Gaming Chairs Buyers Guide
What is a gaming chair?
Gaming chairs are specialised chairs designed primarily for the needs and comfort of gamers. As gaming often involves extended periods of using the chair, the designers of these chairs have thought about how gamers sit, how they move, and what they need most from their chair. The longer time spent in a gaming chair is offset by features such as ergonomic padding, higher backrests, winged shoulder support, lumbar support pads and adjustable armrests - these all help support the body in the best possible way and help prevent stress and strains on the body.
However, despite the name, it’s not just gamers who use gaming chairs. They are ideal for regular use too, as all the attributes described above apply if you work in an office and want to boost your comfort and thus your productivity, work from home and want to improve your existing environment or even if you have mobility issues and need extra support when seated.
In this guide we’ll go through each aspect of chair design and the features that you should look out for to ensure you have maximum comfort in whatever environment you use your chair.
Everyone is different when it comes to height, body size and weight and just like clothes you’ll want a chair that fits properly. Most manufacturers will provide information like seat cushion width and depth and backrest cushion width and height - these are especially important as they are the non-adjustable elements of the chair so vital to ensure the dimensions work for you.
At this stage armrest minimum / maximum height and chair seat height are less important as these are always adjustable enabling you to find the right levels for you. Additionally you should always look for a weight rating on the chair to ensure it will support all intended users.
The materials a chair is made from will have a significant impact on its overall comfort, especially over prolonged hours sat in it, and it’s durability and longevity over years of usage. For example, a good quality steel frame will offer superior support, corrosion resistance and an increased weight tolerance of up to 150kg.
Secondly, the foam used in the cushions will derive the supportiveness of the chair - important if many hours will be spent seated in a single session. Foam that has been stress tested with this scenario in mind will most likely stand up to prolonged and repeated use.
The choice of seat covering is then the next factor to consider. Genuine leather is a high-quality, breathable, waterproof, very durable cover,but it is also the most expensive. Artificial PU leather is much cheaper than real leather, often also of good quality, and easier to take care of. However, on hot days it may be uncomfortable to sit on, due to sweating, as PU leather is not as durable or breathable as genuine leather. Another alternative is PVC leather, which is softer and more flexible than PU leather, and is also water-, fire-, and stain-resistant, but can be even hotter. Finally, fabric and mesh covers are very breathable, meaning you hardly sweat and don't stick to it even on hot days. Mesh offers cooling beyond even what fabric can deliver. However, these materials are more difficult to clean than the types of leather and usually require a specialised cleaner for removing stains without risk of damaging the delicate mesh. They are typically less durable long-term, but will be exceptionally cool and comfortable to use.
Ensuring true and long-lasting comfort in any chair is down to the degree of adjustability you have at your fingertips. Most models of chair will have height adjustment controlled by a gas strut in the base of the chair - this allows of simple vertical raising or lowering the whole chair to best align with your desk height.
There will also be a seat cushion tilt mechanism too, so it can either be positioned flat or angled and locked in place. Being able to adjust the seat and backrest cushion angles independently offers the effect of forcing some back muscles to work whilst others rest, so will help keep seated bodies stay fresh and comfortable for longer sitting periods.
Next there is the back-rest adjustment - whereas most chairs will recline to some degree, gaming chairs will often offer a full 180 degrees of flexibility as opposed to a standard office chair allowing maybe only 135 degrees. The greater angle of recline provided gives you the most choice as to how you game, work or relax in your chair, and will reduce stress on the body when several hours are spent seated in one go.
When it comes to arm rests, most chairs have some element of adjustability but it is important to understand exactly what flexibility you have. The arm rests are designed to support the weight of the forearms, wrists and hands, so maximum adjustability is preferred to not only address any body size or shape, but also the various seating positions you may adopt. The term 4D has been employed to describe arm rests that offer maximum movement in height, width, angle and forward to back lateral positioning. Cheaper chairs will offer less adjustment.
Although gaming chair cushions come with ergonomically contoured cushions to offer head, shoulder and lower back support, many feature extra pads that can enhance the standard backrest shape. Either additional headrest pads, lumbar support pads or both will offer a greater degree of comfort for prolonged usage, as these are designed to offer further bolstering to the body as muscles tire from being in a similar position for extended periods of time. These are probably a must if you envisage sitting - either working or gaming - over considerable amounts of time at one go.
Cockpit gaming chairs
Flight and driving simulators
This type of gaming chair is designed to create an immersive environment to enhance the experience of a driving or flight simulation. The chair is fixed to a frame that allows for the mounting of key accessory peripherals to it, such as steering wheels, pedals, joysticks, yokes and throttles to create a cockpit feel. These are worth considering if you are doing a lot of simulation activity to save setting up and adjustment time, and would be recommended alongside a normal gaming chair for uses other than simulation.
Additionally, we sell a range of accessories available for cockpit gaming chairs to enhance your experience including monitor stands, non-slip mats and numerous peripheral mounts. This type of cockpit chair can also be used in a virtual reality environment, where a VR headset is connected to your PC as the graphical display rather than having a traditional monitor or monitors positioned in front of the chair.
Full motion cockpit chairs
For very advanced use there is also full motion capability where the chair is positioned in a frame attached to hydraulics to simulate up and down and sideways motion plus vibration and shock feedback too. A dynamic chair like this, when combined with an immersive multi-screen display or VR headset with matching audio creates a complete experience - as close as possible to the real thing.
Time to choose
Hopefully you’ve found our guide to gaming chairs useful, however if you still want further advice or have specific questions,
don’t hesitate to contact our friendly advisors on 01204 474747.
You can view our extensive range of gaming chairs by clicking the link below or alternatively read on to discover more advanced simulator options offering fully immersive experiences.