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 ), 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. Here's what we found.
The best racing chair
- Tension-controlled backrest
- Ergonomic design
- High-quality materials
- Limited color options
- LED lighting costs significantly extra
The E-Blue Auroza gaming chair is the most comfortable of the chairs we tested. Whenever I tried a new chair out for testing, the Auroza is the chair I found myself always wanting to go back to. The primary reason for this is the tension-controlled backrest that moves independently from the seat. Instead of adjusting and locking to a specific angle, like how you adjust the seat in a car, the Auroza backrest reclines when you lean back into it. The tension with which it supports you can be adjusted from totally loose, easily bending back to almost horizontal, to quite firm, with just a bit of give. I found a slight bit of give to be the most comfortable, leaning back when I intended to, but still providing proper sufficient back support.
Not only did this movement feel the best on my back and rear, it's also the best for you ergonomically. As Tim noted in his traditional chairs guide, ergonomist Melissa Afterman says that being able to move regularly while you sit is one of the most important parts of a good chair. You want something that provides both upright support and the ability to recline when you want to relax. The Auroza ticks both those boxes.
How we test chairs and others we tested
For this guide, I mainly built on the great information started by Tim in his original . 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.
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. In the future I'd like to try out some of the others in the S-Line racing series and see if they aren't devastatingly uncomfortable.
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.
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.
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