Office Chair vs Gaming Chair: Which Is Better?

In the debate between Office Chair vs Gaming Chair, does a rose by any other name smell as sweet? Whether you are working from home, or playing games, it's important to have a chair that's comfortable.

You also want to ensure it isn't going to cause you problems with your neck or back, especially if you are going to be sitting for extended periods.

On the surface though, a chair is a chair. right? Or, are they really so different that one should only be used for gaming, while the other is only to be used for sitting at a desk and doing 'office' type things?

What if you, like most people would, use the same chair for work and gaming? We're here to explain the main differences between the two, so you can settle on whichever one is going to best meet your needs.

Office Chair vs Gaming Chair: What Are The Differences?

It is often very easy to identify an office chair compared with a gaming chair. Most of the best office chairs tend to be quite muted, 'serious' looking chairs. Gaming chairs meanwhile, often come in bright colours and borrow heavily from the bucket-seat style that can be found in racing cars. But there are some other differences beyond how they look, that are worth bearing in mind. They can be quickly summarised as follows:

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Gaming Chairs

  • Headrests tend to be fixed.
  • Backrests tend to be winged.
  • Bucket Seat which leads to a raised seat edge.
  • Backrest has significant recline settings.
  • Lumbar support is adjustable.
  • Armrests are highly adjustable.

Office Chairs

  • Office chairs often don't have such a high back. Those with headrests are often adjustable.
  • Wingless backrests.
  • Flat seats, with a 'waterfall' edge.
  • More limited recline options.
  • Fixed or adjustable lumbar support, depending on the chair.
  • Armrests are more often adjustable up and down only.

Typically, a gaming chair will have more adjustable options than an office chair. They often have a higher backrest and support pillows. While some office chairs offer similar features, they often have mid-back support, less adjustable features, and a slightly less padded seat. But how do the two stack up when we consider some key factors?

office chair vs gaming chair
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Credit: Razer

Office Chair vs Gaming Chair: Ergonomics

Arguably the single most important thing to consider when choosing your chair is ergonomics. Ergonomics is really just a fancy way of saying, 'how well does it fit'? The idea is that the more 'ergonomic' something is, the more effectively someone can work with it.

Depending on what you read, there are some who argue that the superior adjustability of a gaming chair makes it easier to make it fit you. While others would argue that some of the features of gaming chairs can actually make them less ergonomic.

The reality is, that both of these statements can be true. There are so many factors to take into account here. The size of the chair, the size of the person, how much it's going to be used, and how you prefer to sit while using it, just to offer a few examples. The single most important thing is to find a chair that fits you properly. You don't want your feet dangling. And ideally, you want your knees, hips and feet to be at a 90-degree angle.

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So how do you decide which is going to be better for you? Well, the flatter seat of an office chair will allow for a wider range of seating positions. A bucket seat and a winged back tends to 'hold' you more in one place. Gaming chairs also offer armrests that typically adjust up, down, forwards, backwards, and even can be angled inwards or outwards. Many can recline far further than an office chair. And office chairs don't tend to offer lumbar support or headrest support pillows.

Of course, a high-end office chair will also offer many of the adjustable features of a gaming chair. But that then has an impact on price, which we'll look at next.

Office Chair vs Gaming Chair: Price

A basic office chair will almost always come in far cheaper than even an entry-level gaming chair. A cheap office chair might be less than $50, while a gaming chair would start at closer to $100. But there's a big difference between the two in terms of what you'd get for your money.

A basic office chair will have minimal features. Limited support, possibly even without armrests. While a cheap gaming chair will still provide features like adjustable support, lumbar and head support pillows, and a more cushioned seat - often with memory foam.

But climb the price ladder, and office chairs being to offer more of the features of gaming chairs. Premium office chairs often use high-quality materials and offer excellent support. Once you're at over $100 for an office chair, they definitely compete more effectively with gaming chairs.

Office Chair vs Gaming Chair: Aesthetics

When it comes to looks, this really boils down to personal choice. As we mentioned earlier, office chairs tend to be more neutral, and designed to work in an office environment. Because they tend to use a more restrained palette, they can work in almost any environment, regardless of colour scheme or decorative style.

office chair vs gaming chair
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Credit: Herman Miller

Gaming chairs are usually more ostentatiously designed, with bright colours and a much more 'in-your-face' style. They are typically inspired by racing car seats. Gaming chairs are also usually much bigger. So if space is an issue, or you're going to need to use your chair for work meetings, then this may be a factor. While we won't judge you for having a bright red chair, we can't guarantee how your colleagues might react.

Office Chair vs Gaming Chair: Comfort

We looked at ergonomics earlier, but what about comfort? There are some differences here, that are also worth thinking about. There are differences in size, construction and materials that can have an effect on comfort.

Office chairs are usually smaller than gaming chairs. This means that gaming chairs can often offer more padding, which can be more comfortable if you going to be sitting in that chair for extended periods.

The winged backrests and raised seat edges that predominate will hold you in place. For some, this will feel comfortable. But on the flip side, it means you can't adjust your seating position as easily. So if you start to feel uncomfortable, you may not be able to relieve that discomfort as easily.

Gaming chairs often use materials such as leather or PU leather. These can feel very comfortable. But they can also get very warm, and dare we say it, a bit sticky, if you are sat on them for a long time. Office chairs are often made with a more breathable mesh fabric design, helping to keep you cooler.

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Office Chair vs Gaming Chair: Which Is Better?

There's clearly a lot to think about when deciding which one to go for. And the reality is, there is no clear answer as to which one is better. But, we can say with a high degree of confidence that there will be one which is better for you as an individual. And which one that is, will depend on many of the factors we've highlighted above.

What's your budget? How long will you be sitting for? What do you want it to look like? And most important of all, how well does it suit your body shape? You can buy the most expensive chair in the world with all the adjustment features imaginable, but if it doesn't fit you properly, you're always going to struggle to feel comfortable. And that's when issues such as poor posture and pain begin to arise.

This is less of an issue if you're only going to be using it for short periods. But as increasing numbers of us work from home, or play games for extended sessions, the importance of having the right chair cannot really be overstated.

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We'd always recommend if possible, trying to get yourself the best possible chair, rather than settling for something cheap and less ergonomic. The more you are able to spend, the more adjustable, and more comfortable, your chair is likely to be. But beyond that, it really is down to personal preference. Hopefully, we've given you a good starting point for knowing what to look for.

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