Coinciding with the great lockdown of 2020 was a breakout year for the gaming chair industry. In the work-from-home era, gaming chairs have thrived for several reasons. For one thing, gaming chairs work well. The world’s best pro esports players have relied on these chairs for over a decade. No other type of ergonomic seating has undergone such intensive testing. For another thing, gaming chairs are affordable and very easy to use. From this context, ChairsFX doles out our end-of-year gaming chair industry awards.
When we started this website in early 2018, gaming chairs were still fringe items. As a result, a lot of our early content was persuasive. It focused on explaining why users should consider buying a gaming chair.
In 2020, gaming chairs have gone from fringe items to hot sellers with consistently high demand. As a result, the tone of our content has shifted. The question isn’t “why” you should buy a gaming chair, but rather which model to buy. We’ve been covering the entire industry with daily scrutiny all year. From that perspective, below is are our top gaming chair picks of the year.
Best gaming chairs of 2020
Each of the following models is “the best” in a certain aspect. The Secretlab Titan is the best full-featured pro gaming chair. GTRacing’s Ace S1 chair ranks as the best cheap model. Secretlab’s Omega K/DA chairs are a red-hot option for teen girls.
Best pro chair: Secretlab Titan
Price: $459 to $489
Among high-end gaming chairs, the Titan has been our top-rated pick since 2018. This chair has the most advanced features, the longest warranty, and the widest range of design options. In 2020, Secretlab added 16 new design options to the Titan and Omega collections. The company also did an amazing job dealing with insanely high demand for Titan chairs this year.
Feature-wise, the Titan has a few extras that competing models lack. For one thing, the Titan offers a recline range of 85°-165°. Most chairs recline starting from 90°. The Titan’s extra 5° forward tilt supports gamers who lean forward while playing.
Another standout is the Titan’s depth-adjustable internal lumbar support system. Instead of a pillow, turn a dial on the side of the chair to increase or decrease the depth of support. When the curve fills the small of your lower back, it provides crisp, comfortable support. Other standouts include a 5-year warranty, spacious seating dimensions, 35 different style options.
This year, Secretlab added 15 new designs to the Titan and Omega lines. Four world-leading pro esports teams got custom designs. Secretlab also added six League of Legends chairs, World of Warcraft chairs, and more.
For a full technical assessment, check out our Secretlab Titan 2020 Series review. To browse all models, visit the Secretlab website:
The Titan is available from Secretlab in North America, the UK, Europe, Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, and Oceania. Clicking the button will direct you to the appropriate regional store.
Best cheap chair: GTRacing Ace S1
Price: $195.99 (less with coupon codes)
At the start of the year, most gaming chairs under $200 offered predictable features. At that price range, chairs usually come with 2D armrests and a 1-year warranty. GTRacing shattered that pricing model with its brilliant line of Ace S1 Series gaming chairs.
Ace S1 chairs come in five different designs. There are two soft fabric chairs and three 2-tone PU leather designs. All models come with 4D armrests and a 2-year warranty extendable to five years at no extra charge.
No other chairs under $200 offer 4D armrests plus a 5-year warranty. As a result, these models are ideal for full-time power users on a budget. For a detailed technical assessment, check our GTRacing Ace S1 review. As an added bonus, Ace chairs often sell with coupon codes on the GTRacing website. Usually, you can expect $20-30 off the list price.
The GTRacing Ace S1 Series is also available in the UK from GTRacing.uk for £199.99. Use coupon codes during checkout for a discount.
Best for teen girls: Secretlab Omega K/DA
This year, global esports revenues topped $1 billion. One of the most popular and lucrative games on the esports scene is League of Legends. Riot Games is the publisher. As part of its promotions, Riot formed a virtual girl group in 2018 based on LOL characters. Voiced by real-life Korean and American pop stars, K/DA’s debut 2018 single Pop Stars became a global sensation. It united LOL gamers and K-Pop fans demanding more than one song.
