Gaming Chairs vs Office Chairs Compared

Personal computing has been a key part of office culture since the rise of the Internet in the 1990s. As people sat longer, many discovered that office chairs promote poor posture. In contrast, gaming chairs support optimal health while sitting. This article compares PC gaming chairs with office chairs. Learn why gaming chairs are the superior choice for all types of computer users.

Gaming chairs vs office chairs compared
Gaming chairs vs office chairs: learn why gaming chairs are better at providing healthy ergonomic support.

At a glance, the design of PC gaming chairs really stands out. There’s a tall backrest, thick padded seat and support pillows in varied color schemes. Each of these elements has a specific ergonomic purpose.

Gaming chair vs office chair ergonomics
Each component that makes up a gaming chair serves an ergonomic purpose.

Combined, these provide a level of back support that office chairs do not. This is the key difference between gaming chairs and office chairs.

Sitting long periods in a cheap office chair can lead to poor posture and chronic stiffness. Racing style gaming chair designs support the back and neck. This encourages proper spinal alignment and healthy posture while sitting.

PC gaming chair ergonomics
Gaming chair cushions support the spine’s natural curves.

This article expands on the key differences between gaming chairs and office chairs. The sum of those is that gaming chairs let you sit longer, work harder and enjoy positive health benefits.

Gaming Chairs vs Office Chairs: Design and Aesthetics

The most striking difference between gaming chairs and office chairs is the styling. Side by side, you can see a few visual differences. First, a higher backrest on gaming chairs provides superior back support. Second, gaming chairs come with adjustable armrests. Third, gaming chairs have thicker padding in the seat and backrest.

PC gaming chair features
Gaming chairs have several ergonomic features. Office chairs only have a few. (See full size image on our Twitter).

PC gaming chairs also come with removable support cushions. One supports the neck while the lumbar cushion supports the lower back.

PC gaming chair support pillows: ergonomic benefits illustrated
Neck and lumbar cushions help you maintain proper posture while sitting.

Comfort level

If accustomed to sitting with poor posture, office chairs will feel more comfortable – at first. That’s because the body gets used to sitting a certain way. With chronic poor posture, slouching becomes the comfort zone.

Results of chronic poor posture
People who are used to slouching will feel most comfortable sitting with a misaligned spine.

Most people who slouch suffer tightness in the back, neck, and shoulders. When they switch to a gaming chair, it forces them to sit upright. With tight muscles, this can feel very painful at first. The body needs time to adjust.

It takes around one week to break in a new gaming chair. Until that happens, you might regret buying a PC gaming chair. But after your body adjusts, expect a level of comfort you never thought possible.

Gaming chair comfort example

When you sit in a gaming chair for computing, set the recline to around 110°. Adjust the back and neck pillows so they fit in the curves at your neck and lumbar area. Then lean back your body into the backrest.

Gaming chair back support
Gaming chairs provide superb ergonomics for long periods of sitting.

That will put you at an eye-level view of your computer screen. The backrest supports your weight, but keeps your neck and back aligned.

With the weight off your back, you get more energy for focused computing.

Adjustability

Most office chairs offer adjustable height and a rocking function. Gaming chairs offer superior adjustability in a few key areas:

Armrests: 2D armrests adjust up and down. 3D armrests can also adjust forwards or backwards and side-to-side. 4D armrests can also adjust diagonally.

Gaming chair armrest options for gaming chair user guide
4D armrests provide the best support for long periods of computing.

Recline: most gaming chairs can recline to at least 135°. Some recline all the way to 180°.
Gaming chair vs office chair for work rest and play

The ideal recline for working in a gaming chair is between 100° to 110°. A recline to 135° is a relaxing way to read or watch videos. Any deeper is best for napping. Check out our Gaming Chair User Guide for more information about recline options.

Gaming chair reclining angles

Tilt lock: this is a high-end feature usually found in the most expensive gaming chairs. It allows you to adjust the angle of the seat, without standing up. Combined with recline, it gives dozens of options to keep your body moving while sitting.

Gaming chair tilt lock
The tilt lock function provides alternate angles to take pressure off your spine.

Office chairs lack adjustability

Keeping your body fixed — especially while sitting with poor posture — is bad for your health. It puts more strain on the back, increasing fatigue while decreasing productivity. It also diminishes breathing and clogs circulation.

For these reasons, office chairs are best when used for short sitting periods. In contrast, PC gaming chairs are better for long sessions of gaming or computing.

Gaming chairs vs office chairs health benefits

Casual gamers might spend long periods sitting, but they have a choice. When they start feeling tired, they can stop gaming and do something else.

