Best gaming chairs 2021: top budget to premium choices

The best gaming chairs money can buy for any kind of budget and any body shape or size

Best gaming chairs 2021 PC gaming PS5 Xbox Series X Nintendo Switch
(Image credit: Secretlab)

T3's best gaming chairs guide for 2021 has been design to help gamers find the perfect chair for gaming for them, no matter their shopping budget, body size, or intended usage scenario.

Just like when shopping for one of the best best office chairs, we've learnt over the years that tiny differences in gaming chairs or unique features can make all the difference. Yes, it's true that all the gaming seats in this guide are top quality, but not every model will be ideal for ever gamer.

In general gaming chairs are brilliant at both elevating a gamer's in-game ability and comfort, as well as reducing back pain and repetitive strain injuries, but specific seats are built with specialisms and specific tastes in mind, and that's why it is so important to do your research and then get the right gaming chair for you.

As such, in our best gaming chairs guide you'll find products from the world's most respected manufacturers, including Vertagear, GTOMega, Nobelchairs and Secretlab among others. But we haven't just packed our guide with hyper-expensive gaming thrones. We've included gaming chairs for different body types and sizes, for younger gamers and for rooms where the chair needs to blend in with the rest of the decor. And of course, we've selected chairs to suit every kind of budget. 

No matter what kind of chair you get, it's crucial that it makes you feel your best when you're playing: it should be comfortable for even the most protracted session, and you should be able to customise it to suit your body and your preferred sitting style. There's not much point in shelling out for one of the best gaming monitors, a great gaming laptop and a brilliant gaming headset if you're going to sit in front of them with a substandard chair. 

Comfort is really important here, and everything affects everything else – so for example if you've bought the best gaming mouse but can't use it comfortably or without straining, your chair is undoing all your good work.

The chairs here are for every kind of setup – desktop PCs and laptop gaming, PS5, Xbox One X, Nintendo Switch, Google Stadia – every kind of game and every kind of gamer. Each chair here comes with the T3 seal of approval, and we're confident that they'll keep you at the very top of your game. We've also included some handy tips and information about what to look for and what features really matter. You'll find that just after the list of gaming chairs.

The best gaming chairs 2021

best gaming chairs 2021 secret lab titan softweaveT3 Award

The best gaming chair for most people? That's the SecretLab Titan SoftWeave Fabric Gaming Chair.

(Image credit: SecretLab)

1. SecretLab Titan SoftWeave Fabric Gaming Chair

The best gaming chair for most people

Specifications
Max load:
Height: 175 - 200cm
Upholstery: Fabric
Armrests: 4D
Hydraulics: Class 4
Recline: 85-165 degrees
Package size: 85 x 71 x 37cm
Warranty: 5 years
Reasons to buy
+Fantastic SoftWeave fabric+Exceptional all-round build quality+Impressive back, arm and neck support

The first reason you're going to feel drawn to the SecretLab Titan SoftWeave gaming chair is the gorgeous (and very comfortable) SoftWeave fabric, which feels as premium as leather but adds a completely different aesthetic to the looks of the chair. It looks a real stunner, and we're pleased to report that the looks of the chair are matched by excellent build quality.

Throw into the mix superb support for your entire body, one of the best setup guides that we've seen and a toolkit included in the box, and plenty of adjustment options when you've got the chair actually constructed, and it's not difficult to see why this has earned top spot in our best gaming chairs of 2021 list.

In fact the chair is already proving so popular that SecretLab has a backlog of orders that it needs to work through. It has an awful lot going for it, and stands out both in the overall looks and the fit and finish of the Titan SoftWeave. Admittedly it is hardly a budget chair to ring up, but we're certain that you're not going to end up disappointed in your investment.

If you want to learn even more about this chair then be sure to scope out our SecretLab Titan SoftWeave Fabric Gaming Chair guide.

Best gaming chairs 2021 Noblechairs Epic Series Real Leather

If you want a real leather gaming chair, you basically can't do better than the Noblechairs Epic Series Real Leather.

2. Noblechairs Epic Series Real Leather

The best premium gaming chair

Specifications
Max load:
Height: 129.5 - 139.5cm
Upholstery: Real leather
Armrests: 4D
Hydraulics: Class 4
Recline: 90 to 135 degrees
Foam: Deformation resistant cold
Warranty: 2 years
Reasons to buy
+Solid design and quality construction+Seriously comfortable+Plenty of adjustment options

The Epic series gaming chair from Noblechairs is all about combining luxurious leather, best-in-class quality and a classic style reminiscent of high-end racing car seats. It's an easy pick for one of the best gaming chairs of 2021, and we'd recommend adding it to your shortlist if you've got a healthy budget.

This leather-clad beauty is easy to set up and has a high-density cold foam upholstery for maximum comfort – and it's robust too, so it should last you a long time after you've bought it. Be warned, it's one of the bigger chairs in our list, so it won’t do for tight spaces, though.

Overall, if you are shopping at the premium end of the gaming chair market then the Epic Series Real Leather Chair from NobelChairs should be at the top of your list.

Want to compare the top two chairs in T3's best gaming chairs buying guide? Then be sure to check out our SecretLab Titan SoftWeave vs Noblechairs Epic Series Real Leather comparison feature.

We've also got a dedicated features comparing this premium priced chair against a top budget offering, too, so if you're unsure whether you need to spend big, check out our Epic Series Real Leather Chair from Noblechairs vs GTPlayer Gaming Chair comparison feature, too.

Best gaming chairs 2021 budget GTPlayer Gaming Chair

Want the best budget gaming chair? That's the GTPlayer Gaming Chair.

(Image credit: GTPLAYER)

3. GTPlayer Gaming Chair

The best gaming chair under £200

Specifications
Max load:
Dimensions: 70 x 50 x 136.5 cm
Recline: 90 - 150 degrees
Upholstery: Leather
Foam: Cold-cure memory
Swivel: 360 degrees
Warranty: 2 years
Reasons to buy
+Smooth bonded leather finish+90~150°reclining and rocking action+Extra back and neck pillows+Incredibly affordable

If you're shopping for the best gaming chair under £200 then the GTPlayer Gaming Chair is a fantastic choice.

Firstly, it is very affordable cheap. Some of the other chairs in this guide cost 3 or 4 times as much, something that really highlights is value.

That value does not mean janky or poor build quality though, or a lack of core features. You get a stylish design finished with smooth bonded leather, added seat and headrest pillows, smooth-rolling casters and excellent manervurability.

The seat itself can swivel a full 360 degrees, while the seat can recline and rock between 90~150 degrees, too, meaning if you want a quick nap between gaming sessions then you can.

The GTPlayer Gaming Chair is available in 5 stylish colourways, too, including White, Blue, Green, Grey and Red. Setup is straightforward as well and each chair comes with a 30-day return guarantee.

Overall, a really strong budget gaming chair package.

Compare this chair to a more premium model in our SecretLab Titan SoftWeave vs GTPlayer Gaming Chair comparison feature.

best gaming chairs 2021 Razer Iskur

The Razer Iskur is a premium gaming chair that boasts stunning lines.

(Image credit: Razer)

4. Razer Iskur

Razer's top gaming heritage shines through

Specifications
Max load:
Recommended height: 174 cm to 181 cm
Upholstery: PVC Leather
Armrests: 4D
Casters: 6 cm Caster Wheel
Foam type: High Density Molded Foam
Adjustable back angle: 139 Degrees
Warranty: 3 years
Reasons to buy
+Excellent build quality+Incredibly stylish lines+Quality upholstery

Razer only recently jumped into the gaming chair market, but its first effort, the Razer Iskur, shows just how well the firm understands gamers, as well as just how on lock it is when creating gaming hardware.

Firstly, this gaming chair just oozes luxe, with the most stylish backrest we've ever seen (those lines are gorgeous) and fine, quality stitching throughout its smooth and welcoming upholstery. The chair is only available in one colourway, though, which is Razer's distinctive black and green (matte black PVC leather and green stitching). Obviously, if this is a deal-breaker only you can decide.

