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11 Things to Consider When Choosing Your Gaming Chair

Lisa Belluck  — August 13, 2019

Whether your preferred system is an Xbox, Wii, PC, or Playstation, your gaming chair can make all the difference in how well and how often you game. An uncomfortable chair makes for an uncomfortable experience, and you don’t want to spend hours building up your character only to lose a big battle because of something as mundane as what you’re sitting on. But that’s exactly what can happen: a bad chair makes for a bad gaming experience, while a chair decked out with new, compatible tech can bring your gaming to the next level. However, getting the right chair isn’t so simple as going to the store, trying out a chair, and bringing it home. There are a variety of factors to consider when choosing the best gaming chair for your gameplay experience, from its material and cost all the way to its customizable features.

Here are 11 things to consider when choosing your ideal gaming chair:

System Compatibility

Before looking into anything else, you’ll want to ensure that your gaming chair is compatible with your gaming system (or systems) of choice. While many gaming chairs will connect to multiple platforms, some are limited in their functionality. For instance, a Racer Gaming Chair is ideal for racing games, but it won’t work as well for other games. Similarly, a PC Gaming Chair won’t provide the same functionality for racing games, but it is ideal for use at the computer. If you play multiple systems, you might even need multiple chairs, or at least one solid chair that is compatible with a variety of different games.

In addition to Racer Gaming Chairs and PC Gaming Chairs, there are several more chair-types. Pedestal Gaming Chairs and Rocking Chairs are two of the most popular chairs; the former comes with a pedestal that elevates it above ground, whereas the latter sits directly on the floor and allows a gamer to recline backwards. Racer Gaming Chairs come fully decked out with pedals, a steering wheel, and a shift knob, while PC Gaming Chairs are similar to office chairs but with added support. You can see why some of these chairs are a better match for certain systems as opposed to others, which is why you must always research whether the chair and your system work well together.

Size

Gaming chairs aren’t just big investments — they’re also just plain big! You’ll want to ensure that your gaming chair can fit in your gaming room and that it still allows space for friends to come over for multiplaying. Similarly, most chairs come with height and weight requirements. Make sure to check these maximums before purchasing, or you might not be able to use your chair at all. You’ll also want to make sure that you can effectively transport and store your chair. Many of these chairs are only available as delivery options — for that reason, if you don’t do your research, you won’t know exactly how big or heavy your own chair is until it arrives. And once the chair is unpacked and in your room, it might be too late to return it.

Comfort

If you’re using a gaming chair, it usually means you’re in for a long session of gaming. For this reason, you should make sure that your chair has ergonomic features to keep you comfortable. Some of these features include pressurized lumbar support, mesh siding, an adjustable back and neck rest, and the ability to tilt backwards. Not only will these features make your gaming experience more enjoyable, but they’re also important for your neck and back health.

While it’s true you can sit more comfortably in a (quality) gaming chair than an office chair, you should still take hourly breaks to stand, stretch, and walk around. Even the most comfortable chairs still require sitting, which is, in itself, an unhealthy activity. So make sure your chair is comfortable, but not so comfortable that you never leave it!

Extra Features and Tech

Depending on your preferred games of choice, you might want a gaming chair with additional features. For instance, some chairs come with Bluetooth inputs, subwoofers, and vibration capabilities, while others include storage containers for food and gaming controllers. Several chairs come with all of these features and more. If you have the budget, it may make sense to purchase a chair with all of this tech— but if you’re never going to use the headrest speakers or rumble setting, it doesn’t make much sense to get them.

You’ll also want to consider whether to get a chair with armrests and footrests. Both can make gaming more comfortable, but they can also get in the way of certain movements. For instance, you don’t want footrests getting in the way of a game that requires leg motion, and if you tend to flail your arms a lot while playing, you’ll want to make sure nothing’s in your way.

Quality Material

Gaming chairs should be made of sturdy material that will last for years. Usually, chairs come in either leather or fabric. Both chairs have several benefits, as well as downsides, and the better choice is ultimately a matter of preference.

PU leather (or faux leather) chairs are ideal for gamers who like to snack while they play. If you spill a drink or food, it’s unlikely that your chair will stain. Although the leather will likely tear some with age, overall, it’s a very durable material and can last for years. This makes a leather gaming chair an investment for hardcore gamers who tend to play often. However, PU leather doesn’t breathe well, and it can cause a gamer to sweat more. Excessive sweat is an overall bad experience when gaming — it can make it harder to grip the controller or just make your chair uncomfortable to sit on.

