What benefits does a gaming chair have?
Back, neck, and joint pain and stiffness are extremely common among gamers as a result of the fact that gaming necessarily requires sitting in a static position for hours at a time, day after day. However, these health issues can be dramatically reduced if you are sitting in a chair that is ergonomically designed to protect your spine and joints. One of the most important benefits of using a gaming chair (including console gaming chairs) is that they are designed to support your lower back and neck, forcing you into an upright posture that keeps your spine in alignment as you play. In addition, most gaming chairs come with a headrest that cushions your neck and helps to prevent overextension that can lead to pain. Over time, the ergonomic design of your gaming chair will improve your posture throughout your life and help prevent back and neck pain, and in this way it acts a lot like a zero gravity chair for back pain.
Gaming chairs also help to prevent musculoskeletal injuries by providing cushioning around the pressure areas where your body rests against the chair, which increases your overall circulation. In turn, this reduces muscle soreness and improves your cardiovascular function, particularly in your legs since blood is already fighting against gravity to return from your feet to your heart.
These health benefits translate to better gameplay, since you will not be distracted by chronic joint pain, but gaming chairs also improve your gaming experience thanks to the gaming-specific features that are built into many models. For example, speakers built into the headrest can help immerse you in the game with a surround sound effect, while other models feature in-seat vibration. In addition, many gaming chairs swivel or rock to allow you more range of motion when using the controls at your desk.
Finally, gaming chairs are easy to clean and easy to store compared to other styles of desk chairs. Many gaming chairs are designed to be compact to take up less space than traditional desk chairs, and some models even fold away for storage when not in use. Most gaming chairs are also made from materials that are easy to clean with wet wipes, making it easy to keep your gaming area nice and tidy.
Features to consider before buying your best gaming chair
Now that you know that gaming chairs not only look cool, but are exceptionally good in supporting your back during a long gaming sessions and have extra features to increase comfort, it’s time to discuss the specific features to pay attention to before buying.
Dimensions and weight
The dimensions and weight of a chair are among the first-order factors when considering whether that gaming chair will be comfortable for your body. The size of the seat and back areas, as well as the width and length of the armrests, all play a role in determining whether your back and shoulders will be fully supported by the chair or whether you will be cramped or stretching to fit into the chair. Sizing is particularly important for taller than average or heavier than average gamers, since many chairs will be sized too small for comfort. Whenever possible, use a tape measure to size your body dimensions and match those to the chair.
The dimensions and weight of the chair also matter for the space you will be putting the chair in. A smaller, more compact chair will leave you more space in the room and will be easier to put away when the chair is not being used. If storage is important, look for chairs that can be folded away or broken down and reassembled easily. In addition, chairs with wheels or chairs that are lightweight will be easier to move than heavier chairs with static feet.
Wheels and rotation angle
If you plan to move around the room in your chair – for example, to move between your gaming desk and another workstation, or to check multiple monitors – having wheels on the base of your chair is extremely important. Wheels can also be helpful if you will be storing your chair when it is not in use, since you can easily roll it away into a closet.
Most gaming chairs are also designed with 360° rotation, although rotation is not a standard feature on every chair. The ability to rotate your chair can be important for your gaming experience if your controls are spread out across your desk. Rotation, like wheels, can also be important to have if you plan to access multiple desks or multiple monitors and don’t want to have to crane your neck.
If you are a gamer on the heavier side, the weight capacity of the chair you’re interested in is important to consider. While most gaming chairs can handle weights up to 250 pounds, not every chair can handle weights over 300 pounds. Exceeding your chair’s stated weight limit can be dangerous in the case that the chair fails with you in it and can also drastically reduce the lifespan of your chair.
The materials that gaming chairs are made of can be split into the frames and the upholstery. Almost all gaming chairs under $200 use steel frames since these are extremely durable and able to support the weight of most gamers, although steel is also relatively heavy. For upholstery, most gaming chairs under $200 incorporate some form of synthetic or artificial leather, although some chairs opt for vinyl upholstery. Leather is comfortable against most users’ skin and is highly durable compared to other materials, but can also be somewhat hot and sticky on particularly warm days. Vinyl tends to rip and stain more easily than leather, but also tends to breathe better and is less expensive.
Headrest and backrest cushions
The headrest and backrest cushions are among the most essential parts of the design of the chair since they determine whether your chair will indeed benefit your back and neck. Assuming your chair fits correctly, the headrest and backrest cushions should be placed such that they force your spine into an upright posture and support your neck and head in a neutral position. In order to achieve this, the headrest and backrest cushions on your chair should be as adjustable as possible.
While most of the features we have covered so far are related to comfort and posture, many gaming chairs go beyond the designs of traditional desk chairs by including additional functions specific to gaming. One of the most popular extra features is a pull-out footrest, which can increase comfort by allowing you to switch your leg position over the course of a long gaming session. Having your legs extended out in front of you can also improve circulation to your legs, which will decrease muscle soreness after a long session of sitting. Some gaming chairs also include a vibration massager to stimulate your muscles and circulation in the midst of a long gaming session. Others still provide in-chair speakers with wireless connection to your computer to create a surround-sound effect that helps to immerse you in your game. Whether or not these additional features are important to you depends entirely on your preferences, but they can separate the best gaming chairs from those that are solely focused on improving your posture.
The best gaming chair should last for years to come – likely far longer than any of your other gaming equipment. For this reason, it is important to consider whether the chair you are interested in comes with a warranty from the manufacturer to protect your purchase against defects or early breakage. Unfortunately, most gaming chairs come with only short limited warranties – six months to one year – although some chairs have extended lifetime warranties on the frame since this is expected to last much longer than the rest of the chair.