Almost everyone in the esports industry uses an ergonomic chair. For hard-core gamers and streamers, these are the best at supporting health, wellness, and productivity. To perform like a pro, using a pro-quality computing chair makes a huge difference. So what chairs do the pros use in 2020? ChairsFX investigates.
In 2020, esports is a billion-dollar industry. Millions follow streaming mega-stars like Ninja, PewDiePie, and Shroud. Tens of millions watch global video game tournaments streamed live.
Esports championship prize pools are already larger than those for winning Wimbledon or PGA Majors. More people watch esports finals than NBA or World Series broadcasts.
For organizers, it’s an effective way to gain massive exposure with very low production costs. Most of the action takes place on computer screens. With hyped-up commentators, fast gaming action, and quick-cuts to players, it makes for gripping, dynamic TV.
At all top tournaments, there are official gaming chair sponsors. These are often the same chairs that pro players use for full-time training.
Relevance of knowing what the pros use
This article answers which gaming chairs top esports professionals use. But first, this section clarifies why that’s relevant for general computer users.
Demands placed on pro esports players
Playing scrims for so long each day is taxing. Esports success demands world-class fine motor skills. The best players stand out with elite speed, precision, aim, and hand-eye-coordination. Top games demand as many as 400 actions per minute. That means a blur of warp-speed decisions and clicks.
A University of Cologne study studied the effects of such high mental strain. It found that pro esports play produces similar levels of cortisol as race car drivers. Cortisol is a stress hormone. At higher levels, it raises pulses to as much as 160 to 180 beats per minute. That’s the same level as a fast 5-mile run.
The long hours and intense stress burn players out. Most pro players start in their teens and retire in their mid-20’s.
Cheap chairs cause problems
In the early days of esports, players sat on cheap office chairs. As esports tournaments grew in popularity, more players spent more time at computers. The problem with office chairs is that they force users to sit in fixed positions. Over long periods of sitting, that promotes poor posture and back problems.
Gaming chairs address those issues. Stock features include adjustable features, tall backrests, thick padding, and posture support pillows. But there are levels to gaming chairs.
Cheaper chairs use inferior padding that flattens out under heavy sitting loads. In contrast, pro computing chairs hold up under full-time sitting loads. What’s more, they offer more adjustable options to keep players fresh while they game.
Pro chairs boost performance
Human bodies work best when in motion. No matter what kind of chair you use, sitting for long periods is unhealthy. But for office workers and pro esports players, long periods of sitting are necessary.
Pro gaming chairs help to lessen the strain. The high backrest, thick padding, and support cushions support a healthy, aligned posture. Adjustable armrests and seat angles help to switch up active muscles in use while you sit.
The quality of padding and richness of features sets pro gaming chairs apart from cheap ones. Elite chairs help pro players game at peak performance levels for longer periods. Over time, this has a positive effect on player wellness, motivation, and productivity.
Definition of a pro-quality gaming chair
Pro chairs start with steel frames layered with cold foam padding. Cold foam is the premier padding choice in the furniture industry. It offers the best resistance and durability. When you sit, it gives slightly to take the shape of your body. When you stand, it pops back into the original shape.
Even if hard-core gamers sit in pro chairs 10 hours a day, the padding will retain its original shape for years. On top of this foundation are some important extra features:
- 4D adjustable armrests: these provide support for arms and wrists with the greatest range of adjustability.
- Seat angle tilt-lock: lets you adjust and lock the seat at angles, independent of the backrest. This gives more options to switch up the back muscles at work supporting your back.
- Cold cure foam padding: the premium padding choice in the seating industry. Cold foam padding is firm, resilient, and able ot keep its original shape for years.
- Breathable cover material: pro chairs are breathable enough to stay cool, even under the hottest conditions. That ensures the chair remains comfortable for long periods of sitting.
- Warranty: pro-level chair warranties should cover at least two years of full-time sitting loads. Otherwise, it’s hard to justify paying $300+.
Computing chairs used by top streamers
2020 has been a wild year in the streaming world. In June, Microsoft’s Mixer streaming service closed down. That left mega-streamers Ninja and Shroud as free agents without a streaming platform. Also in June, another major streamer went dark when Twitch banned Dr. Disrespect.