Cushioning is firm and the sculpt on the seat means the Iskur delivers very much a racing seat fit, with the gamer firmly held in place on all sides. So if you are a larger gamer or one who prefers a looser fit, then that is something to consider. The max body weight of the chair is 130kg.

As one would want on a premium gaming chair, the Iskur comes with 4D armrests, which allow for a wide-variety of configurations, and there is also excellent lumbar support and neck support (there is an included neck cushion), too. Throw in a solid recline angle of 139 degrees and an easy assembly and you start to see why the Iskur is worth considering.

As you can see from the price, this isn't a cheap gaming chair, but for gamers with a large budget and/or who already use Razer's gaming products, this feels like an excellent way to extend any gaming setup.

To see how this chair compares to our number one gaming chair choice, be sure to check out our Secretlab Titan vs Razer Iskur comparison feature.

best gaming chairs 2021 Secretlab Omega

The Secretlab Omega is a premium gaming chair with genuine quality.

(Image credit: Secretlab)

5. Secretlab Omega

One of the most comfortable gaming chairs on the market

Specifications
Max load:
Height: 160 - 180cm
Foam: Cold cure
Upholstery: PU leather
Armrests: 4D
Mechanism type: Multi-tilt
Hydraulics: Class 4
Recline: 85-165 degrees
Package size: 82 x 70 x 37cm
Warranty: 5 years
Reasons to buy
+Premium build quality+Supportive, multi-tilt mechanism+Compact dimensions

When it comes to choosing the best gaming chair of 2021, you need to be sure you're getting the right balance between function and comfort. It needs to have the kind of build quality that lasts, but not a price that'll send you into debt. The Secretlab Omega ticks all of these boxes, and more.

The Omega gaming chair is made from PU leather, which makes it a little more affordable than other options, but just as durable, flexible and waterproof. It provides great cushioning and support with cold-cure foam underneath the top layer and comes with velour pillow for extra softness. 

Style-wise it manages to straddle the line between a racing car chair that looks like it's designed solely for gamers, and an executive office chair. It comes in black, white, orange and blue, but these colours are accent colours, so even the brighter shades look subtle.

The memory foam in the lumbar and head supports help make long gaming or streaming sessions a comfortable experience, while the tilt mechanism ensures this comfortable leather throne moves with as you shift in its seat. Considering its quality, getting this for less than $359 / £300 is an absolute steal.

Best gaming chairs

The best gaming chair under £100? That's the Play haha Gaming Chair.

(Image credit: play haha)

6. Play haha Gaming Chair

The best gaming chair under £100

Specifications
Dimensions: 69 x 29 x 56 centimetres
Upholstery: Faux leather
Colours: Black, blue, red, purple
Foam type: High density
Max weigth:
Height adjustment: 104-114 cm
Seat height: 46 - 56cm
Swivel: 360 degrees
Warranty: 12 months
Reasons to buy
+Incredibly affordable+Simple, stylish design+Four colours schemes

If you're looking for the best gaming chair under £100 then the Play haha Gaming Chair is a great choice. Don't let the name fool you, as this is a comfortable and super affordable chair for gaming and work that not only supports body weights up to 150 kilograms, but also comes with a robust 5-star base and pneumatic gas lift.

You don't get quite the manoeuvrability in terms of armrests as on some more expensive chairs, but you do get 360-degree swivel functionality, multi-directional wheels and strong height adjustability. The chair also comes in four attractive colourways, including black, red, blue and purple, is filled with high density foam, and finished in soft-touch faux leather.

For the price we think this gaming chair is bargain.

Best gaming chairs 2021 Vertagear SL5000

Vegan-friendly PU leather and superb posture correction and support make the Vertagear SL5000 a great gaming chair pick.

(Image credit: Vertagear)

7. Vertagear SL5000

The best gaming chair for ensuring a correct posture

Specifications
Max load:
Height: 123.5 - 133.5 cm
Upholstery: PUC leather
Foam: UPHR
Armrests: 4D
Hydraulics: Class 4
Warranty: 2 years
Reasons to buy
+Superb neck and back support+Easy and fast to assemble+Available in different colours

The Vertagear SL5000 gaming chair is among the very finest gaming chairs available today in terms of ensuring you sit with a great posture while gaming, with loads of support for your neck and back. The whole backrest is adjustable, too, (by 170 degrees) while the armrests can be moved in terms of height and width, meaning that no matter your build or height, you can be totally supported.

The build of the chair, as you would expect from a seat that retails firmly in the mid-range, is very strong, with a sturdy steel frame and slabs of high density resiliant foam. The seat boasts a covering of extra soft vegan friendly PU leather, too, meaning that it feels as good as it looks.

best gaming chair 2021 GT Omega ElementT3 Awards 2020 - Highly Commended

The GT Omega Element just drips style and delivers a superb all-round gaming chair package.

(Image credit: GT Omega)

8. GT Omega Element

Simple, streamlined comfort for your gaming sessions

Specifications
Max load:
Height: 130 - 136cm
Upholstery: PVC Leather
Foam: Cold moulded
Casters: 5
Head pillow: Yes
Locking mechanism: Yes
Frame material: Steel
Reasons to buy
+Plenty of adjustment options+Really well built and solid+Minimal, understated design

The latest GT Omega Element gaming chair is a real star. Solidly constructed, very comfortable to sit in and made from reassuringly premium materials, the GT Omega Element is just jaw-dropping to behold. And as for the looks, those are just god-tier.

The wide and easily adjusted arm rests are a highlight, too – you can get them exactly right for your particular sitting style, and the same goes for the chair height and tilt as well. Back and shoulder support is good as well, hitting a well-judged balance between providing support and providing a chair that you can still sink into.

As you can see from the image above, the GT Omega Element goes for a sleek and minimalist design. It's subtle and understated, and we like the way it looks – however you've got your gaming desk or den set up, this is a chair that's going to fit right in.

You get extra head and lumbar support cushions included with the chair if you need them, and the price is reasonable too. The way the GT Omega Element is built, you get the impression that this is a chair that's going to last years and years, and you can rely on it to keep you well supported during your gaming adventures.

After prolonged testing we noticed no problems or issues after spending several hours being sat in the Element, and it radiates a confidence that it is going to perform the same amazing job for years to come.

The T3 Awards 2020 judging panel was also wowed by the GT Omega Element and proceeded to bestow upon it the much-coveted Best Gaming Chair award. This really is a quality gaming chair.

best gaming chair 2021 brazen phantom elite

Affordable comfort with a roomy, sturdy build — that's why we rate the Brazen Phantom Elite Gaming Chair.

(Image credit: Brazen)

9. Brazen Phantom Elite Gaming Chair

A great gaming chair pick for those shopping on a budget

Specifications
Max load:
Heights: 110 - 120cm
Upholstery: Faux leather
Armrests: 4D
Hydraulics: Class 4
Castors: 5 nylon non-slip
Reasons to buy
+Smooth and silent wheels+Six colour options+Totally adjustable 

A British brand that champions product quality over its marketing budget, BraZen's Phantom Elite gaming chair offers affordable comfort and snug support in a relatively subdued palette of predominantly black with a pop of colour in one of six options to line the trim.

You're rarely going to get subtlety when it comes to logos on such furniture pieces, and BraZen is no different, with the company logo embroidered onto both halves of the chair, along with the neck and lumbar support cushions.

For such a low price, the Phantom offers plenty of room, and its smooth PU leather is wrapped around a sturdy steel frame, bolstered with quilted foam padding, making for a firm but comfortable seat for marathon gaming sessions that won't have you cramping up after a few hours.

Comfort is one of the features that allows the Phantom to double up perfectly as an office chair. Kitted out with a Class 4 gas lift, adjustable armrests, nylon casters, neck and lumbar support cushions, and a butterfly mechanism that allows for height and tilt adjustments, you can go from sitting stock straight, neatly slotted under your desk (thanks to those armrests), to almost a full recline.

If you're looking for something that can transition from work to play to a quick snooze, the BraZen's Phantom is it.

best gaming chairs 2021 Corsair T3 Rush

The Corsair T3 Rush is a quality gaming chair option for those who are looking for a fabric upholstery.

