The best gaming chair in 2019

The best gaming chairs of 2019

The best gaming chairs of 2019

Gamer's aren't necessarily known for taking care of themselves, particularly while we play, so finding the best gaming chair isn't just a matter of comfort—to some extent, it's also a matter of health. Proper support and cushioning on the seat you spend multiple hours a day perched in can mean the difference between spending your sunset years in style and comfort or spending them a gnarled husk that can barely manipulate a keyboard. 

And it's not just about sustaining your fragile mortal shell; a proper gaming chair can actually improve your game. If you're cozy and not splitting focus between the game you're playing and the kink in your neck or back, it's a lot easier to line up headshots or listen for the footsteps of a rapidly approaching would-be assassin. 

The best gaming PC

The best gaming PC
To find the best machine to park your sweet new chair in front of, bop over to our best gaming PC roundup.

So what makes a seat the best gaming chair, and what should you look for when you're shopping for one? The chief consideration will always be comfort, for the reasons I've already mentioned, but no chair is going to suit your frame perfectly as soon as you've got it assembled. What this means practically is that you should prioritize chairs with a high degree of adjustability, and those are exactly the sort we've culled for this list. Luckily, the increasing refinement of gaming chairs has lead to all sorts of interesting new dimensions of configurability—it's no longer just about how far you can recline a seat, seat height, or 'if it does that.' Modern chairs let you adjust things as granular as the height and angle of the armrests, the depth of the seat, or the angle of the overall chair in relation to the floor. 

Aesthetics are important too, so you should think about whether you'll be exhibiting this chair in your bedroom in front of your blinged out rig or it'll live in a sedate office setting. Luckily, not every gaming chair is a racing inspired monstrosity in vibrant reds and oranges (though there are plenty fitting that description if that's your bag), and the variety of seats available means you're likely to find one that suits your personal aesthetic pretty closely, regardless of what it is.

Of course, you'll need something to park your chair in front of, so take a look at our best gaming PC roundup, or the best gaming laptop if you prefer something more compact. 

Secretlab Omega

Secretlab Omega

1. Secretlab Omega

The best gaming chair of 2019

Seat type: Racing seat | Recline: 165 degrees | Weight capacity: 240 lbs | Weight: 66 lbs | Available colors: Stealth, Classic, Amber, Royal, Ash

Velour memory foam pillows
Versatile tilt mechanism 
Tricky assembly

Vertagear’s SL5000 was previously our favorite racing-style gaming chair. The discreet logos, premium build quality and noticeable craftsmanship were things we really took note of. After testing Secretlab’s latest Omega chair, it’s clear other manufacturers were paying attention too. The Omega is one of the most well made chairs we’ve tested. From the casters to the base, lift mechanism, armrests and seat back, Secretlab clearly used some of the best materials available.

The chair features a high quality cold-cured foam that provided support which was a little bit firm at first but became really comfortable after longer gaming periods. What really made the Omega stick out from the crowd is the included velour memory foam lumbar and head pillows. These were so comfortable that we could easily fully recline the chair and take a nap if we wanted to. If you’re looking to treat your butt with a chair that will truly last, the Secretlab Omega is worth every penny.

Right now, it's 25% off at the official store too - both US and UK - so get involved.

RESPAWN 200

RESPAWN 200

2. RESPAWN 200

Budget friendly racing seat with a mesh back

Seat type: Racing seat | Recline: 130 degrees | Weight capacity: 275 lbs | Weight: 50.7 lbs | Available colors: Red, Blue, Grey, Green, White

Very affordable
Breathable mesh back
 Doesn’t recline as far as others

While it may not be the cheapest gaming chair you can find, the RESPAWN 200 is very reasonably priced at $215. The design certainly brings a lot to the table but will likely be a dividing point for some. There’s a lot of plastic—including the base, but we found the build quality to still be better than some more expensive options we’ve tried. Looks aside, what really impressed us with the chair is its comfort. 

