Gaming Chairs vs Office Chairs: What’s The Verdict?

Whether you’re an avid gamer or a workaholic (or perhaps both), chances are that you are sitting for prolonged hours. The dangers of sitting for long hours is quite well known and, if we can, it’s suggested that we reduce the amount of time we sit over a day.

But even if you have reduced the amount of time you’re sitting, we still need to be comfortable and supported when we do sit.

So, gaming chairs vs office chairs? 

Gaming chairs have become very popular in recent times and people have begun to question which is better, a gaming chair or an office chair? Gaming chairs are not mutually exclusive to gamers, and more and more office workers (especially home office workers) have been opting for the gaming style of chair as opposed to the more traditional style of office chair. But why?

In this article, we will explore the differences between the stylistic focused gaming chairs and the typical ergonomic focused office chairs to try and help you arrive at the best solution for you and your needs.

What is a Gaming Chair?

There is no set definition for a gaming chair. The gaming chair market is constantly evolving with new iterations arriving from consumer tastes and new expectations. 

However, we can pinpoint key areas of typical gaming chairs and compare them to their standard ergonomic office chair counterparts.

Chair Feature Gaming Chair Ergonomic Office Chair
Headrest Fixed & with a detachable pillow Often height & tilt adjustable
Backrest Shape Winged Wingless
Backrest Height High Medium to high
Seat Pan Bucket seat Contoured
Seat Edge Often raised Waterfall
Backrest Recline Very high degree of recline Low to high degree of recline
Lumbar Support Detachable pillows Fixed or adjustable
Material Leather or faux leather Leather, fabric or mesh

Typical Gaming Chair Design Elements

In this article we will explore the typical gaming chair design elements in comparison to ergonomic office chairs. Use the links below to skip to certain sections.

Combining all these features, it can be easy to identify what is a gaming chair and what isn’t. Gaming chairs don’t beat around the bush when it comes to flashy styles and colours. They want to stand out. Whereas, typical ergonomic office chairs are less flashy and are designed for comfort above all else first.

Let’s dive right into each of these gaming chair design elements to help you deduce if a gaming chair is right for you or not.

Bucket Seat Design

The bucket seat design is heavily inspired by racing car seats. The sides of the seat are raised and flare-up. They serve the purpose of helping secure the driver in their position in a moving vehicle. Racing cars, in particular, will shift the person from side to side and these raised sides help keep the driver in the seat.

But as a gamer or office worker, you won’t be shifting from side to side. You may be thinking the raised design seems almost redundant in an office setting, and you’d be right, coming from an ergonomic perspective.

The raised design is largely for aesthetic purposes. Sitting in a bucket seat will allow you to feel like you’re sitting in an F1 or rally car. Not hugely important to some people, but for others, this could enhance the gaming experience as you tear around the track in the latest Gran Turismo game.

Ergonomically though, the bucket design serves very little purpose and could even be considered detrimental to the overall ergonomic experience. The raised design restricts your movement and for larger people, you may find it hard to get comfortable in a seat which ultimately provides less room for your legs.

What an ergonomic chair offers: An ergonomic office chair will tend to have a contoured seat design that fits with the natural leg shape. It offers far more flexibility when it comes to sitting positions (such as cross-legged) so you can move more freely throughout the day. The choice of materials differs much more as well. Bucket seats tend to only come in PU faux leather or real leather, whereas ergonomic office chairs are often seen in mesh, fabric and leather.

Raised Front Lip

The raised front lip is another design feature that is taken from where the seat design originated from in the first place - a racing car. In a car, its elevated position is designed to help with the position of the legs relative to the pedals, while it also helps keep the driver in the back of the seat.

But while in an office or playing video games, your legs will not be placed on pedals. It is recommended that you sit with your knees bent at a 90-degree angle and your feet are flat on the floor.

The style of the raised front lip of a gaming chair is again more for aesthetic purposes rather than from an ergonomic design standpoint.

What an ergonomic chair offers: With many ergonomic chairs, you will find that they have a waterfall shaped edge to the front of the seat. This allows for less pressure under the thighs and at the back of the knees. Too much pressure here can cause numbness after long sustained periods of sitting.

Detachable Lumbar and Head Pillows

Detachable pillows are at the forefront of any gaming chair design. Rarely if ever will you find detachable pillows on other types of office chairs.

The headrest pillow makes up for the fact gaming chairs rarely have independent adjustable headrests built into the chair itself. The lumbar pillow can usually be adjusted vertically so you can find the right support needed for you.

Studies have shown that there was an ‘improvement of objective measurement in comfort in healthy individuals and patients with low back pain’. Although further work is required to determine whether there is any clinical relevance based over the long term.

What an ergonomic chair offers: Ergonomic office chairs tend to offer a little more versatility when it comes to lumbar support. Often you will find inflatable pump up or sprung pronounced lumbar support to aid in posture and comfort. Fully adjustable headrests are a common theme among ergonomic office chairs and are generally more adaptable. The ability to pivot and change the height of the headrest means it will outperform any headrest pillow.

