These days, students spend huge amounts of time sitting in front of a computer. Online learning, gaming and general computing can demand full-time attention. Having the right tools for the job can help to ensure optimal performance. So what is the best chair for studying? ChairsFX investigates.
Among the many flaws in the modern education system is the lack of healthy sitting awareness. Most schools provide cheap, basic plastic or wooden seats. Over long periods, sitting upright in these chairs places a heavy strain on the spine. As the spine tires, the body begins to slouch.
Physically, slouching stresses the spine and forces muscles to work harder. That causes chronic discomfort, which drains energy levels and increases irritability. Under such conditions, performance can suffer. Many studies show a connection between posture and cognitive performance.
Those who sit with good posture tend to be more alert and engaged. In contrast, sitting with poor posture increases the risk of weight gain, depression, and anxiety. The logical conclusion would be that the best chair for studying would be any that supports good posture.
Cheap office chairs support good posture over short periods of sitting. Over long periods, they support spinal problems, varicose veins, lethargy, and chronic pain.
Why is a gaming chair the best chair for studying? Learn the realities of ergonomic awareness in America. While education institutions dropped the ball, ergonomic gaming chairs revolutionized the seating industry.
Ergonomic awareness in America
Ergonomics is the study of people in their working environment. Ergonomic scientists strive to optimize workspaces to fit the user. The point is to reduce discomfort and boost productivity. This approach places the well-being of the user as the highest priority.
In sharp contrast, most schools use a one-size-fits-all approach to furnish classrooms. Many students suffer from poor posture but don’t even realize it. Regarding the best chair for studying, most teachers have no idea.
That’s because ergonomic awareness does not exist in the modern education system. Students get used to living with stiff joints, lethargy, and lower back pain. They confuse this crippled condition as their normal reality — and get used to it.
This section outlines the history of ergonomic intelligence in America. That leads to reviews of the best ergonomic chairs for studying.
Posture technology in the school system
Around 150 years ago, school attendance became mandatory for American children. Advocates of this change argued it would help to close the wealth gap. Opponents saw it as an infringement of rights over how to raise their kids. They also argued that the nature of the classroom was unnatural. It forced kids to distort their bodies by sitting at desks for 6 hours every day.
The classic book Rise and Fall of American Posture gives this timeline of posture in the education system:
1890: a pediatric journal claimed that over 50% of American kids had deformed spines.
1898: American Physical Education Review launches. One of its missions was to spread awareness about good posture habits.
1914: American Posture League launches. Posture training gets added to school curricula.
1920s: elite colleges start photographing student applicants nude to assess their posture. They also start posture programs to help students distinguish themselves through good posture.
1943: American Posture League disbands.
1950s: James Dean makes slouching cool. The posture craze dies. Many clinics close and schools drop their posture programs.
By the 1960s, Ivy League schools stopped taking posture pictures. The Rise and Fall of American Posture notes how the times changed. The 60s era favored consumerism, sexuality, and suppleness. Standing up straight was for “squares”.
Moving forward from there, posture was no longer a measure of character or social worth. As a result, doctors had little basis to claim that people suffered from posture defects.
Esports brings ergonomics to the masses
Compared to the archaic, slow-moving parts of the education industry, esports thrives on rapid innovation. When Starcraft kicked off the esports craze in the 1990s, hundreds of thousands flocked to computers for extended gaming marathons.
Back problems among gamers skyrocketed. In 2006, DXRacer released the world’s first gaming chair to address those problems. That design was a huge hit. Gamers flocked to buy gaming chairs. Demand increased, and other gaming chair brands arose. The market spoke loud and clear. A thriving global industry emerged.
Most gaming chairs of today follow DXRacer’s original blueprint. Modern PC gaming chairs are ergonomic. That means they adjust to the user, rather than the user adjusting to the chair.
The point is to provide comfortable posture support. With good posture comes many benefits. These include improved breathing, circulation, and mood. Even better, because gaming chairs support good posture, the muscles don’t have to. So instead of wasting energy holding up the body, users can put their mojo into their work.
The Esports approach to healthy computing
Professional esports is now a billion-dollar industry. Top teams nurture players by providing the best ergonomic chairs to succeed.
On top of that, pro team training regimens include a healthy balance of rest, nutrition and exercise. The goal is to optimize performance while working, then refresh and recharge during leisure time.
Best gaming chairs for studying
The most expensive Herman Miller ergonomic chairs cost over $1400. Gaming chairs have similar ergonomic features, with affordable prices.
In 2020, the best chair for studying is a gaming chair. Prices range between $150 to around $500. Across the entire range, gaming chairs support good posture over long periods of sitting. All models come with basic adjustable features. You can recline the backrest, adjust the armrests, and adjust the height of the seat. Pricer models add extra features for greater comfort and adjustability.
There are dozens of great chairs to choose from. Check our gaming chair buying guides for a broad view. Below are some of our favorite options:
Best pro chair: Secretlab Titan
Price: $399 to $429
Our top-rated pro esports chair comes with spacious dimensions, rich ergonomic features, and a 5-year warranty. The Secretlab Titan and Secretlab Omega are the official training chairs for many of the world’s top esports teams. The Titan is the larger model with some comfort-enhancing extras.
Most gaming chairs come with a height-adjustable lumbar pillow. The Titan drops the pillow in favor of an internal lumbar support system. Turning a knob on the side of the backrest will increase or decrease the depth of the lower back support.
Other ergonomic features are all top-of-the-line. You can angle the backrest backward, and also five degrees forward. The metal-plated 4D armrests give a satisfying ‘click’ when you lock into a new position. It also comes with a multifunction tilt-lock that lets you lock the seat at different angles.