This shouldn’t be too surprising since the manufacturer OFM has been creating ergonomic office furniture for quite some time now. What sets the RESPAWN 200 apart from the competition is its reinforced mesh backing. Combined with the leather seat cushion, the chair stayed very comfortable and cool during our extended gaming sessions and offers some killer bang for your buck.

DXRacer Classic Series

DXRacer Classic Series

3. DXRacer Classic Series

The best chair for bigger frames

Seat type: Office chair with racing touches | Recline: 135 degrees | Weight capacity: 300 lbs | Weight: 66 lbs | Available colors: Black, Black and Grey, Black and Gold

Perfect chair for larger/taller frames
Sturdy and durable
Firm and supportive
Material isn't very breathable

For gamers with larger frames finding a chair to accommodate you can be an uphill battle, even in the range of generally larger gaming chairs that are on the market now. Luckily, DXRacer has delivered a genuinely excellent chair that stands on its own merits and also happens to be large and tall enough to suit a broad range of builds. 

It's firmer than some chairs, particularly right out of the box, but after a day or two of breaking it in it's one of the most comfortable gaming or office chairs available. And the firmness can actually be a boon, as it adds welcome support and can actually help with your posture and spinal position. Plus it's incredibly adjustable (though I wish the armrests could be lifted a bit higher), so even if it doesn't fit you right out of the box, it can be likely be configured to suit your body. And while it might be aimed at larger players, those with more petite frames could certainly curl up comfortably in it and perhaps even snooze away a few hours in its cozy embrace.

Arozzi Verona Junior

Arozzi Verona Junior

4. Arozzi Verona Junior

The best chair for smaller frames

Seat type: Racing seat | Recline: 165 degrees | Weight capacity: 130 lbs | Weight: 40 lbs | Available colors: Black, Blue, Red, White

Easy to assemble
Comfortably placed back and neck pillows
No locking mechanism for side-to-side armrest rotation
130lb weight limit

Whether you're a kid or just shorter than the average human, Arozzi has got you covered. The Verona Junior's racing-style chair is made just for individuals under 5-feet, 2-inches tall, which means you can count on this chair molding to the proportions of your body—and you can finally touch the floor with your feet without having to reach upward for your keyboard. Win, win.

It's possible to curl up into a larger chair, but sitting for long periods of time with your body contorted into such a position can put stress on your joints, especially your back. That's not healthy in the long run. A smaller chair allows shorter individuals to get proper support to their lower back, which helps maintain a neutral spine posture. The included lower back pillow actually sits right at your lower back, so the chair helps to hold you up—no fatigued back muscles from trying to maintain a dancer-like posture for eight hours a day.

The shallower seat back allows you to sit all the way back in the chair, which means added support for the hips and other joints that may have become achy with age if you're a short adult. The Verona Junior also reclines to an impressive 165 degrees, so you can nap fearlessly.

Noblechairs Epic Real Leather

Noblechairs Epic Real Leather

5. Noblechairs Epic Real Leather

A luxury upgrade made with real leather

Seat type: Racing seat | Recline: 135 degrees | Weight capacity: 265 lbs | Weight: 62 lbs | Available colors: Black, Brown beige, Brown black, White

Real leather
Resembles luxury seats 
Expensive

The EPIC series from Noblechairs is another of the more comfortable chairs we tested. Marketed as a luxury office chair, it features high-quality materials to mimic the interior of a luxury car rather than a racecar. The Epic Real Leather we tested is the first gaming chair to be made with real genuine leather. It’s easily the most expensive racing-style chair we’ve tested but it’s clear that Noblechairs spared no expense when it came to the luxury materials and design. Like the Secretlab Omega, the Epic series features a sophisticated tilt/height mechanism that allows you to fine-tune your comfort and rock back and forth in the chair. It may be pricey, but the Epic Real Leather is about as luxurious as racing seats can get.