This year, Riot obliged, following up on Pop Stars with a 5-track EP titled All Out. To celebrate K/DA’s return, Secretlab went all out as well. The company released six League of Legends chairs in 2020. Among them were two K/DA chairs: a Pop Stars Akali chair, and an All Out K/DA group chair.
The Omega is a better fit for teen girls than the Titan. It’s a smaller chair with slim-fitting dimensions, supporting users from 5’3″ to 5’11”. The Omega has the same rich features as the Titan, minus the internal lumbar support. Instead, the Omega uses a traditional extra-large memory foam lumbar pillow.
The Omega K/DA Pop Stars chair is also available from Secretlab for $449. All K/DA chairs are available from Secretlab in the USA, Canada, UK, EU, Australia, Singapore, and South Korea.
Best for adolescents: AKRacing California
Developing strong posture habits at a young age yields tremendous health benefits for life. Unfortunately, racing-style gaming chairs aren’t designed for children. To ensure optimal posture habits, kids between 5-11 years old need specialty support. Check out our guide on ergonomic chairs for kids to learn more.
By the time a child reaches around 12 years old, they should be ready for their first gaming chair. The average 12-year-old girl stands 4’11” (149.8 cm). The average 12-year-old boy stands 5’2″ (157.5 cm). In early 2020, AKRacing released the California chair. Available in three pastel styles, these are the smallest gaming chairs on the market.
California chairs support users from 4’9″ to 5’6″. That makes them an ideal first gaming chair for average-sized adolescents of both genders.
California chairs come with 3D armrests and a 5-year warranty. These are rugged chairs that are built to last. Expect the foam padding to maintain its shape for years, even under heavy use. The upholstery is soft, thick, and easy to clean using a damp cloth. To learn more, check our detailed AKRacing California chair review.
Buy the AKRacing California from Amazon.com for $378.99 (USA price). Also available from Amazon UK and Canada. Click to buy in the appropriate store for your location.
Most innovative: Autofull Mechanical Master
Price: $399 ($359 with ChairsFX coupon code)
In 2019, pro esports generated over $1 billion for the first time. 45% of that revenue came from mobile games, the fastest-growing esports sector.
While the entire industry is booming, mobile esports is the fastest-growing sector. Advancements in cellular technology have make game-ready smartphones cheaper to produce. That broadens gaming markets in emerging markets. As a result, mobile esports enjoyed a huge 2019 spike in Southeast Asia, India, and Brazil.
The Autofull Mechanical Master is the world’s first chair optimized for mobile gaming. As more money and attention pours into mobile esports, competition among players will intensity. Pro players seeking a mobile gaming edge should consider these chairs.
The star feature of the Mechanical Master: multi-directional armrests. You can adjust them up or down, and swing them in our out. They also swivel 360° and have hidden storage units in each armrest cap.
Using the armrests while mobile gaming helps to prevent “text neck”. Instead of craning your neck over a phone, the Mechanical Master provides support for your arms, back, and neck. FOr long sessions of healthy gaming, set the armrests, lean into the backrest, and enjoy perfect gaming posture.
Other features include a retractable footrest, heavy-duty support for 390 pounds, and a 2-year warranty. For more info, check our Mechanical Master chair review.
Use the coupon code ChairsFX to get $40 off any Autofull gaming chair. Using the code, the Mechnical Master costs only $359.
Best-performing gaming chair brands
Over the past few years, gaming chair sales have spiked during the Nov. to Dec. holiday season. Outside of the holiday season, sales (and interest) are usually low. As a result, most gaming chair brands usually have thin stocks at the start of each year.
When working-from-home became necessary in early 2020, demand for gaming chairs increased threefold. By early March, many gaming chair brands were completely out of stock. Restocking was difficult — because of the pandemic, global shipments were disrupted. Many brands failed to recover. For instance, both OPSEAT and DXRacer have been out of stock for most of the year.
In contrast, a few other brands excelled. Beyond maintaining stocks, these brands also expanded. Some did so by adding new countries to their service lists. Others expanded with new products.
Secretlab responded to pandemic conditions by kicking its operation into a higher gear. 2020 saw several new Secretlab partners with custom chair designs. New esports partners in 2020 included most of the world’s top teams. Those included G2 Esports, OG Esports, Team Liquid, Evil Geniuses.
