Gaming chairs get a lot of flak, but the truth is that people buy them because they look cool, and as long as they keep looking cool, people will keep buying them. Myself included.
But gaming chairs aren’t terrible options and some out there are better than others.
So, in this post, we are going to go over seven things that you should consider before you buy a gaming chair.
These will help you A) figure out if a gaming chair is even right for you, and B) determine which gaming chair, of the many options you are considering, is right for you.
So, let’s jump right in….
First, the main reason to buy a gaming chair is for its design.
This isn’t to say that gaming chairs aren’t comfortable. A lot of the mid-range to high-end gaming chairs ARE comfortable.
But, if comfort is your only concern when buying a chair, and you do not care at all about the design of your chair, then you’ll be better off looking at the office chairs that are in your price range.
This is because manufacturers of office chairs typically don’t have to spend as much on the design of the chair as they do on the ergonomics and comfortability of the chair.
And, racing-style gaming chairs have different design components that aren’t always conducive to comfortable sitting.
The bucket-style seats that these chairs have are great for holding riders in place in race cars but aren’t the ideal design for long-term sitting.
That’s not saying that racing-style chairs won’t work for long-term sitting. In fact, I love the gaming chair I have (the Secretlab Titan) and I sit in it 8 or more hours per day. But, it’s just that a non-bucket-style seat is more ergonomically-sound.
But if you want a cool-looking racing-style chair and you’re willing to sacrifice a little bit of comfort and ergonomics, then that is completely fine also.
Second, your height & weight are the biggest determining factor in what gaming chair you should get.
If you are 6-foot-5-inches tall and you weigh 250 lbs., there are certain chairs out there that will NOT work for your body type.
A lot of times, gaming chairs get bashed because someone buys one that didn’t fit their body type, and, as a result, it’s not comfortable to them.
Had they noted the chair’s height and weight requirements, they would have realized that the chair was not the right option for them.
So, always make sure that you check the height and weight requirements of the gaming chair you are considering.
And, other chairs, like DXRacer’s Tank series, are specifically designed for larger users.
If you find a chair online that you like and you can’t find the recommended height and weight requirements for it, you’d be better off looking for a different option.
But, the bottom line is that there really aren’t many instances of one-size-fits-all gaming chairs available. So, make sure you’re only looking at gaming chairs that will fit your body type.
Third, a lot of gaming chairs are made by the same manufacturer but are rebranded by different companies.
Go look at the product listing for gaming chairs on Amazon. You’ll see a lot of similarly-designed chairs from different companies.
Now, the rumor is that someone knocked-off DXRacer’s design and started mass-producing them in China. I don’t know if that’s what happened. It’s very possible.
But, there are a ton of different chair companies out there now selling essentially the same model of chairs.
This is called private labeling. Basically, what it means is that anyone can go to the main chair manufacturer, send them a custom design and branding to put on the chair, buy them in bulk, and then sell them as their own chairs.
So, essentially, you have a lot of the same chairs out there, with the only difference being the branding and design.
This is very similar to how NVIDIA and AMD make GPUs and companies like EVGA, ASUS, MSI, Gigabyte, and others repackage the GPU with different coolers and clock speeds.
But, what does this mean for you if you are looking for a gaming chair?
It means that, before you purchase a gaming chair, make sure you look at the other options. If the only difference is the design and logo on the chair, you may be able to find the same exact chair from a different company for cheaper.
Now, I typically recommend sticking to well-known brands, like DXRacer, Secretlab, Vertagear, or Maxnomic, because if you have a problem with the chair down the road, you’re going to have an easier time with a reputable brand than with one of the smaller random companies that are selling chairs.
But, if you have a tight budget, and you absolutely want one of these racing-style gaming chairs, you may not have an option to go with a chair from a more reputable brand. And, if that’s the case, it’s important that you shop around because you could find the same chair from a different company for less.
Fourth, consider what kind of adjustment features are important to you.
If you are deadset on a racing-style gaming chair, there are a few different features that separate gaming chairs apart. Obviously, design and color scheme is one of those features. But the next biggest feature that differentiates one gaming chair from another is their adjustment features.
And, the most important adjustment features that vary from chair-to-chair are armrest adjustment and tilt-and-recline adjustment.
Almost all of the gaming chairs out there have height adjustment, the ability to recline backward, and, at the very least, armrests that can adjust up and down.
However, the higher-end chairs out there typically can recline back further than the low-end or mid-range options, they also typically have armrests that can adjust in multiple directions, and they can also tilt at their base and can be locked at a tilted angle, or unlocked to rock back and forth.