NeueChair

NeueChair

6. NeueChair

Extremely high quality, highly adjustable office chair

Seat type: Task chair | Recline: 85-130 degrees | Weight capacity: 240 lbs | Weight: 64 lbs | Available colors: Silver, Obsidian

Ridiculously sturdy and well made
Comfortable and supportive
Highly adjustable
Pricey

If you're the sort of person who prioritizes functionality over flash, the NeueChair is an excellent option. Which isn't to say it's not stylish - quite the opposite, the NeueChair comes in a sleek, muted obsidian or flashy chrome/silver, both with bold, sweet curved supports on the back and an attractive black mesh. But more importantly, the NeueChair is built to last, with a heavy, sturdy industrial construction. Even the weight of the chair in the packaging indicates that this is a solid piece of carefully constructed industrial art: it's heavy and substantial. 

Assembling it is a breeze, as it comes in two discrete pieces and is simply a matter of inserting the casters and pushing them together. And almost every aspect of the seat is adjustable, from the armrests (which you can move in three dimensions to perfectly suit your elbows and forearms) to the adjustable lumbar support system that lets you change the height and depth of the backrest. It's one of the best office chairs I've ever had the pleasure to sit in and, if you can afford the admittedly steep price tag, well worth the investment.

Vertagear SL5000

Vertagear SL5000

7. Vertagear SL5000

Adjustable racing seat with a high backrest

Seat type: Racing seat | Recline: 140 degrees | Weight capacity: 330 lbs | Weight: 59 lbs | Available colors: Blue, Carbon, Green, Red White

Balanced comfort/support
Stealth logos 
May be too firm for some

When you're going for a racing-style chair, you have to keep in mind that style takes precedence 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 racing-style 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. If you're in the market for a racing-style chair and know that these style of chairs favor more firm support than plush La-Z-Boy recliners, the high-quality construction and attention to detail in Vertagear's SL5000 makes it one of our top recommendations.

Steelcase Gesture

Steelcase Gesture

8. Steelcase Gesture

The most comfortable chair we've tested

Seat type: Task chair | Material: Breathable fabric | Recline: 116 degrees | Seat height: 16-21 in | Weight capacity: 400 lbs | Weight: 78 lbs

Most comfortable chair
Stylish color options  
Very expensive

The Steelcase Leap is one of the most iconic modern chairs with a price to match its performance. Wirecutter named it the best office chair a couple of years ago, but we prefer the newer Steelcase Gesture for a number of reasons. Foremost of which is, holy smoke, it feels good. If your eyes are still watering at the cost, know this: much as we enjoyed the other chairs singled out here, none of them came close to the comfort of the Gesture. 

Imagine your butt and back being perfectly cupped by the giant ever-loving hand of the deity of your choice. That’s what the Gesture is like. Or, as it became known amongst us testing it: ‘the dream chair.’ Anyone that spends a significant amount of time in a chair should seriously consider splurging on this one. The steep price buys you a lifetime warranty and your butt the most comfortable embrace it’ll ever experience.

Herman Miller Embody

Herman Miller Embody

9. Herman Miller Embody

The smartest chair money can buy

Seat type: Task chair | Material: Multi-layer fabric | Seat height: 16-20.5 in | Weight capacity: 300 lbs | Weight: 51 lbs

Stimulates blood and oxygen flow
Unrivaled back support
Insanely expensive

If money really is no object, Herman Miller has the exorbitant Embody. It’s the most obviously high-end looking of the chairs we’ve tried. Viewed from behind its dramatically-shaped backrest has a biomechanical look that seems like it came straight from a sci-fi cockpit. According to its maker, “Embody is so advanced that it actually lowers your heart rate and reduces stress by stimulating blood and oxygen flow while you sit.”

We can’t confirm that, but what the Embody’s flexible matrix design definitely does offer is superb support in the lower back area. The higher part functions like a more sophisticated version of the OM5, automatically adjusting to your posture and sitting position. The puckered fabric used for the seat material also stays pleasantly cool during extended gaming sessions. The Embody is clearly an excellent chair, especially if you have lower back problems, but the sky high price tag means you might end up spending more on your chair than your actual gaming PC.

