Cheap vs expensive gaming chairs compared

Expensive gaming chairs cost more than $400. Many cheap gaming chairs cost less than $200. Both offer similar quality back support. So what’s the difference between cheap and expensive gaming chairs? Are cheap gaming chairs good? Keep reading to learn the answer.

Cheap vs expensive gaming chairs
Comparing cheap gaming chairs to expensive ones.

Americans sit longer than ever before in history – and it’s killing people. The Mayo Clinic asserts that sitting for over 8 hours per day without exercise causes the same harm as obesity and smoking.

This is where gaming chairs enter the picture. A gaming chair is an office chair optimized to support long periods of sitting. These days, pro gamers and savvy computer users prefer working in gaming chairs. That’s because they provide comfort and posture support for long periods of sitting.

3 superior features in expensive chairs

Cheap vs expensive gaming chair features

All gaming chairs share the same standard features. When you pay more, you generally get three key upgrades. These are summarized below.

First, the leather or fabric cover will be of a higher quality. That means you get superior softness, breathability and durability. Premium upholstery is soft to the touch, easy to clean and looks amazing.

Second is superior padding. With expensive chairs, you get the best cold foam padding. This class of quality has superior compression resistance when you sit. When you stand, it pops back to its original shape. The point is that you can sit full-time in this quality of padding for years and it will always feel like brand new.

The third key upgrade is the armrests. Cheap chairs usually offer 1-directional or 2D armrests. Expensive chairs generally have 3D or 4D armrests. You can get by fine without 4D armrests. With them, you get better support for your body, thus superior ergonomics.

Quality of upholstery

Most gaming chairs use a variation of PU leather. This is an artificial leather made by coating polyurethane onto a thin layer of fabric.

Cheap vs expensive upholstery

To cut costs, cheap gaming chairs use a lower quality PU blends. Luxury chairs put more effort into boosting softness and durability. As a result, premium PU upholstery is soft to the touch, easy to clean and looks amazing.

On cheaper chairs, the leather works fine. But it feels more brittle, compared to expensive chairs. It’s also less breathable and durable. The more you sit, the faster it will wear down.

Faded upholstery
Difference between a high-end DXRacer and their cheapest version.

Pictured above is a high-end DXRacer Drifting Series and a well-worn DXRacer FD101. The Drifting Series is a pricey high end chair, while the FD101 is DXRacer’s cheapest model.

With cheaper quality PU leather chairs, you can extend their life by using infrequently. If you use the chair a lot, expect peeling as with the FD101.

Quality of padding

Cold cure foam is the premier padding choice in the furniture industry. It’s made from a blend of polyurethane polymers and additives. This solution pours into a mold, where it foams up with air bubbles under a low temperature process.

Compared to traditional foam padding, it has greater compression resistance. It also better retains its original shape over the long term.

Since curing requires no heat, this process is energy efficient. The greatest cost comes from formulating the blend.

Gaming chair padding quality

Cheap chairs cut costs by using stock cold foam blends. High-end gaming chair manufacturers like Secretlab put more effort into formulating superior blends. They factor in things like hardness, cell structure, cushioning qualities and absorbtion properties. It takes careful processing and exhaustive testing to produce luxury blends.

The result is a clear difference between cheap and expensive cold foam padding. Cheap padding works, but if you sit for a long time, can flatten out.

Cheap gaming chair padding
Cheap foam padding can flatten out over time.

With expensive chairs, you get the best cold foam padding. This class of quality has superior compression resistance when you sit. When you stand, it pops back to its original shape. The point is that you can sit full-time in this quality of padding for years and it will always feel like brand new.

Advanced adjustable armrests

A 170 pound person’s arms weigh around 10 pounds each. When sitting, the spine and back muscles exert force to hold the arms up against gravity. Over time, this strains the back, forearms and wrists.

Gaming chair armrests are good for your back
Gaming chair armrests can support your arms and wrists for long periods of computing.

4-directional armrests provide the flexibility to match armrest support with your desk. 1D or 2D armrests offer less range.

Cheap vs expensive armrests

Getting 4D armrests will ensure your arms get the support you need while sitting. 1D or 2D armrests might work for you, but not not as well. Instead of the chair conforming to you, you will have to adapt to its limits. In worst case, if your cheap armrests don’t work well, you can remove them.

Best case for paying more

Gaming chair power users are those who sit full-time for a living at a computer workstation. This group includes pro gamers, web developers, programmers, writers and more.

For this class of user, it makes sense to pay more for the highest quality chair. For instance, the $399 Secretlab Titan comes with a 5-year warranty. Working full-time long-term, that works out to $79.80 per year.

That’s a reasonable price to pay for the benefits gained. The most obvious benefit is the glorious comfort each time you sit.

The more practical benefit is an energy surge. Since the chair supports your body’s posture, your muscles don’t have to. That leaves extra energy to focus on work.

In other words, an expensive gaming chair will support your health. It will also boost energy and focus while computing at a desk.

Best cases for paying less

If you don’t need to sit full-time, it doesn’t make sense to pay more for an expensive gaming chair. Sitting only a few hours per day, you won’t notice a difference. Cheap gaming chairs work fine, but will flatten out if used too often.

Buying an expensive gaming chair for part time use is overkill – like using a Humvee as a tractor. The following groups will get better value for money out of cheap chairs:

Gaming chairs for Adolescents

Cheap gaming chair for kids
A cheap gaming chair is a great way to teach young people healthy posture habits.

Cheap chairs tends to be on the smaller side and will fit most pre-teens. These are a great way to help youth forge strong posture habits while they game on their computer.

Gaming chairs for students

Clutch Throttle Series target market

Cheap chairs are perfect study chairs for the bedroom. Since they’ll only get used a few hours a day, they can last well past their warranty period in most cases.

