The difference between a gaming chair and a regular office chair is that there are a number of features meant especially for gaming. Gamers spend long hours seated, which is why it is absolutely necessary to get the ergonomics right. The chairs should be comfortable, and the best way to know what works for you is to actually sit in them and try them out. Aesthetics play a big role here as well. If you have a top of the line gaming rig, then it makes sense to match it with a visually appealing chair, that speaks to you about the space you are spending so much time in. The “this” in the title is the ability to tilt back 180 degrees without falling off, which is not an absolute requisite, but a good perk nonetheless. We will be focusing on chairs for PC gaming in this buying guide, as a comfortable couch or a bean bag is good enough for console gaming.
What to consider
- Ergonomics: This is perhaps the single most important thing when it comes to gaming chairs. The basic form factor ideal for gaming is a wheeled base, 360 degrees of swivel room, and arm support. The seat should be made of a soft material, and the backrest should follow the contours of the human body. This will allow for the longer gaming sessions to be comfortable. Sitting for long hours is not really good for the body, and an ergonomically designed chair will ensure that your body experiences as little stress as possible.
- Adjustable settings: The most important adjustment is the height of the chair. If the chair does not have this, it is not even worth considering. Then, a good thing to look for is one that allows you to adjust the tightness of the backrest. This is the ease with which you can push against the back of the chair. A relaxed setting lets you tilt back easily, while a harder setting requires more force. Some chairs allow you to adjust the height of the arm guards, so you can match it to the height of the table, as well as a comfortable posture for your own hands. The levers and knobs for making these adjustments should be easily accessible even when you are sitting on the chair. Essentially, the more settings that you can adjust, the better you can customise the chair for your comfort.
- Extra support: Look for gaming chairs that have extra cushions for lumbar support and head support. The lumbar support is a cushion for the lower back. These should ideally be removable and adjustable in terms of height to match the proportions of your body. If you already have a chair without these, it is possible to purchase these supports separately and add them to your chair.
- Backrest height: Look for gaming chairs with extra high backrests. A typical office chair will only have the backrest reaching till about the neck. The extra high backrest should reach a little above your head. This allows you to ease back and rest your head while gaming through your marathon sessions.
- Budget: There are chairs available for various budgets. The cheaper chairs have a mesh back and are actually comfortable and airy. These are lightweight too and can be moved around easily. It is better to go for the named gaming brands, such as Corsair or Thermaltake, for the more expensive models. The DXRacer is one of the best selling gaming chairs worldwide and is available in India with prices starting from about Rs 51,000. It uses the same materials as the actual seats used in professional racing.
- Materials: If your gaming PC is housed in an air-conditioned environment, it makes sense to go for heavy materials such as leather or faux leather. If not, a microfiber or mesh back, which offer air circulation, are better options for the local warm weather. Look for high-quality materials such as leather, faux leather or foam. The latter is more likely to get dirty. Make sure that the materials are hardy, and if possible, splash resistant. This is so that any spillage of energy or cold drinks does not permanently stain the chair. Look for a sturdy frame, preferably one made out of metal – either steel or aluminium.
What not to consider
- Assembly: A lot of the chairs that you can order online require assembly. This can be an exhaustive and time-consuming process and might require more than one person. Although it is a one-time operation, everyone might not be willing to go through the hassle of assembling their own chairs, especially if it is a complicated process. It is better to get a pre-assembled chair or one that does not require assembly.
- Weight and height: Most good chairs have a weight and height rating. Typically, the chairs are designed for people who are up to six feet tall. If you weigh more than 95-100 kg, you might have problems with the lighter chairs. Knowing these specifications is important so that you do not end up choosing a chair that is too small for you.
- Bells and whistles: Some chairs have a number of extras, included embedded speakers, woofers, wireless connectivity, mousepads, cup holders, and massagers. All of these things make the chair more expensive. You are already likely to have dedicated, better quality mouse pads or speakers, so these are just unnecessary add-ons.
- Warranty: If you are investing enough in a gaming chair, chances are that it will come with a warranty. The thing to check here is if the warranty is applicable in India because some of the chairs that you can order online do not have this option. It is also a good idea to check the period of the warranty, look for something upwards of at least two years. A warranty period of six months or less is of no use.
The best place to get it
Although the chairs are available online, nothing works quite like actually sitting in the chair to get a feel for it before committing to a particular model. The areas that sell computers in cities should have stores that sell gaming chairs, and these are the best place to pick these up.