(Image credit: Corsair)

10. Corsair T3 Rush

A great gaming chair for fans of fabric finishes

Specifications
Max load:
Seat height: 44 - 54 cm
Package size: 88.5cm x 69cm x 37.5cm
Upholstery: Fabric
Foam: Polyurethane cold
Armrests: 4D
Tilt: 0-10 degrees
Hydraulics: Class 4
Warranty: 2 years
Reasons to buy
+Fabric upholstery+Large seat+4D armrests

If your budget doesn't stretch to the Secretlab Titan Softweave gaming chair above, then the Corsair T3 Rush is well worth a look as it delivers a similar aesthetic and fabric upholstery, but does it for less money.

The Rush is not just a looker, either, with the seat inspired by performance motorsports and comes loaded with a contoured backrest, padded neck cushion and foam lumbar support, as well as 4D armrests which allow them to be moved in any direction.

The seat's build quality is also very high, with an embedded steel frame granting it a planted, solid presence. As you would expect from a Corsair gaming chair, it also delivers strong seat height adjustment as well as reclining angle (100mm and 180 degrees respectively).

Overall, the Corsair T3 Rush is a very strong gaming chair with fabric upholstery. 

Best gaming chair 2021 SECRETLAB TITAN NAPA

Luxe Napa leather make the Titan Napa a hyper-premium choice.

11. SecretLab Titan Napa

The best gaming chair made from luxe Napa leather

Specifications
Max load:
Height: 175 - 200cm
Upholstery: Napa real leather
Hydraulics: Class 4
Armrests: 4D
Package size: 85 x 71 x 37cm
Foam: Cold cure
Mechanism: Multi-tilt
Recline: 85-165 degrees
Warranty: 5 years
Reasons to buy
+Ultra-premium upholstery+Exclusive Napa leather+Super comfortable

If you thought the Titan from SecretLab was premium, you haven't seen anything yet. 

Welcome to the world of ultra premium upholstery, courtesy of the Titan Napa’s biggest selling point – napa leather. Usually found in sports cars and boutique bags, this super soft material makes sitting in the chair the closest you'll ever get to gaming in a bubble bath lined with silk. 

You can recline the chair so far back it almost turns into a bed, so whether you're streaming on Twitch or just having a quiet night in with your favourite new game, it's one of the comfiest and best gaming chairs you can buy in 2021... even if it will set you back quite a chunk of change.

Best gaming chairs 2021 noblechairs icon gaming chair

The Icon Gaming Chair has a truly special design and a luxe real leather covering.

12. Noblechairs Icon Gaming Chair

The best gaming chair for a professional, mature design

Specifications
Max load:
Seat height: 46.5 – 56.5 cm
Upholstery: PU leather, real leather, vinyl/ PU hybrid leather
Hydraulics: Class 4
Foam: Deformation resistant cold
Armrests: 4D
Max tilt angle: 11 degrees
Warranty: 2 years
Reasons to buy
+Understated, executive design+Quality build+Real leather covering

A step up from the Epic series of gaming chairs, comes the Icon from Noblechairs.

The Icon's quality construction and leather surface makes it similar to the Epic, but it's a much more understated design that looks like a fancy office chair rather than racing seat, making it ideal for those who need to maintain an office aesthetic, while adding in premium gaming comfort and features.

This gaming chair also comes in a cheaper, non-leather version made from PU fabric, which is going to appeal to those on a tighter budget.

Best gaming chair 2021 VERTAGEAR RACING SERIES S-LINE SL4000

A classy racing seat with striking white design, the SL4000 is a top gaming chair pick.

13. Vertagear Racing Series S-Line SL4000

A cracking gaming chair with a striking white design

Specifications
Max load:
Overall height: 1200-1300 mm
Upholstery: PU leather
Foam: Cold cure
Armrests: 4D
Hydraulics: Class 4
Backrest tilt angle: 80 - 140 degrees
Neck cushion: Yes
Warranty: 2 years
Reasons to buy
+Dramatic look+Super comfy+Stable and built for long gaming sessions

One of the most striking gaming chairs on the list, the SL4000 from Vertagear comes in a white and black design that makes you feel like you're in a space ship. 

