Gaming chair? Office chair? The choice is so difficult! In the perennial battle of gaming chairs vs office chairs, which side should you choose?
In this guide, we’re going to take a look at the differences between gaming chairs and office chairs and go over the pros and cons of each so that you have a better idea of what option is best for you.
Gaming Chairs and Office Chairs Have Completely Different Designs
First off, let’s tackle the two separate design styles of office chairs and gaming chairs. If we generalize both options, the following two statements could be applied to each…
- Gaming chairs are designed, first, to look cool, and second to be comfortable
- Office chairs are designed to, first, be comfortable, and second look nice
The above statements are generally true, but there are, of course, exceptions to them. Some gaming chairs, like Vertagear’s Triigger 350 looks more like an ergonomic office chair than it does a traditional racing-style gaming chair.
And, there are definitely office chairs out there that focus more on the design of the chair than on the ergonomics and comfortability of the chair.
But, as a generality, the main selling point for gaming chairs is their cool-looking racing-style design and the main selling point for office chairs are their ergonomic-based design.
Which Chair Style Has the Better Design?
As you’ll find throughout this post, an individual’s preference for an office chair over a gaming chair, or vice-versa, will vary from person to person.
There are some really nice-looking office chairs out there. And, there are people out there who think that the more subtle nature of office chairs are better than the bold and flashy style of racing-style gaming chairs.
And, of course, the reverse is true as well. A lot of gamers love the cool-looking racing-style design of gaming chairs. And, that, in part, is why they sell like crazy.
So, the bottom line is that it isn’t fair to say that gaming chairs look better than office chairs, because that opinion will vary depending on the person.
Comfort Level Differences Between Office Chairs and Gaming Chairs
One area where gaming chairs typically get knocked is that they aren’t as comfortable as office chairs.
However, in my experience sitting in a number of racing-style gaming chairs, as well as quite a few different mid-range office chairs, this statement isn’t entirely true.
More often than not, this idea that gaming chairs aren’t comfortable typically arises when people compare the gaming chairs on the market to high-end ergonomic office options (like Herman Miller chairs or Steelcase chairs.)
When someone posts in forums or on Reddit that they’re going to get a gaming chair, you’ll often see responses like this:
“Gaming chairs are a scam, man. They’re not comfortable. Do yourself a favor and get a Herman Miller.”
The problem with this is that a new Herman Miller chair can range anywhere from $600 to over $1,000, depending on the model you’re looking at. Most gaming chairs are no more expensive than ~$400 or so.
And, the reality is that when you go into the lower price ranges for both office chairs and gaming chairs, the difference in comfortability between the two isn’t as great as some would have you believe.
Now, I will say that on average, on a dollar-to-dollar basis, an office chair will typically provide a higher level of comfort than a similarly-priced racing-style gaming chair. But, again, the difference of comfort between the two chair styles in the lower price ranges—which is where most people are looking—is not as significant as you’d think.
Chair Comfortability Can Vary from Individual to Individual
The other thing to note is that most people have different preferences on what they consider to be a comfortable chair.
For an example of this, go look at reviews on Amazon for the Herman Miller Aeron. There are a lot of negative reviews that say that the chair was too hard for them to sit on and they had to return it. And, the same is true with a lot of the higher-end ergonomic office chairs.
Naturally, the same is also true for gaming chairs. I’ve reviewed a few different gaming chairs and I’ve had people comment on my reviews to tell me that they also have that chair and they find it incredibly comfortable. I’ve also had users comment and tell me that they have found those chairs to be extremely uncomfortable to sit in.
What is happening is that, since people have different body types and preferences, a chair that one person might find comfortable, might not be a comfortable option for another person.
So, in the office chair vs gaming chair debate, in terms of comfortability, the answer isn’t as clear-cut as just saying that office chairs are more comfortable than gaming chairs. In reality, there are comfortable office chairs and not-so-comfortable office chairs. And, there are also comfortable gaming chairs and not-so-comfortable gaming chairs.
