Whether you’re a hardcore gamer or you work long hours, having a comfortable chair is essential for performance and for protecting your back. While you may think a chair is just a chair, there are actually some key differences between an office chair and a gaming chair that could make all the difference to your posture when sat at your desk.
Do you prefer to sit upright or recline in your chair? Do you need extra lumbar support? And does the look of your chair matter as much as the practicality of it? Answering some of these questions will help you decide whether an office chair or a gaming chair is right for you.
- Best gaming chairs: top budget to premium choices
- Best office chairs: comfortable, stylish and ergonomic
In terms of looks and features, there are what seem to be some quite obvious differences when it comes to office chairs vs gaming chairs, but is there really that much difference in ergonomics and comfort? A good chair is a good investment, especially with so many of us now working from home, so we’ve taken a closer look at each area to help you make a fully informed decision before you purchase.
Office chair vs gaming chair: Ergonomics and comfort
The most important thing to consider when purchasing a chair is comfort, especially if you plan to sit in it for many hours of the day. Both office chairs and gaming chairs have ergonomic features, including back recliners and adjustable height, but you’ll find that gaming chairs go just that little bit further when it comes to comfort.
A standard office chair has a smaller range of motion with the backrest recline, while a gaming chair will allow for a much fuller recline, so if you like to lean back a lot, this could be the decider for you. In terms of the actual seat, a gaming chair features a bucket seat, while an office chair has a waterfall seat. Waterfall seats support the backs of the legs, taking pressure off the lumbar spine, while bucket seats don’t really have any particular purpose other than being comfortable. Bucket seat designs are inspired by racing cars, so it would seem that gaming chairs feature bucket seats purely for aesthetics and to make gaming feel more immersive.
Both office chairs and gaming chairs have fixed headrests, but with gaming chairs, you will almost always get an added head cushion for comfort, which is ideal for leaning back in a reclined position. A pillow will also support the neck when sat at your computer for a long time. In some cases an office chair may have an adjustable headrest that can go either up or down, which is beneficial over a fixed headrest, however, gaming chairs have the right idea with the additional pillow if you’re looking for maximum support.
Armrests are usually adjustable in both types of chair, and they will always have casters and a swivel function, which makes both equally as easy to move around in, the only thing to consider is that a gaming chair will be undoubtedly heavier than a standard office chair.
Office chair vs gaming chair: Lumbar support
Sitting at a desk all day is not great for our posture, and if you suffer from any type of back pain, then you’ll definitely want to consider a chair with good back support. Pretty much all office chairs, except for some classic leather office chairs, will come with fixed lumbar support as standard, usually in the form of a curved backrest to promote good posture.
A gaming chair, on the other hand, often comes with additional lumbar support in the form of a padded lumbar cushion. Sometimes these are detachable and can be moved higher or lower to support the area of the back that needs it most, and other times they are fixed in place, and sometimes curved at the edges to mould to the bottom of the spine.
Office chair vs gaming chair: Additional specs
Aside from maximum comfort being the most important part of your buying decision, you may want to consider what else you can get from a chair. Office chairs pretty much do what they say on the tin, but if you want to maximise your experience then a gaming chair will give you a few little extras that take your chair from standard to luxury.
Along with the added comfort of extra cushion support, gaming chairs offer some great additions such as Bluetooth speakers in the headrest, something that you would only really need if you’re using the chair for its intended purpose- gaming, however, you could also use these for listening to music while you work. For full immersion some gaming chairs also have vibration and if you wanted to combine gaming and luxury there are even some gaming chairs with massage functions.
Office chair vs gaming chair: Design & upholstery
There are two common office chair designs, and those are leather office chairs and mesh office chairs. The primary difference between the two is breathability. Mesh chairs allow for more airflow and keep you cool, which is ideal if you’re in a hot office. Leather chairs look great, and will initially be very comfortable, but be aware that real leather can wear quickly and lose its cushioning if used a lot.
Gaming chairs are upholstered from faux leather, which not only looks great but won’t wrinkle like real leather, giving the chair greater longevity. Gaming chairs also come in a variety of bright colours, so if you want to spice things up in your home office, a gaming chair will look the part. They are much bigger and heavier than a standard office chair though, so you’ll need to weigh up your options based on space as well as your own feature preferences.
Office chair vs gaming chair: Price
I think it’s obvious that with the amount of extra features a gaming chair has to offer that naturally they are more expensive than an office chair. Gaming chairs can range anywhere between £150 / $200 to £400 / $500 depending on the spec. An office chair, however, will only set you back between £50 / $80 and £200 / $300 in comparison.
You get what you pay for, so you can certainly expect a £150 / $180 office chair to offer more than a £50 / $70 chair. So it’s important to think about how much time you’ll be sat in it, and what you’ll be doing. Frequent work and gaming will benefit from a high-end office chair or gaming chair, while a cheaper office chair will suffice for occasional, short periods of work.
Office chair vs gaming chair: The verdict
There are some significant differences when it comes to office chairs vs gaming chairs, and while it totally depends on what comfort feels like for you, it is clear that gaming chairs have more ergonomic variety than office chairs.
Gaming chairs don’t have to be purely for gaming, however, for some, the features may seem wasted if you’re not using it for its intended purpose when you consider the cost of a gaming chair. With the majority of the world working from home these days, having a comfortable chair that will stand the test of time is important, so be sure to weigh up your needs before purchasing.
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