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The battle of the gaming chair vs office chair debate has been ongoing for a long time. While gaming chairs are essentially made for gamers, they’ve made their way into home offices and workplaces.
Gaming chairs are said to offer more ergonomic features. And this makes them ideal if you want to spend long hours at our desk, whether you’re a workaholic or an avid gamer. This gives the regular office chairs stiff competition in the workplace.
But both chairs are still beneficial and have a lot to offer. They both have their highlights and lowlights. And ultimately, the right one to get will always boil down to individual preferences.
This guide will compare these two chairs to help you easily decide which one will fit your needs and preferences.
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Office chairs vs. gaming chairs: Side-to-side comparison
It is hard to decide whether to go with the office chairs or gaming chairs when you don’t know much about each type of chair.
We have prepared the following side-by-side comparison to help bring out a clear picture of how the gaming chair vs office chair models differ in various aspects.
Seat pan design
One of the areas where gaming and office chairs draw distinct lines is the seat design.
Most racing-style gaming chair models today come with a bucket seat style with two raised sides. This design is inspired by real-life racing car seats, and it sure looks cool!
The idea behind bucket seats in the car racing world is to help ensure the driver stays in place as his body shifts from left to right.
However, a gamer would often need to move their body, so does this feature have any ergonomic benefits?
Gaming Chair Design
For gamers, bucket seats serve more aesthetic than ergonomic purposes.
They simply give an illusion of a seat that will cradle you and make you feel like you’re already in that F1 racing car riding in the LA streets at top speed!
If you’re a gamer, you’ll agree with me that this is a great feeling because it helps raise your emotion and bring your closer to the real-life scene!
However, if you’re considering a gaming chair for office use, don’t expect the bucket seat to provide you with any ergonomic advantage.
The two raised sides will most likely restrict your seating space and even limit your ability to move around.
Gaming Chair Downsides
People who like sitting cross-legged, with one or both feet placed on the seat, should avoid doing so in a gaming chair because the raised sides can easily restrict blood flow to their feet.
The larger people aren’t lucky either. You might find the seat too small to comfortably accommodate your bigger body size.
The manufacturers usually indicate the seat width, which includes the raised sides, which is by no means an accurate measure of the available sitting area.
On the other hand, ergonomic office chairs come with a normal contoured seat. You’ll not come across an ergonomic office chair with raised sides!
This makes the office chair a clear winner in this category as it won’t restrict your movement or affect your sitting area.
This seat will also comfortably accommodate office workers with varying body sizes.
Still, at it, the choice of materials used for the seat also varies between these two types of chairs.
While gaming models usually feature genuine or PU leather, the office chairs are made of mesh, fabric, and sometimes leather materials.
Seat edge shape
The seat edge is another area where differences manifest between gaming and office chairs. If you look closely at the seat edge of gaming chairs, you’ll notice they’ve got a raised front lip.
This is also inspired by the real car seats and doesn’t offer much ergonomic value.
Car seats have this special design to help slightly prop up the driver’s legs and enable them to reach the gas pedals. Plus, it also helps the drivers stay in their seats.
While this is helpful in real-life driving situations, it doesn’t serve as much in the office environment.
This is especially true given that the recommended ergonomic sitting position is with your knees bent at a 90-degree angle and your feet flat and firm on the floor.
Raised seat edge easily cuts off circulation to your lower limbs, and spending prolonged hours in your office or gaming chair will leave you feeling numb.
Not to mention the obvious fact that you won’t be dealing with any gas or brake pedals in your office.
This explains why the ergonomic office chairs are made with waterfall seat edges. This works great at reducing pressure off the back of your thighs instead of the raised edges.
Note that some gaming chairs come with a waterfall design, and you should get such models if you’re considering a gaming chair for an office setting.
If sitting for long periods makes your thighs feel numb, the waterfall edge seat in the typical ergonomic office chair is also worth considering.
It doesn’t put pressure on your thighs while ensuring smooth blood circulation through your thighs and legs.