On the video games front, Secretlab partnered with Riot Games on a series of League of Legends gaming chairs. They also teamed with Warner Bros. Pictures on Batman, Joker, and Harley Quinn gaming chairs. Another notable collaboration with CD Projekt Red yielded a vivid yellow Cyberpunk 2077 gaming chair.
In 2020, Secretlab also expanded its global sales operation. First, the company expanded into China by partnering with Invictus Gaming. Second, it set up direct-sales operations in Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, and South Korea.
At this time last year, we would have ranked either DXRacer, Maxnomic, or Noblechairs in the #2 spot. While those high-end brands suffered stock shortages all year, GTRacing surged ahead.
At the start of the year, the company’s flagship was a collection of GTRacing Pro Series chairs. Those come with 2D armrests and a 2-year warranty for less than $150.
GTRacing’s head office is located in suburban Shanghai, the hub of China’s high-tech industrial heartland. In that area are hundreds of government-developed high-tech industrial parks. Those connect directly to deepwater ports that supply the world with made-in-China products.
While other brands struggled to keep up with demand in 2020, GTRacing used its position to kick into high gear. The company kept its popular Pro Series chairs in stock throughout the year. It also shattered gaming chair pricing models with innovative Ace S1 (semi-pro) and Ace M1 (pro) gaming chairs.
Both editions are red-hot sellers, offering advanced features and a 5-year warranty for low prices. Beyond expanding its product line, GTRacing also expanded into Europe. Now, the company serves customers in both the United States and Europe/ UK.
AKRacing is one of the oldest and most consistent brands in the industry. The company operates its own factories and offers 5/10 warranties on all gaming chairs. That includes 5-year coverage on parts, plus 10-year protection on the steel frame.
In 2020, the company scored a hit with its ultra-small California gaming chair — one of the year’s top sellers. Beyond that, AKRacing performed as it always does — with steady, reliable consistency.
One downside to AKRacing’s 2020 performance is availability. Chairs are available in America from AKRacing.com. On Amazon, AKRacing also offers its products in Canada and America. With better European coverage, AKRAcing would rank higher on this list.
Autofull is one of China’s biggest gaming chair brands. Since 2016, the company has partnered with several of China’s top esports teams and tournaments. In mid-2020, Autofull expanded into American, Australian, and European markets.
The company started out selling three chairs on Autofull.com. At present, there are now five unique models on offer:
- Mechanical Master: multidirectional armrests to support mobile gaming.
- Slam Dunk: footrest gaming chairs for big and tall basketball players.
- Pink Bunny chair: super-cute pink gaming chair with bunny ears and a fluffy tail.
- T1 Hero: includes depth-adjustable internal lumbar support.
- Neonpunk: the same chairs used by pro gamers in China’s League of Legends Pro Leagues (LPL).
This collection shows that the Autofull team is willing to take risks and push creative boundaries. With its strong overseas operation now in place, expect Autofull’s presence among the best brands to grow stronger.
5. Anda Seat
Like many top chair brands, Anda Seat struggled to maintain stock through the first half of 2020. In May, the company announced a partnership with Fnatic, a UK-based pro esports team. That was a massive coup. Among all top teams, Fnatic ranks #4 in all-time career earnings.
Then, in August, the company revealed a complete revamp. That included new USA and UK delivery operations. It also included a streamlined chair collection with some impressive new models. With everything now in place, expect great things from this company moving forward.
Not everyone can afford to spend more than $200 on a gaming chair. Since its founding in 2012, Killabee has been a solid producer of cheap gaming chairs. Most models come with 2D armrests, deep recline, and a 1-year warranty. Fantasylab models offer upgraded features.
When demand for chairs spiked in early 2020, Killabee responded in two ways. First, the company ramped up production on existing chairs, ensuring consistent availability. Second, they revamped all chairs into two different collections:
- Killabee brand chairs: the flagship company products offering decent features at affordable prices.
- Fantasylab: big and tall luxury chairs offering advanced ergonomic features at affordable prices.
This collection makes Killabee one of the most ambitious and diverse makers of cheap gaming chairs. One quibble is the lack of availability. At present, Killabee chairs are only available in America, with a small selection also available on Amazon CA. With full expansion into the European and Canadian markets, this brand could become the dominant cheap gaming chair brand.
Best ergonomic task chairs for gamers
Before gaming chairs arrived on the scene in 2006, there were ergonomic task chairs. These are office-style, mid-back chairs. Compared to gaming chairs, task chairs have higher prices and more complex ergonomic features.
The first task chair used by pro gamers was the Sidiz T80. In 2018, Korean pro team Gen G started using those chairs in their Seoul training facility. In June, Cougar released the Argo chair. That is an ergonomic feature with gamer-style design modifications.
Under current work-from-home conditions, gaming chairs aren’t only for gamers. They are also ideal for non-gaming desk-working professionals. In a similar fashion, ergonomic task chairs aren’t only for office workers. As 2020’s releases show, task chairs are also a great fit for gamers.
Below are our two favorite task chairs for gamers in 2020:
Herman Miller Aeron
The Herman Miller Aeron came out as the world’s first mass-produced ergonomic chair in 1996. For 24 consecutive years, this iconic chair has reigned as the best ergonomic seating option in the world. Herman Miller’s new gamified Aeron chair has the same features as the original model. The main difference is a new all-black design scheme.
The Aeron is expensive. It also has the most advanced features of any ergonomic chair on the market. There are a few standout features. The first is a robust synchro-tilt feature. When you lean back, the seat tilts up. When you lean forward, it slopes down. Both alter angles in synch with the backrest. The result is consistent support across all leaning positions that keeps the thighs parallel to the floor.
Another standout is the chair’s adaptive 8Z Pellicle mesh fabric. Across the seat and backrest, the mesh varies between eight zones of tension. Together, the zones evenly distribute body weight across the seat and backrest. The result is a dreamy, floating sensation that will make you forget you are sitting.
A third standout worth mentioning is the lumbar support. Unlike other chairs, the Aeron comes with a Posturefit feature that supports both the lumbar and sacrum areas. The former helps to stabilize the lower back, while the latter helps the hips to stay in a healthy position.
We could go on and on about the elaborate features of this chair. The bottom line is that it’s the most popular and full-featured ergonomic chair on the market. To learn more about the entire collection, check our review of Herman Miller’s ergonomic blueprint for gamers.
The fully-loaded Aeron classic (not the gaming version) is also available from OfficeDesigns.com for USD$1,395. Includes free shipping in the USA within 4-7 business days.
Sidiz is a South Korean maker of high-end ergonomic chairs. The company rose to prominence in 2018 by signing a partnership with pro esports team Gen G. A few months later, Dr. Disrespect (one of the world’s top streamers) started using a T80.
The Sidiz T80 costs half the price of the Aeron chair. is around half the price of the Herman Miller Aeron. It has a standard mesh backrest, not a high-tech adaptive one like the Aeron. Like the Aeron chair, it also has a synchro-tilt feature, but with a smaller range that only tilts up. When you lean forward, the seat remains flat. However, to support forward-leaning, you can manually slope the seat down as you need.
Besides those two differences, the Sidiz T80 matches up well with the Aeron chair, for much less money. Check out our Sidiz T80 review to learn more.
2020 was the most successful year ever for the gaming chair industry. When the work-from-home era arrived, millions discovered that sitting full-time at a kitchen table is problematic. Luckily, gaming chairs are affordable, effective, and easy to use. As the masses have discovered, these chairs are not just for gaming. Anyone who spends long periods sitting can benefit from ergonomic sitting support.
In the lockdown era, many top gaming chair brands have developed sophisticated global shipping operations. Most chairs get made in China and shipped worldwide. As this model blossomed in 2020, the multi-billion dollar office industry’s B2B model has sputtered. As a result, many big office chair names are jumping in to grab their own slice of the gaming chair market. To learn more about a wild year in the industry, check this report: