A gaming chair not only looks cool, it also offers essential comfort for hours of video game sessions. However, they are not exactly cheap. So if you are considering buying a suitable chair, you should consider a few things beforehand.
A little bit of gaming can quickly turn into an extended video game session. After hours of sitting in front of the screen, the back often complains. Sitting for a long time is poison for the entire musculoskeletal system; Gamers or even office workers can certainly sing a song about it. When playing video games, a suitable sitting position is therefore important. Gaming chairs are specially tailored to the needs of players. TECHBOOK explains what is important in a good and back-friendly gaming chair
What is important in a good gaming chair
In principle, gaming chairs are nothing more than very comfortable and versatile adjustable desk chairs, which usually resemble a racing car seat. Some gaming chair manufacturers even originally come from the automotive industry. The chairs are designed for long periods of sitting and above all offer the advantage of numerous adjustment options. This is where they differ from the normal desk chair, which is usually only adjustable in height and may just have a backrest with a tilting function. Gaming chairs offer significantly more options.
Everyone’s anatomy is different. Therefore, a standard chair with standard measurements doesn’t really do it justice. But this is precisely where the advantages of gaming chairs lie. They can be adapted precisely to your own body. Most gaming chairs offer at least the following setting options:
- seat height
- the inclination of the backrest
- Placement of the armrests
Many models also come with lumbar and neck pillows, which aim to ensure optimal posture and are often even adjustable, so they are the right place for both big and small people. On some chairs, however, these cushions are integrated directly into the backrest, so they cannot be moved.
However, the size of the seat and the height of the backrest are usually not adjustable. The maximum body weight with which a chair can be loaded also differs from model to model. If you are interested in a chair, you should study the manufacturer’s information about dimensions, minimum and maximum body size and maximum weight load before purchasing it. Most manufacturers state a maximum height of between 1.80 and 1.90 meters and a maximum weight of 100 to 150 kg. If you are heavier and still sitting on the chair, you will not damage it immediately. However, certain parts wear out faster.
Almost all gaming chairs have side supports on the seat and backrest, which are more or less pronounced depending on the model. As a racing car seat, they not only provide a visual highlight, but also have a function: they provide support. However, it is quite possible that these side supports will contract the buttocks, back or shoulders of people who have a wider build. Conversely, they cannot offer narrow people the necessary support if they are too small. Here, everyone must find the right chair for themselves and – if possible – try it out in advance.
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Armrests often adjustable in all directions
The armrests are a central and essential part of a gaming chair. Here you must pay particular attention to three things: adjustment options, stability and comfort. Virtually all armrests can at least be adjusted in height; it is the absolute minimum. For an optimal sitting position, they should be adjusted in height on the desk to rest your elbows comfortably on them while you are engrossed in the game with mouse and keyboard.
Many models, however, offer far more flexible adjustable supports, so-called 2D, 3D or 4D armrests. These can be adjusted not only in height, but also in other directions. For example, you can push the armrest forwards and backwards as well as outwards and inwards. A rotation around your own axis – usually up to 45 degrees – is also offered to optimally adapt the gaming chair’s armrests to your own body and a comfortable posture. Tilting inwards and outwards or even folding away completely, for example to sit cross-legged on the chair, is only possible with a few models. But generally these features are also available.
The stability of the armrests is almost as important. Because if they change with jerky movements and have to be adjusted again, it is more than annoying. In heated online matches, this can also become a real disadvantage. Being able to adjust the armrests easily, but also being able to lock them securely, is extremely important, especially in the digital game and battlefields.
Last but not least, an armrest must be comfortably padded. After all, the elbow often rests on it for hours during long gaming sessions. The padding must be neither too hard nor too soft and preferably covered with breathable material.
Backrest – this is how the gaming chair becomes a bed
The three criteria of adjustment options, stability and comfort are also decisive for the backrest of a gaming chair. All backrests can be tilted back, some even slightly forward. The latter has the advantage that you can lean over to the screen during particularly concentrated games, but still find the necessary support. The backrest should be infinitely adjustable and provide a decent amount of resistance. This is the only way to adequately support the lower back.
