When you spend so much time building PCs and picking the best gaming monitor, gaming keyboard and gaming mouse, it’s easy to overlook the importance of the chair you use to navigate that setup. For PC gamers, sitting in the best gaming chair can add some personality to your gaming den and, more importantly, provide support to key areas like your back and shoulders, which are often neglected by cheaper furniture. When you’re sitting for large chunks of the day, your body needs just as much attention as your next CPU buy, so you can focus on gaming and working rather than scheduling your next chiropractor visit.
But the best gaming chair may not necessarily be a gaming chair per se. When you’re using your computer to work or study, you need to ensure that you’re sitting on something that’s comfortable, even when you’re not fragging with your friends or listening to Johnny Silverhand. Whether that means a bright gamer aesthetic, a more subdued look fit for conference calls or a range of adjustments for when you need to lay back and regroup is all up to you.
Below, we break down the best gaming chairs to hit the Tom’s Hardware lab (whether they’re explicitly targeted at gamers or not), but first, here are some things to consider when shopping for a new gaming chair.
Shopping Tips to Help You Find the Best Gaming Chair
- What’s the chair’s maximum supported height and weight? If you don’t fit the chair’s recommendations or if you’re a smaller person and notice the chair is geared toward the big and tall crowd, look elsewhere.
- Shoulder and lumbar support are key. Chairs without enough backrest height and width to support your shoulders and lumbar region via a dedicated mechanism or pillow may feel fine for a quick sit but won’t provide enough support for frequent hours of gaming or work.
- Mind your seat too. Some chairs provide measurements for the whole seat, which may be smaller than the measurement for the actual sittable area of the seat. Make sure the seat’s point of contact is wide enough for your hips and how you like to sit.
- Which adjustments do you need? Height adjustment is pretty standard, but you may also want to recline forward and/or backward, move the armrests in multiple directions or have the ability to rock.
- What material and look do you want? There are a lot of gaming chairs that look like racecar bucket seats and use faux leather and are often easy to clean. Real leather will be pricier, and mesh chairs can be harder to clean. If you want something that looks more subdued, remember to also consider chairs that may not claim “gaming” in their title.
- Can it fit under your desk? If pairing your chair with a certain desk, make sure the chair’s height and armrests will be able to fit under the desk, so you can push it in when not in use.
Best Gaming Chairs 2021
With a complete range of adjustments, including a backrest that can sit from 85-165 degrees, premium-feeling faux leather and some of the coziest extra pillows we’ve ever laid our heads and lumbars on, the Secretlab Omega is the best gaming chair. Secretlab’s homemade take on memory foam has just the right amount of hardness to support the whole body for hours without being overly rigid and stiff. In fact, I used this as my primary work chair for about a year and never got sore.
One of the Omega’s most standout features is the foam neck and lumbar foam pillows that use cooling gel to fight heat and are covered in a deliciously soft fabric. They’re not just decoration; the pillows conform to your body when in use and revert back to their original shape after. Plus, the armrests move up/down, in/out and toward/away the body and forward/back. It’s not perfect: these armrests could be softer for resting on, and the recline lever’s quality has room for improvement. However, with all of these advantages and a helpful tilt function , the Secret Labs Omega offers a comfortable position for most body types.
Note that the Omega also comes in different upholsteries and finishes. We tested the fabric upholstery in our Secretlab Titan SoftWeave review, as well one of the more colorful design options, the Secretlab League of Legends K/DA Edition.
More: Secretlab Omega review
The Secretlab Titan Evo 2022 will soon completely replace the Omega above and Secretlab Titan. Available in three sizes, the Titan Evo is more expensive than the Omega, but offers a durable fabric upholstery option that helps make it look like it’s worth the price. Additionally, you get ample seating space for spreading out or kicking your legs up. We also love the adjustability of the Titan Evo, from its 85-165-degree recline, to its faux leather-topped foam armrests that can move in 4 different sets of adjustments and are interchangeable.
The chair is built on hard cold cure foam Secretlab designed itself. While it provides great, firm support for the back, that hardness can get tiring in the seat after a couple hours. The backrest also has an integrated lumbar support system that lets you adjust the lumbar area’s hardness and location, making the perfect fit a bit more attainable than with the Omega. Yes, the new magnetic neck pillow may slip when you’re reclining; however, this Titan Evo 2022 is still one of the best gaming chair options around, especially after the Omega is gone.
At under $300, the AndaSeat Jungle is the best gaming chair for gamers who don’t want to break their back or the bank. A 1.5-inch-thick layer of memory foam prevents your body from sagging into the chair, and the foam lumbar support and neck pillows make it even harder to slouch.
Despite its more budget pricing, the Jungle offers breathable vinyl faux leather and the necessary adjustments for gaming and work. You get height adjustment, a rocking feature, recline from 90-160 degrees and height-adjustable armrests.
Those with wider hips or who just like to spread out, however, will lament the seat’s narrowness. Make sure the 14.2-inch width is enough room for you, otherwise you won’t last very long in the chair.
More: AndaSeat Jungle review
Supporting gamers up to 441 pounds -- or 330.7 pounds if you want to use the rocking feature -- and 6 feet 10.7 inches, the AndaSeat T-Pro 2 is the best gaming chair for big and tall gamers who need a little extra room. It has a firm backrest with very little give combined with a seat (22.7 inches wide with the side bumpers, 16.5 inches without) that lets you sink in, making for a durable supportive chair that feels cozy while promoting good posture.
While many gaming chairs opt for faux leather, the Pro 2’s linen upholstery feels a little rough but will fight off sweat better. You also get a foam lumbar pillow, plus a neck one that you can strap to the chair’s head, but it’s best for gamers at least 6-feet-tall.
Adjustments include the ability to rock, set the backrest at a 90-160-degree angle and a 2.8-inch height range. The armrests can also move up/down, forward/back, left/right and turn in 45 degrees. But they’re a hard plastic that your elbows won’t want to spend much time on.
If you’re the right height to make the most of this chair, the T-Pro 2 will easily slide into your gaming room or even office, thanks to a range of color options (grey with black accents, steel blue with black accents aor all black).
More: AndaSeat T-Pro 2 review
Yes, the X-Chair X3 ATR Mgmt is expensive, but with configurable options that let you build a chair that fits your body type, it’s an investment in comfort. Primarily, the X3 ATR Mgmt blows most other gaming chairs’ approaches to lumbar support away by ditching the clunky pillow or adjustable firmness with a tension mechanism that properly adjusts to your size and lower back shape.
The X3 ATR Mgmt comes with a lot of optional features that can add to its price, from the massage/heat features we tested to the headrest and your choice of foam. The configuration we tested lets us work and play for hours without any back or body aches; although, the armrests could be a little softer. Those armrests can move up/down, forward/back and twist in/out. The seat’s also movable, as is the height, and the backrest and recline from 90-130 degrees.
Most people don’t need the $100 heat and massage feature add-on, which you can power via your PC or a battery pack. It feels nice on the lower back but isn’t very strong. You can also consider the X-Chair Elemax, which brings heat, massage and active cooling to the chair
More: X-Chair X3 ATR Mgmt