Even though those three are currently offline, they still have a major influence. Regardless of platform status, the world’s most influential streamers use the following chairs:
PewDiePie: Clutch Throttle Series
PewDiePie is Youtube’s biggest star. He has over 100 million Youtube subscribers. He streams video game commentaries. Gamers watch him playing games while discussing various topics.
Clutch Chairs Throttle Series
What gaming chair does PewDiePie use? It’s a custom design Clutch Chairs Throttle Series.
The Throttle Series supports up to 330 pounds. It has roomy dimensions, even for larger bodies. Features are pro-level:
- Functionality: 4D adjustable armrests; recline to 180°; 12° tilt-lock.
- Comfort: high-density cold cure foam padding; neck and lumbar pillows.
- Warranty: 3-year warranty on parts, lifetime warranty on the steel frame.
Lean more about this model in our detailed Clutch Chairz Throttle Series review.
Ninja: Maxnomic Pro
Richard “Ninja” Blevins is an American gamer. He was the most followed person on Twitch (15 million followers). He broke with Twitch and joined Mixer in late 2019. In June 2020, Mixer shut down, leaving Ninja as a free agent without a streaming platform.
Many believe he will return to streaming on Twitch. Wherever he ends up, expect him to continue as one of the the most-watched streamers in the world.
Ninja’s most popular act is streaming Fortnight. He’s also known for streaming commentary over Halo and PUBG.
Maxnomic Pro Gaming Chair
Ninja uses a custom Maxnomic Pro gaming chair. The Maxnomic Pro is a racing-style chair with bladed edges on the seat for a slim fit. Features are a notch above the Throttle Series. Maxnomic Pro chairs also have an 85° backrest incline and finger imprinted armrests.
- Functionality: 4D adjustable armrests; backrest adjusts from 83°(forward tilt) to 139°; 12° tilt-lock.
- Comfort: high-density cold cure foam padding; neck and lumbar pillows.
- Warranty: 2-year warranty.
Ninja is Maxnomic’s highest-profile ambassador. But many other popular streamers also use Maxnomic chairs. Maxnomic’s streaming ambassadors also include Tfue, Kaypea, and Towelliee.
A big reason is that Maxnomic is the only high-end gaming chair brand that sells custom chair designs. For an extra fee, you can choose your color scheme and also get embroidered logos on the front and back of your chair.
Lean more about this model in our detailed Maxnomic gaming chair brand review.
The next two gaming chairs used by pros are ergonomic task chairs. That name implies that these chairs are for all seated tasks, not only computing. Task chairs offer more advanced back support than gaming chairs but cost a lot more.
Shroud: Herman Miller Aeron
Michael “Shroud” Grzesiek is the third most popular streamer in the world. Like Ninja, this 25-year-old Canadian made his mark on the Twitch platform. There, he gained over 7 million followers. Also like Ninja, he switched over to the Mixer platform in late 2019. With Mixer now closed, Shroud is also on the sidelines as a free agent.
When he returns to streaming, expect him to remain one of the world’s most popular streamers. Then, his chair of choice will be back on full display. Shroud doesn’t have a gaming chair sponsor, so he uses what he feels like. In 2019, he switched from a Maxnomic Pro to a Herman Miller Aeron ergonomic task chair. Check his Youtube chair testimonial:
Aeron Chair by Herman Miller
The Herman Miller Aeron debuted in 1994 as the world’s first ergonomic task chair. Today, it is still among the top-selling task chairs on the market. Its standout feature is a robust synchro-tilt. That angles the seat when you lean forward or backward in the chair.
The Aeron chair costs over $1400 and is packed with ergonomic features. A high backrest and 3D adjustable armrests support good posture. There’s no headrest, but the lumbar support is so advanced Herman Miller assures you won’t need it. The Aeron also comes with intelligent mesh across the seat and backrest that adjusts to the micromovements of your body as you sit.
- Seat: adjust the height; limit the tilt range; adjust the tilt tension.
- Backrest: forward tilt option; height and depth adjustable PostureFit lumbar support.
- Armrests: 3D adjustable.
