pillows that often ship with PC gaming chairs, and you have an extremely comfort-oriented seat.

Another big difference is the design. Gaming chairs boast flashier color schemes instead of the minimal colors associated with work environments. They generally come with vibrant fabric or sleek leather that shines like the wink of a side-view mirror.

The last important difference between office and gaming chairs is that computer gaming chairs feature the highest levels of adaptability. This holds true even among budget options that start around $100. You can adjust their height, recline, tilt, and armrests to your exact specifications. This lets you sync the chair with your gameplay for a personalized experience and competitive edge.

Common PC Gaming Chair Features

  • Swivel bases. Like office chairs, computer gaming chairs sit atop 5-star bases that glide and swivel around.
  • Bucket seats. Thanks to their racing-inspired heritage, PC gaming chairs feature bucket seats with flared edges to cradle the user.
  • Adaptable armrests. The armrests adjust anywhere from 1D (up and down) to 4D (up & down, forward & backward, side to side, in & out).
  • Reclining executive backrests. The tilt and recline mechanisms almost always drop down to 135° (and sometimes go all the way down to 180°).
  • Headrest and lumbar pillows. Most models come with foam headrest and lumbar cushions designed to amplify comfort.
  • Plush molded foam interior. Molded or memory foam stuffing keeps players comfortable for long hours at the PC.
  • Leather or fabric upholstery. Sleek PU leather is the most common type of upholstery, though you’ll also find fabric and genuine leather variants.
  • Vibrant colors. PC gaming chairs often incorporate bright, flashy color schemes that stand out and draw attention.

Most Popular PC Gaming Chairs

  1. Secretlab TITAN Evo ($449) – Secretlab is the current gaming chair market leader, and the TITAN Evo is its sleekest, most ergonomic gaming chair to date.
  2. DXRacer Gladiator Series | Amazon ($319) – DXRacer remains a big player in the gaming chair space. The brand’s new Gladiator series incorporates the brand’s classic aesthetic with a new, modular add-on system.
  3. GTRACING GT099 | Amazon ($114.99) – The GT099 is among the best-selling gaming chairs on Amazon. It offers high-end features like 2D adjustable armrests, a headrest, and a lumbar pillow for just $100.

Console Gaming Chairs

RESPAWN 900 Console Gaming Chair
Image: RESPAWN Gaming

Although you can use PC gaming chairs with your favorite consoles, some manufacturers create seats exclusively geared towards the PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo crowds.

There are many different types and styles of console gaming chairs, and they all function in different ways. Here’s a look at the most popular variants and an explanation of how each one works:

1. Rockers. As the name suggests, rocker gaming chairs are a type of console gaming chair that… well, rocks back and forth. These most often sit on the floor for use by children, though you’ll also find models with bases that are suitable for adults. X-Rocker is the most popular rocker manufacturer, and its chairs often include built-in side speakers that connect with your TV or console via Bluetooth or wire. They also fold in half for easy storage when not in use.

2. Recliners. When I refer to gaming recliners, I’m not talking about your grandpa’s old chair. Gaming recliners may share a similar layout to these classic pieces of furniture, but they’re usually a little more compact. They also come with gameplay-oriented extras like surround sound speakers, built-in massagers, and flashy colors. These chairs are ideal for kicking back and relaxing in adventure video games like Skyrim and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

3. Pedestal chairs. Pedestal chairs are a hybrid between PC gaming chairs and recliners. These seats usually feature tall, executive-style reclining backrests with kick-out footrests — all centered atop a swivel pedestal. These are sometimes called hybrid chairs, and they’re the best option for adult console gamers. RESPAWN is the most popular manufacturer of pedestal chairs, though many other brands have entered the market in recent years.

