PC gamers and console gamers have many areas where they don’t necessarily see eye-to-eye: which one has the best games; which hardware platform is superior; which has better controllers; which has a better online experience … the list is virtually endless. But one thing both camps can agree on is the value of investing in a good gaming chair.
Whether you do your gaming on a computer, or on a console (or both), your experience is going to be a lot better using an actual gaming chair.
Not a spare chair from the dining room, and not an old office chair. A gaming chair. Here’s everything you need to know before taking your gaming to a new level with a new gaming chair.
Benefits of a gaming chair over other chairs
Ergonomics are important. An ergonomic office setup makes you more productive. An ergonomic gaming chair makes you a better gamer, and a healthier one as well.
At this point we all know that sitting isn’t great for anyone’s health, yet gaming requires sitting for extended periods of time. A specially designed gaming chair has the support to ensure your posture and back don’t suffer. In fact, if you take a good look at a typical gaming chair beside the average office or task chair, you’ll immediately notice the gaming chair has a higher back. That’s a key factor that provides additional back, shoulder and head support during extended gaming sessions. A gaming chair also needs to be adjustable to ensure optimal positioning at a desk or in front of a TV.
In addition to making extended sitting sessions healthier, a good gaming chair also makes you a better gamer. Too comfortable (like an overstuffed recliner) and you’re going to find yourself nodding off. Uncomfortable and a short time into a session you’ll be fidgeting, squirming and not paying full attention to what’s happening onscreen. Arm rests should be fully adjustable, so they help with your gaming—no matter what controller you’re using—instead of being something you need to work around.
A well designed gaming chair will keep you comfortable and alert, while providing important ergonomic benefits, without getting in the way of your gaming. That’s a lot to ask from a single chair, and that’s why gamers should choose a gaming chair instead of trying to make do with a repurposed office chair or worse.
Gaming chair features
What sort of features should you expect to find in a gaming chair? Not every chair will have every option, but as you move from basic models to higher end chairs, you’ll find more the included feature list grows more comprehensive:
- Headrest (may be adjustable and may include a padded pillow)
- High back with tilt and recline
- Recline lock capability
- Foot rest
- Adjustable lumbar support
- Chair height adjustment
- Premium quality foam padding
- Pedestal or wheels
- Arm rests are adjustable height, adjustable swivel, adjustable width, and may be removable
- Choice of fabrics including cool mesh weave, and hard-wearing leather
- Optional colours and themes
Specialized gaming chairs
When we talk about gaming chairs, there’s a definite type that comes to mind and most models follow this same basic form factor. But there are also specialized gaming chairs that take a very different approach.
Among the most common—and especially popular with console gamers who don’t need to reach a desk, keyboard or mouse–are rocker gaming chairs. These dispense with the pedestal and adjustments, going with a simple form factor that puts the seat on the ground, with a rounded back for easy reclining. Some of these may even have a built-in Bluetooth speaker.
Fans of racing and flight simulator games may prefer a gaming chair that’s made specially for these genres and their highly specialized controllers. These often start with a cockpit-style seat, with frames that have mounting points for common accessories like foot pedals, steering wheels and joy sticks. Properly equipped, a simulator gaming chair rivals a high-end arcade experience in your own home.
How to find the right gaming chair for your needs
Given the various features and the range of prices, how do you narrow your choices down to find the right gaming chair for your needs?
Making the right choice boils down to identifying the features and selling points that are important to you. Many people select gaming chairs for their office, or to serve both office and gaming uses. Deciding how you will use the chair can affect your decision about which chair works for you.
For example, ergonomics are important, but there are degrees of adjustability. For some people, being able to make basic adjustments is good enough, while others may prefer to be able to fine-tune everything from the arm height to the degree of lumbar support. Then there are the different categories including pedestal-style gaming chairs, rockers, simulator chairs and wheeled models. Are there special features that you consider a must-have such as a foot rest, or built-in speakers?
What about colour and style? Do you want some visual flair? Do you prefer the look of leather over fabric?
Then there are practical concerns. Does your room have space limitations that make the physical size of the gaming chair something you need to take into account? Many chairs are designed for specific range of user heights and weights, so don’t forget to check that. Budget is always a big one as well.
Once you’ve created a checklist of must-have and nice-to-have features and attributes, you’ll be ready to pick a gaming chair that perfectly suits your needs.
One last thing. Remember that a gaming chair is not meant to be a replacement for your recliner. The first time you sit in it, you may wonder what the fuss is—why isn’t it more comfortable? Moving to a gaming chair from a regular chair often forces your body into a different (but better) sitting position, and it can take a few sessions to get accustomed to this. So give it time and chances are you’ll be happy with your choice.
More accessory suggestions for the perfect gaming room
All gamers aspire to having the perfect gaming room. This starts with your gaming PC and/or game console of course, and then there’s the gaming chair. But don’t forget all the accessories that can take your gaming room from functional to extraordinary.
Start with a gaming desk. These are ergonomic, adjustable and designed for gaming, with plenty of room for your PC and accessories, and the option of a colour scheme that matches your chair. Invest in a high quality gaming monitor (console gamers might want to look at a 4K TV with a dedicated game setting) for the ultimate visual experience. Supplement that with a gaming headset to block out background noise, get a leg up on the competition with audio cues, and to communicate with online team mates. Even if you have a headset, you might want to equip your gaming room with a sound bar (preferably one with surround audio and a subwoofer) for cinematic audio—whether playing a game, watching a movie or listening to music. And what can really make a gaming space is smart lighting. Use it to set the mood, reflect the game you’re playing, or even give you the heads up when your food delivery is at the door. Maybe even a mini fridge so cold drinks are always at hand …
Take the next step
With a gaming chair and a few accessories, you’ll have everything you need for the perfect gaming room, and to take your game to the next level.
Gaming chairs have gotten so cool recently. I’m old school though, I grew up playing games while sitting on a couch, so even now I prefer to game while sitting on a couch. These are really cool though, should I ever decide to try and change things up by getting a gaming chair I’ll definitely check out your buying guide (which may be updated by then) and see what Best Buy has in store.
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