Once upon a time (2006, to be precise), gaming chairs burst onto the scene with flashy racing seat styling, high backrests, full swivel, tilt-lock recline and chunky pillows for the neck and back.
As with any potential emerging technology, gaming chairs needed field testing to prove their substance, and it was achieved. Over the years, gaming chair adoption into e-sports and professional workspaces has been spectacular.
Today, any savvy professional who spends long hours sitting at a computer can confirm that a gaming chair is the best way to manage it.
While gaming chair benefits have not yet hit the mainstream, among hard-core computer users they have massively dented the domination of the good old office chair.
Gaming chairs boast flashy looks, reclining backrests, and ergonomic benefits. In comparison, office chairs mainly get by on discrete looks and cheap pricing - at the expense of your spine.
Read on to find out the winner of the gaming chair vs. office chair face-off.
Design and Aesthetics
When comparing gaming chairs vs office chairs, the most striking differences have to do with the aesthetics and design features. While they’re both made for people who sit in front of a desk for a long time, there are significant differences in their appearances.
A standard office chair won’t attract much attention. It is mostly designed to be functional. Office chairs tend to be in various shades of black and gray and clad in leather or mesh.
Gaming chairs, on the other hand, look very slick. Expect to see bold designs and shapes inspired by race cars. Many gaming chairs sport game-inspired color patterns. Even the cheapest gaming chairs have a way of looking like they were lifted from the cockpit of a fighter jet or race car.
Check out some of our favorite gaming chair models across the pricing spectrum:
The comfort level is probably the most important feature of a chair. This is especially true if you plan to spend long hours in front of a TV or a monitor. Therefore, it is in your best interest to get a chair that suits you and your definition of comfortable.
Office chairs are made to be comfortable, but without any focus on offering proper back support. In fact, many employers bulk buy office chairs based on price and uniformity, rather than the well being of people using them.
At first, a cheap office chair may seem just as comfortable as a cheap gaming chair. However, over the long run, gaming chairs come out way ahead. Cheap office chairs cause wilted backs and slouched postures, which can lead to all sorts of chronic health issues.
On the other hand, gaming chairs are good for your posture. Over time, the win by a large margin in terms of both comfort and overall wellness.
This is the most obvious area where gaming chairs stand out.
The thought behind the design of all legitimate gaming chairs is ergonomic support for long-hours of screen-based sedentary time. Having the flexibility over swivel, cushion support, height and recline at at once gives you maximum control.
However, with great power comes responsibility. Understanding how to use a gaming chair correctly is the best path towards perfect optimization that meets your specific needs.
Paying this attention to detail can significantly improve the working or gaming experience.
All legitimate gaming chairs (like the ones reviewed on this site) have reclining backrests, adjustable armrests and neck and lumbar support pillows. Combined, these components ensure healthy posture and blood flow over long hours of sitting.
At the highest end ($300 to $400), you also get 4D adjustable armrests, thicker padding and more powerful durability.
On the other hand, cheap office chairs will wreck your back with extended use. A big part of the reason for that is because most budget office chairs only offers height adjustment and useless recline. Conversely, the best gaming chairs recline with a tilt-lock mechanism, at any angle you wish.
Accessories and extras
The other stuff that comes with the chair may or may not be important, depending on your preferences. Some want a simple and comfortable chair, while others want all the bells and whistles that money can buy.
Typically, a low-cost office chair doesn’t come with any accessories and extras. What you see is what you get.
Moving on up, you might find some shared features with gaming chairs, such as built-in speakers and Bluetooth connectivity. You shouldn’t expect to see steering wheels or pedals on an office or crossover chair, however.
Gaming chairs, as their name suggests, are designed to maximize the gaming experience. Therefore, you may find Bluetooth connectivity and built-in speakers even in the lower price range. Some more expensive models might also have metal bases and steering wheels and pedals.
Finally, you should also consider the price of the chair. It won’t tell you everything about the quality and the features, but it can be a basis for comparison.
For example, office chairs start at under $100 and can go up to around $1,500. On the other hand, gaming chairs typically go from $100 to $500+ (browse all gaming chair reviews).
Quality gaming chairs come with steel frames that feature high backrests, which provide optimal support for the spine. If proper posture is not a concern, then the gaming chair vs. office chair debate comes down to personal application and preferences. If you’re after a simple and comfortable chair, an office chair may suffice.
On the other hand, if you're after peak performance, there's simply no question. A gaming chair will allow you to perform at a high level for long hours in perfect ergonomic alignment, and provide plenty of other benefits as well.