- Warranty: 12 years.
Shroud raves about his Aeron, as do most who try one. But not everyone can afford to spend more than $1000 on a chair. This is where gaming chairs come in. Compared to ergonomic task chairs, gaming chairs have similar features — for a much lower price.
But if you have the cash to splash out on the very best, the Aeron chair should be your top choice.
Learn more about the Aeron chair in our review of the Best Synchro-Tilt Ergonomic Office Chairs.
Tfue: Maxnomic Office Comfort
Tfue is a former pro player with FaZe Clan and one of the highest-earning “Fortnite” players of all-time. In his career, he won over $500,000 playing the game. When Ninja closed up his Twitter account and moved over to Mixer, Tfue became the Twitch streamer with the most followers. At present, Tfue’s Twitch account has over eight million followers.
Maxnomic Office Comfort (OFC)
Like Ninja, Tfue uses a custom Maxnomic chair. But Ninja uses the Pro version, which is a smaller chair with narrower dimensions. Tfue uses the larger, roomier Maxnomic Office Comfort chair. It has the same features as the Pro version, except for the lumbar support.
Instead of a traditional lumbar pillow, OFC chairs use an internal lumbar system. This works like a pneumatic lumbar insert on luxury car seats. Turn a dial on the side of the chair to increase or decrease lumbar support depth.
Lean more about this model in our detailed Maxnomic OFC gaming chair review.
TSM Myth: Embody gaming chair
Ali “TSM Myth” Kabbani is the captain of Team Solo Mid (TSM) Fortnite team. He also runs a sweet side hustle as an indie streamer. On Twitch, his 6+ million followers are second only to Tfue’s 8+ million.
Until recently, Myth had been using a Vertagear Triiger 350 task chair. However, his recent streams show him using a new Herman Miller Embody gaming chair. That’s not a surprise, given that Team SoloMid has recently partnered with Herman Miller.
Herman Miller Embody gaming chair
The Embody Gaming Chair is a souped-up Embody chair upholstered in 100% polyester fabric. It has the same features as the original Embody, with a unique skin and extra seat padding and. Priced at $1495, it’s an elite chair for elite spenders.
Besides Team SoloMid, the Embody is also the official chair for Complexity Gaming. It’s expected they will soon announce a deal with Nautus Vincere as well. To learn more about Embody partners, jump down to the esports partnership section.
The Embody gaming chair is currently available for sale on the Herman Miller website for $1495. Classic Embody chairs are also available on Amazon for $1,199.99. There are 13 different classic color options available.
DrDisrespect: Sidiz T80 task chair
Herschel “DrDisRespect” Beahm is an American streamer. Styled like an 80s glam rocker, he streams play of games like Blackout, Apex Legends, H1Z1 and Fortnite.
He was banned by Twitch in June 2020 for reasons still unclear. At the time, he had over 3.7 million Twitch followers and 1.34 million subscribers on Youtube. Will he return? Assuming he does, his popularity should continue to rise.
Sidiz T80 Ergonomic chair
The Sidiz T80 is an ergonomic task chair. It resembles Shroud’s Aeron chair but costs around $300 less. Here’s a clip of DrDisrespect raving about its comfort:
The Sidiz T80 has several impressive features. These include:
- Memory Foam and antibacterial high elastic sponge padding
- Adjustable lumbar support; seat angle adjustment; seat depth adjustment
- 3D adjustable armrests
- 3-year warranty
The Sidiz T80 is a great choice for those who prefer task chairs over PC gaming chairs. According to Dr. Disrespect, it’s much more comfortable than his old Maxnomic Pro.
What’s more, it’s a few hundred dollars cheaper than the Herman Miller Aeron.
Learn more about this product in our detailed Sidiz T80 Task Chair Review.
