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The best racing-style gaming chair

Is your seat as stylish as it is comfortable?

People don't usually budget for a gaming chair when building a new rig, but what good is a high-end pixel-pusher if you bust your back sitting on some uncomfortable wreck you snuck home from the office? If you glance through a any Twitch directory, you'll see one thing in common. Almost all streamers—arguably the subset of gamers who spend likely the most consistent amount of time sitting at their computers—sitting in some kind of racecar-looking gaming chair. 

Bucket-style gaming chairs aren't intrinsically better than traditional office-style desk chairs for PC gaming (check our guide to the best traditional gaming chairs here), but they do feature a distinctive style and set of features that clearly appeal to gamers. We've spent a few months sitting in a variety of racing-style gaming chairs to determine the most comfortable and high quality pick. And after trying out a few new chairs and learning more about manufacturing and materials, we have a new top pick. Here's what we found. 

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The best racing chair

  • High-quality construction and materials
  • Balanced comfort and support
  • Good overall design
  • Multiple color options
  • Racing firmness may not be suitable for all bodies
  • Premium price for premium quality

I've tried a few new chairs since this guide was created, and the Vertagear SL5000 is the best new addition. True to Vertagear's name, the SL5000 features top-notch materials and build quality. And thankfully, it's much more comfortable than the SL4000 we hated so much. The cushions are on the firmer side of things, but in a way that feels supportive, not uncomfortable.

When you're going for a racing-style chair, you have to keep in mind that style takes precedent over comfort. For more comfortable support, you may want to look into Vertagear's Triigger chair, which is more like a Herman-Miller office chair. We spoke to a variety of manufacturers, including Vertagear's own founder, who indicated to us that bucket-seat chairs aren't really made for comfort.

Despite this, the SL5000 is one of the most comfortable bucket-seat chairs around. If you've ever sat inside a race car's seat, you'll know that these types of chairs are designed to hold you in tightly to prevent your body from moving around during high speed cornering. 

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How we test chairs and others we tested

For this guide, I mainly built on the great information started by Tim in his original chairs buying guide. In his research, he spoke with Melissa Afterman, MS CPE, a Senior Principal Ergonomist with VSI Risk Management & Ergonomics, Inc. who specialises in workstation setups. “Absolutely chairs are still okay,” she told him. “Yes we know that sitting too long is bad for you. The reality is that standing too long is just as bad for you, and so the answer is movement. Taking breaks, getting up at least every hour and moving, or changing your position from standing to sitting every hour so that you’re not standing too long either.”

Afterman also made a point that a key element to consider is the backrest: "If you’re typing and working at the computer, you really want more upright support so that you can maintain neutral spine posture and let the chair hold you up,” she said. “But when you switch to gaming mode, you may want to recline a little bit to relax your lower back, while still having good support in that position. So a locking backrest and/or some sort of tension control is important." 

Another thing to look for in a good chair is a seat pan slider, but as far as I can tell such feature is only available on high-end office chairs. Our top pick, the Auroza, doesn't slide in the pan, but it's tension-controlled reclining backrest is about as close as you'll get on a racing-style chair. 

DX Racer Elite Series OH/EA01

One of the most well known names in the racing-style chair business, DXRacer produces racing chairs in a wide range of styles. The one we tested was the from the Elite Series, which costs $300 direct from DXR. It has a decent build quality and is one of the more comfortable chairs we tested for sitting upright at the computer, but isn't the most comfortable for leaning back and relaxing during long gaming sessions.

Vertagear SL4000

I had high hopes for Vertagear, as they're known for excellent build quality, but the SL4000 we tested was extremely uncomfortable to everyone who tried it. Vertegear tells us that its since modified its SL4000 to be less firm and more cushy. We'll retest the SL4000 when we get our hands on one. If the top-pick SL5000 is any indicator, we're looking forward to the new SL4000.

E-Blue Auroza Gaming Chair

E-Blue's Auroza was previously our pick but after longer use and inspection by more people, we found the build quality to be questionable. There are interested features such as LED-lighting—really—and the ability to independently control the recline but manufacturing quality remains a concern. Speaking directly to the OEM factory that makes the Auroza, we learned that chairs from other manufacturers are probably better long-term choices. 

E-Blue Cobra EEC307

The Cobra is one of the cheaper chairs we tested, available for $180 on Amazon, and it shows in lack of features. The back, armrests, and seat are all screwed together into a single piece, meaning you can't make any adjustments other than height. Sitting is about as comfortable as a standard office chair—one that you can't adjust.

Noblechairs EPIC Series

The EPIC series from noblechairs is another of the more comfortable chairs we tested. Marketed as a luxury office chair, it features high-quality faux leather and suede, and all the standard adjustments except for the tension-controlled back on the E-Blue Auroza. Its cushions were also the most firm of all the chairs we tested, which is somthing to consider if that's what you're looking for in a chair. All in all, it's a great, high-quality chair, but at $500 on Newegg, it's also the most expensive.

Future testing

Inevitably, we weren't able to comprehensively test every single gaming chair out there (it's a booming sector), so we plan to continue updating this guide as more chairs pass under the judgments of our butts. 

In the future we'll also expand this guide to include a budget pick, though most racing chairs come with a price premium of a few hundred bucks anyway. Expect any chair under $200 to be pretty bare-bones when it comes to features.
 

A note on affiliates: some of our stories, like this one, include affiliate links to stores like Amazon. These online stores share a small amount of revenue with us if you buy something through one of these links, which helps support our work evaluating PC components.

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