On the other hand, fabric chairs are less likely to cause sweat, which means their material feels less sticky. They also come in a greater variety of colors, allowing for more personalization. The downside to these chairs is that they’re more likely to stain. Additionally, though they’re often harder to scrape up than leather chairs, they do tend to age more quickly. They also tend to attract dust mites and dander, making them less allergy-friendly than leather chairs. And in the event that you do become sweaty, the fabric will likely become soggy and potentially smelly.

Adjustability

A good gaming chair should also be one that your friends can use. Likely, your friends will have different preferences than you, which is why it’s important to have a gaming chair that you can adjust. Whether you prefer tilting it back farther or sitting up higher, your gaming chair should come with a wide variety of features to accommodate different playing styles. Plus, over time, your own preferences might change. Having a chair that can conform to those new preferences is an investment in itself, especially if the chair is built to be long-lasting.

Cost

Good gaming chairs can easily cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars. Often, these inflated prices are due to added features like subwoofers or speakers. For this reason, it’s a good idea to sit down and figure out exactly what features you need and are willing to put extra money toward. If you already have one of these features through your gaming system or other tech, it doesn’t make sense to buy it again.

At the same time, certain features really do enhance gaming experiences. That’s why you shouldn’t overlook a chair just because of its price — first, you should see what features it comes with and whether they’re worth the cost. This is especially true because many gaming chairs last for years, meaning that you’re paying for those features over several years of use. If you buy a chair that’s uncomfortable or doesn’t have the added features you want, you’ll likely find yourself upgrading soon, which means the money you put into your original chair will go to waste. Thus, when picking your chair, make sure it’s affordable and comes with the features you’ll want to use for years to come, but don’t purchase additional features that you already have.

Appearance/Customization

While the coolest-looking gaming chairs aren’t always the best for gaming, it makes sense to buy one you like looking at. The chair will become a fixture in your room, so if it’s too bulky or doesn’t match, you might tire of it quickly. Plus, other people might see your chair when they come over to game or when you’re streaming online. Sometimes, it’s just nice to have a piece of nice-looking furniture, especially if you use and see it often.

Many chairs come in a variety of colors. You can even customize some chairs with your favorite characters or games. Each gaming chair company offers different customization services, so it’s always worthwhile to ask questions to get the chair that matches your exact preferences. It will likely cost more to add these customization features, but since you’ll be using that chair for years, it might be worth the expense.

More Casual Chairs

Some gamers don’t have the money or interest to put toward buying a top-end chair. But that doesn’t mean they should just choose any old chair they see. There are several cheaper, less technical chairs that are solid choices for more casual gamers. From bean bag chairs to your standard office chair, you have a long list to choose from, same as any hardcore gamer.

Office chairs can be an investment because you can use them for more than just gaming. As suggested by their name, you can use these chairs around the office, or you can use them as basic chairs when guests are over. Similarly, beanbag chairs are a favorite for casual gamers and college students alike. They’re cheap and can be fun talking pieces, though they tend to take up space and don’t last long. Casual gamers also have the option of buying an inexpensive gaming chair without added tech or customizable features. The benefit to buying this type of chair is that it’ll last long and can be used as a chair for other daily tasks.

What New Games are Coming

While it’s important to make sure your new gaming chair is compatible with your old games, it’s also important to ensure that you can use your chair with future games. Gaming stations are eternally updating and releasing new content with new ways to play. For instance, while you might think VR gaming doesn’t require a chair at all, a good chair can make for a much more comfortable experience, especially if you’re playing a long time. So, rather than buy a chair for just the games you play, consider buying a chair that will work with games you want to play in the future.

Keeping Your Old Chair

Lots of gamers who are considering a new chair might do well to keep their old chair instead. Some of these chairs come with warranties and can be replaced, while others only require reupholstering or cleaning to fix. While a new gaming chair can be an exciting purchase, you’ll want to get the most out of your old chair first. If it’s a little dirty or peeling in places, it’s probably worth holding onto. However, if your chair’s uncomfortable, especially damaged, or not working as well as usual, it’s probably time for an upgrade.

Gaming chairs can make gaming a more enjoyable, comfortable, and even safer experience. While certain features are more costly, you can pick and choose features based on your system and gaming needs. Rather than buy a chair at random, put time into researching which materials, customization features, and added tech work best with your gaming lifestyle. Once you have an understanding of what gaming chair works best for you, you’ll have a whole slew of chairs to choose from, and you’ll be able to choose the one that makes for the best gameplay experience.