You’ll also find that where one person might not find a specific chair comfortable, another person will.
Which Costs More? Gaming Chairs or Office Chairs?
On average, gaming chairs cost more than office chairs. However, this, again, is just a generalization. The reality is that it’s not as simple as saying that gaming chairs cost more than office chairs.
For instance, the upper echelon of gaming chairs will cost no more than ~$800. And, the vast majority of the top gaming chairs on the market will fall in the ~$300-$500 price range.
The high-end market for ergonomic office chairs, though, can get up to around ~$1,500 (Herman Miller Embody). That’s nearly twice as much as the most expensive racing-style gaming chair and 3-4x more than the typical high-end range for gaming chairs.
So, on the high-end scale of the market, office chairs cost more than gaming chairs.
Where gaming chairs get knocked on their price, though, is in the low-end to mid-range price points. The difference between a $150 office chair and a $150 gaming chair is that a $150 office chair can be a very viable sitting option over a few years, whereas $150 gaming chairs are typically cheaply-built chairs.
Which Style of Chair Has More Adjustment Options?
The final thing that you will want to consider when choosing a computer chair is adjustability features.
Chair adjustment features can range from armrest adjustment, height adjustment, backrest adjustment (recline backward), and base tilt adjustment. These are really the main four adjustment features that computer chairs come with.
And, just like the sections above, there is no clear-cut winner between gaming chairs and office chairs on which style offers more adjustment features.
However, gaming chairs typically have more adjustment features that similarly-priced office chairs, simply because most racing-style gaming chairs include a recline feature (which office chairs don’t usually have). Even the cheaper gaming chairs on the market usually have a recline feature.
The Reclining Feature on Gaming Chairs is Actually A Useful Feature
The recline feature found on gaming chairs isn’t something that really contributes to an improved-ergonomic design. And, most gamers will never use a gaming chair in the fully reclined position enough to where it is a huge advantage for gaming chairs over office chairs.
However, the ability to recline the backrest even slightly is something that most office chairs don’t have. Some office chairs can tilt at their backrest a bit, but without constant pressure, the backrest will return to its upright position.
From an ergonomics standpoint, sitting at a reclined angle and engaging in work-related tasks probably isn’t ideal. However, for gamers and content consumers, the ability to recline back a bit in a gaming chair and get comfortable is one advantage that gaming chairs have over traditional office chairs.
Now, there are office chairs that can recline a bit, but the recline feature is a bit more rare to find on an office chair (especially in the lower-to-mid-range price ranges) than it is to find on a gaming chair.
For All Other Features, It’s A Wash
If we take a gaming chair’s ability to recline backward out of the equation, the battle for which style of chair has more adjustment options evens out a bit.
For each price range, office chairs and gaming chairs typically offer similar adjustment options. For instance, 4D armrests (armrests that can adjust up and down, forwards and backward, side-to-side, and at an angle) start popping up on office and gaming chairs at about the ~$300 mark.
Anything less than that and both style of chairs typically only feature up and down adjustment on the armrests.
In the under $300 price range, you’ll find that there are gaming chair options and office chair options that can tilt at their base and rock. And, then in the above $300 price range, you’ll find that there are options in both chair style that allow you to lock your chair at a tilted angle.
And, typically, any chair you buy, whether it be a mid-range gaming chair or a cheap office chair, all options have a height adjustment feature.
Office Chair or Gaming Chair? Which One is Right for You
If you came here looking for a definitive answer on which style of chair is better for you, you might be disappointed.
However, in my opinion, the reality is that office chairs and gaming chairs are designed for two specific types of users. If you are a gamer, and you like how the racing style gaming chairs look, then my suggestion is to get one that has good reviews and try it out. If you don’t like it, send it back.
And, if you’re someone who doesn’t care about, or who doesn’t like the racing style design of gaming chairs, just go with an office chair. It’s really that simple.