Gaming Chairs vs. Office Chairs - What’s Best For You?
Whether you’re a work-from-home stalwart or a die-hard gamer, anything that requires you to be in front of a screen for an extended period of time means your body needs proper support. According to osteopaths, sitting in the wrong chair can lead to a whole host of ongoing problems including pain in your back, neck, hips, wrists and (of course) your bum. So how do you know what chair is right for you? Is a gaming chair better for your health than an office chair? And what’s the difference between them anyway! Fear not, dear reader — we are here to guide you on the path to comfort with our breakdown of gaming chairs vs. office chairs.
How is a gaming chair different from an office chair?
There are several key differences between gaming and office chairs. The first thing most people notice is aesthetics — gaming chairs tend to be big, bright and bold, while office chairs come in a variety of styles and colours that are designed to blend in with your interior landscape. These visual differences aren’t just a stylistic choice, however — the sloping edges, tall back and bucket-style seat of a gaming chair are all designed for optimal lumbar support. Other features include adjustable armrests, additional cushioning and advanced reclining capability.
On the other hand, office chairs tend to be smaller and less flashy. Office chairs usually still have lumbar support built in, but favour a flatter seat and a wingless back. The chair backs are still able to tilt and move with your body, but don’t have a super steep recline. Office chair armrests typically only move up and down to adjust to your desired arm height, while gaming chair armrests are able to move at more angles.
Round one: comfort
Based on our assessment above, it’s pretty clear that gaming chairs are generally more comfy to sit in than standard office chairs. Gaming chairs are designed for comfort and durability, as most hardcore gamers spend long sessions in front of the screen. Even cheaper gaming chairs are equipped with memory foam padding on the seat and back, compared to the more rigid foam that is generally found in office chairs. Sure, you can get an office chair that’s decked out with more cushioning, but it will naturally cost more.
While gaming chairs win on the padding and size front, some office chairs have a winning advantage at one comfort element — temperature control. The more open-back or mesh-back styles of office chairs allow for more airflow and regulated temperature. In contrast, the faux leather of some entry-level gaming chairs can become quite sweaty, not to mention it doesn’t last as long as the real deal.
Round two: ergonomics
While ergonomics sounds like a confusing science, it’s really just a fancy way of explaining how much your set-up can be adjusted to personally cater to your body type or chosen activity. Gaming chairs are built with customisability in mind — as we covered off earlier, you’re able to adjust the back, arm rests and neck rest far more than you can in a conventional office chair. While these features are standard in even entry-level gaming chairs, to find the same in an office chair will be reflected in the price. In short, if you want a super-supportive and ergonomically sound office chair, it’s going to cost more. That being said, the steep recline and raised lip of the seat on a gaming chair may not be ideal for office work — the straighter back and flatter seat of an office chair have been designed that way to promote a healthy sitting position.
Round three: aesthetics
As we’ve previously mentioned, the visual differences between office and gaming chairs are immediately apparent. If your gaming chair is tucked away in a specific gaming room or study, you’re likely to be less bothered by it clashing with your existing decor. However, if your workspace is carefully curated to achieve a certain aesthetic that fits with the rest of your home, you are highly unlikely to find a gaming chair that will match. Their larger, bulkier and bolder design means they don’t really blend in with conventional furniture.
Round four: price
While gaming chairs overall are more expensive, some office chairs can creep into the thousand-dollar bracket. Extra support features and certain materials like genuine leather can mean a higher price tag for an office chair. Overall, quality gaming chairs tend to start retailing at around $500, while you can get an office chair starting at around $100.
Which one wins?
When it comes to choosing between a gaming chair and an office chair, it’s really a matter of personal preference. Can gaming chairs be used for office chairs? Absolutely. If you prioritise comfort and support, a gaming chair is your best bet as they have been specially designed for long stints in front of a screen. For those more concerned with finding furniture that’s easy on the eyes, an office chair is a better option — and while you won’t necessarily get the same level of ergonomic support that you would from a gaming chair, there are still office chairs with additional features for your comfort. If you combine your traditional office chair with a standing desk, you’ll even further decrease the strain on your body.