It is also desirable to be able to lock them at any angle with a handle. Speaking of angles, some gaming chairs offer a recline angle of 150 degrees and more. This turns the chair into a makeshift bed to take a little nap in between. In combination with a tilt function that increases the angle by a few degrees, this ensures more comfort.
High-quality gaming chairs are often equipped with a so-called synchronous mechanism: when you lean back, the angle of the seat also changes slightly. The ratio is usually 2:1 or 3:1. So the seat does not tilt as much as the backrest. This mechanism relieves the leg muscles and the back even more, as the contact between the back and the backrest remains constant and you don’t just slide along the backrest.
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Wheels, star base and basic structure must be of high quality
Anyone who has ever gone through an intense gaming session knows that gambling can actually be a sport. Anyone who works with full physical effort needs a stable chair that has a clean finish. Regardless of this, high processing quality ensures a long service life. Most manufacturers rely on a basic construction of a tubular steel frame with a sheet metal or steel struts with elastic straps. Some also use solid wood panels. Models with metal grids or pressed wood panels are not recommended.
The padding sits on top of this basic structure. It is usually PU foam, i.e. polyurethane cold foam. In the description of the manufacturers, “high-density foam” or “ultra-comfort foam” is sometimes used for advertising purposes. The heavier the user, the higher the density of the foam should be. Everything up to 40 kg per cubic meter is considered soft, medium hard up to about 70 kg per cubic meters. In addition, the padding is quite hard.
Good craftsmanship also includes a solid base. This is the part of the gaming chair that the wheels are attached to. Plastic, aluminum or steel are usually used as materials. The latter in particular are preferable because they are robust and durable. With a plastic foot, make sure it’s solid plastic. Inexpensive chairs often have a base made of injection-molded plastic, which is hollow and only stabilized by transverse slats – not particularly solid.
The wheels on a gaming chair are almost always made of plastic. The bigger they are, the smoother they usually roll. They are available with and without chewing gum. The latter is particularly suitable for hard floors such as tiles, laminate or parquet. On a carpet it is also possible without rubber. Whether the wheels should have a parking brake is a matter of taste. Most players don’t care.
Artificial leather or fabric: which cover should it be?
Almost all gaming chairs are upholstered with either imitation leather or fabric. Real leather is rarely used. Imitation leather is cheap and very easy to care for, it can simply be wiped off. However, it is hardly breathable and can cause heat to build up. Especially during longer sessions on hot days, this leads to a sweaty bottom and back. Fabric covers are a better choice here because they let air through. They also usually look a bit higher quality, but are not much more expensive than imitation leather. Disadvantage: Cleaning is not so easy. Liquids in particular can cause stains that cannot be easily removed.
Some manufacturers combine the two covers on their chairs: the seat and the lower backrest are covered with fabric to ensure good ventilation. The other parts that do not come into such close contact with the body are covered with imitation leather, which is again easy to clean.
Calculate the perfect height of a gaming chair
Almost all gaming chairs can be adjusted in height. Therefore, you only have to pay attention to the specified height range when you buy. This is based on your own height. Ideally, the legs should form a 90 degree angle when sitting.
There are plenty of tables for this on the internet. You can also easily calculate the perfect height yourself. The determining factor for this is 3.8: divide your height by this number. This results in the following calculation:
From a height of 1.70 m, the gaming chair must allow a seat height of 44.7 cm, at 1.75 m the equivalent of 46.1 cm, at 1.80 m 47.4 cm, etc.
Conclusion: There is no such thing as one chair for everyone!
Many gaming chairs are undoubtedly of high quality and ergonomically perfectly adapted to the needs of gamers. Nevertheless, every gamer should choose a chair for their particular requirements – especially size and weight play an important role. If gamer and chair do not go together, even the best craftsmanship and the most ergonomic shape are of no use.
The material and setting options should also be carefully considered before purchase and ideally tried once. And of course, the look also plays a role in the end – because a gaming chair is not exactly the most eye-catching piece of furniture. You have to like that. Thanks to many manufacturers and models, there is still enough choice for every design request and every special function.