If you’ve ever logged onto Twitch and watched a popular streamer play their favorite game, you’ve probably observed the large, futuristic-looking chair they’re sitting on. Gaming chairs are different from conventional office chairs in many ways and have been surging in popularity.
But one of the most significant differences? Price.
Gaming chairs can start at the low end around $100, and even go up into the thousands. This leaves many gamers, casual or professional, wondering if gaming chairs are worth it for the money.
What are Gaming Chairs?
Gaming chairs are specialty chairs that are designed to meet the needs of gamers. They offer design features necessary for anyone who is spending an extended amount of time sitting in unconventional positions or on uncomfortable furniture.
While they’ve coined the name “gaming” chairs, they can also be an excellent choice for anyone who spends lots of time at a computer for work or a hobby and can be ordered in less eccentric styles.
Spending too much time sitting on a chair with poor body support can cause cramping, muscle stiffness, fatigue, and even hinder proper circulation. Switching to an ergonomic design such as those found in gaming chairs can reduce bone and muscle pain, encourage proper posture, and most importantly, increase comfort, allowing you to focus on the game or task.
Are Gaming Chairs Comfortable?
Yes, gaming chairs are comfortable, but each individual might prefer certain features and styles over others, depending on their preferences and gaming style.
It’s common to feel discomfort the first time you sit in a gaming chair; this is because they encourage proper posture, and your body may be resisting the change to your hips, back, and shoulders. In the long run, though, your overall health will benefit.
At the beginning of the day, our back muscles easily help us sit straight. As energy and comfort levels decrease throughout the day, we tend to lean back and rely on our chairs for support. Most gaming chairs have strategically placed pillows to give the muscles a break while maintaining proper posture.
Choosing a Gaming Chair
The number of gaming chairs can be overwhelming when trying to decide which one to buy. They come in different styles, with different materials, and various support features.
You’ll be drawn to click on a gaming chair most of the time based on its appearance. You might be impressed by the shape or vibrant colors; after all, a gaming chair is a big purchase that you’re going to have to look at and sit in nearly every day, and you wouldn’t want it to be an eyesore.
Most gaming chairs follow a racing-style design. This is because the first gaming chair that hit the market in 2006 came from a company called DXRacer, who originally produced seats for luxury sports cars.
This isn’t only cosmetic, though. The bucket seat, tall backrest, and support cushions encourage good posture, while adjustable height and armrests help battle eye strain and carpal tunnel syndrome.
Material and Durability
The material a chair is made out of typically doesn’t affect the performance, but it does affect the overall lifespan and durability of the chair. Choosing the best material for your gaming chair depends on personal preference and the significance of the purchase. The more money you spend, the longer you want it to last.
The three most common materials used to construct gaming chairs are:
- Leather: Most gaming chairs are composed of synthetic leather, also known as polyurethane leather. PU leather makes a chair easier to clean and creates a pleasing aesthetic but is more susceptible to wear and tear
- Mesh: Mesh is best for anyone who has problems with overheating, and keeps the user cool and sweat-free while they game
- Fabric: Fabric is the most comfortable of the three materials as it mimics a cozy couch or recliner, but it’s significantly harder to clean. Spilling a drink or creating a stain of any kind will be extremely difficult to remove before it sets, and any tearing will be challenging to repair.
Many companies’ warranties will only cover product defects that occurred during manufacturing or delivery.
If you’re concerned that you may cause accidental stains or damage to your new gaming chair, you’ll want to purchase a protection plan that explicitly covers the upholstery. Some companies like Office Depot will offer a protection plan for gaming chairs regardless of the brand. If not, many credit card companies have built-in insurance on purchases, or you can contact your insurance provider directly.
The term lumbar refers to your lower spine. Some of the best gaming chairs will have a pillow or cushion located at the bottom of the chair to fill the gap between your lumbar and the chair’s back. Most of the time, there will also be a pillow at the top of the chair for your neck, fulfilling a similar purpose.
The intricacies of gaming chairs go much deeper than just the style, materials, and lumbar support.
Gamers come in all shapes and sizes, as do chairs. For someone larger than average size in height and build, make sure you read the specifications closely, as some gaming chairs might not be recommended for you. Similarly, some chairs may come with a wider design for those who like to sit cross-legged instead of their feet planted on the floor.
If you’re about to make a purchase and still facing some uncertainty, always do your research on the company and search for customer reviews. Many YouTubers will do unboxing videos, and there are third-party websites with discussion forums surrounding specific products.
Are Gaming Chairs Worth It?
If you spend around 10 hours a day or more playing video games, working, or just sitting in front of a computer, investing in a gaming chair is worth it.
Proper posture is a difficult habit to maintain, and a gaming chair will help with that, along with multiple other health benefits like improved blood flow and less muscle pain.
Always do your research and consider your personal and physical preferences and what style you might enjoy as a new addition to your gaming space.