Office Master OM5

Office Master OM5

10. Office Master OM5

Mid-range ergonomic task chair with self-adjusting mechanism

Seat type: Task chair | Material: Polyflex back, fabric seat | Seat height: 14.7-25 in | Weight capacity: 300 lbs | Weight: 64 lbs

Automatic adjustments
Highly customizable colors
Limited manual adjustments 

On the face of it, the Office Master OM5 sounds like the snake oil of seating. The marketing materials describe it as “a self weighing chair that intuitively responds to a wide range of body weights and sizes without the need for manual tension.” Essentially: don’t worry about all those levers and knobs on the other chairs, this one will magically work out what your butt and back need, no problemo. Our skepticism didn’t last long, though, because when it comes to the OM5, sitting is believing.

There are a couple of manual adjustments possible, but all of the magic happens around your back and hip. As you lean back and apply pressure, the seat pan shifts forwards while the backrest reclines in response, articulating smoothly thanks to wheels on runners that function much like the ones in desk draw sliders. It takes a little getting used to, but transitioning from upright work mode to relaxing whilst playing or watching swiftly becomes a cinch. If you want comfort and can’t be bothered with levers and adjustments, the OM5 is one of our favorites because it gives you high-end quality and comfort at a mid range price.

Office Star ProGrid

Office Star ProGrid

11. Office Star ProGrid

Tweakability that mirrors much more expensive chairs

Seat type: Task chair | Material: Mesh back, fabric seat | Seat height: 17-20.5 in | Weight: 41 lbs | Available colors: Black

Lots of adjustments
Very comfortable 
Requires a bit of tuning 

Office Star’s range of chairs don’t look noteworthy at first glance, but the customer reviews are consistently good. We like the ProGrid Back Managers Chair a lot because it offers the kind of tweakability usually only found on much more expensive models. Using its daunting array of levers, you can adjust the height and tilt of the chair, plus slide the seat pan forwards or backwards. The backrest can also be shifted up or down, and the armrests raised or lowered and slid back and forth until you find the perfect position. It may take a while, but once tune it to your liking the chair becomes incredibly comfortable. With so much customization, the ProGrid is a strong choice, and very hard to beat at this price.

How we test office and gaming chairs

Between recent articles about the effects of sitting down on your body, and our experimentation with standing desks, you might think PC Gamer has fallen out of love with the humble chair. Dear reader, that could not be further from the truth. As gamers and office workers, our writers spend a significant chunk of each day sat on their money makers in front of screens. Given that most of us don’t plan to change that anytime soon, it only makes sense to do so in a great chair. So that’s what I set out to find.

I wanted to find chairs that maximized comfort, support, and value. I knew I needed expert advice to help narrow my search, so I spoke with Melissa Afterman, MS CPE, a Senior Principal Ergonomist with VSI Risk Management & Ergonomics, Inc. who specializes in workstation setups. “Absolutely chairs are still okay,” she told me. “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.”

When searching for a new chair, aside from essential-but-obvious tweakable elements like seat height and armrests, Melissa told me 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 feature to look for, though it tends to be found on more expensive models, is a seat pan slider. This enables you to slide the positioning of your butt forwards or backwards relative to the backrest. “The nice thing about that,” explained Afterman, “is that if you’re tall you can get more support behind your legs, and if you’re short it can be set more shallow so you can actually sit all the way back in the chair.” Unfortunately this seems to be a feature found only on office-style chairs so far, somewhat accounting for their higher price tag over their racing-style counterparts.

When it comes to fabric and other materials, it’s pretty much a purely aesthetic decision—though whether you prefer plush leather or breathable mesh should be dictated by how hot you are. No, really. Afterman explained: “Some people run cold, some people run warm, and I think that when you talk about the fabric choices it depends on personal comfort and aesthetics.” As for what you should definitely avoid, Afterman recommended steering clear of overly rigid seat pans and fixed height armrests—both are likely to lead to discomfort.

In terms of how much you should expect to spend, she suggested that in order to tick all the boxes an ergonomist would hope to find, $300-400 ought to be enough for a supportive chair that looks and feels great. Below that, there are going to be tradeoffs. Likewise, if you’re willing to spend more, you can open up greater levels of customisation and luxury.

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