Top Twitch streamer chairs
This list shows the chairs of the active Twitch streamers with the most followers.
|Streamer||# of followers||Chair|
|1. Tfue||8,821,361||Maxnomic OFC|
|2. Myth||6,690,654||Vertagear Triiger 350|
|3. Rubius||5,535,040||DXRacer Drifting Series|
|4. Pokimane||5,344,755||Noblechairs Epic|
|5. summit1g||5,282,773||Secretlab Titan|
|6. TimtheTatman||5,131,831||Herman Miller Aeron|
|7. dakotaz||4,479,267||Vertagear SL2000|
|8. DrLupo||4,075,343||Secretlab Titan|
|9. Auronplay||3,823,076||DXRacer Drifting Series|
|10. loltyler1||3,488,275||Herman Miller Aeron|
Gaming chair partners: top esports teams
Pro esports teams need the highest caliber of seated support. Players spend huge amounts of time in intense gaming marathons on the world’s stage. To thrive in competition, the best equipment provides an edge.
The most accurate calculation of ‘top esports teams’ comes from esportsearnings.com. We took their updated 2020 rankings and put them into a Google spreadsheet. That shows the top-50 esports teams in the world, based on career earnings.
Here are the top-10 most successful esports teams of all-time, and their chair partners:
|Team||Lifetime Earnings||Country||Chair Partner|
|1. Team Liquid||$35,132,529.75||Netherlands||Secretlab esports team designs|
|3. Evil Geniuses||$24,128,698.79||USA||Secretlab|
|4. Fnatic||$15,474,564.68||UK||Anda Seat|
|7. Vici Gaming||$12,983,061.64||China||none|
|8. Team Secret||$11,770,403.64||Europe||Secretlab|
|9. Invictus Gaming||$11,450,175.97||China||none|
|10. Natus Vincere||$11,073,636.90||Ukraine||Herman Miller Embody|
In 2020, there are two powerful players dominating esports team partnerships. Secretlab has the most team partners and highest-profile esports tournament exposure. On the other side, Herman Miller has long been plotting to release a gaming chair of their own. The Embody gaming chair is now on the market and already partnered with some top-50 teams.
Secretlab Titan & Omega chairs
Secretlab is the dominant partner brand for pro teams. Among the top-50 most successful teams of all time, Secretlab has partnered with 10. Those include the top three esports teams in the world: Team Liquid, OG, and Evil Geniuses.
All partner teams use Secretlab Omega or Titan chairs for training. A big advantage of doing so is that Secretlab also sponsors several of the world’s major esports tournaments. As a result, players can compete in the same chairs that they use for training.
Secretlab Titan and Omega chairs
These are Secretlab’s flagship gaming chairs. The Omega is a compact, slim-fitting chair with a traditional lumbar support pillow.
The Titan is larger, with a flat, wide seat that supports up to 290 pounds. Instead of a lumbar pillow, Titan chairs use an internal lumbar system. Turn the dial on the side of the chair to adjust the depth of the support. Beyond these differences, both chairs share industry-leading features that set the blueprint for pro chair quality.
- Functionality: 4D metal-plated armrests; recline from 85° to 165°; multi-angle tilt-lock.
- Upholstery: Choice of premium PU leather, Softweave Fabric or genuine NAPA leather.
- Padding: enhanced cold cure foam padding.
- Warranty: 3 years (extendable to 5 with a social share)
Herman Miller Embody gaming chair
Herman Miller is the world’s premier ergonomic chair brand. Their flagship model is the $1400+ Herman Miller Aeron, first released in 1994. In 2008, they released the Embody chair, a model specialized for computer users.
In late 2019, Herman Miller partnered with Complexity Gaming. They also began working with Team SoloMid (TSM) and Nautus Vincere (NaVi) on chair development. Soon after, they announced a partnership with Logitech to develop ‘the ultimate gaming chair’.
In June, 2020, Herman Miller released the Embody gaming chair. A week later, Herman Miller announced a partnership with TSM. The next announcement should be a partnership with NaVi.
Thus, the Embody shapes up to be biggest challenger to Secretlab’s team partnership dominance.
Herman Miller Embody gaming chair
The Herman Miller Embody gaming chair is an elite ergonomic chair for gamers. It has the same features as the original Embody, with polyester fabric upholstery and extra seat padding.
Summary of all Embody gaming chair features:
- Synchro-tilt: seat pan angle 3° to 15°; backrest 94° to 120°
- Pixelated back support: the backrest has a central spine with flexible ribs. Each rib adjusts when you lean back to support the natural curve of your spine.