Gaming chairs for frequent movers

If you move often, buying an expensive chair might be a waste. Digital nomads and other mobile workers are better suited to using cheap chairs. It’s a smaller investment that won’t hurt when they need to move on.

Gaming chairs for adult hobbyists

Using a cheap gaming chair at home
Adults can relax after work with a cheap chair to support healthy posture.

Make a cheap chair the centerpiece of your home entertainment. Ditch the sofa. Come home after work to chill out in your comfy gaming chair and support good posture instead.

Best expensive gaming chairs

Expensive gaming chairs cost between $300 to $550. They provide superior padding, upholstery and armrests. People pay more to ensure optimal comfort, no matter how long they sit.

With your chair handling support, your body gains more energy to focus on working. Consider expensive chairs an ultra comfortable productivity hack.

See our top three picks below, or check our top 10 best expensive chairs.

Secretlab Titan 2020 Series

Current Price: $399

Secretlab Titan chair
The Secretlab Titan is our top-rated pick. (Chair images: Secretlab.co)

The Secretlab Titan 2020 Series is our top-rated expensive chair. It offers a meticulous build with the highest quality materials. This includes the most luxurious cold foam padding you can buy. Firm and supportive, it’s designed to stand up to five years of heavy use.

Also, other chairs use support pillows, but the Titan uses internal lumbar support. Turn the dial on the side of the backrest until the lumbar fills the curve in your lower back. Then rest your body weightinto the backrest and let the ergonomic support kick in. Expect precise support that locks into place. Set, forget and relax.

Detailed Secretlab Titan Review

AKRacing Master Series Pro

Current Price: $369.99

AKRacing Master Series
The most expensive and luxurious chair of them all. (Chair images: AKRacing.com)

While the Titan looks sleek and sexy, this model looks brash, bold and chunky. The AKRacing Master Series Pro is the most expensive chair reviewed on this site. Its even more luxurious than the Titan, with finer attention to small details. But its also more expensive. If you’re looking for the pricest luxury model, this is it.

This model has seventy perc cent more padding than other AKRacing Chairs. Like the Titan, it also has a 5-year warranty. Its standout feature is the ultra high quality PU leather upholstery. It has subtle perforations along contact spots, which helps the chair keep cool and airy.

Detailed Master Series Pro Review

Clutch Chairz Throttle Series

Current Price: $469.99

Clutch Chairz Throttle Series
xxx (Chair images: AKRacing.com)

Clutch Chairz is an American company in California. The Throttle Series is the flagship product from Clutch Chairz. It was made famous after PewDiePie started using in in his Youtube videos.

The Throttle Series is a premium chair on the higher end of the pricing scale. The key features are all done to the best levels of quality. Dense foam padding, ergonomic support pillows and 4D armrests are all top-end.
As well, the Throttle Series upholstery is exquisite. It’s a premium faux leather blend with exceptional softness, breathability and durability.

This model comes with a 3-year warranty. Count on it to stand up to heavy daily use beyond the warranty’s duration.

Detailed Throttle Series Review

Best cheap gaming chairs

The best cheap gaming chairs give you basic features that hold up well to part time use.

Common components in cheap gaming chairs
Cheap gaming chairs provide basic functions.

The key thing you lose out on with cheap chairs is the quality of padding. Cheaper chairs have thinner padding that doesn’t hold up as well to long periods of sitting.

See our top three picks below, or check our top 10 best cheap chairs.

Homall Gaming Chair

Current price: $126.99

Homall Executive gaming chair
This is one of the top-selling gaming chairs on Amazon.

Homall’s Executive Gaming Chair is Amazon’s top selling gaming chair. This model renders the best features of expensive chairs into a budget-priced package.

Highlights include decent padding, sleek upholstery and deep recline to 180°. On the downside, the armrests are not adjustable.

  • Functionality: fixed armrests; recline to 180°
  • Warranty: one year on parts; 30 days return policy.
  • Free shipping: included.

Detailed Homall Chair Review

Elecwish Premium Gaming Chair

Current price: Price not available

Elecwish gaming chairs, four colors
Elecwish makes excellent budget chairs with footrests and extra thick padding

The Elecwish recliner comes in various colors. All feature a retractable La-Z-Boy style footrest. That makes it one of the most comfortable cheap chairs on the market.

It works well as an upright working or studying chair, providing the right amount of back support. But it really shines is in recline mode. As a comfy chillout chair for bedroom or home office, this is a great budget option.

  • Functionality: retractable footrest; recline to to 170°; 2D adjustable armrests.
  • Warranty: 1 year limited warranty.
  • Free shipping: included.

Browse all Elecwish models

GTRACING Classic Gaming Chair

Current price: $139.99

GTRacing budget gaming chairs

The GTRacing Classic is a sturdy package at a great price. It’s a good buy for students, gamers and others needing comfortable back support a few hours a day.

For the price, it has an impressive array of features. These include PVC leather upholstery that is attractive, easy to clean and durable. Other features include 2D armrests and support for up to 300 pounds. The padding is average, holding up well under light use.

  • Functionality: recline to 170°; 2D armrests.
  • Warranty: 1 year on parts; free replacement or refund within 30 days.
  • Free shipping: included.

GTRacing Brand Review

Conclusion: are cheap chairs good?

This article established that both cheap and expensive gaming chairs work the same. With expensive chairs, you get better padding, upholstery and armrests.

From a buyer’s perspective, choosing a cheap or expensive chair depends on how long you plan to sit.

If you only sit a few hours a day, the quality of padding makes very little difference. When you sit full-time, even a small drop in padding quality can make a huge difference.

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