On its face, the gaming chair vs office chair debate seems a little one-sided and unfair. All you have to do is take a quick look at the two options and see why. From the aesthetics to the ergonomics, gaming chairs seem to have a leg up on office chairs. Take, for example, a basic office chair like the Amazon Basics Mid-Back Desk Office Chair with Armrests.
It’s a decent chair, fair enough. It’s affordable, comfortable, can support up to 225 pounds of weight, and has a contoured mesh back that is breathable.
It seems as though this ergonomic office chair is a good enough chair until you compare it to a basic gaming chair that is roughly within the same price range as this gaming chair, and you quickly begin to see the differences.
Not only is the latter a bit more comfortable, but it offers better features such as an adjustable headrest, excellent lumbar support, and ample swivel allowance.
Of course, it can be argued that gaming chairs are designed to be a more comfortable chair and feature-rich than a standard office chair because they are basically for leisure purposes. The problem with that argument is that some gaming chairs fit right into the office environment and vice versa.
The only difference is that gaming chairs designed to be basic enough for office use are still comfortable and offer more features than your regular office chair.
So, which one comes out on top as far as the gaming chair vs office chair argument goes?
What Is a Gaming Chair?
These are ergonomic chairs specifically designed for long hours of playing video games. The ergonomic design of these chairs offers many features designed to make a gamer’s life as comfortable as it is practical. Some of the key features that come with standard gaming chairs include:
- Adjustable seat height
- Rocking function
- Adjustable armrest
- Full back support (including high back support)
- Backrest recline
- Adjustable lumbar support
- Some offer a footrest
You will find that gaming chairs today follow the racing style gaming chair designs introduced in 2006. Although designed for video gamers, this PC gaming chair style has become so popular that most office chairs mimic it. Your typical gaming chair, however, is more than just for looks. These chairs are designed for long gaming sessions, with gamers’ comfort, good posture, and overall health in mind.
What Is an Office Chair?
An office chair is the typical desk chair found in offices. While there are many different office chairs on the market today, most with excellent features, the typical office chair isn’t designed to be that feature-rich. Some of the key features of an office chair include:
- Adjustable seat height
- Rocking function
- Mid-back support
The traditional office chair is quite basic, with a fixed backrest and a fixed armrest. These chairs only allow you to adjust the height as well as engage the rocking function. There may not even be proper lumbar support, meaning you will have to purchase a lumbar cushion.
While most office chairs are cost-effective and functional, they don’t consider your overall health. There are studies showing how having a desk that offers poor ergonomic design features can lead to shoulder pain, back pain, neck issues, and elbow disorders.
Gaming Chairs vs Office Chairs: Side by Side Comparison
One way to settle this argument is to take a close head-to-head look between gaming chairs and office chairs.
Even the best office chairs are mostly designed to be discreet and blend into the background. Depending on which one you buy, they often have rudimentary controls and basic features such as adjustable height and mid-back support. In many cases, you will find that they are offered in subdued colours such as gray and black and are made out of mesh or nylon upholstery.
Gaming chairs, on the other hand, tend to be flashy with bright colours and outrageous features. For the most part, you will find that gaming chairs have tall backrests, adjustable arms, adjustable height, and thick padding for the gamer’s comfort. Many of these chairs are inspired by race car seats and feature contoured ergonomic designs that stand out.
Whether you are gaming or working at an office in front of a computer all day, the comfort offered by your chair determines how well you will accomplish your tasks. A regular office chair tends to be more comfortable than a gaming chair, but only for a short period of time. The problem comes in once you start needing to use the chair for long periods.
Since office chairs tend to have limited adjustability, you will find yourself twisting and turning a lot more in an office chair than you would a gaming chair. As you try to find a comfortable spot, your body starts to bend to less efficient postures that could prove problematic over time. Over time, you will find that you are more comfortable slouching while in your office chair than sitting upright and maintaining good posture.
The problem with these awkward positions is that they force your muscles to work harder to try and hold up your neck, shoulders, and trunk. That tends to squeeze those muscles and your blood vessels, which, in turn, reduces circulation. As a result, you experience more fatigue much faster.
On the other hand, gaming chairs offer several features that address awkward sitting positions and poor posture. Features such as a thick padded seat, 3D armrests, and full back support adapt to the user and make their buttocks and legs comfortable, even for long periods.
The tall and comfortably padded backrest that is a mainstay of many gaming chairs cradles the spine while an adjustable neck, as well as lumbar pillows, easily support your spine’s natural curve. All these features mean that you can easily adjust your gaming chair to ensure that you are maintaining a balanced and healthy posture as you sit.
This is perhaps the biggest difference between an office and a gaming chair. Ergonomics (meaning “adjustability”) is something that gaming chairs offer in plenty. In contrast, your typical office chair doesn’t offer nearly as many adjustability avenues.
For example, most office chairs don’t come with an adjustable backrest. This means that as your back begins to get tired, you don’t have very many options to make it more comfortable. That’s why most office workers resort to contorting their bodies in awkward and unhealthy sitting positions.
Gaming chairs, on the other hand, have an adjustable backrest with three standard components:
- Adjustable lumbar support
- Adjustable armrests
- Reclining backrests
All of these features allow you to find more than one comfortable, and most importantly, natural sitting position at any given time.
As you have probably guessed by now, office chairs don’t come with many accessories or extras. This is mostly because they typically don’t offer many ergonomic features, to begin with.
In many cases, gaming chairs offer you a host of accessories such as adjustable lumbar and neck cushions. Some even come with built-in massagers.
This is where office chairs come out on top. For the most part, office chairs go for as little as $150, while the best gaming chairs can top thousands of dollars depending on the extra features you choose.
All things considered, gaming chairs come out on top. This is mostly because their designs and all the features they offer make the user more comfortable and consider their health.
The biggest issue is that most gaming chairs tend to be a bit more expensive than office chairs, and they also tend to be a bit more aesthetically vivid. They may not be a good fit for an office environment. That isn’t to say that there aren’t gaming chairs that have basic and neutral colours.