The headrest is also an important feature to consider in a chair. It determines how much support you’ll enjoy for your neck and head.
Most gaming chairs come equipped with a high backrest and a fixed headrest to help support your head.
In addition to that, they come with an external headrest pillow that helps cradle your neck.
And this is sure to offer you better ergonomic support than mid or low-back office chairs, especially if you like to lean more often.
It is just the same way your bed with backboard and pillow feels comfortable to lay yourself in.
Benefits of support pillows
A chair featuring a headrest plus support pillow offers you more support and comfort than a chair with these features in a reclined sitting position.
You’ll also like some gaming chairs that let you adjust the headrest pillow up and down. This helps you target your neck area better and enjoy more customized support.
When it comes to office chairs, they usually lack a headrest. However, some models come with adjustable headrests in height and/or angle. Some are also bought separately, making them completely removable when not in use.
While these office chair headrests are better than the fixed headrests in gaming chairs, they don’t affect the fact gaming chairs still offer you the best neck and head support.
Good lumbar support is a crucial feature in a chair you plan to use in your office or gaming room for long periods. You’ll need to support your back well and prevent possible backaches and injuries.
Gaming chairs present you with lumbar support in terms of an external lumbar support pillow (just like the neck support pillow).
The good thing is that the cushion in most chairs is easily height adjustable. This allows for adjustable lumbar support, allowing you to customize it for more targeted lower back support.
Back support pillows
Most of these pillows come in the form of a roll or block and work great in ensuring you maintain that inward curve of your lower back spine.
This study investigating how lumbar support pillows promote healthy sitting for extended hours (i.e., neutral spine posture, lower back pain relief, and comfort) showed positive results.
The fact that these pillow cushions are external makes them easily removable. This allows you to replace your lumbar pillow with a comfier one for even better back support.
Still, at it, gaming chairs also come with a winged backrest. Like the bucket seat design, this winged style of many gaming chairs is inspired by racing car seats and is intended to keep the driver in place as they make sharp turns.
Like bucket seats, winged backrests don’t contribute much to a gaming chair’s overall ergonomics other than the aesthetics and may limit your upper body movement.
Large people also usually complain about feeling cramped in these gaming chairs vs when sitting in wingless office chairs.
The good thing is that there are wingless gaming chairs—just in case you don’t fancy these winged models.
Most office chairs tend to feature built-in lumbar support (which can be either adjustable or fixed lumbar support).
The premium, comfortable office chairs, in particular, provide you with self-adjusting lumbar support that adapts to your specific back shape as you move in your office chair.
This is one area where gaming chairs win hands down! Most of the gaming chairs available today present you with a deep backrest recline. Some can reline back as far as 180 degrees to let you turn them into beds for taking power naps!
Now, most people have been accustomed to thinking that reclining when working at your desk is an unhealthy practice since you’re always advised to sit upright.
But this is untrue. If you sit in a reclined position, you’ll be reliving stress off your spinal discs. And this can be beneficial if you’re suffering from back pain.
What does the science say?
One study was carried out by Waseem Amir Bashir, a Canadian researcher, who used MRI scans to investigate the effects of reclining on the spine. The study was conducted on up to 22 participants in different sitting positions.
The findings suggest that you exert the least pressure on your spine when you have your seat with your backrest reclined at 135 degrees.
This concludes that reclining is an ergonomic and healthy practice that helps keep backache at bay.
Those who spend long hours at their desk would find a chair with a deep backrest recline a great option to help prevent backaches and injuries.
It will also enable you to change your sitting positions throughout the day while maintaining the recommended natural seated position.
Unfortunately, standard office chairs are quite restricted regarding how much they let you lean back.
Most models will let you recline between 10-15 degrees (a few can go up to 20 degrees). This is quite on the lower side compared to the gaming chairs.
Overall, gaming chairs are the winner in this category. Even a budget model will still offer you a high recline level, making it a more flexible office work sitting solution than standard office chairs.
Gaming chairs also rank above standard office chairs in this category by offering more adjustable armrests for chairs in the same price range.
