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, that 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
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 440 pounds -- or 330.7 pounds if you want to use the rocking feature -- and 6 feet 11 inches with a wider seat that’s 22.4 inches across, the AndaSeat Spider-Man Edition is the best gaming chair for big and tall gamers. In fact, taller gamers would fare better in this particular throne, as even our reviewer at 5 feet 8 inches found the neck pillow and headrest hard to access. The shoulder area could be a bit wider, but you do get a wide lumbar foam support pillow that covers the backrest well.
The molded foam proved hard enough to prevent fatigue during long gaming shifts while still offering some flexibility. Another bonus was that we didn’t find our skin sticking to the chair’s surface, as is the case with our vinyl faux leather chairs we’ve tested.
AndaSeat’s Spider-Man-themed seat also offers a solid range of adjustments, such as the ability to tilt and recline from 90-160 degrees. The armrests are nicely covered in PU faux leather and can move up/down, forward/backward, left/right and tilt inward/outward.
And, if Spider-Man isn’t the kind of hero you’d sit on, AndaSeat also makes this chair in Iron Man, Captain America and Ant Man styles.
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 it via your PC or a battery pack. It feels nice on the lower back but isn’t very strong.
More: X-Chair X3 ATR Mgmt