For me, I enjoy the recline feature on these chairs, but more importantly the ability to lock the chair at a tilted angle.
If I want to get really comfortable during gaming sessions, being able to tilt the base back a little bit and recline the backrest back a little bit helps me get into a more comfortable position that just reclining the backrest back.
And, for armrests, certain gaming chairs have armrests that can be adjusted from side-to-side, forwards and backward, and at an angle. And, of course, up and down.
These extra adjustment options are important because they will really help you get the armrests into an ideal position for your setup.
So, when you’re buying a gaming chair, make sure that you consider what kind of adjustment features are important to you.
Fifth, the lumbar support pillows that gaming chairs come with can be hit or miss.
I’ve reviewed multiple gaming chairs now and I haven’t yet found one that has the perfect lumbar support solution. None of the chairs that I have reviewed have been bad options in terms of lumbar support, and a couple of them have offered pretty good lumbar support.
But, I have not yet found a racing-style gaming chair that has perfected lumbar support. However, the same could be said for office chairs as well. Unless you’re paying a thousand dollars for a high-end Herman Miller chair, you’re probably not going to find the perfect lumbar support feature.
This is mainly because ideal lumbar support is going to vary from individual to individual.
But, I will say that the specific types of lumbar support pillows that gaming chairs typically come with do have some flaws.
For instance, the DXRacer Formula series chair that I reviewed had a lumbar support pillow that was decent but was a little on the bulky side and was a little too firm for me.
Then, on the Secretlab Omega, it was a more comfortable lumbar pillow, but since it didn’t attach to the chair, if you wanted it to rest higher on your back, it would sometimes fall down to the base of the chair when you moved around.
The best lumbar support feature I’ve seen on a chair thus far is on Secretlab’s Titan. And, that’s because it doesn’t come with a lumbar support pillow, but, rather, has lumbar support built directly into the chair.
The one small problem that I had with the Titan’s lumbar feature, though, is that it hit me slightly higher on my back than I would like it to. And, there’s no way to adjust the height of where it hits you. Taller users wouldn’t like to have this problem with the Titan, but it was a minor flaw for me.
And, that, really, just kind of sums up the experience of getting a gaming chair, or any kind of chair for that matter. It’s hard to find a chair, even a high-quality chair, that will fit you absolutely perfectly.
But, as far as lumbar support pillows go, it’s probably a good idea to do your research on the different options out there and see if you can match up to other reviewers who have the same preferences for lumbar support as you do.
Sixth, the common sentiment of, “sit in the chair before you buy it”, is easier said than done with gaming chairs.
A lot of people will tell you, “Hey, don’t buy a chair until you sit in it and try it out.” And, while that is really good advice, for a lot of these racing-style gaming chairs, it isn’t really an option to go sit in them before you buy them.
Most of them can only be purchased online.
So, if you’re deadset on getting a gaming chair, you’re likely not going to have the luxury of testing the chair out prior to buying it.
And, if you can’t live with that fact, you’d be better off going down to a store that sells office chairs and find one there that you like.
I know that some office stores DO carry a few different racing-style chairs in stock, and so you may still be able to test out certain gaming chairs.
But, if you have a specific color scheme you’re looking at, or a certain brand of chair, the chances are that you won’t be able to test them out beforehand.
And, that’s just something that you’re going to have to accept. And, that is also another reason why it’s important to spend a little more to get a chair from a reputable manufacturer that has a solid return policy.
Or, you could buy from Amazon, as they are pretty good about their 30-day return policy.
Seventh, give your chair a couple of weeks before you decide its not for you.
One common thing that I have noticed, even with higher end chair reviews—not just high-end gaming chairs, but high-end office chairs as well—is that reviewers often note how uncomfortable the chair was to sit in at first.
Seriously, go read some Herman Miller Embody, or Aeron, or Steelcase chair reviews. A lot of reviewers talk about how the chair made them sore for the first couple of weeks (if not more) they sat in it.
What happens is that if you have poor sitting posture (due to sitting in a low-quality chair) and you upgrade to a higher-end chair, that higher-end chair is going to force your body into a position it’s not used to.
And, even if it is a BETTER sitting posture, the fact that your body is going to have to adjust to the new position could result in you feeling sore while you adjust to the new position.
So, don’t sit in a new chair for a day or two and then get rid of it because you feel sore afterward. It could just be that your body isn’t used to sitting with good posture.
Need A Gaming Chair? Check Out Our Buyer’s Guide
If you have any questions about gaming chairs, in particular, leave them below. And, if you’re looking for a quality gaming chair, check out our PC Gaming Chair Buyer’s Guide.