- BackFit angle adjustment: this lets you position the back of the chair to fit the curvature of your back.
- Seat adjustments: adjust the seat’s height and depth.
- Backrest: adjust recline tension; 3-position tilt-lock; synchro-tilt
It will be interesting to see how Herman Miller’s presence affects the pro esports scene. Embody gaming chairs look like a great option for pros. But the high price makes them a non-option for the average frugal consumer.
The Embody gaming chair is available for sale on the Herman Miller website for $1495. Classic Embody chairs are also available on Amazon for $1,199.99.
Esports tournament chair partners
Today, over 250 million people watch esports. In 2020, tech consulting firm Activate predicts that 70 million viewers will watch an esports final. That would exceed the viewership of American pro baseball, soccer, and hockey finals.
As esports fans multiply, the gaming chairs used at tournaments gain massive exposure. Below are some of the most notable gaming chair partners for top esports tournaments.
League of Legends Championships: Secretlab
Riot Games is the publisher of League of Legends. Since 2011, they’ve been running League of Legends tournaments around the world.
Maxnomic was the previous chair partner, starting in 2013. In 2019, Secretlab took over, joining Mastercard and Alienware as global LoL partners.
The Secretlab deal includes the North American and World Championships. The 2020 Championships are the 10th annual. The North American Championships take place in spring. The World Championships are in October.
The International (Dota 2): Secretlab
The International is the concluding tournament of the Dota Pro Circuit. In 2019, over 1.1 million viewers watched the final round on Twitch. Team OG’s 3-1 victory over Team Liquid was the most-watched Dota event of all time.
Secretlab was the official chair sponsor of the event. This year’s edition – the 10th annual- will return to Europe for the first time since 2011. The International 2020 happens this summer at Ericsson Globe in Stockholm, Sweden.
Secretlab created a special chair for the 2019 event. They also sell a special edition Dota 2 chair for consumers.
Founded in 2000, ESL is now one of the world’s largest esports companies. At the heart of its operation, ESL operates several international leagues and tournaments. These include ESL One, the Intel Extreme Masters and ESL Pro League. ESL maintains offices in Germany, North America, China, and many others.
Soon after Maxnomic launched their brand in 2014, they partnered with ESL. The relationship has thrived and continues to this day. As a result, expect to see Maxnomic’s chairs at 2020’s big ESL events:
- ESL One Cologne (July 10-12)
- Intel Extreme Masters Melbourne (Aug. 22-23)
- ESL One Rio (Nov. 19-22)
Maxnomic doesn’t sell ESL tournament chairs on their website, saving them only for tourney play. But there are several other models to choose from among both Pro and OFC variants. That’s because each year, they come out
To learn more about this brand, check out our detailed review of all Maxnomic gaming chairs.
Capcom Cup: Vertagear
The Capcom Cup is an annual esports tournament focused on the Street Fighter series. The 2019 Capcom Cup finals took place at the Novo Theater in LA in December 2019. There, 32 players competed for the title and $250,000.
Each year, the Capcom Pro tour kicks off in March. Vertagear is the official sponsor of all events. All players get to do their work in custom Vertagear SL5000 gaming chairs.
This is the premium model in the Vertagear product line. The SL5000 proves its mettle by keeping competitors focused during intense tourney play.
SUMMARY: chairs used by the pros in 2020
What chairs do pro gamers use? In 2020, some prefer racing-style gaming chairs with bucket seats. Others prefer office-styled synchro-tilt task chairs. The common aspect among all chairs is that they are ergonomic.
In 2020, ergonomic standards for computer chairs are well documented. An ergonomic chair needs adjustable lumbar support, adjustable armrests, and a reclining backrest. It should also let users move their bodies while sitting.
Luckily for consumers, the demand for ergonomic furniture is surging. As a result, more ergonomic options are coming out. If you can’t afford the same level of support that the pros use, there are many cheaper options.
In conclusion, to perform like a pro esports player, it helps to have the right chair. Regardless of your budget, an ergonomic chair is the best option. These models provide comfort and support that ensures good posture while sitting. That puts players in the best position to perform at their best.