Winged Backrest

The winged backrest, akin to the bucket seat, is a design feature taken from racing seats. This design has a purpose in a car as it helps keep you in the seat as sharp turns are made, while in a gaming chair the feature can only be classed as aesthetically pleasing.

While it may help immerse you in your racing video game, its design feature is ultimately just for how it looks as there has been no evidence that this type of design will help you ergonomically in a workplace or home setting.

What an ergonomic chair offers: Ergonomically, winged backrests may restrict upper body movement so ergonomic chairs do not feature this design. Larger people especially may feel more confined with a winged back. Tall, large and contoured backs are what ergonomic office chairs generally offer. If you opt for a full-mesh backed office chair, this material will offer more flexibility in movement as you twist and stretch while seated.

High Degree of Back Recline

Gaming chairs are often known for their high degree of back recline. Some go as far as 180 degrees which offers a complete lying down position.

How often is this feature used to its fullest? We’re not sure, but it's a feature definitely more suited to gaming than in being used while sitting at an office desk.

The posture you find yourself in while sitting can have a great effect on the pressure put on your spinal discs. Sitting at a complete 90 degrees can have a much larger negative effect on your discs as opposed to s 100-degree sitting position.

Gaming chairs can often lock in any position, leaving you to find the right degree of back recline right for you.

What an ergonomic chair offers: Similar to gaming chairs, you’ll find that ergonomic office chairs also offer a large degree of recline. However, you won’t find many ergonomic office chairs with a full 180-degree recline like a gaming chair.

How important this is to you is ultimately your decision, but the benefits of a complete 180-degree recline are quite minimal. You’ll find most ergonomic office chairs will also lock in any position.

Adjustable Arms

This area of gaming chairs often matches ergonomic office chairs in terms of functionality and comfort. Of course, you get what you pay for and you’ll have to look at the higher priced gaming chairs to find all the ergonomic features on gaming chair armrests, but the important thing is, is that they’re there and available on these types of chairs.

On the entry-level models of gaming chairs, you’ll find armrests that are either fixed or can move from one position to another (vertically).

But on the higher-end models, the armrests come with all the bells and whistles. Height adjustable, tilt, slide are all common themes.

Ergonomics is all about adjustability to help tailor the product to you and your situation and you’ll find a lot of gaming chairs has this built into their armrests in abundance.

What an ergonomic chair offers: Like what was mentioned above, you get what you pay for. Entry-level ergonomic chairs will have fewer features on their armrests while the higher-end models will be fully adjustable. The price point is what will determine the level of customisation on offer.

Stylish Design, Colours & Branding

One of the main reasons people opt for a gaming chair is for the general aesthetic design. Gaming chairs are not your typical chair. They are flashy, in your face and some of them even sport your favourite pop-culture brands (such as Batman, Game of Thrones and World of Warcraft).

Licenced branding looks great and can add personal flavour to your gaming set-up, but they do come with a premium price of course.

However, if it’s just the colour you’re after, gaming chairs tend to come in a large variety of colours that are sure to make your room pop.

What an ergonomic chair offers: This is where general office chairs falls a little short. The flashy designs and colours can be hard to come by in standard office chairs. That’s not to say you won’t find some unique looking designs and colours, but gaming chairs offer more variety in this department.

Leather or Faux Leather Material

Almost all gaming chairs tend to be upholstered in a leather or leather effect material. This is the standard across the gaming chair product line. Leather is easy to wipe clean and there are many products available to help you maintain the quality of the leather throughout its lifetime.

Faux leather effect or bonded leather options are cheaper than real leather. They can offer the same look and smell like real leather but are significantly cheaper to produce.

Whatsmore, these leather effects make it easier to add colour to the upholstery, giving you more options in regards to colours, styles and branding.

What an ergonomic chair offers: You’ll be hard-pressed to find gaming chairs outside of their usual leather or leather effect upholstery. Standard ergonomic office chairs come in a large variety of materials such as fabric, mesh and of course leather.

They all have their benefits and weaknesses, but the sheer range of materials on offer gets a big plus point for ergonomic office chairs versus gaming chairs.

Gaming Chairs vs Office Chairs - What’s the Verdict?

After taking all this in, what is the final verdict? Do you go for a gaming chair or a standard ergonomic office chair?

Here are the key takeaway’s that could help you make your decision:

  • Gaming chairs are not the most ergonomic chairs on the market. They can be quite counterproductive in terms of overall comfort and support due to their bucket seats and winged backs
  • Entry-level gaming chair models still come with a variety of ergonomic features such as lumbar support and adjustable armrests, while entry-level ergonomic office chairs may lack these features
  • Style is king for gaming chairs, and if you’re more style over substance, gaming chairs outright win in this category
  • Ergonomic office chairs offer more variety, with lots of different materials and sizes to choose from
  • The high-end level of ergonomic chairs start to surpass gaming chairs in most categories, but especially for comfort and support

If you're still unsure on what type of office chair to go for, our friendly sales team will be more than happy to help steer you in a direction that helps suit your particular needs. Call us on 01234 834693.

Below you can find our best selling gaming chairs and ergonomic chairs. Alternatively, you can browse our complete selection of gaming chairs and ergonomic office chairs.

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