It may look like it's got a leather layer, put it's PU leather, which is one of the reasons it's a little more affordable than other options on our best gaming chairs 2021 list. 

This is a model that'll keep you comfortable for long periods of time, too, and every element is adjustable to suit your needs. At the price it retails for, we don't think you can ask for anything else.

Best gaming chair 2021 CORSAIR T2 ROAD WARRIOR

This top gaming chair is Mad Max approved...

14. Corsair T2 Road Warrior

A superb gaming chair for gamers wanting premium comfort

Specifications
Max load:
Seat height: 51.5 - 60cm
Upholstery: PU leather
Armrests: 4D
Hydraulics: Class 4
Seat back max tilt: 170 degrees
Seat max tilt: 17 degrees
Foam: Polyurethane cold
Neck pillow: Yes
Warranty: 2 years
Reasons to buy
+Impressive lumbar support+4D armrests

Corsair has been a force to be reckoned with in the world of PC components and peripherals, and it's brought that same sense of premium, high-end quality to its new gaming chair models.

The T2 Road Warrior might be name-dropping two famous sci-fi films in its name, but this plush furniture is far from fictional. Ergonomically designed with cushions in every conceivable place, you get everything from 4D armrests (which can move in any direction) to a solid steel skeleton for a robust spine that won’t break or shift.

It also comes with a princely price tag, but with these many luxury features, it's not hard to see why.

best gaming chairs 2021 AKRacing Core EX-Wide Gaming Chair

(Image credit: AKRacing)

15. AKRacing Core EX-Wide Gaming Chair

An excellent gaming chair for anyone who needs a wider model

Specifications
Max load:
Dimensions: 65 x 60 x 150cm
Armrests: 3D
Upholstery: Fabric
Foam: Cold cure
Frame: Extra wide
Reasons to buy
+More room to sit+Solid construction and lots of adjustment+Long manufacturer warranty

If you’ve been struggling to find a chair that isn’t too snug a fit or that’s comfortable to sit in cross-legged, you’ll be pleased to see that AKRacing makes a wider version of its standard EX series chair. The RRP is only £20 more than the standard EX and this version supports up to 330lbs (150kg).

The EX series is quite heavy thanks to its sturdy steel frame. The base is black aluminium with large 2.5-inch casters for easy movement. It’s upholstered in hardwearing polyester fabric on top of high density foam and you can choose from solid black, black with red or blue accents or red with black accents. 

The EX is tiltable from 3 to 18 degrees and has a tilt lock; you can recline up to 180º and you can adjust the armrests, back angle, lumbar cushion and headrest. 

Best gaming chair 2021

How to choose the best gaming chair for you

When buying a gaming chair, look out for the differing levels of comfort and support included with each model, like the ability to make adjustments to height, arm rests, and the way the chair reclines too. Detachable cushions are a bonus as well, for that extra layer of comfort. 

You should also find out what discipline or gaming genre the chair might have been tailored for, if any – some of the best gaming chairs on the market have been designed with racing or flight simulations in mind, for example, though there are plenty of general, all-round gaming chairs available too.

What's the best gaming chair?

There are many different gaming chairs tailored towards PC gaming, as well as playing games on Xbox One, PS4, and Nintendo Switch, with size, build material (such as leather), and feature sets differing.

The best gaming chair is therefore, first and foremost, the one that is most suited to your particular gaming setup and intended usage scenarios. Certain gaming chairs, for example, are built for use in simulation games such as racers and flight sims, while others specialise in supporting gamers in MOBA or FPS titles.

Naturally, you should also consider the look and style you're going for when choosing one the best gaming chairs currently available in 2021. Everyone's tastes differ a little in this department.

Fortunately, most gaming chairs are suitably stylish and tend to resemble leather-clad racing car seats, but you'll obviously want to pick a style that goes the best with your gaming room decor, as well as a colour that won't annoy you or your partner hours into your latest gaming marathon.

