Like PC gamers, console players can game at a desk with a good gaming chair. However, consoles also connect with TVs. That frees gamers to play on the couch, floor, or in bed. None of these options are as good for your back as a desk + gaming chair setup. This article explores health-boosting accessories for console gamers across different scenarios.
Gaming with a good chair at a desk is the healthiest for long periods. However, many console gamers prioritize having fun over sitting up straight(1). For that reason, an office worker who sits at a desk might dread home gaming at a desk.
Since gaming consoles connect to TVs, there are other possibilities. Here are the most common console gaming setup options — ranked from the best for health to the worst:
- Desk + gaming chair: best for long-term health; not as relaxing as a sofa.
- Reclining bed: decent support with a lumbar pillow; not as good for the back as a desk setup.
- Sofa: bad for your back over long periods but loved by millions.
- Floor: excellent for the back — with perfect form. Otherwise, this option can be ruinous.
- Console gaming chair: awful all-around. No redeeming qualities.
Best Console Gamer Health Accessories
Gaming with an aligned spine at a desk is best for health. However, it can’t compare to the luxurious comfort of a fluffy sofa. Meanwhile, new bed technologies have emerged that are well-suited to console gaming.
In all cases, there are possible physical drawbacks. Here’s a look at console gaming health accessories for the different use cases.
Console Desk Gaming Health Accessories
For long periods of healthy console gaming, nothing beats a good desk + gaming chair setup. This provides you the tools to game with comfortable good posture for long periods. That involves sitting straight with your feet planted on the floor.
The problem is that most adult-sized desks are 28-30″ high.
In this scenario, two accessories can help to optimize console gamer health benefits.
Most adult-sized desks have a work surface height of 28-30 inches. When sitting in a chair with planted feet, that’s too high for everyone 5’9″ (175 cm) and shorter!
For example, the guy in this picture stands 5’9″. When he sits in the chair with planted feet, he enjoys a great fit. When syncing with his desk, he has to raise the armrests too high. That bunches up his shoulders; that upward pressure also tightens the lower back curve.
The simple solution is to add an ergonomic footrest. That lets a user sit taller in a chair while keeping their feet planted. As a result, they can enjoy a nice desk sync — even if the work surface is too high!
I use the Mind Reader Ergonomic Footrest. You can adjust its height from 1-6″ to cover most height-boosting scenarios. It has a pebbled surface to massage your feet, plus a swivel action to work your ankles as you play games.
Beyond height-boosting, the movement features keep the legs active, no matter how long you sit. Check out our Ergonomic Footrest Guide for a detailed look at the benefits of using one.
Desk-Mounted Monitor Stand
A desk + good gaming chair + footrest is almost perfect for console gaming. To avoid craning your neck, it’s also important to set the computer screen to the right height.
The simple solution is to add a desk-mounted monitor stand. Any computer screen with 4 VESA screw holes at the back will work. After buying a mount, simply unscrew the screen’s original base and attach the new one.
For pure console gaming, buy a single monitor mount stand. If your desk is for both PC and console gaming, buy a dual monitor stand. The beauty of having one is easy adjustability. A light touch with one finger can set your screen to the perfect depth and height while you play games.
Here at ChairsFX, I use a North Bayou dual screen mount. It’s cheap, easy to install, and a pleasure to use. Check my review of the North Bayou and others in this Ergonomic Computer Screen Setup Guide.
Reclining Gamer Bed + Lumbar Pad
Recently, Flexispot released a reclining bed frame. It comes with a wired controller that lets you angle the bed’s ‘backrest’ by 60°. For console gamers, this is an almost perfect bedroom gaming setup.
It’s a queen-sized (80″ x 60″) bed frame compatible with various mattresses and outer bed frames. It has adjustable legs with three presets (3, 6, or 9″ high). An included (wired) controller has two buttons. Mash the top one to angle the bed up to 60°. Press the other to lower the bed until it’s fully flat.
At a 60° angle, this provides better support than a hard 90° headboard. However, laying back in that position can flatten the lower back curve. That places a heavier weight-bearing load on the lower back and shoulders.
Over time, that can cause headaches, back pain, and poor sleep. A simple solution is to preserve your lower back curve with a lumbar pillow(2).
McKenzie Lumbar Roll
The McKenzie is one of many popular lumbar support pillows available on Amazon. The McKenzie roll is a perfect complement to a Flexispot Reclining Bed.
Simply tuck it around your lower back before leaning into the 60° angled bedhead. That will preserve your lower back curve, keeping your spine in a decently healthy alignment.
Sofa Gaming Lapboard
Few things are as relaxing — or bad for your back — as a fluffy sofa! Most come stuffed with soft, squishy polyurethane foam with a marshmallow-like 20-35kg/m³ density.
In contrast, an ergonomic Secretlab Titan chair has a solid foam density of 65 kg/m³. The softer the foam, the more unstable the support. That forces back muscles to work much harder at holding the torso up against gravity.
When back muscles get tired, good posture falls apart. Then, muscles must work even harder(3). As a result, many people feel exhausted after long hours ‘relaxing’ on a sofa.
Gaming on the couch with a game controller is best for casual driving and sports games. On the flip side, many first-person shooters (FPS) games work better with a mouse and keyboard.
The Couchmaster CYCON offers a healthier hack for die-hard sofa gamers. Instead of holding up a controller, it gives you space to rest your arms. That reduces a huge amount of stress on your neck and shoulder muscles.
The Couchmaster has two padded rectangular cushions on either side. These prop up a gaming tray that sits in the middle. There’s enough space there to play console games with a full mouse and keyboard. It also serves as a USB 3.0 hub with four inputs.
If you insist on sofa gaming, Couchmaster addons provide better back support. Using it, you can recline at a deeper angle while the tray supports your arm weight.
The healthiest way to play console games over long periods is at a desk. A standard battle station would include a console unit, a good chair, a desk, and a monitor mount.
The monitor mount lets you position the screen to avoid craning your neck. People 5’10” and shorter can also benefit by adding an ergonomic footrest.
Other places to play console video games aren’t as good for your spine. On the other hand, gaming on the sofa or in bed is a lot more comfortable than sitting erect at a desk.
Luckily, smart usage plus accessories can help to lessen health drawbacks.
- Desk accessories: ergonomic footrest; monitor desk mount. Use these to sync your body height with your battle station.
- Bed: reclining bed base; lumbar pillow. Enjoy reclined gaming in bed with an aligned spine.
- Sofa: Couchmaster lapboard. Use this to reduce arm strain while couch gaming.
Beyond the bed, sofa, and desk, console gamers have two other options. Gaming on the floor is excellent for your spine — but only with perfect form. There are also dozens of ‘console gaming chairs’ out there that do more harm than good. To review all options, see this feature:
- Dr Niklas Johannes, et al. ‘New research from Oxford University has delivered a surprising finding- time spent playing games is positively associated with wellbeing’. Oxford Internet Institute, 16 November 2020, Press Release, (accessed 1 March 2022).
- Dr. Steven Pollack, ‘Reading in Bed May Lead to Neck Problems’, Pollack Health and Wellness, 7 September 2020, https://pollackhealthandwellness.com/reading-in-bed-may-lead-to-neck-problems/, (accessed 1 March 2022).
- Umesh Isalkar. ‘Sofa, not so good: Cushy couches give bad backs’, Times of India, 17 October 2015 https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/health-fitness/health-news/sofa-not-so-good-cushy-couches-give-bad-backs/articleshow/49429178.cms, (accessed 1 March 2022).