Compared to the Omega chair, the Titan also has a flat, wide seat. That provides enough room to cross your legs while sitting. Other key features:
- Features: padded 4D adjustable armrests; recline to 165°; tilt lock.
- Comfort: blended cold cure foam; memory foam neck pillow with cooling gel insert.
- Upholstery: real leather, Softweave Fabric or Secretlab Prime 2.0 PU leather.
- Warranty: 5-year warranty
- Seat width & depth: 20.5″ (W) x 19.7″ (D)
- Backrest height & width: 33″ (H) x 21.7″ (W)
- Floor to seat range: 18.7″ to 22.4″
- Chair height: 51.7″ to 55.4″
- Size rating: people 5’9″ to 6’7 tall; up to 290 pounds
The Secretlab Titan comes with pro features, superb comfort, and a 5-year warranty. It’s a very comfortable study chair that should fit most average-sized students. If you’re looking for a high-quality performance-enhancing study chair, this is the one.
Expect superb comfort and ergonomic support for as much as 10 hours per day. For the investment, the Secretlab Titan will last hard-core power users five years or longer.
For other high-end options, check out our review of the best pro esports gaming chairs.
Popular small chair: AKRacing California
AKRacing Price: $379
Gaming chairs come in different sizes. Choosing the right size helps to ensure optimal back support and comfort.
The AKRacing California is one of the smallest gaming chairs on the market. It comes in three striking pastel colors and supports sizes between 4’9″ to 5’6″.
While the Titan is a full-featured gaming chair, the Califonia cuts back on a few features. For one thing, it comes with 3D armrests instead of 4D. For another, it doesn’t have a multifunction tilt-lock. That means you can rock the chair, but not lock the seat at angles.
- Features: 3D armrests; deep recline to 180°.
- Comfort: resilient cold foam padding; neck and lumbar pillows, premium PU leather cover.
- Warranty: five years on parts; 10 years on the frame.
- Seat width & depth: 21″ (W) x 17.7″ (D)
- Backrest height & width: 27.7″ (H) x 21″ (W)
- Floor to seat range: 13.75″ to 17.25″
- Chair height: 44″ to 47.4″
- Size rating: 4’9″ to 5’6″; 100 too 155 pounds (max load is 330 pounds).
The California chair has decent ergonomic features. The main attraction is the tiny dimensions. Another highlight (for some tastes) is the soothing color styles. The 5-year warranty also makes this chair attractive.
Small students wanting a cozy, compact fit should consider this model.
Best cheap chair: GTRacing Ace
Direct buy price: $199.99
Most gaming chairs under $200 come with limited features. Expect 1D or 2D armrests, basic upholstery, and short warranty periods. The new GTRacing Ace breaks the cheap chair mold. It comes in both PU leather and fabric designs. Models include 4D armrests and an impressive 5-year warranty. No other gaming chair under $200 offers such excellent value for money.
Ace chairs lack a multifunction tilt-lock, but otherwise quality as full-featured pro chairs.
- Functionality: 4D armrests; recline to 165°; rocking and tilt tension.
- Comfort: high-density foam padding; neck and lumbar support cushions.
- Foundation: steel frame; Class 3 gas lift; XL PU-coated casters.
These chairs are best suited to average sizes with slim figures. Users with extra-thick legs or super-wide hips may find the fit too snug for comfort.
- Seat width & depth: 19.69″ (W) x 21.65″ (D)
- Backrest height & width: 21.26″ (W) x 32.28″ (D)
- Floor to seat range: 17.7″ to 22.14″
- Chair height: 49.2″ to 53.1″
- Size rating: 5’3″ to 6’1″; maximum weight capacity 290 pounds.
The GTRacing Ace offers pro chair features at rock-bottom prices. The 4D armrests give you more options to support your body while sitting. The rock-solid warranty ensures at least five years of use out of this investment.
For other cheap chair options, check out our review of the best budget gaming chairs.
BONUS: Posture training for kids
Many kids start playing video games at around three or four years old. Since good posture is habit-forming, this is the ideal time to teach healthy sitting habits. There are a few gaming chairs for young kids worth checking.
Sitrite Desk chair
One of those is the Sitrite desk chair. It fits average-sized kids between 4-9 years old. Its clever design supports kids through their early growth years. It comes with a cushioned, adjustable seat and special features that adjust chair dimensions as kids grow.
Key features include a cushioned seat that can slide forwards or backward. This is an easy way to adjust the chair to suit larger kids or smaller ones. The Sitrite chair also comes with a removable footrest. This gives smaller kids the support to use the chair, even if their legs are too short.
- Functionality: adjustable sliding seat; removable footrest; 360° swivel
- Comfort: padded seat and backrest.
- Warranty: one year. Free shipping included.
- Free shipping: included.
Check out some other specialty ergonomic chairs for kids in this detailed review.
Benefits of good posture for students
Ergonomic chair maker Herman Miller researched the effects of comfort in the workplace. They found that when people are uncomfortable, they become distracted. But when given ergonomic furniture that adjusts to their needs, their focus improves.
In the classroom, there are noticeable differences between distracted and engaged students. For instance, many studies show a connection between good posture and cognitive performance.
Distracted students tend to slump forward on their desks or slouch low into their chairs. In contrast, engaged students sit high in their chairs.
That explains why a gaming chair the best chair for studying. The key appeal is that these chairs provide comfortable posture support. With good posture, students are more alert, energetic, and able to concentrate.
Are you looking for the ultimate study chair for students? Try one of our recommended gaming chairs. Those models will help you sit longer, work smarter and be more productive.