Most Popular Console Gaming Chairs

  1. X-Rocker Pro Series H3 ($224) – The X-Rocker Pro Series H3 is a specialty floor rocker that comes with built-in speakers and vibration motors for unrivaled immersion in your favorite titles.
  2. Homall S-Racer Recliner | Amazon ($160) – Homall’s S-Racer Recliner is a faux leather console chair that kicks out and drops down nearly 180° for unbeatable relaxation.
  3. RESPAWN RSP-900 | Amazon ($299) – If you’re looking for a high-quality console gaming chair that’s comfy and supportive, the RESPAWN RSP-900 offers a thick foam interior alongside cozy armrests and premium adjustability.

Benefits of Gaming Chairs

There are numerous benefits to choosing a gaming chair over a standard office seat or living room chair. Here’s a look at some of the top pros:

  • Comfortable. Most gaming chairs come with plush cushions designed to keep you comfy throughout the gaming session. They also tend to support laid-back postures, offering as much as 180° recline that lets you lay flat on your back.
  • Supportive in various positions. The best PC gaming chairs and console chairs offer adaptability and enough movement to support different postures and styles of play. The right model will help you remain in the game for hours at a time with little fatigue.
  • Resistant to wear and tear. Gamers aren’t known for being delicate with their furniture. Although durability will depend on the brand and quality of materials, gaming chairs can usually withstand a fair amount of wear and tear (Cheeto dust and Red Bull spills included).
  • Sleek and aesthetically pleasing. You’ll find gaming chairs with all different designs and colors, ensuring a seat that matches your space. 

How To Choose the Best Gaming Chair for Your Setup

Gaming Chair With Controller
Image: Sac Photography

Now that we’ve answered the question, “what is a gaming chair?” you may be sold on getting one for yourself. There are many things to consider when choosing a chair for your gaming station. Here’s a look at some critical criteria:

  • Type of gaming chair (PC gaming vs. console gaming)
  • Craftsmanship
  • Supportiveness and adaptability
  • Design and colors
  • Pricing

The first thing to consider when shopping for a gaming chair is its type. If you’re a PC gamer or console player, it’s a no-brainer. But if you play on PC and console, you’ll need to think about which one gets more use. You should also note that computer chairs can work well on consoles. However, it’s hard to use a console gaming chair with a PC.

From there, you should start thinking about quality and craftsmanship. Some of the most popular and well-respected gaming chair brands include Secretlab, DXRacer, X-Rocker, and RESPAWN. While each one offers a unique experience, they’re all known for using nicer materials that can withstand daily use.

Concerning supportiveness, PC gaming chairs and pedestal console chairs ensure the most postural integrity. They’re the only two I recommend for most adults. Children and limber folk can usually get away with less adaptable rockers and recliners. But you’ll still want to look for adjustable components whenever possible.

The final thing to think about is the design and how much you’re willing to spend. Consider your aesthetic preferences and find a chair that matches that vibe. If price is an issue, I encourage you to save up rather than skimp out. A reliable gaming chair is an investment in your hobby, and a proper model should last you several years of intense play.

Gaming Chair FAQs

1. What is the point of a gaming chair?

Gaming chairs provide a comfy, supportive seat while you play your favorite titles. This is important since the average gamer spends over an hour a day playing different games (and some users go far beyond that). The right chair enhances your enjoyment and offers a reduced risk of lower back pain.

Gaming chairs also amp up the look and feel of any gaming-oriented space. Their flashy colors and aggressive angles blend well in most game rooms.

2. What is the difference between a gaming chair and a regular chair?

Computer gaming chairs emphasize relaxation and adaptability. They feature tall backrests, thick foam, and racing seats that hug your body while you play. They also offer unrivaled tilt and recline-ability, often adjusting down to 180° parallel with the ground.

Office chairs, on the other hand, emphasize upright, productive positions, placing a larger focus on postural support. They usually come in mid-back variants and rarely drop below 130°. They’re also less flashy and more minimal, leading to fewer distractions in the work environment.

You can read more about the differences between the two chairs here.

3. What are the best gaming chairs?

There are hundreds of gaming chairs on the market, but only a select few of them are worth your hard-earned money. SitWorkPlay has put together a complete list of options to help you get started on any budget.

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