Are cheap gaming chairs worth buying?

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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.

Luxuruy gaming chair compared to budget gaming chair

The primary purpose of a gaming chair is to support healthy posture over long hours of sitting. On that front, both expensive and cheap chairs work the same. Both offer thick padding and support cushions that keep the neck and spine in alignment.

Thus, whether you buy a cheap or expensive chair, you can expect improved posture. With improved posture comes many health benefits. These includebetter blood flow, deeper breathing and increased vitality.

Experiencing cheap and expensive chairs

This writer has been using gaming chairs for five years. I started a DXRacer Formula Series. That chair took a beating for 2.5 years, after which I upgraded to a DXRacer Drifting Series.

DXRacer gaming chairs used by ChairsFX
ChairsFX has been using DXRacer gaming chairs for 5+ years.

Later I moved to Vietnam for six months and sold my Drifting Series. I spent a week in Vietnam using a cheap office chair. Predictably, my back locked up and pain bloomed in my neck and shoulders. I was unable to sit for more than 20 minutes at a time.

In Vietnam, there are a huge range of top models on offer. These include Noblechairs, Anda Seat chairs, DXRacers and more. I decided to go low-end, opting for an Anda Series Assassin for around $220 USD.

At first it felt like a fantastic chair. It was very comfortable with lots of adjustment options and excellent back support.

However, after a few weeks some key differences emerged. This article explains the key differences between expensive gaming chairs and cheap ones.

Differences between expensive and cheap gaming chairs

Cheap gaming chairs
Cheap gaming chairs hide flaws under the flashy upholstery.

Cheap gaming chairs tend to have wild colors and added features that sound cool. Some feature retractable footrests. Others come with USB-powered massage units. Some models even include Bluetooth speakers.

Keep in mind that the key purpose of a gaming chair is to support good posture over long hours of sitting. Thus, the extras on cheap chairs are more like marketing gimmicks than necessities.

This section explains the two key differences between cheap and expansive gaming chairs.

Quality of padding

Don’t be fooled by the flashy colors of cheap gaming chairs. Cheaper chairs degrade fast, since most use much cheaper padding than pricier chairs.

Expensive vs cheap gaming chair padding. Are cheap chairs good?

The more expensive chairs tend to fuse cold foam padding onto the steel frame. Then most add a layer of memory foam. The result is a dense padding that will take the shape of your body and then hold up for years.

Quality of upholstery

Gaming chair quality of upholstery
Expensive vs cheap gaming chair 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 chairs use lower quality foam and a cheaper PU leather blend. Cheaper chair will tends to crack after a few months of heavy use.

Also, cheaper leather has a worse fit. Notice the difference between a Secretlab Titan and a no-name generic gaming chair:

Gaming chair upholstery
The Titan has a sleek and firm finish. The cheaper chair looks lumpy.

Comparing expensive and cheap gaming chairs

This section reviews the experience using both a high end gaming chair and then a cheaper one.

Using a DXRacer D-Series

DXRacer Drifting Series in home office
The D-Series is a stunning chair with dense padding and a very luxurious feel.

The DXRacer Drifting Series is a gaming chair designed for office workers. It’s a very snug fit with little room to move your legs. It feels like strapping into a racing car cockpit.

The thing that most stood out about this model was the padding. It was tightly packed under the upholstery. It felt very stiff when first assembled.

Breaking in this chair took more than a week or painful siting. After a week, my body was imprinted into the foam enough that the chair took on my body shape. Then, my sitting experience was luxurious. Sitting for long hours of work was a breeze – the Drifting Series has excellent ergonomics.

DXRacer D-Series

There were just a couple of downsides. First, this model is so beautiful that it felt fragile. The tiniest drop of water spilled onto the seat would make me panic. I stopped eating while sat in the chair for fear of staining it. Even though the PVC upholstery is waterproof and stainproof, it felt very delicate.

The other downside had to do with the armrests – DXRacer models only offer 2D adjustability (armrests can adjust and and down; forwards and backwards). However, ignorance is bliss – I didn’t really comprehend to joy of 4D adjustable armrests until I bought my Anda Series model.

Pros

  • Stunning good looks
  • Very thick, dense padding that takes to the shape of your body
  • Excellent back support for long hours of working
  • Very snug fit locks you into a perfect position for upright working

Cons

  • Because its so beautiful, it feels really delicate (even though it’s built like a tank)
  • The 2D adjustable armrests are limiting

Using an Anda Seat Assassin Series

Are cheap chairs good?

ChairsFX defines budget gaming chairs as those costing less than $200. The Anda Seat Assassin cost slightly more than that (USD $220 retail price in Vietnam).

As a semi-budget chair, it’s got an impressive list of features:

  • Deep recline to 160°
  • Ultra durable PVC leather upholstery
  • 4D adjustable armrests (only available on Asian models)

It’s a comfortable chair with a decent feel,although the padding is much less substantial than the DXRacer D-Series.

Anda Seat padding
The Assassin Series is less densely padded than the DXRacer.

While the looser padding is an aesthetic negative, the Assassin Series took just a few days to break in. I found it just as comfortable as my DXRacer D-Series.

However, the DXRacer only came with 2D adjustable armrests. My Assassin Series came with 4D adjustable. These move up and down; left and right; forwards and backwards; and even diagonally!

4D adjustable armrests
4D armrests can adjust to your exact preferences.

While my DXRacer was so beautiful that it felt delicate, the Anda Seat Assassin Series feels like a rugged tank. Water spills have no effect:

Water spill on PVC leather
The Assassin’s upholstery feels rugged and durable.

Overall, the Assassin is a solid gaming chair that I don’t regret buying. That said, it doesn’t come close to matching the luxurious feel of the DXRacer.

Pros

  • Good looking chair
  • 4D adjustable armrests are very convenient
  • Solid comfort and excellent back support

Cons

  • Less dense padding gives this chair a cheap look, compared to the luxurious DXRacer
  • While the whole chair is solid, it feels significantly less luxurious than a DXRacer

Conclusion: are cheap chairs good?

Many budget chairs we review boast features like retractable footrests and Bluetooth speakers. Conversely, many of our luxury models don’t have any noteworthy features. DXRacers, for example, come with only with 2D adjustable armrests.

This guide shows the biggest difference between premium and budget chairs – the upholstery. Premium chairs are more densely padded. This gives better back support and a more luxurious feel.

On the other hand, budget models are adequately upholstered. You can expect a similar level of back support, but with less padding and thus a less luxurious feel.

In hindsight, there are good and bad points about both cheap and expensive chairs.

Both provide great back support for long hours of working. My DXRacer was better looking and more comfortable. My Anda Seat had cheaper padding and offered decent comfort.

I love the 4D adjustable armrests on the Assassin Series, but still my old DXRacer. In summary: