When you craft a space for your gaming, what are the sorts of things that you give attention to first? Some people want the right desk or monitor stand. Others care that they have surround sound or the biggest monitor possible. You want a cool case for your computer or nice wall unit for your console and TV. We think of all the best stuff for actual gaming gear, but what about the most valuable part of it all – you!?

That’s right, plenty of people are “enjoying” their gaming setups sitting on a ratty old office chair or some other uncomfortable, unsuitable place to prop up their bodies. If that sounds like you, then this is an intervention, my friend. It’s time to take care of yourself as well as you take care of the gaming products you buy. Having the right chair to support you in the throes of competition not only makes for a more enjoyable experience, it can be important for your health and make you a better player to boot!

So let’s talk about gaming chairs, what they are, what to buy, and some actual product examples you can pick up today. We’ll start with the latter.

Homall Gaming Chair

While I’m not one for the more garish gaming chair designs, there’s something very classy about this racing style chair from Homall in black and white. Of course, you can choose from a number of colors, including all-black and a very attention-grabbing black and red.

So why are we starting off with this particular chair? It’s simple, really. As I write this, the Homall is the single best-selling chair on Amazon. There must be a reason so many people have opted for this product over all the others. The price certainly has a lot to do with it. At less than a hundred bucks, a chair that looks this good is going to shift some numbers. But good looks are not enough. How does it measure up as a chair in its own right?

The basic construction of the Homall is pretty sensible. It has a steel frame and uses high density foam as the padding material with a PU leather outer material. None of these things are bad, but they are cost-effective. On top of this, the chair is rated for 300 pounds, which is rare at this price point. The casters have also been certified for 1000 miles of rolling.

In the end, however, what really matters is if it holds up in use. Customer feedback is almost universally positive, with people expressing that the chair is comfortable and solid, especially since it features an independently adjustable backrest. It also comes with a warranty, so apart from the low price, you aren’t risking much by giving it a go. As so many people who bought this have said, “is there any reason to spend more money?”. Well, let’s look at some more chairs and find out!

GTRACING Gaming Chair

This gaming chair from GTRacing moves us a little upwards on the pricing scale and starts bringing in terms like “pro” gaming, so we get a better idea of the sort of market they are aiming for. It’s not immediately clear why this chair costs a little more than the Homall we just discussed, but a closer look at the finish and design gives me the impression of a slightly more premium product. The side wings are more prominent, the stitching seems nicer. Overall it certainly looks like it should cost more.

The frame is made from “strong metal”, although they don’t specify whether it is steel or something else. We still have a PU leather exterior with a 300 pound weight limit.

There are some neat details, though, that do set this chair apart. The “synchro tilt” feature is one I personally like. You can tilt the backrest without also tilting the seat. Most office chairs lock those two parts together, but here you have more flexibility.

User feedback on the comfort of the GTRacing chair is very positive. In fact, it’s the one thing everyone seems to mention – how extra comfortable it is. So it seems that extra fifty bucks or so over the entry level chairs nets you a slightly less numb bum. Worth the premium? Only you can say.

Homall Ergonomic Gaming Chair

Not to be outdone by other “ergonomic gaming chairs, Homall has an option in the same price class as the GTRacing chair. Even at first glance you can tell that this chair comes with something the GTRacing doesn’t – a slide-out footrest!

Yes, you can pull on the little under seat tray and reveal a cushioned leg rest that lets you put your feet up. It also has height-adjustable armrests, which can really make a difference when switching between passive activities and gaming or typing. You get everything the base chair from Homall provides, but with additional comfort and ergonomic features. I’m not super impressed by the color options that were available at the time of writing, but I think in general for the price this chair is preferable to the GTRacing offer.

Homall Gaming Recliner

The racing office chair style of gaming seat has the most market presence, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only game in town! Homall has spiced things up by applying some gaming sensibilities to a recliner-style chair. The basic design is pretty much like the classic recliner that you’d find in living rooms across the world – the sort of chair that plenty of people already game on. So how is this any better?

Well, let me first point out how this is worse than a regular recliner – styling. There’s zero chance I’d want something like this in my living room in front of the big screen TV. Unfortunately, it has the same colors and styling as the gaming office chairs and that’s not going to look great in the living room setting. The black and white option is the least egregious, but overall not a winner on the style front.

If you have a gaming man-cave or some other dedicated space, however, things are different. In that setting the looks of the gaming recliner are perfectly acceptable. Of course, maybe you personally don’t care (or never have company over), but it’s something worth considering when you have to match it to your other furniture.

So taken as a chair, this is a PU leather recliner with an extra lumbar cushion and a more pronounced headrest than you’d get in a typical recliner. It also has some side pouches. And that’s it.

Yes, this really doesn’t offer anything normal recliners don’t, except of course it’s way cheaper than the typical living room recliner. This is a better-quality recliner compared to non-gaming recliners for the same amount of money, in my opinion. For a bedroom gaming setup or game room it’s a cost-effective way to have something more comfortable than an office chair. Without that price advantage you might as well buy a non-gaming recliner. With it, there’s a strong case for this not-a-Lazy-Boy.

Giantex 360 Degree Swivel Gaming Chair

I’ve seen a lot of these low, floor chairs sold for gaming purposes. Perfect for living room or gaming room console gaming, it’s clearly a superior choice compared to a beanbag. You can’t use these chairs at a desk, obviously, but for other gaming scenarios or even just watching TV or reading, they can be a cost-effective and comfortable solution.

This chair from Giantex is a more premium option in the “rocker chair” market. It’s a pretty big chair, rated for 300 pounds, with thick padding and an attractive material choice. You can’t use this as a true rocker chair that sits directly on the floor because there’s a base that allows the chair to swivel all the way around – a good tradeoff, in my opinion, especially since this still allows you to recline with the flexible backrest. So nothing is lost in terms of comfort, but you have both stability and mobility.

That flexible backrest also means you can fold this chair down and store it away easily. People seem to love this chair, but there is at least one notable weakness. Depending on your body shape and the position you set the backrest to, back support might be less than ideal. But this is easily fixed with a small cushion. This is a great chair at a very good price; cheap enough to buy a pair for your gaming room.

IWR1 IMPERATORWORKS Gaming Chair

OK, I know that this is a product that none of us are actually going to buy. Oh, there’s probably going to be at least one of you and I’m seriously considering saving up for one of these myself. Regardless, the IWR1 is definitely a top contender for the title of “ultimate gaming chair”.

I mean, just LOOK at this monster. It’s a sci-fi workstation wet dream. It’s the ergonomic chair to end all ergonomic chairs. The only reason to leave is if you have to use the bathroom and I feel like someone’s already working on a mod to deal with that particular problem.

The design of the IWR1 is pretty unique, but makes perfect sense once you understand what it’s all for. First of all, you better make sure you pick the right spot for this chair, because its heavy base and overall size means you won’t be moving it anywhere. It makes sense to set it up with quite a bit of space around it, since the chair can change shape to adapt to various configurations.

The chair itself is incredibly luxurious and is made from real leather. The armrests are integrated into the frame and, of course, you need no desk at all with this chair.

There’s a built-in platform for your mouse and keyboard and of course there’s that prominent overhead arm with a VESA mounting system at the end. There are plenty of different monitor configurations you can choose from, but for my money the ultimate choice is a 49” curved monitor, such as the one that Samsung makes. The distance at which the monitor is mounted would make that the most immersive option and make more sense than using such as monstrous screen on a desk. You can also have up to three 32” screens, if that’s your preference.

The system is motorized and can recline in various positions. The footrest can fold up to lift your legs. Getting in and out of the chair might seem like a chore, but the monitor arm itself is motorized and lifts up and away with a single button press.

The keyboard tray is likewise designed to swing out of the way with ease. The best feature is the fact that you can recline up to 140 degrees while keeping the keyboard and screen in the same relative positions; this is why the company refers to it as a “zero-gravity” chair.

As you’d expect, there are even more options for the money. For one, you get two cup holders. Which is cool. I puzzled for a while over the need for two, but it turns out you can use one as an ashtray holder. I’d forgotten that people still smoke in the 21st century. They should have included a vape holder or something.

There’s also an integrated storage bin, which is useful for things like game controllers, your phone, or anything else that will simply fall off the tray when reclining. There’s a specific place to mount your computer case, and with a system like this you’ll have to make sure you use a PC case that will work with their fitting. The last bit of tech wizardry is the footrest that rises out of the base. The chair is rated for up to 400 pounds, which means 99.9% of people will be more than fine in it. Yes, it is an expensive piece of equipment, but I don’t think anything but one of the other model variants from Imperatorworks can top it.

What’s a Gaming Chair, Exactly?

Whenever we talk about any product that’s specifically marketed at “gamers” you always run the risk of paying extra money for what’s basically a standard product, but with garish paint and lights slapped all over it.

As with most things, I don’t think there’s a single definition that’s going to get everyone to agree. Over time what’s generally referred to as a “gaming” chair has sort of averaged out on racing-style office chairs.

To me it’s a little wider than that and to understand it we have to think about what you need a chair to do while you’re gaming. When we game, we could be sitting down for quite a few hours. It’s not the healthiest habit, but if you get engrossed in that RPG, the hours can just fly by. So you need a chair that won’t leave you sore and hobbled when you finally do get up. It needs to support your body in all the most important places, while letting you concentrate on the action.

It’s also a real bonus if it has some sort of gaming-specific features. A cup holder is always welcome and some chairs have neat powered features such as built-in subwoofers that vibrate the whole chair along with events in the game.

The chairs I’ve selected here are mainly the typical fare, with one or two out-in-left-field choices thrown in to show that the gaming chair market isn’t as one-note as it seems.

So, What To Look for in Your Gaming Chair

There are quite a few things you need to think about before you splash out the cash on your new chair. Getting it wrong can quite literally be a pain in your behind, so spare a few minutes to think about what you really need.

Chair Types

The first big question is: where do you want to game? If you’re gaming at a desk then obviously a gaming office chair is the only practical choice. If you want to play in a lounge or study with a big screen on a low stand, then there are two ways to go about it. You can get a traditional recliner with a more gaming-oriented design, or one of those floor chairs, which are perfect for children’s rooms or where you’re limited for space as a console gamer.

Secondly, you need to get something that you will fit into and that can take your weight. Gamers vary wildly as to shape and size as anyone. Buy a chair that’s too big for you and it won’t support your body well. Buy one that can’t handle your weight and you might have a safety issue on your hands.

Materials and Style

The next thing I would pay attention to is the styling and material of the chair. Many gaming chairs look like race car chairs; with bright yellow, red, or blue panels, for example. Not everyone likes this aesthetic. Your work and gaming space might also be the same place. For that reason I prefer a black or brown gaming chair that has the same features, but doesn’t look like a “gamer” product. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I don’t want anyone who has never before looked at these chairs thinking there’s no “stealth” option available.

Materials are pretty important too, but there is no one option that is clearly superior. In terms of durability and quality, genuine leather is the top choice, but it can suck in hot, humid conditions. These days you get synthetic material that looks and feels better too. So it really is up to personal preference. I tend to skip the leather, save money (and animals) and pick fabric that breathes.

Ergonomics and Comfort

Now, when it comes to actual ergonomics there are some things I think are pretty important. Good lower back and neck support are primary considerations. Good gaming office chairs usually have these built in. I don’t think armrests are needed at all for gaming, since it isn’t a passive activity and you’d usually be working the controls. Of course, if you plan on also watching passive media using the chair, armrests might be important.

Keeping Butts in Seats

Hopefully by now you’ve got the perfect seat picked out already. Gone are the days when you finish your gaming sessions with a sore back or numb legs because you’ve been sitting on a milk crate for three hours.

If you don’t take care of the gamer, the game isn’t much fun. So take a good honest look at what you’re sitting on right now and ask yourself: “Is this good enough?”. If the answer is “No” then it’s time to start looking out for number one.