After all, picking out a top-quality gaming chair can make a big difference to your gaming performance, just like your choice of monitor and input devices. Don't take your buying decision lightly, or you could end up with a seat that lets you down in a key area, affecting your comfort or gaming ability.

Remember that different gaming chairs can lean towards one specific genre of game, such as seats that work best in multiplayer FPS like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare or others that are perfect for MOBAs like DOTA 2 or League of Legends. And that's saying nothing of dedicated gaming chairs for racing sims.

Getting the best gaming chair for PC or console means getting a better chance of hitting those enemy targets or those high scores you've been chasing, and that makes it a no-brainer to take some time picking out the absolute best gaming chair for you.

Best gaming chairs 2021: the best gaming chair makers

When you're picking out the best gaming chair money can buy, it's also absolutely crucial that you pick one up from a premium, respected chair maker with a proper heritage – or, alternatively, a new brand that comes well recommended by others. 

With a lot of new entrants in the market just lately, the waters are now well and truly muddied, making it hard for the uninitiated to tell if a gaming chair has the build quality to go the distance.

The makers that follow here are approved by T3 to be gaming chair producers of the highest quality: Nitro Concepts, Secretlab, GT Omega Racing, EWIN, Noblechairs, X Rocker, DXRacer, Vertagear, Corsair, Brazen, and Songmics.

Best gaming chairs 2021

(Image credit: Razer)

Best gaming chairs 2021: leather or fabric upholstery

Today their are two main types of gaming chair upholstery, leather (both real and man made) and fabric. And, what's more, many of the gaming chair ranges at the world's best makers (such as SecretLab, Vertagear and Noblechairs) are available in different finishes when ordering, which raises the question of which is better.

Now, look, the first thing we would say is that the material your gaming chair is finished in has an affect on the eye first, and beauty is in the eye of each gamer. As such, we say don't be pressured too much by thinking about what you should buy, and instead just get the gaming chair finish that appeals to you most. After all, this is the gaming throne that will sit at the heart of your setup for years to come – so make sure you like the look of it.

Of course, past aesthetics then comes the pricing factor. Fabric finishes tend to be cheaper or on par with fake leather, but there are degrees of quality, with SecretLab's SoftWeave fabric a cut above many entry level chairs but costing more. Next comes premium faux leather finishes, which tend to dominate the market right now, and then top of the pricing scale is genuine leather, with Napa finishes the most sort after.

In terms of properties, leather chairs tend be warmer than fabric, and also tend to not be as breathable – which can contribute to sticky back, bum and legs. Leather, and especially real leather, is supremely soft and comfortable, though, and also has a really smart and premium finish.

Fabric finishes tend to be more breathable, and therefore are good for staying cool, but in most scenarios don't offer the smoothness of finish or premium looks of leather seats (again, we'd say SecretLab's SoftWeave fabric is an exception). So it is often a toss up of what each gamer prioritises.

Of course, the ethics of sourcing real leather is also considered by many gamers today, which is why vegan leather chairs are also now produced by many makers.

Best gaming chairs 2021

(Image credit: Secretlab)

How we test gaming chairs

T3 reviews a lot of gaming chairs and, as we want to deliver the most authoritative best gaming chair buying guide on the market we have a rigorous three-stage testing process for each seat.

The first stage is chair setup, and this involves us charting exactly how easy it is to assemble a gaming chair when it is delivered. We're looking out for easy of assembly as well as things like how clear the instructions are and if there are any tools included in the box.

Once the chair is assembled we then evaluate its build quality and the calibre of its upholstery. Stitch quality is also analysed, as that is where many lesser gaming  chairs fall down, as well as any included extras such as neck and back cushions. How adjustable the chair is is also tested at this point.

The final stage then involves actually sitting in and using the gaming chair to play games, work and stream content from Netflix and YouTube. A variety of games are played, with a specific focus on FPS and RPG, and overall long-term comfort is discovered.

After those four stages are complete, we then compare the chair to the rest of the market and judge it on its value for money in our eyes. Only then do we bestow a score on the gaming chair, with 5 stars the maximum score any seat can attain.