Office workers don’t have that luxury. Americans sit almost 13 hours per day. While sitting in an office chair, the spine needs to hold the body upright against gravity. As the day wears on, the spine tires and wilts. That’s how poor posture starts.

Ergonomics

Ergonomics is a scientific discipline that studies human efficiency in working environments. Ergonomic engineers use theory, principles and data to enhance human well-being and performance.

Gaming chair support pillows
Rest your back against gaming chair support pillows to give your muscles a break.

Gaming chairs ergonomics better respond to your body’s needs. If your back gets tired, you can increase back support or adjust cushions. You can also adjust gaming chair armrests.

Each arm of a 170-pound person weighs around 10 pounds. In an office chair, your spine holds the arms up while sitting. In a gaming chair, the armrests do the work. This spares your muscles and leaves more energy for computing.

Gaming chair armrests are good for your back
Gaming chair back and arm rests can support your body during long periods of computing.

That’s an example of how sitting in a gaming chair helps take the pressure off the arms, back and upper body muscles. You can adjust gaming chairs to hold the body up against gravity while sitting. As a result, the muscles don’t have to.

This gives pro gamers and savvy computer users an edge. The chair manages your sitting posture instead of your muscles. This allows longer, more comfortable computing sessions – with greater concentration and focus.

Accessories and extras

Gaming chair delivery and assembly

Quality gaming chairs come packed with 50+ pounds of features and accessories. Standard gaming chairs ship with assembly tools and removable neck and lumbar cushions.

Some gaming chairs offer more, like retractable footrests or built-in massage units.

Low-cost office chairs don’t come with any accessories or extras. What you see is what you get.

Price

The two most popular classes of PC gaming chairs are cheap models (under $200) and pro models (over $300).

Cheap vs expensive gaming chairs
Both cheap and expensive gaming chairs support optimal posture while sitting.

Both offer similar features and ergonomic support. The biggest difference between cheap and expensive chairs is the quality of upholstery. Expensive chairs have thicker, more resilient padding that lasts longer. When you sit full-time, that can make a huge difference.

Cheap vs Expensive gaming chairs

Other types of computing chairs

Nobody owns the trademark for the name “gaming chair”. It’s a generic term to describe any type of chair used for playing video games.

This section compares PC gaming chairs to a pair of gaming alternatives.

Ergonomic task chairs

For many years, the only upgrade from office chairs was to high-end ergonomic chairs. Top models like the Steelcase Gesture and Herman Miller Embody provide excellent back support. The problem is the price. Ergonomic chairs are so expensive that many would rather suffer back pain than buy one.

Herman Miller Aeron prices
The cheapest Herman Miller Aeron model costs almost $1400.

In contrast, gaming chairs offer high-end ergonomics for the masses. What’s more, gaming chairs enjoy more robust development for a specific niche – PC users. The popularity of PC gaming fuels a massive demand for gaming chairs. That’s why the top gaming chair brands often release big upgrades and new features.

Herman Miller Embody ergonomic chair
The Embody provides good ergonomics but costs too much for most people.

So ergonomic chairs and gaming chairs serve the same purpose. Both support good posture for long periods of sitting. The difference is that gaming chairs are much cheaper. They are also better suited to computing than general use ergonomic chairs.

PC gaming chairs vs ergonomic task chairs

Console gaming chairs

Best selling console gaming chairs of 2020
Console gaming chairs provide passable back support for living room gamers.

Gaming consoles like the Xbox One and Playstation 4 connect to living room televisions. Most people who get started with console gaming sit on the floor or the couch. Both place a torturous strain on the back.

Dangers of console gaming on the sofa
Using your spine to support upright gaming can cause serious and health issues.

Are console gaming chairs any good? ChairsFX did an analysis of the best-selling models on Amazon. We found basic ergonomics, dubious warranties and lots of gimmicks. Many console chairs charge extra for things unrelated to back support. For example, built-in speakers, massage units and wireless transmitters.

While these might enhance gameplay, gaming isn’t much fun when your back is on fire.

Review: Amazon’s best selling console gaming chairs

Conclusion: gaming chairs vs office chairs

Gaming chairs are better for your back than office chairs

In the case of gaming chairs vs office chairs, the facts are clear. Gaming chairs offer more features and adjustability.

Quality gaming chairs come with steel frames and high backrests. Then comes thick foam padding. After that is a synthetic leather or mesh fabric cover.

These features support a healthy posture while sitting. Your muscles will stop wasting energy supporting unhealthy posture. That leaves more energy to put into work, or gaming or any screen-based desk activity.

If posture and comfort are not concerns, then the gaming chair vs. office chair debate is a personal preference. If you’re after a simple and comfortable chair, an office chair may suffice. To go deeper into the issue, check out the following feature:

Why PC gaming chairs are the best option for office workers

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