You can easily find a gaming chair with a price tag below $200 with 2D or 3D armrests.
These allow you to adjust their depth, height, and angle to suit different user arm positions.
Ergonomic office chairs in the same price range will only offer 2D armrests.
You must spend more, anything from $300 and above, if you want an office chair with 3D armrests.
We can all agree that the more adjustability the armrests are, the more ergonomic the chair becomes.
In the case of 3D adjustable arms, they can easily pivot inward to support more of your arms in the “V” posture, say when typing or holding that gaming controller when playing video games.
Another thing you want to consider when choosing between the two types of chairs is the adjustability features they offer you.
Gaming chairs typically offer more adjustment features than their office chair counterparts in the same price range.
For instance, these racing-style gaming chairs offer you the deep recline feature.
But the same cannot be said about office chairs. You’ll find that even the cheaper gaming chairs, eg the GTRacing chair, still offer you a deep recline function.
The key adjustment features that make a chair great for ergonomics include adjustable armrests (we’ve already discussed this above), seat height adjustment, backrest recline, and base tilt adjustment.
However, high-end, ergonomically designed office chairs also come with some additional adjustment features you won’t find even in ergonomic gaming chairs.
These features include a sliding seat mechanism, forward seat tilt, and independent backrest angle adjustability.
Looks matter even when choosing between a gaming and office chair.
That said, one of the reasons why most folks are inclined towards gaming chairs is that they come with aesthetically appealing designs.
Choose your color
You’ll get these chairs in a combination of flashy colors. Even if you’re a female gamer or office worker looking for a pink gaming chair or girlish color, you’ll easily get one.
Or, if you want a color that matches your gaming room or home office interior, you’ll easily find one.
Customize even more
They also come in customization options and stitching that easily blends in personal home office spaces.
However, these extra features may bring the chair prices up and make people feel like gaming chairs are overpriced for nothing.
As for the office chairs, they don’t focus much on aesthetics. You’ll find nearly all office chairs in muted colors and styles. And this is a good thing if you want to maintain a professional face.
For instance, if you usually do video calls or host clients from the comfort of your home office, doing so while sitting in a flashy gaming chair might not look as business-appropriate as a regular office chair would.
Most gaming chairs are pricier than office chairs. Most folks agree that gaming chairs are usually overpriced for their features. In most cases, this is due to branding.
A gamer will prefer a gaming chair that matches their computer hardware or personal brand to a standard office chair.
The gaming chair brands also send popular streamers and gamers free chairs in exchange for advertising.
If you see your favorite YouTube gamer using a specific gaming chair, you’ll say to yourself, “that chair is high-quality. I need to get one!”
However, when you look at the ergonomic office chairs and gaming chairs price comparison, you’ll notice that a typical gaming chair isn’t always pricier than office chairs.
Premium racing-style gaming chairs usually cost you no more than $800. And the vast majority of the top-rated gaming ergonomic chairs come in the $300- $500 price range.
High-end ergonomic office chairs such as the Herman Miller Aeron or Embody will cost you $1000 or 1500, respectively. It is, therefore, safe to say that a high-end office chair will cost almost twice as much as a good gaming chair or 2-3x times as much as typical gaming chairs.
Also worth mentioning is the warranty policy that accompanies your office or gaming chair. From our research, office chairs around the same price range as the racing gaming chairs will offer you more coverage.
Keep this in mind when comparing gaming chairs and office chairs, and you increase your chances of getting an investment that will last longer.
Whether choosing a good ergonomic chair for your home office or gaming station, your ultimate choice will always boil down to gaming chair vs office chair models.
These two chairs have major differences you need to know about before settling on any chair. But the office chairs share some basic similarities with their gaming chair models.
The key differences between the chairs show in key areas, including the style of the backrest, lumbar support, headrest, seat design, ergonomic adjustments, level of reclining, pricing, and even warranty policy.
Hopefully, the insights we’ve shared in this gaming chairs vs office chairs guide have helped you decide whether to choose an ergonomic office chair or a gaming chair for your workspace.